The Original Rules

 

by McRey B. Moyer

I first wrote these rules in the Summer of 1998, during and after very brief playtesting. They're altogether incomplete and incoherent, but I want to make them available, unedited.

 

Introduction: Knights of Tempest

 

It is infinitely bright, and infinitely dark. It is energy and annihilation, mass and vacuum, birth and death. It is good, evil, power, corruption, feast and poison, infinity, and imagination. It is the soul. It is alpha and omega.

It is Tempest.

Tempest lies behind the world like the backside of a vast stage. It has been described as another dimension, one which none have visited outside of their dreams. But the rare few are born with the power to feel its ebb and flow, and even to use its vast power. They are called the Knights of Tempest, and they walk among their fellow men as emperors, heroes, saviors, tyrants, monsters, and gods.

Their hands hold power beyond the wildest hopes of normal men, and yet their minds and souls are just as fragile, just as fallible as any. They can be evil and cruel, or good and heroic. The difference between their actions and those of their sleeping brethren is merely one of scale. Their petty dreams and rivalries are filled with the power to change the world. Their wills are the wills of the universe, for good or ill.

Their world, on the surface, is ours, but the mighty struggles have moved it in very different ways. Armies have proven no match for the more powerful among the Knights of Tempest, and strong individuals have had more impact on the kingdoms and empires of old than entire wars, plagues, and famines. Faith, gold, technology, and even human life mean little to men and women who twist reality at whim.

Meanwhile, those not blessed with the powers of Tempest toil away endlessly, with no hope of influencing a world utterly dominated by an unreachable elite. A common man's lifetime of work can be wiped away or replaced at the merest gesture of a powerful Knight. For them, the broader strokes of politics or magic are forces beyond their control, for they will never reach the battles that spark and flame in their streets, on the mountain tops, and among the very stars above. They can only feel the heat from those battles, hoping it will warm and not burn them.

Reality is in the hands of the Knights of Tempest. God help us all.

 

Chapter 1: Basic Rules

 

The basic rules of Knights of Tempest are very simple. The dice system works the same way no matter what you're rolling for, though exactly what you do with the dice will vary. The more "advanced" rules in the later chapters are really just permutations of one way of using dice.

If you're just going to participate in the story as a player, you should read this short chapter, and then have the game master help you with character creation as you go through Chapter 2: Character Rules. After that you'll be ready to play. Later on, you might want to go on and read Chapter 3: Game Rules and Chapter 4: Tempest Rules to make yourself a more knowledgeable player.

Game masters, on the other hand, need to be pretty familiar with all the rules chapters, as well as Chapter 5: Setting, before trying to run a game.

Dice System

The Knights of Tempest dice system uses six-sided dice heavily. Every roll consists of two parts: first, how many dice are rolled, called dice thrown (ranging from one to nine, generally, with three being typical); second, how many of the dice will be counted, called dice kept (ranging from one to nine, with three being normal for human characters). When dice are thrown, take the number of dice thrown, and roll them, and then take out no more dice than the number of dice kept (usually the highest among them) and add them up. So, for example, if you are throwing six dice and keeping three, you would roll six dice. Say you roll 1, 6, 2, 4, 3, and 5. The total of the roll is 15, because the highest three dice, 4, 5, and 6, which add up to 15.

Obviously, if the dice kept exceeds the dice thrown, you can only keep as many dice as are thrown. So if you are throwing two dice and keeping three, and you roll 4 and 5, the total of the roll would be 9, because you can't keep more dice than you throw.

Each time you roll, you will be trying to reach or exceed a certain target number, which the game master may or may not tell you before you roll. If you reach or exceed the number, you succeed in the roll. The degree of success or failure is determined by the difference between your roll and the target number.

Attributes

Attributes for humans are numbers from one to nine. Attributes represent areas of potential in your character, and to what degree those potentials have been developed. If you play the character for a while and accumulate points, you'll be able to increase the numbers to represent further development of your character's potential.

