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Frank Brunner
Donald Tyson (order #2711792)

1

Table of Contents
Welcome................................................................... 4 Chapter Five: Social Encounters................... 43


Reputations................................................... 44
Secrets.................................................. 44
Chapter One: Rules............................................... 5

Fashion.................................................. 45

Core Mechanic .............................................. 6
Special Attacks....................................... 45

Modifiers ....................................................... 6
Improv.................................................. 45

Doom.............................................................. 7

Mood.............................................................. 8

Inspirations..................................................... 9 Chapter Six: War........................................... 47
Troops and Units..................................... 48

Death and Destiny......................................... 11
Command Points..................................... 49

True Love...................................................... 13
Attacking and Defending.......................... 49

History and Skills.......................................... 14

Health and Spirit..................................... 49

Characteristic and skill checks...................... 15
Secret Troops......................................... 50

Scene order play............................................ 16

Heroic Actions........................................ 50

Example of scene order play......................... 17

Terrain and Weather................................. 50
Movement.............................................. 51
Chapter Two: Combat......................................... 20

Stacking Units (Brigades)......................... 51

Combat Styles............................................... 21
Recovery............................................... 52

Initiative ....................................................... 22

Fallout: Economy and Mood..................... 53

Damage and Effects ..................................... 24
Buildings and Sieges............................... 53

Miscellaneous Actions ................................. 25
Aftermath.............................................. 54

Movement .................................................... 25

Shadow Wars.......................................... 54

Environmental tricks .................................... 26









Armor and Weapons ..................................... 28
Range ........................................................... 28
Critical Hits .................................................. 29
Grab ............................................................. 29
Modifiers, Lighting, and Blindness ............. 29
Healing ........................................................ 30
Coup de Grace ............................................. 30
Example of Combat ..................................... 31

Chapter Seven: Wealth and World................ 55

Wealth Level and Cash Value.................... 56

Economy............................................... 56

Culture.................................................. 57

Reputations............................................ 58

Disease.................................................. 59

Disasters................................................ 61

Deprivation (Starving, Freezing)................ 62

Breaking Items....................................... 62
Chapter Three: Magic......................................... 33
Crafting................................................. 62

Interference and Surges................................. 34

Experience and Advancement................... 63

Surge Effects and Crisis Surges.................... 35




Magic Attack and Defense Dice................... 36
Trapped Spells (Magic/Spellbound Items)... 37 Chapter Eight: Character Creation,
Close and High Spells................................... 38 Races, and Characteristics................................. 64

Human: Nineblood.................................. 65
Chapter Four: Chases.................................... 39
Human: Islanders.................................... 66

Actions.......................................................... 40

Human: Wights....................................... 67

Chase Rolls................................................... 41

Human: Prince or Princess of Wolves......... 68

Example Chase.............................................. 42

Troll: Rain............................................. 69
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Troll: Seradynn....................................... 71
Alchemy Items...................................... 141
Characteristics........................................ 72
Engineering Items................................. 147

Buildings............................................. 152
Chapter Nine: Character Classes.................. 74
Mounts and Vehicles.............................. 155

Talents................................................... 74
Wonders............................................... 157

Multiclassing.......................................... 74
Troops................................................. 159

Chosen One............................................ 75
Infantry, Cavalry, Special........................ 161

Engineer................................................ 78
Naval Vessels....................................... 167

Fixer..................................................... 82
Airships............................................... 169

Noble, Priest, Courtesan........................... 86
Beasts.................................................. 169

Rogue, Assassin...................................... 90
Magical Beasts...................................... 170

Savage.................................................. 93
Siege Weapons...................................... 173

Trader................................................... 97

Wizard................................................. 101 Chapter Thirteen: GM's Toolbox.................... 175

Warrior................................................ 105
Tips..................................................... 175

Starting Character Wealth and Gear.......... 107
Bestiary............................................... 180

Sample NPCs....................................... 201
Chapter Ten: Talents.................................... 108

Magic Talents....................................... 108 Chapter Fourteen: Setting:

Martial Talents...................................... 110 The Spellbound Kingdoms.......................... 204

Shadow Talents..................................... 112
The Three Forces.................................. 205

