Gonen's World: The Roleplaying Game

Gonen’s World is a place of swashbuckling high adventure, magical secrets, and bizarre technology. There are many eras and places in and on Gonen’s World, but the default period for the game is the Classic Age of Vlodasai, a time of intrigue, new discoveries, and war.

Although society in Vlodasai is culturally and politically medieval, technology has advanced at a much higher rate. Thanks to a super-fuel called Gaxium, and the ancient secrets of clockwork engineering, all manner of strange, seemingly anachronistic devices abound.

Airships soar through the skies, trading goods and taking passengers between the great cities of Vlodasai. Pirates and air bandits prey on the fat merchant ships that fly the trade routes. Clockwork golems batter city walls and stomp across the landscape. Magic and science mix in strange ways, creating even stranger items and artifacts of power.

Thanks to the deprivations of an ancient race of fiends, the Odiumites, many horrible creatures – experiments of the ancient witch-queens – stalk the wilderness and the night in bizarre mockeries of natural life.

Mysterious artifacts that resemble great white flowers are set in inaccessible places. The priests say the flowers hum with the voice of the gods.

Still other ruins – cities of old, now grown over with wilderness and inhabited by undead horrors, lie deep within the dreaded Elder Lands…but great treasure and magical artifacts lie within those crumbling halls, as well.

During the Classic Age (the default time period of the game), Vlodasai is divided into many small, warring states. Political boundaries often change, but the most powerful and longest-lasting nations are the Republic of Blackpool, the Barony of Farwall, the County of Seawall, and the Principality of Olegland. Of these, the Republic of Blackpool is the most powerful, and its expansionist plans are continually countered by an uneasy alliance of the other realms.

Gonen's World: The Roleplaying Game aims to keep things simple and put the power in the hands of the GM and players, not rules. Tweak them (the rules, not the players!) as you will and do what works best for your game group.

Have fun exploring!

The game is all about the characters – they’re the stars of the story. Here’s how to create ‘em.

The Main Stats
Characters have four “stats” – Might, Grace, Mind and Will. At character creation, stats will be from 25-40 on a scale of 100. Your stats will increase when you “level up” (see page X).

  • MIGHT - Physical power, endurance and overall health.
  • GRACE - Speed, hand-eye coordination, and overall agility.
  • MIND - Alertness, factual knowledge, and overall intelligence.
  • WILL - Strength of personality and overall spiritual power.

A Note on Stat Rolls - During the game you’ll make lots of “stat rolls,” which means roll a d100 and compare the result to a certain stat. You want to get equal to or lower than your stat, so low rolls are better. Rolls may be modified circumstances, equipment, skill mastery or other factors (you might want to skim the Playing the Game section on page X before you get started).

Generating Main Stats
Roll d100 and consult the Main Stat Generation table.

d100 Result
01-25 25
26-50 30
51-75 35
76-00 40

Derived Stats
Next, we need to figure out the “Derived Stats” – Power, Accuracy, Life and Fortune.

  • POWER is added to damage rolls from melee and thrown attacks. Power is equal to the first digit of your Might score.
  • ACCURACY is added to damage rolls from ranged attacks. Accuracy is equal to the first digit of your Grace score.
  • LIFE is the number of wounds you can take before being knocked out of a fight and possibly killed. Add up the first digit of all four main stats to find Life.
  • FORTUNE is used to 1) re-roll any failed stat roll, 2) get a free action, or 3) activate some magical items. Fortune is replenished each game session. It is not saved between sessions, so use it or lose it. Fortune is equal to the first digit of your Will score.

Glory isn’t really a stat – it’s like “experience points” in other games. When you earn enough of it, you “level up,” and it’s also a measure of how famous (or infamous!) your character is. You start with zero Glory, but you’ll gain it during play (see “Leveling Up” on page X).

Choose a Race
There are many intelligent creatures in Gonen’s World, but characters come from three main races – Kathkari, Wee Moldai, and Human. Each race comes with one or more “race rules” they must follow.

Choose (or roll for) one of the races, and make a note of the associated Race Rules:

d8 Race Rule
1 Kathkari
(Red) Creepy, Pariah
(Blue) Cute, Brittle
2-3 Moldai
(Wee) Savant, Weak
(Tallfellow) Savant, Scapegoat
4-8 Human +1 Fortune

Race Rules

  • Brittle – The character’s bones are hollow. Bash attacks against the character do +2 damage.
  • Creepy – The character’s appearance is unnerving to other races. -10 to Charm and Gossip, but +10 to Intimidate.
  • Cute – Other races tend to think the character is cute and cuddly. +10 to Charm and Gossip, but -20 to Intimidate.
  • Pariah – Folk mistrust and fear the character wherever he or she goes. Each day there is a 10% chance someone will be violently offended by the character, even if they have no good reason.
  • Savant – A savant gets a permanent +5 to Mechanics rolls.
  • Scapegoat - Tallfellows have reputations as troublemakers. Minor crimes, pranks, etc. are likely to be blamed on the character.
  • Weak – The character is small compared to other races; consequently, they are weaker. Subtract 5 points from Might at character creation.

Race Descriptions

  • Kathkari: There are two kinds – “red” (Creepy, Pariah) and “blue” (Cute, Brittle). The red ones are tall and sinewy, and have enormous black eyes and elongated skulls. The blue ones are short and slender, but share the huge black eyes. Kathkari – especially red ones – are greatly feared and mistrusted.
  • Moldai: Most, called “wee moldai,” are very small – the tallest stand but three feet. They have a natural affinity for machines, and their skill in clockwork engineering is legendary. They are also quick and agile, but have low fortitude compared to other races. Wee Moldai are in demand as mechanics, scholars, and nannies for Human children. Wee Moldai generally tend to follow the same ethnic groups that are found among Human. The two races can breed, resulting in the “tallfellow” variety of Wee Moldai.
  • Human: This race is (almost) just like modern real-world humanity. They are hardy, curious, and adaptable, and make up well over half of the world’s population. They are, in short, the norm. As such, they have no race rules. But some say they’re favored by the gods, so Human characters get one extra Fortune every session.

There are several ethnic groups among the Human. Although so much inbreeding has gone on that the distinctions are often blurry, some ethnic groups include:

  • Voltern – The “dominant race” in Vlodasai, Voltern are generally fair of hair and skin. Most are fairly tall. Their ancestors migrated here from across the Angry Sea and displaced the native Cartago.
  • Cartago – This olive-skinned, dark-haired race is the native ethnic group in Vlodasai, but today they are concentrated in the regions around Saltwash.
  • Ograthi – Ograthi are pale, with jet black hair and almond eyes. They originally inhabited the islands in the Angry Sea, but founded Mog Ograth in Vlodasai long before the Voltern conquest.
  • Marshlanders – Also called the Mahidi, these folk are technically a sub-group of the Ograthi. However, their culture is very distinct, and includes taboos against magic and intricate facial tattoos. Most marshlanders are Barbarians, who deeply resent Voltern expansion into their beloved Mahidi Marshes.
  • Jameriki – This broad racial group represents the people of Jamerik, Aanx, and Chaaldenaard, all of which are beyond the sea south of Vlodasai. Jameriki (or “jammies,” as they are often called) have swarthy skin and dark brown or black hair, and often go bearded. Jameriki are very rare in Vlodasai, but occasional traders or explorers visit the island from time to time.
  • Kufu – Kufu are rare in Vlodasai, and are only common on the Isle of Oranje. They are tall, with black hair and dark skin. Technology has come only recently to the Kufu – most are Barbarians.
  • Oranji – Oranji folk are sort of a bastard mixture of all races. They hail from the Isle of Oranje. They are generally thought to be inbred and somewhat decadent, and folk of mainland Vlodasai view them with a mixture of fascination and abhorrence.

The next step is to pick a class for your character. There are 12 classes – choose one, or roll for it.

d12 Class
1 Academic
2 Aeronaut
3 Barbarian
4 Bravo
5 Criminal
6 Dilettante
7 Mathemagician
8 Mechanic
9 Monk
10 Priest
11 Scout
12 Soldier

Each class has a Primary stat and a Secondary stat. These reflect the most important attributes for that class. There are no prerequisites – any character can be of any class (he just might not be very good at all of them).

When you “level up,” your primary stat increases by 5 and your secondary stat increases by 3. The other two stats increase by 1 each. You can do other things when you level up, too – see page X.

Characters start with the “starting skills” listed for their class, plus two free picks from a “skills package.” As characters level up, they learn new skills of their choice from the skill package and improve skills they already have. Characters can sometimes learn from skill packages of other class (again, see page X).

The character automatically takes the “class ability” listed. If the character later changes class, he keeps his original class ability and gains the new one, as well.
Finally, the class allows a character to gain a second attack at a certain level (either 3, 5, 7 or 9, depending on the class). If you later change class, you do not get a third attack.


  • Primary: Mind
  • Secondary: Will
  • Starting Skills: Knowledge, Research, Notice, Gossip + 2 free picks from skills package.
  • Skills Package: Charm, Dodge, Shoot, Navigate, Search, Mechanics, Sneak, Heal.
  • Class Ability: Brainiac – the Academic gets automatic successes on Knowledge rolls for his chosen specialty (pick one: Arcana, Lore, Monsters).
  • 1. Arcana – Knowledge of mathemagical spells and arcane items, the history of mathemagics and miracles and their practitioners.
  • 2. Lore – Knowledge of the history of Gonen’s World, great heroes of the past and their treasures, tombs and legacies; migrations and conquests, heraldry and legends of elder days.
  • 3. Monsters – Detailed familiarity with the monsters of Gonen’s World, their habitats, histories and dispositions.
  • Second Attack: The Academic gains a second attack at Level 9.
  • Description: Academics (sometimes called “road scholars”) are over-educated savants who, for one reason or another, often find themselves mixed up in mad adventures. Academia is not highly specialized in Gonen’s World – most men of learning dabble in many fields of research, from chemistry to history and beyond.


  • Primary: Grace
  • Secondary: Mind
  • Starting Skills: Dodge, Fight, Navigate, Pilot, + 2 free picks from skills package.
  • Skills Package: Block, Climb, Gossip, Hide, Shoot, Notice, Sneak, Mechanics.
  • Class Ability: Ace Pilot – the Aeronaut gets automatic successes on Pilot and Navigate rolls barring adverse conditions (bad weather, low visibility, engaging in or avoiding combat, having a damaged airship, doing a vehicle stunt, etc). Adverse conditions for Navigate rolls include bad weather, low visibility, lack of navigation equipment, and so on.
  • Second Attack: The Aeronaut gains a second attack at Level 7.
  • Description: Aeronauts sail the Seven Skies of Gonen’s World, and know how to pilot flying machines and other vehicles. Some are swashbuckling pirates, others staunch military officers. Still others are freelancers, flying for the highest bidder. One thing they all have in common is that they’re more at home in the air than on land.


  • Primary: Might
  • Secondary: Grace
  • Starting Skills: Fight, Block, Forage, Climb, + 2 free picks from skills package.
  • Skills Package: Dodge, Heal, Shoot, Swim, Track, Sneak, Hide, Intimidate.
  • Class Ability: Choose a type of Barbarian: Mahidi Marshlander, Kufu Warrior, Jameriki Nomad.
  • 1. Mahidi Marshlander – Marshlanders get a constant +10 to Will rolls to resist magical spells. When they encounter a threatening magic user, they immediately fly into a Marsh Fury, gaining a temporary double Life score, +10 to Might and Grace and -10 to Mind. While the fury lasts, the Barbarian will attack the magic user until dead; coming out of the fury requires a Will roll at -20.
  • 2. Kufu Warrior – Kufu get a constant +10 to Sneak rolls, as well as +10 to Hide rolls when in a jungle environment. During combat, the Kufu may choose at any time to enter a Jungle Rage – if he chooses not to, he must make a Will roll every round at a cumulative -10 per round to avoid involuntarily entering a rage. While in Jungle Rage, the Kufu Warrior gains double life, +20 to Fighting, and +2 Power.
  • 3. Jameriki Nomad – Nomads get a constant +20 on Might rolls to avoid Exhaustion; in a desert environment, the Nomad gets a +10 to Forage rolls. During combat, the Jameriki Nomad may choose to enter the Focus of Kesmer, gaining +20 Shoot and +2 Accuracy. The Nomad must be at Long range from his target or the Focus is lost.
  • Second Attack: The Barbarian gains a second attack at Level 5.
  • Description: Vast areas of Gonen’s World are still undeveloped. Barbarians hail from these “primitive” regions. Born and bred in the wild, they are tough and resourceful. Most who find their way to civilization have been banished from their own kind, but others are restless explorers who long to experience the splendor and squalor of civilization.


  • Primary: Grace
  • Secondary: Might
  • Starting Skills: Fight, Dodge, Sneak, Intimidate, + 2 free picks from skills package
  • Skills Package: Block, Shoot, Hide, Charm, Gossip, Sleight of Hand, Ride, Notice.
  • Class Ability: Dirty Fighter – Armed Bravos may automatically Block an attack once per round. Also, during combat, the Bravo may attempt a special Stunt which takes his entire turn but, if successful, will stun the enemy for one round, or 1d4 rounds on a critical success (or enemy critical failure). If the Bravo critically fails or the enemy critically succeeds, the Bravo is stunned for the next round.
  • Second Attack: The Bravo gains a second attack at Level 5.
  • Description: Bravos are urban street fighters. Some are bodyguards who work for legitimate politicians and merchants, but most are cutthroats and gangsters. Most bravos wear outlandish clothing and affect a highly stylized fighting stance. Most also die in the gutter. A very few, however, become true heroes.


  • Primary: Grace
  • Secondary: Will
  • Starting Skills: Sleight of Hand, Burgle, Gossip, Charm, + 2 free picks from skills package.
  • Skills Package: Intimidate, Fight, Dodge, Block, Shoot, Search, Notice, Climb.
  • Class Ability: Choose a specialty: Burglar or Assassin.
  • 1. Burglar – Burglars automatically succeed at Sneak and Burgle rolls for lockpicking, barring adverse conditions (high complexity locks, alert guards, etc.) and have a permanent +10 to Hide rolls in shadowy environments.
  • 2. Assassin – Assassins may backstab enemies for double damage – a successful backstab is essentially an automatic critical hit. Assassins do not have to sneak up on the target, only manage to get behind it.
  • Second Attack: The Criminal gains a second attack at Level 7.
  • Description: Criminals are found in every facet of society on Gonen’s World. Some are simple pickpockets, while others are vicious extortionists or cat burglars. Most criminals gravitate toward the big cities, where there are more lucrative opportunities for crime. They are by their very nature adventurers.


