It was already evening, and the air had been colored red by the weak light, which still managed to force its way past the fine moons. Betheul, heretic bishop at the desecrated cathedral in Luciska, the province of Merodak’s third-largest city, pushed the heavy velvet drapes aside to allow him to step on to the balcony and receive the crowd’s cheers. Betheul had welcomed the conversion of Marquis Lazerus. For him, his office had never meant anything but a position of power, and now he had more power than ever before. The divine strength of the One, and the purity of the Church’s beliefs, was nothing compared to the power his study the wonderful magic had given him. He was changed. he admitted that willingly, but the parts of him that had been lost were not missed, at Ieast by him, or anyone close to him.
Then, he was blinded by a shining light that made him stagger back as if struck by an iron fist–confused and scared–away from the balcony and the praise of the people. From the shine emanated an authoritative voice, and it spoke to him directly, without words, but in a language he still understood.
“Brother Betheul,” it said, “Why do you hurt me and my people? You destroy yourself and Most those you love by turning to the Darkness. Only when it is too late will you realize what you have done. if I do not free you from your delusions with my purifying light.” Betheul felt how his heart was filled with a supernatural force. which reached into the darkest corners of his soul where it spread a curious warmth.
He lost consciousness for a few moments. When he woke to life he could hear the calls of the people, but he knew immediately that he would never be able to meet their adoring glances. He would never be able to accept their admiration as a servant of evil. Without thinking he collected his most important possessions. threw on his bishop’s robe and opened the door to his chamber.
He had to leave Merodak.
CHANGING YOUR CHARACTER
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Gemini’s world, under the darkened sun, is a world of constant change where ancient forces fight for the rule of its inhabitants. The pure-hearted servants of the One are engaged in a bitter struggle against the hated Darkness which changes people, tempts them, and twists them. It is largely in the hearts and minds of people that the most important battle is fought.
As a character in Gemini’s world, you can change in three ways. Partly you can earn experience points (by fighting bravely, performing heroic deeds, thinking of creative solutions, and role-playing well). Experience can be used to improve the character in several ways, among others, by raising knowledge levels and improving attributes. Partly your character’s nature can change when he commits sins, is forced to undergo an exorcism, or lives according to the scriptures of the One. Finally, his wellbeing can change, due to wounds, curses, or blessings. How these types of change work is described in this chapter.
As your characters go through adventures together you will receive a number of experience points after every Episode (explanations of what an Episode is can be found in the Narrator section). These can then be used to show what you have learned from your experiences. These experience points can then be used to improve your characters.
RECEIVING EXPERIENCE POINTS
Deciding who deserves experience points is a task that falls to the Narrator and the Narrator alone. Remember to not be overgenerous with handing out experience points, since you can get a ridiculously powerful gaming group quite quickly. Obviously, you cannot be too tight-fisted either – the players can lose their fervor if their characters never get any better than they were at the start. Experience points are handed out at the end of each Episode. We recommend that you give out between I and 4 experience points per person, per finished Episode. Any more than that should never be given out, other than in extremely exceptional circumstances, where as many as eight experience points can be justified.
CHARACTERS SHOULD BE GIVEN EXPERIENCE POINTS UNDER THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES
- One point is given to all the characters that finish an episode.
- One point is handed out for good role-playing. If a player acts out their role well, not just in a way that has been entertaining for the group, but one that actually fits in with their character traits, motives, and nature, he should be rewarded with an experience point. Remember that it can be appropriate to increase the demands on role-playing as the story goes on and the players get to know their characters better.
- One point is handed out for a believable interpretation of a change. If the character has gone through a change of some sort during the adventure, e.g. a change in their nature, and woven this effectively into their role-playing, they should be rewarded with an experience point.
- One point for heroism. If the character freely throws himself into the jaws of danger to save others, without a thought of his own wellbeing, he should be rewarded with an experience point (unless, of course, it is not appropriate for the character to do something heroic because of his character traits).
- One point for solving conflicts without using violence. If the character finds himself in a situation which would normally require a violent solution, and has used diplomacy and rhetoric comments (or something else appropriate) to solve it, and has succeeded in doing so. He should be rewarded with an experience point (again this is dependent on the character’s traits. A violent character gets no experience points for not using violence).
- One point if the group manages to achieve their goals. If the group had a goal, and they have achieved it, all the members of the group should be rewarded with an experience point. It does not have to be an ultimate goal for the whole story. It is enough if it is a goal that was important for the particular Episode or the gaming session, which has just been finished.
- One point if the group has been exposed to danger. If the group has been in a position that has meant immediate, mortal danger, and survived it with everyone still in one piece, then everyone in the group is rewarded with an experience point.
- One point for problem-solving. If the gaming group has solved a difficult problem, like an ancient riddle, a forgotten mystery, or a serious conflict of some sort, all the members of the group are rewarded with a character point.