Social Talents........................................ 114
The Four Estates................................... 208

Map of the Claw.................................... 211
Chapter Eleven: Organizations

Marnh................................................. 212
and Research.................................................117
Akra.................................................... 215

Organization Characteristics.................... 118
Thyre................................................... 221

Organization Actions.............................. 120
Other Kingdoms.......................................... 228

Multiple PCs in One Organization............ 122

Creating an Organization....................... 124 Appendix One: Combat Glosses..............................234

Advancing an Organization..................... 124 Appendix Two: Magic Glosses and Spell Lists.......240

Armed Legion....................................... 125 Appendix Three: Investigation and Flavor Tables...258

Cabal, Coven........................................ 125 Appendix Four: Character Sheet..............................262

Church, Temple, Sect............................. 126
Character Sheet with Achievements........... 263

Noble House......................................... 127

Savage Tribe......................................... 128

Secret Socieety..................................... 128

Thieves Guild....................................... 129

Trading Company.................................. 130

Research.............................................. 131



Chapter Twelve: Gear, Buildings,
and Troops................................................... 134

Armor.................................................. 134

Weapons.............................................. 136

Fashion Items....................................... 140
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Donald Tyson (order #2711792)

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Welcome

Rule Zero


Welcome to the revised and complete edition
of Spellbound Kingdoms. I am very excited about this
game! I hope that it becomes your “go-to” fantasy
RPG.

There are a lot of ideas here that might be new
even to seasoned roleplayers. These include:

• Scene-order play

• Inspirations

• Mood

• Organizations that allow you to “zoom in”
and “zoom out,” scaling the campaign action from
personal all the way up to global

• Integrated culture, war, shadow war, and
economy rules

• Improv social scenes

Even if SK does not become your go-to fantasy
RPG, I hope that you take some of these ideas and
drop them into your other games.

I deserved and took a lot of grief for the layout in the first release of SK. I hope that this simpler
layout is, if not Ennie-worthy, at least better.

Simplification is a theme that runs throughout
this edition. I simplified many rules, from Mood and
Inspiration to character creation and culture. The same
spirit is there, but it now has a more elegant expression. For those of you who have read the first book,
there is enough new material here that I believe that
your present perusal will be rewarded.

Remember to stop by the forums. One of the
combat styles in this book (Matt Miller's Long Arm
spear-fighting style) had its start on our homebrew
forum. Who knows what future content will pop up?

Above all else, I hope that you have fun with
the game.

Enjoy!


Rule Zero applies. Make whatever rules you
need to have fun, and toss out the rules that aren’t fun.
This is your game now. Find what works for you and
your group, and go with that.

That said, fear not! I do not mean to abdicate my responsibility as a game designer or absolve
myself of any poor choices by saying, “Hey, just
Rule Zero it.” It’s my job to design these rules so that
what’s here is the most fun for the most people. I have
tried very hard to do that. I hope that Rule Zero will be
needed rarely.

There is another point that goes along with
Rule Zero: hew to the spirit of the rules, not the letter.
That way leads to adventure!

Materials

You’ll need a set of seven gaming dice: d2, d4,
d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20. You’ll also want copies of
the fighting styles that your character might use (at the
end of this book) and something to mark position on
your style sheet. I use a miniature figure that represents my character.

Prior Knowledge


I assume you already know what an RPG is,
what a GM is, and how RPGs with a GM are typically
played.

If you don’t, then I don’t know how you came
to be reading this book. My marketing-fu is not that
strong! Perhaps a spouse handed you or emailed you
this book? Regardless, I’ve got your back, Mystery
Reader: go to your favorite search engine, look up
roleplaying games, and come on back. You’ll be glad
you did. RPGs rock.

Credits
Design, Writing, and Layout: Frank Brunner
Playtesting: Beth Abel, Ken Butcher, Phil Coburn, Zach Hoefler, and Jody Kuhns
Additional Playtesting: MG, IF, SB, the NS d20 Club, Chris Dodd, and Matt Urbanski
Long Arm Fighting style: Matt Miller
Art credits on p. 299. Logo and website by Mark Quire of Quire Graphics.
Come join us online at www.spellboundkingdoms.com!