  • Primary: Will
  • Secondary: Mind
  • Starting Skills: Charm, Gossip, Notice, Knowledge, + 2 free picks from skills package.
  • Skills Package: Shoot, Dodge, Ride, Sneak, Hide, Intimidate, Sleight of Hand, Search.
  • Class Ability: Allowance – Every game season (about 72 days; see Calendar, page X) the Dilettante may access d4 x 1000 farins from a local bank. Furthermore, the Dilettante begins the campaign with a lander (100 farins) instead of normal starting funds.
  • Second Attack: The Dilettante gains a second attack at Level 9.
  • Description: Dilettantes are the ne’er-do-well offspring of the wealthy. They don’t have to be adventuring for a living, but they can afford to indulge themselves. Some are simply after thrills that a gentrified life can’t provide. Others bankroll mad schemes to recover ancient loot. All of them have idle hands.


  • Primary: Mind
  • Secondary: Grace
  • Starting Skills: Gossip, Knowledge, Research, Search, + 2 free picks from skills package.
  • Skills Package: Sleight of Hand, Hide, Dodge, Shoot, Charm, Sneak, Notice, Navigate.
  • Class Ability: Magic Math – The Mathemagician can create and cast spells (see Magic, page X).
  • Second Attack: The Mathemagician gains a second attack at Level 9.
  • Description: Mathemagicians know how to manipulate the sacred numbers spoken of in ancient texts. Through intense concentration and visualization of complex, counter-rotating geometric symbols, mathemagicians can change the universe. Many take great pride in creating new formulae. Some keep the knowledge hidden; some teach it to others. More than one deadly dispute has arisen between rivals over who really invented a spell…


  • Primary: Mind
  • Secondary: Might
  • Starting Skills: Mechanics, Research, Notice, Fight, + 2 free picks from skills package.
  • Skills Package: Block, Climb, Knowledge, Pilot, Search, Sleight of Hand, Navigate, Gossip.
  • Class Ability: Gear Monkey – The Mechanic can invent complex machines (see Inventions, page X).
  • Secondary Attack: The Mechanic gains a second attack at Level 7.
  • Description: Mechanics are field engineers. They are masters of technology, and understand the esoteric principles behind complex machines. Some may tinker with machines to make them more useful, while others may invent their own weird devices. In the pursuit of high adventure, these skills often come in handy.


  • Primary: Will
  • Secondary: Grace
  • Starting Skills: Fight, Block, Dodge, Notice, + 2 free picks from skills package.
  • Skills Package: Forage, Intimidate, Hide, Sneak, Knowledge, Search, Climb, Heal.
  • Class Ability: Choose a “school” for the monk: the Natural School, Cane and Bucket School, or Red Herring School.
  • 1. Natural School – A Monk of the Natural School gets a +10 to Fight rolls when unarmed (d4 + Power) and critical hits result in triple damage. In addition, the Monk gets an automatic Block the round after a successful attack.
  • 2. Cane and Bucket School - When using this style, the monk gets +10 to Fight rolls using improvised or found objects (traditionally, a cane and bucket). Such objects do d6+Power damage. In addition, the Monk gets an automatic Dodge on the round after a successful attack.
  • 3. Red Herring School – A Monk of the Red Herring School gets +20 to Tricks, as well as a constant +10 to Hide and Sneak rolls.
  • Second Attack: The Monk gains an extra attack at Level 3.
  • Description: Some say monks are a dying breed in Gonen’s World – in truth, they have always been rare. Monks aim to perfect a union of body and spirit. Some are almost priest-like in their devotion to the poor, while others use their powers to further their own ends. The history of Gonen’s World tells of both examples.


  • Primary: Will
  • Secondary: Might
  • Starting Skills: Block, Charm, Fight, Knowledge, + 2 free picks from skills package.
  • Skills Package: Gossip, Intimidate, Notice, Search, Sneak, Dodge, Research, Heal.
  • Class Ability: Hand of God – The Priest can channel the power of the gods to cause miracles (see Magic, page X).
  • Second Attack: The Priest gains an extra attack at Level 7.
  • Description: “Turn the other cheek” is not a tenet of most religions of Gonen’s World. Most priests are holy warriors, calling energy from on high (or down low!) to smite the enemies of their gods. Some religions are more peaceful, and their adherents devote themselves to the care of the poor. Most are out to spread the faith at any cost.


  • Primary: Might
  • Secondary: Mind
  • Starting Skills: Track, Forage, Search, Shoot, + 2 free picks from skills package.
  • Skills Package: Climb, Fight, Block, Dodge, Hide, Sneak, Ride, Swim.
  • Class Ability: Trail Monkey – Scouts automatically succeed at Track and Forage rolls barring adverse conditions, as well as +10 to Navigate and Hide rolls while in the wilderness (does not apply to towns or cities). Scouts may also move through any type of wilderness at 1.5 times the rate of other travelers.
  • Second Attack: The Scout gains an extra attack at Level 7.
  • Description: Scouts are the rangers of the wild places of Gonen’s World. Most are solitary wanderers, but some act as guides or explorers for merchants and the military. Many airship captains hire scouts in case of an unscheduled landing. Their work often puts them face-to-face with danger, so scouts are no stranger to adventure.


  • Primary: Might
  • Secondary: Will
  • Starting Skills: Fight, Block, Shoot, Dodge, + 2 free picks from skills package.
  • Skills Package: Climb, Forage, Intimidate, Notice, Hide, Sneak, Ride, Swim.
  • Class Ability: Rally the Troops – Once per combat, the Soldier may make a Will roll to Rally the Troops. If successful, his side gets +10 to Fight and Shoot rolls for the remainder of the combat.
  • Second Attack: The Soldier gains an extra attack at Level 3.
  • Description: Gonen’s World is a violent place. Some regions have known almost constant warfare throughout history. Soldiers serve as the backbone of the military, whether that military belongs to a vast nation or a small city-state. Others take their skills and go mercenary, selling their sabers to whoever will pay.

There are 24 skills. At character creation, each is linked to a stat. When you take a skill, you have it at the same score as the stat it’s linked to.
If you don’t have a skill, your score in it is equal to half the current score of the linked stat.

Later, when you level up and improve your stats, the linked skills will also improve.

Skill Descriptions
Skills are very broad – Shoot lets you shoot anything, for example – you don’t need a separate skill for each weapon. However, the Pilot skill requires further specialization.

  • Block (Might) – Use this during combat when you want to use force to stop an incoming blow. If you are unarmed, you can only Block unarmed attacks.
  • Burgle (Grace) – Use this to pick locks, break and enter, or other physical aspects of crime. If you want to pick pockets, use Sleight of Hand.
  • Charm (Will) – Use this to persuade, influence or seduce others with the power of your personality.
  • Climb (Might) – Use this to scale walls, trees, cliffs, airship rigging, etc. No roll is normally needed for climbing ladders, unless there are adverse circumstances.
  • Dodge (Grace) – Use this during combat when you want to use your agility to avoid an incoming blow. You can’t Dodge some ranged attacks.
  • Fight (Might) – Use this to make melee attacks.
  • Forage (Mind) – Use this to find sustenance. This normally applies to wilderness settings, but it’s possible to forage through trash or other debris as well.
  • Gossip (Will) – Use this to gather information or spread rumors.
  • Heal (Mind) – Use this to provide first aid and restore some Life to wounded characters.
  • Hide (Grace) – Use this to avoid detection. Obviously, you can’t hide if there are no hiding places nearby…
  • Intimidate (Will) – Use this to scare others into doing what you want – or at least into making them think about it!
  • Knowledge (Mind) – Use this to see whether you remember bits of common knowledge, trivia, history, and so on.
  • Mechanics (Mind) – Use this to diagnose and repair complex machines. Only the Mechanic class can do this without a penalty.
  • Navigate (Mind) – Use this to figure out where you are and where you’re going, whether on land, sea or in the sky.
  • Notice (Mind) – Use this to perceive what’s going on around you.
  • Pilot (Grace) – Use this to operate vehicles, including airships and clockwork golems. You must specialize in Drive, Fly, or Sail (see Vehicles, page x). When operating vehicles that require a different specialization, you roll at -10. Later, if you take the skill again, you can specialize in a different area.
  • Research (Mind) – Use this to investigate by searching through written material – libraries, laboratories, and so on.
  • Ride (Grace) – Use this to ride animals and any vehicle with the word “cycle” in it.
  • Search (Mind) – Use this to find clues, hidden doors or specific items.
  • Shoot (Grace) – Use this to make ranged attacks in combat.
  • Sleight of Hand (Grace) – Use this to pick pockets, palm objects, and perform other feats of legerdemain.
  • Sneak (Grace) – Use this to move without being seen or heard.
  • Swim (Might) – Use this to stay afloat and move through water, raw sewage, etc.
  • Track (Mind) – Use this to follow a trail.

A bogey is a special subplot for each character. Normally, you only get one. You can’t pick it – you have to roll for it. You don’t have to take the bogey, either – but you don’t get another one.

d12 Bogey
1 Secret Shame
2 Chosen One
3 Item of Power
4 Illuminated
5 Demon Lover
6 Out of Time
7 Pawn
8 God's Favorite
9 Mutant!
10 Nemesis
11 Famous Name
12 Possessed by Corso

OK, so maybe you want to just choose one. Ask your GM.

Sometimes, bogeys will be acquired during play.

Bogey Descriptions:
It’s up to the GM and player to get together and work out the details of the bogey. They are there to inspire creativity and aid in storytelling, not to dictate your character’s future. Have fun with them, but don’t let them dominate the storyline for everyone else.

  • Secret Shame – The character has a dark secret – something really, really bad – that could do irreparable harm if it ever got out. Whether that dark secret will ever surface to haunt the character, only the GM can say…
  • Chosen One – Fate has chosen you to fulfill some task – whether you want it or not! Perhaps you’re meant to lead an enslaved race to freedom, or find some sacred artifact, or have a holy child. Even with fate on your side, it won’t be easy. And if you reject your destiny, fate just might have something worse in store for you…
  • Item of Power – The character starts the game with a fabled relic. The character may not even know what it is at first, but it holds great power. And, of course, it’s likely that someone else will be out to get it.
  • Illuminated – There are many secret societies in Gonen’s World, and the character belongs to one of them. He has been initiated into the lower mysteries of the group, and knows the secret signs and cants. But he doesn’t know everything…!
  • Demon Lover – There are 700 demons in Gonen’s World, and one of them has the hots for your hero. The creature visits you occasionally (10% chance per night) and can be called on for favors. Of course, this comes with its own set of problems…
  • Out of Time – You got lost somewhere along the line – the timeline, that is. Due to some temporal mishap (probably due to adventurers playing with machines they don’t understand), you’ve been thrust into a time that isn’t your own. No, you didn’t bring anything with you…
  • Pawn – You’re just a pawn in someone else’s end game. What that is, you don’t know. In fact, you don’t even know you’re a pawn, at first. But as the game begins, you start to wonder if there isn’t some grand, secret plan behind it all. What you do from there is up to you…
  • God’s Favorite – From time to time in the history of Gonen’s World, the gods have taken a liking to some mortal. It may not even be a particularly gifted mortal – no one can fathom the mind of God, after all. But some deity somewhere has a plan for you, and may protect you until that plan ends. Whether that end kills you is another story…
  • Mutant – The alien element known as Gaxium permeates some parts of Gonen’s World. Where that happens, the folk nearby tend to wind up a little…strange. You have some physical mutation. How obvious it is, and whether it has any benefit, is up for debate. But in general, the more helpful it is, the more noticeable it is.
  • Nemesis – Someone out there hates you and wants to destroy you. There’s a good chance your enemy will show up during any given session (10 to 50 percent, depending on what’s going on in the story). The exact nature of your enemy is up for discussion, but the enemy must have at least some minions at his disposal.
  • Famous Name – You are blessed – or cursed – with a name everyone recognizes, like Orijiabi or VaughnMaughn. One of your parents (or an aunt or uncle or grandpa or whatever) is well-known. Probably, they’re a famous hero or noble. This could be good or bad, depending on how people feel about your namesake…
  • Possessed by Corso – Every now and then, your character is possessed by the spirit of Corso, an infamous folk hero. There is a 10 percent chance per session Corso shows up. The GM rolls for this in secret before the game. If Corso is scheduled to appear, the GM should start asking you to make Will rolls after every 15 minutes of play. If you fail, Corso shows up for 15 minutes, then he’s gone for the session. While you’re possessed by Corso, you must act as smarmy and lecherous as you can.

When you’ve accumulated 10 Glory, you level up. Every time you do so, this happens:

  • You gain 2 Life.
  • Your primary stat increases by 5.
  • Your secondary stat increases by 3.
  • Your other two stats increase by 1.

In addition, you can choose to:

  • Improve two class skills by 5 each; OR
  • Improve one class skill by 5 and learn a new class skill at the level of the linked stat; OR
  • Learn a skill from another class, but do not improve any other skills, OR
  • Improve a non-class skill by 5, but do not improve any other skills, OR
  • Change class, but do nothing else.

Remember that when you improve a stat, any skill linked to that stat will also improve. This is cumulative with improving a class skill by 5.

Also note that once you have gained the ability to make a second attack, you never gain the ability to make a third. For example, if a Soldier changed classes to become an Aeronaut, he would not gain another attack at Level 7 (when Aeronauts normally get one).

Every adventurer needs some stuff. You don’t need to purchase starting equipment – simply make a “wish list” of the things you think you could reasonably be expected to have.

Starting Wealth - When the game begins, each players starts with 2d6 farins, in addition to whatever equipment the GM allows.

Monetary System – The basic unit of exchange is the gold piece, or “farin.” One farin is equal to 20 silver pieces, or “stars.” One star is equal to 10 copper pieces, or “gonzos.” Big spenders may want to trade 100 farins for one platinum bar, or “lander.”
Notation is as follows: “f” for farins, “s” for stars, and “g” for gonzos.” So 15 farins, 8 stars and 2 gonzos would be written as “15f 8s 2g.”

Weapons and Armor
Here are prices, stats and descriptions of the weapons and armor of Gonen’s World. See “Combat” on page x to learn how these weapons actually work in the game.

Bash Weapons

  • Club (free, or 5f) Damage d4 + Power – Clubs are readily available, as many masquerade as “walking sticks.”
  • Mace (30f) Damage d8 + Power – Maces cover a broad range of specialized bashing weapons; though the standard form is a bit archaic, municipal officers and other peacekeeping forces often prefer them to bloodletting weapons.
  • Staff (free, or 10f) Damage d6 + Power – Like clubs, staves are readily available and seemingly innocuous.
  • Warhammer (100f) Damage d12 + Power – For anyone other than a barbarian to carry a warhammer would be a ridiculous conceit…

Slash Weapons

  • Dagger (1f – 5f) Damage d4 + Power – Almost everybody’s got one – why don’t you?
  • Bayonet (5f) Damage d6 + Power – The bayonet is mounted on the muzzle of a rifle. The damage given here assumes the user is thrusting with the whole rifle; if not, it counts as a dagger).
  • Blowgun (10f) Special – In use by barbarians and assassins, blowgun darts are almost always coated with some sort of poison. Though they are technically slash weapons in that they poke through the skin, they do no actual damage. Instead, the target must make a Might roll to overcome the poison (see page x).
  • Bow (25f) Damage d6 + Accuracy – Hunters, rural militias and barbarians keep the art of the bow alive in an age of gunfire. Arrows cost 5s each.
  • Broadsword (25 – 50f) Damage d10 + Power – Although somewhat archaic, some military commanders, showy bravos and primitives find broadswords useful.
  • Saber (10f – 30f) Damage d6 + Power – A staggeringly wide variety of short swords, cutlasses, and scimitars are covered by this category.
  • Spear (10f) Damage d8 + Power – Spears represent those carried by barbarians, and modern anti-cavalry pole arms. When thrown, spears still use Power, not Accuracy, but the thrower makes a Shoot roll.

