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Race and Attributes

Culture and Race
There are five main races in the Hava: Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Orcs, and Trolls. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages, but are all essentially equal. I'd like to see at least half the characters as Human, but I'm not wedded to it if no one wants to go that way.

  • Humans: The majority race of Hava, humans are, as always, the baseline against which all other races are measured. They have tons of social advantages from being that majority, as well as the 'game mechanics' advantage of a Natural Gift. Humans can pick one sub-skill as their Gift, and treat that sub-skill as if it were part of a talent. The advantages of this are listed later. All a human's attributes range from 2-7.

  • Dwarves: There are two sources of Dwarves in Hava. The southern coast of the Republic contains the Stormpoint Warrens, a sizable Dwarvish community. There is a much larger and more influential group of Warrens in the Great Mountains, called the k'D'har. Stormpoint Dwarves have some minor prejudice, due to the presence and influence of Great Mountain Dwarves ­who are renowned for their ruthless mercantile tactics, their pro-dwarf racism, their dislike of monarchy and disdain of Raelism—this prejudice spills over onto undeserving Stormpoint Dwarves, who bear it as best they can. Dwarf vision extends deep into the infrared—they require very little light to see, and can see in crude black and white from passive heat sources. Their Endurance attribute runs from 4-9, their Body from 3 to 8, but Dwarves with a Body of 7+ don't float in water.

  • Elves: The Aquilar Republic surrounds the Elvish homeland of the Fey woods, and some elves have left their home to travel among humans. Any Elf PCs are Elvish outsiders, but not entirely accepted by the others of the Republic with anything other than basic politeness. Worse still, with the death of their patron god, the Elves are a decaying people; their birthrate has plummeted to near zero and their culture holds a gaping hole that they are struggling to fill. Elves can have Agility, Charisma and Mind Scores of up to 9 (their Charisma must be at least a 5). Unfortunately, their Body and Endurance Steps are capped at 5 each.

  • Orcs: Like Dwarves, there are to groups of Orcs in Hava—the majority are either part or remnants of Winter raiding parties taken into captivity, or members of dozens of extended Orcish families that have worshiped the Summer Gods for time immemorial that live in the Paq jungles south of the Republic. Their devotion to the summer gods and embracing of Raelism means little in the face of the overwhelming prejudice against Orcs in general among the standard population. Orcs can have Body, Agility and Endurance Steps of 8, and must have an Agility Step of at least 5. An Orc's movement is calculated with two extra points of Agility, and they can see into the ultraviolet, giving them superb night vision. Unfortunately, their Spirit and Mind Steps are capped at 6.

  • Trolls: The foothills of the barrier mountains contain numerous clans of Trolls who have long been heroes of the Republic—lending their courage to the Republics armies, and their strength to the Republic's works. Next to humans, Trolls are the most respected members of the Republic by the general populace, but even they face preconceptions; to most people, a Troll is either a soldier or a laborer. In the midlands, Trolls are very rare, and are seen as tools and fools for the Republic. Trolls can have Body Steps ranging from 6 to 10, and Endurance Steps from 5 to 8, but their other attributes can't reach beyond 6. They can see into the infrared, and have vision as good as a Dwarf's. Trolls are huge, as their Body Step indicates, and often encounter problems in a world built for humans. In addition, Trolls are very susceptible to magical manipulation, and curses carry themselves down the Trolls bloodline; many 'monsters' such as Minotaurs are merely Troll clans bearing centuries-old curses. A Troll's Magic Defense is 1 point lower for resisting that sort of magic.

These are pretty well like attributes in every other game, and have little need of explanation. They range from 1-10, but humans have an effective range of 2-7 (other races vary). You have 28 points to split up between the six attributes, but can raise attributes by up to 2 points with Glory.

  • Agility: This is a measure of your prowess and full body coordination (things like hand-eye dexterity are covered with skills). This is critical for anyone who uses their body regularly, like Warrior-types. Your Agility score is the base for your Physical Defense, Initiative and Movement, but can be modified down by encumbrance and armor.

  • Body: This is your strength and mass. That's right, your body score is also an indicator of how much you weigh, which for most races is also a good indicator of height (Dwarves are, of course, the exception). Body is the base for the amount of damage you do in combat and the amount you can lift and carry.

  • Charisma: This is your personal aura and ability to interact with people. Depending on the type of person you are, this might be a gruff, impressive presence or a sharp and clever wit. Charisma is the base for Social Defense.
  • Endurance: This attribute measures your resistance to physical pain, privation and damage. It is the basis of your wound threshold, critical in figuring how much damage you can take before falling unconscious or dying, and determines how quickly you heal.

  • Mind: This attribute measures your intellect, perception and ability to retain information. This is critical for a vast number of skills, and is important in spellcasting. It is also the base of your Spell Defense.

  • Spirit: This is a measure of your faith, willpower and attunement to your environment. It forms the basis of your ability to use karma ­ your Spirit step determines your Karma dice, and is the number of points of Karma you have at the beginning of play. Spirit is also used to overcome long lasting mental effects, like generated emotions.

