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Author Topic: Houses of the Blooded [BDSM] [Fantasy-Tragedy] [Recruiting-Needs F characters]  (Read 8105 times)

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Offline AtlasTopic starter

Houses of the Blooded


"Every heart contains a thousands chambers, and each chamber holds a secret word. tell me your most sacred word, my love. And with my body wrapped around yours, I'll say it a thousand, thousand times." - The Great and Terrible Life of Shara Yvarai

Hello fellow gamers of E! I’m throwing my hat into the arena of GMing once more with a Houses of the Blooded game. HotB is a D6 storyteller style game by John Wick. I am not requiring any of the players to have played or own the Houses RPG. If you think you like the sound of the setting and could contribute to the game, then I want you! The rules have a simple beauty to them that you will be up to speed very quickly. And I will be posting extensively about the setting, which may have my own occasional twist to it.

What is Houses of the Blooded: Houses of the Blooded is a game about tragedy. And not the kind of evening soap opera tragedy we see on TV. This is all about recreating the stories of Shakespeare, Elric and Greek tragedy. Stories in which a characters brilliance is also their fatal flaw; in which they are eventually destroyed by their own hubris. Think Richard III as the perfect example.

The system is built with this is mind, each character having its own fatal flaw. When you design your character you should try to keep in mind the theme of Tragedy and attempt to create a character that will gel with the concept we are trying to create.

So, if you think that has caught your attention, read-on. However, there are some things that will be required of the player, so I make these caveats now, so you are all aware before you sign on:

1.   This game involves a small amount of dice rolling, however the dice roll’s allow you to define facts about the NPC’s. As such I need players willing to commit to a regular schedule of a post every 1-2 days, minimum. I will have to press on without a player if it is holding up the scene whilst I and the others await their rolls. This will put you at a disadvantage for the scene and will probably lessen your enjoyment. So if you don’t think you can regularly post, don’t sign up. The posts do not need to be IC, they can simply be the dice rolls and results. But the more you can commit to post the more it will be enjoyable to everyone.
2.   As said before, the game involves dice, its mostly freeform but has the occasional roll. So if that’s something you can’t stand again, Don’t sign up.
3.   There is a particular mood for this game. The mechanics allow for some serious God-Modding if you are unfair with them. As such decisions sould be taken for the good of the best story, not for the greatest gain for your character (not that these are always mutually exclusive). As I said the themes of the story are classical tragedy, the rise and fall of your character, hubris, and illicit affairs and romance. So if that isn’t your thing, or you would feel too tempted to God-mod, again, don’t sign up.
4.   I’m pretty lax on what I require in terms of post length. But I prefer a few paragraphs atleast, although it can be situational. Certainly no text speak, spelling etc etc. We all know the usual standards most group games are held to on E, so I won’t go over it in detail; but yes, there is a minimum quality requirement in terms of your posting.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"Ambition. Lust. Revenge. You cannot have one without the others.

Thousands of years ago, the ven ruled the world. They were a passionate people, obsessed with Romance and Revenge, opera and theater, and all the forbidden delights their decadent culture provided. In the end, that which made them beautiful was also the key to their own destruction. Houses of the Blooded is a game about tragic obsession. Set in the fantastic world of ven myth and legend, players take the roles of powerful characters bent on conquering their world, destroying their enemies and possessing all they desire.

A game of romance. A game of revenge. A game of invisible wars and sorcerous blood. A game with no victors. Only casualties. The ven see all the world as an enemy and the inhabit­ants of the world as either weapons or tools. Their culture is highly ritualistic and obsessed with duality.

Six noble Houses play an elaborate, invis­ible game of deception and betrayal. Forbidden by law from declaring open war, their secret wars allow for more subtle weapons: seduction, espionage and assassination."


The story focuses around a mythical race who lived in pre-history known as the Ven. The Ven are a passionate, hedonistic, and cruel race. The player characters will be young Ven looking to make their mark on the world. In the spring of their lives. They are looking to quickly advance themselves to a place of power. The game will revolve around their rise, aswell as the romances and enemies they make over the course of their time in Shanri. I am hoping for around 5 players to join the game, but will allow for more if there are some really great and interesting characters. The characters will all play the lowest ranking nobles ruled over by the same Count, and as such commonly encounter each other.


This has been a opening post to gauge interest. There will be two follow up posts. One explaining how to create a character, and one explaining the rules, laws and other details about Ven culture with a more indepth look. I don't want to put off players not familiar with the setting with one big wall of text so I will divide it up. If the basic concept sounds like something that would interest you then post a reply stating your interest and possibly an archetype for your character, it doesn't need to be more than a few words.

"This is where it ends. With blood and pain and revenge. But it began with love. This is how everything begins and this is how everything ends." - The Great and Terrible Life of Shara Yvarai

« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 10:39:28 AM by Red Doctor »

Offline AtlasTopic starter

Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2012, 10:39:02 AM »
Welcome to the dance… A quick lesson about Life as a Ven.








There's a lot here to learn if you're new to the setting. So I've divided it into little spoiler tags to hopefully make it a little easier to digest. Don't worry if it doesn't all go in first time round. I've simplified it for your reading pleasure. Also anyone interested in a deeper look at the settting the pdf of the RPG is only $4 (not bad for 400+ pages). So could be worth a look. Feel free to ask me as many questions as you have, and I will answer them as soon as possible.


A short History lesson…
A short History lesson…

Before the ancient Greeks, before even the Ancient Egyptians; there lived the mystical race known as the Ven. Little is known of their physiology or culture. What is known is that the archipelago of land which they resided, known as “Shanri” was catastrophically destroyed before the rise of man by an unknown disaster. Taking nearly all record of them with it. What little can be garnered about the Ven is mostly translated from their opera’s, their songs and their pillow books. These are the Ven you will play, larger than life characters fit for stage and song; as opposed to the real representation of them.

The Ven were created by an even greater and more ancient race of sorcerer kings, who’s power is even now beyond imagining. It is not known what happened to this civilisation, and no trace of them remains. They were created to be the perfect servants, artists and lovers to the sorcerer kings. When the Kings disappeared, they created their own society. The Ven were originally ruled by Kings, the last of the Kings coming from house Steele. The last king was a madman, who was eventually ousted and replaced with a senate and the laws which govern the time our story is set.


Physiology
Physiology

The Ven are not humans. From their books we gather that they are humanoid, but taller; more lithe and agile than humans. The pillow books describe them as capable of great feats of strength, however, a knife to the heart or chest is still a mortal wound. They are no less mortal than humans, and live around the same length of time. They were creatures of supreme beauty and elegance. the Ven as creatures are far more emotional than most humans, known to fly into fits of rage and into deep, passionate love affairs. They put great emphasis on art in their culture. Technologically the Ven culture was equivalent to ancient or renaissance Rome in their construction, art and science. From what little can be gathered from writing a Ven pregnancy lasts around 3-4 months. Or one season, and most Ven mature slightly earlier than humans.

the Ven never naturally die. As they reach around the age of sixty there body begins to change. Their skin turns paler, Their limbs elongate and they become weak. Eventually their hair falls out and slowly replaced with long, thin white sinuous strands. These strands form a cocoon around the Ven and they enter the solace. Here they dream for eternity. No Ven has ever died in solace, or awoken from it. They can telepathically communicate with their kin, although it is mostly garbled dreams. To deny someone from their solace by murdering them is considered the greatest crime of all. But that section will come later.


Caste System
Caste System

The race is split into two castes. The Ven, commonly known as the Blooded, are the nobles of Shanri. They are Powerful, intelligent and cruel. The Blooded become nobles through an ancient rite of passage, its meaning long since lost to them; calling upon the most ancient blood magic. Then there are the Veth, the unblooded. “The people of the soil” would be a poetic translation for it. Most Ven translate it as simply “Dirt”. The peasant class the Ven rule have no rights, and are treated openly as property.

What makes a noble? Two things: blood and land. All nobles are “blooded”, having taken part in the ritual to become nobles. They also own land, and by extension the Veth who live on the land itself. Ownership is a strange thing in Ven culture. People only own what they can keep. If something is stolen from you there is no court of appeal, you were too weak to keep it. Which leads onto…


Ork
Ork
Shanri has a wide diversity of creatures and plant life. None of it was untouched by the sorcerer-kings. Mutations are everywhere. To the ven, these are ork.

The word “ork” best translates as “monster.” In the English language, we have many kinds of monsters. Trolls, vampires, hobgoblins, boogeymen. All of these fall under the category of “monster.” Likewise, on the face of Shanri, there are many different kinds of orks.

On a deeper level, ork means “other” or “outsider.” The context is plain: anything that is not ven is ork. And while we have a distinct hominid impression attached to the word, to the ven, an ork is any living thing that is not ven. It may be bi-pedal, it may be a carnivorous plant, it could also be a spectral force that cannot be entirely seen. Thus, there is also a malicious connotation to the word. Dangerous others are ork.
 
The twisted mutations of the Sorcerer Kings run rampant across Shanri. It is it Ven’s job to protect the civilised from them. The Ven will always prevail. They are civilised. The Ven would never fear the Orks…would they?


Laws
Laws

No ven is above the Law. Set clearly, right up front, making all ven equal citizens.
Well, not exactly.
Law refers to two different kinds of citizens, bound by very different Laws. The Blooded and the unblooded. All are bound by the Law, but the Law is not equal for all.

The Blooded own land. The unblooded do not. In fact, the Blooded own the people born on the land. They are property. . And like property, you may treat them as you wish. You can treat them well or you can treat them poorly. As the Blooded, it is your right to do so.

If a member of the noble class commits a crime against another member of the noble class, a Jury of Peers (other Blooded) is called. Trial, decision, punishment. If one of the unblooded commits a crime against the Blooded, he is killed. You may, if you wish, demonstrate mercy, but it is not considered a Ven virtue. as for Crimes Against the un-blooded. No such thing.  If you are not one of the Blooded, you are someone else’s property. That means if a noble slaps you around, your only recourse is to complain to your liege that one of the Blooded has abused his property.


The First Law:
The Law Binds All
No ven is above the Law. This is the First Law, reminding proud, vain ven that no matter what their cunning, plots or rank, no ven may claim immunity to the Law.

The Second Law:
No Ven May Commit Murder
Killing another ven is the most foul act a ven can commit. The Second Law deals with this. Remember, the ven don’t believe in souls. Murdering another is robbing that ven of Solace and whatever may follow. This is the greatest crime.

The Third Law:
What You Own is Yours
The ven tradition of ownership is pretty simple. If you own it, it is yours. Even if you just took it from another ven’s hands. If he did not want it, he wouldn’t have given it to you. This also creates a complication in issues of trust. “Hold this for me,” carries a whole new set of connotations now, doesn’t it? If something is taken from you, you weren't paying enough attention to look after it, time to start working on getting it back yourself.

The Fourth Law:
You Own Your Promises
The Fourth Law seems to be a follow-up on the Third. The ven are very careful about making a promise. Unlike our own culture, “being a flake” is a crime. If a ven does not say the words “I promise,” he is not bound by anything else he says.

The Fifth Law:
No Ven Will Practice Sorcery
The Fifth Law is the one the ven ignore. All of them. Well, nearly all. There are a few exceptions in the literature, but otherwise, nearly every Ven breaks this Law.

The Sixth Law:
No Ven Will Make War
No Ven may raise an army for the purpose of making war against an other, and may only maintain a modest private guard. Again, as evidenced by what we know of Ven history, the Sixth Law was something the ven did not truly respect. They voiced respect for the Law, but in practice, secret armies are everywhere. Most Dukes keep secret armies to raid the fields and farms of their enemies.

The Seventh Law:
Let the Punishment Fit the Crime
Finally, the Seventh Law, giving the Ven a guide for setting punishment for those who break the other six. Like everything else in their lives, the punishment must be appropriate.