Bullet Weapons

  • Repeater (250f) Damage d12 + Accuracy; Medium Range – This fearsome rifle holds a magazine of eight bullets and can be mounted on a tripod for +5 to Shoot rolls, but its expense makes it a lethal luxury.
  • Revolver (75f) Damage d6 + Accuracy; Medium Range – The famous “quadgun,” this pistol is common among military officers, bravos, criminals, and aeronauts.
  • Rifle (125f) Damage d8 + Accuracy; Long Range – This weapon is the mainstay of Vlodasai’s military forces, bandit gangs, pirates, and other marauders. Most rifles can mount a bayonet, making it a useful melee weapon as well. Most models are bolt-action and must be reloaded after each shot.
  • Scattergun (100f) Damage 2d10, Short Range – This weapon’s muzzle is fan-shaped; it sprays bullets in a 45-degree arc. No Shoot roll is necessary. Anyone in the way (GM’s call) must make Grace rolls or take damage.
  • Snubgun (50f) Damage d4 + Accuracy; Short Range – This small, two-shot pistol is easy to hide, and is popular with dilettantes, spies, or anyone else who wants to look unarmed.

Burn Weapons

  • Gaxling Gun (300f) – Damage 3d12. This weapon fires a fearsome cone of blue Gaxium-burning flame. A “gax tank” in a backpack provides the fuel. Unfortunately, the weapon is notoriously unstable – a critical failure results in the backpack blowing up, causing 3d12 damage to the shooter and everyone else in his range increment.
  • Hand Bomb (20f) – Damage 3d10. This is simply a black ball (about the size of a softball) filled with shrapnel and an explosive charge. You have to light the fuse the round before you throw it. It hits everyone in a specific range increment; they may make Grace rolls for half damage. On a critical failure, the hand bomb goes off in your hand.

Heavy Weapons
The following weapons must be mounted on vehicles or buildings.

  • Ball Gun (200f) Damage 3d10 Bash – The ball gun is a simple cannon. Its balls are about the size of bowling balls, and are designed to bash through heavy armor. It can be fired once every other round. It must be mounted. Balls cost 5f each.
  • Concussion Bomb (500f) Damage 2d10 x 10 Bash – The concussion bomb is about the size of a typical barrel. Highly unstable, each bomb holds thousands of pounds of pressurized Gaxium. They are primarily designed to knock down buildings.
  • Incendiary Bomb (500f) – Damage 2d10 x 10 Burn. The Big Bomb is just that. It’s about the size of a bale of hay. You can’t throw this sucker – it’s got to be dropped out of an airship.
  • Lightning Gun (375f) – Damage 4d12 Burn. The lightning gun actually fires lightning, drawn from the air by magnetic crystals. It is chiefly used to set fire to the bags of enemy airships.
  • Spike Gun (250f) – Damage 3d12. This is essentially a ballista that uses an explosive charge to set of its missile. Its sole purpose is to poke holes in airship bags.


  • Cloth (Cost Varies) Bash 2, Slash 1, Bullet 0, Burn 0 - Regular clothes. Something, after all, is better than nothing.
  • Leather (150f) Bash 4, Slash 2, Bullet 1, Burn 0 – This is actually quite rigid, and is usually molded into a pattern of some sort.
  • Rubber (300f) Bash 4, Slash 4, Bullet 2, Burn 1 – Rubber armor is thick and flexible. However, it is extremely hot (-10 on tests for Exhaustion). It comes in many colors, but the standard is dark blue or black.
  • Metal Mesh (500f) Bash 8, Slash 6, Bullet 4, Burn 0 – Metal Mesh is actually rubber with chain mail on top. Due to the way this armor is made, you can’t have mesh added to pre-existing rubber armor.
  • Fire Suit (750f) Bash 0, Slash 0, Bullet 0, Burn 8 – The fire suit is a bulky, awkward suit that offers great protection against flame. Otherwise, it’s pretty much worthless.

Other Gear
There are hundreds of mundane goods available; items on equipment lists from most fantasy games will have counterparts in Gonen’s World, so these lists don’t include things like rope, iron spikes, etc. The costs given here are just guidelines; many factors will influence final price, such as location, current events, distance from large cities, and so on. Ultimately, the price of an item is up to the GM.

Clothing, Tools and Gadgets

  • Academic’s Satchel (50f) – This over-the-shoulder bag contains writing instruments, journals, loose paper, envelopes, ink, and other useful items.
  • Ammo (1f) - You can’t do bullet damage without bullets. Most bullets are four for a farin. For simplicity, assume that all bullets fit all guns.
  • Bravo’s Jacket (30f) – This short jacket is elaborately adorned with sequins, usually in the shape of a sea animal such as a shark or octopus.
  • Camera (300f) – This device burns an image onto a glass plate. Unfortunately, it’s both bulky and fragile.
  • Camping Gear (150f) – This includes a tent, pots and pans, firepot, rope, pegs, and a small axe and hammer. Together, it fits in a compact camp box.
  • Clockwork Calculator (125f) – This device (somewhat resembling an alarm clock) is used to aid researchers in mathematical calculations.
  • 'Dai Rag (1f) – The 'Dai Rag (short for “Moldai”) is simply a handkerchief, meant to be tied around the head.
  • Dissecting Kit (30f) – This is a small box with tools for studying plant and animal specimens. It includes several slides and test tubes to store samples.
  • Doctor’s Bag and Supplies (40f) – A leather bag with light surgical instruments and materials for the treatment of wounds. Provides +10 to Heal rolls.
  • Elaborate Outfit (100-300f) – It’s just like the simple outfit, but costs ten times as much. Still, it’ll get you into the stock exchange or the opera.
  • Field Glasses (50f) – These “binoculars” make distant objects appear closer, giving the user +10 Notice.
  • Flight Helmet (20f) – This leather helmet usually features tinted goggles.
  • Fuel (50f) - A simple keg of Gaxium.
  • Gax Lantern (75f) – Burns liquid-crystal Gaxium for 50 hours, then must be refueled for 20f.
  • Grapple Gun (200f) – The grapple gun is armed with a huge three-pronged hook on a chain. The chain is attached to a winch. When the hook is fired into an enemy airship, the winch then pulls it close. Some intrepid aeronauts have even been known to dash across the chain for a boarding action.
  • Hook Shot (125f) – This hand-held device fires a hook on a fine chain. It fires from a crossbow-like device that allows the user to winch himself forward along the chain. It stretches up to 100 feet.
  • Laboratory Apparatus (320f) – A large, heavy trunk that can be worn on the back in a pinch. Contains various tools to create inventions in the field, and provides a +10 to Mechanics rolls.
  • Lamp Hat (35f) – Burns liquid crystal Gaxium for 20 hours, then must be refueled for 5f.
  • Lockpicks (50f) – No criminal should be without these.

Mechanic’s Toolkit (100f) – Basic tools for field repairs. They come in a compact hip bag. They allow repairs with no penalty.

  • Microscope (50f) – Makes small objects appear larger.

Navigational Charts (20f) – These basic charts show prevailing winds, weather forecasts and other useful information for Aeronauts. They are usually produced yearly, in almanac form.

  • Navigator’s Tools (100f) – Contains a sextant, compass and other tools to aid the harried navigator. Provides a +10 to Navigate rolls.
  • Overcloak (15f) – This hooded cloak is lined with fleece on the inside for warmth, and oil resin on the outside to keep out wet.
  • Personal Gear (20f) – This package consists of a back pack or sling bag, mess kit, canteen, blanket, razor and assorted personal hygiene items.
  • Simple Outfit (25f) – Consists of trousers, shoes or boots, shirt, light jacket and hat. The exact style is up to you, but it’s nothing fancy.
  • Trap, Capture (10f) – A simple tripwire mechanism with spring-loaded “ankle noose.” Usually used on animals…
  • Trap, Killing (50f) – A tripwire/spike mechanism used to deliver 3d6 damage to the unwary victim.
  • Travel Rations (10s) – This amount feeds one person for one day. It’s a mixture of nuts, dried meat (usually fish) and “hard-tack” biscuits.
  • Universal Ticket (100f) – Accepted by most passenger airships, this ticket is good for a one-way trip anywhere within Vlodasai.
  • Wig (20-100f) – Most of the nobility wear wigs. They vary wildly in quality, but in general, the bigger the better. They come in all colors.
  • Zealot’s Charm (25f) - This religious symbol, made of some base metal, shell or wood, is thought to bring good luck.

The Obligatory Tavern
The following items are common in taverns, inns, and hotels. Obviously, finer establishments will charge more.

  • Simple Meal (5s) – A bowl of stew (vegetables, broth and scraps of local meat), hunk of bread and cheese.
  • Elaborate Meal (3f) – A salad, bread, local meat dish, hot vegetables or rice, and a desert pastry.
  • Pampering (1f) – A bath, with optional shave and haircut. Private facilities are not often available.
  • Beer (1f) – Prices actually range anywhere from 5s to 5f depending on quality. The average beer is usually a Saltwash Gold, Highwheat, or Col’s, but countless local brews exist.
  • Hard Stuff (1f per shot, 7f per bottle) – Again, prices fluctuate wildly. Common hard liquors include Black Island No. 9, Grodi’s Fine & Sour, and the ubiquitous (and cheap) Marsh Mash.
  • Hostel Quarters (1f) – A cot in a corner, in a room with many others.
  • Private Quarters (5f) – A more-or-less comfortable bed, small table and two chairs in a cramped, but private, room.
  • Elaborate Suite (25f) – Only for the discriminating traveler, and rarely available at all, the elaborate suite features two or more rooms with overstuffed furniture, private toilet facilities and bath.

This game has no rules for encumbrance. In general, the GM should let a character carry whatever doesn’t seem absolutely ridiculous. If common sense indicates a character is overloaded, the GM is encouraged to use rules for Exhaustion (see page x).

Here are the nuts and bolts of how to “do things” in the game.

Stat Roll – Every time you try to do something with a chance of failure, make a stat roll. That means roll d100 and compare the result to one of your stats. If you roll equal to or less than your stat score, you succeed.

Which stat you roll against depends on what you’re doing. For physical tasks you’d make Might or Grace rolls. For mental or spiritual tasks, make Mind and Will rolls. Ultimately, it’s up to the GM what stat you roll against.

Modifier – If circumstances make a task easier or harder than average (whatever the GM thinks that is), the stat you roll against is modified up or down, depending. The GM should use 10 percent increments.

In the rules, this reads like “+10 to something,” meaning you add 10 to your stat before you compare your dice result to it (which makes it easier to succeed). And of course, “-10” means to subtract it from your stat (which makes it harder).

The GM can assess any penalty or bonus, but should rarely give more than plus or minus 30.

Unless stated otherwise, all modifiers – from rules, circumstances, whatever – are cumulative.

Critical Success and Failure – If you roll 01-05, you’ve scored a Critical Success. That means you carried off the attempt in some spectacular fashion. If you roll a 96-00, that’s a Critical Failure. That means you not only fail, but something extra bad happens.

Skill Roll – Since skills are linked to stats, skill rolls are really just stat rolls.
If you don’t have a skill, you roll against HALF the value of the linked stat (or not at all, if the GM thinks you’d have no chance of success).

If you have a skill, you roll against that skill’s stat, or the stat plus skill level (see Leveling Up, page X).

Opposed Rolls – Sometimes, two characters will directly compete – when a burglar sneaks past a guard, for example, or when two character scramble for a fallen weapon. In that case, both characters roll against whatever stat or skill the GM thinks is most appropriate. The lowest successful score wins. If there’s a tie, it’s a stalemate.

Cooperative Rolls – In some cases, one character can “help” another increase chance of success on a roll. The helping character makes whatever roll is necessary. If this succeeds, the helped character get a +10 on the task. Multiple people can help out, unless the GM says they can’t for some reason.

Long-Term Rolls – Some tasks can’t be completed quickly. Doing things like building a clockwork golem, repairing an airship’s Gaxium core, or creating a new spell require a roll at the beginning, middle, and end of the project. If any roll is failed, the character must go back a step.

Combat should be fast and full of action. This system allows a great deal of freedom, and encourages you to come up with your own moves.

First, each side in the battle rolls a d6 to see who has initiative that round (that is, who will go first). Choose a player to roll for the heroes – the GM rolls for the bad guys.
Whichever side got the highest result on the d6 goes first.

Roll for initiative EVERY round. It’s possible that a side could go “twice in a row” by going last in a round, then first in the next one.

Who goes first when it’s the players’ turn can be determined in one of the following ways. Pick the option that works best for your group:

1) They act in whatever individual order they wish, as long as there are no arguments. This allows them to use Tricks and Stunts to maximum advantage. If arguments or time-wasting is persistent, the GM arbitrarily picks who will go first, and play proceeds to the left.

2) Characters act in order of Grace, with a d6 roll deciding ties.

3) Before the session starts, the GM hands out cards numbered 1-20 (3x5 cards or blank business cards serve this purpose quite well). Players may trade, making whatever deals they feel appropriate. Once they’ve figured that out, the GM writes down the order, and it stays that way for the whole session.

On the GM’s turn, individual NPCs and monsters can go in whatever order the GM wishes.

Actions in Combat
Here’s what you can do on your turn:

  • Move twice
  • Move and Attack
  • Trick and Attack
  • Stunt and Attack
  • Trick twice (but not against the same opponent)
  • Ready/Recover and Move or Attack
  • Attack twice (if you can).

Note that for all purposes, “Attack” and “Cast a Spell” can be considered the same action. That means if a Priest or Mathemagician qualifies for two attacks per turn, they can cast two spells per turn.

In combat, characters start off at various ranges (extreme, long, medium, short, close) relative to each other. The exact distance doesn’t really matter.

When you chose to Move, you get one step closer or farther from your target – your choice. If you Move twice, it’s two steps.

If you’re in a fight and try to run away, your opponents will most likely get a free “parting shot” on you.

Trick or Stunt
Here’s where players get a chance to make the rules work for them. Rather than provide a long list of possible actions, this game gives players the freedom to come up with whatever special moves they think would give them an advantage.

Do this by declaring either a Trick or Stunt. Exactly what those are is up to you, but when it boils down to rolling the dice, this is the guideline:

Trick – Say how you plan to trick your opponent. This can include any mental feat designed to fool or fluster the enemy (see examples, below). Make opposed Mind rolls. If you win, your opponent’s next action is at -10. If you fail, your trick has the opposite effect – your opponent, seeing through the trick, actually gets a +10 on their next action. If you both fail, there is no bonus, but no penalty.

