the Roleplaying Game.
Chapter One - Fresh Meat
Creating characters for summary execution.
Intro: Introduction to Urth | Two: Mekanix | Three: Godhead | Four: The World of Urth
Fresh Meat - Sections
Race & Background
Loving your character just that much more before he dies.
The higher the score the less inable.
(Optional) A level of unneeded complication.
Perks & Quirks
XXX Something funny, I'm sure will go here XXX
Character Classes ... er, Careers
XXX Something funny! XXX
XXX Something funny, again! XXX
Outfitting Your Characters
A week's worth of rations, a 10' pole, and fifty feet of rope.
The Finishing Touch
XXX Something funny may show up here later ... XXX
Races and Backgrounds - Loving your character just that much more before he dies.
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Every character created by you, the victim (or player), should lay claim to some sort of history. Even before your pen leaks numbers all over your paper or the dice rattle gleefully in your palm, there should exist a concept behind your character. That's right -- no more, "I'm a first-level awful good fighter who hates orcs!" Now it's more like, "I'm a first-level awful good fighter who hates orcs because of their disturbing hygienic traits. I enjoy combat and drinking with my other fighter friends. My turn-offs are wizards and gaudy capes..." You get the picture.
It would be hard to develop your character without any knowledge of the world of Urth. To make your life easier (because it just gets worse from here) descriptions of the character races of Urth are listed below. As far as character careers (or 'classes' as we and ten-thousand other geeks like to call them) are concerned: Warrior, Wizard, Priest, Thief. Simple? It'd better be!
Once a character race has piqued your curiousity, go ahead and make up some kind of half-assed background story (don't worry, yours won't be much better than ours -- it'll develop over time). Check it with your God, or you can call her your gamemaster, to see if it's alright. Now that's over with, you can go to the next section. It's got numbers!
Example: I've got to include this so even you can figure things out without trying to get a hold of me at whatever strange hour you're reading this at, go to bed and wake up tomorrow so you can get a better look at how simple this whole thing really is. And don't correct me for run-on sentences either.
First off I look at the list of races below (well, not really, I just wrote them). Which one looks like a good victim of adventuresome happenstance? Though a maggot seems oddly compelling, I just have to choose a goblin. Now for a background. Ermm ... having grown up the son of a wealthy copper wire of technomantic conduction merchant my character is a complete spoiled brat. With no respect for anyone he was kicked out of his home, some meager possessions thrown at him. He doesn't understand the concept of 'other people aren't there to do things for you' so he may just be a little tough to get along with. But then, I'm not actually doing any adventuring with him so that's okay.
For a little garnish, I'll say that his name is Garkvunk Copperboy. His skin is a dull copper-color that's become tinged with green from a lack of good washing. He loathes most everything with the exception of insects, which he finds good for pulling apart to see what happens. XXX which he enjoys for their pull-apartable legs or something similar XXX All-in-all, he's a sick little bastard.
The Races of Urth
The imps look much like bloated beansTo this day that last line is questioned by scholars, and since the last words of the late Stilthfiller were, "Fetch me my grovelling spoon Nancy, Mister Reagan's flown the coop!" most leave the topic alone. As far as imps go, they are a mischevious lot, compensating for their small stature (picture an overstuffed, foot-high lima bean) through a great expertise in devious schemes and practical jokes. Imps live in small fortresses, owing allegiance and claiming their tricks for their particular home and none other. Rivalry between neighboring imp-forts is best avoided by all other races at all costs.
That flitter 'bout on batty wings;
Pudgy heads and double chins,
Oh, to be an imp again!
Inability Scores - The higher the score the less inable.
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You should know this far in your gaming careeer what an inability score is. It's much like an ability score only we couldn't take things directly from that exalted game, Munch'ems & Snack'uns. To make things so simple even you can't screw it up, there're only three inability scores: Body, Brains, and Libido.
Wait! Don't leave yet! They're three really good inability scores! Trust me on this one ... I don't even have to give definitions for any of 'em! Much better than the 10 cent words from Munch'ems & Snack'uns, huh? No longer will the elementary school gamers possess inhuman vocabulary, leaving them the subject of ridicule and torture! I'm doing the world a favor here.
Okay, with that out of the way it's time to actually figure your score in each of the three. A score of 1 is abysmal (and 0 is even worse!) and 5 is the highest humanly possible. An everage score would be 2.5 but since dice aren't smart enough to roll fractions, you're stuck with either a lame score (2) or a pretty good one (3). Using the chart below, you begin with each inability score preset (usually at 1) and receive a number of points to distribute. The number to the left of the slash is the beginning score, the number to the right is the highest possible. That's right, a dwarf can't have a Libido higher than 2 no matter how hard he tries! Here's an example using Garkvunk Copperboy:
Example: Garkvunk Copperboy (I'll call him Greenpits from now on -- no good reason) finds himself without inability scores! For the moment he is so pathetic as to die from utter uselessness. We'll fix that.
