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Campaign Notes


The campaign centers in the city-state of Cago, which has finally become a relatively stable area in an otherwise dangerous landscape.

The general tone of the campaign is light adventure.  Characters with flaws and weird traits are fine, especially if they’re funny.

Starting Character Points

Characters are base 150CP.  This makes most racial types the equivalent of barely competent fledgling adventurers, or competent if they’re Human, which is about the same as barely competent for everyone else.



Campaign Tech Level

The general Tech Level of the campaign is TL3 (traditional early steel).  Some TL4 equipment is available under certain restrictions, for example the black powder muskets of the Nat nobility, and potentially some exotic medicines.

Medical Skills

Medical skills are assumed at TL3 (except for Low TL characters).  Physician/TL3 is available as opposed to Exotic Medicine/TL3.  If using GURPS Character Assistant, the specialty “Human” applies to all player races for the purposes of treating injuries.


I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to tweak the Wealth system and have come to the conclusion that it’s too annoying for the purposes of this campaign.  The Wealth and Status rules are therefore as follows:

  • No player character may start with a Status of greater than 1, except for Nats who may start up to 2 (and no less than 1).  Status -2 is the equivalent of a homeless beggar, -1 the equivalent of a struggling peasant farmer, 0 the equivalent of a farm owning family, shopkeep, etc., 1 the equivalent of a merchant, minor official, etc., and 2 the equivalent of a noble of moderate import.
  • All job systems, cost of living, etc. are abstracted.  It is assumed that if there is a gap in campaign time that your job covers your cost of living for your Status level.
  • Wealth is replaced by Wealth/Assets, which is at half cost (-12/-7/-5/0/5/10/15/25).  This is how much money you start with, based on an average starting wealth of $1000.  You may start with Wealth/Assets ranging from two below your corresponding Status to two above.  If this seems strange (for new GURPS players) refer to the following chart:
Wealth/Assets Level Point Value Starting Money Allowable Status
Dead Broke -12 $0 -2, -1
Poor -7 $200 -2, -1, 0,
Struggling -5 $500 -2, -1, 0, 1
Average 0 $1000 -2, -1, 0, 1, 2
Comfortable 5 $2000 -1, 0, 1, 2
Wealthy 10 $5000 0, 1, 2
Very Wealthy 15 $20,000 1, 2
Filthy Rich 25 $100,000 2
  • Multimillionaire is still 25/level, but it doesn’t matter much since you cannot start with it.
  • If your character manages to get money and equipment during the course of the campaign that pushes him into a higher Wealth/Assets category, the Gm may require you to buy off the disadvantage.  I will not be keeping gnats-ass detail of all your equipment and expenditures to find out when this happens, but fair warning for characters who take Poor/Struggling and find a suitcase full of money.
  • Independent Income is disallowed, or at least strongly discouraged, since it also required a lot of time tracking, and it’s likely that the characters could be out of reach of it for extended stretches of adventuring time.
  • I am not forcing everyone to dump 80% of their starting money into houses.  Buy what you want.


All playable races in Cago are recognizably humanocentric, mostly because it’s a pain to run a game otherwise.


Humans are the most common racial stock in the Cago area, and reportedly throughout the world, although the veracity of this theory is disputed by other humanoid races.  With no particular physical advantages, Humans are seemingly poorly adapted for life in the wilderness, and are sometimes joked at by more sturdy races (Moragi, Kharaz) or by those with better political acumen and technology (Nats, Ess).  They do however tend to breed a little faster than the other racial stocks, which is enough of an evolutionary trait to make them the most numerous in the area.  Humans were present in the area long before the arrival of Thurston Royal’s party, eking out a subsistence living through homestead farming, fishing, and trapping.

In the old days, Humans and Moragi entered into a comfortable partnership of mutual defense and trade, with a cordial (if sometimes uncomfortable, due to extreme cultural differences) relationship with the savage Kharaz.  Since the establishment of Cago and the Nat aristocracy, they have remained in their primarily serf-like existence, although the increased prosperity brought with the founding of the Cago city-state has made life generally more comfortable, if a little more socially restrictive.   There is some room to move though, and Humans can be found at every strata from street beggars to farmers to the military to the merchant and artisan class.

Humans typically stand around 5’10” for males, 5’8” for females, and have a wide range of skin and hair coloring, but primarily a ruddy tone well-suited to life in the outdoors.

A Nat player character can be a peasant taken with wanderlust or forced into fortune-seeking through the ruination of the family farm, an ex-soldier, a member of a tradesman family, etc.

Base Template (0 points)

No advantages or disadvantages are mandatory for Humans.  They speak native Amurkan.


