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ELotH: TES - Pen and Paper RPG

Page history last edited by wote89@... 2 years, 11 months ago Saved with comment

 

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The ELotH: TES - Pen & Paper RPG

 

 

 

First published by Black Fox Games in 1997 Boxing Glove , the Epic Legends of the Hierarchs: The Elemenstor Saga Pen & Paper RPG (or ELotH:TESP&PRPG for short) gained modest popularity on its first print run. Dozens of scenarios, expansions and rules supplements were produced rapidly, however some show signs of being hurried cash-in bids such as the infamous Return to Underpants campaign, which consisted of six sheets of blank paper, a 9-sided die and a collectible ambulatory dresser miniature.

 

Character creation in ELotH:TESP&PRPG was a particular masterpiece, involving three timed two-hour exams, a decathlon-style physical evaluation and a medical examination. (Lawsuits are currently pending after it was revealed that the character creation process was lifted in its entirety from Megatraveller RPG, including the chance of the player character (and his player) dying midway through.) The ELotH:TESP&PRPG also had character generation software, which, to the complaint of some game masters, replaced the decathalon and medical examination with similarly-themed minigames. The program was highly popular, especially among the "larger" players.

 

The basic version of the manual featured most of ELotH:TES races, however players were not allowed to play as the furniture. That changed only after the special edition of Supellexicon, which allowed players to pick races like Ambulatory Dresser.

 

famous supplements include:

  • Creature Enchiridion, the definative guide to monsters and creatures of Battal.
  • Furniture Folio, often praised as best illustrated RPG book. Some people say, however, that the art was stolen from IKEA catalogs.
  • Book With Spells and Other Things Like That, featured impressive array of magikal feats, weapons, and cheese grating utensils.
  • Age of The Lack of Light allowed players to fight as servants of Char Reyarteb himself.
  • Wandering Age Handbook and Fighting Manual changed the era to the heroic Wandering Age, making ELotH:TESP&PRPG the first P&PRPG with pig as a playable race.
  • Classtravel series, each detailing one of the core (and some non-core) classes found in the manual.: Warrior wanderings, Rogue rovings, Elemenstor jumping around, and around 140 others. However, beginning with Samurai... somethings the series changed its format, as the publisher ran out of synonyms for 'move'.
  • The Dyecast Nine, a supplementary die-cast figurine set.
  • Battal: Zynthar's Guide to Traversing and Spelunking Regions A-Z contained all the maps of the ELotH:TESP&PRPG and featured commentary from Zynthar the Renounced Elemenstor. It is often praised for giving the most graphically detailed description of a brothel than any other PRPG. It is set during the Elemenstor cycle and for some strange reason Mt.Wang is missing from most editions.
  • Four Underdogs Akimbo converted material from The Wizbits into the RPG. To increase the potential audience, this was also where the two-weapon fighting rules were implimented. To further increase the liklihood of being purchased, all future non-player characters had Two Weapon Fighting with directions to purchase Four Underdogs Akimbo for more information.
  • World of Battal Sourcebook covers various trivia such as the Battal calendar, the night sky, various units of measurement, races, foods, plants, etc. Also contains some maps simply reproduced from Battal: Zynthar's Guide to Traversing and Spelunking Regions A-Z. It is interesting to note that the World of Battal Sourcebook was written after Book 1 and was used to help Tycho Brahe flesh out several of the systems in the world. As a result, the first printing of Book 1 has some rather interesting misuses of what would later come to be standard Battal Weights and Measures. (A draughty is used as a measurement of weight and a unit of time, yearicles are used in very high orders where a reference to more than 32 yearicles is essentially meaningless, etc)
  • ELotH: TES Player's Handbook was a more condensed guide containing all of the information necessary for players to play the game, including class and race information, tables of damage, weapon information, and even a bestiary containing data that even the most mud-encrusted peasant would know. It was also noteworthy for being the only known RPG suppliment to include logrithmic graph paper and a table of values of sine, cosine, tangent, and their inverses (all of which were needed for the more advanced skills). Strangely, the book was also the most complete and definative reference to the various laregely unreferenced and unexplored dimentional planes of Battal. Why the player's were expected to be so well versed on the rarely travelled out planes was unclear, but the effect on most campaigns was palpable.
  • Wars of the Badass A combination monster/character book detailing characters from the latter part of the saga and the ELotH comic book. The art to the supplement is considerably more grim than in the official art; thus the devilishly cute Raven Darkblood is depicted as a horrific fusion between dragon and girl. Very popular among certain extreme-sports-fond teenage fans.
  • Book of the Lost Verbal Artificers This is the official book of verbal items, armor, and other trinkets which heavily modified the Verbal Attack system.
  • Bloodbaths and Boomfests

 

Two years later ELotH:TESP&PRPG was superseded by Advanced ELotH:TESP&PRPG, or AELotH:TESP&PRPG for short, but also ELotH : The Furnishing by people who thought AELotH:TESP&PRPG took too long to type despite it shortness, to avoid having to pay royalties to the original designers. Due to contractual obligations Black Fox Games was required to continue printing ELotH:TESP&PRPG but updates are now few and far between.