Looking at the chart below we can see that Greenpits starts out with the following beginning scores (before the slash) and maximums (after the slash):
This can't do. The table gives me 3 Inability Points to distribute among these. Since he's completely spoiled, I'll leave the Body at 1. He's a smart little bugger even if it is only to avoid getting caught doing mean things to his sisters, I'll spend 2 Points to raise Brains up to 4. My last point goes to Libido; it's now 2 (he's averagely charismatic if only to talk his way out of any kind of work). His final Inability Scores are:
Body Brains Libido 1/4 2/6 1/3 He's still pathetic, but less so than before.
Body Brains Libido 1 4 2
* - In terms of Inability Score totals, these races aren't even remotely fair. Go ahead and use 'em with this warning in mind. Make up for your inferiority by being a pain in the ass.
Inability Sub-Scores - A level of unneeded complication (optional but recommended).
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Now three Inability Scores may seem like too few. Not to worry! Here is an optional rule that'll let you personalize those Scores to your nearly complete satisfaction. The underlying concept is thus, each Score covers such a broad spectrum of stuff -- wouldn't it be great to specialize in different aspects? Your character could sacrifice some of her hand-eye-coordination for bigger muscles, or give up bathing for a more streetwise outlook!
The rules are as follows: You are allowed any number of Sub-Scores which describe an aspect of that Inability, and are similarly measured from 1 to 5. For a certain Inability Score, you may have as many Inability Sub-Scores of that Score as you want. Simply make up some neat aspect (examples are given below) and assign it a number. If the aspect is a good one, the Sub-Score should be higher than the original score. If it's bad, the Sub-Score should be lower. Here's the rub: The average of an Inability's Sub-Scores should equal that Inability Score.
Note: As discussed above in the Inability Scores section, each race has different beginning and maximum scores. Using Sub-Scores, a Sub-Score can be one point higher or lower than the beginning or maximum, respectively. See the example below for more details.
Phew! Well here's a an example of Sub-Scores using that goblin misfit, Greenpits, and a neat list of possible Inability Sub-Scores. A (+) before the Sub-Score means it's good, and a (-) shows a bad one. Remember that Sub-Scores are not skills! When making up new Sub-Scores be sure to double check this, keeping the names broad enough for vague interpretations on the gamemaster's part.
Example: Poor Greenpits is forced to use Inability Sub-Scores for the sake of example. After an initial discomfort at being used as an example for others, he accepts the burden. As already determined, Greenpits Inability Scores look like this:
Let's begin with the Body. Greenpits is a slob, having had household servants attend to most of his needs. We decide to give him a Menial Labor Sub-Score of 0. To balance this out (so his Body Sub-Scores average out to 1), take a look at the examples below. Sneaky Bastard would be a good one, and it'll be set at 2.
Body Brains Libido 1 4 2
Next comes the Brains Inability. Wow, a 4. Should that be changed? Nope. We leave out any Sub-Scores here.
What about Greenpit's Libido? He's certainly not attractive so why not give him Looks Like a Wacky Squash and Hygiene's a Mystery Word, and set both to 1. We need the numbers to work out, so he's gonna get Annoyningly Persuasive at 4. Does it work? Hmm ... 1+1+4 divided by 3 equals ... 2! Yup. So Greenpit's Inability Scores and Sub-Scores can be written as this:
Body Brains Libido 1 4 2 Menial Labor 0 Looks Like a Wacky Squash 1 Sneaky Bastard 2 Hygiene's a Mystery Word 1 Annoyingly Persuasive 4
|(-) Hypochondriac||(+) Eyes Like a Hawk*||(+) Flashy Smile|
|(-) 98-Stone Weakling||(-) Confused by Plaid||(+) Gorgeous Hunk/Babe|
|(+) Tough as Nails||(-) Dumb as a Post||(-) Hygiene's a Mystery Word|
|(-) Quick Like a Sloth||(-) Can't Count Higher Than Five||(+) Old World Charm|
|(+) Sneaky Bastard||(+) Ears Like a Bat's (But Not as Ugly)*||(-) Foot-in-Mouth|
|(+) Steel-Lined Stomach||(+) Memory Like a Goddamn Book||(-) Toothless Smile|
* - I know that your eyes and ears are parts of your body, but they're close enough to the brain that they go in the Brains section. Use your discretion and whatever is okayed by the God, er, gamemaster.