A trial by a jury of the other blooded takes place; and if found guilty is resolved with three common sentances. To wear the black, usually or a year and a day, such that all will know the Ven's shame. Second is to be stripped of their titles and lands, banished to wander Shanri. And finally, in the most egregious of crimes, only death is a suitable punishment. If the Jury decides the matter is to be solved between two wronged individuals, the process for a duel is followed.


The Duel
The Duel

The ven are civilized creatures. They agree upon a set of Laws, and abide by those Laws, surrendering certain civil liberties in exchange for safety. Without this mutual agreement, the ven would be no better than orks. Even still, there comes a time when words and rhetoric fail, and when they do, the only recourse is violence.

The noble caste recognizes this, and recognizes a citizen’s right to defend his honor, and defend it with Blood, if necessary. Violence is a part of ven culture, but if arms must be taken up, they will be taken up with a mind toward Art. Two opponents, each with the same weapon, facing off to prove or disprove a claim of dishonor. This is the purpose of ritual violence: to address the necessity of aggression in a civilized culture.  The rules for duels are encapsulated in a book known as The Swordsman.

A formal duel is a serious affair for all involved. Even if a duel is set for first Blood, accidents happen. It is more than just a test of skill, but a test of honor for both parties. There are three kinds of grievance, Insult, Injury and True Pain.

Insult
“Insult” is publicly questioning another noble’s honor. Calling him a liar, an adulterer, a welcher or a thief is cause for the claim of Insult. According to The Swordsman, Insult cannot be claimed without a witness willing to testify to the Insult before a Jury. This is why so many nobles couch their Insults in word plays and innuendo, thus avoiding a duel.

Injury
“Injury” is a more serious crime, one that results in a physical, spiritual, or financial scar. The wording of this is ambiguous, a fact many nobles have used to make claim to Injury. Like a claim of Insult, it must be brought before a Jury to decide the validity of the claim. The discovery of an illicit affair is the most common cause for a claim of Injury: a loss of honor and reputation.

True Pain
Finally, “True Pain” is reserved for Offenses that cannot be undone. In other words, injuries that cause permanent and irreparable damage. This is the rarest of all three duels as most juries try to avoid declaring them. But in the most extreme cases, such injuries can only be settled with a duel to the death.

Procedure
Once the Insult or Injury has been made, the offended party must make a claim within two days of the incident.

The Injured party writes a letter to his liege, declaring his intent for Revenge. Once the letter is in his hands, the liege lord announces proper Revenge has been declared and gathers the Jury. This is important: a noble cannot declare Revenge for himself. His liege must do so for him.
If the offended party does make a claim, all further details are handled by “seconds.” A second is a trusted friend or relative who speaks for and supports a noble engaged in a duel.

The Jury’s Decision
As I said above, the Jury then hears arguments from both sides: the accuser and the accused. If the Jury decides an Insult or Injury has taken place, procedure may continue. If not, that’s it. It’s over. Once this is done both seconds will draft a final letter of apology. If the two duelists refuse to sign the apology, then the duel will commence. There are a number of types of duels, listed below.

Duel to the Touch
In the case of minor Insults, a duel to the touch may be appropriate. Both duelists stand a few steps apart and at the drop of a handkerchief, they draw Swords quickly, trying to gain the first hit against his opponent. The duelist striking first is declared the winner and the affair is ended. A duel to the touch is rare, usually insisted upon by the elders of a family who don’t wish to see their young relatives killed in a senseless affair of honor.

Duel to Blood
Also known as a “Blood duel,” duels to Blood are used to settle serious matters of Insult. Claims of Insult are resolved when one of the duelist is wounded to bleeding. This is the most common form of dueling, the others reserved for more serious affairs of honor.

Duel to Injury
More serious matters of honor call for a duel to Injury. The duel proceeds until one opponent is Blooded (as above). He is then allowed the opportunity to apologize (the offending party) or claim satisfaction (the offended party). An apology or concession ends the matter. If no apology or concession is given, the duel continues, breaking with each Blooding. The offer of concession or apology is made again, and if none is made, the duel continues. If a duelist cannot continue for his wounds, the duel is over and the matter is finished.

Duel to the Death
If a matter is so serious as to demand death, a noble must seek to prove a claim of True Pain. True, there are instances of these kinds of duels, but if it has gone to this, the crime must be egregious.


Colours and Language
Colours and Language.
The Ven language is divided into common and high speech. Common speech is used by the Veth and rarely passes the lips of the Ven. The high language spoken by the Ven may not be spoken by the Veth. It is common for the Veth servants who speak the high language have their tongue removed; such that they can still serve their masters without being able to speak the language to the other lower classes.

The high language has a constantly shifting phraseology with every line veiling a dozen secret meanings. This leaves it perfect to the dance of politics that the Ven play. Colour is also very important to the Ven and used to communicate things about them.

-- Black “I am veiled by shame” 
For the ven, wearing black is a symbol of shame. Criminals wear black. At parties, everyone ignores them. No need to point out another ven’s shame. He’s already being punished enough.
-- Red “Get out of my Way”
Red can stand for two things. For romance, or for revenge. In the Ven language, both are represented by the same word. Wearing red shows others you have declared romance or revenge, and nothing stops a Ven on either of these paths.
--Grey “Tears are not enough”
Grey is the colour of mourning. Worn by widows and lovers.
--Yellow “forbidden”
Yellow is the forbidden colour, it stands for sickness, for the greatest of horrors. No Ven wears yellow.
--Green “spring in my veins”
 Green is the colour of youth, of vibrance, and of availability
-- Blue “Knowledge bound”
 Those who wear blue are those in search of knowledge. It says I want to learn. Paler blues denote the wise, whereas darker colours show students.
--Lavender “entertain me”
Lavender is a care free, party colour. It says tells other Ven that they are looking for fun.
--Brown “I’m not messing around”
Brown is the colour of the Veth, and can show that the Ven is poor. However it can also be interpreted as a statement of a Ven's directness. Serious, Dour Ven prefer brown.
--White “I am ready”
Worn by those preparing for Solace
--Silver & Gold “Blooded”
Only the nobles may wear these colours, and it denotes status.


Romance
Romance

In the minds of the Ven, “love” is a dangerous thing, making you act against your own best interests, against your family, against your friends. It is a kind of loyalty that your superiors cannot control. Remember: the word the Ven use for “love” is the same word they use for “revenge.” Vrentae. Dangerous Obsession.

Like Revenge, Romance is deadly. It’s only asking for trouble. You know how things will go when you get involved in a Romance. The heat of passion makes you stupid. Makes you ill. You feel sick when your lover isn’t around and when she is around, you feel giddy. How can this be anything but dangerous?

Ven scholars denounce Romance for these reasons. Of course, that doesn’t stop Romance. In fact, making it forbidden just fans the flames

Love is a relatively new concept in Shanri. Only in the last 50 years has the idea of romantic suitors become normative, with nearly all Ven placed in arranged marriages by their parents for political gain around the age of 10 to thirteen. In the beginning, these affairs were completely chaste—a kiss was a daring gift, and if discovered, could lead to banishment, or even death. As all marriages have promises of fidelity.

Then, as the concept of courtly Romance became more popular, the lady’s rewards became more… rewarding. Eventually, romantic sentiments overcame the power of tradition, and we have the beginnings of what we have now: flirting and courtship as tests to finding your one true love. But in the world of the ven, love is still a dangerous philosophy, practiced at risk, in secret, away from the eyes of those who would ruin the greatest game ever created, as to be found in an intimate affair with another lover, carries the death sentence.


Sorcery
Sorcery

We don’t know when the Ven began using sorcery, a left over power from the Sorcerer Kings imbued in their blood. Official records give us any no clues. Ven leaders have expressly forbidden use of sorcery by any of their subjects under penalty of death. Of course, this did little to hinder Ven nobles’ research of the topic.

Use of sorcerous rituals pervades almost every court in Shanri, although it is still considered a crime on the streets and in the fields. In fact, it is still considered a crime anywhere, but the dark art has become so commonplace among the nobility, any condemnation of it would only point out one’s own hypocrisy. Blood swords everywhere— carried by almost every swordsman. Nobles use blood oaths to maintain alliances between Houses. Espionage indulge in various sorcerous tools every day. If any noble was to dare accuse another of using sorcery, he had better have his hands clean of blood.

Needless to say, some Houses keep such a minor noble around for just such a happenstance: a young ven who has never cast a ritual, never been the target of a ritual, and never makes use of any blooded tools. In the current social climate, however, this is incredibly dangerous. Not utilizing the benefits of blood magic puts one at a significant disadvantage. However, it also keeps a ven’s conscience clear when he makes an accusation of sorcery.

Using blood magic is not difficult. You need three things: knowledge of the ritual, sacred herbs, and enough blood to make the ritual work. If a noble knows the proper ritual, he can perform it. All he needs then is the blood and herbs.


Poison
Poison
The ven word is ilsyrr. “The quiet death.” Poisons are omnipresent in ven literature. Ven biology is such that most venoms and toxins do not affect them. A few are potent enough to make him stumble or perhaps even knock him on his backside. But the ven explicitly list five poisons powerful enough to kill.

Arsenic: The Emerald Waste
The ven originally used arsenic as a dye, but quickly discovered its toxicity, and turned the powder to less cosmetic means. Since then, the ven have developed arsenic into a thin, white powder. Tasteless and odorless, it absorbs into liquid quickly, leaving no residue. Despite its new appearance, arsenic’s name remains.

Once poisoned, the victim’s skin turns pale. Headaches. Vomiting and retching. A complete failure of the digestive system follows. Horrible stomach pains. Sparkling red eyes. Death comes within hours.
Arsenic must be ingested, but it can be fed to animals, and even after cooking, any ven who eats the poisoned animal will suffer the effects.

Cyanide: The Crimson Gasp
Made from fruit seeds, cyanide appears as a grey or brown powder that smells like almonds. The ven originally used it as a flavoring powder as lower dosages caused giddiness and a severe lack of judgment. Further experimentation lead to its current usage.

Cyanide poisoning shuts down the body’s ability to process oxygen, causing the victim to helplessly gasp for breath as his brain slowly dies of asphyxiation. After death, the blood takes on a tell-tale cherry red color.
Cyanide may be ingested or inhaled.

Hemlock: Fox’s Revenge
The hemlock plant is beautiful to look upon. Pure white, spotted with blue, red and purple. “Fox’s Revenge,” indeed.

Almost the entire plant is poisonous, but which part depends on which part of the year. Once poisoned, the victim’s body begins to slow down, exhibiting symptoms of Solace. The limbs grow heavy, the body cannot move. Pain as the muscles shut down. Eventually, the victim’s lungs cease and she dies the kind of slow, agonizing, beautiful death that only a Fox can provide.
Hemlock must be ingested.

Oleander: Ikhalu’s Milk
The ven know the entire oleander plant is toxic, but they rely solely on the sap—the white, milky sap—when seeking Revenge. Ikhalu’s milk must be ingested, but once it is, the effects are immediate and fatal.
Ikhalu’s milk forces the heart to beat at a staggering and irregular pace, causing the entire body to shut down. Irregular and violent blood flow. Almost immediate death.

Ikhalu’s milk cannot be hidden well. It is sticky and thick. It does not mix well with other liquids. It must be ingested. But while the other poisons listed here provide a painful death within minutes or hours, oleander is the only poison of the five that causes almost immediate death to its subject.

Strychnine: The Spectre Dance
Of all the poisons listed here, strychnine is, by far, the most dramatic. Introduced into the system, the victim immediately begins suffering seizures of a most violent sort. His limbs flail, his head and neck thrash. His screams. Introduced into the body through ingestion, the victim appears as if he is suffering from a mad, vicious dance with invisible beasts.
The spectre dance.
 