 

One of best known fan versions of the ELotH:TESP&PRPG was LAGER, (shortened form of ELotH:TESP&PRPGLAGER) standing for Light And Grossly Abbreviated Edition Remastered. To satisfy the purist fans of the saga, Heart Pool and Heart Elemenstation Skill were entirely deleted. The game also featured many images ripped from the Wizbits animated series. It was (unofficially) released in 2001, and burned by lawyers two weeks later. Some scans are still to be found in the internet, due to the lawyers' ongoing failure to burn the internet.

 

Dice

 

The dice used are D1, DΦ, D3, D5, D7, D9, D11, D23, D99, and the infamous w5's. It is said this was done to create created a "dice tax" to ensure a steady source of income above and beyond the cost of the books. Unfortunately, the dice are never produced in quantities needed to keep up with fan demand. There are several ways to deal with this discussed on the ELotH: TES - Pen and Paper RPG Dice page. Dice were commonly reissued in different colors, sizes, or even shapes in order to get fans to buy new sets.

 

Anybody ever get one of those "I roll 23s" t-shirts that were supposed to come with the mail order dice packs? -tim

 

Character Sheets

The ELotH: TES - Pen and Paper RPG uses a significant number of increasingly intricate character sheets, all of which are invariably updated each time a new book is released, in an attempt to force people to purchase the book. In addition, the crass commercialism of Black Fox Games leads to "limited edition" and other various "editions" of character sheets that are basically just rearrangements of others or reprints of old sheets with new ads. This has led to a large amount of confusion over which sheet to use, when, and how. The generally accepted compromise is to use whatever character sheets you have on hand, and if it turns out you're missing something, well, that's what you use the blank sheet of notebook paper for.

 

Of course, Black Fox Games contends notebook paper is banned from the RPG, and that fans must purchase every single sheet through mail order. This is widely disregarded. After much pleading from fans, plus a number of death threats and a bankruptcy scare, Black Fox Games agreed to allow fans to print their own copies of the character sheets in lieu of ordering them from Black Fox. This has led to a large amount of scanning and reconstituting of old character sheets. No collection will ever be complete, but what follows are all the scans that this wiki has managed to acquire as of this time.

 

 

Character Stats

 

The characters are represented by several statistics that are used to gauge proficiencies and determine success.

 

Base character stats are typically a value between 1 and 5, allowing a simple "Difficulty 1" check on a single D5. Particularly epic characters occasionally have a stat that extends to 6, but allowing this is at the discression of the game master.

 

Elemenstrosity (ELM) is the only stat which can be naturally 0 at character creation, and is often 0 if the character does not have Knack:Elemenstation.

 

The primary stats are as follows:

 

Strength (STR): How strong the character is, generally used to apply modifiers to "Hitting Things" damage, if a character has 0 strength he/she lies on the ground, pinned by the weight of his or her own skin.

Agility (AGI): How quick and agile the character is, often used for running away, if a character has 0 agility he/she lies on the ground, paralyzed.

Dexterity (DEX): How accurate the character is and how fast the character's hands can move. Used for juggling rolls and parlour tricks. If a character has 0 dexterity, the character trips over him/herself, and lies twitching on the ground, too clumsy to get up.

Wit (WIT): Snappy repartee is a major part of ELotH:TESP&PRPG, with many hostile encounters often decided by a well-timed verbal barb, if a character has 0 wit, he takes anything way too literally and automatically fails any public-relations throws, at which point he/she lies on the ground, unable to get up for the crushing weight of shame. MRK is decreased by 1 each time this happens.

Wisdom (WIS): The higher a character's Wisdom stat, the more likely the character is to achieve enlightenment and leave the world of material concerns behind and ascend to a higher plane. If a character has 0 wisdom he/she lies on the ground in a vegetative state and must be fed through a tube.

Intelligence (INT): The ability to solve cryptic crosswords. If a character has 0 intelligence he/she is stupid, and lies on the ground gibbering.

Marketability (MRK): Whereas some game systems use a "Luck" stat, ELotH:TESP&PRPG uses Marketability. As in the Wizbits cartoons, in life-or-death situations whether you live or die is directly related to your Marketability. If a character has 0 Marketability he/she immediately dies of some humorous and exaggerated accident, like being impaled by a toothpick or choking on some air. At this point, he/she is retconned out of the game, and a new character with a high Marketability stat is immediately retconned in the game. Note that the new character must spend 30+d23 turns introducing him/herself and developing new licensed merchandise.