Perks & Quirks - XXXX Funny Quote Goes Here XXXX
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Even if an entire party of characters are of the same race, there's bound to be some differences between them. Not everyone in the real world's the same, so why should your characters be? Perks & Quirks are racial-specific traits to let you peersonalize your character even more!
The rules for this are quite simple: Each race begins with a number of Perks they can spend. The player then assigns her character Perks and Quirks; Perks taking the total number of Perks down, and Quirks raising that total up. It's entirely possible to reach zero Perks, or have Perks left over when you're done. What you cannot do is less than zero Perks remaining (that's what Quirks are for!). Confused? Good, read the example and then take a look at the Perks & Quirks charts below.
Oh, and some races do automatically get a free Perk or Quirk at no extra cost! This is also given one of those charts down there.
Example: Again, Greenpits is recruited to show us the way things are done. The Number of Initial and Free Perks by Race chart gives Greenpits two Perks to spend and no free Perks! When Greenpits abandoned his home he made off with both a Goblin Mask and a Cool Suit of Armor (where are the Perks you ask? You'd better not). I'd really like to give him a Thing-a-majig as well. To do that Greenpits needs a Quirk. Because he never left his home, leaving that to the household servants, he's got the typical goblin trouble with daylight. That means his Quirk is I Like the Nightlife. Summing it all up, we can simply write this down as:
- Perks & Quirks
- Cool Suit of Armor
- Goblin Mask
- I like the Nightlife
|Race||No. of Perks||Free Perks|
|Dwarf||Three||Penchant for Floral Skirts|
|Imp||One||Fly Like a Bloated Pigeon|
|Changeling||Fae Title||Itty-Bitty (and Cute, Maybe)|
|Wings||Shunned by Humans|
|Dwarf||Ancient Treasure||Landfill Vice|
|Lift a Chevy||Agoraphobia|
|Vinyl Mining||Mining Injury|
|Goblin||Cool Suit of Armor||Chronic Illness|
|Revolving Thunder Wand||I Like the Nightlife|
|Human||Family Heirloom||Embarrassing Parents|
|Faithful Pet||Family Kitsch|
|Mayor's Kid||Kicked Out|
|Merchant's Kid||Outlaw's Kid|
|Wise Old Grandparents||Ratcatcher's Kid|
|Imp||Bag of Tricks||Abysmal Joker|
|Extra Soft||Unstoppable Fool|
|Fly Like a Fit Pigeon||Wingless*|
|High-Prankster||Without a Fortress|
|Maggot||Dark Elf Item||Family Debt|
|Giant Jerky||Missing Arms|
|Half-sated||Taste for Flesh|
|Hand-eye-hand-eye Coordination||Sibling Rivalry|
|Owed a Favor||Vegetarian|
* - It is highly recommended that you do not take both Wingless and Legless as Quirks unless you have someone to carry you around all the time. Someone you can trust not to put you in their backpocket and sit down; someone who won't talk to the football and kick you for the extra point; and someone who won't get sick of your practical jokes.
Perks & Quirks - Descriptions, explanations, and what-have-you.
|2D Roll||Strength of Illness|
|2||Damn near bedridden. Any and all Tests are made at a -3 penalty. Feel free to cough, sneeze, and puke all over your (former, in a bit) compatriots.|
|3-5||You turn a funny shade of green (or something else if you're already green) and suffer a -2 penalty to any Tests today. Moan and grumble with good reason.|
|7-11||No changes outwardly, though you're still a complete wreck of a goblin. -1 penalty to all Tests. You can complain but you won't get much sympathy (as if you would otherwise).|
|12||Could you have possibly overcome you sickness!? No penalties at all! Jump, dance, and live life to its fullest with renewed vigor. Oh, and roll again tomorrow morning.|
|2||All Thumbs - Thumbs instead of fingers, -2 to any hand-related Tests||Quirk|
|3||Vile Bat-Wings - Able to fly half as fast as walking||Perk|
|4||Rat's Tail Can do stuff with a -2 modifier to any Tests||Perk|
|5||Twelve Fingers - Six fingers on either hand (no modifier, just weird)||None|
|6||Elephantine Ears - +1 to hearing-related Tests||Perk|
|8||Beady Eyes - -1 to sight-related Tests||Quirk|
|7||Huge Nose - +1 to smell-related Tests||Perk|
|9||Long, Stringy Hair - Hangs all the way down to your feet and is really greasy||None|
|10||Really Long Tongue impress your friends, disgust everyone else (and most of your friends)||None|
|11||Neon-Colored Skin your choice of color, -1 to hiding-related Tests||Quirk|
|12||Invent Your Own - Choose a Deformity for the goblin, or make up your own! (Under the gamemaster's discretion, of course. Who're you trying to kid?)||Varies|
|1||Weapon - fine quality weapon of GM's choice grants a +1 to all combat Tests and damage rolls (e.g., a knife that normally does 1D damage would do 1D+1 damage).|
