Middle Kingdom Heroes

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To go with Ephemeral Elephants adventure.

Why be a Hero?

Most Drow are ordinary people, but some are considered Heroes, Scholars, or Beauties. They may take part in civilian life, or even take roles in government or the military. A person of note may be called Master, Hero, Scholar, or Beauty -- that is just people being polite. But, being acclaimed a HERO, etc, not only effects how you are perceived, but how you actually perform. To simplify Wayist philosophy, Heroes & the like seem to have preternatural abilities because they are more in tune with the natural flow of the Universe than ordinary people. Non-philosophers generally believe that Heroes, Scholars & Beauties are more noticed by the gods than ordinary folk, so obviously they perform better. From a gaming viewpoint, there are four key genres open to party-members.

  1. Heroes get a 15% bonus on their primary weapon, magic resistance; 10% bonus on their college, stat rolls, & primary skill (& other skills in that category) & secondary weapons; 5% elsewhere. 10% reaction roll modifier.
  2. Scholars are EITHER
    [A] 15% bonus on their COLLEGE & magic resistance; 10% bonus on their stat rolls, primary skill, & weapons, OR
    [B] 15% bonus on their primary skill & magic resistance; 10% bonus on their college, stat rolls, & weapons.
           Either way, 5% bonus elsewhere & 0% reaction roll modifier.
  3. Beauties get a 15% bonus on Assassin & Courtier rolls; 10% bonus on their college, stat rolls, Spy rolls, magic resistance; 5% elsewhere. 20% reaction roll modifier, if not being offensive or obviously betraying the reactor (or their friends & sentiments). A Beauty in disguise still gets her/his bonuses, provided PB is not decreased below 21.
  4. Just Friends: People who don’t quite measure up to Hero, Scholar, or Beauty status, but who are either of noble birth or familiars of heroes are called Scions, Friends, Squires, or similar terms. They get a 5% bonus, even in disguise.

Bonus: The bonus is a die roll modifier. It combines normally (enhancing or ameliorating) with other dice modifiers such as skill, aspect bonus/penalty, etc, but does NOT combine (in the same direction) with Lesser Enchantment, and does NOT modify a natural 01 or natural 00. The weapon bonus allows an extra option in combat. Each [subjective] pulse, you MAY reduce your weapons bonus on your Attack (in 5% chunks) and ADD that bit to all attack rolls directed against you; this is known as Defending. If a Hero uses two different weapons, it is more complex, as the Attacks will have different bonuses; the Defending chunks come off both the primary and seconary weapon bonuses, to a minimum of +/-0. If you assign all your weapon bonus to Defend, then you may apply your Lesser Enchantment to Attack. For Examples, see I get bonuses?

Costume: Note that, to use their bonuses, Heroes or Scholars normally MUST be in their characteristic dress (see Name and Persona) – although being surprised beside it, or being in uniform/armour on active services are both legitimate exceptions. A Hero or Scholar in disguise gains NO bonuses.

Masters: particularly puissant heroes or scholars (especially the leaders of schools or orders) become Masters. Beauties seldom become masters; they usually retire or are killed. Some masters participate in worldly affairs; others travel through the world, correcting wrongs or otherwise amusing themselves.

Saints & Gods: Masters who are the best practitioner of a skill or college become Saints or Gods. They are seldom knowingly encountered, even by other heroes, but are believed to do good (well, mostly good) in secret. The previous party met the Saint of Assassins, in the guise of a discrete tea-house owner in Boast, and the God of Serpent-Slayers, whom they were sent to find. It is not unknown for Saints & Gods to disappear for years or decades: there are rumours that they adventure in distant lands. The transient life of Saints & Gods is one reason why it is rumoured that they never die … although standard doctrines claim they usually transmigrate to the celestial kingdom & become real gods/dragons.

How does one rate?

Use the tables to determine if your character is a Hero, Scholar, or Beauty. Note that a total score in skill categories of over 6 points is counted as only 6 points.
You must have at least 12 points to qualify. If you qualify for more than one, you must choose which to be (hero OR scholar OR beauty) & you cannot change streams unless you would be considered a Master in that other stream.
Note that you may encounter LOCAL Heroes or Scholars, who are only classed as Heroes in their city or state; Beauties likewise, but calling someone a local beauty is just asking to be poisoned.

Important Point: This party must have at least one Scholar, one Hero, & one Friend. If the chosen party all theoretically qualify as Heroes/Scholars, then party must decide who will be the mission's Jeeves or Chrichton, before the GM does. The party may benefit from having a beauty.

H S B Qualification
  SKILL Categories [more than 6 pts is counted as only 6]
1* 2* 1 Rk8+ alchemist, herbalist, or healer. *[+1 if all 3]
1 0 0 Rk8+ armourer, weaponsmith, or merchant.
0 0 1 Rk8+ assassin.
1 2* 0* Rk8+ astrologer, or philosopher. *[+1 if both]
2 1 0 Rk8+ beastmaster, navigator, or ranger.
1 1 3* Rk8+ courtier or troubadour. *[+1 if both]
1 1 0 Rk8+ mechanician.
2* 1* 0 Rk8+ military scientist, or warrior, *[+1 if both]
0 0 1 Rk8+ spy.
+1 +1 +1 for every skill named above that is Rank10+
  PERSONAL VIRTUE
1 1 1 a Wayist or a "Holy man"
2 1 1 Follower of "Dappled Enlightenment" [Forasite]
2 1 0 publicly known to be on an Oath-quest or under Imperial Edict or mandate (authorisation)
1 1 0 Rank7+ written
2 1 2 Rank9+ spoken
2 1 2 Has a "dragon-gift"; only apply this bonus once, no matter how blessed/weird you are
-1 0 1 Is an outlaw
  COMBAT categories [minimum score 3 points]
1 0 1 Rk5+ warrior or assassin
1 1 0 Rk8+ in a weapon.
2 1 1 has famous/powerful weapon or unique combat style
1 0 1 has a special combat skill/talent
2 1 1 has famous, fabulous, or magical mount.
1 1 1 has a superior horse or a semi-intelligent trained pet
1 1 1 has a college (see MK Colleges).
1 1 1 Rk11+ in at least 5 spells or non-general rituals.
1 1 0 Rk16+ in at least 3 spells or non-general rituals.
  EXTRAORDINARY Middle Kingdom Statistics
1 1 0 27+ MA, MD, or AG (may include purification); only apply bonus once, even if several MA-based stats qualify.
1 1 0 26+ WP, PS, or EN; only apply bonus once, even is several Wp-based stats qualify.
1 1 1 at least one 29+ stat [other than Fatigue]; only this apply bonus once, even if several stats qualify.
0 0 1 female
0 0 2 23+ PB
  ASSOCIATIONS
0 0 3 known lover/consort of famous hero, scholar, governor, or minister.
1 1 1 was a foundling (old spirit).
1 1 -1 Monk, or a senior member of a famous school or cult.
2 2 2 close kin to a Saint or God.
1 1 1 close kin to an Imperial General or Imperial Minister.
LOCAL CONNECTIONS [double these points when in the locality]
1 1 0 Local General, Abbott, or Lord.
2 2 1 Marquis or Governor.
1 1 2 close kin to a Marquis, or [State] Governor, or other City Governor