There is nothing subtle about strychnine. Its effects are immediate and obvious. The spectre dance is used by those who wish to make a point. It is the poison hammer. “Let it be known.”


Politics
Politics


In our own time, nobles title are inherited. Passed down through Bloodlines. For the ven, this is also true, but not as often. In fact, more often than not, someone other than a noble’s direct lineage inherits his land. This is because, in the world of Shanri, “nobility” is something that is taken, not inherited.

The ven put a great emphasis on taking what is yours and keeping it. It demonstrates courage, conviction and cunning. They like that. Getting something because you were born in the right place at the right time is shameful. Therefore, daughters and sons must at least make the appearance of usurping their land from their parents.

Taking another noble’s land from the hands of his incompetent heir is both right and honorable. A weakling cannot rule. Strength. Courage. Cunning. These are the things that make a ven noble. Not inheritance.

Remember nearly every noble mentioned took the land they rule from someone else. That end result did not have to end in death. Surrender is an honorable option.
Surrender gives you the opportunity to live another day and plot Revenge.

A Ven who demonstrates he can keep hold of a small amount of land may approach a Baron, someone able to maintain their land, and request to be knighted. If the Baron believes their request reasonable, the Ven becomes a knight, and begins their task. A Knight must then go out into Shanri and conquer land in the name of his liege. By conquering land, the Knight forces others to swear fealty to his own name, or he may win the favor of other knights through less violent means.

Eventually, a Knight has vassals of his own: those who have sworn fealty to him out of respect, love or fear. When a Knight has these followers, he brings them before the Senate and declares himself a Baron, offering his fealty to any Count who may take it. (A Baron may have a specific liege in mind, but the ceremony of announcement is a ritual that should not be disregarded.)

If the noble claim of Baron is not accepted by any Count, the Knight remains a Knight. The Senate rejects his claim of Baron. Likewise, when a Baron has enough vassals who have sworn fealty to his name, he may go before the Senate and make the claim of Count. And a Count make the claim of Marquis. And the Marquis make the claim of Duke. Each time appearing before the senate for recognition.


Roadman (knight)
Knights are commonly referred to a roadmen. Tasked with guarding a barons lands outside of his castle. Roadmen are men and women of note, given title by a lord, granting them privileges not available to those of lesser status. Becoming a roadman is recognition by the noble class of “a worthy heart.” When a group of heroes saves a village from a band of orks or rescues a Baron’s daughter or thwarts an assassination attempt, the typical reward is the title of roadman.
Heroes are made roadmen for two chief reasons:
--So the lord can be identified with the heroes who performed the deed,
--So the lord can fund the heroes’ efforts and further his association with them.
Turning brave common ven into roadmen increases a lord’s reputation among his people and the reputation of his court. Of course, only rarely is a roadman Blooded. That particular ritual is reserved for those of exceptional calibre. Particullarly favoured roadmen may carry their Barons banner, these men and women are often refered to a banerrets or bannermen, and are seen as a class above normal knights. Long serving Knights without interest in political gain may become “master of the road” The leader of a Baron’s Roadmen.
Proper address for a roadman is “sir” or “dame” accompanied by the roadman’s personal name. A roadman is referred to as “honorable,” as in “the honorable Tilvan Syver.”

Baron/Baroness
The baron is on the bottom of the land-owning lord, one step up from being a Banneret roadman. A baron does not always own the land he governs, but is given the title to distinguish him from the other non-land owning nobles. In the end, a baron almost always reports directly to a higher noble and stands the chance of having his lands revoked if he offends. A baron’s land contract is often for a single generation and must be renewed by his liege.
Proper address for a baron or baroness is “Lord” or “Lady.” Barons and baronesses are referred to as “Your Lordship” or “Your Ladyship,” as in “Her Ladyship, the Baroness of Q’nn, Shara Yvarai.

Count/Countess
When a Baron has gained enough self-sufficiency and proven enough loyalty that he can accompany his lord on important journeys, his liege promotes him to the title of count. A count is responsible for a county: a large parcel of land made up of many shires and townships.
Counts and countesses are referred to as “Your Excellency” as in “His Excellency, the Count of Vimour, Lord Pywnn Steele.”

Marquis/Marquise
“Marquis” is a distinction given by a duke to an impressive (and dangerous) count. The title was originally given to a noble who was set to guard the outer lands (the marches), a place of great danger. Dukes gave these lands only to those they trusted most. A high gift. A dangerous gift. While his lands may not have been as vast as another noble, they held a particular value that could not be entrusted to just anyone. Since then, the title has changed. A marquis is now a title of distinction, demonstrating one who has taken lands of another by force, guile and cunning. He has risen up through the ranks of the nobility by his own actions, earning him respect and fear by the other nobles.
A marquis and marquise are referred to as “Your grace” or “the lord protector.” As in, “His Grace, the Marquise of Flouven, Lord Protector Ellwn Thorne.”
 
Duke
Shanri’s most powerful nobles are the dukes. The title comes from the personal guard the Emperor kept, the most powerful and influential ven in Shanri. These days, ven Law forbids an Emperor. Instead, the people are divided by the Houses, ruled by the dukes, the true owners of Shanri. Dukes own their own land. They are vassals to no-one. Their word is Law and their authority unquestioned—in the open, at least. Dukes are high above the social order, almost immune to it. Almost.
A duke or duchess is referred to as “Your Highness.” As in, “His Highness, the Duke of Myvster, Olderon Burghe.”

Senate
the Senate, is the voice of the ven, those who own land and guide Shanri’s destiny. They sit in the Senate because they fought for that right. Bled for it. Killed for it.

For each region a noble governs, he owns a seat in the Senate. The number of seats he owns equals the number of votes he may cast when the Senate votes. He may use his votes as he wishes, splitting them or even abstaining. His votes are his own.

A Senator’s rank depends on the land he owns. A duke outranks a marquis outranks a count outranks a baron. You will soon discover a rank’s importance.

The dukes lead the Senate. They recognize speakers. They call for votes. On matters of order, they perform “the duke’s privilege.” The council of dukes—however there may be—vote on the matter in question, settling disputes and deciding on matters of unclear precedent.

The Senate meets on the first new moon of each Season. Any Senator may bring voice to the chamber, but he must be recognized. At least three other Senators must recognize him. Three other Senators who outrank him.
One recognized, he may speak for as long as he may hold the floor. He may not sit, he may not drink, he may not ask for support. He may pause for questions, but he must answer the question posed directly. Avoidance of questions calls for removal from the floor. A Senator indicates he is finished by kneeling and bowing.

At the end of his speech, the Senate hears comments. Then, the Council of Dukes calls for a vote. Votes are made in public. The duke’s privilege is made in secret.

No duels allowed on the Senate floor. No Bloodshed.
If a lord loses all his land, he loses all his seats.



Houses
Houses

there are 6 major and several minor houses that the Ven of shanri are descended from. Each has its own history and each represents a different aspect of Ven personality.

-- Burghe "Give me a man and I will make him a bear" The house of the bear represents strength. Staking their homelands in the frozen mountains these powerful men and women tend to be more direct and stoic than most

-- Steele "Nobility is not only in blood. But in purpose." The house of the elk represents cunning. The steele were the last family to hold kingship of Shanri, and the magic of a mad king shattered the realm into the lands that now remain. The Steele's were eventually defeated and replaced by the senate and As such the banner of the Elk remains half veiled in black at the senate. The Elk forever working their cunning to regain their power.

--Thorne "I am all I own." The house of the falcon represents courage. The lands of the falcon were quickly snatched up during the rise of the senate, and they had been landless wanderers for many years. However 50 years ago a bold move by the head of house Thorne unraveled his banner in the senate and took his lands back. The time spent fighting in the wilderness imbue them with great courage.

--Yvarai "Never enough" The house of the Fox represents beauty. They are famous for their indulgence and love of art. The perfect seducers and flowers of the senate. They live in the warmer plains of Shanri.

--Myrr "I hold wisdoms price" The house of the serpent represents wisdom. Those of house Myrr were instrumental in ending the mad king steele's reign. They are masters of secrets, or political intrigue, and of poison.

--Adrente "We are either tools or weapons" The house of the wolf represents prowess in battle. and a warrior instinct. they are also fanatical seakers of knowledge, as they believe it is the greatest tool in battle they have.


List of Ven Names & Meanings
Aban: “the world forgives daring”
Abazai: “the cherry blossoms fall”
Abendago: “the unforgotten song”
Abhaz: “born in the northern
snows”
Aby: “the river’s memory”
Alanya: “protector of the home”
Alexai: “the hand and the sword”
Ashla: “rest here”
Asvil: “born of light”
Atami: “thoughtful”
Ato: “first born son”
Bajinoth: “the wind whispers”
Cavala: “worthy of love”
Chayan: “born of the marsh”
Cosette: “peace of heart”
Dagul: “father of many”
Ddwyer: “hold fast”
Deta: “white and fair”
Davan: “tall and large”
Dara: “in my arms, be born again”
Dosajee: “in the Suaven I trust”
Dranna: “the heavens in my eyes”
Drial: “I am your friend”
Durt: “worthy of love”
Ecc: “Shanri’s mysteries in my heart”
Feyla: “cheerful eyes”
Fyx: “I am alive”
Godfren: “devoted guardian”
Gryndil: “illuminating the darkness”
Gwanal: “my love will give you
no rest”
Halia: “the hawk’s white wing”
Haroon: “my father rejoices”
Icusalia: “cottage under the moon”
Illudyll: “the soul of the sun”
Isla: “ever watchful”
Jana: “my truth in you”
Jorja: “white hands”
Kavamadii: “purity and grace”
Kyocera: “I cannot be known”
Lisle: “appointed one”
Lonor: “I am the rival”
Lura: “brightest star”
Maja: “laughter heals”
Maura: “the red widow”
Maurevel: “keeper of the woods”
Meza: “where berries grow”
Moryandal: “inevitable victory”
Mxura: “master of the house”
Myri: “full of hope”
No: “forbidden kiss”
Olivama: “I will fool them
with desire”
Niassa: “the ungentle night”
Rajh: “I will die on your grave”
Rali: “my meal will be wine”
Regana: “slender stem”
Ryandual: “the abandoned plain”
Sagay: “adviser to power”
Shajar: “little rose”
Shanina: “roots of the tallest tree”
Shara: “veiled rose”
Sitthydeth: “sweetest song”
Sorio: “the warrior brings peace”
Suahavan: “the harp”
Szazs: “the unrepentant heart”
Tasha: “the green meadow”
Tatjan: “friend of the mountain”
Tjan: “most earnest”
Torr: “iron does not bend”
Trixauna: “daughter of the Sword”
Tshanja: “the education of
experience”
Tzao: “born of fire”
Ul: “spiced wine”
Uthandaye: “small stone”
Van: “little one”
Vangalio: “my deeds will inspire”
Vanglia: “my family will not forget”
Vrdj: “joined in harmony”
Weatha: “the elder tree”
Wyel: “I pledge”
Zrudura: “my heart aches”
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 02:13:15 PM by Red Doctor »

Offline AtlasTopic starter

Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2012, 10:39:34 AM »
Character Creation

http://housesoftheblooded.net/downloads/HotB_CharGenReference.pdf

Here is a quick reference guide to each step of creating your character above. You’re going to need a load of D6’s as there are some random rolls in the history section. Don’t worry you get a chance to edit some aspects that you don’t like. If you would like to print off a character sheet to go along with it, then i've posted a pdf below. The guide isn’t quite enough to get you through the full character generation so I’ve given additional details below.

http://housesoftheblooded.net/downloads/HotB-CharSheet.pdf


Step 1
Step 1: Try to get a very basic character concept in your head. Spell out the archetype in a few words. Try not to plan out too much of your family history till you finish step 5.

step 2
Step 2: Roll two different coloured D6 and consult the chart below, one dice roll represents your father’s bloodline, the second represents your mother’s bloodline.
1 Bear
2 Elk
 3 Falcon
 4 Fox
 5 Serpent
 6 Wolf
Now roll one dice for each parent. The higher number is the dominant member of your household. (ie. Mother made all the decisions or Father made all the decisions.)

step 3
Step 3: roll a D6, this is the order in the family you are.  (eg. If you roll a 3 you are the third son/daughter)
Then roll a D6-1 this is the number of surviving children left in your family.