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Donald Tyson (order #2711792)

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Chapter One: Rules

Take a look at that picture up there. Igor Kieryluk drew it for this game. Those are three Axemen,
so named after Jason of Thyre presented his lover
Siobhan with a hematite-and-gold axe pendant, saying,
“Your love is like an axe to the frozen sea that was
within me.”

The Axemen above are raiding a Thyran castle,
perhaps to assassinate a tyrant, to blackmail the tyrant’s wife, or to steal the bottle containing his daughter’s ability to love - a bottle that the tyrant has promised to give back to her once she reaches her majority
without ruining herself.


Igor did a good job of capturing the spirit of
the game. It’s the spirit of Axemen raiding, of love, of
desperation, of creaking leather and rough rope standing against all the ice and magic and stone and inertia
of centuries.

That’s the spirit that these rules support.

The rules drive the game at a fast pace and
set it on a collision course with the most dearly held
inspirations of both PCs and NPCs. If lovers are riven,
homes are burned, and true love conquers all, then
you are playing the game as it was meant to be played.
May you find as much enjoyment in so doing as the
rest of us!

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Overview

Modifiers


The core mechanic is a die-step, roll-overtarget-number system. Each kingdom or region has its
own target number, called the Doom.

Inspirations are at the heart of every character.
Use them like action points in any scene to give
you a bonus. Unlike other action points you
may be familiar with, Inspirations are represented
directly in the game world, and you can lose them
(if someone kills your wife, for example).

SK's five main scene types are combat, mass
combat, chases, investigations (or explorations), and
social encounters.

The mode of play is classic RPG play or scene
order play. “Scene order play” is optional. It means
that players take turns picking what they want to
accomplish in a scene (find a password, intimidate
a rival, loot a tomb, etc.) and how they want to accomplish it (stealth, combat, chase, social, war). Then
the group plays through the set scene, and if the PCs
“win” they get the desired result; if they “lose,” something gets worse for them. A single campaign may
switch between modes of play, or use only one mode
or the other.

Core
Mechanic
Spellbound Kingdoms uses d2, d4, d6, d8, d10, d12,
and d20 dice. The size of the die that you roll is determined by the relevant characteristic, attack, vehicle, or
whatever else you are using. Roll the highest die that
does not exceed the value of your characteristic.

Example. If your Strength is 7, roll a d6 when
using Strength.

Example. Sometimes this is noted dStr. For
example, dStr if your Strength is 8 means d8.

If you meet or beat the target number, you
succeed. The target number is usually the Doom (see
below) or your opponent's opposed roll.


There are no modifiers applied to the result
of the roll. The number showing on the die is what
you get. Once you have a feel for it, you can resolve
actions from the battlefield to the salon extremely
quickly this way.

SK does use two modifiers to rolls, but they are
used before rolling.

The first modifier is a die size change.

Example. Celeste lunges with her longsword at
a madman. Normally that is a d8 attack, but since her
previous round was spent feinting, she gains a one die
size increase. She rolls a d10.

Dice can never be lowered below a d2. Any
increase above a d20 results in rolling a second d20
(and another d20 for each increase beyond that). Take
the highest single roll as your result.

Example. Raleigh Arbuthnot is firing a zeppelin’s ballista at an amphitheater of people attending an
unsanctioned violin concert. Normally he rolls a d12,
but for various reasons, the GM awards him 3 die size
increases. He ends up rolling 3d20 (d12 --> d20 is the
first die size increase, and there are two remaining increases for a total of three big d20s). He rolls the three
d20s and takes the highest single roll as his result.

The second modifier is a bonus die or a penalty
die.

If it is a bonus die, roll all the dice and take the
single highest roll as your result.

If it is a penalty die, roll all the dice and take
the single lowest roll as your result.

Example. Rex Shorn attempts to disarm a
Jakattan needle trap. He rolls a d8 for his Quickness,
but he also has a bonus die from his “History: Trapfinder for Rithaign Factors, Haulers, and Panhandlers
(10).” He rolls a d8 and a d10 and gets a 5 and a 3. He
takes the 5 as his result.

