Introduction to EOW

Date: Wed, 18 May 1994 02:13:49 -0500

Subject: A Brief Introduction to the El Ouhd World System
By Scott Coon. Revised by Lisa Kies.

The role-playing system used in Rob Hentzel's campaign is meant to be spiritually similar to TSR's D&D (and other standard systems) while using rules for character generation, training, and battle that have a more reasonable, realistic feeling to them. In this campaign, you aren't restricted by "character classes" or alignments. The world also has a consistent history attached to each campaign that you have a real chance to affect and be affected by (so your old characters' actions will come back to haunt you). The following describes the template of an El Ouhd World character and some of what you can expect him/her to put up with.
Stats and Attributes

Characters abilities are based on 14 attributes which you roll (or just pick) yourself. These are Agility (AGI), Beauty (BEA), Dexterity (DEX), Endurance (END), Hearing (HEA), Istropy (IST), Mentality (MEN), Quickness (QUI), Reaction (REA), Speed (SPE), Strength (STR), Training (TRA), Vision (VIS), and Wealth (WEA). Each attribute takes a value between 5 and 100, with a mean of 54 (50 for NPC's and the general population). You start with a store of 648 attribute points to distribute as you see fit, with the following exceptions:

1) Initial WEA is 400 silver.
2) BEA is not part of the 648 -- it is rolled by the DM.
The proliferation of attributes is an attempt to recognize that some people are agile and well-balanced, but have three or four left thumbs, and others are quick with their upper body, but run slowly, etc. This is a rough breakdown of the meaning of each stat:
AGI -- balance, body control
BEA -- general attractiveness of face and form
DEX -- hand-eye coordination, fine motor control
END -- stamina, ability to exert yourself for long periods
HEA -- acuteness of hearing, quickness to recover hearing, ability to distinguish sounds in a loud room
IST -- native magical ability (increases likelihood of success at a spell, and can increase your effectiveness with it as well)
MEN -- affects your ability to withstand mind control, to cast several spells in short order, to keep from panicking in tense situations, and may increase the likelihood of being psionic
QUI -- principally your arm and upper body quickness (key attacking stat)
REA -- reaction time (key component of defense)
SPE -- running speed
STR -- the maximum amount you can carry is 3 times this number (your "maximum encumberance")
TRA -- add 25 to this number for your initial number of training weeks
WEA -- ignore. All characters start with 400 silver.
VIS -- HEA for the eyes
The scale of ability is based roughly on a Gaussian distribution with a standard deviation of 12. Essentially this means that 68% of all people you meet fall in the range 40-60 in any given statistic, 95% in the range 30-70, and 99.5% in the range 20-80. Hence, statistics that are over 70 are nice to have, while those under 30 tend to get you killed early in your adventuring career, especially if they're in things like END, AGI, SPE, or MEN. This does not mean it's impossible to survive with a very low stat, but it increases the need to pay attention to your own limitations.

Colloquialisms have arisen to describe stats more informally. They are:

<5	    6-15         16-25	      26-35	36-45    46-60
Disfunct.   Horrible     Terrible     Lousy     Poor     Average

61-70	71-80		81-90		91-100	      >100
Good	Very Good	Excellent	Superb	      Incredible
These expressions are used in-game to describe other things as well. They are standard lingo when buying supplies, and prices go up accordingly with each level (Good is 2x the average price, Very Good is 5x, Excellent 15x, etc). Equipment lists are available from the DM and from players.

The number of training weeks you start with determines how good you are at the skills you choose to have. You begin with TRA + 25 weeks. You have levels attached to your skill. To reach level n, use n(n+1)/2 training weeks (i.e., to go from IV to V, use 5 more weeks. Then 6 more for level VI, etc).

Level	I    II	  III	IV    V	   VI	 VII   VIII    IX     X
Weeks	1    3     6	10    15   21	 28	36     45     55
of Training
To give you an idea of what this means, in language you can get by going shopping or conducting other business at level IV, you are conversational at level VII, and a native speaks at level X. In combat, a decent soldier will have level IV, and level VI is not uncommon for adventurers who are meant to be on the front lines; generally we would like to have at least a couple of warriors at this level or higher for the tough stuff.

Freebies: you get your native language at level X for free. You also get one free week of General Knowledge skill for each year in your age (this is a lot -- think about everything in your head that would be general facts about world politics, history, science, literature, geography, etc.) You also know how to read and write any language you can speak, at an analogous level, at least.

Restrictions: you cannot start a character with a skill above level X in anything (DM tends to frown on starting in a weapon above level VIII). If you wish to use magic, you must train twice -- once in the theory of the type of magic, once in the spell itself. The spell cannot be at a higher level than your theory level, and you cannot get theory above level V without joining a magic college and paying annual dues. These do not turn out to be very harsh restrictions in practice -- a level IV or V spell is nothing to sneeze at.

Special Rule on Bilingual Characters: you get one language for free and the other for half the usual number of weeks if you're bilingual when you start the character. For more languages, consult the DM.

Things it's good to have at least one week in: horsemanship, swimming, first aid, orienteering, navigation, athletics (general training in balance, control and endurence).

Useful skills: sneak (urban and rural are separate skills), pick locks, Biomancy/Heal, Physomancy/Fireball, archery, shortsword, longsword, unarmed defence, climbing walls.

