I did, a while ago, a post on Mercy Blackstaff’s physreps. Well, just under a year later, I wanted to talk some more about physrep in Fools and Heroes – looking at weapons, ribbons and other assorted potions and vials the heroes of Ithron might carry upon their person.
This is just a short list of some of the things I had to hand and is not meant as the be-all-and-end-all-list-of-kit.
Types of Weapons
Above is the contents of our armoury, all LARP safe and checked for our system. The LARP weapons which seem to be used for our system are built around a core material, padded and covered in foam and latex. There are a variety of merchants who sell these sort of items – Saxon Violence, Skian Mhor and Eldritch to name but a few …
Group 1 – Bladed weapons (swords, daggers etc) – call: sharp or no call at all
- a – Two-handed Claymore (call: two handed)
- b – Long sword
- c – “Short sword”
- d – Dagger
Group 2 – Hafted weapons (hatchets, axes etc) – call: sharp or no call at all
- e – Axe
- f – Hatchet
Note: Normally you don’t call “sharp” when using a sword or axe, unless there are lots of other unusual calls such as “enchanted” or the other calls. Lord A384 and I call sharp just to let the monster crew know we’ve got normal weapons if this is the case.
Group 3 – Blunt weapons (maces etc) – call: blunt
Shown is the one mace we have (borrowed from kit. My own mace has literally just arrived from Saxon Violence) – maces have all sorts of looks and feels and have different lengths depending on what you want to have. Used to crush bone and stone to dust.
Group 4 – Sub-dual weapons (staffs, clubs etc) – call: subdue
Shown is our two-handed staff, though we have a couple of one-handed “clubs” or cudgels which arrived yesterday. Anything that doesn’t cause harm but could render someone unconscious falls under the sub-dual category. Typically it’s wooden sticks of various lengths. Used to knock someone out or make them drop a weapon by a well placed blow to their elbow …
There are other weapons such as spears which I think are similar to swords and axes, but I’ve not really used one to find out. It has a good range so can keep your enemies at bay.
We also have a couple of shields and a variety of leather armour, but it all depends on what your character can afford or what you can get hold of (buy, beg or borrow).
There are all kinds of armour, with different restrictions and point counts and costs depending on the guild you’re in and what you’re expected to wear – e.g. you don’t expect to see a noble knight in leather and I think seeing a physician in plate might raise more than a few eyebrows …
Ribbons signify special effects, depending on what they’re attached to. I’m still learning what things mean, so these may not be the full list of meanings:
Red: Temporary Blessed or Enchanted weapon – call: enchanted
Priests can place a blessing on a weapon or a mage can cast a sharpening spell on a weapon, both of which allow the weapon to cut through armour to wound the flesh beneath.
Green: Poison applied – call: venom
A natural poison has been applied to the blade, usually gathered from some creature or being secreted from the monster. If it causes a wound, this poison causes the victim to writhe for 30 seconds then fall unconscious. They will die after reaching the end of a 300 second poison count.
Black: Poison applied – call: swiftdeath
An alchemical fast acting poison known as “oil of swiftdeath” which is applied to the blade and is said to look like water. If it causes a wound, this poison does not cause the victim to writhe though renders them unconscious. They will die after reaching the end of a 120 second poison count.
Sometimes attached to items that have had “oil of swiftdeath” applied – e.g. trapped boxes.
Purple: Demonic Aura
Sometimes applied to a weapon, sometimes hanging off an item or person. This ribbon indicates a demonic aura which certain people can see, though most people assume they can’t see the ribbon.
Gold: Enchanted or Magical aura
Some special items, permanently enchanted items or anything with a magical aura are marked with a gold ribbon. Only certain people can see these ribbons, which are sometimes marked with runes to indicate what sort of aura it is.
Silver: Silver item
Indicates a physical silver weapon, typically a silver dagger which is usually carried by mages.
