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There are those to whom Honor is everything. For these characters, they draw strength from their Honor as well as inspire others to greatness. As their own personal Honor increases so does their potency, but conversely as they act dishonorably their potency fades, even sometimes to the point of self-destructive behavior.
Generally, when a character that is an Honor class is first rolled up their Honor is set to zero. They have yet to prove themselves beyond their ideals and morals. The GM may allow for variations in certain situations. Honor is recorded on a scale of -10 to 10 for all classes. Acting honorably increases your Honor points while acting dishonorably reduces them. Note however that only full Honor classes can ever fluctuate by more than one point at a time.
The following are some rough examples of actions that would affect a character's Honor level and are not intended to be an exhaustive list; GM discretion is a key component of Honor gain/loss:
(all Honor modifiers apply only to humanoids unless otherwise specified)
Killing an unconscious/incapacitated/sleeping target
Attacking an unarmed target with a weapon or other means of superior force
Attacking a target that has been rendered inactive through any means, is not able to attack back, or is unaware of your presence
Attacking a target that is already under attack from an equally matched or weaker melee source
Fighting from horseback against unmounted humanoid opponents, or if a knight, not yet having Spurs of the Order
Rescuing someone in danger/defending the innocent
Fighting alone or after everyone else has been rendered inactive against three or more targets
Saving a large group
A word of caution regarding Honor classes: due to the very subjective nature of this class mechanic, it is advised that those inexperienced with role playing avoid using Honor classes. A great deal of the mechanic is based on cause/effect scenarios that inexperienced players may not be comfortable navigating. Also note that generally speaking, expected fluctuations in a character's Honor level should be on the scale of 1-3 points per quest. It is not the intent of this class to have Honor fluctuate up and down by a large number each battle or even each quest.
Based on your current level of Honor you may choose to activate either a virtue, essentially a self-buff that benefits your character in some way, or an oath, which benefits not only yourself but also any friendly within 1”/level. Virtues and oaths must be selected just as the battle is beginning (before either side takes a turn) and remain active for their entire battle unless corrupted or otherwise dispelled. Note also that if a dishonorable deed causes you to drop below the threshold required for a particular virtue or oath, it automatically ceases to function. Having negative Honor forces you to select the appropriate level of dishonor, again essentially a self-buff, but one that has negative effects. Unlike virtues or oaths, dishonors are cumulative (i.e. if at -3 honor then you must apply the -1, -2, and -3 dishonors to your character).
Honor classes also have an additional mechanic known as codes. Over the lifespan of an Honor class, they can achieve up to three different codes. Each Honor class has a default first code that they are awarded (typically between levels one to three) based on the title system. As Honor classes continue to gain titles they will select a second code from two choices. Much later as they near maximum level they can gain their third and final code. Once the first code is selected, the Honor class gains one code point per level (this includes the level when they receive their first code).
My Brothers Keeper
Path of Righteousness
Leader of Men
Eye for an Eye
A Power Greater
Above the Law
Code points are spent, upon leveling up, into any of the code abilities contained within a particular code (see
). Once spent the code points are not transferable. Only abilities with at least one code point assigned to them can be used by the Honor class. If more than one point is assigned to a code ability it can become more powerful or effective when activating it.
To activate code abilities, Honor classes must first generate Code Stacks based on the particular code type that they want to use. It's important to note that code points and code stacks are two different resources. Each code is its own unique type which allows use of only those abilities contained within that type of code; however because they are unique, a character may have up to all three of their Codes stacked up at the same time.
Generating a code stack is considered an instant and is only successful on a D100 roll where success percentage is equal to your current Honor multiplied by 10%.
If you fail, nothing happens and you are free to try again on your next turn. If successful, the code stack remains on the Honor class for the remainder of the battle or until the Honor class decides to consume the code stack. Storing up additional code stacks of a given type can either increase the potency of an ability or allow an ability to be used multiple times. There is no limit to the number of stacks that an Honor class can have in play; however practically speaking, there is little sense in having more stacks of a given code that you have code points spent on abilities within that code.
Consuming the code stack allows you to activate any ability within that code type that has been given at least one code point. This counts as an instant unless otherwise specified in the code ability description. When consuming a code stack of a given type you may choose how many stacks to consume, up to a maximum of the number of code points spent on a given code ability. In the reference chart below, let's assume a single type of code is in play with three stacks. Though keep in mind, depending on your title, you could have up to three different types of code stacks in play, each with a different number of stacks available.
