Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Distant Inheritance 5

5: Inheritances

Below is a list of 18 inheritances that the players can select for their PCs. Remember that each archetype comes with one of the inheritances pre-selected, but the other is for player specification. For 12 of these inheritances the inheritance gives a 1d increase to one trait and three additional Talents (above and beyond the one per Trait that the player selects).

* Dwarf: Athletics +1, Dwarf Lore (Education Talent), Cavesight (Perception Talent), Armored Combat (Warcraft Talent). The character is a member of that hearty race with their greater strength and endurance and reliable ability to navigate caves and mines with minimal light. Dwarf lore is the ability to craft objects metal or stone and imbue them with magical ability, but can also be applied to any common stone or metalwork (such as mining or construction). Dwarves are trained from childhood in fighting while wearing mail and therefore accrue only the advantages and none of the penalties when they do so – a dwarf in armor is a threat to avoid.

* Hobbit: Burglar +1, Keen Ears (Perception Talent), Thrown Objects (Warcraft Talent), Small Stature (Burglary Talent). The character is a member of that diminutive but clever race with their peerless sense of hearing and inherent advantages at moving unseen and unheard – if a Hobbit is in circumstances where they can leverage their small stature they are all but undetectable. While Hobbits aren’t a warlike race their culture prizes games of accuracy and as such Hobbits can usually land a thrown object exactly where they want it to go. Many Hobbits bosses a core of strength that makes them resistant to mental control or enchantment, but if you want this take it as your Lineage talent.

* Elf: Education +1, Flat Earth (Perception Talent), Weightless Stride (Athletics Talent), Elf Lore (Education Talent). The character is a member of that unearthly race and as such isn’t existing completely on the same reality as the other sentient races: they do not perceive the curvature of the Earth and as such have astounding long distance vision and their bodies can be near weightless if they choose, offering a variety of advantages.  Elf lore is the ability to divine or prophesize in song (where the singer doesn’t know what will come out of their own mouth!), to call upon nature spirits and to enchant well-made objects (which they will sometimes procure from the Dwarves)

* Heroic Stature: Athletics +1, Lifting (Athletics Talent), Heavy Weapons (Warcraft Talent), Courage (Lineage Talent). The character is larger than normal for their race, with the increased strength of limb and heart that comes with that. This also includes the ability to wield heavy weapons such as battle axes and two-handed swords with speed and surety that makes their weight entirely advantageous.

* Light-Fingers: Burglar +1, Pickpocket (Burglar talent), Size Up Mark (Perception Talent), Run Like Heck (Athletics Talent). The character is a skilled thief with the ability to flitch things from people’s pockets, tell who the best candidates are for a theft or a con (and who to avoid) and how to escape if everything goes wrong.

* Well Read: Education +1, Governance (Lineage Talent), Runes (Education Talent), Intuition (Perception Talent). The character has read a lot of books, scrolls, treatises and histories and has developed an extensive knowledge of arcane languages, how to govern people and how to tell when someone’s claims don’t match with reality.

* Noble Knight: Lineage +1, Command (Lineage Talent), Spot Ambush (Perception Talent) Mounted Combat (Warcraft Talent). The character hails from the chivalric tradition with experience on the field of battle, with the skill to fight from horseback without penalties, the ability to see where pockets of danger lurk and, most critically, the ability to convince people to follow them into battle.

* Great Family: Lineage +1, Courage (Lineage Talent), Family History (Education Talent), Endurance (Athletics Talent). The character comes from a well-respected bloodline and from that has inherited a stout heart in both literal and metaphoric senses. He is also well versed in the family history – where they have lived, what they have owned, who they’re related to – and can call upon that in various ways.

* "Third Eyed": Perception +1, Sight (Perception Talent), See Enchantment (Education Talent), Speak to Spirits (Lineage Talent). The character has a rare sort of supernatural sight, letting them perceive not just the real world but also the spirit world. His eyes are exceptionally keen, and can also spot both enchantments and spirits – more impressively, he can communicate with those spirits, either staving off their attack or begging their aid.

* Hunter: Perception +1, Tracking (Perception Talent), Survival (Athletics Talent), Archery (Warcraft Talent). The character is someone who is skilled at surviving in the wild, especially with tracking and bringing down game.

* Mountaineer: Warcraft +1, Axe and Hammer (Warcaft Talent), Climbing (Athletics Talent) Mountain Lore (Education Talent). The character is someone who is at home in the wild mountains, knowing their trails, traps and secrets, being able to reach the heighest peaks and having mastered the mountaineers art of wielding an axe and hammer simultaneously without penalty, making them fierce in combat. 