Thanks to Phyrehawk, I can also add:
Orange – immune to magical spells/affects
Grey – necromantic in nature
There may be other ribbons which I’m not aware of, so this list might be added to as I learn more.
Certain runes mean certain things within the game – some visible, some invisible to those who do not recognise them. These are usually explained as the player learns certain skills or gains special knowledge. Sometimes runes are marked on objects, bits of paper, ribbons or people, depending on what they’re showing.
There are a set of runes which are noted in the IC law which indicate a number of crimes the bearer has committed, branded into the face. Sometimes a rune is put on the face to mark if the player has a super special aura or is under the effect of deathsleep which can only be spotted by certain groups, but this knowledge is covered as you progress through your guilds.
There is loads of different alchemy, in various colours with various symbols written on the label. The rule I use is this – if it is written in black ink, you can see it (usually this is the maker’s mark, so someone can pick it up and go “oh, so and so made this – they’re not too badly priced” or “you buy from him? He trebles his prices” and so on and so forth). This means if there are small symbols which might have been added later in short hand to indicate the contents, you can see these notes too. Anything in red ink is special and allows alchemists (and npc alchemists aka the monster crew) to identify the potion contained inside the bottle. Red ink cannot be seen by most folk.
As far as I can tell, there are different groups of alchemy – healing, poisons, protections and assorted others.
Healing alchemy includes things like:
- Heal Limb – heals one limb wound
- Heal Body – heals a wound to the body
- All Heal – heals all wounds, so is perfect to deal with a struck down person (bleeding from all locations) or when you have several wounds to deal with quickly
- Cure Disease – cures a disease you might have got from a monster or spell
- Purge Poison – purges poison from the player after taking the effect of a venom or swiftdeath coated weapon (this one saves lives!)
Help the physicians – carry healing alchemy!
Poison alchemy is usually used to treat various weapons or can be put in some foods if you’re that way inclined …
- Oil of Swiftdeath – alchemical poison to apply to a blade (black ribbon)
- Blade Venom – natural venom to apply to a blade (green ribbon)
- Oral Swiftdeath – swiftdeath that can be ingested
Protection alchemy include things like:
- Mighty Strength – enhances your natural strength (gives an additional “floating” hit point allowing you to not take ONE wound once your armour has becomes useless)
- Firm Resolve – strengthens your resolve (allows you to resist a number of spells during an encounter – things which usually control your mind or make you do certain things e.g. “Fear”, “Obey”)
- Mobility – enhances your natural ability (allows you to resist another set of spells in an encounter – things which affect the body e.g. “Freeze”, “Sleep”)
Assorted other alchemy includes the things I can’t quite fit into a category, such as:
- Alchemical light – glowsticks (usually green)
- Alchemical Firemakers – matchsticks (ignores the 10 second count required to use matchsticks as a “tinder box”)
- Oil of Silver – gives a silver coating to a blade (though I’ve never seen this in action)
- Potion of Truthtell – IC truth serum (results not guaranteed)
The rule with alchemy is don’t drink more than two at a time, preferably something different, as you can’t “stack” alchemical effects and more than two induces a poison like reaction as the potions mix.
I’m sure there are lots of other alchemical potions around, but you get the picture. Alchemists brew all sorts of useful but expensive brews.
Other useful things
Some people like to travel prepared (I know I do) so I fluff out my character with additional physrep. Mercy carried all sorts of useful nick nacks which were rarely used but on the occassions they were called for. Sometimes having water or food to hand helps if you’re on a long mission (particularly chocolate for all those walkers out there), or carrying hat, scarf and gloves in the winter – just in case (or is that just me?). I usually try to find a reason as to why my character might have these items on her person rather than just plucking them out of thin air going “oh yes, I need this now”.