Example. Orton Shieldbearer is so shaken by a
magic surge (one that caused ghosts to flit through the
battlefield) that his heart fails him. He takes a Heart
penalty die on his next attack. He normally would
roll a d8 for a Lunge. Now he rolls a d8 and a d6 (his
Heart score is 6) and gets a 7 and a 2. He takes the 2 as
his result.

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Doom & Target
Numbers


In the uncommon case you have both a penalty
die and a bonus die on the same roll, apply the bonus
die last. This applies to Mood and Inspiration (see
below) as well; they apply after any penalty dice.

Example. Mercy Manthorpe unwittingly ate
madfire ashes at dinner, giving her a Reason penalty
die to all activity for the next hour. Looking for a
safehouse, she attempts to leap across a rooftop. Her
Quickness is a 9, so she rolls a d8 as her base die. She
has a Reason of 5, so she rolls a d4 as her penalty die.
Rolling these two, she gets a 2 on the base and a 3
on the penalty. The 2 is her result so far. But she also
has a “History: Nightrunner for the Rithaign Factors,
Haulers, and Panhandlers (9),” so she rolls a d8 bonus
die. On this bonus die, she rolls a 5, and therefore she
takes the 5 as her final result.


If you are rolling against an opponent, then
you each roll and the higher roll wins.

On the other hand, if you are rolling against the
environment, the target number is usually the Doom of
the region. The Doom is born of magic, the king, and
fate. It measures the difficulty of life. Woe and misery
walk in lands with high Doom, while the sun shines
warmer, and there are fewer children wailing from
plague-flagged tenement windows, in lands with low
Doom. Doom opposes heroic actions; a peasant need
not roll against the Doom to cook lunch.

From a game design point of view, the Doom
is an aid to the GM. Instead of feeling forced to come
up with difficulties or target numbers on the spot, the
GM uses the Doom.

Example. Nicholas the Nail is galloping on
horseback through an open-air bazaar. He needs to
jump Zeb, his horse, over a table of rye loaves. This
is Rithaign, where the Doom is only 3 (the king’s
wrath is focused on fractious East Fire across the bay).
Nicholas rolls a d6 because his Quickness is 6. He gets
a 5 on his roll. This is greater than the Doom, so he
clears the table and races on.

The GM can, of course, adjust the target num-

Ties


In an opposed die roll, ties go to the higher die
size. If both tying dice are the same size, re-roll. (Reroll only the two tying dice, not any other dice such as
Inspirations, bonus dice, etc. if you have them.)

If the roll is not actively opposed (as when it is
made against the Doom), then a tie - a result equal to
the target number - counts as a success.

Dice Explode

Dice explode. That is, when you roll the highest number possible on a die, also increase the die by
one size and roll again. The largest number showing
on any die is the result of your roll. Dice can explode
multiple times.

Example. Elena of Muda-Tarsk rolls a 10 on
a d10. This explodes, so she rolls a d12. She gets a 7
on the d12. The result of her roll is the 10 that she had
originally.

Example. Minette Viera rolls a 4 on a d4. This
explodes, so she rolls a d6. She gets a 6 on the d6.
This explodes too, so she rolls a d8. She gets a 3 on
the d8. The result of this roll is a 6, the highest number
on any of the dice.

A Note on Dice
d12 to d20 may seem like a
large or uneven jump, but in fact
it is not. Consider the jump from
d2 to d4: you have doubled your
maximum roll. The jump from
d10 to d12 is nowhere near that
large a relative increase. d12 to
d20 merely brings the increases
back to the same scale.

There are many other considerations, but
considering them, including the almost visceral
fun of rolling the big ol’ d20 while your opponent rolls a pathetic d8, the jump from d12 to
d20 is justified, mathematically and otherwise.

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ber for any task to be different from the Doom. Particularly easy or difficult tasks are often so adjusted.
The GM is also encouraged to reward roleplaying as
appropriate with an adjustment to the target number.
If a player describes a stunningly clever method to
accomplish his goal, or if his description of his attempt
entertains the entire table to the point of universal acclaim, then the GM should give serious consideration
to lowering the PC's target number.