When you roll an attribute for a human character during the game, you throw the number of dice equal to the attribute, and typically keep three. Skills or other factors may allow you to roll or keep more dice.

Skills

Skills are those specific arts, crafts, knowledge, and sciences that the character has practiced or studied, areas in which he or she excels not because of natural ability but through hard work.

Skills do not have numbers associated with them; rather a character either has a skill or doesn't. Accordingly, you will not roll skills. Instead, an appropriate skill allows you to keep an additional die when rolling an attribute, if your character performs and action that the game master decides is helped by the skill. You may not add dice for two different skills, even if the action seems like it might be helped by two different skills.

There is a sort of exception to this. Skills have three levels of specialization, primary, secondary, and tertiary. The primary level is the least specialized, and the tertiary the most. A character may not have a secondary level without the corresponding primary, or a tertiary without the corresponding secondary. You may add one die for each of the specialization levels, if all of them apply, but you still may not add dice from more than one skill.

For example, your character prefers to fight with swords, and has a favorite broadsword he calls "Beartooth" that has been in the family for years. He will probably have the Swords skill (the primary level), the Broadswords secondary level, and the "Beartooth" tertiary level. When fighting with Beartooth, he keeps an additional three dice, one for Swords, one for Broadswords, and one for Beartooth. When fighting with a broadsword other than Beartooth, he keeps two additional dice, one for Swords and one for Broadswords. If he were to pick up a long sword and fight with it, he would keep only one additional die from Swords.

Many times, a character can perform an action even if he or she doesn't have any appropriate skill; having an appropriate skill would just make it a little easier. Sometimes, however, an action is so demanding that a character doesn't have a chance of accomplishing it without a little training. Trying, for example, to repair a malfunctioning jet propulsion system would be impossible for a character without any skill, though with a skill the repair might be easy. The game master will tell you when an action is too advanced for an unskilled character.

 

Chapter 2: Character Rules

 

Attribute Descriptions

Body --

Bulk measures a character's ability to apply his or her bodily mass, to use its sheer weight to apply power or to absorb blows. A character with a high Bulk score may be large or even fat, but he or she may also be compact and well-muscled.

Nimbleness is a character's ability to move quickly, to maneuver, dodge, leap, and run. A character with a high Nimbleness score is graceful and fast.

Mind --

Sense measures a character's common sense and wisdom, sense of spatial relationships, and perception of the physical world around him or her. Sense also helps a character comprehend mechanical devices, simple logic, and morality. A character with a high Sense score is a master of observable reality, and has a good memory.

Abstraction measures a character's ability to comprehend the obscure, the arcane, and the complex. Abstraction guides a character through mathematical puzzles, ethical quandries, and symbolism. A character with a high abstraction score has a good imagination and a deep intellect, and is well-equiped to understand the weird structure of Tempest.

Heart --

Steadiness is a character's confidence and determination, and his or her mastery of the body's balance. A character with a high score in steadiness is cool, patient, and unflappable.

Fierceness is a character's ability to channel his or her aggressiveness and intensity of emotion. A character with a high Fierceness score is fiery and tense, and tends to react quickly and emotionally.

Face --

Honor is a character's sincerity and leadership ability, and the power to shape his or her thoughts into words. A character with a high score in Honor is bold and trustworthy, and is readily able to convince others to believe the truth.

Cunning is a character's ability to second-guess others, to conceal his or her true motives, and to dupe the unwary. Cunning can often simulate Honor to someone unfamiliar with the character, but it is quite different indeed. And while Sense measures a character's ability to notice things in his environment, a Cunning character is more likely to notice things that can be used to his or her advantage. A character with a high Cunning score excels at sneaking, thieving, conning, and lying, but also notices quickly when others are trying to do these things.

Skill Descriptions

The primary skills listed below include descriptions of their applications, and list the secondary and tertiary skills that accompany them. As a guideline, a primary skill covers a general kind of action, a secondary skill covers the performance of that action with a certain kind of tool or in a certain kind of situation, and a tertiary skill covers an action with a specific individual tool or a specific situation.