* Spear Veteran: Warcraft +1, Spear and Shield (Warcraft Talent), Weather Sense (Perception Talent), Sprint (Athletics Talent). The character served as a footman in any of the innumerable skirmishes or storied battles of the plains and dales, and as such has the ability to travel on foot quickly (to charge, claim ground or flee the field) and wield a shield and spear simultaneously, giving them both protection and reach enough to face even mounted or gigantic foes. They also have years of practice (and perhaps some aching limbs) that will let them know when they’re about to get rained on.

* Company: X, 6-12 Followers give +2d when able to act in concert, or remove penalties when able to act in parallel. The character has a company of followers who assist him in his endeavors. These might be kinfolk, mercenares or a guild of thieves (or, if the character also has the distaff inheritence, a coven of witches) , but as NPCs they don’t roll for themselves, instead adding dice to your pool when they can work in concert with you or remove penalties when you’re trying to do multiple things at once and you can get them to act as your surrogates.

* Hidden Depth: X, You have one Trait and 3 Talents you can pick in play as needed; they are set once chosen. The character has never been tested by life and therefore has traits and talents of which he has no conception. Mechanically speaking this means that the player can add one die to any one Trait and pick three talents over the course of play, letting their character learn quickly in the field.

* Wizardry: X, You can pick 2 Lores from the following list as Education Talents – Fire Lore (including pyrotechnics), Air Lore (including ventriloquisms), Water-Lore, Weather-Lore, Prophecy, and perhaps other appropriate player-defined lores. The character is a wizard with the ability to work magic into the world. The Wizard is limited to six effects total over the course of the game, so this is very much a resource management inheritance – if you use all six in the first two sessions it’s no good for you at the end of play.

* Distaff: X, gains +2d whenever she can surprise someone with her erudition, puissance or athleticism. Why yes, this is hideously sexist, but it’s a world in which women adventurers are rarer than hobbits, dwarves or elves.  Any woman with the courage and hard won training to compete amongst men will have the ability to dominate first exchanges when their opponent underestimates them. Expect that Distaff PCs will suffer from expected social hindrances.

* Rapport: X,+1d on any tests regarding a certain type of animal, and has one of them as a pet/mount. The character has a an exceptional mount or animal companion which travels with them, and gives them +1 die on any tests in which the companion could be an asset. The character also gains a +1 die on any roll dealing with other members of their companion’s species.

* Sailor: X, +1d on any test on a ship or regarding ships and has access to a vessel. You’re a sailor, well versed in lake, river or sea faring and gain a +1 die bonus on any actions done on board or relevant to ships or navigation. The character also either owns a ship with a very small crew that keeps it safe when he’s not there or has so many favors or such an extensive reputation that he can hitch a ride for himself and his companions across any body of water (save the trip to the lands of the west).

If the player has a really good idea a new one can be added (I think I likely need about 6 more to really flesh things out, but this is what I have) These are designed to give you a feel for the setting. You’ll notice that being a woman is just as ‘special’ as being an elf – this is not a very gender-egalitarian world. I have at least one on here that is not Middle-Earth-y (Sailor – there is next to no sailing in the series, and most of that is to leave the setting).  


  1. I dunno about the "yes, it's sexist, but realistic for the world" argument. Actually, I don't notice a lot of sexism once there's actually a woman present, but that's a whole 'nother topic. (Eowyn was not supposed to avoid unwomanly fighting by staying home, but rather to command home defense.) And, if you want to be true specifically to The Hobbit (book version, not extended movie version), there are no women PCs, and there's an end to it.

    Are you intending that all Hobbits should have the Hobbit talent and be good at being burglars? This seems odd if one's looking at all the source material. If one's just looking at The Hobbit, well, there's only one Hobbit, so I'm not sure it's a racial trait. Actually, you know, Bilbo's not exactly a great burglar. He flubs his first burgling attempt. He finds the ring, rather than steals it. Smaug is totally aware that there's a thief, roughly where the thief is, and exactly what the thief stole. The Arkenstone's the closest to Grand Theft, and even that was found, rather than filched.

    1. In reverse order, the Hobbits get a +1 on Burglary not because all Hobbits are trained as Burglars but because Burglary is the all purpose 'be sneaky' trait and the one thing Tolkein emphasizes about hobbits over and over is how good they are at being sneaky. Is it just the name of the trait that's throwing you off?

      As for the women, I'd take the reverse example of Eowyn - she has to disguise herself as a man to be able to join the conflict, and she has her big hero moment when she's able to leverage that surprise. Women in combat are so marginalized that the big unkillable evil monsters could have been wiped out by the ladies auxillary tea society with some runcible spoons if anyone had though to put them into the combat but in all their history no one ever had. If there's a woman in the adventuring group the only thing saving her from special snowflake status is that I wrote it into the rules. (Didn't we have this discussion in an A&E some years back? This is raising a memory echo.)
      YMMV of course.