Wednesday, October 9, 2013

GURPS Low-Tech Fantasy Elven Kataphrakt Alexios

Alexios of House Ducain

The Ducain Lands.
900,000 acres

  • He was Duke Tytos’s squire, and Tytos abused him and is very much still infatuated with him.
  • Betrothed to Lady Yliani of House Baccarynn; disapproved by her brother Sir Malique
  • Squired with Sir Jeremane (fellow Squire at the time, now a Banneret), who has a constant rivalry with him, bordering on hatred. They stay far from each other to maintain a fragile indifference.
  • Duke Tytian (knows his secret, and is his current lord as a hostage exchange), and wants Alexois father, Lord Konstantine’s lands through marrying his sister Lady Bella and his vassal Godwin the Bastard.  
  • He is in love with Lady Alyss (bastard daughter of Lord Quentin of House Qish)


-30 points
Elves are
  • ST-1, DX+2, Per +2.  
  • Impressive Appearance - +1 reaction bonus in awe of their a natural beauty.
  • Extended Lifespan Extended Life Span – Elves are long lived and slow maturing, they become a young adult at around 100 years, an adult at around 180 years, middle Aged at around 240 years, Old at around 300 years, and Venerable at around  360 years.
  • Magery -  Elves can learn and detect magic.
  • Night Vision 5 – reduce the penalty from darkness and low light conditions by 5.
  • Severe Insomnia – An Elf's highly attuned senses does not allow them to sleep well. The GM secretly rolls 2d-1 days to determine how long is their bout of Insomnia, then secretly rolls 3d to determine how long between bouts. Elves tend to be skilled in meditation and use the skill to enter a trance, which they use to substitute for sleep.
  • Light Sleeper – Elves do not sleep soundly, they need to make an HT roll to fall asleep, and will wake up on a successful Per check when there is detectable activity. Elves  use the trance from Meditation.  
  • Vulnerability to Iron – Elves take twice as much damage from iron weapons and four times as much damage from meteoric iron weapons after damage penetrates damage resistance.
  • Intolerance to Dwarves – Elves are racially averse to Dwarves. They treat dwarves with a -3 reaction penalty.
    • Unusual Complexion – Elves range in unusual complexions from Coppery, Pale Green, Porcelain White, Pale Gray, Pale Purple, Marble, etc...
    • Unusual Eye Colors – Elven eyes are like gemstones and precious crystal minerals in color and mixture.
    • Bronze materials cost nothing additional to the wealthy elves.

Elven Social Background

30 points
Elves are

  • Language Speak/Comprehend Elven (Native, Fluent)
  • Language Speak/Comprehend Common (Accented)
  • Language Read and Write Elven (Native, Fluent)
  • Cultural Familiarity: Elf (Native)
  • Numerate  
  • Wealth (Wealthy) – Elves are a wealthy peoples, they begin with five times more wealth than the
  • Status 1 – from the wealth

A good counterpoint to the Dwarven self reliant horse archer, is the most expensive and heaviest uptkeep kind of Cavalryman to field medieval warfare: The Kataphrakt. The Kataphrakt is basically combining Heavy Armored Lancer Cavalry with Horse Archer Training. They are very expensive because they have to be the lightest and most armored as possible, and with the best possible horses for the Job.

Elves in this setting are Wealthy at the least. Meaning that an Elf is not without at least a Holding with more than 50 families paying rents and providing labor and half their produce to the Elf. Low birth rate in their lowest of members, and powerful Armies actually leaves elves shorthanded in managing all their lands. Instead they "Lease" these lands to their Human Vassals.

The elf here is pretty much similar to the DnD high elves, along with the disadvantages of the high elves, except that unlike DnD elves they are truely Fae creatures and are vulnerable to Iron. Bronze is 4x more expensive because Elves have horded it All (and pay without the x4 modifier to cost), and its their preferred Alloy because of the incredible lifespan they have: its easier to reforge, does not take much to maintain (unlike Steel), and they possess all the key Mines that produce the Tin and Copper.

Elves are powerful and Elite. you can have an All elf party although you would be treating Humans as disposable assets meant to soften up the opposition before glory can be achieved. Of course, their lives are complicated because of all the Politics and Jockying. Note that this elves, don't kill other elves, even their worse enemies. they usually have Ransoms and Hostage situations. A human killing an elf, would mean all those they know up to 9 degrees of blood relation and friends would be killed (a practice common in historical China). A villager who accidentally kills an Elf, can expect his whole village destroyed and his human lord punished with severity depending on the whim of the Elves.

I see it as an opportunity for Human characters to role-play Vassals, Serfs, Slaves, and Outcasts authentically.

Elven Magic    

Magic is in the Form of GURPS Advantages with the Magic Limitation. It can take many forms, as they are Techniques and Spells that are modular enough to be shaped. Some Families specialize in certain "Themes" of advantages. Example is House Ducain and Body Enhancement. Alexios can strengthen himself magically (which is negated by anti-magic and dispell magics).

Traditional GURPS Spells can be used, but i think the GM gatekeeping all the spells and advantages provides a great Counter-Munchkin balance. Having to approve with the GM, requires a more Conservative strategy of ability building. Of course the GM has to make benchmarks.

To counter act the effects of Iron, many elves have magics that protect them specifically against Iron and Steel. Typically these need to be brought down before hurting them seriously... but of course using their own weapons against them stands a better chance.


My ideas of the Elves were best realized when i played John Wick's House of the Blooded's Ven. The Ven, made much more sense and, for me, pointed out how such races would co-exist given factors of Economics, Elves are Empires of Elites, with Humans and Dwarves (who were once their peers).

More about this Generic Fantasy.

The way I would have done this is by taking a very detailed Fantasy Setting Map I could get off the web and just use everything from all these different Settings as long as I could "Hack" the Look and feel through my story telling.  

The idea is less adherence to Dogma or any Core source and flexibility of material just to set up the Conflict and Story. This is an RPG and the GM and Players are doing real life in between games. To Hack stuff up to suit this game is the key principle. Imagination should be very flexible and adaptive, it should make gold out of sh*t if it has to.   

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