Mood

A king's mood can crucify a hundred witches
- or set them free. A trader's mood can help close the
deal on a dozen zeppelins - or ruin his fortunes forever. In the Kingdoms, mood is a critical social tool.

In battle, a character’s Mood can mean the difference between survival and death. Those who know
they can win, who fight with energy and vim, who by
dint of psyche dodge their opponent’s worst blows and
connect with their own - these are the champions.

At creation, a PC's Mood is half his Heart
score.

You gain Mood by:

Winning a social attack (usually Charisma vs.
Charisma roll) and choosing to gain a Mood point
rather than inflict a point of Mood damage.

Executing a daring combat trick, such as
swinging from a chandelier, can increase your Mood
(see the fighting style sheets at book’s end). Using
these maneuvers outside of combat does not raise
Mood; only the rush and risk of combat seasons your
maneuvers with the proper zest.

Various character class abilities, talents, and
outstanding roleplay (at the option of the GM and the
other players) can increase Mood.

Spending a scene (or a full day outside of
scene play) and narrating or roleplaying how you use
the time to elevate your Mood also works. This raises
Mood to its maximum (or beyond, for exceptional
roleplay). This only works if scenes are in limited supply; there should be a cost (opportunity or otherwise)
for raising Mood. The GM may call for a roll to see
if a character's time is spent successfully, or impose a
monetary cost (good times aren't cheap!), especially if
an adversary or organization is working against you.

Your maximum Mood is equal to your Heart.


You can use Mood in these ways:

Spend one Mood point to gain the maximum
result on your current die. You can do this even after
you have rolled the die and know the result. The die
does not explode. There is one exception; maximizing a d20 with Mood (or an Inspiration) gives you a
12 (not a 20). You can roll the die also, if you haven't
already, and take either the 12 or the roll.

Spend one Mood point to prevent a point of
Body or characteristic damage in combat or elsewhere.

You can lose Mood by spending it, but also
to social attacks, living contrary to the culture of a
region, moving through haunted environments, spells,
and more. There are many ways to fall in the Kingdoms.

Mood cannot be reduced below zero.

When your Mood is at zero, your Inspirations
are vulnerable to social attack. A successful social attack against you causes you to lose 1 Inspiration point.
The social attack must specifically target your Inspiration. If your Mood is above zero, your Inspirations are
generally safe from social attacks.

You can use only one Mood point per check.
For example, you cannot use one Mood point on the
main die and another on a bonus die.

Example. Saul throws a grappling hook up to
the parapet. He rolls his Strength (5, for a d4) and gets
a 3. The Doom is 4, so Saul would fail. He spends a
Mood point, however, raising his result to the maximum on his Strength die, namely, a 4. This ties the
Doom, and Saul catches the hook on the parapet.

Example. Rusudan, the Yoked Usurer of Syrbizond, tries to identify a foreign gold coin. She rolls
her Reason (8, for a d8) and her bonus die, History:
Moneychanger of Syrbizond (10, for a d10). She gets
a 7 and a 5. Her target number was 9, and neither of
these rolls is good enough. So she spends a Mood
point and gains the maximum on her bonus die, that is,
a 10, which surpasses the target number.

The Mood rules push gameplay toward social
interaction. An insult can haunt you, and a friendly
beer and game of slap-ass with the serving girl can
buouy you through the day.

Note that because Mood can soak damage,
insulting your opponent during combat is an effective
tactic. Swashbuckling characters and their players usually love this.

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Donald Tyson (order #2711792)

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Inspirations


To understand the Kingdoms, you must understand Inspirations. This is a world where love and fear
hold dominion even over death. Inspirations drive the
architect to build, the lover to woo, and the warrior to
fight. They move the world, and they have the power
of magic. For all of these reasons, the nobles condition
the commoners to accept a life of blandness and to
settle for tepid passions. Inspirations are far too dangerous for just anyone.


Love for your brother is an Inspiration. Vengeance against the savage warlord who destroyed your
village is another. Paranoia inspires the madman. Faith
inspires the priest. The list is endless.

PCs and important NPCs have Inspirations.
There are always numbers attached, for example:
“Seeks vengeance on Baron Vountainne (2)” or “Faith
in the return of her husband from Ku-to-en (4).” These

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