Core Rules: Talents - Personal Codes

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Personal Codes

A personal code is a voluntary set of principles that a character follows for some reason: be that honour, duty or some other compulsion. Regardless of the motivation, a personal code is a negative talent that will have a refund comensurate to the dangers of breaking it. Codes are negative talents because they restrict character freedom.

GMs should be fairly proactive about reminding players about the limits of their actions because of a code, and players should strive to embrace any code(s) that they take. Characters should only follow code that they are realistically likely to be exposed to. The GM must approve all codes.

Codes that would stain honour, but otherwise have few physical repurcussions, would cost less than a rigidly enforced code that would warrant death upon breaking.

Personal codes may be ignored, but the character will suffer consequences. Some codes threaten social ostricization, others may even have the threat of death looming over them.

If a player has a good idea for a code of conduct, the GM is fully encouraged to work with them to make set it up for their game and giving it a points refund.

The GM may demand a test such as discipline is passed before characters can go against their code, depending on the circumstances. Characters that continually willingly break their codes of conduct will start to suffer from a crisis of identity of some sort, possibly even become depressed (and gaining the associated talent). Codes of conduct cannot be bought off - when a code becomes untenable its abandonment is expected to be roleplayed.

Academic's Code

1 point refund

An academic's code upholds truth and creativity. It is an often-strictly-enforced professional code followed by students and professors at top educational establishments, and other areas of life that wish to emulate those ideals. Those that would break the academic's code face social ostricization as well as their academic work being discredited. For someone whose main or only income comes from research, this could be life-changing. A follower of this code must:

  • Never cheat on any academic matter.
  • Never plagerize any material.
  • Always cite sources of information. If information cannot be cited for whatever reason, it cannot be used.
  • Always treat professors, students and peers fairly.
  • Never put personal gain above knowledge and the truth.

Brigand's Code

2 point refund

A brigand's code is concerned greatly with personal honour, supporting allies and working coherently in teams. A follower that breaks a brigand's code would likely not suffer physically, but will be highly ostracized and looked upon negatively by others who follow the same code and know of the infraction. Followers of this code must:

  • always treat an enemy of a friend or ally as an enemy of their own.
  • always avenge personal insults without worry of the danger that doing so might present.
  • always work for the betterment of the group or team, even that means following or disobeying commands.
  • never attack a friend, fellow team-member, or fellow crew-member; except in a fair duel.

Any other law is often relegated beneath this code in the concern of those who follow it.

If a group enforces this code more harshly than the example above, the GM is free to adjust the cost as they see fit.

Bodyguard's Code

2 point refund.

A bodyguard's code is all about making sure that a character's charge does not come to harm. A bodyguard's tasks range over preventing theft, assault, kidnapping, assassination, harassment, loss of confidential information, threats, or other offences that they have been tasked with preventing. Presented here is a code that could be followed by a hired bodyguard. A follower of this code must:

  • always attend to their job professionally and with vigour.
  • never allow their charge to come to harm.
  • never fraternize with their charge.
  • always meet threats with only enough diplomatic or physical force to stop the threat.

If a group enforces this code more harshly than the example above, the GM is free to adjust the cost as they see fit.

Code of Chivalry

4 point refund

A code of chivalry is an archaic but strict code that harks back to romanticized visions of galant knights of centuries past. Regardless of its age or origins, a chivalric code is foremost a martial and social code aimed at impecible manners among equals and fighting fairly. Those who break this code can expect severe social ostricization from their peers if they know about the infraction; with a strong likelihood of a duel, potentially to the death, for personal insults. A follwer of this code must:

  • always go out of their way to keep their promises and oaths.
  • always treat ladies with preference in safety over men. Ladies who follow this code should expect such treatment by others who follow it.
  • always protect those weaker than themselves, especially non-combatants.
  • always accept a challenge of arms from peers.
  • never ignore an insult to themselves, their nation or their religion. Insults may only be pardoned by way of an apology or a duel.
  • never stoop so low as to accept a bribe or be dishonest in the course of their daily duties
  • never have advantage over another chivilrous opponent: even battles fought with armies must be fair.

If a group enforces this code more harshly than the example above, the GM is free to adjust the cost as they see fit.

Genteel's Code

3 point refund

A genteel's code holds personal honour in the highest regard, ensuring fairness and courtesy to those who warrant it. The genteel's code is taken most often by nobles, gentlemen and ladies, and those who aspire to be upstanding people.

