Core Rules

Core Rules

The Core Rules of the game are the basic set that every player must know in order to play the game.  These rules include Combat Rules, because combat can happen to anyone, Social Rules, which happen through roleplay interactions, and the Game Effects which make up the backbone of the various abilities in the game that you may hear used.  Once you are familiar with the Core Rules, as well as any additional rules that you have opted into by selecting abilities, you are ready to play Gothic: the Lion Age.

COMBAT RULES

This combat system has two kinds of game effects that can be delivered by a weapon Hit.  A Hit is a legal weapon strike to an appropriate area of the body, following the following rules:

A Hit must be the result of at least a 45 degree arm swing, to avoid “machine-gunning” or rapid, very small hits.

A Hit must make “significant” contact with the body, usually either a “pop and stop” or a long draw across the body’s surface area.  Knicks and brushes can be negated at either the defender or aggressor’s discretion by saying “No hit”.

A Hit must hit a legal striking area.  The head is not allowed and accidental head hits are discarded as non-damaging (though irresponsible or repeated hits to the head may call for a Safety Warning).  Attacks should not deliberately target the hands, but strikes against the hands that do occur count as Hits to that arm.

Hits can be physically parried by other weapons.  Any swing that is “significantly interfered with” by the opponent’s weapon use is considered harmless.  As before, such hits can be called as “No hit” if necessary for communication.
Note: Physically parrying requires the Weapon Skill for that weaponry, otherwise, it counts as a Hit to your blocking arm.

After a successful Hit, the combatant who was struck may not advance forward, make new weapon attacks or take any other actions until they call a Defense or accept the results of the Hit.  If necessary, the defender may call “Taken” to indicate that the hit landed successfully.

The first effect delivered by a Hit is an Injury.  Injuries render the affected limb functionally unusable.  The effects of an Injury depend on the location that was Hit:

Arms may not hold weaponry or use any other Skills or abilities that reasonably rely primarily on the hands to work.  You may still gesture feebly, open doors, use a fork, and other minor tasks.

Legs may not support any weight.  A character with one Injured leg may put their majority weight on their good leg to continue combat or limp outside of combat.  A character with an injured leg should not hop on one foot.  A character with two Injured legs cannot stand up or walk unassisted.

Characters Hit in the torso area or who lose two individual limbs collapse to the ground, helpless.  This condition is called Downed.  Downed characters are helpless and dying, discussed below.

The second effect delivered by a Hit are Combat Conditions.  Combat Conditions are various secondary effects of weapon strikes that sometimes are carried with attacks.  There are three groups of Combat Conditions. The effects increase in severity by the number associated with them, and may sometimes be called “Tier 1” Combat conditions, “Tier 2” etc.

 

Striking Conditions

  1. Bleed
  2. Winded
  3. Strike

Staggering Conditions

  1. Stagger
  2. Knockdown
  3. Slam

Stunning Conditions

  1. Pain
  2. Stun
  3. Blackout

Combat Conditions are discussed in greater detail in Game Effects, coming up.

Successful weapon Hits are deadly, and Injuries remain in effect for the duration of the event, assumed to heal well over the Downtime.  Characters with combat Skills learn to defend themselves using Defenses. The natural pattern of attack and defense in combat is referred to as a Beat, similar to a heartbeat.  Many combat abilities use the Beat as a duration of time for various purposes. A Beat ends when of the following events occurs:

You make your opponent call a Defense ability, or “Taken”.

You call a Defense ability, or “Taken”.

No one attempts and attacks or defenses for a few moments, 3 to 5 seconds.

When one of those conditions occurs, the Beat ends for all combatants in the relevant combat, and any effects that last for the Beat are resolved for all combatants at the same time, then a new Beat begins.

Defense abilities protect their user against all Hits that occurred in that same Beat OR all Combat Conditions that occurred that Beat, even from multiple opponents.  The three main kinds of Defenses, ParryDodge, and Armor, all have limitations, and are not able to stop some Hits or conditions. When they activate they successfully cancel any such things they were able to, leaving any that they were not able to cancel still in effect, although additional Defense(s) may be used on the remainder if the defender chooses.

The ability to call Dodge or Parry primarily comes from Combat Skills, which grant abilities such as DefenseGuard, and Footwork.  