On a critical success with a Trick, you get a +20 instead of a +10.

You can trick someone you’re not fighting. You can make two Tricks on your turn, but not against the same person.

Stunt – A stunt is a heroic combat maneuver. This includes any creative use of surroundings or movement to give yourself an advantage over your opponent. Make opposed Grace rolls. If you win, you get a +10 to your next action. If you fail, you have a penalty of -10 on your next action (or more, depending on the exact nature of the stunt; stumbling and falling off a chandelier are two very different things). If you and your opponent both fail, you still suffer the penalty – failure assumes you’ve stumbled or fallen or something.

You can perform a stunt against someone you’re not fighting, although the penalty for failure may be more arbitrary (and totally up to the GM). You can only make one Stunt on your turn.

Like Tricks, a critical success on a Stunt results in a +20 bonus.

Please note that to “Move” is to open or close a range increment. Normally, a stunt will not result in this type of movement. Exceptions are when you slide down a banister, swing on a rope or chandelier. Ultimately, it’s the GM’s call.

Obviously, Tricks and Stunts leave a lot open for interpretation. The GM should allow most attempts, as long as the player is being creative. That being said, a Trick or Stunt should be something special, and players shouldn’t be able to get away with being vague.

Also, it should be noted that the same tricks and stunts will not always work over and over. Word gets around…

Use this to change weapons, reload a weapon, grab weapons that have been dropped, ready an item such as a scroll from your pack, etc.

There are two types of attacks – melee (hand-to-hand) and ranged (shooting or throwing something).

  • Melee – To make a melee attack, simply make a Fight roll. If you succeed, you hit your opponent (unless he can defend). You can make a melee attack against anyone who is in the same range increment as you.
  • Ranged – To make a ranged attack, make a Shoot roll. If you succeed, you hit. Most ranged weapons cannot be dodged, but thrown weapons can be. When throwing a Spear, use Shoot, but apply Power instead of Accuracy. Ranges are close, short, medium, long, and extreme, as noted above. A weapon’s range is the maximum distance at which it is effective. There are no modifiers for range – “aiming” is an assumed action, and provides no further bonus. That being said, the GM is free to use common sense and provide a modifier every now and then.

Criticals – If you score a critical hit (01-05) on the attack roll, you do double damage (usually enough to kill most enemies). If you score a critical miss (96-00) your weapon breaks (if you are unarmed, you do unarmed damage to yourself). A weapon broken this way cannot be repaired.

Optional: That might be too harsh for some groups. Alternatively, a critical hit will double the weapon’s damage die and a critical miss results in a fumble (must Ready/Recover).

Defense – If you are hit, make a Dodge or Block roll (your choice). If you succeed, you have avoided damage.

Rolling for Damage
If you hit someone, roll the damage dice for that weapon (see “The Generic Armory” on page x for descriptions of ) and say what type of damage it is. There are four types of damage – Bash, Slash, Bullet, and Burn.

  • Bash damage is any sort of pummeling, crushing, or blunt trauma damage.
  • Slash damage includes piercing, cutting, poking, sharp-pointy weapons.
  • Bullet damage is just that.
  • Burn damage is fire, and can also include freezing, radiation, etc.

Damage reduction from Armor
If you take wounds while wearing armor, the armor may “absorb” the damage. Each type of armor has a number for each of the four types of damage (see page x). It absorbs that amount of the damage type. Whatever is left over gets through as damage.

Example – You have a Revolver, and do 10 Bullet damage to your opponent. He is wearing Rubber armor (2 vs. Bullet), and so takes 8 wounds.

Being Wounded
When you take wounds, they are subtracted from your Life. When your Life is reduced to zero or below, roll 1d4 on the Death Table (see page x). Add 1 to your roll for each point below zero. So, if you are at -3, roll 1d4+3 on the Death Table.

d4+? Bash Slash Bullet Burn
4 KO KO KO Maim
5 KO KO Maim Maim
6 KO Maim Maim Maim
7 Maim Maim Maim Maim
8 Maim Maim Maim Death
9 Maim Maim Death Death
10 Maim Death Death Death
11 Death Death Death Death
12 Death Death Death Death

Optional – If your group wants to make combat more deadly, roll 1d6+whatever on the Death Table.

Only read the result for the type of damage that makes you roll on the table. If you continue to take more wounds after rolling on the table once, don’t roll again – you’re automatically dead.

  • Knockout – You are knocked unconscious, but can be revived later with a successful Heal roll.
  • Maimed – You suffer some horrible disfigurement. The GM chooses the nature of the injury. Most likely this will be a lost limb, eye, serious scars, or whatever. The end result is that you’ll suffer a permanent -20 when you need that body part (-20 Grace to Climb if you have no hand, for example, or -20 Charm if you’re horribly scarred, etc.).

The GM can determine the affected body part randomly (with a hit location die or some other means) or simply choose the most probable body part.

  • Death – You’re dead. Roll up a new character, unless you have a resurrection spell handy…

Optional: High level Priests (20+) have the ability to raise dead. There is a flat 1 in 4 chance such a priest will be in any given temple at any given time. A body must be raised within 24 hours of death.

Characters naturally heal at a rate of 4 Life per day, provided they stabilize their wounds (a Heal roll). If you attempt to stabilize your own wounds, you do so at -10.
A successful Heal roll also restores 1d4 life immediately if the character has any Life at all. If the character has negative Life, a successful Heal roll restores the character to 1 Life.

Other Combat Rules

  • Unarmed Attacks – When you make an unarmed attack, do not roll damage dice for the weapon (because there is no weapon). Instead, just apply your Power. Unarmed attacks do Bash damage. You can’t Block an attack from a weapon if you’re unarmed.
  • Grappling – To grapple an opponent, make an unarmed Fight roll; your opponent defends normally. If he fails the defense, instead of doing damage you grapple your opponent. Both of you are at +20 to hit, if any bystanders decide to attack.

The only thing your opponent can do is try to break the grapple. Starting the next round, both of you make opposed Might rolls. If you win, the opponent stays grappled, and you can do unarmed damage (without a Fight roll) as if you had a damage die of d6 (that is, d6 + Power). This is Bash damage. If your opponent wins, he breaks free.

  • Ganging Up – If there are multiple attackers on a single opponent, everyone gets +10 for each attacker beyond the first. This maxes out at +30, although other modifiers may still apply.
  • Running Away – If you flee combat, make opposed Grace rolls with your opponent. If you lose, your opponent gets a free attack on you from the rear. You can’t defend against this.
  • Assassinations – If you can attack an opponent who is completely unaware of you, you can simply kill him (or knock him out – your choice) with no Fight roll or Shoot roll (or damage roll) necessary. You must make a Sneak roll to get within Close range, then make another Sneak roll as you make the final approach (these are both opposed rolls, versus the victim’s Notice, as usual). If the victim notices your approach, combat proceeds normally. If he does not, he’s done for. You may also Assassinate opponents who are KO.

These things aren’t combat, but they can still kill you…or least, scare the crap out of you. Or make you sick. Or smash you. You get the picture.

Falling – If you fail a Climb roll, you’ll fall. You can also fall if you’re near a ledge and something happens to upset your balance (the GM says when).
If you fall from a ledge or tree or anything else with reasonable hand-holds nearby, you get a Grace roll to stop the fall. Otherwise, you take d6 Bash damage for each 10 feet you fall.

Exhaustion – Any time the GM thinks you’re pushing your character too far, you’ll have to make a Might roll after each hour of activity. If you fail, you’ll get Tired (-10 to all rolls). If you keep pushing, you’ll wind up Fatigued (-20) or, finally, Exhausted (-30). Keep pushing it, and you start taking d6 Bash damage (armor doesn’t count) with every failed test.

Exposure – Common sense and the GM’s say-so must dictate whether characters need to protect themselves from the elements. After awhile, extreme heat or cold can result in damage (treat all exposure as Burn damage). After each hour of exposure, you must make a Might roll. If you fail, take d6 damage. Obviously, if this keeps up, you’re done for…

The Fear – Any time characters are confronted with anything both sinister and supernatural (an undead creature, for example) they must make a Will roll. If they fail, they get The Fear. When you’ve got The Fear, all rolls are at -20 and you must double move away from the source of fear.

Disease – Unfortunately, disease is as rampant in Gonen’s World as it is in ours. To avoid infection, make a Might roll. Failure means you catch the disease, and suffer its symptoms. There are a multitude of diseases, ranging from deadly to mildly annoying. Here are a few:

  • Rutworm – This disease is not deadly, but will cause severe intestinal cramping and associated nastiness for d6 days, during which time you are at -10 to all tests. You catch it from ingesting contaminated food or water. There is no cure, other than to wait it out.
  • Purple Fever – This disease is potentially deadly, but most people live through it. Victims suffer a high fever and their tongue becomes purple and swollen, making the simple act of breathing a constant agony. It lasts for d4 weeks, during which time you are at -20 to all tests. Every week, you must make a Will roll (without the minus 20!) or die. Although it is said to be spread by spider bites, Academics assure people that is an old wives’ tale. There is no cure, other than to wait it out.
  • Ariel’s Revenge – This social disease only affects men. Its effects are similar to leprosy, but only one part of the male anatomy is affected…there are various folk remedies, but alas, no cure. While the cause of the disease is unknown, some folk believe it is a punishment visited upon rapists by the demigoddess Ariel.

Poison – Like disease, poison is resisted with a Might roll. Failure means the poison takes effect. While there are many things in Gonen’s World that are poisonous, a couple of tried-and-tested poisons are given here:

  • Sphynx Spoor – The spoor of the Sphynx, a creature common in the mountains of a faraway land called Jamerik, is the most deadly of all poisons, causing instant death with a failed Will roll. Luckily, it is extremely rare and expensive, with one dose costing as much as 500f.
  • Gax Spittle – The sap of a tree that has grown near a Gaxium deposit is a powerful poison, although it’s usually not deadly unless it is administered to someone who is already weak. Each dose causes 2d6 Burn damage, and costs about 20f.
  • Jammy Mind Trick – This sweet-tasting, syrupy substance comes from the Great Thorny Plant of Jamerik (a vast, living cactus that covers half a continent) A dose will render the victim extremely open to suggestion. He will not perform any self-destructive acts, but may ignore or forget things.

The magic system is designed to encourage creativity. Some sample spells are provided (there are more at www.gonensworld.com) but we hope you’ll make your own, given these guidelines.

Obviously, this system requires players and the GM to be reasonable and fair with each other. As always, the GM has the final call.

Whether a spell-caster is using Magic Math or Miracles, all spells will be made up of the same basic principles – we call these “Powers.”

A spell-caster knows a number of spells equal to the first digit of his Mind score (Mathemagician) or Will score (Priest). Before the game begins, the player and GM should sit down together and figure out how the spells will work.

Important Note – Remember that for combat purposes, “Cast” and “Attack” are the same thing. Spells of a “magic missile” nature cannot be dodged or blocked, like most non-magical ranged weapons. But all other types of spells that affect others should, for the most part, allow the target a Will roll to avoid.

Casting a Spell – To cast a spell, simply make a Mind roll (Mathemagician) or Will roll (Priest). The more elements a spell has, the more difficult the roll.

Creating a Spell – Creating a spell isn’t easy. Mathemagicians must perform incredibly complex calculations, and Priests must spend time in prayer. In other words, you can’t create a spell “on the fly.”

To create a spell, figure out what you want it to do. Then see how many Powers will be required to pull it off.

For example, if you want to create a “fireball” spell, first you would use the power Conjure (to create something – a fireball – out of nothing). Then you would use the power Control (to send the fireball where you want it to go).

Casting Difficulty – This is entirely up to negotiation between the GM and player. But in general, use the following statements as a rough guide:

  • A spell can use two Powers without penalty. If it uses more than that (or uses the same one twice), there is a -10 penalty to the casting roll.
  • If a spell affects more than 1 person, apply a -10 penalty. If it affects 5 or more people, apply a -20 penalty.
  • Add a -10 penalty to give the target of the spell a -10 on his Will roll.
  • Spells that do damage do 2d6 (because there is no Power or Accuracy score to add). For each d6 more, apply a -10 penalty.
  • Spells that heal also automatically restore 2d6 Life. For each d6 more, apply a -10 penalty.
  • For non-attack spells that allow Will rolls to avoid, you can force a -10 to the Will roll for each -10 you take to cast it.

Virtually any spell can be created with a combination of these:

  • Alter – Use this power whenever you want to change the physical properties of something – what it’s made of, its shape, and so on.
  • Bless/Curse – This power makes good or bad things happen to people. It does not bestow any magical power by healing or causing damage, but could include dropped weapons, embarrassing flatulence, soothing of a troubled mind or something similar.
  • Conjure – Use this to create something out of nothing.
  • Control – Use this to move objects with your mind, or to control a magical effect you have already put into place, such as flame. You could also use this to grab something from across a room, for example.
  • Enchant – Use this to make an object temporarily magical. The effect they have is up to you, but the more you put into it, the harder the spell becomes. To permanently enchant something is ridiculously difficult.
  • Fool – This makes someone think something that isn’t true or see something that isn’t there, either by an illusion or a lie or some other devious means.
  • Heal – This restores Life points, gets rid of disease and poison and so on.
  • Sense – Use this to sense things you’d otherwise not be able to – someone’s thoughts, whether anyone is lurking on the other side of a door, whether there are any apple trees or springs of water nearby, etc.

Example Spells
Here are some spells that are widely known in Vlodasai. They are numbered 1-10, for generating random scrolls or wands or whatever.

  • 1. Peep – See through walls (Sense).
  • 2. Riddle of Combat – This gives any melee weapon a +10 bonus for d4 rounds (Enchant).
  • 3. Jammy Mongoose – The caster produces a small mongoose, which could wreak havoc…(Conjure)
  • 4. Corso’s Flaming Vomit – Fire shoots out of the caster’s mouth and hits one target, causing 2d6 damage (Conjure, Control, no penalty).
  • 5. Healing Hands of Aura – The caster lays hands on the recipient, healing 2d6 Life (Heal, no penalty).
  • 6. Wings of Darius – The caster sprouts wings, giving him the ability to fly two range increments at a time (Alter).
  • 7. Dread Visage of Torik – Causes up to 3 opponents to see visions of Torik, an infamous historical villain. They must make Will rolls or get The Fear (Fool, -20 for the second two opponents).
  • 8. Spirit Bullets – Invisible bullets shoot from caster’s fingertips when he makes a “fake gun” gesture. Each bullet does 2d6 damage (Conjure, Control).
  • 9. Zone of Confusion – The air in an entire range increment begins to shimmer; it’s hard to tell exactly where everyone is (Fool, -10 for multiple targets).
  • 10. Cloud of Armor - Gives caster “rubber” armor for 1 round.