SPENDING EXPERIENCE POINTS
Experience points can be spent in four ways, either by buying knowledge levels in a knowledge area, buying specialization levels, by raising an attribute, or by changing your nature. Experience points must always be spent immediately when you get them and are recorded in the appropriate place on the character sheet. If the spent experience points do not lead to a raise they are saved until the next episode is finished. Observe that you can spend a maximum of two experience points on the same thing after each Episode.
KNOWLEDGE AND SPECIALIZATIONS
In Gemini, there are nine knowledge levels from 0-8, which show how skillful you are within a particular knowledge area. The higher the knowledge level, the more skillful you are. This is represented by the fact that a person with a high knowledge level gets a higher bonus to his attribute roll than a person with a low knowledge level.
The cost that is shown by each knowledge level is the cost in experience points to raise your knowledge to that knowledge level from the nearest lower level. The specialization cost is the cost in experience points of getting a specialization that brings the specialization up to the indicated knowledge level.
Certain knowledge levels require an explanation. When you have knowledge level 0 you lack any sort of training within the knowledge area, but you are still able to succeed with actions connected to it, though obviously not with those which have a high difficulty level.
From KL0 to KL6, the character’s knowledge within the actual area increases, and reaches its highest point – a character can never have more than KL6 in any knowledge area. On the other hand, he can raise certain more narrow fields of knowledge further, by specializing. In this way, you can reach a maximum of KL8 in your specializations. To become more skillful than KL8 requires you to raise your attributes.
When you buy extra knowledge- or specialization levels, the increases must be motivated by the fact that the character has, under a long period of time, performed actions that are connected with the knowledge area or specialization. So you are not allowed to buy an extra specialization level in the weapon group One-handed Swords if you have not actually used a one-handed sword during the last episode. Characters should also not be allowed to learn completely new knowledge areas if the change is not motivated by the story.
Certain special skills or abilities are considered Specializations under specific Knowledge Areas. A character cannot use the skill or ability without purchasing the Specialization.
For Example: A character who desired to learn Witchcraft would purchase the Witchcraft Specialization for the Magic Area of Knowlege.
* The cost is doubled for the Magic knowledge area.
** The lowest possible specialization level is obviously 1.
Raising an attribute costs 20 experience points. An attribute can never be raised more than five points above the initial level, and never more than one step at a time. A raise of an attribute is a very large change for a character and must be motivated by events that have occurred during the ongoing story. Remember that it is the Narrator’s decision if the character should be allowed to raise their attribute or not.
If the Narrator wants to, he can allow players to use their character’s experience points to change their nature. For every spent experience point, you can raise or lower your nature by one. Obviously the nature must be changed in accordance with the events which have occurred during the last few episodes. A character should, for example, not be allowed to raise their nature if he has performed actions which are opposed to laws of the One, or lower it if he has spent the last few adventures studying the writings of the Marquis in cathedral libraries. Generally, it should be easier to lower your nature than raise it.
The people who inhabit the world are born neither good nor evil. They are born as blank pages, with empty souls, hungering after meaning, idols, and teachers. Unwillingly they are formed by their environment, experiences, and the impressions they get from the world around them. They are tempted in a certain direction, and are drawn either towards the enticing Darkness, or the eternal light, or they refuse to take a stand either way.
In Gemini, characters’ natures are controlled by points, which regulate in which direction you are swaying; if you embrace the Darkness, or bravely fight for the One, the light and its holy ideals. A character always begins the game close to 0, as neither directly good nor evil, if he is not a servant of the Church, a heretic, or a magician (or other spellcaster).
HOW DOES YOUR NATURE CHANGE?
A character’s nature can be changed in several ways. It can be affected by how your character acts, if he constantly performs actions that oppose the law of the One, his mind will slowly but surely darken, and his soul will become an easy target for the Darkness. However, his soul can be purified by extensive spiritual care, the Darkness can be exiled by exorcism, or a true devotion to the One and his church. The Narrator keeps records of the characters’ Nature and informs the character every time his nature changes so much that it becomes noticeable, i.e. passes a turning point (see The Nature’s meaning). When this happens the character records his new nature on the character sheet. In a gaming group with widely different natures, it is suitable that these are kept secret.
|-1||The character uses powerful magic (the spell’s level exceeds 5), regardless of the intentions of the caster.|
|-1||The character performs an evil, unnecessarily violent, or destructive action, like a cold-blooded murder of an innocent. This is also true if you kill an agent of Darkness if the lost soul could have been redeemed. On the other hand, you are allowed to kill in self-defense and in large battles.|
|-1||Characters give in to the dark temptations and let loose their evil side, allow the meaningless rage to steer their actions.|
|+1||For every full year the character spends unconditionally dedicated to the One, and blindly follow his law, contemplates his word, and does not commit any sins.|
|+1||The character goes on a pilgrimage (see the chapter about the Church).|
|+5 – 15||If the character is forced to undergo an exorcism (see the chapter on the Church) observe that an exorcism can never raise nature above 0.|
|+5 – 15||The character has a vision (see the chapter on the Church).|
THE MEANING OF YOUR NATURE
Your nature is important for several reasons. Partly it determines how easily your character is affected by the influence of the Darkness, how much you fear the Church’s servants, and if you can see that a person is a heretic, but it also decides a large part of your character’s character. As your nature changes your character’s personality will also change, maybe to the point where his own friends will not recognize him.