Attribute Ranges: Attribute Steps range from 1 to 10, though most characters won't have Steps at either end of that spectrum. Descriptions of each Step appear below (along with a handy AD&D conversion!). Keep in mind the Attribute restrictions for your chosen race when allocating your Element Steps.
Step Die Code Description
1 d2 Crippled; the character is far below average, and has almost no presence in the Attribute. They must be cared for by others, and probably won't survive long. No race naturally has Steps this low; it is brought about through accidents, age, or magic. (AD&D=3-4)
2 d3 Poor: This still represents a marked deficiency in the Attribute, but it is still possible for the character to interact with society. (AD&D=5-7)
3 d4 Low-Average: The character is part of the mass of society in the Attribute, perhaps a little worse than many, but certainly fully functional. (AD&D=8-10)
4 d6 High Average: The character is still in the mass of society, but on the high end; workingmen commonly have 4 Body, craftsmen have 4 in either Mind or Agility. (AD&D=11-13)
5 d8 Exceptional: The character is superior to the majority of society in this Attribute, to the level that it is remarked upon and seen as a gift. (AD&D=14-15)
6 d10 Incredible: The character is in the top 10 percent of their society with this attribute, and can routinely do things that others would be hard pressed to duplicate. (AD&D=16-17)
7 d12 Astounding: The character is renowned for their strength in this Attribute, and are as good as humanity can get. (AD&D=18)
8 2d6 The character is better than humans can be in this Attribute, making them difficult to rank. They are stronger, faster, or more perceptive than humans, which will lead to awe or envy.
9 d8+d6 As above
10 d10+d6 As above

Secondary Attributes

    Physical Defense: Whenever someone tries to hit you, they have a difficulty of your Physical Defense, which is equal to your Agility Step unless you're encumbered or surprised (encumbrance is discussed later, surprise Halves your score).

  • Initiative: The wonderful determiner of who goes first! Your base Initiative step is your Agility score, modified by encumbrance.

  • Movement: You can run a number of yards in a turn equal to triple your Agility Step. This is modified by encumbrance and perhaps by race.

  • Social Defense: Yes, there are dice mechanics for social interaction ­ whenever skills involving social interaction get used, the difficulty is the targets Social Defense. Which is equal to your Charisma score.

  • Wound Threshold: Most attacks are going to do 'nickel and dime' damage to your character ­ resulting in small to moderate cuts, bruises, aches, pains and strains. When you take more damage than your wound threshold (twice your Endurance attribute) you've taken a serious injury, taking a long time to heal. Also, when you are HIT for more damage than your Wound Threshold (regardless of how much you take), you may be knocked down.

  • Unconscious Rating: Once you have taken more points of damage than five times your Endurance Step, you are unconscious through pain and the cumulative effect of damage. You wont wake up for some time and are at the mercy of your enemies. The GM will tell you when you wake up.

  • Death Rating: Once you have taken more points of damage than seven times your Endurance Step, you are dead. Gone, adios, pushing up daises. Given the rules for Unconsciousness, this isn't the AD&D 'save them in 10 minutes,' this is Really Truly Dead.

  • Recovery: You can heal and get rid of those pesky damage points by spending time resting and healing. When you get a chance to rest and recuperate, you reduce your damage taken by your endurance step. You can rest for healing twice in any 24 hour period without magical aid. If your wounded, you don't heal normally ­ there are special rules for that later.

  • Magic Defense: As with Social and Physical defense, this is the difficulty for people to hit you with purely magical effects—if the spell has a strong physical component (like balls of fire flying from the wizards hand) then it may use your physical defense instead of your magical defense.

  • Karma Dice/Karma Points: I go into this more later, but in brief—you start with a number of Karma points equal to your Spirit Score (and can have up to twice your Spirit Score in Karma at any one time). Whenever you do spend a karma point, you can roll the die associated with your Spirit Score along with the regular dice for the action.

  • Base Damage: Whenever you try and hurt someone, your base damage rank is equal to your Body rank. Weapons and skills bump this up (sometimes quite a lot), which is why it pays to carry weapons and learn skills!

  • Size and Strength: Your character's size is determined by your Body Step and your race. On average, a Step of 3 is a mid to small human and a Step of 4 is a mid to large human. The higher you get than that, the bigger you are (in the case of Dwarves, the denser you are).

  • Carry Level: This is your body x2 in Weight Factors; each piece of equipment has a weight factor attached to it, which are a combination of their weight and awkwardness. Add those up: if you have more than twice your Body attribute in Weight factors, then you have a ­2 on Agility for your Physical Defense, Movement and Initiative. In raw poundage, this is roughly 20 times your Body attribute.

  • Lift Level: the maximum amount of weight you can lift while standing dead still. This is your Body x 50 in pounds.

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Copyright © 2000 Brian Rogers