Next roll a D6. On a 1-4 you are married, on a 5-6 you are unmarried
If married roll again on a 1-4 you have no children, 5 you have one child, on a 6 two children. (slightly different to the pdf to take in acount the PCs young age)
 
This builds up your family tree quite nicely. Do with it as you wish, it can be an essential or non-essential part of you character.

step 4
Step 4: Roll on this chart and find out what rank your dominant parent was.

1 Baron
 2 Baron
 3 Baron
 4 Count
 5 Count
6 Marquis

At this point you may choose to change any dice rolled by + or - 1, up to three times. EG. If i rolled that my father was blooded of the falcon, but i really wanted a blooded of the bear as a father, i could spend 2 of my 3 points to change my roll of a 3 to a 1.

step 5
Step 5: Decide if you wish to align yourself with your mother or your fathers house. You are at no disadvantage for choosing your submissive parents house. (eg. If you want to play a blooded of the wolf character and your father was wolf blooded, align yourself with your father.)

step 6
Step 6: Now it’s time for the first piece of creativity. From this point onwards there is no more random rolls, so now is the time it’s safe to start thinking about a backstory you want. In step 6 you name your character, keeping in mind what sort of character you want her to be. The majority of the Ven have a fantasy style name, but aslong as its reasonable I’ll allow whatever.

The Ven have three names. Their Family name, their chosen name, and their given name.

Their family name has no affect upon them, and can be whatever you wish, note that there are sub-houses of the 6 main ones, (so a house of the wolf character does not require the last name adrente. Etc etc. It can be whatever you wish.)

The chosen name is the name your character decides to call herself. When he/she is considered of age she takes part in a naming ceremony. In which he/she takes her chosen name. It is used as a first name is. It is what people call your character in informal conversation. Your characters chosen name should mean something. And will give you one dice towards doing activities related to that name. It would be written like this.

Shara “Veiled Rose” (+1 dice to finding out secrets)

Your final name is your secret name. This name is whispered in your characters ear by their mother as a babe. This name is imbued with powerful blood magic, and is something no-one knows, unless they are told it by your character. It works in the same way as the chosen name, however you gain +3 to the dice roll of the thing you are trying to achieve. To gain these dice your character must yell her secret name. Once someone knows your secret name they may say it and gain +3 dice against you in all activities you contest, and can perform dark blood magic upon you. It is not to be used lightly.

Ilandria “Guiding light” (+3 dice to exploring an unknown area)   

step 7
Step 7: There are 6 virtues in the HotB which represent stats. Bears strength, elks cunning, falcons courage, foxes beauty, serpents wisdom and wolf prowess. It is time to assign stats to each. For each level in the stat you roll one die as standard.

Choose one stat and write weakness. This is your characters fatal flaw. He/She may never roll any dice in this as a standard, although they can earn them through other means. This means that unless she has back-up she will always fail in these tasks. The rest are stated out as such 4,3,3,2,2 so one level 4, two level 3 and two level 2 stats.

Strength is used for raw feats of strength, lifting, running jumping etc. aswell as things like acrobatics and riding.
Cunning is used for to announce things about the plot, and to manage your realm
Courage is used for resisting fear, and for long tests of endurance.
Beauty is used for both seducing people, and for creating art work.
Wisdom is used to announce things about NPC’s, aswell as knowledge based tasks
Prowess is used for fighting and duels.

Once you have stated out your character add 1 for whichever house you are aligned to. EG if I am level 3 prowess and aligned to the house of the wolf, I gain a +1 to a final prowess of 4. This means the max a stat can ever be is 5.

step 8
Step 8: choose your Devotions. Each Ven is devoted to ancestors who have entered solace. And if they have paid them the correct respects can gain you bonus dice. Each Ancestor has a name, and is treated much like a patron saint. For example, you may worship the patron saint of the road, and can call upon him to grant you points when travelling.

You have up to three devotion points. Each point of devotion adds 1 dice when you call upon the blessing of that ancestor. You may place all three points into one ancestor, or split them over three. The ancestors may be saints of whatever you wish, as long as it is keep reasonably specific.

(Example Devotion: Shara Yvarai “The lover” (+2 dice in seduction rolls))

step 9
Step 9: It’s Aspects time. Each of your characters have 2 aspects. An aspect is a defining part of your characters personality. It is made up of three parts; an invoke, a tag and a compel. I also talk about style points in this section. More on those later.

First off name the Aspect. I am going to create the full aspect with you, step by step. The aspect I am creating is called “Kind Hearted”

The invoke is a situation in which you can gain +3 dice for your trait. In this case. “Gain +3 dice when my character tries to prove her sincerity to someone.”

The tag is a situation the GM or other players can use against you. They gain +2 dice if they spend a style point. In this case” +2 dice against my character whenever she is committing a violent act, she just can’t put all her heart into it.”

The compel is the final part. Any player may use your compel in OOC to make your character do something, which your character must spend style if they wish to resist. In the case of Kind Hearted, “She must always show her enemies compassion if they surrender.”

The thing I cannot stress enough here is make it specific. Don't say you gain a +3 in just killing, is it with a specific weapon, for a specific reason, etc etc.

step 10
Stage 10: stage 10 is to decide a contact. This is another player character you have previously met. We will do this once we have decided on who is playing. So for now leave that space blank.


Province Rules
Province Rules

In-between IC sessions player will have to run their provinces to help gain them bonuses to their rolls in the next IC scene and expand their power-base. It may seem a little confusing at first, but once you get to using the system you’ll find it incredibly fluid. One "turn" in the management phase represents one season of time. (3 months)

A province is made up of ten regions. Each region has a level (1-5). A region produces a number of resources equal to its level. Different regions create different resources. Your starting province begins with a level 1 castle and a level 1 village. You then may distribute 5 levels between any of the other types of region you would like, you may raise the level of a region up to a maximum level of 3 as a starting point. What regions produce what resources are displayed in this pdf on the last page. http://housesoftheblooded.net/downloads/HotB_SeasonsReference.pdf

There are also Vassals which can be hired to assist your character with running their lands. You begin with 5 points to distribute over your vassals. No vassal may start at a level greater than 3

resources
Resources.

Food: Food is used to feed your vassals. You must have 1 unit of food for each vassal each year.
Herbs: Herbs are used in sorcery, without herbs your character cannot perform his/her rituals.
Luxuries: Luxuries raise the loyalty of your region.
Industry: Industry represents the manufacturing materials for the construction of goods. Goods are used to bank style points.
Lumber: Lumber is used in building new Holdings, and expanding your domain. Without out it your provinces cannot grow
Stone: Stone is used in building new Holdings. It is essential for constructing urban buildings.
Metals: Metals are necessary for the upkeep of your personal guard, requiring one metal each season for arms.
Poison: Poison is used for assassination. It is also used to make antidotes to protect yourself from assassination
Trade: Trade can be swapped automatically for any reasource on the above list, this costs a season action.

Vassals
Vassals
There are a number of minor Vassals you can hire to assist you with your land.


Apothecary: can make one poison or antidote per level of vassal (Requires resources)
Artisan: can  create art up to the level of the artisan. Requires one season per level or art (Requires resources)
Sorcerer: can research new sorceries for your character to use.
Craftsman: Can create goods equal to its level. One free craftsman is provide with every village or city of equal level to the village/city.
Maid/Vallet: Can bank style equal to the Maid/Vallet’s level.
Mayor: quells trouble in any city and can store two resources through the winter.
Personal Guard: Used to defend you, also used to take over other provinces, each level represents 10 Veth willing to die for you.
Roadmen: can quell trouble in a countryside region. (once a season per level) each level of Roadmen represents 5 or so knights.
Sheriff: can quell trouble in a urban region. (once a season per level)
Staff: can quell trouble in your castle. (once a season per level) each level of staff represents all the hands necessary to run a castle, plus half a dozen castle guards
Spy Network: Used to spy on other players and NPC’s as well as defend against other players spies. Each level of spy network represents 2-3 spies and their ancillary staff.
Secret Army: use to invade other regions (Anyone caught amassing a secret army will be punished by death, it is not done lightly)

When certain vassals reach level 3, you gain a master vassal aswell as maintaining the previous one.
Seneshal: (prerequisite: level 3 staff) Can quell trouble in any region or increase the level of one any vassal/region by one level.
General: (prerequisite: level 3 secret army) A secret Army requires a general to invade another region
Swordmaster: (prerequisite: level 3 personal guard) A personal guard member who may accept duels for you, aswell as giving bonus dice to personal guard invasions.
Spy Master (prerequisite: level 3 spy network) can contribute dice to espionage items, or conduct his own (fulfils role of entire network)


Married characters also receive a level 1 spouse vassal, the spouse may take any action the player character can take.

Season Actions
There are a number of actions you may take a turn. You may make a number of actions per season equal to your characters cunning divided by two (rounding up) plus 1 free action. [ (cunning/2)+1 ]

1.   Build a Holding: Make your Regions better places by building important structures. Each holding costs 1 wood and 1 stone to create.

2.   Compose Opera: Every level of an opera require one luxury, one resource of any type and one season action. When the opera is completed the patron of the opera may gain a free aspect based upon to main character of the Opera. The number of invoke dice is equal to the level of the Opera. (Will give a nice chance to be inventive with writing a short paragraph outlining your opera)

3.   Create Art: Art is beautiful, Art isn’t something that has a purpose; it could be poetry, paintings, sculpture, song, etc. To begin first collect one resource relevant to the art work (eg sculptures require stone, etc). If you cannot decide which to use spend a luxury. Make a risk roll, every wager adds 1 to the maximum level of the art (eg 3 wagers give art a potential level of 4) and makes the art at level 1. After this a season action can be spent to increase the level of the art up to its maximum potential.

Art gains you style equal to the final level of the art. It can also bank an equal number of style points to its maximum level.

4.   Craft Goods: Goods are used to bank Style points. They follow the same rules for creating Art and use industry as a material. Goods are things which can be worn, eg hats, clothes, ceremonial blades etc.

5.   Explore a Region: Open up a Region previously unavailable to you, creating a level 1 region of your choice in your province.

6.   Hire a Vassal: Bring on some new hands to help you maintain your Domain. Beginning at level 1 you may hire any starting level vassal you wish.

7.   Make a New Contact: Make more potential backstabbers. (meet with other PC’s)

8.   Quell Trouble: Get rid of pesky brigands, orks and other bothers.

9.   Region Development: Improve a Region’s level by 1.

10.   Research Sorcery: Learn a new sorcery. (requires 1 herb resources)

11.   Transport Resources & Goods: Move around valuables to a different province

12.   Vassal Training: Increase the rank of a vassal by 1 level.

Trouble
Trouble

Each Region in your Provinces creates a certain amount of Trouble. Use the Region Trouble Table located above.

Region by Region, roll a number of dice for each Region equal to the amount of Trouble. For example, rolling Trouble for a Farm is just one die while rolling Trouble for a City is three dice.

Roll your dice. If any dice roll a 1, that Region is Troubled and remains so until the Trouble is quelled. Any Troubled Region provides no Resources, produces no Goods, or gives any other benefit until the Trouble is quelled. You cannot build Holdings or take any actions—other than Quell Trouble—in a Troubled Region.