Magical Items
Gonen’s World is awash with magical items. In ancient times, wizards had the power to imbue objects with magical powers (a secret now jealously guarded by a few arch-mages). Many of those artifacts are still out there, either in private collections, in the hands of adventurers, or waiting to be discovered.

Here are notes on a few such items, numbered for random generation, if desired.

  • 1. Heart Potion – One of the few magical items mages can still create, Heart Potion is a foul-tasting but invigorating brew. It immediately heals 2d6 Life.
  • 2. Gender Bending Belt – This item looks like a normal belt. But when you put it on, you immediately change into the opposite sex. Nothing but the blessing of a High Priest or a wish can restore you to your normal gender.
  • 3. Anti-Damage Ring – These rings provide an extra measure of protection against a certain amount of damage. Choose or roll for a type of damage to replace the “x”: 1) Bash; 2) Slash; 3) Bullet; 4) Burn. Lesser rings have 1 point of protection; regular rings do 2 and greater rings do 3 (for example, a lesser anti-bash ring gives 1 point of armor vs. bash damage, while a regular anti-slash ring gives 2 points of armor vs. slash, and a greater anti-bullet ring would give 3 points of armor vs. bullets).
  • 4. Parachute Ring – These items are relatively common, as far as magical items go. The ring is of gold, affixed with platinum wings. While you’re wearing it, you’re considered to fall as if you were wearing a parachute. This doesn’t matter much when you fall out of a tree, but if you fall out of an airship, it’s a lifesaver!
  • 5. Sneaky Shoes – These shoes, woven from the softest silk by Jameriki mages, provide the wearer +10 to Sneak rolls.
  • 6. Leaping Lizard Boots – These boots, made from the flesh of the now-extinct Leaping Lizard of Nargo, allow the wearer to leap 20 feet (or two stories) straight up. They also provide a +10 bonus to Grace rolls that involve jumping.
  • 7. Bleeding Heart Wand – This white wand is tipped with a red heart; it holds d6 charges, each of which dispenses 2d6 Life. After that, it turns to dust.
  • 8. Corso’s Priapic Phylactery – This bitter, mercurial brew bestows the user with +30 to Charm rolls for one hour, as well as (reportedly) enhanced lovemaking ability. Each bottle contains only one dose.
  • 9. Oil of Accuracy – Rubbing this oil on a ranged weapon bestows it with its own Accuracy score of 2, cumulative with the user’s Accuracy score. Each application is good for 1 combat. Each vial contains d4 doses.
  • 10. Oil of Power – As Oil of Accuracy, but for melee weapons.
  • 11. Talking Shells – These items were once used by Cartago lords to oversee their realm, in Age of Antiquity before the Voltern conquest of Vlodasai. The Talking Shells come in a pair. People who speak into the shells can hear and talk to each other, no matter how far away they are. However, each shell only works with its own twin – users of different pairs of shells cannot communicate.
  • 12. Marksman’s Monocle – This silly-looking but effective device gives the user +10 to Shoot rolls for one fight – but it must be activated with a Fortune point.

Legendary Devices…
The following items should probably remain unavailable to novice characters, and their exact nature is up to the GM.

  • Otherwhen Brooch - Only three of these brooches are known to exist, though there may be more. They are set with a stone that reflects the light of unseen stars. When worn, the Otherwhen Brooch transports the wearer to a random place in time and space (but on Gonen’s World…usually). When you take it off, you return.
  • Wand of Many Things - This legendary device was once used by the infamous folk hero Corso. It is said the wand was capable of casting a multitude of spells. The problem was, you never knew what spell would come out. Rumors of the wand producing large creatures, arcs of flame, sprays of flowers or gems, or invisibility may or may not be true. The Wand of Many Things has unfortunately been lost. Some say it is hidden in Corso’s Tomb, wherever that is…
  • The Deck of Wonders – This is probably the most awesome and terrible of all magical items. Originally, the deck contained 20 cards. Each card possessed great power. When it was drawn from the deck, it would immediately unleash a spell. Some of these were beneficial – a tower might spring up, complete with serving staff, or whoever drew the card might become much stronger, smarter, or better-looking. Some even say the deck had the power to grant wishes. But it also had the power to banish someone to limbo, or to make them much weaker, or forget most of what they knew, or summon a Demon.

Fortunately, perhaps, the Deck of Wonders no longer exists as a whole item. The various plaques are scattered throughout Gonen’s World, and no one knows where they all are.

The Mechanic has the ability to invent new items, given the right tools and materials.
To invent something, the Mechanic needs the following:

  • A clear idea and GM approval. Discuss your idea with the GM and make sure it’s reasonable, and agree on a clear-cut, consistent game effect.
  • Time. How long it takes to invent something is up to the GM. In general, personal gear will take 1d4 hours; vehicle-sized machinery could take 1d4 days or longer. Simple, “moldai-rigged” items could conceivably be constructed much more quickly.
  • A successful Mechanics roll at the beginning, middle, and end of the project. A critical success at any step negates the need for further steps.
  • Appropriate tools. At the very least, this means a Mechanic’s Toolkit. A Man-Portable Laboratory Apparatus provides a +10 bonus to the Mechanics roll.
  • Materials. To build machines, you need parts. Parts are salvaged from other machines. Some machines can be converted into one or more units of salvage (this number is given in the equipment or vehicle description). To “harvest” available salvage takes 1 hour and a Mechanics roll. How much salvage it takes to create an invention is up to the GM, who must use common sense based on the size of the machine. As long as the player isn’t being totally unreasonable, the GM should reward creativity and not worry too much about engineering details.

Example Inventions
Here are some sample inventions, with suggestions on how long they take to make and how much salvage is required to make them.

  • Arm Holster (Time Required: d2 hours. Salvage Required: 1) – This device is worn on the forearm. A revolver, dagger, or other small weapon is mounted on a metal brace. When the device is activated, a spring is released and the brace snaps forward, placing the weapon in the character’s hand. The Arm Holster eliminates the need to take the Ready/Recover action in combat (when using that weapon, of course).
  • Flight Pack (Time Required: 2d6 hours; Salvage Required: 3. Fuel (gaxium) also required) – The flight pack is essentially a small, reusable rocket attached to a backpack with spring-released glider wings. The rocket needs fuel, which is used up in one burst. Assume fuel is available if the party has any fuel at all. When activated, the rocket propels the wearer into the sky; when the fuel runs out, the wings snap open and becomes a glider.
  • Automated Golem (Time Required: d4 weeks; Salvage Required: 8) – The Automated Golem is a man-sized robot driven by clockwork gears. The golem is capable of carrying out simple tasks such as “Attack all Flinds” or “Don’t let anyone through this door” or “Carry my stuff.” It does this by “reading” cards written in Machine Script that are inserted into its belly. It runs for 1 day on a full wind-up.

There are several types of vehicles in Gonen’s World: airships, ornithopters, bicycles, and clockwork golems, just to name a few. But all vehicles follow the same basic rules, with a few differences here and there.

Vehicle chases and combats should be fast-paced and dramatic. These rules are not intended to be a realistic simulation of tactical vehicle combat, but a storytelling device.

For more information on vehicles – airships, in particular – visit www.gonensworld.com.

Vehicle Stats
All vehicles have the following stats:

  • Mobility – This measures how fast the vehicle can go and how easy it is to control. This includes the acceleration of the ship. It is expressed as “+x” or “-x,” with “x” being the modifier to Pilot or Ride tests.
  • Travel Speed – This is how many “squares per day” the vehicle can move on regional game maps (where 1 square = 25 leagues).
  • Armor – Some vehicles are armored; this tells what kind of armor the vehicle has, if any. Vehicle armor works just like regular armor, except that it provides 10 more points of protection, since it is much thicker and more durable.
  • Life – This is just like Life for characters. Airships have separate Life scores for the bag and body of the airship.
  • Weapons – This simply lists the weapons on the vehicle, if any. In general, airships only mount Heavy weapons. Unless the GM says otherwise, all weapons are assumed to be turret-mounted – any weapon can fire at any target.
  • Cargo Capacity – This is given as a number of “spaces.” Cargo is bought and sold by the space. If the vehicle carries passengers, 1 space holds 8 passengers (eight people in a large room, or eight small rooms, etc. – this configuration is up to the ship’s owner).
  • Crew – This gives the minimum number of crew required to operate the vehicle.

Salvage – The number of salvage units that can be harvested from the vehicle.

Vehicle Combat
Vehicle combat works just like regular combat.

The pilot makes all Pilot rolls to move the ship. Gunners make Shoot rolls during combat.
Dueling airships are at close, short, medium, long, or extreme range, relative to each other. If a pilot wants to get closer to an enemy, he and the enemy pilot make opposed Piloting rolls. The winner may choose to open or close range by one range increment. If one airship moves beyond extreme range, it has escaped the combat.

Vehicle Damage – For all vehicles other than airships, when the Life score is reduced to zero, it simply stops working. Repair rolls may be made, unless the damage was the result of a Big Bomb or Lightning Gun.

Airship damage is handled a little differently. Airships have two Life scores – one for the bag, another for the body.

  • Bag damage – If the Bag Life of an airship is reduced to zero, the ship plummets to the ground. If the ship is more than 100 feet off the ground, its crew will be instantly killed when it crashes. The players’ characters should be allowed creative schemes to save themselves from death (using Fortune comes in handy here). As always, the GM must judge what is reasonable and what isn’t.
  • Body Damage – If the ship’s Body Life is reduced to zero, consult the Airship Body Damage table.
d6 Result
1 Gaxium Core Destroyed. Ship will lose lift, but settle to the ground with 2d4 damage to crew.
2 Chronomatic Gaxium Governor Destroyed. Ship loses all forward motion, unless by sail.
3 Sails Destroyed.
4 Cargo Destroyed. 2d4 spaces of cargo become worthless.
5 Weapon Destroyed. If more than one, determine randomly.
6 Suspension Rig Destroyed. The bag stays aloft, but the rest of the ship falls…

Repairs – Characters should be given a chance to repair damage to an airship. This requires a Mechanics roll with appropriate tools and time (determined by the GM; in general major repairs will take d4 days).

Boarding - If ships are at close range, crews may attempt a boarding action. The attacking crew uses Grapple Guns to attach to the other ship (a Shoot roll) and winch it close enough to leap over the side (a Grace roll). For sprites, only one successful hook is required. For air-trolls, three are required. For wardregs, six are required. The only way to board a juggernaut is to maneuver right next to it and either jump or swing onto it.

Fuel - Assume 1 keg of Gaxium (50f) will allow a vehicle to travel 1d4+1 squares.

Typical Vehicles
Mechanics should feel free to try to invent their own vehicles, based on those given here. Obviously, most vehicles will take a great deal of time and salvage to invent, and the GM has the final say over what is possible.

The following vehicles require the Pilot-Fly skill.

Free Trader (Airtroll-Class Airship)

  • Mobility: +0; Travel Speed 3; Armor: Rubber (Bag) Metal Mesh (Body); Life: 50 (Bag) 75 (Body); Weapons: Ball Gun; Cargo Capacity: 10; Crew: 4
  • Free Traders are common throughout Gonen’s World. Many independent merchants make their living buying and selling cargo, and the vast majority fly simple airtroll-class ships like this one.


  • Mobility: +10; Travel Speed .5; Armor: 0; Life: 15; Weapons: -; Cargo Capacity: 0; Crew: 1; Salvage: 1
  • The “air bike,” as it is popularly known, allows the rider to power cloth wings with pedals. It is notoriously unstable as a glider, however – when gliding, its mobility score drops to -20. In other words, you’ve gotta keep pedaling this thing for it to work, so it’s mostly used for short-term runs between larger airships, or quick trips around town. Most ornithopters have folding wings, to reduce space when not flying.

Pirate Ship / Patrol Cruiser (Airtroll-Class Airship)

  • Mobility: +0; Travel Speed 4; Armor: Rubber (Bag) Metal Mesh (Body); Life: 50 (Bag) 75 (Body); Weapons: Ball Gun, Spike Gun, Grapple Gun (2); Cargo Capacity: 5; Crew: 8; Salvage: 8
  • Pirates are a constant threat to air travel; patrol cruisers are a constant threat to pirates. Both pirates and government patrols prefer lighter, quicker airtrolls to larger warships.

Ship of the Line (Wardreg-Class Airship)

  • Mobility: -10; Travel Speed 5; Armor: Rubber and Metal Mesh (Bag), Metal Mesh (Body); Life: 100 (Bag) 150 (Body); Weapons: Lightning Gun (2), Spike Gun (2), Big Bomb (4); Cargo Capacity: 25; Crew: 14 (not counting soldiers); Salvage: 16
  • Ships of the Line serve in the forefront of most major air battles. These massive, lumbering ships are difficult to control, but pack a huge wallop in terms of firepower. Though they are slow to maneuver, they have a high top speed once they get going. They are also heavily armored, and difficult to take down.

Sky Cab (Sprite-Class Airship)

  • Mobility: +10; Travel Speed 2; Armor: None; Life: 25 (Bag) 50 (Body); Weapons: None; Cargo Capacity: 1; Crew: 1; Salvage: 4
  • Sky Cabs are small, highly maneuverable airships. They are often used for sending messages or for carrying small groups of passengers.

These vehicles require the Pilot-Sail skill.


  • Mobility: +20; Travel Speed: .5; Armor: 0; Life: 8; Weapons: -; Cargo Capacity: 0; Crew: 1; Salvage: 1
  • Canoes, rowboats, and other small craft fit into this category.

Fishing Trawler

  • Mobility: +10; Travel Speed: 1; Armor: 1; Life: 20; Weapons:-; Cargo Capacity: 2; Crew: 2; Salvage: 5
  • Variations on this ubiquitous vessel are found all along Vlodasai’s coasts, and are particularly common among the islands of Blackpool. They are as popular among smugglers and spies as they are fisher-folk…

River Barge

  • Mobility: -10; Travel Speed: 1.5; Armor: 2; Life: 30; Weapons: -; Cargo Capacity 30; Crew: 8; Salvage: 10
  • A river barge is basically a gigantic floating platform. Airship travel has largely replaced river travel in many instances, but when merchants can’t afford – or don’t need – air travel, river barges are cheap and easy alternatives. Though passenger travel by river is rare, many barge captains make extra farins by carrying hitchhikers and other tag-a-longs. Many barges tie off to riverside cities and act as traveling markets.

The following vehicles require the Pilot-Drive skill.


  • Mobility: +10; Travel Speed .5; Armor: 0; Life: 10; Weapons: -; Cargo Capacity: 0; Crew: 1; Salvage: 1
  • Most bicycles are motorized, with huge front wheels and a small back wheel. The rider sits high, near the top of the front wheel, atop a Gaxium motor. Bicycles are popular among street gangs and other riff-raff.