Combat Skill Descriptions

Combat skills are the same as other skills for all intents and purposes, but they are listed seperately just for the sake of simplified organization.

Armor

Axes

The Axes skill applies when when any kind of axe is used in combat. It applies to rolls to hit or defend, but not to initiative or damage. The skill also includes the simple skills required to care for axes, keeping them clean and sharp, and making basic repairs.

Secondary skills: specific kinds of axes, such as Battle Axes, Hand Axes, Throwing Axes, and so on.

Tertiary skills: specific individual axes; the weight, balance, and feel of every individual weapon varies, and a character who somehow loses that weapon no longer has any use for the accompanying tertiary skill.

Bludgeoning

The Bludgeoning skill applies when when any kind of bludgeoning weapon is used in combat. It applies to rolls to hit or defend, but not to initiative or damage. The skill also includes the simple skills required to care for bludgeoning weapons, keeping them clean and making basic repairs.

Secondary skills: specific kinds of bludgeoning weapons, such as Clubs, Morning Stars, Flails, and so on.

Tertiary skills: specific individual bludgeoning weapons; the weight, balance, and feel of every individual weapon varies, and a character who somehow loses that weapon no longer has any use for the accompanying tertiary skill.

Bows

The Bows skill applies when when any kind of bow is used in combat. It applies to rolls to hit, but not to initiative or damage. The skill also includes the simple skills required to care for bows, keeping them polished and flexible, and making basic repairs, as well as making arrows and bowstrings from sufficient materials.

Secondary skills: specific kinds of bows, such as Long Bows, Short Bows, Crossbows, and so on.

Tertiary skills: specific individual bows; the weight, balance, tension, and feel of every individual weapon varies, and a character who somehow loses that weapon no longer has any use for the accompanying tertiary skill.

Knives

The Knives skill applies when when any kind of knife is used in combat. It applies to rolls to hit or defend, but not to initiative or damage. The skill also includes the simple skills required to care for knives, keeping them clean and sharp, and making basic repairs.

Secondary skills: specific kinds of knives, such as Daggers, Stilettoes, Dirks, and so on.

Tertiary skills: specific individual knives; the weight, balance, and feel of every individual weapon varies, and a character who somehow loses that weapon no longer has any use for the accompanying tertiary skill.

Polearms

The Polearms skill applies when when any kind of polearm is used in combat. It applies to rolls to hit or defend, but not to initiative or damage. The skill also includes the simple skills required to care for polearms, keeping them clean and sharp, and making basic repairs.

Secondary skills: specific kinds of polearms, such as Halberds, Spears, Quarterstaves, and so on.

Tertiary skills: specific individual polearms; the weight, balance, and feel of every individual weapon varies, and a character who somehow loses that weapon no longer has any use for the accompanying tertiary skill.

Shields

The Shields skill applies when when any kind of shield is used in combat. It applies to rolls to defend, but not to initiative. The skill also includes the simple skills required to care for shields, working out dents and detecting cracks, and making other basic repairs.

Secondary skills: specific kinds of shields, such as Bucklers, Targets, Kite Shields, and so on.

Tertiary skills: specific individual shields; the weight, balance, and feel of every individual shield varies, and a character who somehow loses that shield no longer has any use for the accompanying tertiary skill.

Swords

The Swords skill applies when when any kind of sword is used in combat. It applies to rolls to hit or defend, but not to initiative or damage. The skill also includes the simple skills required to care for swords, keeping them clean and sharp, and making basic repairs.

Secondary skills: specific kinds of swords, such as Long Swords, Short Swords, Broad Swords, and so on.

Tertiary skills: specific individual swords; the weight, balance, and feel of every individual weapon varies, and a character who somehow loses that weapon no longer has any use for the accompanying tertiary skill.

Unarmed

The Unarmed skill applies when a character fights without a weapon. Once per turn, and not more, all dice from the Unarmed skill and the appropriate secondary and tertiary skills that apply, if any, maybe added to either to initiative, to hit, to defend, or to damage.