If you do not resolve the Trouble in your Regions, that Trouble spreads. At the beginning of the Trouble Phase, if any of your Regions are Troubled, roll an additional die for all the Regions in that Province. Swamps roll 3 dice, Shorelines roll 2 dice, Forests roll 3 dice, etc. All Regions continue rolling an additional die until you begin a Season with no Troubled Regions.

Castle 1
City 3
Farm 1
Forest 2
Hills 1
Mountain 2
Plains 2
Shoreline 1
Swamp 2
Village 2


 
In Game Rules
In Game Rules.

Risk:

All dice rolls are based around Risk. If you are doing everyday things; stuff that you could normally do without failing, or that you are not being opposed in you do not roll any dice. The magic number to remember in this is 10. You roll a number of dice equal to your level, plus any extra’s received for devotions, aspects, etc. With it you must beat 10. If you roll 10 or higher you decide if you succeed or fail. If you roll under 10 the GM (me) decides if you succeed or fail. If you roll over 10 you can still decide that your character wishes to fail, and narrate that accordingly, and will be rewarded with style points for taking the less optimal path for the good of the story. The person who has narrative control is said to have privilege

Wagers:

I hope you’re a gambler, cause this is where it gets interesting. Every time you win a risk you may decide if you succeed or fail. But not in what mannner, thats up to the GM. However you may forfeit a number of dice from the roll before you attempt to make the roll. For each dice you forfeit you may declare one fact as true. (Open to GM saying no, but I tend to let players run with what they wish.) This is the system around which the narrative system is built. As such I will provide an example below; one demonstrating the wager system and one a straight roll to highlight the differences.

A blooded of the bear character, Illyn attempts to jump from one rooftop to the next to escape his pursuer. As such the GM tells him to roll his Strength skill in the OOC. Now Illyn is a strong character, with a Strength of 4. He also worships the patron saint of flight (devotion level 1) which the GM decides is appropriate, so awards him another dice. This gives him 5 dice to roll.

---- He rolls 5d6 in the OOC, getting an 18, and declares he wants his character to succeed.
The GM informs him in the OOC his character makes it across the rooftop with a clatter, and the player is then free to describe this in the IC thread.

---- In the same scenario, the player this time decides he wants to create a very specific moment. He is also feeling very lucky, so he decides to wager 3 of his dice.

He declares his wager in the OOC and then rolls a 2d6 and miraculously rolls an 11. This time he declares he fails the jump. However, he may now declare 3 other facts. Each fact cannot be more than 1 sentence in length. These are:
-My character falls short of the next ledge
-And lands on lady Alandria’s Balcony
-She is inside, and offers me safe passage.


For this style points are awarded for taking a negative result and turning it into a plot forwarding, and badass scene; and the player is free to write out the IC scene as he wishes including the details he has chosen. As you can see, it is worth wagering as it will give you more narrative control over a scene, as befits a character who is better at their role.

Style:
The Ven are all about style, they're about poise under pressure, and just looking damn cool while they do anything. Style is about being Ven.
-The Ven are dramatic, you gain style
-The Ven are tragic, you gain style
-The Ven fall in love, you gain style

Do these things, advance the plot towards the final goal of the story (one of tragedy) and you get style points. Style points allow you to be a baddass. You want style points. Good players get style points to:
-Players who contribute with stuff like drawings and maps and ancillary stuff that make the game excellent get style points.
-Players who help others understand the rules and make my GM work load a little easier get style points.


Style points can be used for a number of things

If you want to use an Invoke more than once per adventure, it costs a style point
if you want to tag an aspect it costs a style point
If you want to compel someone it costs a style point
if you want to resist a compel it costs two style points
Various other ancillary things may cost style, to be noted in the OOC when it comes to it.

Style lets you control the scene, style gives you more dice, and style makes your game more fun. So try to get Style. You can have any amount of style you wish during a scene. When that scene ends you can bank style ready for the next scene. You can bank 5 style at the end of a scene as standard. Every item of clothing can store one style per level, as can each piece of art work. Any style over your banked limit is lost at the end of the scene.


Spell List
The Blooding
This is the most sacred of all rituals: bringing a ven into the ranks of the Blooded. All Houses have a different version of this ritual, an elaborate ceremony involving costumes, mystery plays, and all the esoteric symbolism the ven can summon.
The ritual makes a ven part of the House. One of the Blooded. Recognized by the Senate, protected by Law. No ven may be Blooded to more than one House and once you are Blooded, you may not be Blooded to another.

The Circle
An old ritual originally associated with hedge wizards and wise women, the blood circle creates a ward against hungry spirits. The ritual must be performed upon a door. The sorcerer cuts his hand or wrist and spills enough blood to make a mark on the door. He then shuts the door behind him, locking it with his bloody hand, leaving some drops on the lock. As long as the door is not opened, nothing from the invisible world may enter. The ritual lasts until dawn.

The Corpse
While most rituals are in common use around Shanri, this ritual is not. Most sorcery use is an open secret, something everyone does and nobody talks about. This ritual is the exception. Many sorcerers know it, but few use it. Even the most corrupt and vile sorcerers hesitate using this ritual for fear of the consequences.
The ritual requires a corpse. The corpse can be freshly dead or could be nearly devoured by decay. When blood is spread over the corpse’s lips—and the corpse must have lips—it reanimates, a creature bound by the sorcerer’s will. The creature may be almost any species. A dog, a cat, a mouse. As long as the creature has lips, it can be a target for this ritual.
Needless to say, the more corrupted the body, the more disturbing the creature, the more obvious the act. Freshly killed corpses can be used, but they still give off a disturbing aura. Something is wrong. Seriously wrong. Hiding the true nature of the thing is impossible. As soon as any blooded ven looks upon it, he knows what it is.
The Corpse lasts for one Season. Then, it collapses in a sickening pile of blood and bones.

The Curse
A blood curse requires only one sorcerer and one target. The target must be within sight and must be able to hear the sorcerer. The sorcerer cuts his skin, letting his blood flow. He takes one Injury (“severe cut”) at least. He may take as many as five Injuries before the curse kills him.
The curse puts an Aspect on the target. The rank of the Aspect is equal to the number of Injuries the sorcerer is willing to take. Yes, this ritual can kill you. The Aspect must specify a thing the subject must or must not do and begin with the phrase “You will always” and“You will always.” For example, the following curses are appropriate:
“You will never sleep in the same bed twice.”
“You will always lie to the ones you love.”
“You will never hold your father’s sword again.”
“You will always betray your family.”
Whenever the target goes against a “You will never” curse, those that oppose him may tag that Aspect, gaining dice as appropriate. Whenever the subject follows the dictates of a “You will always” curse, he may invoke that Aspect for bonus dice as appropriate.
A blood curse may only be removed by the sorcerer himself or by a blood relative of the sorcerer (father, mother, son or daughter). It must be removed voluntarily and not under any kind of duress.

The Eye
This ritual is known only by the House of the Serpent. Those outside the House who have used it in the presence of the Blooded of the Serpent usually find themselves at mysterious ends.
This ritual requires only a bit of blood, a few drops. The sorcerer makes his cut, chanting the words of the ritual as he does, placing his wounded hand over his own left eye. Blood oozes into the eye, making it red. The sorcerer may now look upon any individual and see if he is using any blood rituals or carrying any Orichalcum items. No test is involved.
The ritual lasts for one night, and all the while, the left eye remains a deep crimson: no pupil, no iris. Just blood red.

The Familiar
The ritual bonds an animal to the sorcerer, making the beast a companion for life. The animal must be fed the sorcerer’s blood (usually mixed with milk) when it is an infant. As the beast grows, at least one Injury’s worth of blood (“cut hand” or “cut wrist”) is fed for one Season. When the beast matures, the blood merges the sorcerer’s soul with the animal, creating a powerful bond.
The sorcerer always knows the location and general emotional state of the beast.
While they cannot communicate directly, the beast can share what it has seen with the sorcerer. It may share one day’s worth of sight and hearing. It cannot communicate language—animals cannot understand ven language.

The Mirror
Making a blood mirror requires an ornate and intricate mirror. The mirror must be made from Orichalcum. Making a blood mirror requires three Seasons of work.
When finished, the sorcerer can use the blood mirror to spy on others. He must gain something personal from the individual he wishes to spy upon. It could be a page from a diary, a comb, a glove, or any other object that belongs to the target. The sorcerer holds the item and bleeds onto the mirror. He may observe his target until dawn.
Bloodmirrors qualify as Artifacts.

The Oath
This ritual is one of the most ubiquitous in ven literature. A piece of parchment, a cup, a knife, a quill. Words are written on the parchment.
Powerful words. Promises. Punishments.
All provide blood for the cup, dipping the quill and signing their names. All ven who sign receive a rank 3 Injury. The Injury must be made with an Orichalcum knife.
All three names. Family, Public, and Secret.
All ven signing the Oath make a promise to abide by its edicts. They gain benefits for doing so.

You may spend a Style Point for three bonus dice if you are protecting another ven who signed the Oath.
You may spend a Style Point to know the emotional state of someone within your Oath
You may spend a Style Point to know the general direction and distance of someone within your Oath.

If you ever betray any member of the circle, the Oath is broken for all of you. Also, the word “traitor” burns onto your forehead for a year and a day. Within that time, you may make no Oaths.
The Oath may be written in such a way that it lasts a specific amount of time or until a specific goal is reached. “The Oath expires in five years,” or “The Oath expires when we all become Dukes.”

The Puppet
If you know the full name of another ven, you may perform this ritual. (Remember: peasants do not have secret names.) A slice on your hand, a slice on their hand. Mixing blood. Your body falls limp and helpless while you possess the body of your target.
If your own body is injured, you immediately return to your flesh. If your own body is killed, your spirit is trapped in the body of your target.
The mind of your target is subdued by your superior will (amplified by the ritual). The ritual lasts until sunrise.

The Quill
The ritual requires a few drops of blood be dropped into an inkwell. The ink in the well must be fresh. The sorcerer recites the ritual as the blood drops and as a quill stirs the ink and blood together. While the ritual is active (until dawn), anyone writing with the quill cannot write a lie. If the inkwell is spilled, the ritual ends.

The Rose
The sorcerer uses a rose to perform the ritual. He cuts his hand or wrist, bleeds a few drops onto the petals, and places the rose on a table. As many as four may sit at the table. As long as they sit at the table, anyone not sitting at the table hears nothing but gibberish sing-song from those sitting at it. The ritual lasts until dawn, until the rose is removed, or if someone leaves the table.

The Sword
The Sword Ritual requires at least one Season to perform. The sorcerer must have at least one Orichalcum Resource and either employ a blacksmith or be a blacksmith himself for this ritual to succeed.

The sorcerer and blacksmith work together for at least one Season forging the sword. The sorcerer’s blood is used in the process, requiring one rank 1 Injury (“cut hand” or “cut wrist”) per Season. The blood is mixed with the iron as it is red hot, the sorcerer chanting as the blacksmith does his work. The blood need not be of the sorcerer; he may make the sword for another, but doing so requires the presence of the eventual recipient of the sword.

When the work is done, the blood sword is ready. It is a powerful weapon, bonded to the source of the blood used in the ritual. Only the ven who is the source of the Blood gains the benefits of the Sword (although sometimes children may weild a parent’s weapon). It is said blood swords sing to their wielders. Others say using a blood sword is like dancing with a brilliant partner. When using his blood sword, the wielder gains a number of bonus dice equal to the number of Seasons used to prepare it. A blood sword may not have more ranks than the Wisdom of the sorcerer who made it.
When a blood sword is broken, it bleeds like an open wound. Those who have watched such an event felt a profound sense of sorrow and some have even claimed to hear weeping.
Bloodswords qualify as Artifacts.