Elemenstrosity (ELM): Elemenstor characters can tap the very essence of elemenstation, represented by this stat. If a character has 0 elemenstrosity he can't very well tap the very essence of elemenstation, can he?

 

The secondary stats are calculated from the primary stats as follows:

 

Health: How much damage the character can take before giving up and going home. (D7 x STR + MRK x 2 + MRK)

Self-Esteem: Your own feelings about yourself and your accomplishments - how much verbal abuse you can withstand. When your Self-Esteem reaches zero, your character sits on the ground and cries. At -5, your character must make a Confidence Check (18) to stabilize his failing self-image or lose 1 additional SEP. At -10, your character must make a Confidence check (16) 10 minutes (until Self-Esteem is above -10) or attempt to harm self for 1d11 or most damaging weapon (whatever is higher).(D7 x MRK + D3 x WIT)

Stamina: Used for determining how much a character can carry and how long a character can exert him/herself for. There are also... herbal and chemical remedies available for increasing Stamina, but people don't talk much about that except to complain about all the e-mail offers for Stamina-boosting tips that don't work. (D9 x STR + AGI x 2.3 + MRK)

Concentration: The ability to solve cryptic crosswords under pressure. (2D3 x WIS + INT + MRK)

Sarcasm: The correct application of sarcasm. No, really? (2D5 + 2D7 + WIT + INT)

Language: This is the ability correctly to use language. (D11 + WIT)

Confidence: The ability to face death, disaster, danger and evil dressers without wetting pants. (STR + WIT + WIS + INT)

 

Classes

These are the classes defined by the core rules. Extended class information and a whole slew of new clasess were added to the game by the Classtravel series.

 

Bard

Clerical Healers

Dancer

Forest-Dwelling Bowyer

Hitter Man

Holy Cavalryman

Kung Foo Fighter

Pick Pocket

Shaman

Sorc'lyer

Warmonger

Whyzard

 

Xtra Classes

 

Elemenstor

Fighting Magician

Lorder

Magical Fighter

 

Combat

Also See: round

 

Combat consists of several rounds, during which each participant makes actions (if possible).

 

Social

 

 

Advantages / Disadvantages

 

Advantages

 

Disadvantages

 

Knack

Your character starts with the knack for a certain set of specialized skills. The number of knacks that your character starts with are based on (MRK - 1D12 + #ofDisadvantages - #ofAdvantages). You can never have more knacks than your WIS score.

 

Unlike Advantages and Disadvantages, a Knack can be aquired by your character after character creation, through the use of quest points. A Knack can also be lost as a result of an epic change.

 

 

 

Epic Change

During the course of your adventures, things that you see, do, eat, or stand in the way of can have a lasting effect on your character. Something that changes both the way in which you would play your character, as a departure from your initial character concept, and would change the way in which NPCs interact with you are called epic changes. An epic change sometimes can be taken on voluntarily, but are often assigned to the player by quest circumstance, luck, or fate (and occasionally trolls). Note: At first, the large number of epic changes seems somewhat incongruous. If they're so epic, why are they a dime a dozen? The answer, of course, is that ELotH:TES and the Pen and Paper RPG based on it are infused with Epicness beyond plain old Epic. Nearly everyone of importance in ELotH is at least a little bit epic. These "epic changes," then, are simply a representation of the Epic infused within almost every hero of worth.

 

 

 

Effects

Effects are temporary condition changes to your character. These "status ailments" are different from Epic Changes because those are denoted by writing on your character sheet. The effect system is managed by the use of tokens (pogs) which you sit on your character sheet until the effect is resolved. Due to a commonly well regarded loophole in the rules, effects can not carry over between play sessions. Many adventurers have managed to cure their poisoned or petrified conditions by wrapping up the gaming session for the evening and packing away their character sheet. The next time they continued their effect box was wiped clean. Conversely, some have felt cheated when they've lost enchantments of swift feet, or other such positive effects immediately before the session ends for the evening.

 

 

The tokens mentioned are a significant part of the marketing and merchandising effort of the RPG. Each status is depicted by a unique pog (a small circular cardboard disk) with an iconographic depiction of the status. These pogs are highly collectable, and a near requirement for an official game.

 

Alignment System

 

Skills

Initially character skills are determined by class, and additional skills can be aquired by training or apprenticeship in game. Additional, the player is allowed 2 elective skills at character creation time, which the player may cash in for a "really kickin' magic item".

All skills have three levels which the character progresses through: Beginner, Proficient, Master. At each skill level the bonuses gained from having the skill increase, as well as new applications or special bonuses being added.

 

Knacks and Skills, while similar are different in several ways. As an example, one might have the skill of Brawling, and while using that skill the character may have a knack for Putting Out Eyes.

