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The Voyage to Lefrin

the making of Lefrin the RPG

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Have a Handbook

David Trammell

msg tools
Short and sweet. Here it is. The Beta version of the player's handbook itself:

No, you aren't crazy.
Yes, I do reference other handbooks within Foundation.
No, you aren't missing something.
Yes, they will be available soon.

Because I plan on updating this regularly I've chopped everything
up into more manageable bits. As those bits hit the Beta stage they will
also be released here.

Any feedback you can give is greatly appreciated. Remember, I want this to
be a somewhat open source project. If you have an epiphany (or a great idea
(or just a good one)) let me know. I will incorporate good ideas into the game
and do my best to acknowledge the purveyor of those ideas.
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Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:23 pm
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Playing with Numbers

David Trammell

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Helloooo there. Let's play.

This may make more sense if you have the character sheet
to stare at and muse over. There's a link to it in the
last post. I'm going to refer to it a bit; if you get lost
let me know how you're confused and I'll confuse you further.
I mean try to answer your questions.

There're more than a few terms on this character sheet
that feel nostalgically familiar, but some new
ones crop up too. How does this gobbly-goop work? Well,
here's how some of it works:

You have 8 core statistics. Each one has a natural state and
a current state that let's you keep track of your modified
stats. All these stats range from 1-10 with 4 being an
average score for a Peer in good standing.

Health is a measure of how much punishment you can take
before your character starts to become wounded. Current Health
is referred to as Hit Points (HP). There are some cases where
Health will be used to track how resistant you are to taking
damage and losing HP.

Attunement describes how "in-tune" your character is
with magic. Current Attunement is tracked as Threshold. The
higher ones Threshold the greater chance of success one has
when slinging spells.

Speed determines how far you can move in a turn, how
many actions you can take in that turn, and in what order
players and NPCs take their turns. High speed never hurts.

Knowledge is most often used when trying to use
technical skills or recall character or world information.
Knowledge combines with Speed to set the number of actions
a character can take in one turn. It also affects the number
of starting attributes a character gets.

Grace will most often see use in combat situations,
although it is also key to tricky maneuvers that require a
good sense of poise and balance. Grace is used as a key stat
for many combat attributes and it is used for your baseline
unarmed / unarmored combat rolls.

Judgment is synonymous with a character's wisdom or
common sense. Judgment helps you resist fear and other
combat effects. High Judgment can be used to influence characters
with poorer Judgement or intuit information within the world.

Strength serves a few important purposes. It limits your
maximum carrying capacity. Also, your base damage is derived from
your Strength stat.

Demeanor primarily functions as a diplomacy stat. Whenever
you want to get things done without cracking skulls, it's your go
to number.

Head on over to page two for the attributes section.
Think of attributes as a conglomeration of skills, feats, powers,
abilities, and other special actions or boosts you have as a
character in a role playing game. See how there are 20 spots? That's
your limit, and really the only one there is. You can cobble your
character together however you want with a little playtime and

Attributes are broken down into a few categorical types:

Deeds may be used once per turn and require a roll to
achieve success

Attacks can be used in place of basic attacks to deal
additional damage or further debilitate your target. Attacks
take a roll to resolve.

Skills are minor actions. They provide some form of
bonus without making you roll for it. They still take up part
of your turn.

Passive attributes have to be activated; then they
continually supply your character with some form of minor bonus.

Traits are like weak passives that are in a permanent
state of activation.

There are some sub-categories, but I'll wait for a later time
to prattle on about them.

That all sounds fairly reasonable and standard fairish....
How does it work?

Lefrin uses, to the best of my limited knowledge, a unique system
of rolls to rule on whether a character acts brilliantly or fails in epic
Rolls are decided with a pool of six sided (d6) dice and the
occasional, beloved, always stylish, twenty sided (d20) die.
These d6 pools can have a maximum of 10 dice. Ergo the system is called
Big Pool 6 Cap 10 (BP6C10).

Players end up rolling multiple d6's at one time versus another batch
of dice rolled by the Game Master. In all the mess of dice rolled,
only the highest die is need to obtain success. You match your highest
die against the GM's highest die, 2nd highest vs 2nd highest, 3rd to 3rd,
etc. until one party does not have a die that ties. The person with the
higher paired up die wins.