The Tulpa
One of the most dangerous rituals known by the ven, it creates a shape-changing creature of limited intelligence and ability, a creature that can take the form of any ven. It can speak simple words and phrases, but demonstrates no “personality” or “character.” On closer inspection, ven may notice small “errors” in demeanor. It doesn’t have all of its fingers or perhaps the teeth are crooked. But to anyone who is not paying close attention, the tulpa will give the impression of the actual ven it happens to be copying.
Creating a tulpa requires time and a few particular objects. First, you must have a personal item of the ven you wish to mimic. It could also be hair, blood, or some other part of their anatomy. Then, you perform the ritual. Blood is necessary. This creates a tulpa that not only looks like the ven you want you want to mimic but also believes it is the ven you want to mimic. The ritual takes about an hour to perform. The tulpa lasts until sunrise.
 
The Vendetta
A very dangerous ritual, the blood vendetta is also the oldest. The ritual requires two participants: the sorcerer and another. A knife tastes the blood of both and then each subject puts his hand on the knife, making a promise to kill the other. Once completed, the ritual gives each participant an Aspect: “Vendetta (X)” where “X” is the name of the person whom you owe a Vendetta. This Aspect can be invoked for three bonus dice, but only for actions that lead to the death of the other. Also, the subjects of the ritual always know where the other is and what emotional state he is in. He also becomes aware of all his enemy’s Aspects.
If a Season passes and the vendetta has not been fulfilled, both participants receive a rank 1 Injury, “Vendetta Pains.” They begin as a low ache near the heart, a constant reminder that the vow has not been fulfilled. If another Season passes, the Aspect gains another rank. This continues until the vendetta has been fulfilled.

Mimic Artifact
You may choose to have a Ritual that mimics one of the benefits of an Artifact (see below). Like other Rituals, they require Blood (at least one Injury worth). The benefit for these Rituals will only last until dawn.

Orichalcum
Orichalcum is a metal made with the blood of the ven. Using a specific ritual—outlined in The Sword, above—mixing ven blood with a particular amalgam of metals. If completed properly, the result is the “golden iron.” Orichalcum.
To create Orichalcum, you must first gain two Metals Resources. Silver and gold. It also requires a rank 3 Injury. The blood does not necessarily have to come from the sorcerer. Then, you must spend a Season Action. Once all that’s accomplished, you have created one Resource of Orichalcum. Orichalcum is just like any other Resources and can be traded as you see fit. See the Seasons chapter for more information on Resources and Season Actions.
Many sorcerous Artifacts are made from Orichalcum.
The ritual to create Orichalcum is not known to most ven. This ritual cannot be learned with a Season Action or during character creation. It must be learned through an Adventure. Teaching another ven the ritual for creating Orichalcum is… well, there’s really no reason to do it.
That’s why the ven never give away the secret of Orichalcum. Never.


Dueling
Combat steps
Step 1: GatherDice
Each duelist (always and only two of them) gathers together whatever dice they can. Usually Prowess plus any Aspects the duelists can invoke and tag. Players should double check with the Narrator, as usual, for rulings on invoking and tagging Aspects that may or not be appropriate to the circumstance.

Step 2: Strike Bid
Time to determine which duelist makes the first move. Not necessarily the most successful hit, but the first one. And sometimes, that’s all you need.
With all those dice in hand, each player secretly sets aside a number of them, depending on how important it is for him to get the first strike. This is called the Strike Bid. Both players reveal their Strike Bid at the same time. The player who sets aside the most dice for the Strike Bid has the option to go first or second.
Dice set aside for the Strike Bid cannot be used for the rest of the round.
In the event of a tie, the character with the highest Prowess goes first. If you still have a tie, each player may bid Style. Whoever bids the most Style goes first.

Step 3: Intent
Each duelist declares his intent, starting with the duelist who won the Strike Bid. The duelists trade strikes, back and forth, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.
This step starts with the first duelist declaring a risk. He states his intention clearly. “I want to stab your wrist,” “I want to cut your thumb,” or “I want to cut across your brow, just above the eyes.” Say it loud and say it proud. No room for the timid here.
The first duelist declares his intent and then the second duelist responds, declaring his own intentions with clarity and pride. His intention could be “I want to parry your worthless excuse of a lunge,” or “I want to bend sideways, leaving you open for a counterattack,” or even “I want to spin out of the range of your blade.”
The declarations are important. They set the standard for what happens next. Setting the baseline for following actions

Step 4: Risk
Both duelists make their wagers secretly. Then, each rolls their remaining dice.
Both duelists check to see if they roll at least 10. If either of them fails to roll at least a 10, the ven completely fails at her declaration. Complete Failure. Complete Failure means you can’t use any of your wagers.
If both duelists succeed in rolling at least 10, see which rolled higher.
The duelist who rolled higher succeeds in his intent. He is the victor. He has Privilege. You get to use all your wagers.
The one who rolled lower is the defeated. He can only use half his wagers, round up.
Do this twice, then move onto step 5.

Step 5: Consequences
This is when the bleeding happens.
A successful attack means the victor may apply all his wagers against the defeated who may only use half his wagers, rounded up.
In some cases, the victor may be the defender. If the defender rolls higher than the attacker, the defender gets all his wagers and the attacker only gets half of hers.

If the attacker is the victor…
… he may use the Injure Maneuver against his opponent. Or he maydecide his attack fails. He may throw his wagers into the attack, adding one rank of Injury for every wager.
Success equals a rank 1 Injury. You may also apply any and all wagers you made against the defender. Each additional wager adds to the rank of the Injury.

If the defender is the victor…
He has successfully stopped the attacker from causing an Injury. Or, he may not. Because he has privilege, he decides what actually happens. He may choose to take the Injury.


Injuries
The ven get hurt, just like us. They feel pain, just like us. They die from Injury, just like us. The ven are just a little tougher, that’s all. But they can still be killed. Just takes a little more effort. They also heal much faster than humans, with less permanent damage.

When your character takes an Injury, that Injury has a rank. The rank indicates how severe the Injury is. You can have multiple Injuries. A cut above the eyes, a sprained ankle, even a missing hand.

Injury 1 and Injury 2 are flesh wounds. A sliver of pain. Just a distraction. Any Injury 1 or 2 heals in an equal number of days. Rank 1 and rank 2 Injuries both heal one rank per day. The next morning, a rank 2 Injury becomes a rank 1 Injury and a rank 1 Injury heals completely.

Injury 3 and Injury 4 are crippling wounds. A deep, piercing wound through the chest. A missing digit. An ear torn from the side of the head. A blinded eye. Rank 3 and 4 Injuries heal one rank per Season. At the beginning of next Season, a rank 3 Injury becomes a rank 2 Injury, a rank 2 Injury becomes a rank 1 Injury, and a rank 1 Injury heals completely.

Injury 5 is a mortal wound. Any ven who takes an Injury 5 is automatically knocked to the ground, helpless. He cannot protect himself. A single action by a ruthless enemy will kill him. A ven with a mortal wound is helpless for the rest of the adventure. The character can take no risk without spending a Style Point. He may still take actions, but no risks. Rank 5 Injuries heal one rank per Season. If you survive an mortal wound, you have a permanent scar, a aspect that can be tagged for 2 dice, and has a compel that limits your characters physical abilities, be he blind, crippled, missing a limb etc etc.

Injuries as Tags
This is important. You never lose dice because of Injury. Your opponent can tag an Injury for bonus dice, but you always get your full pool of dice whenever you take a risk.
The ven are just that tough.

However, as I mentioned elsewhere, Injuries are Free Aspects: your enemies can tag them for bonus dice against you. Your enemy can tag an Injury for a number of dice equal to the Injury. A rank 2 Injury gives an enemy two dice. A rank 3 Injury gives your opponent three dice. You get the picture.
Injuries are like Aspects. The first time an enemy tags an Injury, it’s free; from there on in, anyone who tags your Injury (for the rest of the game session) must spend a Style Point to do



Maneuvers
When you get into a fight, you can perform two Basic Maneuvers: Injure and Defend. Injure represents an intent to cause harm and Defend represents the intent to get out of harm’s way.

The ven may also use Advanced Maneuvers, giving them more options during a fight. Advanced Maneuvers take an entire Season to learn. I’ll put the advanced Maneuvers here so all Maneuvers are in the same place, but if you want to learn those Maneuvers, try looking them up in the Seasons chapter.

Each Maneuver has a few qualifiers.
A Basic Maneuver can be performed by anyone.
An aggressor Maneuver may only be used by the attacking ven. A defender may only use a defender Maneuver.
Using Maneuvers
Each Maneuver gives express times for when it may be used. For example, most Maneuvers may be used after a successful or unsuccessful attack or in lieu of an attack.
Advanced Maneuvers always cost at least one wager. Using a Maneuver opens up the possibility of other Maneuvers. Parry opens up Riposte, for example.
Also, many Maneuvers replace the basic attack Maneuver (Injure). You may use Bash, Disarm or other attack Maneuvers instead of the Basic Maneuver, Injure.


List of Maneuvers
Basic Maneuvers

Injure (basic; aggressor; causes Injury)
If you put the hurt on your opponent, you deliver an Injury. Successfully hitting your opponent causes an Injury equal to your ranks in this Maneuver. Each wager you add to that increases the Injury’s rank.
So, if your ven has a rank 1 Injure and add two wagers to a successful hit, you’ve given your opponent an Injury 3. (One rank for the Maneuver and two additional ranks for your two wagers. That’s a total of 3.)
The bigger an Injury, the better it is for you, the worse it is for your opponent.
Because you are the author of your own success or failure, you may assign an Injury of lesser rank if you wish when you strike a successful blow. In other words, you don’t have to apply all your wagers when you hit your enemy. You may, if you wish, “pull you punch,” assigning one or two or even none of your wagers.

Defend (basic; defender; reduce Injury)
If the defender rolls higher than the attacker, the defender is the victor and the attacker is the defeated. The defender can then successfully parry the attacker’s attempt at harm.
Using Defend subtracts ranks of Injury in the case of a successful hit. In other words, even if your opponent gets a successful hit, subtract your ranks in Defend from the Injury rank he gives you

All of the Maneuvers below cost 2 wagers to execute. Each also costs one Season Action to learn and has additional requirements. Get studying.
You may only use any Advanced Maneuver a number of times per Duel equal to the Maneuver’s rank.
 
Advanced Offensive Maneuvers

Feint (attacker; 2 wagers)
Requisite: Parry 3, Cunning (you may not use this Maneuver if you have Cunning as a weakness)
After a successful attack, you may declare a Feint instead of Injure. Feint turns your opponent’s attention to the wrong direction, throwing your opponent’s guard off guard, giving you an opportunity during the next beat. Declaring a Feint gives you a number of Style Points equal to your Prowess. These Style Points can only be used in the next beat.

Lunge (attacker; 2 wagers)
Requisite: Injure 3, Courage (you may not use this Maneuver if you have Courage as a weakness)
A lunge is a dangerous Maneuver, but if effective, can be devastating. A ven without Courage cannot make a lunge. Making a lunge requires two wagers. The duelist adds his Courage to the Injury rank. So, that’s one automatic rank for success plus the duelist’s Courage, plus any additional wagers he wishes to add.
The drawback of the Lunge Maneuver: you may not spend any further wagers that beat. Not to attack, not to defend yourself.

Sap (attacker; 1 wager)
Requisite: Injure 3
This Maneuver may only be used with surprise. If you can strike an opponent when he does not know you are present, you may spend one wager to knock him unconscious. There’s really no reason to gain additional ranks in this Maneuver: once you know how do it, you know how to do it.
Disarm (attacker; 2 wagers)
Requisite: Parry 3, Beauty (you may not use this Maneuver if you have Beauty as a weakness)
Instead of causing Injury, your successful attack removes your opponent’s weapon or tool from his hands.

