Wednesday 30 August 2017

Now in English! Cultural Origins in Épées & Sorcellerie 2nd ed.

Optional rule: Cultural Origins

With this option, each character belongs to a great culture: Barbarian, Civilised, Decadent, Enlightened, Nomad, Primitive, or is instead of Unknown origin. The cultures determine the broad strokes of the character's origin.

The exact region, city, or kingdom from which the character hails is determined by the player, in agreement, of course, with the GM and his campaign. Each origin has traits which add detail and variety to one's character. This option works best in a world where the PCs are generally human.


Barbarians live in savage, hostile lands, such as craggy hills, mountains or inhospitable forests. Most of them worship austere, bellicose gods. The splendours of civilisation offer but little enticement for these rough and pragmatic peoples, but even so there are some individuals amongst them who feel an irrational attraction for the charms of civilisation. Their harsh lives prepare them very well for the life of an adventurer, a road that many of them do not hesitate to follow, tempted by the gold and jewels of the cities...

Hardy: Barbarians roll their hit dice twice and keep the better result.

Warlike: A barbarian usually leads a life of combat and furor. If the character is a single-classed warrior, all melee damage they inflict receives a +1 bonus. If the character becomes dual-classed, this bonus is lost.


Civilised characters come from countries where the cultures are among the most advanced. They hail from great cities and towns with majestic towers and colourful populations. The cities are the ideal place to acquire skills, learn sorcery, or pick the pockets of one's neighbours...

Babble: Civilised characters receive a +1 bonus to all social interactions (haggling, bluff, persuasion, etc.).

City-dweller: Having spent a part of their lives embroiled in urban culture, civilised characters receive a +2 bonus to anything that touches upon knowledge or erudition.


All civilisations, once their golden age is past, fall into decrepitude. The inhabitants of these empires in decline wallow in forbidden pleasures, organise depraved orgies, take all sorts of mind-numbing drugs, and worship strange demoniacal divinities to whom they make bloody human sacrifices. Slave merchants, fanatic priests, and corrupt nobles rule these impious lands with an iron fist.

Dark Secrets: All Decadent characters may use magic scrolls of any sort.

Decadent characters may obtain double the number of henchmen.


Characters of Unknown origin knows little, perhaps nothing, of their cultural and social origin. They have led (and will yet lead, you can bet on it...) the life of an outcast and a wanderer. Even though they haven't benefited from the teachings of a specific cultural environment, they have nevertheless acquired the instinct and intelligence necessary for a life of wandering and improvisation: they learn quickly and effectively. Moreover, these adventurers par excellence are often possessed of exceptional luck, which often leads them to believe they have a great destiny.

Luck & Instinct: The character may re-roll the dice (for whatever reason) a number of times per day equal to their level divided by 4, rounded up (one re-roll for levels 1-4, two for levels 5-8, and three re-rolls from level 9 and up).

Intelligence & Improvisation: An adventurer of Unknown origin learns quickly and better, receiving a +10% bonus to earned experience points.


A very few great civilisations rise above the others and obtain a quasi-divine status. Scholars, philosophers, sages amongst men, the members of such a civilisation have produced incomparable creations, study the great problems beyond the comprehension of mere mortals, have philosophised for centuries, and posses an encyclopedic knowledge. Their cities, which transcend reality itself, last for centuries, just as these great men have no awareness of time.

Longevity: Enlightened characters have a lifespan three times longer than normal humans.

Ancestral Memory: At creation, spellcasters have three additional spells in their  spellbook.


Nomads, like barbarians, live in inhospitable country such as deserts or steppes.  They are not sedentary and drive their herds mounted upon their horses, which are the pride and basis of their culture. Nonetheless, their animistic faith spurs them on to the greatest caution when confronted with the supernatural and makes them very often superstitious.

Born rider: A Nomad may perform any action without penalty whilst mounted (combat, archery, even spellcasting!). Moreover, the character may begin play with a horse, if desired.

Traveller: Thanks to their incessant journeys, Nomads regularly come in contact with peoples of every origins, with whom they trade, talk -- or fight! They may thus know two supplementary languages.


The most savage cultures sometimes produce adventurers, wanderers who prowl about the margins of civilisation. They often make savage and bestial combatants, but remain absolutely uncomprehending of the most subtle facets of civilisation, such as sorcery...

Savage: Illiterate and uneducated, a Primitive character cannot read nor write, regardless of Intelligence. Moreover, they may not begin their adventuring career as a Sorcerer. They may become sorcerers later as long as they have first learnt to read and write. Primitive characters have led a harsh life and have learnt to survive in savage, hostile environments (+2 bonus to track, find food & shelter, etc. in the wilderness).

Vigorous: A Primitive character has lived in extremely hard and savage conditions, and can bear up under things that would overcome a person raised in milder conditions. They receive a +1 bonus to saving throws against fear, poison, and disease.

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