For examples:

Player - GM
6 - 5
5 - 4
4 - 2

Player - GM
6 - 6
6 - 5
2 - 5

Player - GM
4 - 3
1 - 2
1 - 1

Player - GM
4 - 4
3 - 3
2 - 1

.....all result in the player reigning victorious because the player has
the highest die in the highest untied pairing. If you're rolling more dice you just
have more pairings. If one side has less dice than the other they match up
highest to highest etc. until they run out of dice to match. If they tie on
all dice the player with more dice wins because the player with less dice
effectively has a '0' for each unpaired die.

How does this apply to stats and attributes?
When taking an action that has at least a moderate chance of failing a
player rolls a number of dice equal to one of their statistics.
The specific stat is determined by the nature of the action. If I want to jump
a pit I roll a number of dice equal to my Grace. If I need to lift a heavy
boulder: Strength. Talk to unruly peons: Demeanor.The GM decides how difficult
that task is and rolls a number of d6s against me they deem to be a fair
representation of the chance of disaster.

Distinct actions a character can take are enacted through Deed or Attack attributes.
Each one requires you to roll a set number of d6s (often based on a statistic) Vs
another set number rolled by the GM. Some attributes are especially tricky and
have a great reward balanced with a high chance of failure.

What about Critical successes or failures?
Lefrin has Great Successes and Epic Failures. To receive (or be stricken) with
one you need to, respectively, succeed your roll with a high number of '6s' or
fail your roll with a large number of '1s'. You'll notice on the Attributes page
that each entry has a space for 'GS' and 'EF'. Those columns are for the number
of 6s or 1s a player must roll to trigger a Great Success or Epic Fail when using
that attribute. When not using an attribute the triggering number is 3.

Wrap up
blech. That's a long post. Hopefully it piques some of your interest and was
worth the read. Questions, comments, concerns, topics you want to see covered,
literary devices you want to see more or less of, manners in which I flagrantly
disregard them grammaricy rules, or witty quips about foreign policy in Djibouti
are all acceptable and encouraged manners in which you can respond.
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Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:30 am
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David Trammell

msg tools
Lefrin follows on the tradition of many RPGs by allowing people
to take on the role of a character within a fantasy setting. Each
character is unique in some manner or other and can be tailored
to suite the players role playing or playstyle demands. There are
several ways that Lefrin characters stand out from some of the
big dogs:

Part of the World
Playing a character in Lefrin requires a player to be part of the
world; not a mysterious adventurer from far off lands. A character
in Lefrin is a Peer, a member of the entitled upper class; this
brings along both privileges and responsibilities.

At character creation, players begin the game as a newly titled
Peer, someone fresh out of the top school in the land: the
Foundation. Education in Lefrin nets a person a Title, and a
player begins play with one Title of their choice. You can think
of your Title as being the equivalent of a class from other RPGs.
A Title determines what special abilities and skills are
available to you AND determines how NPCs feel towards you AND
how you fit into the power structure of the Orders. If you are
a warrior in Lefrin you have warrior like skills, but you also
have a role within the world. You are a warrior for a specific
faction and being so affects how other people deal with you.
It is possible for a character to be a lone wolf but that
has serious repercussions that limit the player.

Belonging to a people group (Faction) in Lefrin is a necessity if
you want to thrive. You can survive without one, but without some
serious political backing you will be akin to a shriveled leaf on
the wind. Factions give players access to further skillsets,
helpful NPCs and objects, and financial endorsements.

There is no experience system in Lefrin. Instead a character must
seek out specific skills they wish to learn while they are playing.
You do not "level up" and magically gain new powers. If you want
to be a great blacksmith you have to find a way to learn how to
blacksmith, learn the basics, and practice. You cannot grind monsters
and expect to advance in power in leaps and bounds. As a player
users attributes they rank up in individual level, progressively becoming
stronger yet harder to level up. Becoming a master at any skill
involves the use of that skill, not an expenditure of arbitrary points.

Each character is made up of three basic parts: Statistics,
Attributes, and Titles.

Statistics are the raw numbers that determine how strong, fast,
dexterous, smart etc. a character is.

Attributes are the skills, traits, and abilities a character
has that either make use of their statistics to perform specific
actions or modify their statistics for greater effect.
The list of attributes is quite large and many of those attributes
are "General" attributes that any character may choose from.

Titles establish the special attributes a character has available.