|2||Jewelry - magnificent piece of work grants the wearer a +1 bonus to all charm and influence related Tests (and emanates a faint magical glow).|
|3||Map - an ancient, yellowed parchment leads to an equally ancient family treasure. The particulars are up to your kind and benevolent gamemaster|
|4||Wand - a wand once used only in family emergencies (like when Tippy the Giant Goldfish escaped and almost ate your little brother) is now in your possession. It casts one First Circle mage spell once a day (or some other magical feat that you can beg your GM for).|
|5||Magical Vestment - this has been hanging in the closet since your character can remember, having been told it once belonged to Great Uncle Fiztulattos. It offers protection from the elements, granting a +1 bonus to any element-related resistance Tests (mundane or magical).|
|6||GM Knows Best - your gamemaster will come up with something suitable. Or if you buy him a six pack, maybe you can figure something out?|
|2||Extra Extra Scary - Spikes, bolts, writhing vermin, and what-not are attached to the horrid freakshow that is your goblin's mask (+3 bonus to any intimidation Tests and anything else that uses scare tactics)|
|3||Water Breathing - A complex set of gadgetry filters any breathable air out of the water, giving your goblin the option of pretending to be a fish (but this won't protect you from poison gas or poisoned water! You need an Air Filter to do that)|
|4||Big Voice - An array of oversized speaking contraptions stick out of the mask at funny angles, allowing the goblin to be heard as far as Launch A Stick range with perfect clarity (anyone within Shake A Stick range must make a 1D Brains/"Ears Aren't Like They Used To Be" Test at a -2 penalty or be deafened for 2D rounds)|
|5||Air Filter - Over the goblin's nose and mouth is strapped a contraption that takes any air coming in, takes out the bad bits, and gives it the comforting smell of an old boot (Oh, and the goblin can't be affected by any sort of gas as well)|
|6||Head Light - A powerful lamp illuminates everything in front of the goblin for something like twenty feet which, in Urth terms, is Toss A Stick range|
|7||Night Vision - Goblin can see almost as good at night as in the day, reduce any dim light penalties to Tests by 1 point|
|8||Telescope/Binoculars - The mask boasts some sort of magnifying device over one or both eyes (The implications of this are up to the Gamemaster)|
|9||Noxious Fumes - From pipes, smoke stacks, and other tubes on the mask there erupts clouds of putrid stink, giving any non-goblings within Shake A Stick range a -2 to all Tests (the actual flavor is up to you)|
|10||Gnashing Teth - There's a set of metal toothy jaws on your face that'd make your mother proud and cause a voracious snipe to go into jealous fits (1D + Body/"Freaky Bite" damage per bite)*|
|11||Air Conditioning - If there're any temperature conditions around the goblin that cause a penalty to Tests, they're ignored because of the comfort provided by a portable air conditioned mask (any damage cause by extreme temperature is applied with a -2 to all damage rolls)|
|12||What the Hell is That On Your Face!? - This is where you invent your own bizarre feature or, if you're a creative vacuum, just pick one of the above|
* - You can use a plain 1D Body/"Freaky Bite" or get the Body skill "Eat It, Even If It's Moving!" to attack someone with Gnashing Teeth.
|2||Low HP - the exact number should be worked out between the GM and the player|
|3||Attraction - needless to say, this changeling just can't make a long-term relationship work.|
|4||Extreme Anger - this will come out in roleplaying unless the player plays the part as well as a potato could. Of course the GM receives permission to be completely evil without any prior warning.|
|5||Detained - you know, any time the changeling is chained up, strapped down, or tied to a pole.|
|6||Gamemaster's Mercy - beg your GM for a trigger other than Sight of Friends.|
|Attack||Bite, 1D-2 damage + Poison*|
* - Anyone bitten must make a Body/"Toughness" test or fall ill for 1D days. Snake-eyes means he'll die after those days if not given lots of healing.
Character Classes ... er, Careers - XXX Something Funny XXX
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Sure, many folks say that the new age of roleplaying stands without the age-old stereotypes. They say that such games as Munch'ems & Snack'uns are out-dated and don't represent the myriad choices of real life. Well I've got some news for them. Prepare yourselves, this may get ugly.
Role playing is not real life!