Nats purport to be the original, elder race from whom all other humanoid races were derived, or at least the relatively benign ones.  They have strong familial bonds and tend to stay within closed communities, employing other humanoids for specific purposes.  The noble houses of Cago are all Nat familial units, and Nats are automatically members of the upper class.  Even though there are some Nats who are “simple” merchants, farm owners, etc., you will almost never see a Nat doing menial labor as a full time job.

The Nat Houses of Cago are the keepers of the secrets of black powder, and will sell it (at dear prices, and limited quantity) to those outside the aristocracy or inner military.  The gun was a key element of the holding of the area by Nats, and the best quality ones are strictly controlled.  As the Nats are relatively few in number and lack the adaptations of the other racial types, all Nats are trained in the use of the gun.

Socially, Nats are the hereditary upper class of Cago, and all are by default members of a noble house.  They enjoy greater freedom of action than other races and better protection within Cago society.  The greatest concentration of them live in the inner section of Cago Proper, safely protected from the potential dangers of the outside.  As a hereditary aristocracy, there is some resentment from the other humanoid races of the area, but Nat technology and organization have made Cago more prosperous and secure than other areas of the continent.

Nats stand around 6’ tall on average and mass around 160 pounds or so for males, slightly smaller for females, and can have a variety of skin tones and hair/eye colors.  Nats tend to be slightly paler and fairer in skin tone than standard humans, but not so much as the Ess.

A Nat adventurer may be a minor noble seeking glory, a retired military man suffering from wanderlust or boredom, etc.

Base Template (31 points)

  • Claim to Hospitality (Noble House) 3 [5]
  • Legal Immunity 1 (able to buy and carry most weapons and armor without legal hassle, trials only by a Nat court, but under certain societal restrictions) [5]
  • Social Regard (Respected) 1 [5]
  • Status 1 [5]
  • Wealth/Assets (Comfortable) [5]
  • Language:  Amurkan, native [0]
  • Language:  Old Amurkan, accented [4]
  • Required Skills:  Guns/Musket [1], Savoir-Faire (Nobility) [1]
  • Suggested Advantages:  Wealth/Assets (Wealthy)


The Moragi (plural form) are large, muscular humanoids who were living in the Cago area alongside Humans before it was called Cago.  Physically powerful and imposing, Moragi are well adapted for survival in a hostile area.  Despite their large and imposing figures, the Moragi are not inherently violent, and are a stabilizing influence in their home areas, where the threat of reprisal from a gang of angry Moragi is usually enough to prevent incursion.

Even before the founding of Cago, the Moragi provided protection for their more numerous but weaker Human allies in exchange for stable agricultural food supplies, and their presence was sometimes implied to be a major factor in preventing the wild Kharaz from pillaging the Humans out of existence.  Today, under Nat rule, the Morag subsociety still produces excellent soldiers and peacekeepers, and many Nats have at least one Morag as a bodyguard.  Most Moragi, however, are content to continue to work their land, hire out as capable laborers, or put their muscles to work in the newly expanded area of iron mining and working.  Morag craftsmen working in metals are well regarded.

Moragi tend to be about as tall as Nats, around 6’ or slightly larger for males, but are broader, massing around 220 lbs average for males, mostly muscle.  They tend to medium tan skin tones, and their naturally tough skins are often leathery in texture as well as color.

A Morag player character has most of the options available to the base Human type, but is more suited to soldier backgrounds.

Base Template (46 points)

  • Damage Resistance 2 (Tough Skin) [6]
  • Extra HT 1 [10]
  • Extra ST 3 [30]
  • Language:  Amurkan, native [0]


The Kharazai (plural form) are considered by other racial stocks to be violent, barbarous, or just flat out crazy, and there is some truth to these generalizations.  They are all products of the Kharaz physiology, which is astonishingly quick healing, and to their culture which is relatively backward.

The Kharazai traditionally live in small clannish hunter-gatherer tribal units, wandering the wilds around Cago proper.  As they can regrow lost limbs and can heal from most ordinary wounds in a matter of days, their childhoods tend to be far more violent than most other racial types, as one would expect from a culture where a stab through the arm is considered a prank or the removal of a hand is a punishment akin to grounding.  Add to this their reputation for ravenous appetites (a common trait, byproduct of regeneration), their relatively backward technology compared to the rest of society, and their distinctive appearance, and Kharaz tend to be the most outcast of all racial groups in the area.

Wild Kharazai in the current era tend to live much as their old ancestors have, and in some cases, they may very well the same, as Kharaz tend to be very long lived.  They have managed to integrate into Cago society insofar as they are not attacked on sight, and many of them continue to live as hunter-gatherers.  Some Kharaz have managed to integrate more fully into Cago society, generally as game wardens, scouts, or as soldiers, although many consider them too unstable for use as soldiers.  When they are soldiers, however, they tend to be assigned in specialist units.  Some Kharaz, through rare circumstances, have actually grown up in Cago.  These Kharaz have the advantage of familiarity with TL3 equipment, but may not have all of the skills a “wild” Kharaz grew up with.  These “townies” tend to be ridiculed when they come into contact with their tribal relatives.