Clockwork Golem

  • Mobility: -10; Travel Speed: 1; Armor: Metal Mesh; Life: 250; Weapons: Lighting Gun (in “mouth”), Ball Guns (on “hands”), Stomp (3d12 Bash); Cargo Capacity: 1; Crew: 25 ; Salvage: 20
  • Clockwork golems are huge monstrosities that operate by intricate, Gaxium-powered gears. Most are anthropomorphic (man-shaped). The crew is spread throughout the body, and communicates with the captain and pilot (on the bridge, which is usually in the golem’s head). Due to difficulties in construction and prohibitive costs, few clockwork golems exist. Those that do are almost all in the hands of various governments.


  • Mobility: 0; Travel Speed 1; Armor: 1; Life: 20; Weapons: -; Cargo Capacity: 1; Crew: 1; Salvage: 2
  • Stagecoaches travel the roads between cities, bringing passengers on errands of business or pleasure. They aren’t the fastest way to get somewhere, but they’re (for the most part) safe and affordable.

Enemies and Monsters
Most of the same mundane animals that live in our world can also be found in Gonen’s World. But many bizarre and unnatural creatures were created in the flesh vats of the Odium Empire long ago, and the progeny of those aberrations still stalk the world.

Monsters aren’t created in the same way as characters. The GM should simply assign them whatever abilities seem appropriate. This is reflected as a Special Rule, and may be considered compensation for monsters having no class abilities.

GM characters are, as might be expected, characters that are controlled by the GM. They may be allies, adversaries, or simply random folks encountered for color. GM characters, like Monsters, don’t need to be created the same way characters are. The GM should just assign whatever stats seem appropriate, and assume most skills will default to the appropriate stat. More important GM characters can be created exactly like player’s characters, with classes and so on. The GM can simply “level up” his characters to the appropriate level.

Here are some of the monsters and enemy GM characters that heroes might encounter during their adventures in Gonen’s World.

Agents of Blackpool

  • Might 35, Grace 40, Mind 40, Will 35
  • Power 3, Grace 4, Life 12
  • Weapons: Saber, Revolver, Hand Bomb
  • Armor: Leather or Rubber
  • These nefarious agents may be found wherever the Republic of Blackpool is active – either secretly or openly. Often traveling in groups of four and led by a Protagonist (see below), Agents of Blackpool are a cut above the average thug, and have a political agenda, to boot – the fall of Queen Farin and the conquest of Vlodasai.

Bad Wizard

  • Might 20, Grace 35, Mind 60, Will 40
  • Power 2, Accuracy 3, Life 20, Fortune 1
  • Weapon – Staff (d6+2)
  • Armor - Cloth
  • Spells: Spirit Bullets (Conjure, Control) d6 damage; Zone of Confusion, -10 to cast, (Fool), -10 to Fight/Shoot tests for 4 people; Cloud of Armor (Alter), gives caster “rubber” armor for 1 round.
  • Bad Wizards are Mathemagicians or Priests who have turned their powers to darkness. They often serve villains, or they may themselves be criminal masterminds. This example is a human; for Kathkari or Wee Moldai wizards, simply add the appropriate Race rules. Truly powerful bad wizards are likely to have stats far higher than those shown here, and know many more spells.


  • Might 40, Grace 35, Mind 30, Will 30
  • Power 4, Accuracy 3, Life 10
  • Weapon - Club or Rifle w/Bayonet; 1 attack
  • Armor - Leather or Rubber
  • Constables are the ubiquitous “town watch,” and can be counted on to come running when errant heroes cause trouble. These stats also work for militiamen, footsoldiers, and other quasi-military types.


  • Might 50, Grace 30, Mind 20, Will 20.
  • Power 5, Accuracy 2, Life 12
  • Weapons: Claws (d4 Slash), Bite (d4 Slash), Mace or Saber, 1 attack
  • Armor: Cloth or Leather
  • Special Rule: Flinds get +10 to gang-up bonuses (max at 40).
  • These creatures were bred as slaves by the Odiumites, but today, they roam free across most of the wilderness areas of Vlodasai. Flinds have the characteristics of dogs and men, and like both of those beasts, they take many forms. Most flinds are vicious and territorial, and attack travelers if they can get away with it. “Boss” flinds have two attacks and Might 60, Power 6, while flind shamans may be given some spells. Normally, they only know attack spells, and prefer loud, flashy ones.

Giant Frog

  • Might 70, Grace 50, Mind 5, Will 10.
  • Power 7, Accuracy 5, Life 25.
  • Weapons: Kick (d8 + 7 bash), 2 attacks
  • Armor: Rubbery Hide (as rubber armor)
  • Special Rule: Swallow – The giant frog may attack with its tongue as a Ranged grapple attack; if the victim fails to break the grapple he is swallowed whole. Follow drowning rules for the victim; he is doomed unless the frog is killed.
  • These hideous creatures are common to the marshy regions of Vlodasai, and have been the bane of many a traveler. Some barbarian tribes make armor out of the giant frog’s skull and bones. It is rumored that cutting open a giant frog will reveal swallowed loot…


  • Might 50, Grace 30, Mind 70, Will 70
  • Power 5, Accuracy 3, Life 100
  • Weapons: Magical Attacks, 2 per round.
  • Armor: Tough Hide (Rubber)
  • Special Rule: The Horriface can cast spells - what those are depend on the GM’s fiendish imagination, or roll for some random spells.
  • The Horriface is a super-intelligent creature that dominates other beings to its will. It is a fearsome floating flesh-orb, seemingly made up of a patchwork of faces. The Horriface can speak out of any or all of the faces, which run the gamut of expression from agony to insane merriment. Stories throughout history speak of only one Horriface - a grotesque puppeteer that rules whole regions in secret through its powerful will.


  • Might 50, Grace 40, Mind 30, Will 35
  • Power 5, Accuracy 4, Life 15, Fortune 1
  • Weapon – Saber (d6 + 5 slash), Revolver (d6+4 bullet); 2 attacks
  • Armor - Leather or Rubber
  • Protagonists are one step up from common thugs, and often serve as under-bosses and lieutenants for more powerful villains. The example given here is human; for Kathkari or Wee Moldai protagonists, simply add the appropriate Race rules. To give a protagonist a class, simply add a Class ability.

Purple Spyder

  • Might 30, Grace 70, Mind 10, Will 20
  • Power 3, Accuracy 7, Life 35
  • Weapon – Fangs (d8+3 slash, plus poison – see below); 1 attack
  • Special Rules – The spyder’s fangs are poisoned; if the victim takes any damage at all, he must make a Will roll or become Sluggish, capable of only 1 action per turn for d4 turns. Instead of attacking, the spyder can shoot a web at short range; the victim must make a Grace roll or become entangled in the web until they make a Might roll at -20 to break free.
  • Purple spyders are horse-sized arachnids with eerily human eyes. Most were almost eradicated in the Spider Wars in the Age of Fable, but some few persist in deep, dark places. Descendants of the original life forms of Gonen’s World, they bear an intense and eternal hatred for the Children of Gonen. They are often associated with worship of Omnadre.

Sky Wurm

  • Might 70, Grace 50, Mind 10, Will 10
  • Power 7, Accuracy -, Life 30 – 60
  • Weapons: Bite (d12 Slash), Tail Lash (d12 Bash); 1 attack
  • Armor: Scales (as Metal Mesh armor)
  • Special Rule: If the sky serpent gets 05 or less on attack roll, or 12 on damage roll, character is caught in jaws (treat as grapple) or sent flying by tail lash (Grace roll or fall).
  • These long, graceful creatures resemble great silver-blue snakes with feathers about the neck and head, and four radial wings jutting out from its body. They live in warm updrafts and hide in clouds. Occasionally, they attack airships. Sky Wurms range in size from 10 to 50 feet; the fabled Great Sky Serpent is said to be over 300 feet long, but no one has ever photographed the beast. There are ground wurms of all sizes, as well – the variety of species has yet to be fully cataloged.

Sewer Baby

  • Might 25, Grace 45, Mind 25, Will 40
  • Power 2, Accuracy4, Life 15
  • Weapon - could be anything
  • Armor - Leather or nothing
  • Special Rule: Sewer babies cause the Fear in those who see them for the first time. They are also Shadowy, getting +20 to Hide and Sneak checks while in the sewers.
  • Across Vlodasai, urban legends tell of the Sewer Babies - vile and pathetic creatures, unwanted for whatever reason, left to die in the sewers of the great cities by criminal mothers. But some of the babies don’t die - they grow up to stalk the depths, seeking unwary prey.


  • Might 60, Grace 60, Mind 70, Will 60
  • Power 6, Grace 6, Life 50
  • Weapons: Bite, Claw (d8 + 6 slash); 2 attacks
  • Armor: Heavy Hide (as Rubber armor)
  • Special Rules: The Sphynx can fly, moving two range increments at a time. It also causes the Fear (-1o to Will rolls to avoid) and can emit a gaseous cloud that stuns opponents for d4 rounds, unless they make a Will roll at -10.
  • These fearsome beasts are rare in Vlodasai, as they are native to the sandy dunes and rocky crags of Jamerik. A sphinx has a human-like face, with the body of a lion and broad wings of gold feathers. They are highly intelligent, despite their bestial nature, and if not threatened and fully hungry, may choose to engage adventurers in conversation, rather than eat them.


  • Might 40, Grace 30, Mind 25, Will 20
  • Power 4, Accuracy 3, Life 10
  • Weapon - Club or Rifle w/Bayonet; 1 attack
  • Armor - Leather or Rubber
  • Thugs are hired muscle, and can be found everywhere - in the ranks of street gangs, pirate crews and armies.


  • Might 60, Grace 25, Mind 25, Will 30
  • Power 6, Accuracy 2, Life 15
  • Weapons – Club (d4 + 6 bash), Claw/Bite (d4 + 6 slash); 1 attack
  • Armor – Stinking Heavy Hides (as leather armor)
  • Special Rule: Urgu suffer no penalties for darkness, and get +20 to Track rolls and Notice rolls that involve smell.
  • Urgu are man-sized, hairless brutes with translucent blue skin. They have no eyes and are completely blind, but compensate with a superior sense of smell. It is rumored they can be fooled by “aromatic camouflage,” but whether this is true is uncertain.

“Boss” urgu will have two attacks and 20 Life; Urgu do not use magic.


  • Might 30, Grace 75, Mind 40, Will 50
  • Power 3, Accuracy 7, Life 20
  • Weapons – Quills (d6 + 7 slash) or Bite (d6 + 3 slash); 1 attack
  • Armor – Slippery Skin (as rubber armor)
  • Special Rule: Shadowy – Wurses get +20 Hide and Sneak checks if there are any shadows at all nearby.
  • Wurses are tall and thin, with jet-black skin, huge mouths, and a large mane of spiky quills. A wurse can fire these quills from medium range, and suffers no penalties for firing in close combat. Wurses are loners, and usually are not encountered unless they come down from their rocky lairs to steal sheep or kidnap children for food.

Most of the action on Gonen’s World happens in Vlodasai. During the Classic Age (the default time period of the game), Vlodasai is divided into many small, warring states. Political boundaries often change, but the most powerful and longest-lasting nations are the Republic of Blackpool, the Barony of Farwall, the County of Seawall, and the Principality of Olegland. Of these, the Republic of Blackpool is the most powerful, and its expansionist plans are continually countered by an uneasy alliance of the other realms.

The map (inside back cover) is divided into squares of 25 leagues each. It shows the major geographical features, cities, and political boundaries, some of which are described in more detail here (in roughly north to south order):

The Smoking Lands – These blasted and stinking wastelands are full of heaps of slag, gaping craters, and boiling springs. Legend has it that in ancient times, the region was once a province of the dreaded Odium Empire, and that Gonen destroyed the land as repayment for their evil ways. Nevertheless, many Blue Kathkari live here in isolated underground settlements. Recently, explorers from further south have come here investigating rumors of Gaxium deposits.

Majarl Lake – This large, freshwater lake is teeming with fish. Two rivers – the Snake and the Oily, empty out of it, creating a nice boundary between northern and southern Vlodasai. A mountainous island in the center of the lake (the Land of Majarl), is home to the largest group of Wee Moldai in Vlodasai.

Snake River – So-named for its winding and treacherous nature, the Snake is a very shallow, very fast river. It rushes down from Majarl Lake to the Angry Sea. In many places, it has gouged new streams out of the rock. Ultimately, it is the chief source of wetness in the Mahid Marshes.

Mog Ograth – This ancient city sits at the mouth of the Snake River, where it empties into the Angry Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in Gonen’s World, founded by the Ograthi sea-wanderers in days of old. For centuries, Mog Ograth has been the site of a monastery of monks – the only one in Vlodasai (“mog” means “monastery”). A council of monks runs things, and is essentially a benevolent and enlightened oligarchy. They rule over not only the city, but vast tracts of well-ordered, communistic farmland along the Snake River.

Oily River – This river gets its name from the viscous nature of its water. Travelers are advised not to drink the water, as it has been contaminated by whatever blight fell on the Smoking Lands. However, the waters of the Oily are in demand among Mechanics, as it makes an excellent lubricant.

Shirhyazj – This is not a proper city, but has become a shanty town of criminals and outcasts built up around ancient Kathkari ruins. In ancient times, it was an outpost of the Odium Empire, and the site of one of their mysterious Power Towers. Today, the Odiumite tower is a broken shell, said to be filled with ghosts, and only the totally deranged would ever attempt to enter it. That being said, Shirhyazj is a good place to go if you’re not accepted anywhere else. The largest black market known is said to be here, with stolen wares from all over the world for sale amid the bizarre Odiumite ruins.

Mahid Marshes – This vast tract of swampland is fed by runoff from the Snake River and thousands of creeks and streams that tumble down from the Spinal Mountains. It is lush and overgrown, and is essentially a cold rainforest. Giant worms and frogs are common here. The Mahidi – savage, bizarrely tattooed barbarians – call the marshes home. Almost everyone else calls it hell.

Bysmouth – A city at the confluence of the Bys and Oleg rivers, this is the closest city to the Mahid Marshes. The city has several prominent bridges, and is famed for its scenic view of waterfalls. Because of nearby high ground in the Spinal Mountains, the Church of Darius has its headquarters and Excellent Flight Academy here. It lies within the Barony of Farwall, and was founded relatively recently (several hundred years ago).

Nargo – The capital of the County of Seawall, this city is cut into the face of high cliffs overlooking the Angry Sea on the west coast of Vlodasai. It is an extremely ancient city, yet boasts some of the most sophisticated engineering structures known (particularly in its lighting and ventilation systems, since the bulk of the city is well within the cliff). The Church of the Way has its headquarters here.

Highseat – The capital of the Barony of Farwall, Highseat would be a marvel of engineering if it hadn’t been constructed by magic. “South Highseat” sprawls on a high hill on the plains. South Highseat is always in the shade of North Highseat, which sits atop three 700 foot-high pillars. Highseat is one of the chief cities of Vlodasai, and ranks among the best in culture and sophistication. The famous Wheel Street stock exchange is here, as well as many universities, libraries, and theaters.