(Read more about Combat Skills)

Serious Injuries and Dying

Characters who take either two Injuries or a torso hit become Downed, and immediately fall to the ground and begin to bleed to death.  Characters in the Downed state cannot move, stand or speak coherently, though may cry out, moan, or otherwise alert people to their location if they choose.  

A character in the Downed condition should begin silently counting to 5 minutes, at which time they will bleed out, entering the Last Breath state, discussed below.

Any character can attempt to render aid to a Downed character by placing pressure on their wounds. A Downed character has a wound wherever the Hit that Downed them landed, and one for every time they took the Bleed Combat Condition (use a random new location for Strike and Bleed if necessary).   A character can use their hand or apply the bandage item to place pressure on a wound, which suspends the bleed-out count.  If they are able to pressurize all wounds for 5 minutes, the Downed character may be saved, regaining consciousness.  A character who recovers from the Downed condition takes the Battered condition instead, alive but in serious pain and misery.

Characters that are Downed or Blacked Out can be executed if their attacker wishes to do so. To do so, the attacker needs to raise their weapon above their head for one whole Beat, then bring their weapon down and attack their opponent one more time. This Deathblow sends the character to Last Breath immediately.

I have ended his iniquity once and for all. He is a better man for it.”

Some situations can injure a character so badly that they gain a permanent physical flaw from that point forward.  These are called Maims, and will be discussed more in the Game Effects section.

Last Breath

After the Downed state has expired, either from a Deathblow or due to bleeding out, they enter their Last Breath.  In this state, death is all but assured, and all ordinary forms of medical attention are insufficient.  Last breath lasts for 10 minutes, which the condemned should keep track of in a silent count.  

During Last Breath, the character is partially lucid.  They may, when appropriate, speak some dying words, or a dying curse, to to those around them, with the following restrictions – it must be short, spoken in a gasping whisper, no more than a sentence or two at a time, and it MUST relate solely to the character’s Devotion – they’re too delirious with pain to talk about anything else.

For instance, a character with Hatred: Njords who was killed by the northern raiders in an attack could remark about the vengeance they want the character who finds them to take against those people, even naming his killer, but the same character whose Devotion was Love: Family would instead take their Last Breath to ask that a final message of his love or perhaps forgiveness or apology be carried to a family member.  

Some extremely skilled or blessed individuals may be able to render medical assistance during the Last Breath, but such people are rare, and hope is dim.  A character may die at any time the player wishes during Last Breath. 

Recovery

If no form of aid is rendered, injuries recover over the course of the Downtime period between games, and any character who was not killed during the game session can be said to have made a full recovery over the Downtime and be healthy when they next enter play.  Some characters are tougher or more resilient than others, and can partially recover from injuries or take more to truly injure, through the Fortitude Attribute or Grit Skill. Very few other forms of healing or recovery exist, though some faithful people seek the services of the Hospitalier priests and their knowledge of sacred medicine to help them recover from injuries.

(Read more about Fortitude)
(Read more about Grit)
(Read more about the Hospitalier Priests)

Rest

Almost all abilities that can be expended refresh automatically and completely with a short Rest.  Rest is a deliberately vague amount of time, and should be an amount of time that makes you actually feel rested.  If you have been sprinting around fighting, this might be longer than simply taking a brief pause between two different conversations.  Characters may talk amongst themselves, perform small tasks, and generally go about their business, so long as they are not attempting to continue using actual Skills and abilities, except for Performance.

To learn more about Combat, see Combat Skills and Game Effects.

SOCIAL RULES

Gothic: the Lion Age has a social abilities system that represents characters that are unusually adept at manipulating and controlling the behaviors, desires, and emotions of others.  Social abilities do not replace roleplay, instead requiring roleplay elements to maneuver their opponent into situations where they are allowed to use their Social abilities to extra effect.  The Social Skills PersuasionIntimidationTemptation and Sincerity are the main users of these Social abilities.

(Read more about Social Skills)

Social Conditions

The foundation of Social abilities are a set of conditions called Social Conditions.  These conditions have no specific game mechanic effect other than those who are in them should roleplay the appropriate emotional state, however, other social abilities require their targets be first in these conditions to activate.  These states can be roleplayed in whatever manner feels appropriate to your character, but you should undergo a noticeable change of demeanor and should respect the spirit of the condition.

Each condition has a hand signal to make it easier to use the call without disrupting the flow of Roleplay and can be used as the primary means to convey the condition.  If necessary, each condition also has two names, to make it easier to use in the flow of conversation when used verbally.