Kharazai stand around 5’11” or higher for males and females, and have distinctive features, including skin tones that range from pale fleshtones to deep blues or greens and elongated ears, pointed in some cases.  Kharaz tend to have long hair and fingernails that grow constantly (a side effect of their regrowth), which although lacking utility in practical combat serve to enhance their monsterish images.

Base Template:  Wild Kharaz [48]

  • Extended Lifespan x4 [2]
  • Extra HT +1 [10]
  • Fit [5]
  • High Pain Threshold [10]
  • Language:  Kharaz, native [0]
  • Language:  Amurkan, accented [4]
  • Regeneration (Slow:  1HP/12hr) [10]
  • Regrowth/Kharaz (This is the correctly priced version of the advantage as per [10]
  • Resistant (Disease) (+3) [1]
  • Appearance:  Unattractive [-4]
  • Low TL:  TL 2 [-5]
  • Required Skills:  Area Knowledge:  Cago wilderness [1], Survival:  Woodlands [1], choice of one TL2 melee weapon [1], choice of one TL2 missile weapon [1], choice of one unarmed combat skill [1]
  • Forbidden traits:  High wealth, any physical disadvantage


The Ess are recent visitors to the Cago area.  Mysterious and feared, they are renowned for their supernatural abilities.  All Ess are native to their enclave called Thelebar, far to the south.  Negotiations between Thelebar and Cago have been going on since shortly after the Cromen war, and there is trade between the communities.  Thelebar is a closed community, and many people believe it is haunted, cursed, or otherwise mysterious.  It is doubtless well-defended; a Cromen war party reportedly simply disappeared in the area, and even the far-ranging Kharaz tend to avoid heading in its direction.  The Ess themselves tend to be gracious and diplomatic, but to the more normal locals, they tend to be a bit spooky.

All Ess in the campaign (aside from GM discretion) come from Thelebar.  They do not establish families outside of Thelebar; in fact, Ess do not speak much about their family life at all.  It is considered a taboo subject, and considering their fearsome reputation, people tend not to pry.  The Ess have advanced medical knowledge compared to the area at large, even (according to rumor) greater than that of the Nats.  Whether or not this medical technology is of much use to anyone except for the Ess themselves is debatable.

The Ess have access to psionic abilities, in GURPS terms.  These abilities vary by individual, and player characters can take any combination of them, with the GM’s guidance and approval.  Possible power templates are listed below, and more are possible.  Consult the GM.

In the Cago area, the Ess are rare.  An Ess may be a visiting diplomat, a merchant, a courtier, a researcher, etc.  Rarely, an Ess may be found in an official function within the Cago government.  Sometimes an Ess will purport to just be a wandering student, and that is it not uncommon for the Ess to spend some time wandering in order to learn more about the world before returning to Thelebar to settle down.  All Ess have a wide variety of skills that are related to potential powers; this is a byproduct of the testing process all young Ess go through, and as a side benefit allows an Ess to fake abilities they do not possess.

The Ess tend to be slighter then humans, standing around 5’7” for males, 5’6” for females, weighing about 100-120 pounds.  All Ess are very pale, with light colored hair, ranging from light auburn to pure white.

A player character Ess is unlikely to be any sort of official representative.  Rather, the character is likely to be a wanderer learning about the world.

Base Template (17 points minimum, + powers)

  • Reduced ST -2 [-20]
  • Social Regard (Feared) +1 [5]
  • Extra IQ +1 [20]
  • Minimum one of the following:  ESP Talent 1, Psychic Healing Talent 1, PK Talent 1, Telepathy Talent 1, or Teleportation Talent 1 [5]
  • Required Skills:  Acting [1], Detect Lies [1], Diplomacy [1], Fast-Talk [1], Intimidation [1], Mind Block [1], Physician/TL 4 [1], Stealth [1]
  • Language:  High Speech, native [0]
  • Language:  Amurkan (accented) [4]
  • Forbidden:  Antipsi Talent.

Note that an Ess must possess at least one level of talent in an area to buy powers in that area, at creation time or in the future.  An Ess may possess talents with no powers; this represents latent talent, and allows the character to buy appropriate powers in the future.

GM must approve all powers.  Suggested powers are as listed in the Characters book, Psionics section.


The Grunties are a degenerate race of humanoids that came to Cago with the Nats as a servant race.  Small, weak, and relatively stupid in comparison to other racial stocks, the Grunties are even less well-adapted for survival than the native Humans, and lack the organizational and political skills of the Nats to compensate.  It is surmised that prior to the Nat migration, they existed as a servant race to the Nats in exchange for protection.