Rowan, for example, chooses to carrya few bandages (following the old scout guilds rules for what a scout should carry when out in the field), an assortment of healing alchemy she can use upon herself, firemakers, candle and an alchemical light. She also carries “travel rations” and water just in case (chocolate is good on night sites!), along with some personal items which may or may not be of importance – for example, a tartan swatch at her belt, a pin and ribbon in her belt pouch, assorted coins.
She also wears a whistle around her neck having learnt her lesson on that first mission in Llaminusu … but whistles are used to signal at larger fests, so I need to check whether I can use it at events. She also has pieces of clothing which end up stuffed in a belt pouch should the weather ever become glorious – it’s an ooc habit of being prepared, something I can’t help but bring into FnH through being out on night missions in winter. Is cold!
Make up and Costume
Before I finish, I will just make a quick note on make up, costume and other physrep.
Certain races in Fools and Heroes can only be recognised by the player wearing certain pieces of physrep – elf ears, hobbit feet, dwarf beard etc. You can also spice up your character with makeup by bringing in some character background or bear the mark of your mistakes or mishaps as an adventurer.
Some people’s characters commited crimes prior to their adventuring days and have runes branded into their faces, others have gradually scratched or inked designs into their arms or bear tattoos of significance to their characters. Some people even put on scars for wounds they’ve recieved in character! These can be physrepped using pieces of makeup used to simulate scar tissue, eye liner pen or pencil, transferrable tattoos (bought in bulk) or liquid latex (as demonstrated by a couple of friends recently).
Some people even go as far as putting in contact lenses or wear wigs to simulate a completely different appearance or to add a bit of depth – one guy puts in a white contact lense to fake a blind eye (is a little creepy …).
Other people put on makeup or face paint to show other things – I, stealing the idea from a couple of other characters, wear different “patterns” of blue face paint depending on when I’m adventuring to as camoflage (also I look pretty fierce too), whilst others use it to add a little drama when things are kicking off – such as Llaminusian war paint which I saw at Summerfest last year.
As a friend told me when I debating whether I should or shouldn’t use face paint for Rowan – “Facepaint adds 30% more fantasy”. I couldn’t agree more.
Then there are the costume embellishments – cloaks, robes, tunics, shirts, dresses, skirts, eye patches, bandannas, scarfs, masks – which help create the character. I saw something cool when I went to Derby – the two Kharachians of the Mormagil have black masks on to hide their face which just adds a sinister touch, but also an otherworldliness. Another Kharachian locally wears a mask too, from something out of his character history.
You usually associate certain things with certain guilds – the Guards and Foresters are required to wear certain tabards and symbols, the knightly orders have their own colours and heraldry. The mages guild also have colours associated with each school – something I didn’t even recognise until it was pointed out to me:
- Apprentices – Green
- School of Demonology – Red
- School of Enchantments – Gold/Yellow
- School of Necromancy – Black
- School of Thaumatergy – Green
Certain colours are also associated with particular gods when combined with their holy symbols, though this is only enforced for the devoted and priests of these churchs:
- Sidhe – Grey – Scales
- Tralda – Bright colours- anything to do with luck (dice/playing cards/lucky horseshoe)
- Crowa – Red – Sword
- Longstor – Green – something natural
- Rolbor – Purple or “rich” colours – precious gem or crystal
- Kharach – Black – Skull or something made of bone
- Vleybor – White (little bit of red) – Celtic Cross
As you delve further into the world of Fools and Heroes you begin to see more details you can use to embelish your character. You might end up joining a milita unit and wear their symbol on a sash or belt piece, or you might end up affliated with a noble family and be allowed to wear their family heraldry – who knows what you might do. The only limit is your imagination (and your budget).
So here ends my “short” guide to some of the physrep found in Fools and Heroes. Things might be added here as my knowledge of the wierd and wonderful is expanded, or a supplimentary post may follow in future. In my opinion, physrep helps flesh out a character by providing them with the weapons, equipment and look that they have, as well as providing a little hint at the extraordinary backstory that had led them to be what they are.