Wednesday 22 November 2023

Setting: Chivalric Orders of Outer World

The Chivalric Order is a concept that has been present throughout much of Outer World's history. The very first of these was technically the Cataphracts of the Gossamer Cloak, a group of elven warriors that was formed shortly after the 1st Cataclysm with the aim of slaying First Hero for his supposed treachery. The result of their disastrous crusade is evident in the fact that the order was very much defunct within a year of its founding, but their tale (which has been retold numerous times in works both dramatic and comedic) placed the idea of high minded bands bringing sword and staff to bear in the name of some cause within the hearts and minds of the folk - for better or worse.

Many such orders have come and gone since then. They have only become more prominent in the 4th Aeon, thanks to its fractured state both allowing for greater ambitions and necessitating heroics. In this entry, we'll explore a handful of these and their current standing in Outer World.

The Knights of the Sacred Chain is the militant branch of the religion of the same name. Centered in Shard, they represent an almost ubiquitous military force in the country. These warrior monks are accepted by the populace but greatly feared - depending on who you ask, they are respectable keepers of order or the right hand of pious tyranny. Many among them obscure their face with closed helmets or scarves when on duty to help keep up their order's image of a unified, almost mystical army rather than one of individuals who happen to share a similar creed. 

Bearers of light in a place enshrouded by darkness, the Knights of the Lantern have dedicated themselves to protecting those living in the Shadowed Lands. While this does involve traditionally heroic acts like driving away monsters or fighting raiders and the like, the knights are also well known for their efforts in infrastructure; such as assisting in the establishment and maintenance of "Lantern Towns" in the heart of the region. While many of its members might be considered a bit rough and shabby by more noble warriors, their hearts are in the right place.

The Black Glove Cavaliers answer directly to Night Haven's Duke of Red Roses, acting as his eyes and ears. While rumors and speculation of what their true purpose is run rampant, it's actually more straightforward than what many assume: the cavaliers investigate conspiracies and schemes and are expected to do their utmost to make sure no harm befalls the citizens of their home isle. The broad nature of this task leads to a great deal of variance in temperament and restraint among their members.

Of those on this list, the Forgotten Swords can be the most loosely defined as an order. Founded by a mixed group of samurai and shinobi whose livelihoods were cut away by the military and social upheaval of the Seven Holy Isles, they function as a highly organized network of myrmidons and sell-swords. Since their inception their area of influence and diversity of membership has broadened considerably. Sometimes referred to as an army without a nation, the transparency of their dealings has made them highly trusted mercenaries, if not well liked ones.

Born of a concentrated effort to make safe pathways in the famously inhospitable region of No-Folk's Land, the Knights of the Open Road have filled their ranks with hard workers and stalwart warriors prepared to ensure safe passage for travelers however they can. They can often get a bit carried away, with some of the paths they end up creating stretching far further than planned. While this has gotten them in trouble with some local powers, they tend to be appreciated by common folk for obvious reasons. Of all the orders listed here, these Knights are the most likely to take up errantry and end up in other lands - who doesn't need better roads, truly?

Further Notes
  • While many of these orders have purposes specific to these regions, it doesn't mean members of their ranks can't become adventurers without leaving their order. They may have simply taken up errantry or questing and plan on returning to them someday.
  • This is probably obvious, but these are far from the only orders of this sort in Outer World, just a handful to show the sorts of spaces they might take up in a game. You can and should make up your own if you feel so inclined!
  • If you wish to use these orders in the game you are running you can save yourself a bit of time designing members by re-skinning available adversaries in the book: Custrels can be used for squires or low ranking knights, Blaster Mages for spell casters among their number, Proudhound Sellswords and Killservants as exceptional knights, and even an Oppressor as the antagonistic leader of an order if you need. 


Tuesday 7 November 2023

Freebie: PURRfectly Playable (Character Option)

Outer World adventurers come in many shapes and sizes. All manner of folk wander about in search of meaning, riches, or purpose. Beasts of all stripes accompany these travelers as well, from the loyal growl to the lumbering and lovable bumpo.

Of course, sometimes these lines cross. Occasionally a pet won't be just a companion to an adventurer - they happen to be one themselves as well. This blog entry provides an option for one such circumstance, presenting rules on how to play a Purr in BREAK!!