Bash (defender/attacker; 2 wagers)
Requisite: Injure 3, Strength (you may not use this Maneuver if you have Strength as a weakness)
Throwing your weight behind your Sword, you hope to throw your opponent off balance. Both you and your opponent roll Strength plus any appropriate Aspects. If either of you do not make the risk (roll 10 or higher), you fall to the ground. The higher roll steals the momentum and may make an immediate attack against his fallen foe.

Press (attacker; 2 wagers)
Requisite: two rank 3 Advanced Maneuvers, Prowess (you may not use this Maneuver if you have Prowess as a weakness)
Press cancels the Recover and Parry Maneuvers.
Pushing your opponent further, you make an immediate second attack after a successful Injure Maneuver. Spend a number of Style Points up to your Prowess. The Points you spend equal the rank of the Injury you inflict. Your second attack may be thwarted by Maneuvers that cancel or modify Injure (Parry, Dodge, etc.).


Advance Defensive Maneuvers
Step (attacker/defender; 1 wager)
Requisite: None
You may, if you wish, use a wager to step toward or away from your opponent. If you are at least one step away, your opponent must spend a wager to step toward you in order to attack.


Parry (defender; 2 wagers)
Requisite: Defend 3
Parry completely cancels Blind, Called Shot, Injure, and Riposte.
You cannot use this Maneuver without a Sword or dagger. Reduce the rank of an Injury by your rank in this Maneuver.

Riposte (defender; 2 wagers)
Requisite: Parry 3
After a Parry, the defender can spend two wagers and try a Riposte. A Riposte is a quick counterattack made by the defender. The defender now becomes the attacker and may make an attack against his opponent with his remaining wagers. The attacker may only defend with his own remaining wagers.
If the attack is successful or if it fails, a Riposte does not count as an attack. The duelist making a riposte does so at the end of the attacker’s beat, giving him first attack in the following beat.
A Riposte may be Parried… and the Riposte returned.
 
Recover (defender; 3 wagers)
Requisite: Dodge 3, Wisdom (you may not use this Maneuver if you have Wisdom as a weakness)
Knowing your enemy’s ways, you can cancel his advantage. The Recover Maneuver cancels the Bash, Disarm and Feint Maneuvers.

Dodge (defender; 4 wagers)
Requisite: Parry 3
Dodge completely cancels any attack Maneuver. It costs 4 wagers: more than any other Maneuver. Dodge cannot be cancelled by any other Maneuver.


Bind (defender/attacker; 2 wagers)
Requisite: Parry 3
You may wish to lock your opponent’s blade with your own. This ends any further Maneuvers for the beat and both duelists transfer any remaining wagers into Style.



Romance
The Rules of Romance
Here they are: the rules of love.
Characters may participate in the Game of Love. If a character’s weakness is Beauty, he is severely handicapped, unprepared for the delicate rules and pitfalls that await him. He is encouraged to study first (get some Aspects) before playing.

One at a Time, Boys
An important rule. Unless another rule says otherwise, you may have only one Romance at a time.
Just one.

The First Game
A Romance begins with a flirtation, a test of wits to see if a potential lover has the required skill. This is called “The First Game.” The flirtatious banter begins and continues in a kind of sing-song, with each contestant trying to keep up with the beat of the conversation. The loser is the first to miss a beat. The winner sets the level of the tasks for the Romance.
Now, for our example, let’s watch Lady Shara as she sees a potential lover and approaches…
Shara knows his name, this man standing close to the fire. The man with eyes like the fire, with black hair spilling over his shoulders. His sleek frame, his thin hips. His name is Zsanosz, Count Kether, and he is the prize of the court. She approaches him, touching his hand. Her fingers close over his, and she squeezes. She meets his eyes and smiles. The Game has begun.

Initiating the Romance
To initiate the First Game, Shara must make a Beauty risk. As usual, the target number is 10. I can add any appropriate Aspects or other bonuses. Make wagers as usual.

If I roll successfully, I describe Shara’s initiation of a Romance; if I fail, the Narrator describes it. Either of us can decide on success or failure for Shara—that’s a separate decision from the roll. Remember: the roll determines who gets to say yes or no.
With a successful invitation, Zsanosz now has the option to reciprocate. If he does not, he politely declines with the proper compliment. That’s the end of that.

Meeting the Challenge
If he chooses to reciprocate, Zsanosz makes a Beauty risk of his own, wagers and everything. Here’s the trick. He must make at least as many wagers as she does. He can make more, but he cannot make less.
If the roll fails, his response is out of time, bad form, or not equal to her flirtation.
“I see you carry a sword,” Zsanosz says to Shara. “Can you use it?”
“As well as any man,” she replies. Then, her gaze lowers to his hips where his own sword rests. ”Can you use yours?”
“As well as any woman,” he says.

Now, if he meets Shara’s wagers, the Romance can begin.
Raising the Stakes
Zsanosz can meet Shara’s wagers, allowing the Romance to begin, or he can increase the
number of wagers, increasing the Romance’s potential. If Zsanosz increases the number of wagers, he must stil roll 10  to be successful. If he is successful, it becomes Shara’s turn.

Now, she can either match his raises or increase them again, furthering the potential. This continues with each character either meeting the challenge or raising the stakes. At any time, one of the potential lovers may meet the challenge, allowing the Romance to begin.

Predator & Prey
If a character misses his roll, his wit stumbles, he has spoken out of time, fumbled his response, or has failed in some other way. This establishes the winner of the exchange. The implied premise is that the loser must prove their worth to the winner. In this case, the loser is called “the Predator” and the winner is called “the Prey.” The winner has won the right to be pursued while the loser must prove her worth by keeping up with her prey.


Potential
Once you’ve determined the Predator and Prey, it’s time to determine the Romance’s Potential. First, take all the wagers the Prey made. Remember, the Prey is the winner. Second, the Predator ditches half her wagers as usual.
Third, add both the Predator and Prey’s wagers together. The total sets the Potential of the Romance. The
Potential is the number of Seasons the Romance can last.


For example, Shara’s last roll—her failed roll—had six wagers. Because Shara lost, she loses half her wagers,
rounded up. That gives her three wagers. Zsanosz’s last roll was five wagers. Three (Shara) plus five (Zsanosz) is eight. A rank 8 Romance that could last up to eight Seasons.

Rewards
Once you’ve won yourself a Romance, go ahead and add it to your character sheet. A Romance acts like an Aspect. It has an invoke, tag and compel. Like a trait, Romances also have ranks. Romance begins at a rank equal to half the Romance’s Potential, rounded up. Whenever you invoke the Aspect,
add the Romance’s rank to the dice you roll. For example, Shara’s Romance with Count Kether is
a rank 8 Romance. When Shara invokes the Romance to add to her dice in a risk, she gains four dice. That’s the Romance’s rank, divided by two, round up.

Lover’s Leap
Another advantage. You may, if you wish, spend a Style point when your lover takes an Injury to step in front of her, taking the Injury on yourself. You cannot use any defenses to block or cancel the Injury. you take it. Like a lover should.
As long as you are in sight of your lover, you may take the Lover’s Leap. You push your way through the scene. Nothing can stand in your way.
Nothing can stand in your way.

Tasks
Okay, we saw how a Romance gets started, so now let’s look at how it works. Because Shara lost the First Game, she is the Predator and Zsanosz is the Prey. The Prey has the right to set a task to his Predator to prove her worthiness.

Zsanosz sets a task for Shara. If she does not accomplish the task, the Romance suffers.
The Potential loses one rank.

If Shara accomplishes the task, the Game continues, this time with roles reversed. Since she has proven her own worth, it’s time for him to prove his.
The Predator becomes the Prey.

Setting the first task also sets the pace of the Romance. Giving your Predator simple tasks means you have little regard for their skill. It could also mean you want to test their abilities before giving them a real task. Finally, it could also mean you want to build the tension of the Romance.

Connotations are important.

Beginning tasks are usually simple favors. A woman may drop a fan, look at the prospective lover and ask him to retrieve it for her. Likewise, most men ask for a drink from the cask or ask for the lady to locate a misplaced glove. Of course, experienced lovers may not waste time with such simple tasks…

As the affair continues, the tests become more demanding. This also tests the lovers in another way—putting them in situations requiring them to acknowledge each other in a public way.

If a lover is successful in his task, he’s awarded alta. Alta depends on many factors, including the lovers involved, the court where the game takes place, and the degree of difficulty of the task. At the beginning of an affair, alta can be a small gift (“Oh, no. You can keep the handkerchief.”) or the right to use a kiss as a greeting. A kiss on the hand, of course. As the tasks become more difficult, the alta also becomes more rewarding. Each lover continues to trade challenges, the Romance becoming more serious with each test. Gifts become touches, touches become kisses, kisses become caresses…

The Fire Grows, the Fire Dies…
Nothing lasts forever. And the brighter a flame burns, the shorter it lasts. When a Romance begins, it grows. At the end of each Season (after the Romance begins), the Romance Aspect gains one rank, adding more dice to risks. Romance Aspects continue growing until they reach their Potential (see above), then they lose one rank per Season until the Romance reaches rank zero. Also, if no alta is granted by either lover in a Season, the Romance loses two ranks.

Ending the Affair
Sooner or later, a Romance must end. That’s the way of things. A Romance begins with the heat and intensity of spring; moves into the long, lazy warmth of summer; but then slides into the chilly days and nights of autumn; and finally succumbs to the bitter cold of winter. All Romances end in tears. No exception. While there are degrees of heart-break, no Romance ends well.
Not one.

The most honorable way to end an affair is to accomplish a task and not ask for alta. This informs your
lover the affair has run its course and cannot continue. By refusing alta, you have accomplished her request and graciously bow out of gaining the fruits of your labor. The second honorable way of ending the affair is by not assigning a task. Once again, you feel the affair has gone far enough and any alta granted by a further task would be inappropriate for the Romance.
Finally, you can end the affair poorly. There are many ways to do this, but here are two examples. First, there’s ending the affair by refusing to grant alta.

And the most abrupt (and rude) way to end the affair is a public display of scorn or choosing the favour of another over your lover’s favor. Not only does this may bring bloodshed to your household. Most husbands or wives try to ignore a spouse’s Romance, but no one ever takes kindly to a lover who so shames their marriage by ending a Romance poorly. Such behavior is a fair and legal cause for a duel.


Dangerous Liaisons
By the strictest definition, adultery is engaging in activity that could cause an illegitimate heir. Until that line is crossed, all of this romantic talk is relatively harmless as far as most nobles are concerned.
Most.

But once that line is crossed, it ceases being a Romance and becomes a Liaison. The Romance has become a danger to the marriage. Most ven understand this and end a Romance before it gets that far. Others, however, are so caught up in the passion of the affair, the lovers are willing to risk anything—even their lives—to continue to the passionate conclusion.

Go ahead and erase the word Romance on your sheet and write in the new word. Liaison. Lovers discovered in such a compromising position risk much. They risk loss of reputation, loss of status and—depending on the severity of the court—loss of life.
A Liaison may begin as soon as the Romance reaches its Potential—reaches its romantic peak. There is only so much satisfaction to be gained from flirting: someone finally crosses the line. So, the Romance reaches its potential, but instead of decreasing next Season, it remains at its Potential. No longer a Romance, but a Liaison.

As long as the Liaison is maintained by the lovers (I don’t need to tell you how that works, do I?), the Romance remains at its Potential, giving bonus dice for the Liaison’s invoke equal to half its rank.

Of course, being discovered in a liaison is dangerous. So dangerous, it could mean a duel of honor. A duel to the Blood. A duel to the death. Participating in a Liaison is grounds for a claim of Injury from the spouses of the lovers.


« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 05:02:20 AM by Red Doctor »

Offline TheHangedMan

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Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2012, 12:35:43 PM »
I'm interested; a good Tragedy should be a nice change up of the pace, and something I rarely see on E.  I'm torn on what I'd play; either a rogue-ish trickster, or a more single-minded magic user (if their is magic).