The table below is a guide to what happens to your character, his personality, and abilities when his nature changes. Remember that the changes happen gradually, and the given borders do not indicate that the character changes immediately, but that he slowly but surely reaches the state described in the text. Observe that a person does not necessarily have to be evil, or fighting on the side of the Darkness in the struggle for Gemini’s world for him to have a nature of -10 or lower. But you obviously become more susceptible to the Darkness’ influence and its traitorous temptations, as you sink lower.
|-41||DARK SOUL. The dark soul is a person who has completely embraced the Darkness. He has most probably been made an evil general in the heretic armies. He can feel the presence of people with a nature of 11 or higher.|
|-40 – -26||ARISEN When the character has sunk this low (or reached this far, depending on whom is looking at it) he will continue to fall. His megalo-mania, his love for himself, and his contempt for everyone else more and more consume him, until he finally turns completely to reality’s dark side. The only thing he respects is strength and destruction, power, and annihilation. A person who has reached here cannot sink lower by ill deeds of the lower magnitude, only through truly disgusting, heinous deeds. An arisen person can feel the presence of others with a nature of 16 or higher.|
|-25 – -16||DEVOTED: A person who has become devoted to the Darkness, in reality, has lost all human warmth and compassion. He never acts without thinking of his own well-being, would never help anyone if it did not gain him anything, and spits on the lying Church and its followers. The devoted can feel the presence of someone with a nature of 25 or higher.|
|-15 – -11||LOST: The lost has fallen for the temptations of the Darkness and become an incurable sinner. He has become selfish, aggressive, cold, and merciless. A fallen character is always watched by the Darkness, and offered a place in their ranks.|
|-10 – 6||TEMPTED. The dark aspect o Gemini’s world truly tempts the character, as it always seems to be the easier way than the One’s harsh demands of purity and servility. He is probably becoming quite selfish, looking after his own needs more and more, instead of caring for other people.|
|-5 – 5||NORMAL. The character is a completely normal person, unchanged by the dark world he inhabits.|
|6-10||AWAKENED. The character has begun to be filled with the One’s wisdom and purity. He has no difficulty telling right from wrong, and unconditionally follows the One’s law. He gets +1 to all his resistance rolls against magic.|
|11-15||ELEVATED. The character has come far on the road to wisdom, is a shining example for his fellow man, and is met with respect wherever he goes. He is beginning to become very unselfish and self-sacrificing. He gets +3 to all his resistance rolls against magic and can call upon the One through stig-ma (see the chapter on the Church).|
|16-25||ENLIGHTENED. The character has gazed upon the truth, seen the eternal wisdom, and understood the pleasure and the right in the eternal teachings of the One. He gets +5 to all resistance rolls against magic and can call upon the One through stigma (see the entry in the Church). The enlightened feels the presence of characters with a nature lower than -25.|
|26-40||SAINTLY. The saintly is a wonder of wisdom, purity, generosity, and compassion. He is treated like one of the One’s chosen and is respected by even the Marquis. The people worship him as a prophet and a spreader of the true word. He gets +7 to all resistance rolls against magic and can call upon the One through stigma (see the Church chapter). He can also feel the presence of people with a nature of -16 or lower.|
|41+||TRUE PROPHET. A person who has reached this far has been touched by the One’s divine essence and been raised to become one of his humble servants. Only a few people in the world of Gemini have a nature that is this high. If a character ever reaches this high he has probably become one of the Church’s foremost champions, and leaders in the struggle against the Darkness. A true prophet has +11 to all resistance rolls against magic, can call upon the One through stigma, and perform an exorcism without preparation and without aiding tools (see the section on the Church). He can also feel the presence of people with a nature of -11 or lower.|
A character’s wellbeing is extremely important for his or her physical and mental capabilities. If you feel bad, mentally or physically, because of wounds, exhaustion, or magical interference, your capabilities are worsened unconditionally. Your hand becomes shaky and you miss an easy target, which you would have hit if you were your usual self. You react slower, become more easily frustrated, and give up when you would normally have made at least a dozen more attempts. In Gemini, a person’s wellbeing and capabilities are regulated through levels, which can be positive or negative. Things, which can affect a person’s wellbeing negatively, are, for example, wounds, and the curses of the Darkness. For every step that the barometer sinks below 0 the difficulty level for everything the character does increases by -2. If the character wants to perform an action that is normally of medium difficulty (DL 0) but the wellbeing barometer shows -1 because of a light wound in his arm, the action gets DL-2. There are much fewer things that can affect the wellbeing barometer positively, only the forbidden magic, the dwarfs’ powerful body adornments, or the blessings of the One’s priests (how this works is described in respective chapters). For every positive step on the barometer the difficulty level of actions you want to perform sinks by +2.