 

 

Items

 

 

Reward Points

In ELotH:tES-P&PRPG the player doesn't have a strict goal per se, but their character will take on (and be forced into) any number of quests durring play. There are three types of reward points which are distributed during gameplay, and can both be used to advance your character, and serve as an objective measure of that character's success. Epic Points may be earned at any point in an adventure, and are handed out mechanically as dictated by the game system through such tasks as successful combat resolution, or at the discression of the GM for things such as effective role playing (See: Leveling Up. Whenever a character completes a quest they recive (in addition to other things) two types of reward points; epicer points distributed among the party, quest points are distributed to an individual at the discression of the game master. Generally the more epicer points a character aquires the more the party can be said to have suceeded in their quest.

 

Quests

There are two basic kinds of quests: minor and major. When a character(s) engages in a minor quest they simply either suceed or fail. and any epicer points are evenly distributes between particpants. With major quests there are a set number of points for the quest leader and number to be split amoung his/her followers. Should a person on a major quest die the quest must be passed on, the default order of prefference is pupil, others involved in the quest, then any children of the quester. In event of a quest being conmpleted after a quester's death the dead quester will recive half the lead quester epicer points.

 

Reasons for quests come from four sources and ability to accept quests or have them forced upon you depend on the quest types and and character alignment. The four types are:

  • For Self - your own profit and well being, relates to self alignment.
  • For Friends - relates to Others alignment
  • For All - relates to Community alignment
  • For Lord - Involves character's individual relationship with lord/king, tends to involve elements of other three.

 

Levelling Up

 

All characters grow and change through time through experience, learning, battle, questing and bribing the GM (ahem). Whereas other games systems might refer to characters having plain old "Levels" and "Experience Points", the characters in ELotH:TESP&PRPG are measured by the vastly superior mechanism known as "Epicness". Whereas starting characters in certain other systems start at the paltry "Level 1", all characters in ELotH:TESP&PRPG start at "Epicness 10". Each defeat of an enemy grants the player "Epic Points" (listed in the character sheet for the enemy). When the character reaches a predetermined number of Epic Points, the character becomes more epic - represented by adding 10 to the character's Epicness.

 

Adventure Packs

 

Magic Systems

There are three independant magic systems in the game, each of which are governed by very different rules.

  • Elemenstation, trig based calculations and a loose understanding of fifth dimentional theory required.
  • Sorcery, a more traditional RPG magic system with spell memorization and spell levels.
  • Chronosorc'ley, for which there are no written rules. Use of this type of magic is entirely at the discretion of the game master and is resolved through role play rather than dice rolls.

 

A fourth system, Psichotics, which can't really be called 'Magic' was introduced in the later suppliment Player's Guide To Psichotics. This is the most controversial supplement as of yet introduced into the ELotH:TES P&P RPG.

 

Anyone else who has the rulebook, please feel free to carry on where I left off!

 

Discussion

Comments (8)

Anonymous said

at 5:50 pm on Dec 14, 2005

I've merged the "Skills" and "Knacks", since they seemed to be the same idea. I didn't want to get rid of "Skills", because I like the "beginner, proficient, master" progression, but it was too similar to knacks. We can revert if I'm the only one who thinks so.

Anonymous said

at 7:09 pm on Dec 14, 2005

I kind of like having two fairly similar yet different systems because it makes the RPG a bit more convoluted... there are some differences though.. a skill is learned where a knack is almost something supernatural about your character.

Anonymous said

at 7:12 pm on Dec 14, 2005

I reverted the change.... another thing about skills is that they are associated with classes, where as knacks are inherent in your character. (oh and skills aren't lost arbitrarily by change in the way that a knack is)

Anonymous said

at 7:15 pm on Dec 14, 2005

Good point. Sorry if I was stepping on your territory.

Anonymous said

at 7:19 pm on Dec 14, 2005

No problem.. I think as they are fleshed out the two systems will diverge. Also, almost all rules so far discuss character creation... there are a whole set of stats and rules to lay out for weapons, potions, items, armor, and of course the merchant abilities.

Anonymous said

at 8:26 pm on Dec 14, 2005

I call dibs on the making of the items section.

Anonymous said

at 10:55 pm on Dec 16, 2005

Skills and knacks are a great thing to keep seperate. I sort of see a knack as something more general (although in the RPG there are some really specific knacks) and a skill as something very specific (but here we've got rather general skills). Like Tim said, it's awesome to have something hilariously confusing like that, where knacks seem like they ought to be skills and vice versa.

Plus I already stuck skills/knacks on the character sheets I made. So I'm biased :D

Anonymous said

at 11:02 pm on Jan 17, 2006

anybody have the rules for the "simplified" character creation? I know I never go through the physical trials anymore.

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