Offline AtlasTopic starter

Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2012, 02:04:48 PM »
In terms of magic there is two kinds. Blood Rituals, which are binding spells in which both parties swear to each other a contract, and various nasty things can happen to you if you break them. There is also Sauven worship. This is worshipping older Ven who have entered solace. They act as sort of patron saints and give bonus' to rolls in certain tasks. For example you may worship the patron saint of lost causes, which would give you bonuses to any really desperate situations.

However there is no overt, say words fire lightning style magic. It's all very mystical, misunderstood and ritualized.

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Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2012, 02:31:38 PM »
Ooh. I like the patron saint idea.  :-)

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Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2012, 03:05:36 PM »
I like this idea :)

Offline AtlasTopic starter

Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2012, 03:08:43 PM »
It's very modular. Your particular patron saint can be of anything you so wish, aslong as its not totally unreasonable (patron saint of being a badass at everything) keep it specific. But it can really colour your character if you want to go down that route. I will add some more about the saint worship soon to the lore.

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Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2012, 04:08:58 PM »
Will do. So, will we all be playing Bannermen? Also, it looks like I will be favoring a character from House Adrente or Burghe.

Offline AtlasTopic starter

Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2012, 04:11:52 PM »
Barons. You will all have a small portion of land to begin the game with, although there is nothing stopping you from advancing or dropping in rank. there is a land governing mechanic where what is found on your land generates resources that can be traded.

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Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2012, 04:38:53 PM »
Nifty.  :-)

Offline AtlasTopic starter

Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2012, 06:25:40 PM »
Posted up the character generation rules. province generation rules and a few other odds and ends to come.

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Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2012, 06:37:21 PM »
This is a WIP, as I will poke and prod at it in spurts.

...Although, before I begin, are we supposed to roll for everything, or can we pick some things? And what's your user id thing so we can send the rolls to you?
Background
Father: Wolf (Dominant)
Mother: Elk
Birth Order: First
Siblings: None
Father: Marquis
Mother: Baroness
House: Wolf
Family Name: Vohla
Secret Name: Tho'sar"Loreseeker" (+3 research)
Public Name: Alexai: “the hand and the sword” (+1 Duels)
Age: Spring
Married: Yes
Children: None
Title: Baron
Virtues
Bear's Strength: 3
Elk's Cunning: 2
Falcon's Courage:2
Fox's Beauty: 0 (Weakness)
Serpent's Wisdom: 4
Wolf's Prowess:3
Aspects
Swordsman: (Invoke:+3 to duels when using a sword) (Tag:-2 whenever using a non-sword) (Compel: Using any weapon but a sword)
truth-seeker:(Invoke:+3 to thwarting subterfuge/disproving lies) (Tag: -2 to subterfuge/lying) (Compel: Can not lie)
Contacts: 1
Devotions
Dolg "The Executioner" (+2 on Duels)
Province
Castle (Rank 2)
Village (Rank 3)
Farm (Rank 3)
Plains (Rank 1)
Forest (Rank 1)
Mountain (Rank 1)
Vassals
VASSALS:
Spouse (Rank 2)
Staff (Rank 1)
Roadmen (Rank 2)
Personal Guard (Rank 2)

Bonus Point Expenditure
Bonus Points Expenditure
1 point invested into Roadmen
1 point invested into Mountain
2 points invested into Farm
1 point invested into Forest

Biography
Alexai has always been a bookworm, since the time he could read. An insatiable desire to grow intellectually drives him, and where others may primp themselves up and make a big deal about petty things such as honor, and fashion, and the latest gossip, he spent his time researching.

He has always been fascinated by the many subtle things in their world that points to their progenitors, and he considers his mission in life to discover just what, exactly, it is that happened to them.

While his mind is sharp, so is his blade, as is expecting someone belonging to the House of the Wolf. Well aware of how important martial prowess is, he does not slack off in his physical training; however, this has left little time for socializing, scheming, or even running his own estate and lands.

Thankfully, his wife, Beliza, is quite adept at that side of things, and alongside a competent staff, they keep everything working quite nicely. Though perhaps not wholly cut from the same cloth, the two manage to get along most of the time, and she is nothing if not loyal, even if their marriage was a simple matter of ending a blood feud between families.

His wife is content with her lot in life, practically running the land, while  keeping her husband in the loop, and while she possesses immense power because of her position, she is mature enough to not abuse it.

They have been married for all of two years, and despite pressure from both of their families, have yet to conceive a child. However, this is mostly attributed to the fact that Tho'sar is always so damnably busy.  If he's not reading a book, or undertaking some trial to get ahold of a tome, then he's training to not only keep his edge in a battle, but some times because getting what he wants boils down to having to beat the owner in fair combat.

 And, of course, there's always the concern that some upstart will get upset at him for the truths he occasionally brandishes, and demand satisfaction. And if he loses face by losing a duel, how will he ever convince people of the truth again?
How he acquired his land
The first thing of import to establish is that his father is a Marquis. This is a big deal. As one can imagine, Alexai's father owned quite a bit of land, but could not possibly see to everything personally; hence, the need for trusted vassals to rule over portions for him. Micromanagement of these barons was fairly easy, but one of them decided that the prestige and honor that came with working for Lord Protector Kyocera wasn't quite worth it.

In secret, this baron plotted, and planned. He lied about shipments of goods, claiming that his lands produced less than they truly did, so that he could stockpile or sell the excess; that right there most would consider an Injury, if only do to the sheer amount that was being pilfered.

However, even worse then that, was that he was not just lying about how much product his lands produced; he also lied about just how many warriors he had in his employ.  In fact, it seems as if nothing he reported was ever the truth, only close to it.

Alexai was studying the finer points of ruling at this time, as he was still relatively young. As fate would have it, he found himself upon the lands of this foul betrayer, studying--with his tutor-- just how to run things. It was a favor Kyocera called in, wanting his only son to have some hands on experience early on, so that he would be better prepared when he was older, to go out and carve out his own domain.

As time went on, Alexai started to notice discrepancies in reports. Grilling other people, and ferreting out liars and wringing confessions became something of an obsession of his, and eventually, he began to see just what was going on.

Not content with just this anecdotal evidence, he did some investigation alongside his tutor. When he had compiled enough hard evidence, he brought it to his father, who promptly began to feel quite rancorous. And as anyone can tell you,  inciting a Marquis to Revenge is not good.

A jury was formed to handle these issues, and after some deliberation, they found Szazs guilty of True Pain for his crimes; this was due not only to the financial loss that he caused Kyocera, but also the loss of honor and prestige, and the fact that he was lying about troop numbers; that, to just about everyone, reeked of forming a secret army, which is a direct violation of the Ven laws. Because of the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence gathered against Szazs,  their was to be a duel to the death.

Because it was Alexai who discovered these secrets and outed him, he pleaded to fight in his father's stead. This was seen as acceptable, and a date was quickly determined.

The time of the duel arrived, and as one might expect, the two clashed. Szazs may have been a schemer, with a brilliant mind, but he simply lacked the dexterity and staying power to best the younger Alexai. After Alexai removed his head, he presented it to his father.

This, of course, led to the problem of someone needing to replace Szazs. Because of his intellect in uncovering this plot, and because of his clear dominance in the fight, Alexai demanded that he be given those lands, claiming it as his right.

His father saw no reason to disagree. And thus far, the young son, has proven himself a worthy ruler of these lands. He is fair, honorable, and just, and while their are some that may call him soft for how he deals with those... beneath him, their are few that question his ferocity. The death of Szazs is still something occasionally talked about; and even though it may have been justified by a jury, the intentional slaying of a Ven is obviously something that few do.

It is almost as if their were two Alexai's; the kind, and wise beyond his years Baron, who is much beloved by those he rules over, and the one that is capable of denying Solace to another Ven with the ferocity of an Ork.
Wife Information
Abazai is a young member of the House of the Bear that was wedded to Alexai soon after his bloody acquisition of Szazs' territory. It was a political marriage,  like most, arranged to strengthen the bond between the two Houses, and even more specifically, the ties between their fathers. many presume that Abazai's father did this, due to a fear to Kyocera was going to try to acquire his territory.

Abazai is as direct and stoic as one would expect from a Bear, and her attitude compliments Alexai's own quite nicely.  She is steadfastly loyal to her husband, not only because it is in her nature to do so, but because of the fact that Alexai keeps a close eye on her, just as he does all those around him; and she knows that if she were to plot against him, she would end up just like Szazs.

Although Alexai is, of course, the ruler of their lands in name, it is actually Abazai who does a lot of the work (With his permission). This is because Alexai is so wrapped up in his search of knowledge, it becomes difficult for him to effectively rule over his territory himself.

She is moderately adept at the use of a sword, and possessed of an incredible stubborn streak.
Province and Vassal Information (Fluff)
Castle Name: Castellum Librorum
Village Name: Lexicon
Farm: The Farmer's Collective
Plains: Redberry Fields
Forest: Darkwood
Mountain: Spineridge Canyon

Castle Staff: [blank]
Roadmen: Judger's
Personal Guard: The Inquirer's
Picture
Wife's Picture


« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 07:05:08 PM by TheHangedMan »

Offline AtlasTopic starter

Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2012, 06:59:14 PM »
steps 1-4 are random rolls, but you get the chance at the end of step 4 to make some changes so you get closer to what you want. step 5-10 are your choices. 1-4 are things like family history etc. whereas 5-10 are more stats based things. So there no worries about not getting to make what u want. My roll ID is: 19969

(Also wats a WIP, never seen the abbreviation before)

If anyone is stuck on what to do for a character after reading the lore. try doing step 1-4 and see if anything jumps out at you.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 07:00:47 PM by Red Doctor »

Offline AtlasTopic starter

Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2012, 06:59:45 PM »
*Work In Progress

No worries worked it out lol ;D

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Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2012, 07:00:19 PM »
 :-) Okey-doke. Time to tinker and roll.

Offline AtlasTopic starter

Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2012, 07:42:21 PM »
Made a slight edit to stage 3 as i forgot to put a roll in there. Apologies.

Hanged, the three bits you currently have blank, is it the system you're having trouble with or just waiting for inspiration to strike? (name bonuses, devotions an aspects)
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 07:44:23 PM by Red Doctor »

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Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2012, 07:46:36 PM »
Made an edit to names, as I had originally just gone through the pdf links you put out, and not read your steps. Currently re-working things based on what you mention in the steps. About to tackle those blanks, so if I have a question, I will let you know, but as o right now, it's because of not knowing how the system works.

Also, I kind of have to wait for Contacts, because those have to be another player character?

Offline AtlasTopic starter

Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2012, 07:51:13 PM »
Yea, i put in step ten that we can tackle contacts once we have amassed the other players. Hopefully with the help of the steps i've written it shouldn't be a problem with understanding the other bits, its pretty simple once its explained. ;D

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Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2012, 01:24:20 AM »
Call me a newb but how do I set up my char sheet like Hanged set up his?

Offline AtlasTopic starter

Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2012, 02:03:40 AM »
Explained in this post. http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=109739.0 if u've still got any probs just say.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 02:06:28 AM by Red Doctor »

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Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2012, 02:13:25 AM »
Thankies :) *hug*

Offline AtlasTopic starter

Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2012, 02:20:55 AM »
Np np. The province creation rules and more tasty lore will go up once I'm home from work, will probably right most of it there (yay for 4" of snow so no-one can get to my store eh?) So if ur stuck on the land making bit or if you want to make some changes once thats up i've got no problem with that, just wait a little.

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Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2012, 02:24:17 AM »
I'll probably work on my char more in the evening I'm going to be out most of the day *nod nod*

Offline AtlasTopic starter

Re: Houses of the Blooded
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2012, 02:25:31 AM »
Hey hanged, can you change the the spoiler tag "phases" to "aspects" once thats done i'll use that as the character sheet template. ;D