COWED
The subject is intimidated and will usually attempt to de-escalate or leave the situation.
Preferred Call: Brandished Fist gesture
Secondary Call:  Cower, Cowed
Resist: Discipline

INTRIGUED
The subject is keenly interested in what is being offered, and will usually want to learn more and not jeopardize access to what is happening.
Primary Call: Rubbing palms or rubbing fingers together gesture
Secondary Call: Intrigue, Intrigued
Resist: Discipline

REASONABLE
The subject is mollified, malleable, and is willing to listen to new ideas and alternatives while questioning their earlier assumptions.
Primary Call: Thumbs-up gesture
Secondary Call: Reason, Reasonable
Resist: Discipline

TRUSTING
The subject is at ease, lowered guard and relaxed, with no need for suspicion.
Primary Call: Crossed-Fingers gesture
Secondary Call:  Trust, Trusting
Resist: Discipline

Heed
The special call “Heed” is used in conjunction with Social Skills.  Each Social Skill has one special use of Heed that they may use at all times that is very specific, and with higher levels of Skill, is allowed to make Heed calls specific to the situation to those who are under the appropriate Social Condition.  The format for Heed is to work the word Heed into a command statement, such as “Heed my words: ” or “Take Heed: “. Heed has no resistance and when used legally, must be immediately obeyed by the character who it is being asked of. Those who want to avoid having Heed used on them must instead avoid getting the Social Condition that makes them vulnerable in the first place.  Heed may be used to command specific actions or to enforce an internal idea such as to spread an opinion or to convince someone that a statement is the truth.

When you take a Heed call, you should verbally restate the command that you are heeding, such as “Okay, okay, I’ll let you in the room!”  or “You’re right, that guy was really rude.”  Because the Social System is subtle to not disrupt the flow of Roleplay, this is an important signal to the person who used the Skill that tells them that you understand what is happening with the game rules.

(Read more about Social Skills and their uses)

Beliefs

Beliefs are core truths of your character.  While all characters have things that they believe, in game terms, Beliefs are the bedrock of the character’s fundamentals.  The Character Flaw “Honor Code” causes a character to begin play with several personally important Beliefs, but otherwise characters only establish them in gameplay.

(Read more about Flaws)

Beliefs are “Always” or “Never” statements about your character with no qualifiers such as “unless or” “except when”.  These can be statements such as “Never eat meat” or “Always obey priests.” Violating any of these Beliefs is possible, but carries with it the same penalty for violating one’s Devotion, a Personal Failure.

(Read more about Devotion)

Beliefs can be added or removed to characters under some circumstances, such as through the Persuade Skill, the acceptance of Knightly Oaths, or through certain Insanities.

(Read more about Knights)
(Read more about Insanity)

GAME EFFECTS

All of the elements of gameplay require some kind of signaling from one user to another to communicate the parts of the game rules that might not immediately obvious, including the use of certain powers or abilities, or the defenses to those abilities.

Gothic attempts to keep the list of Game Effects as small as we can in order to make the game easy to pick up and play, so many Game Effects come from multiple sources throughout the game system.  In order to play, you’ll only need to know how to react to a Call (the verbal use of a Game Effect) that is being said to you, not how or why the other person was able to use that Call based on their own character’s ability.  It’s always acceptable to ask for rules clarification if something seems off, but in general, it’s best to assume that the person using the Call used it appropriately.

Call Qualities

Calls are generally only called by themselves, the actual name of the call, such as “Stun!” or “Dodge!”  In some cases, in order to convey special rules or secondary factors, a Call may be delivered with a Quality as a prefix.  For instance, a “Strike” may have the “Quick” Quality, meaning that Dodge may not be used to counter it. The user would say “Quick Strike!” to indicate this.  Some Qualities convey descriptive information like “Flame Strike” which could be important if a character were resistant or vulnerable to Flame. Qualities also are a signal to the recipient of the call that the Call may be being made for an unusual reason, such as “Poison Stun”, which tells the recipient that a poison is causing their Stun effect rather than a weapon Hit as they might have expected, which both reduces confusion and explains their options to defend.

The Mighty, Driving, and Quick Qualities, which make an effect not able to be defended by Parry, Armor, and Dodge respectively, cannot be used together on the same effect.  If some source gives more than one of those Qualities, the user may choose which one to apply. 