Following a code similar to this can carry a certain prestige. Those who break this code can expect severe social ostricization from their peers if they know about the infraction, perhaps even a duel if an insult is especially egrarious. A follower of this code must:

  • always go out of their way to keep their promises and oaths.
  • always treat ladies with preference in safety over men. Ladies who follow this code should expect such treatment by others who follow it.
  • never ignore an insult to themselves or their nation. Insults may only be pardoned by way of an apology or a duel.
  • never stoop so low as to accept a bribe or be dishonest in the course of their daily duties.
  • never take advantage of an opponent: fights between peers must be fair and equal, except in war or in the gravest of circumstances.

A genteel's code generally only applies between others who also follow some version of the code, or at least those in the character's good graces. For example, insults from anyone beneath the character would not be worthy of a duel: a caning or other punishment would instead be more appropriate.

If a group enforces this code more harshly than the example above, the GM is free to adjust the cost as they see fit.

Journeyman's Code

2 point refund

A journeyman's code is adopted most often by those working in skilled trades, working to maintain and build trust between customers and members of that trade. Breaking a journeyman's code will often be bad for business, especially as rumour spreads, as customers avoid them and other businesses shun them. Followers of this code must:

  • always endeavour to build trust between themselves and their business partners - both customers and suppliers.
  • always complete their jobs and assigned tasks to the best of their abilities.
  • always uphold the ethics of their skill, job, profession and/or employer.
  • always show support and solidarity with their guild, association and/or trade.

Followers of this code will often work completely inside the laws of their juristiction, as being seen to break the law can be bad for business.

If a group enforces this code more harshly than the example above, the GM is free to adjust the cost as they see fit.

Performer's Code

1 point refund

A performer's code is one for artists, bards, entertainers, musicians and anyone who goes on stage. It upholds that the show is of utmost importance. Breaking the performer's code could mean losing a job and having trouble finding another in the same field. A follower of this code must:

  • always ensure that the show goes on.
  • never cause trouble for the cast and the supporting staff of a production.
  • never lie on stage, beyond satire.

If a group enforces this code more harshly than the example above, the GM is free to adjust the cost as they see fit.

Soldier's Code

3 point refund

A soldier's code concerns itself with mostly with discipline and unit coherence. Breaking either, especially in battle, is usually a very rapid path to defeat. A soldier's code is often backed up by military law, meaning breaking the code can incur harsh physical punishments in a regular standing force. A follower of a soldier's code must:

  • always obey orders from superior officers.
  • always show courage in the face of adversity.
  • always strive to win any battle that they fight in.
  • always respect other soldiers.
  • always keep themselves and their gear clean and in good order.
  • always take punishment dutifully and without complaint.
  • always pull their weight in camp and on the battlefield.

If a group enforces this code more harshly than the example above, the GM is free to adjust the cost as they see fit.

Warrior's Code

4 point refund

A warrior's code concerns itself on martial ability, pride and honour, mostly gained through combat. A warrior's code is a rougher, more martial form of chivalry, and must be taken with deathly seriousness. Someone who breaks a warrior's code can expect a potentially deadly retribution from their peers, unless any dishonour gained has been quelled through other honourable activities and achievements. A follower of this code must:

  • always put death before dishonour.
  • always meet any force used against them with deadly retribution.
  • always respond to an insult.
  • always execute dishonourable foes.
  • always avoid the deaths of non-combatants.
  • always give all enemies the opportunity to die fighting.
  • never take prisoners for personal gain or to abuse.

With this code, a character's personal honour must come before all other concerns, including other laws.

If a group enforces this code more harshly than the example above, the GM is free to adjust the cost as they see fit.

Wilderness Code

2 point refund

Some sort of wilderness code is followed by those that live in remote areas: where either the climate, dangerous wildlife or even bandits or other miscreants can make travel hazardous. The code's foundation is based entirely on an honour system, and the retribution for breaking it can be potentially deadly: for example if sancuary is urgently needed from inclimant weather and refused. Someone who follows this code must:

  • always provide hospitality to any who ask to the very best of their ability.
  • but never give hospitality to someone who has abused hospitality before.
  • never abuse any hospitality recieved.
  • never take advantage of guests, physically or monetarily.
  • always protect guests to the best of their ability.
  • always be honest, unless that honesty would put them in mortal danger.
  • always avenge kinslaying and thievery.

If a group enforces this code more harshly than the example above, the GM is free to adjust the cost as they see fit.