With the establishment of Cago as a major city-state and the accompanying inclusion of other races into the Nat-established social order, the Grunties’ role became less well-defined as other peoples filled their traditional functions.  Fortunately for the Grunties, a large-ish urban area provides a number of niches to fill, and so they expanded their traditional role as menials to the nobility into menials for just about everybody.  Grunties remain largely lower-class citizens with limited-to-no social prospects, but they remain relatively secure and protected.  Grunties still serve the Nats in various capacities, but they also now serve artisans, the merchant class, innkeepers, farmers, and others as a stable, anonymous pool of day labor.  Some exceptional Grunties have become businessmen in their own right, helping to raise the status and standard of living of their less fortunate brethren citywide.  All Grunties in the Cago area recognize their mutual situation and offer aid and succor to those Grunties that are in need.

Grunties are small, about 4’ average height and 90 lbs. average weight, and physically weak.  By other races’ standards (except perhaps the oddly-featured Kharazai) they are considered unattractive and misshapen, most notably because their eyes and ears are large and out of proportion to their faces.

Because of the inherent disadvantages in being a Grunty, a player character Grunty would be very exceptional, the equivalent of a Grunty hero.  Such a character would still be stigmatized within Cago society, but would be legendary amongst his peers.

Base Template (-44 points)

  • Reduced ST -3 [-30]
  • Extra DX +1 [20]
  • Reduced IQ -1 [-20]
  • Extra Per +2 [10]
  • Appearance:  Unattractive [-4]
  • Claim to Hospitality (All Grunties, large group but impoverished) [5]
  • Size Modifier -1 [0]
  • Reduced Basic Move -1 [5]
  • Status -1 [-5]
  • Social Stigma:  Minority Group [-10]
  • Language:  Amurkan, native [0]
  • Forbidden Traits:  Status of 2+ (and Status 0-1 is very rare!), above-average Wealth


The following martial arts styles are available.  Characters cannot start with Weapon Master/Trained by a Master or cinematic techniques are not available to starting characters.

In general, having a martial arts package (requiring the 1 point Style Familiarity perk) is required to buy techniques.

  • Archery – Foot Archery
  • Boxing – Bare-Knuckle Boxing
  • Combat Wrestling
  • Dagger Fighting
  • Glaive Fighting
  • Jujutsu
  • Kyujutsu (Kharaz only, or if you learned from them)
  • Longsword Fighting
  • Quarterstaff
  • Shortsword Fighting
  • Sojutsu (Spear)
  • Sword and Buckler Play
  • Sword and Shield Fighting

Other styles may be allowed on a case by case basis.

Perks are as per GURPS Martial Arts:  1 style perk per 10 points in style skills and techniques, 1 unrestricted perk per 20 points in combat skills and techniques.  (Style Familiarity in your own style is exempt from these restrictions.)

No Fencing

Fencing doesn’t really exist per se, as black powder weapons aren’t yet commonplace enough to invalidate heavy armor, which is what leads to fencing techniques.  The closest equivalents would be Sword and Buckler Play and Shortsword Fighting.

Extra Effort

You can use the extra effort maneuver options from Martial Arts if you really need to. These are useful if you need to do something like charge a guy with a longer weapon who just keeps backing up. It’s also useful since there still aren’t enough places to spend FP in GURPS.


All black powder weapons are 2x base cost due to tech level differences (TL4 vs TL3).  Ammunition (including powder) is at 10x base cost due to tech level and legality/scarcity.

UPDATE 11/14/2013: Since I finally got a copy of Low-Tech 4E, I will be changing the stats of available black powder weapons to better match the flintlock weapons presented in that book. This gives the added advantage that most revised flintlocks have lower damage than the catch-all 4d+2pi++ one-shot musket. It’s still likely to drop you in one hit but slightly less so.


Extra Hit Points may be bought at up to 30% of the character’s ST, rounded up.

Please be sensible when picking maneuvers inside a MA style; as I’m transitioning to Roll20, most of the math is going to be done in my head and I won’t have 80 bajillion macros for all of your combat options.

Cinematic stuff is generally a no-go as above unless you can give me a good reason for it. A example would be something like Extra Arm ST or Hit Points up to 100% extra, paid for with a Special Exercises perk.


Players may note that travel times have been long given the distances covered. This is because (1) the Cago area has a lot of little rivers that need fording, (2) there’s not a lot in the way of roads, (3) the party isn’t full of navigators, and (4) I’ve been assuming that the party has maintained a conservative pace to prevent laming their horses through ineptitude, so frequent breaks and a lot of attention from Reed as the only competent animal person. Note that when Reed sped ahead to Cago ahead of the party, I was making rolls to see if his horse had an accident.


Thankfully, since Spaulding is so flippin’ rich, I’ve had an attitude of “if the party can resupply once in a while then you don’t need to pay much attention to this.” This may change if the party goes on a long trip or if a pickpocket steals $100,000 from Spaulding.



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