Defense and Power

Most Calls have some kind of Defense that is appropriate to counter them.  If the character has access to that Defense, they may call it as a verbal response to ignore the call.  For instance, an opponent may call “Stun” in combat, to which the defender might call “Parry!” and then continue the fight having not been Stunned.  If the defender cannot or will not make an appropriate Defense, the Call or Hit lands and the defender should enact the effects on themselves, calling “Taken” if necessary for clarification.

Under rare circumstances, some abilities are through special cases extremely hard to resist, gaining “Power”.  Calls with Power require an additional appropriate Defense to be used in order to successfully resist. These calls are delivered with a number afterward, such as “Pain 2”, indicating the amount of Defenses required to stop it.  These Defenses need not all be from the same source, so long as they could each be used appropriately. For instance, Pain 2 might be countered with two Parry calls, or one Parry and one Armor. Power from multiple sources combines.

Units of Time

Units of time for rules are rarely ever measured in exact seconds, minutes, or other definite quantities.  Instead, they use the dramatic pace of the situation as their Duration, in the following ways:

Beat: One “heartbeat” of combat; the space between a set of attacks and defenses.  See Combat rules for details.

Combat Scene: The amount of time it takes to have a combat, ending when the combat is either over or action has temporarily significantly stopped, such as the successful fleeing of one side.

Scene: One coherent incident in one location, such as a conversation, a meeting, a standoff, a dinner, etc.  A Scene ends when characters leave to go find something else to do, or after about an hour, for long situations.

Period: Around 8 hours, a large portion of the day, such as “all day” or “all night”.

Day: The period between sunrise to sunrise.  Things that may be used “once per day” can be used again after sunrise.

Event: The entire weekend long game session, between opening and closing ceremonies.

Downtime: The time between game sessions, usually around 6 to 8 weeks.

HAND SIGNALS

Specific physical hand signals are intended to convey certain information to the player.  Some of these are game effects, while others are out-of-character information.

OUT-OF-GAME
Signal: Hand in a fist on top of the head
Meaning: This signal is used to indicate that the person is completely out-of-game, and should not be reacted to in-character in any way.  This is most commonly used when out-of-game questions or confusion is present, such as asking a rules clarification. It can also be used for emergency situations, or by Staff members who need to take care of a set up operation such as entering an occupied space to get or leave an object.  Players may use this sign to ask out-of-game questions or clarifications at any time (preferably standing aside to discuss such issues quietly as to not disrupt the play of others), but should never use it to avoid in-game situations such as dangers.

CAUTION
Signal:  Index and middle fingers extended, pressed back on your forehead
Meaning: “The content or intensity of this scene is getting to be too much, and I am uncomfortable”.  This is a way to indicate to whomever you are in roleplay with that you don’t necessarily want them to stop the scene altogether, but you might eventually if things don’t calm down.  This is available to use by anyone at anytime to indicate out-of-game discomfort. It is good form to adjust one’s roleplay when seeing this sign if they can still reasonably complete their character’s intentions while adjusting the tone.

LANGUAGE
Signal: Thumb pressed to chin, index finger pointed out in an “L” shape.
Meaning: This signal means that the user is speaking in a different language, or in some way that others may not be able to understand, even as they use otherwise ordinary speech.  Unless previous established the same scene, characters speaking another language should quickly indicate which one when they take up the signal, such as “Hestra” or “Rogalt” before speaking, and other characters who do not speak that language should ignore whatever is said.

IGNORE
Signal: Arms crossed at the wrists in an X shape in front of the face
Meaning: This character should be ignored because they are using an ability that obscures their location.  The character is, in fact, most likely not precisely where the player appears to be standing, but is instead abstractly somewhere closeby.  Characters using this signal may take limited actions prescribed by the ability that granted it, but cannot be interacted with using weapon hits or abilities, and should not even be reacted to unless another ability (such as “Alert”) says to.

AUTHORITY
Signal: Outstretched hand, palm forward
Meaning: The character has a profound sense of presence and authority, and you know you are not supposed to speak now.  Characters who see this sign should stop speaking while the signal is presented, unless they too may use the Authority sign.

 

COMBAT RELATED

PARRY

Typically gained from use of and skill with weapons, Parry describes the user physically interfering with the attack with great skill and power.  

Restriction:

Parry may only be used with the parrying weapon in hand and readied.

Parry cannot be used against Hits or Strikes originating from a ranged weapon or magical spell.

Parry may not be used while Stunned.

