Rise of Æster LARP Demo Rules
Note: This is only a brief overview of the complete rules set, sufficient for running a demo game such as the Captain's Table.
The goal of Rise of Æster is not measured in the strength of skills or successes against challenges, but rather the quality of the story told by the game as it unfolds. Roleplaying is key, and the character attributes here are intended to guide that activity, not dominate it, nor to somehow establish a particular player’s stature or power in the game.
To this end, the design of characters at the start is intended to leave weaknesses, and limit strengths, as it is overcoming those weaknesses that can produce the best story. In fact, we think that some of the best roleplaying can arise as a result of failures rather than successes. (To that end also, the system is intended NOT to be promptly lethal…)
Please keep that in mind as you create your own avatar in the Rise of Æster world.
A skill is a character attribute that describes a specific ability of an individual, and their level of facility with it. It provides an abstraction of training, experience and native ability which the actor may not actually have.
Character skills are organized by trait, based on subjective evaluation of which trait is most key to one’s competence in it. A list of skills is provided which is by no means complete. Actors will most certainly imagine and describe additional skills pertinent to roleplay. It is up to the actor and navigator to determine the trait to which a new skill belongs.
A player’s facility in a skill is identified by level, of which there are 5: Superior, Great, Good, Fair or None. Skills are ordered by SUPERIOR, GREAT, GOOD and FAIR. Any action taken which is not listed on your sheet as a skill will be treated as having the quality “No Skill”. Skills can be further modified by GLOBAL skills and WEAKNESSES.
Characters start with 2 GREAT, 4 GOOD and 6 FAIR skills to be set in one of the three Traits, as determined by their chosen Vocation.
Actors will order these three traits as Primary, Secondary and Tertiary, and then assign skills to each trait using descriptors of the Player’s choosing.
What level of skill you may apply in a trait, and what level it may achieve is dependent on how you order your Traits. You must place a minimum of 4 skills in your Primary, 3 in your Secondary, and two in your Tertiary Trait.
GREAT skills may only be applied in a player’s PRIMARY or SECONDARY traits; however, one GREAT skill *must* be applied to the player’s PRIMARY trait.
GOOD skills may be applied to any trait; however, a character may only have one GOOD skill in their TERTIARY trait.
FAIR skills may be applied in any trait.
As Actors can use any skills that are accepted by the presiding game Navigator, a wide variety of skills could be used. Actors are encouraged to be creative, but to also think of skills that are specific enough to be useful without being overreaching.
GLOBAL skill - Players may exchange both GREAT skills for a GLOBAL skill in their primary trait. A GLOBAL skill gives players a base level of FAIR in any skill in that trait.
SUPERIOR skill - A character may exchange both GREAT skills in order to take a SUPERIOR skill at character creation. The SUPERIOR skill may only be added to the player's PRIMARY trait. A SUPERIOR skill must also be very narrow in scope. For example, a player may not have “Guns” as a SUPERIOR skill, but may have “Revolver” as a SUPERIOR skill.
When a player chooses a SUPERIOR skill, they must also select a specific WEAKNESS to balance that ability. This is a roleplaying requirement, and must be approved by the local Navigator. At any event, the officiating Navigator may choose to relegate a SUPERIOR skill to GREAT, and eliminate the player-selected weakness.
As a normal consequence of play, actors will be presented with various challenges which they will need to address and overcome (or not). The point of the game and the intent of the Navigator are to use these events to shape roleplaying and the evolution of the story.
The types of challenges break out generally into two categories – physical challenges on the one hand which may take place as part of interaction with other players or NPCs, and most every thing else, which are actions executed by the actor in interaction with the environment.
Normally, if a Skill is on the Character Dossier, it can be used without challenge or risk of failure under most circumstances. If you know Navigation, for example, under most situations your character can figure out which way to travel and estimate distance and time to destination.
However, there will be frequent occasions when some challenges, typically physical, will be between players or players and NPC's, who seek to achieve opposite ends. At these times, relative skill levels are evaluated and the following procedures used.
Automatic Success - Any contest between skills separated by two or more levels is always a SUCCESS for the higher-skilled player.
RANDOMIZATION - When skills are equal, or separated by only one level, RANDOMIZATION is triggered. The outcome is then determined by one of two modes, UNEQUAL or EQUAL, depending on the relative skill levels of the actors. The resolution of these randomization modes will determine the actor’s SUCCESS or FAILURE.
In both modes, at an agreed signal, both actors simultaneously display a number of fingers from one hand, including NONE. NONE is denoted by presenting the thumb alone to represent no fingers. Any other single finger will represent ONE. Any other combination of fingers and thumb represent the appropriate number TWO through FIVE. Presenting the thumb alone will always and only be used to represent NO fingers.
When the fingers are presented, they are evaluated to determine if the total fingers displayed by both actors is odd or even in number. For UNEQUAL RANDOMIZATION, they are also evaluated to determine whether both actors are displaying the same number of fingers (a TIE).
UNEQUAL randomization occurs when the actors involved in a contest have different skill levels. The player with the higher skill level wins on any ODD result, or, when the actors hold up the same number of fingers (a TIE)
EQUAL randomization occurs when both actors involved in a contest are of the same skill level. When the mode is EQUAL, the total number of fingers presented by both actors is counted. If the result is ODD, the INITIATING player wins.
Multiplayer Combat Resolution:
Going Up the Chain
Going Down the Chain
© 2011 Aesterlight Steampunk Studios, LLC