Role-playing design notes

Random notes on the design of Gods & Monsters, and maybe even Men & Supermen if I can remember what I was drinking when I wrote it.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

Mounts, defensive actions, and new stuff

Jerry Stratton, February 6, 2005

This is mostly a whole bunch of minor updates. There are a few new creatures, new spells, new spirits, a new weapon, and a new specialty. More skills have been removed (there may be a major change to the way skills work in the future, by the way). Mounted movement has been added, finally. And a few more simplifications and clarifications.


The thief skill hide has had its major contributor changed to charisma.


Mounted movement has finally been added. The ox, mule, and pack horse have also been added to the price lists for “Animals & Containers”.

Donkey7Movement 9 carrying 225 bulk
Horse, pack30Movement 10 carrying 200 bulk
Horse, riding75Movement 14 carrying 250 bulk
Horse, war200Movement 14 carrying 300 bulk
Mule20Movement 10 carrying 400 bulk
Ox12Movement 5 carrying 400 bulk
Pony30Movement 12 carrying 180 bulk

For animals, the bulk carry listed assumes that the animal’s load has been packed reasonably, using saddle bags and saddles or other standard pack devices. Generally, reduce an animal’s movement by 1 for each 10% increase in bulk carried. Horses, mules, ponies, and donkeys may jog, run, and sprint at twice the speed of a person with the same movement score.


The range for thrown daggers and hand axes has been downgraded to 3 yards. The longbow has been downgraded to a 25 yard range. The dart has been added:

WeaponDamageFire ActionsRangeBulkCostUsage

The long sword has been removed as a basic weapon. Prophets and Monks no longer have access to basic weapons, but only to simple weapons.

Sample Characters

The sample characters, in their skill listings, had languages specified as a skill but no actual language listed. They now have languages. Charlotte Kordé also no longer has Mental Resistance as a skill, since that is now a specialty. She has taken clockworks as a skill instead, since we know she’s interested in that.

Defensive Action

Defensive Action has been simplified. Characters may attempt defensive action to the exclusion of any attack. If the character chooses not to attack in a round and focuses completely on avoiding attack, they will gain a bonus of 2 to defense that round.


The weaving skill’s basic ability has been changed to agility.

Animal handling has been removed. It is the same as animal husbandry.

The Martial Arts Weapon Familiarity has been removed from the skills list in Arcane Lore and placed where it should have been, in the Rules section on weapon familiarities. It is a basic weapon familiarity, which currently means that warriors and thieves have access to it.

The Mental Resistance skill has been changed to a specialty.


The Quick Healing specialty has been added.

For Magic Specialization the secondary ability for transmutations has been changed from intelligence to agility.

A specialty has been added, “Understand basic weapons”, which will allow Prophets, Monks, and Sorcerors to gain familiarity with basic weapons.


The first level spell, See Whole has been clarified.

Magic Box has been downsized to a maximum of level times two inches in diameter.

The duration for Ephemeral Backdrop and Ephemeral Stage has been increased to two minutes per level. The area of effect for Ephemeral Backdrop has been corrected to level yards diameter, not radius.

Sleep now has a level limit: it cannot affect any target of higher level than it was cast at.

Slipknot has been added as a second level spell.

Glue has been added as a fourth level spell.

Bottle of Dreams has been added as a fifth level spell.

Spirit Manifestations

Detect Poison at first level has been changed to Detect Ailment. It can detect both poisons and disease. The first level manifestation Detect Disease has been moved up to fourth level.

Divine Nourishment is a third-level manifestation. Ravel and Energy Weapon are fourth-level, and Captivate is fifth level.


The bonus for injured parties in a riddle contest is reduced to 1, but is increased by the level of the place of power if the contest takes place in a place of power.


Giant octopuses and bears (black, brown, and polar) have been added to the list of animals.

Orange slimes have been added to the list of slimes. The iridescent buzzfly has been added as a new fantastic creature. The hop snake--hoop, coiled, and balloon varieties--has been added as a rare fantastic creature.

Barrowmen have been added to the list of undead.

Xolome have been added to the list of faeries.

Gorgons and Shadows have been added to the list of demons.

Lost Castle of the Astronomers

The map did not show the secret door in the ballroom on the first level going to the outside of the outer castle walls.

The description of the charred doors to the southwest tower, on the battlement, has been clarified. The doors to these towers has been added to the map as well.

The broken sword’s runes have been added as a player handout.

  1. <- Second 2004 Update
  2. Fourth 2004 Update ->