Parry cannot defend against Hits or Conditions with the Mighty, Poison or Stealth Qualities.

DODGE

Typically gained from the Mobility Skill and Combat Skills that do not use a melee weapon, Dodge represents gracefully preventing a danger from ever hitting you through sudden movement.

Restriction:

Dodge cannot be used while wearing armor heavier than Light Armor.

Dodge may not be used while Winded.

Dodge cannot defend against Hits or Conditions with the Quick, Poison or Stealth Qualities.

ARMOR

Typically gained from using defensive equipment such as armor and shields, Armor represents the Hit or Condition being prevented from doing harm by colliding with a barrier.

Restriction:

Armor may only be used against Hits and Striking Conditions

Armor may only defend against Hits that physically strike the actually worn piece of armor on your body, unless otherwise noted.

Armor may not be used while Knocked-Down.

Armor cannot defend against Hits or Conditions with the Driving or Poison Qualities.

BLOCK

A perfect defense that renders an attack useless while minimizing shock and exposure to the defender.

Block stops all Hits or all Conditions delivered this Beat.

Block nullifies extra Power, stopping the entire attack.

Block does not have a Quality that bypasses it, like most other Defenses do.

Toughness

The natural physical resiliency and stubborn attitude of the character means that even though they were hit, they fight on unaffected.

Toughness stops all Hits or all Conditions delivered this Beat.

Toughness does not have a Quality that bypasses it, like most other Defenses do.

Striking Conditions

  1. Bleed
  2. Winded
  3. Strike

Staggering Conditions

  1. Stagger
  2. Knockdown
  3. Slam

Stunning Conditions

  1. Pain
  2. Stun
  3. Blackout

Bleed

The character begins to bleed profusely from a deep cut or wound.

At the end of the Combat Scene, a wound in an appropriate place for the Bleed must be pressurized with hands or a bandage – this combines with any normal aid necessary to assist Downed characters – or  else the character will enter Last Breath after 5 minutes, bypassing Downed.  

Multiple instances of Bleed all count, possibly creating a situation where a character could be beyond medical attention because of lack of bandages.

The character might be, but is not necessarily Downed during this time.

Successful Bleed calls facilitate the application of Poisons.

Resolution: 5 minutes of pressure by hands or bandages for each Bleed.

WINDED

The character has the wind knocked out of them and is significantly weakened.

Winded characters may only move at a walking pace.

Winded characters may not shout.

Winded characters may not use the Mobility Skill or the Dodge call.

Resolution: Winded characters recover after Rest.

STRIKE

The character is struck forcefully, exactly as if they had been Hit by a melee attack.

Strike indicates the Torso by default, but may specify a specific limb.

If there is any Armor on the target location, the defender may assume the hit to have struck on the covered area.

Resolution: Strike has identical Defenses to weapon Hits.

STAGGER

The character is knocked off balance and has trouble finding their feet.

Staggering characters take 1 large step in the direction appropriate to how they were Staggered, such as with the force of a melee attack.

Staggering characters may not enter the Footwork Condition, meaning in most cases they cannot enter Footwork for two entire Beats.

Resolution: Stagger ends after one Beat.

KNOCKDOWN

The character is struck from their feet and hits the ground hard.

Knocked Down characters must immediately (or when physically safe to do so) drop down to their two knees and two hands, during which time they cannot make weapon attacks or attempt to physically parry.

Knocked Down characters may not use the Armor Defense.

Resolution: Knocked Down characters can rise again after one Beat.

SLAM

The character is flung from their feet and crashes backward.

Slammed characters take three large steps backward, and then take the Knockdown effect.

Resolution:  As per Knockdown, ends after one Beat.

PAIN

A limb is struck with pain or numbness, and behaves as if Injured.

Characters have time to transfer a weapon from their Pained hand to another uninjured hand if they can do so immediately.

Pained shield arms can’t raise the shield to stop attacks, but the those that hit the shield are still stopped.

Pained legs prevent the target from using Footwork.

Resolution:  Pain ends after one Beat.

STUN

The character is overwhelmed by pain or surprise, unable to properly react.

Stunned characters put one hand to their head for the duration of Stun.

Stunned characters may attempt to physically parry or block, but cannot deliver damaging attacks.

Stunned characters may not use the Parry Defensive ability.

Stunned characters may not walk forward, but may walk backwards if they wish.

Resolution:  Stun ends after one Beat.