A character in Lefrin can be adapted to fit the specific requirements
a player has. A Title of warrior does not force you to learn only
warrior attributes. Rather it allows you to learn advanced
warrior attributes. It is possible for a player to choose the Title
"warrior" and then build a character that functions as a healer.

Doing so would create a limited healer without access to greater
healing attributes, but they would only be limited for a time.
As Peers, you can seek out new Titles and add them to your collection.
If the above "warrior" met the requirements with the appropriate
faction they could be granted the Title of "healer" and gain the
higher end attributes of a healer. Over time a player can swage
their character to achieve the gameplay experience they want to have.

Lefric characters are more human than some other RPG series. Going
toe-to-toe with a dragon will result in your death. This doesn't
mean that epic achievements are not possible, rather that they
take a little bit more prowess to accomplish and are thus more
rewarding when they are accomplished.

Stats are based on a base 10 system with 1 being like that of a
small child and 10 being herculean. Most characters have an
average stat setting of 4, and without some divine intervention
those stats will not change over time. You will never have a
Dexterity of 50. Stat stacking is less of a concern; having
the right attributes to make use of what you do have is
more important.

Characters are also limited by what they can carry with them.
Most characters will be full up with one weapon, basic armor,
a few special usable items, and basic adventuring gear. Having
a limited inventory forces players to choose to carry around
only the items they need. Even with a high Strength stat
a character will never be able to carry around a wagon load
of goods on their back. Your barbarian is a death machine. That
does not translate to pack mule.

The continent of Lefrin is a dangerous place. Combat is often
one sided and brutal. Several hits with a broadsword can spell
death. Even if they don't outright kill you those hits can
leave you with grievous wounds that impact your gameplay.
Battles make use of an interesting wound system that leaves
combatants with everything from scratches to lost limbs. If
left untreated over time wounds become injuries that can
leave a character permanently gimped. Thankfully resurrection
is not an uncommon occurrence, and if things go really wrong
character creation is straightforward.

In parting
Here's a link to the most recent version of the character sheet:

Please ask any questions you have.
Next time we'll have a look into how Statistics and
Attributes are made use of while playing.
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Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:34 pm
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In a Galaxy Really Far Away

David Trammell

msg tools
a small planet, not unlike our own, balances in a precarious orbit.
Arawon spins through the void trapped between two stars: Luc and Mortris.

Not really to scale...but you can get the jist.
Mortris (in yellow) is a yellow dwarf like our own sun. Below Mortris on
the surface of Arawon lies a good sized continent named Edan. Its inhabitants
are human (or near enough to be called so) who have named their race the Edain.
Edain civilization mirrors that of several of our own Western European pre-
renaissance states.

Edain culture is summed up by another picture:
The Nonostar

The Nonostar is the Badge of the Edain, and a constant reminder of cultural organization.

Nine Points for the nine Orders:
Each Order is named after a famous individual in Edain history who altered the
paradigm during their lifespan. An Order is a powerful organization not unlike
its own separate kingdom given carte blanche over a facet of everyday life. This
system provides an uneasy balance; all Orders vie for power, but carefully so to
not grow so prominent that the others intervene.

- The White Order of Mela
is dedicated to the welfare of the lower classes and the spiritual
well-being of all

- The Green Order of Epora
guards and gathers natural resources and sees to the continuation of the
Druidic practices

- The Orange Order of Nicche
serves as and directs the workforce

- The Red Order of Lelops
provides "Safe” and “Legal” outlets for vices

- The Grey Order of Garyt
has been tasked with the military protection of the Edain

- The Blue Order of Qasmos
practices “safe” applications of magic

- The Purple Order of Thautilus
studies the Lores and advances the Edain's knowledge base

- The Yellow Order of Kaddok
controls the creation and distribution of goods

- The Brown Order of Dinis
acts as a central government by watch-dogging the other Orders

Three points to a triangle for three classes within the Edain:

-The Drudges are the lowest of the low. A class of peons, Drudges are
either ignored by the orders or stepped over (and on). To live as a
Drudge is to live and die uneducated in poverty.

-The Serfs are a privileged middle class. Serfs are servants. Well
treated servants who can hold positions within the Order. It is a Serfs
dream to one day serve so well that their family may be recognized and
given Peerage.