Orcho – This was once the site of a Power Tower of Odium. The tower is still intact, although it is heavily guarded by the Farwall military. Rampant rumor indicates the tower is full of ancient high technology. A thriving boom town has sprung up around Gaxium mines here.

The Elder Lands – This vast region was once the Volterna province of the Odium Empire. The old cities here have been abandoned, and reclaimed by heavy forests. Monsters now inhabit this land, although there is growing support for the idea of reclaiming Old Volterna. Some old maps exist, but for the most part the area is a hostile wilderness.

Oleg River – The Oleg is the longest river in Vlodasai, running from one of the highest points in the Spinal Mountains all the way to the Salty Shallow, dividing the land between east and west. The Oleg is almost a mile wide in some places, and very deep.

Galeg Kar – The name means “river fort” in the ancient tongue. Galeg Kar is almost as old as Mog Ograth, and commands the river valleys that empty into the Oleg. It is a vast, sprawling city – they say it is as wide as Highseat is tall. The chief industrial center of Vlodasai, Galeg Kar has filled the sky above it with dark blue, polluted clouds, and its skyline is dominated by smokestacks. It is a city state, but controls most of the west-central lands of Vlodasai.

Rockwall – Rockwall sits atop high cliffs overlooking the confluence of the Oleg and White rivers. It is a free city-state, controlling most of the land around it. Rockwall is a large trade center, and its Gross Exchange rivals even Highseat’s Wheel Street. Upper Rockwell is home to wealthy neighborhoods, government buildings, and the Rockwall Academy, a famous school of mathemagics. It is said the city was built over an ancient Wee Moldai warren, and that a vast underworld of chambers lies just below the city streets. A slum called Underbad is on the other (lower) side of the river.

Saltwash – A great port city, Saltwash is the second-most populous city in Vlodasai. It lies at the mouth of the mighty Oleg River, where it empties into the Salty Shallow. The city is surrounded on the west by a vast and treacherous salt marsh. Saltwash is a strong center of the Cartago culture, and owes allegiance to no other nation. Its rulers are said to openly patronize privateers and finance guerilla fighters in the Republic of Blackpool. Saltwash is known as the criminal capital of Gonen’s World, with more thugs per capita than any other city.

Sorehaven – This small island is a haven for mutants, pirates, and other outcasts. It has no formal government, but a succession of petty warlords. It operates as a secondary black market to the one in Shirhyazj. It is known as a good place to purchase heavy weapons and armor, which is frowned upon in most other places.

Col Sador – This is the capital of the Republic of Blackpool, which occupies the islands off the south east coast of Vlodasai, and the Red Coast on the mainland. It is the largest city in Vlodasai, both in land and people. Col Sador is a marvel of culture and engineering, and is a center of Voltern culture. It was founded by the guerillas who defeated the Odium Empire, but over time, this republic has ironically become far more oppressive and totalitarian than the monarchies in the rest of Vlodasai. Col Sador is known for its famous Arena, which features all manner of brutal entertainment, and its magnificent Senate House, the largest building in Gonen’s World.

The Isle of Oranje – This tropical island is well off the mainland, but has strong cultural ties with Vlodasai. It is inhabited by the Kufu, but ruled by a decadent ruling class of Cartago with family ties to the nobility of Saltwash. Oranje’s great port city, Harrow, has no import fees and operates as a completely free market with no government oversight. This makes it a popular place for merchant fleets (and pirates, as well).

The future of Gonen’s World – that is, your adventures – are far more important than its past. But culture, geography and history are intertwined, and the Classic Age is firmly rooted in all three. The following information is known to Academics, and most people have heard at least a few of these facts (that is, if you skim this section, you’ll know about as much as the average resident of Vlodasai).

The Age of Antiquity
The earliest civilizations were far south or east of Vlodasai. The ancient kingdoms of Aanx, Chaaldenaard and Orbeal rose to prominence during the Age of Antiquity, but little is known today about those mysterious peoples, other than the ruins and artifacts they left behind.

Meanwhile, the land of Kathkari (to the west of Vlodasai, and populated entirely by that race) began to expand north from the shores of the Azure Sea (far to the west of Vlodasai) and push the Voltern people out of the Lythian Highlands. The Voltern migrated across the sea to Vlodasai, where they conquered the native Cartago in the south and Wee Moldai in the north. They founded the Kingdom of Volterna (today called Old Volterna). The largest province of the kingdom was in what is today the Elder Lands. The Voltern also founded the cities of Galeg Kar and Nargo, and settled in the native cities of Seawall, Highseat, Rockwall and Saltwash.

The Kingdom of Volterna prospered during the final centuries of the Age of Antiquity, and began limited trade with the southern kingdoms.

Then came the Odium Empire, and the second age of Gonen’s World.

The Age of Odium
The Odium Empire erupted out of the land of Orbeal. One of the nine tribes of Orbeal, the Odiumites, began to worship a being called Doktum – whether this being was from another world remains a mystery. Old images of Doktum clearly depict him as humanoid, but alien to the races of Gonen’s World. Some theorize he may have been a demon.
Whatever Doktum’s true nature, he taught the Odiumites new secrets of magic and technology. They used this power to conquer Orbeal, then they swept into the southern continent and overtook the kingdoms of Chaaldenaard and Aanx.

Odium consolidated power for the next 300 years. Records also indicate a limited war with Kathkari, which was settled by treaty and resulted in a flourishing trade.

Meanwhile, the Odiumites virtually enslaved the people they conquered, and the civilizations of the Age of Antiquity faded away under the yoke of Odium.

Following the treaty with the Kathkari, the Odiumite war fleet sailed to Vlodasai. After a protracted 10-year war, Volterna fell in the east. The cities to the west of the Oleg River and the great cliff known as the Far Wall maintained a precarious independence as they harried the Odiumite legions (which were stretched thin following the conquest of Vlodasai) with guerilla tactics for the next 100 years.

The Odiumites founded the cities of Orcho and Shirhyazj, where they constructed the so-called “power towers.” These artifacts are thought to have been experiments designed to teleport large numbers of soldiers or siege engines, but their effectiveness remains unknown (today, the power tower at Shirhyazj is ruined, and the one at Orcho is under the control of the Barony of Farwall).

Although records are unclear, Doktum appears to have sickened and died at some point just prior to a slave revolt in Orcho. Monks at Mog Ograth also claimed to have used the white flowers to call down heavenly fire on the Odiumite homelands. Whatever the case, these factors contributed to the fall of Odium almost overnight.

The Age of Fable
The calendar in use across Vlodasai begins with the establishment of the city of Col Sador on Blackpool Island, which happened shortly after the Odiumites pulled out of Vlodasai.

Most of the old Voltern and Cartago cities in the east of Vlodasai had been extensively re-worked by Odium, and were abandoned. Within a few decades, the region was overrun with wilderness and foul beasts, and the center of Voltern culture in Vlodasai moved west of the Oleg River and to the Blackpool islands.

Over the next several hundred years, Voltern culture flourished, and, after some false starts and minor border wars, the nations that exist today emerged.

Vlodasai remained isolated for most of the Age of Fable; contact with the southern continents was diminished to limited trade between Blackpool and Jamerik, and the kingdoms of antiquity faded into semi-legendary status.

Warfare and strife continued, however, as the nations of Vlodasai jockeyed for power. Rockwall and Saltwash became free city-states, although Rockwall was tied economically to Farwall, and Saltwash to Olegland. Despite occasional wars between the nations, trade and culture flourished. Powerful merchant interests began to dominate the cities – particularly Galeg Kar and Farwall – while the old Voltern nobility was prominent in rural areas and the smaller nations.

The Age of Fable is known as an age of chivalry, as several prominent orders of knights began to sweep the fringes of the Elder Lands. Countless popular legends and stories date to this period, hence its name.

By the mid-point of the Age of Fable it became apparent that pockets of Odiumites still existed in secret. With the use of subtle magic, these groups began to influence some members of the nobility, particularly in the regions surrounding Galeg Kar and Rockwall.

This resulted in the birth of Omnadre- and demon-worshipping cults, most notably the Cult of the Purple Spider.

These cults soon grew so powerful that they began to influence trade and politics across Vlodasai. In response, templars of the Way from Farwall and Seawall – a sect known as the Redeemers – invaded Olegland and fought a bitter urban war against the cults. This long, drawn-out conflict (today often referred to as the Spider Wars) eventually forced the cults underground, although it is rumored they still exist in secret to this very day. Rockwall and Galeg Kar were decimated in the fighting, and when it was over, Farwall emerged as the dominant power on mainland Vlodasai.

Meanwhile, the disruption of trade caused severe grain shortages in Blackpool, which led directly to the overthrow of that kingdom by republican forces. The Republic of Blackpool was founded toward the end of the Age of Fable. The republican government’s attitude toward Farwall and the rest of the mainland deteriorated, as the newly powerful merchant houses of Highseat manipulated the economy to their own advantage. By the end of the Age of Fable, relations between Blackpool and the mainland were tense, to say the least.

In the twilight years of the age, a scion of one Highseat’s merchant houses – one Lander Orijiabi – returned from the Elder Lands in possession of eldritch Odiumite technology. Using this dark knowledge, Orijiabi seized power in Highseat. He married a fellow adventurer, Farin Bachnife, and ruled with an iron fist for the next 60 years – years which saw extensive technological advances, including the invention of guns and airships.

By the end of the Age of Fable, Orijiabi had, by force, diplomacy, and economic terrorism, extended his control across most of the mainland.

And then he disappeared.

The Time of Troubles
The mysterious disappearance of Lander Orijiabi threw Vlodasai into turmoil, as Olegland, Seawall, Gefahr, Saltwash and Rockwall rebelled almost immediately. The remaining merchant houses of Highseat, having chafed under Orijiabi’s iron fist for too long, were unable to keep those nations in the fold as they warred among themselves for control.

Eventually, the entire mainland erupted into a devastating civil war that lasted 200 years. Whole regions were laid waste. War killed thousands, and plague and starvation killed thousands more. Across the land, local warlords rose to power and were repeatedly deposed in favor of rival warlords.

The Republic of Blackpool, meanwhile, used newly-created clockwork golems to conquer Saltwash and much of southern Olegland in order to secure a steady grain supply to the food-poor islands. The dispossessed Cartago nobility fled to the Isle of Oranje, where they founded a government-in-exile (they never came back, and the Oranji people began to develop a distinctive culture of their own).

The Church of the Way attempted to mitigate the disaster on the mainland by developing spells that created food for the starving and destitute, but the sect of the Redeemers – having a great deal of power since the days of the Spider Wars – soon seized control of the church. The Redeemers used the promise of food to bring Highseat into submission, and took control of Farwall. They consolidated power and instituted an oppressive regime. Some folk began to whisper that the sect had become corrupt during the Spider Wars, when demonic entities took control of key leaders. Whatever the case, the Redeemers radically parted with the peaceful tenets of the Way and became tyrannical puritans, bent on seizing and keeping power in Vlodasai.

All that changed when a freebooting adventurer claiming to be Farin Bachnife-Orijiabi – Lander’s wife – seemingly appeared out of nowhere with a ragtag army of mercenaries, Marshlanders and domesticated Flinds. Her army, along with the apparently supernatural power of an aeronaut called Darius, defeated the Redeemers.

Farin claimed the right to rule Farwall by her marriage to Lander Orijiabi. Few believed her tale, as the real Farin would have been a few hundred years old by that time.

Though her tale of having been imprisoned in a magical bottle for 250 years did not convince the entire populace of her legitimacy, she was a welcome change to the Redeemers, and, with the aid of Darius (who, it is said, simply wished the Redeemer’s airships to fall from the sky before being mystically transformed into a demigod), seemed to have the blessings of Gonen Himself.

Farin declared herself Queen of Farwall and immediately began to consolidate her power over the rest of Vlodasai.

The Classic Age
Today, the forces of Farwall have negotiated treaties with Seawall, Olegland, and the city-states of Rockwall; they are allied to, but not unified with, Saltwash.

The Republic of Blackpool retains its control over the islands and the Red Coast, and continues to cast a greedy eye north at the rest of Vlodasai.

However, open hostilities have died down, and a tense stalemate between Farwall and Blackpool now looms over the land. Neither side desires outright war with the other, preferring instead to use diplomacy and more devious means to gain control over unallied regions.

Consequently, it is a time of great intrigue, as Queen Farin’s spies do battle with the nefarious agents of Blackpool. But all of that happens behind the scenes – on the surface, trade flourishes between the two regions, as well as with distant Jamerik, and for the average denizen of Vlodasai, life is good.

Eventually, however, the balance of power will have to tip one way or the other.

Essays on the life, culture and customs of Vlodasai could fill entire volumes. Only basic concepts central to Gonen’s World are discussed here. Individual groups should fill in the blanks as they see fit, or keep an eye on gonensworld.com for optional detail created by others.

There are many gods in Gonen’s World, but these are the most popular in Vlodasai during the Classic Age (the default setting for the game).

The most popular holy book, and the basis for most religions, is the Book of Ancient Thunder. It tells the story of how Gonen brought people to the world from some far-distant place in the cosmos, and the wars Gonen and his children fought against Omnadre and the Old Gods of the world.

The “ark” spoken of in the Book of Ancient Thunder is thought to be Gonen’s Star, a blue star that blinks as it crosses the sky. Four times a year (at the change of the seasons), it gets much brighter and stops blinking for several days.

Sometimes, particularly successful or outrageous people are singled out by the gods to be “taken up,” either just before or just after death. Such folk are considered “demigods.”

The Church of Darius – This demigod was once an adventurer who was “taken up” by Gonen during the Battle of Highseat, when the forces of Queen Farin overthrew the Redeemers. The worship of Darius focuses mainly on a “do unto others” philosophy, and holds that “all is good.” Because it has few actual tenets and doesn’t require much of its believers, the Church of Darius has become very popular.

The Way – This offshoot of Gonen-worship centers on the cult of Joshua, a blacksmith, who, in the final days of the Odium Empire, was visited by Himmel, the son of Gonen. Himmel imparted to Joshua a new doctrine – that “All Things Are One,” and that all magic, other gods, and all matter itself are emanations of Gonen. Thus “what we do to ourselves, we do to Him.” Joshua was martyred – hanged by the Odiumites – and the symbol of the religion is the noose. The Way is widespread, and the majority of people in Vlodasai are members of one of its many denominations.

The Listeners – Gonen-worship in its purest and oldest form, Gonenism (whose followers call themselves the Listeners) advocates a literal interpretation of the Book of Ancient Thunder. For the most part, the Way has pushed traditional Gonenism out of the mainstream. During the Classic Age, Gonenism is little more than a bizarre cult that is dedicated to listening to “white flowers” - large artifacts mentioned in the Book of Ancient Thunder as having the “voice” of the gods. The Listeners claim that the flowers hum with sound, a code that they have spent thousands of years trying to break. The flowers only hum when Gonen’s Star flares up four times a year. Thus far, no one knows what the flowers are saying.