There, I've done and said it. Now we can get on with the game. Seeing as Urth's predecessor games performed such a great job with their character classes, I figured it'd be an honor to relive those classic classes ... er, careers. Yes, Urth leaves the current trends and abandons "progressive role playing." Here in Urth you've got four choices for your character. Each class is described in detail below, followed by a chart that sums things up. Items that may be unfamiliar, like skills and HP are detailed later in this chapter (or not). An important item to note, however, is that the measure of a character's experience on Urth is shown by that character's Level and Knowhow. Every character starts at the first Level and with zero Knowhow. After certain circumstances, a character gains a bunch of Knowhow. Get enough Knowhow and the character goes up in Level. The benefits of this include more points for Skills and Abilities and HP, and bragging rights. One more thing, if you are worried about what races can be which class, or level limits by race, or whether the race gets special class abilities determined by the Level Ability by Race & Class Matrix, forget it. That's just too much goddamn bookkeeping.
Example: Greenpits has made it through so many sections already, let's give him a break. For this example we'll use ... Greenpits! Yeah, so I was lying. Let's say that Greenpits wants to be a thief, a particularly appropriate career. As far as Levels go, Greenpits starts at the first one like everyone else. And with zero Knowhow to boot. He also receives 10 extra points for rogue skills, and 5 more points for his emphasis. Greenpits is definitely not the social butterfly or the courageous combatant, so he gets 5 more points for rogue skills. This will come into play when we get to the Skills section. Well, that's it. Read on. Oh, and if you're really upset about no stats to record, here's what should be written down:
Level: 0 Knowhow: 0 Anal Retentiveness: 27 (no, don't really write this one down)** - And don't write what's in the parentheses either! You people scare me.
The Classes of Urth
|Type of Priest||HP Bonus||Extra Skill Points|
|Fanatically Violent||2|| 5 for combat skills
5 for religious skills
|Piously Calm||1||10 for religious skills|
|HP Bonus||Extra Skill Points|
|2|| 10 for rogue skills
5 for second choice
|HP Bonus||Extra Skill Points|
|3||10 for combat skills|
|HP Bonus||Extra Skill Points|
|1||10 for arcane skills|
|Class||HP Bonus||Skills & Abilities|
|Priest - Fanatically Violent||2|| 5 points for combat skills
5 points for religious skills
Subservience base score halved
|Priest - Piously Calm||1|| 10 points for religious skills
|Thief||2|| 10 points for rogue skills
Choose an emphasis for 5 more points
|Warrior||3||10 points for combat skills|
|Wizard||1|| 5 points for arcane skills
Magic Points: Brains/"Knowledge" x10 per level
'Mancies: Choose from three options
Skills - XXX Something Funny XXX
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Your character's got Ability Scores. Your character may have some useful Perks and unsightly Quirks. Your character's even got a career to follow. Now what? Before the mindless tedium of number crunching (the Finishing Touches section) you now have to further personalize your character. This is handled with the careful and studious selection of Skills.
A Skill is overseen by an Ability, and each Skill
|Backstabbin...urk!||Brainwashing for Fun and Profit||Break Into Song|
|Barehanded Pulpmilling||Cheesemaking Proficiency||Haggle|
|Chopping Trees/Opponents||Combat Tactics & a Whiz at Checkers||I Wear My Sunglasses at Night|
|Chucking Rocks||Death Prevention||Kill With a Look|
|Climb (Vertically)||Five Aces!?||Left Foot, Right Foot (Red Foot, Blue Foot)|
|Dangerous With Cutlery||Jumping Through Hoops||Lookin' Good|
|Hammering a Human Nail||More Than Pretty Rocks||My Name is ... N. Cognito|
|Intimidation Through Biceps||Mushroom Tea||"Once Upon a Midnight Bleary ... "|
|Old Fashioned Arrow Slinging||Number Fun||Selling Swampland|
|Picklocking||One With Nature||Still Cool With Tights and a Thin Moustache|
|Pocketpicking||Read/Write/Swim/Chew Gum||Street Savvy|
|Staying on a Horse||Speak in Tongues||Stylishly Sloshed|
|Strategic Withdrawal||Tie Me Up||That Was Some Other Guy ... Doing Other Things ...|
|Those New-Fangled Automatic Bows||We're Not Really Lost ...||The One Polite Adventurer|
|Tiptoeing Through Tulips & Guard Dogs||Wheeling -n- Dealing||Woo the Ladies/Men|
Skills - Cheesemaking is just the beginning ...
Outfitting Your Character - A week's worth of rations, a 10' pole, and fifty feet of rope.
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The Finishing Touch - XXX Something Funny XXX
All material within,
especially Urth and Urth-related concepts,
is copyright © 1996
by Zak Arntson.