With the intro out of the way, I did want to set some expectations: I tried to make the playable Purr is as close to a normal cat as possible with just a bit of potential magic thrown in. This is why it's relatively streamlined and mostly draws from the Sneak Calling. As a result this option is not quite as robust as a normal BREAK!! character, but I figured people would forgive me since this is a blog entry AND they get to play a cat!

These rules will suit players who don't mind more passive or subtle roles in a tabletop rpg, or ones who like to scheme and tinker in the background. If they are delighted by cats, that will also help. It's also a good option for players who can't make every session, or for ones whose normal character is out of commission for a bit.

GM Tip!: This also gives a pretty loose but workable system of coming up with other playable pets too. Take a pet, an appropriate Calling, cut out the stuff that doesn't work for any particular reason and you've got your base. The Growl and Raider are a good match, for example.

Purr Player Characters
Purr Characters use the Sneak's progression table for Attack, Hearts, Aptitudes, XP required to level up, and so forth. 

They are able to do all the things an ordinary purr can do: bat at things with their paws, move around with ease, big stretches, etc. Per the pet rules, they cannot attack directly without taking a certain elective Ability, but they can perform Combat Tricks. While they can't carry or manipulate things, they can carry small things (usually sized at 1 slot or less) in their mouths.

They are also able to Negotiate, though it's limited to things like winning over someone's affection or trying to get an extra snack. They do this via meowing, rubbing against the targets leg, etc. The GM may decide the Purr gets a bonus if the target of the negotiation is fond of animals.

They are able to "talk" with other bestial mammals (like growls, snarls, other purrs, etc) and Negotiate with them normally.

Purr Player characters begin a Defense of 12, rather than a Purr's normal Defense of 11 (due to their small size) - they are just a bit faster and more nimble than other, non adventurous purrs.

Purr Characters begin Play with the following Abilities:
  • Light Footed (Starting Sneak Ability)
  • Furtive (Starting Sneak Ability)
  • Don't Mind Me (Starting Factotum Ability)
    • In the middle of a dangerous situation, most people are going to ignore a kitty moving around.
  • Slinky (Purr Ability)
    • While light footed covers a lot of things this grants Edges to, it's still good to take note of this for falling and other situations you might still need to roll for.
Purr Characters can also take the following Sneak Elective Abilities as they progress in Rank. These are all Sneak Abilities:

  • Meticulous Dungeoneer
  • Twitchy
  • Sudden Strike 
    • This allows the Purr character to attack normally.
  • Legerdemain
    • While you really can't do things like card tricks and so forth, this still provides you an Edge on Deftness rolls involving taking things or cat related mischief.
  • Inner Dramatics
  • Hide in Plain Sight
  • Cat's Eyes 
    • Seems like a no brainer admittedly. 
  • Desperate Scurry

Normal character histories don't quite work for Purrs either, so here are a handful of custom ones along with purviews for each.

(1-7) Stray
You were all alone in the world, but you made do. 
  • Quickly getting out of sight
  • Seizing an opportunity
  • Keeping track of the good ones 
(8-14) Farm Purr
You lived mostly outdoors, but had someone to take care of you and a place to go when it was cold.
  • Feline Acrobatics
  • Keeping an eye out for pests
  • Acting like you are much bigger than you are

(15-20) Beloved Companion
You had a good, comfortable life with a dear friend.
  • Getting attention
  • Finding all the nooks and crannies
  • Spirited Play

Player Tip!: If the idea of your purr being separated from their owner is a bit too sad for you, that owner could be another player in the game or reoccurring Game Master Character.

While Traits are generated normally, Purrs don't have access to every Quirk, instead rolling or choosing from this list during character creation rather than the standard one:
  • 1-2: Curious (Spirit Quirk)
  • 3-4: Soul Link (Spirit Quirk)
  • 5-6: Adorable (Physiology Quirk)
  • 7-8: Big Eater (Physiology Quirk)
  • 9-10: Mage Breaker (Fate Quirk)
  • 11-12: Past Injury (Fate Quirk)
  • 13-14: Beast Tongue (Fate Quirk)
    • You can already speak to other animalistic mammals, but you can use this to acquire another bestial language.
  • 15-16: Guardian (Fate Quirk)
  • 17-18: Dreamer (Eldritch Quirk)
  • 19-20: Sneezles (Eldritch Quirk)

Finishing touches on your Purr character are also a little different form ordinary ones. You don't have any starting money, nor do you begin play with a functional outfit or standard weapon - though you may have a collar, if you like. Instead, concern yourself with the quality and color of your fur, whether you are chonky or not, and so forth.