The Cult of Ariel – In life, Ariel was a priestess of Oceanus, one of the Old Gods. She was raped and left to die by a monstrous bandit called Kron. So intense was her rage that the gods took up her spirit. Today, she is the center of a small and highly motivated cult dedicated to vengeance against wrongdoers. They are based on Ariel Island, but their priestesses have begun to wander Vlodasai, seeking to right wrongs. Some authorities are concerned that the cult is little more than a vigilante group.

The Old Gods – Very few people actually worship the so-called “Old Gods,” who ruled the world before it became Gonen’s. Omnadre is the goddess of the earth, while Oceanus is the god of the seas. Unlike the gods of Gonen’s pantheon, these are not anthropomorphic, usually being depicted only with symbols. Those few who claim to have had visions of the Old Gods describe them as immensely huge, ever-changing formless masses of earth or water. According to the Book of Ancient Thunder, Oceanus chose not to battle the new gods; Omnadre declared herself the eternal enemy of Gonen and all his children. As a result, denizens of Gonen’s World sometimes consider the earth tainted, and the heavens (where Gonen came from) pristine. Oceanus continues to be worshipped by a small band of devotees, usually Aeronauts and people whose lives depend on the sea.

Evil Cults – There are various “evil” cults in Gonen’s World, and most of them center on the worship of Omnadre or the 700 demons at her disposal. According to the Book of Ancient Thunder, a rebel kathkari called Arrakos warred against Gonen, and was expelled from Gonen’s Star with his followers. They fell to the world’s surface and were re-made by Omnadre, who turned them into her demons. Little is known about them – some of the more infamous spoken of in old stories include Hyss, the chief of all demons (this is the re-made shade of Arrakos himself), Gurgendollath the Waster (thought to be responsible for disease) and Tuumithaak (who is rumored to seduce human women in their dreams).

Some also worship an infamous monk called Torik the Destroyer, but whether he was ever truly “taken up” remains a mystery.

Seasons, the Calendar, and Holidays
The default campaign year is 1313 V.Y., or Voltern Years, dating from the fall of the Odium Empire in Vlodasai. It is now the height of the Classic Age, the reign of Good Queen Farin.

Vlodasai has mild winters and summers. It rarely gets cold enough to freeze completely, except at high altitudes, and summers are rarely oppressive, although they can be dry. Oddly, fall is the longest season, and produces violent extremes in coloration of flora; while Spring is sudden and short, with rapid plant growth one can almost watch (almost).

It does not often rain in Vlodasai; when it does, it tends to be torrential and last for days.

Gonen’s World goes around the sun once every 288 days. Each season lasts about 72 days, give or take (the entire calendar is, in fact, reworked every few years, so that no one really knows exactly when it is).

The seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter are more formally known as Rebirth, Fruition, Preparation and Rest.

Each season has six “fortnights” of 12 days, although seasons tend to bleed into one another without much regard for the Voltern calendar.

Those days are known by various names throughout Gonen’s World, but in Vlodasai, they are called: Wonday, Tooday, Freeday, Forday, Fiday, Sixday, Senday, Ateday, Nineday, Tenday, Lenday, Twelvday.

In slang derived from the Cartago dialect, Sixday is sometimes referred to as Buyday, and Twelvday as Taxday. Neither name has any modern significance.

People generally work for three days, rest for a day, and repeat the process, although not everyone is on the same schedule – so someone’s working somewhere every day. It is traditional to begin work at sunup, break for a nap in the afternoon, and continue to work until sundown. However, this custom is no longer widely practiced in the cities.

There are four great holidays celebrated across Vlodasai by all cultures. They are:

Resurrection Day (1 Rebirth, with celebrations beginning during the last fortnight of Rest) – This holiday celebrates the cycles of the heavens and the change of the year. It also represents an acknowledgement of the circle of life, and honors the idea of spiritual rebirth. Most major faiths celebrate this day, albeit in their own particular ways, but almost all involve the giving of gifts.

Natalis (36 Rebirth) – The day has origins in both Voltern and Cartago cultures as a planting holiday. Various outdoor festivals are held across Vlodasai, with fairs, rides, livestock shows and games of hide-and-seek. It is also a lover’s holiday, and many babies are conceived during this season.

Midsummer’s Day (44 Fruition) – On this day, Gonen’s Star passes most closely above the world, and shines with a blinking blue light. Great feasts and all-night festivals mark this affair, usually for a few days before and after the actual event. Marriages are often celebrated in this season, many of them quite sudden (see Natalis).

Hexing Night / Mortalis (36 Preparation) – Mortalis is a dark celebration of the end of harvest, the onset of winter, and a time to remember and honor the dead. Flowers and other offerings are traditionally placed on graves prior to Hexing Night, or Mortalis Eve. On that night, it is said, the dead stalk the land of the living. Nevertheless, celebrations are held, with great processions in costume to scare the dead back into their graves.

Travel and Transport
Most people in Vlodasai live their whole lives in one place and rarely travel anywhere. Adventurers are different, and will be concerned about how long it takes to get places.
Travel Speeds for vehicles (see page x) are expressed as squares on a “regional map,” like the one on the inside front cover of this book.

The most common form of travel is by cart or stagecoach – these run regularly between the major cities of Vlodasai, and cost about 5-20f, depending on how far you’re going.

River travel is common, as well, although it is mostly used for freight. Passengers barges are rare, but travelers can always hitch a ride by making a deal with the captain of a trade barge.

Sea travel is avoided, but there are many fishing trawls and other such craft in operation.

More daring passengers may take the skies. Passenger airships are expensive (about 100f) but can get almost anywhere within three or four days.

Popular coaching lines are Red Rider and Intrepid Lines; popular airship lines are Dragon Coach and Osprey Air.

Hoofing It – When money is short, adventurers often simply walk where they need to go. They can walk .25 squares a day on the regional map; being on horseback increases this to .5.

Vlodasai in the Classic Age is generally blooming, and lucky travelers can often survive with a few Forage rolls on short journeys – wild fruits and vegetables, rabbits and small foul are abundant.

Cities and towns have Constabulary forces to enforce local laws, while rural areas are assigned a Magistrate who is responsible for several villages and settlements.
In cities, the Constabulary is usually armed with non-lethal weapons, but all Constables have the right to kill anyone who resists arrest.

Who decides what the laws are depends on where you are in Vlodasai. In the realms controlled by Queen Farin, the High Court has the ultimate jurisdiction, with local courts in major towns. Rural villagers are expected to travel to the nearest Court House to plead their cases.

In lands controlled by Blackpool, the College of Judges oversees legal matters. There are some 600 judges spread throughout the land, all of whom answer to the Supreme Judge in Col Sador.

In all regions justice is administered quickly – most cases are heard within a fortnight, and many prisoners find themselves arrested, charged, and convicted (or released) within a few days.

There are no state-appointed attorneys; if a character can’t afford one, he must plead his case himself. Attorneys are Academics who specialize in law; they may be hired, on average, at about 20f per day (some crusading Academics may choose to work pro bono for truly deserving clients).

Most of the things that are against the law in our own world are against the law in Vlodasai. If adventurers are up to no good, the local authorities can usually find an excuse to throw them in prison. Technically, a citizen of Farwall has the right to appeal directly to the Queen, but this process can take years. In Blackpool, there is no appeal from a Judge’s verdict.

While local jurisdictions have their own (sometimes bizarre) legal codes, some universal crimes and common punishments are listed here.

  • Murder – This is almost always a capital crime, unless extenuating circumstances are present.
  • Theft – For thefts of less than 500f, the thief must work for the victim (or the state) until the debt is paid. This usually results in digging ditches and working on roads for a paltry sum. For thefts of more than 500f, this also involves a mandatory sentence (5-10 years) of particularly hard labor.
  • Chicanery – This covers cons, selling of illegal goods, racketeering, and any other activity that isn’t flat-out stealing or killing. Punishments vary from 1 year in prison to death, with the judge of the case given wide discretion.

Vlodasai is rich in resources, which is precisely why it has been a battleground for much of its history. The mountains and hills are rich in zinc, iron, rhodium, copper, tin, and Gaxium, and mining is an old and well-respected, if dangerous, profession. Farmland, though ravaged by war, is returning to its former fecundity. Farmers make a comfortable living in most years; the stereotype of the struggling peasant is rare in the Classic Age. Great forests still cover much of Vlodasai – cedar, oak and various fruit and nut trees in the lower regions, with towering greatwood trees across much of the Elder Lands. Loggers and woodwrights can always find employment somewhere. Even the marshlands offer a variety of light woods, delicacy foods, and porous fibers.

Mass production of goods is just beginning in Vlodasai, but the powerful guild system ensures that machines do not put living beings out of work.

Guilds - Guilds have become powerful political voices, as they control most of the actual production of goods and services. Though they have no legal influence in government, their de facto influence is keenly felt.

The idea of personal pride in craftsmanship is very strong in Vlodasai, and even “factories” are generally small affairs, dedicated to making precision copies of popular artifacts. However, most of the large cities feature factories of some type, and usually specialize in a particular product. Galeg Kar, for example, is famous for its airship works, while Krumm, a small town south of Highseat, is noted for refining steel and other metals.

While most adventurers would never get jobs, they will certainly have to deal with mundane people who do. The “skilled crafts” all have powerful guilds – Woodwrights, Stonemasons, Artificers, Mechanics, and so on – that control who can practice. Most guild dues are about 100f per year, which keeps out the riff raff but protects members in lean times. Laborers and farmhands do not have guilds, but some grumble that they should…

Academics also have a guild, which covers everyone from attorneys to university professors. The Exalted Brotherhood of High Thinkers is, in fact, one of the most powerful and pervasive guilds in Vlodasai, having branches in almost every city.

The Brotherhood of the Sky is another powerful guild, and all working Aeronauts must theoretically belong to it – at least if they want legal jobs. Military aeronauts are not expected to be guild members.

Merchant Houses - While the guilds control the actual means of production, the Merchant Houses direct and finance it all. During the Age of Fable, members of the minor nobility, denied landholding status by their overlords, began dabbling in trade to make ends meet. At the time, buying and selling goods was considered a common occupation. But those families who thrived at it slowly grew rich and powerful. By the Classic Age, it is the Merchant Houses who control trade. They suffer few government regulations and operate on a purely capitalistic basis – though there is plenty of behind-the-scenes double dealing and intrigue. Merchant Houses generally purchase raw materials and produce refined goods, then ship them and sell them wherever they can. This usually means a Treaty of Understanding with the city they intend to sell goods in.

Not surprisingly, the Merchant Houses are no friends of Free Traders, and seek by subtle means to discourage “the little man” wherever possible.

Some of the most famous Merchant Houses are House Orijiabi and House Donvil, both of Highseat, House Carlo-Marko of Saltwash, House Ludwig of Rockwall and House Sternmeddul of Galeg Kar. Most finished items – from pots and pans to airships – are produced in a factory owned by one of these families.

Trade: Economics is not the purview of many adventurers, but some may find it rewarding. All cargo is bought and sold by the space. Assume a base price of 100 to 1000f per cargo space (GM’s call, depending on how valuable he thinks the cargo is in that region). A successful Charm roll will reduce the buy or sale price by 10 to 20 percent (or double with a critical success!).

Typical cargos include (numbered for random generation, if desired):

  • 1. Flavor – All food needs flavor. This category covers all herbs and spices.
  • 2. Grains – The heartland of Vlodasai is rich in grain, but it is rarer in Saltwash and Blackpool regions.
  • 3. Timber – Always in demand as a building supply, it is plentiful around Rockwall and the Red Coast.
  • 4. Rock – Usually already shaped into blocks for building. Common near mountains, rare along coasts.
  • 5. Parts – For clockwork devices, vehicles, and so on, these generic parts also work as Salvage.
  • 6. Textiles – Everyone needs clothing, blankets, curtains and whatnot. The highlands of Blackpool produce the best wool.
  • 7. Dry Meat – Jerky in whatever form, from whatever local animal seems best.
  • 8. Supplies – Various goods one might find in the Generic Emporium.
  • 9. Houseworx – Boring, but useful things like pots and pans, lanterns, kettles, teapots, and so forth.
  • 10. Livestock – Most aeronauts refuse to take on livestock, but river barges welcome it.
  • 11 – 12. Luxury Items – The following items always costs at least 1000 per space, but automatically gain 20 percent in value along a journey, in addition to the benefit of Charm rolls (roll d4, if desired): 1) Gaxium; 2) Magic Items; 3) Silks from Jamerik; 4) Rare Artifacts.

Art and Architecture - The most prominent form of visual art in Vlodasai is the fresco, painted on interior or exterior walls. Saltwash, in particular, is known for the many colorful and vibrant scenes painted on its city walls. Sculpture and statuary is also popular, and the general aesthetic in this regard seems to be “bigger is better.”
Writers produce popular “star novels,” so-named for their cheap price. Tales of Corso, an infamous historical hero, are popular, as are stories about Queen Farin (though these are rumored to be thoroughly gone-over by royal censors - it is rumored the Queen’s conduct was not always impeccably queenly).

News journals are also common in the large cities, although the concept of journalistic ethics is virtually unknown, and few people fully trust the news sheets.

As for buildings and architecture, there are two distinct styles prominent in Vlodasai. The Voltern style is typified by high, pointed ceilings and extreme a-frame construction; large, open spaces are common, and many homes have a “hall” or “great room” that serves as a multi-purpose living area. Typical building materials are wood and brick, both of which are readily plentiful in most areas.

The Cartago style is more dome-oriented, with buildings made from clay or even mud. These mud structures have far more solidity than one might expect, largely due to the high salt content of the soils around Saltmarsh.

If heavy weapons are fired at buildings, Mud buildings have a Life of 20; Wood buildings have a Life of 30; brick buildings have a Life of 50, while heavy stone buildings have a Life of 100. Any military buildings, government structures, forts and prisons may be considered to have the equivalent of vehicle metal mesh armor.

Secrets and Further Adventures…
Here ends the information most players need to know about Gonen’s World. If you’re a creative, imaginative GM, you don’t need anything else, either – we hope we’ve provided some good basics. Now it’s up to you to fill in the blanks, forge new territory, and make Gonen’s World your own.

That being said, prospective Game Masters are invited to visit gonenworld.com. There, you can access the ever-expanding Game Master’s Toolbox. It has lots of ideas for you to plunder – Encounters, Settings, and Adventure Hooks. There is also a selection of pre-generated characters at various levels of power, to use as GM characters or quick replacements for party members.

You can also access the Gonen’s World Addendum, an irregularly-published PDF magazine dedicated to Gonen’s World. Each issue features a short adventure, an episode in a continuing campaign, new monsters and vehicles, and snapshots of various locales in Vlodasai (and beyond!).

Finally, players can go online to find fresh character sheets and other helpful aids, or join in the Star Chamber forum for discussion of Gonen’s World, other games, and pop culture in general.

We hope you’ll join us in our continuing adventurers in Gonen’s World – we’re glad to have you along. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us at moc.dlrowsnenog|srotaerc#moc.dlrowsnenog|srotaerc.

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