BLACKOUT

The character is knocked unconscious, completely insensate.

Blacked Out is identical to Downed, except that after 5 minutes, instead of dying, the character awakens and is not Battered.

Resolution: Blackout ends after 5 minutes.

 

Controlling Conditions

  1. Grab
  2. Disarm
  3. Sunder

GRAB

The character is grabbed by a powerful force and is bodily controlled.

Grab must be ordinarily maintained by a constant contact with at least one hand.

Grabbed characters may only use weapons shorter than 24”, usually Light Weapons.

Grabbed characters may not use the Parry Defense.

Grabbed characters may not step away from the source of their Grab, and must walk with their attacker if they move.

Grabbed characters may Grab back if they are able, inflicting the same restrictions on their attacker.

Resolution:  The source of Grab chooses or is forced to let go, such as from Pain, Injury, Stagger or Slam.

DISARM

The weapon is knocked from the hand with great power or dexterity.

Disarm is called against a weapon, which must be thrown at least a few feet away immediately (preferably somewhere it won’t get trampled).

The weapon may be picked up again at once by anyone able to.

Disarm may not be called against shields or natural weapons such as claws.

Resolution:  Resolved immediately as the weapon is thrown.

SUNDER

The object is destroyed and no longer functional.

Broken items are no longer functional, and can’t be used for any Game Effect

Broken items cannot act as a physical barrier such as blocking attacks or preventing entry, such as for shields, weapons or doors.

Broken objects should clearly be marked as such on their item tag, or indicated with a new tag for environmental pieces such as doors.

Resolution:  Repair through the appropriate craft Skill.

BANG

An ear-shattering crack issues forth, usually from a firearm.  

The character who is being pointed to takes a Mighty, Driving Strike.

All other characters in Shouting Distance take Stagger.

If no character is being pointed to (such as the sky, or the ground) no character takes damage.

BANG can (and should when possible) be indicated with a loud blasting cap instead.

BANG can drive off “swarm” creatures such as insects or bats.

PHYSICAL EFFECTS

INJURY

The character has suffered a serious cut, stab, crush or hack to a limb, rendering it broken and unusable.

Injury only affects limbs, making that limb useless for any Game Effect purpose.

Injured arms may not use equipment such as weapons or shields, and they should be immediately dropped.

Injured legs can’t bear weight, and characters with one injured leg cannot move at running speed or enter Footwork.

Non-Game Effect activities such as opening a door, using a fork, picking up a small item, etc, are allowed with an Injured arm, though the pain should be roleplayed.

Resolution:  Injuries recover over the Downtime, or can be healed with certain medical procedures.

DOWNED

The character has taken serious physical damage and is dying.

Characters must lie down (but may move a short distance to somewhere safe from ongoing fighting)

Characters may not move, speak, stand or take other physical actions.

Characters may moan, cry out, or otherwise loudly indicate their presence without giving otherwise meaningful information.

Resolution: All wounds (the Injuries that caused Downed and those gained from Bleed) are given pressure through hands or bandages for 5 minutes.  Characters who recover from Downed receive the Battered condition.

BATTERED

The character is having the worst day, having been earlier stabbed, impaled or gored to the point of being Downed, but then recovering.

All Skills are reduced to 0 Ranks, unless the character has the Grit Skill.

Resolution: Battered recovers over the Downtime, or can be healed with certain medical procedures.

STEALTH

The character is somewhere nearby, unseen.  Their player crosses their arms in the “Ignore” hand sign, and should be ignored and not interacted with by most game effects.

Characters in Stealth can observe without interacting.  Further abilities in the Stealth Skill allow more interaction, including moving and attacks.

Stealth is not effective against someone who sees them enter Stealth, so long as line of sight is not broken.   That character may call Reveal against them by interacting with them.

Resolution: The stealthed character is Revealed, or exits Stealth.

REVEAL

The character is flushed from Stealth.

Resolution: The Revealed character may re-enter Stealth when they next qualify to do so.

POISON

The character’s body has been contaminated by a poison.  Poison is actually a Quality on other effects, rather than a call itself.

Poisons come in fast-acting (“combat poison”) varieties and slow acting varieties, depending on how they were prepared by the Apothecary who made them.

In combat, poison is used to deliver Combat Conditions, such as “Poison Stun”.  These calls are only made after the poison is already in the target from some other ability, and may only be resisted by Toughness.