-Peers are individuals who either come from well-to-do families or
have made a name for themselves. Making up less than ten percent of the
population, Peers control almost all of the wealth and material possessions.
All Peers undergo a thorough and common education before they branch off and
earn a specialized position and the title that goes with it.

A tad bit of backstory
The Edain civilization peaked just over a thousand years after its inception.
And then spiraled into chaos. Civil war changed Edan into a battleground and
corpsified a great many people. It seemed like the war had reached a standstill
when calamity struck. Something fell from the sky and landed on the Southern seaboard.
Something big, alive, and apparently not very friendly. The already bloodied
continent was absolutely ravaged during a month of black skys and burning earth.
The only chance the Edain had was to reconstruct their fleets and flee into the
unexplored Northern seas.

Weeks on the ocean took a further toll of Edain lives. Yet finally the survivors
found a miracle: land. The weary people landed on this new haven naming the
land Lefrin. 15 years have passed and the new capital of Worldgate resounds with
the sounds of new life. Life that may have to fight again soon if it wants to

Up next: some mechanics and how players will fit into this world
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Fri Oct 7, 2011 11:07 pm
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What Then Shall Be Done?

David Trammell

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Aighty. How will Lefrin be free, open source, and story driven?

Once upon a time in the future there is a website dedicated to the world of Lefrin.
There anyone can download a plethora of RPG PDF files for no cost whatsoever.
These PDF files will contain a portion of the game split up into sections such as:
player handbook, "monster" menagerie, skill and "class" guides, item library, and
"spell" compendium.

Also found on this dream site lives a forum.
If a visitor so chooses they can log onto the forum for free, submitting only a username and
valid email address to gain access. On the forum users can discuss mechanics and lore,
design new plugins, and ask for additions or changes to the game.
When an admin finds a good idea, or an idea has generated buzz in the community and
reached a certain critical mass of likes, the idea will be added to the documentation.
Lefrin is only partially open source. I would like to maintain creative control to
keep things from death-spiraling before a community capable of self moderation forms.

By submitting their ideas players can:
call for rule changes and tweaks
create new items, NPCs, and places
fix typos
gain official rulings on confusing rules
rewrite portions of the game manuals
advance the lore of the world by describing what they achieve "in game"

All of the Lefrin documents are on the smallish side (250 pages or less)
with large print and lots of open spaces. They have been created specifically to be easily
alterable over time. Unclear text can be rewritten. Necessary omitted material can be added.
Those blank areas can be filled with user submitted pictures, lore, quotes and anecdotes.

Instead of releasing new versions of Lefrin the documents will undergo a metamorphosis through
several planned expansions. Regions and NPCs will change over time and be updated to meld with
newly discovered lands and people groups. Over time an overarching story will materialize and
the RPG will tell a tale influenced by the submissions of players.

Pseudo-Open Source
Story Producing
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Wed Oct 5, 2011 9:30 pm
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The Beginning

David Trammell

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Hey there.
If you're reading this I am going to assume that you like Role Playing.
What awaits you here is an opportunity to explore a new RPG before it is born.

Lefrin the RPG is my lovechild. It has been in the making for nearly a year now.
This blog will function as a sort of baby shower for that child.
We can talk about how exciting it will be when it arrives, wonder at what it will look like,
and anticipate who it will be; all this without the morning sickness!

For an initial glimpse, here is a sense of what Lefrin wants to accomplish; why it exists
(even in the rough form it is in).
We can talk about mechanics and lore later let's dwell on the why first.

Reason 1: I like to roleplay and I get a smug sense of satisfaction whenever I create
a smile on someone else's face. Combine the two....
I want to create and mesmerize.

Reason 2: The internet has a mind, and that mind needs to be applied to role playing.
Individual people have great ideas; if those ideas are brought together they can make
something that transcends the abilities of any one author or even company of writers.
We need an RPG that is open source.

Reason 3: Some people say we are in hard economic times. Whatever. Even if that wasn't
the case creative content should be available for all to experience it.
We need good free RPGs.

Reason 4: Stories inspire, educate, and entertain. That's a triple threat.
We need more RPGs with story to them, not necessarily RPGs based on stories,
but RPGs that are great stories.

If any or all of these reasons strike a chord with you then keep tuned. There'll be more coming.
Maybe even some grainy ultrasound pictures.
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Tue Oct 4, 2011 11:25 pm
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