Number of Stacks Consumed
@ power of 1 stack
@ power of 2 stacks
@ power of 3 stacks
Code stack fully consumed and therefore no longer in play (unless re-stacked)
In the above chart the activated ability would have to have 3 code points assigned to it in order to consume the whole stack.
Any code stacks left over after a battle are immediately lost.
Activating code abilities consumes code stacks, where the number of code points put into that ability dictate the amount of stacks that can be consumed. There is no limit to the number of times a code ability can be used, provided you have enough code stacks to use it. You can always choose to consume less stacks than the max amount of code points you've placed into any given ability.
No single code ability can have more than one point spent on it each level up, and the maximum number of points that can be spent on any single code ability is three.
Consuming Code stacks to use Code Abilities is considered to be an instant unless otherwise specified by the particular Code Ability being used.
My Brother's Keeper
Path of Righteousness
Leader of Men
Eye for an Eye
A Power Greater
Above the Law
An Example of Codes in Action
The following is a rough example based on a level 4 Knight, Squire with three code points in “Honor Strike”, one code point in “Prudence”, both of which come from the “Chivalry” code, current Honor of 5, and carrying a gladius and heater shield:
- In the Squire's first turn he uses an instant to apply a single stack of “Chivalry" (kind of like a passive buff); he rolls a 45 on a d100 which is less than 5x10%, so it is successful. He then moves and the enemy goblin also moves.
- On the second turn, the Squire again uses his instant to generate another stack of “Chivalry” but he rolls a 78 this time and therefore fails. He now remains with a single stack of “Chivalry”. He moves again and then the goblin moves into base contact and attacks, but misses with both weapons.
- On his third turn the Knight uses his instant to once again attempt to generate another stack of “Chivalry”; he rolls a 13 and is therefore successful. The squire now has two stacks of “Chivalry” available for consumption. He then swings and hits for 6 damage with his gladius. The goblin swings with both weapons, but the squire blocks one and the goblin misses the other one.
- On the Squire's fourth turn, he uses his instant to activate "Prudence", consuming one of his two stacks of “Chivalry” to do so. "Prudence" grants the ability to block/parry one extra attack for the remainder of the battle, per stack of “Chivalry” consumed. Since the Squire has only one point in “Prudence” he cannot choose to consume more than a single stack of “Chivalry” even though he had two stacks available, therefore he may only block/parry one extra attack with his shield. He now has only one stack of “Chivalry” remaining. He then attacks the goblin but misses. The goblin swings with both weapons. The squire blocks the first attack and then also blocks the second attack because of “Prudence”. The goblin by this point is getting rather frustrated.
- On the Squire's fifth turn, he uses his instant to generate another stack of “Chivalry”. He rolls a 38 and is successful. He now has two stacks of “Chivalry” available and chooses to activate “Honor Strike” instead of making a regular attack. (“Honor Strike” is one of the exceptions to the rule that code abilities count as instants, and therefore can be done as an action in the same turn that a code stack was generated by using an instant). Because he has 3 code points in "Honor Strike", he can choose to activate it at a power of 1, 2 or 3 stacks. But since he only has 2 stacks of "Chivalry" currently available, the Squire can't choose 3 as an option, and so decides to consume 2 stacks, which activates an "Honor Strike" at a power of 2 stacks. According to the description of “Honor Strike”, the squire makes a single attack against the goblin with his gladius, which hits for 9 damage, and adds bonus damage equal to his current honor per stack. With two stacks consumed and 5 Honor he therefore adds 10 damage, doing a total of 19 damage. The goblin is split in half and falls over dead. The squire ends the battle with one of his three “Honor Strikes” still available; however at the conclusion of the battle, all his code abilities are replenished.
Learning New Honor Codes and Code Abilities
Honor classes cannot learn a previously unknown Code or Code Ability (i.e. putting the first code point into Honor Strike) unless they are taught/instructed by a Mentor (aka Code Trainer) that knows the corresponding ability. If assigning additional code points to an already known code ability, then no trainer is required and the point can be assigned immediately (i.e. increasing the number of code points in Honor Strike from 1 to 2). This represents an Honor class honing their abilities rather than actually learning a new ability.
It is sometimes possible to find a wandering Honor class (that also happens to be an appropriate Code Trainer) that is willing to impart their knowledge for a price. The going rate for learning a new Honor Code Ability in this manner is 24 gold. However, there is typically no cost associated with learning a new Code Ability when the Honor class is taught by an organization they belong to (i.e. a Knightly Order). In some role-playing specific instances, it may also be reasonable to assume that an ability is taught at no cost (i.e. a father teaching his son or a retired Knight passing on an ability to his young protégé).
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