Slow-acting poisons affect the user out-of-combat some time after poisoning, and may have a variety of effects that may become worse over time.  A note is given to the player about what effects the poison is having and will have on them when they are told they are poisoned.

Resolution:  The substance runs its course, the last effect ending, or it is cured early by medicine or magic.

DISEASE

The character is sickened by the infestation of a ghost or unclean spirit.

Disease automatically inflicts the Battered Condition on those affected at the end of the scene, in addition to any other effects, but “Battered” is removed if the disease is cured.

Diseases usually also reduce an Attribute, getting worse over time.  The Attribute affected is reduced by 1 immediately, and will reduce again the next day at dawn until finished.

Direct contact while you are Diseased causes it to spread.  Call the same Disease call that you were called with on anyone who touches you.

A Disease call will be made as “Strength Disease 2”, indicating which Attribute is being reduced, and the amount of days the Attribute will reduce, which may kill the victim.

Diseases can be cured early with drugs that restore the appropriate Attribute to normal, even temporarily.

Resolution: The Disease is lifted on the dawn after the final Attribute reduction happens, or if removed early by medicine or magic.

TRACKING

The character is being tracked by a skilled explorer looking for signs of another’s passing.

Tracking is accompanied by two loud claps.  After the first call of “Tracking”, simply two claps can be used to use Tracking.

When Tracking is called anyone who is not immune to Tracking must clap twice in response.  The tracker must move very near to your last tracked location before you must respond to Tracking again.

Resolution:  Tracking resolves immediately once responded to with the answer clap.

MENTAL CONDITIONS

HOPE

The character is experiencing an emotional rush of confidence, tranquility, or righteousness, able to believe in their own success.

Hope may be spent to use a Skill at one level higher than normal, one time.

Hope may be gained up to 5 times.

Hope may not be gained while the character has any Despair.

Abilities that grant Hope to others do not stack with themselves with repeated uses.

Resolution: Hope is gone when it is expended, or one hour after the last Hope was gained.

Devoted

The character is ablaze with their personal fire, able to accomplish things they didn’t know they could.

  • The character gains +1 to any Skill they have at least 1 Rank in.
  • If the character has Impressive Faith (ʘʘ), they add +2 Ranks to a single Skill instead.
  • If the character has Great Faith (ʘʘʘ), they add +3 Ranks to a single Skill instead.
  • Characters with the Zeal Skill may apply this bonus to more Skills when they become Devoted.
  • Devoted can be entered once per Event unless granted by some other ability.
  • Devotion may not be used over Downtime Actions.
Resolution:  Devotion lasts for one Scene or until the Personal Victory is achieved, whichever comes first. 

DESPAIR

The character is suffering serious depression, grief or sadness, and cannot motivate themselves to be their best.

Despair lowers all Skill levels by 1.

Despair may be gained up to 5 times.

Excess Despair over 5 causes Insanity.

Characters with Despair may not have Hope.

Resolution: Despair may be recovered from by various rigorous means.

(Read more about Hope and Despair)

FEAR

The character is overwhelmed by terror, unable to focus on their abilities.

Characters with Fear may only use Skills, and are unable to use other abilities such as spells, rituals, maneuvers, gifts, etc.

Characters with Fear may not physically parry with a weapon.  Doing so means they take a Hit to the weapon arm.

Characters who suffer Fear also suffer the Cowed Social Condition.

Fear ends at the end of the scene, and the character is Traumatized.  If Fear is removed by some source early, Trauma is avoided.

Fear may also be signaled by the presence of a Red Glowstick.  Multiple Glowsticks indicate Power Fear and may require additional Discipline to resist.

Resolution:  Fear ends at the end of the scene, at which point the character is Traumatized.

OBEY

The character’s mind is under the control of another.  They must obey their command.

Obey ends when the character either fulfills the command or receives another Obey command.

While uncommon, Obey is often the result of some kind of supernatural compulsion or mind control.

Characters still experience the actions they take during Obey, and are morally culpable for them, gaining Depravity as normal.

Resolution: The command is completed, the character receives another Obey command, or the character resists with Discipline.

TRAUMA/TRAUMATIZED

The character is shaken by their recent emotional breakdown.

All Skills are reduced to 0, unless the Character has the Courage Skill

Resolution:  Trauma recovers after two hours, or may be removed with the Performance Skill.

MISERY/MISERABLE

The character is depressed, lethargic, dispirited and unhappy.