Fun things you can train in that could be useful at some point: slight of hand, seduction, contortionism, holding your liquor, gambling, disguise, geology, baking, pretty much anything. Silly stuff has saved the party an amazing number of times.

Skills that do not exist or won't work: blindfighting, haggling, telekinesis, others. If you want to haggle, role play it.


There are a number of different schools of magic theory and each oversees a set of spells. Some of the schools are Physomancy (the elements, the weather), Biomancy (plants, animals, medicine, human mind), Necromancy (anything involving death), and Sorcery (metamagic, time travel, teleportation, creating magic items). A list of spells of each is available from the DM, and many work like their D&D equivalents.


Before combat, you must calculate your _bases_. These are numbers that combine relevant stats together in a nice way for combat calculations. See also Rob's Quick Rules Information.

Agility Base (AB) = AGI/10 + QUI/50 + REA/50
Quickness Base (QB) = QUI/10 + REA/50 + AGI/50
Reaction Base (RB) = REA/10 + AGI/50 + QUI/50
Dexterity Base (DB) = DEX/10 + REA/50 + VIS/50
Thrown Weapon Base (TWB) = (3*DEX + 3*STR + AGI)/50
Missile Weapon Base (MWB) = (3*DEX + 2*VIS + QUI + AGI)/50
Magic Casting Base (MB) = (5*IST + AGI + DEX)/50

From this you need to calculate your attack (ATT) and defense (DEF) with your weapon. The formulae are:

Melee Weapon ATT = [(level + 1)*QB + length]*UR
Missile Weapon Att = UR*MWB*(level+1)
Thrown Weapon Att = UR*TWB*(level+1)
DEF = (level + 1)*RB*UR

where UR = Unencumberance Ratio = 1 - (# of pounds carried)/(3*STR). Notice that this means you fight less effectively if you're carrying a pack weighing 100 lbs. Most folks drop whatever they can before going into combat. Length is a modifier that depends on your weapon. Some common weapons are short sword (+0 length), long sword (+5), great axe (+8), quarterstaff (+0). Before you go off to be a great axe fighter, however, you should know that they encumber 40 in combat, and they tend to break frequently. Encumberances of weapons are available from the DM.

Also used:

Urban Sneak Score = AB*(level +1)*UR
Rural Sneak Score = AB*(level +1)*UR
Acrobatics Score = AB*(level +1)*UR
Horsemanship Score = AB*(level +1)*UR
Tracking Score = [(50 + 2/5*VIS)/10]*(level+1)
First Aid Score = DB*(level +1)*UR

The World

The world is a rectangle a few thousand miles in each direction, completely surrounded by impassable glaciers. The main continents are Ilico, Vyrica, and Pavimentum. The major races are Humans (English/Common), Elves (French), Orcs (Russian), Dwarves (German), Gnomes (Italian), and Hobbits. Many Gnomes live in the north of Ilico, near the Sprines. Sudibin (dark-skinned elves - Japanese) live all over Vyrica. Humans control major regions of Ilico, and Pavimentum is almost totally human. East of Vyrica is a large island of Elves. Hobbits seem to be pretty much all over the place. Orcs and Dwarves have small regions in various spots, quite a fall for the Orcs in the last 3000 years, when two large Orcish empires controlled nearly everything. Descriptions of the various races can be found on Rob's Quick Rules Information

Presently the world is under attack by Eckyebrechs and Balrogs. Nobody seems to know where they are from, but rumor has it they came from another world through a portal that may have been opened by a small band of foolish, naive adventurers about 30 years ago. The Ecks average 6'6" and are hairy with high, squeaky voices. They're quite strong and nasty. Balrogs are pretty much in the spirit of Tolkein, and understandably, no party has ever killed one. At times the invasion has taken control of all of Vyrica and part of the Republic, a nation of southern Ilico. They also have controled several islands in the western ocean, notably Persand, which have been the sight of several unsuccessful campaigns recently. One of the principal weapons of the enemy is Anti-magic, which explodes on contact with ordinary magic. People's heads have exploded because they were given a healing potion while wearing an antimagical necklace. More dramatically, reactions the size of small nuclear explosions have happened quite by accident when PC's weren't careful.

Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 20:39:26 -0500

Religious Knowledge and Rites (RKR)

I - IV interested layperson
V - VI active member of "congregation", religious warrior
VII - IX moving toward priesthood
X - XIV hierarchy of priests
XV + hierarchy of high priests

The terms layperson, congregation and priesthood will not have the same meaning for all religions, but they correspond to fairly discrete jumps in the types and uses of knowledge. Religious warriors will need at least level V, characters "on the road" to priesthood will need at least level VII.


I - III beginner; tiny vocabulary, slow and erratic speech
IV - VI trading fluency -- can negotiate prices for items
VII - IX conversational fluency -- will not be mistaken for native.
X + native fluency -- indistinguishable except to trained linguists.

Horsemanship (H)

I stay on horse going quietly over level ground
II ride fairly quickly; fast mounting/dismounting
III gallop on level ground; fairly quick on non-level
IV mounted combat; mountain-riding; slow bare-back riding
V-VI river swimming; fast bareback riding
VII ravine jumping
VIII + better and better at above things