The Character may not have Hope or enter the Devoted condition
Resolution:  The end of the current Event.

ALERT

The subject feels uneasy and is expecting danger, watching down likely areas of danger with a heightened state of alertness.

Alert characters may call Defenses against attacks with the Stealth Quality, by adding the Alert Quality to their Defense, such as “Alert Parry”.

Alert does not allow the character to “see” a Stealthed character or know their precise identity or location, but they are aware they are not alone and may take actions appropriately.

Alert is not granted by simply telling others of the danger.  They too may act appropriately, but they do not gain the ability to call Defenses against Stealth or use other abilities that require the user to be Alert.

Resolution:  End of Scene

DISCIPLINE

The character marshalls their mental toughness and resists an outside influence trying to change their behavior.

Discipline is used as a Defense against certain mental or emotional intrusions.  The specific source of the Discipline call will specify which effects it allows a Discipline defense against.  Commonly: Fear, Social Conditions, Obey, or Compulsions.

Discipline may also be used to resist the unusual event of a Belief or Devotion change being forced upon the character, perhaps through a magical effect or Persuasion.  

 

SOCIAL EFFECTS

COWED

The subject is intimidated and will usually attempt to de-escalate or leave the situation.
Preferred Call: Brandished Fist gesture
Secondary Call:  Cower, Cowed
Resist: Discipline

INTRIGUED

The subject is keenly interested in what is being offered, and will usually want to learn more and not jeopardize access to what is happening.
Primary Call: Rubbing palms or rubbing fingers together gesture
Secondary Call: Intrigue, Intrigued
Resist: Discipline

REASONABLE

The subject is mollified, malleable, and is willing to listen to new ideas and alternatives while questioning their earlier assumptions.
Primary Call: Thumbs-up gesture
Secondary Call: Reason, Reasonable
Resist: Discipline

TRUSTING

The subject is at ease, lowered guard and relaxed, with no need for suspicion.
Primary Call: Crossed-Fingers gesture
Secondary Call:  Trust, Trusting
Resist: Discipline

HEED

The subject is forced into compliance through social pressure.

Most, but not all, uses of Heed require the subject be in the appropriate Social Condition first, such as Cowed, Intrigued, Reasonable, or Trusting.

Heed is not mind-control, and the subject of the command understands it to be their own decision to act that way.

Heed should be taken by verbally acknowledging the Heed command, then following it.

Resolution: For tasks, the completion of the task; for ideas, the acceptance of the idea.

Miscellaneous Rules

A small handful of additional rules that are not otherwise stated above:

The woods around the event site are, narratively speaking, more deep, dense and dark than they appear in real life.  It requires the Survival Skill to enter the woods, use anything you might call “a trail”, or venture off the actual roads.  Some things in the wilderness are marked bright orange, and can only been noticed with Survival Skills.

Some action happens in a special area set aside for Trials.  Trials are events in a specially built or prepared area that is “somewhere else” such as a ruin or a cave.  Trials have a limit of 5 Player Characters at once. Some abilities have special functions in Trials.

Player Characters have to survive between events, which requires both Food and Housing.  Both are purchasable from other Player Characters. If a Character can’t find food or shelter, they are living in Poverty, and become sick and weak at the event, (Miserable and Diseased) but will never die of poverty between games.  

Traps, should you encounter them, are triggered with some noise-making device such as a mousetrap or buzzer.  If you happen to physically set them off, the trap has been sprung and has already hit you with its effect. Locate the sound, read and apply the Game Effect on the trap.

Characters taking certain actions that are considered wrong in their culture accumulate Depravity, a measure of how wicked they and others feel they are.  For more information on what actions are condemned and what happens when they are done, (Read more about Depravity)

Conclusion

You have finished reading the Core Rules of Gothic: the Lion Age and have all the information you need to create a character and interact with anything that can happen.  As you design a character for play, you’ll need the Core Rules and the specific rules for anything that your character is capable of doing. Skills are the primary way your character will gain new abilities, so it is a good idea to head to the various sections on Skills next if you have not already.

As always, you may contact Staff at any time with additional questions , and we will be glad to assist you.

(Read more about Combat Skills)

(Read more about Social Skills)

(Read more about Physical Skills)

(Read more about Gathering Skills)

(Read more about Crafting Skills)

(Read more about Knowledge Skills)

(Read more about Personal Skills)