Secondary skills: specific martial arts, such as Boxing, Wrestling, Karate, and so on.

Tertiary skills: specific attack types within a martial art, such as certain punches, kicks, holds, chops, and so on. A tertiary skill used with an attack type may only apply to a maneuver as it is taught within the discipline of a martial art for which the character has a secondary skill.

 

Chapter 3: Game Rules

 

If you haven't read Chapter 1: Basic Rules, go back and do that before reading this chapter.

This chapter covers specific permutations of the basic rules, providing specific ways to resolve some common situations. But the most important thing for a game master to remember is that these rules can only go so far. As you get to know the Knights of Tempest system, you'll figure out ways of doing things that work better for you, and you'll get practice at inventing rules on the fly for new situations. The only advice that anyone can give you that will serve you in every situation is this: consider different possibilities, be fair, try to be consistent, and keep the story moving.

If there is one unifying theme for the Knights of Tempest rules, it is that rules are always secondary to story. In the end, these rules are no more than tools. And just like you wouldn't go looking for the monkey wrench if you needed to unscrew a nut that you could loosen with your fingers, you won't need rules to resolve every situation. And, like tools, the rules simply can't be designed to work precisely in every situation. I may be getting redundant here, but I can't emphasize this enough: Knights of Tempest is not about numbers! It's about stories, heroes and villains, magic and wonder, and conflict and tragedy. If you think of your character as a collection of stats and powers, you're missing the point.

Nonetheless, you gotta have rules. And while I insist that rules are the least important part of this game, this, the chapter on rules, is the longest. The flip side of power is limitations, and the rules and the dice will help you enforce limitations in the game.

The basic function of the dice is that a number will be thrown, a number kept, and the kept dice will be added up to determine a number. The most basic duty of the game master to the rules is to decide what the target number for each roll should be.

How Are Target Numbers Determined?

Deciding a target number for so many actions can be challenging. Remember that the average human is going to be throwing 2 or 3 dice, and that humans generally don't keep more than 3 dice. So an unskilled character can't roll above 18, but a reasonably skilled character will be rolling more than 6 the majority of the time. You can either think up a reasonable number according to the following guidelines....

Very easy 1-4
Easy 5-7
Moderate 8-11
Difficult 12-14
Very difficult 15-18
Impossible unskilled 19+

...or you can roll dice to produce a target number, throwing the number of dice indicated and keeping 3.

Very easy 1
Easy 2
Moderate 3
Difficult 4
Very difficult 5

But these limits assume actions more or less within the range of an unskilled human. Actual characters will have skills that allow them to keep up to 3 additional dice, and may have Attributes much higher than more typical humans. An action may be extremely difficult, but characters are heroic figures, and they are capable of heroic achievements. And this doens't even begin to consider the superhuman powers of Tempest.

If you want something to be incredibly tough, almost beyond or even truly beyond the scope of human power, give it a high target number, or roll and keep a lot of dice. In general, don't say something is impossible. Just give it a high number.

Conversely, many things will not require a roll at all. Many actions are so simple that they can be performed automatically, such as walking down the street, climbing a ladder, activating a simple machine, and so on. Also, you may want to ask players to roleplay through a situation, and base their success on how well they perform. When the character tries to fast-talk that prison guard, make him or her roleplay through it; even if you make them roll for success, you can adjust the target number to take into account good -- or poor -- roleplaying. At any rate, you'll often find that it helps the game feel more like a story and less like a board game if you reduce your reliance on simple, random dice rolling.

Attribute Checks

The Attribute scores will be rolled most often. The four basic Attribute binaries should guide you through any action. When rolling an Attribute, throw the number of dice equal to the Attribute score. Humans typically keep three dice when rolling an attribute, but Skills and other factors may increase this number.

Body --

Bulk checks will most often be used when characters absorb damage. You may use Bulk checks for feats of strength, if the character's grip or sheer mass is important; often Steadiness will be used for feats of strength instead.

Nimbleness checks are called for when a character is leaping or trying to do something graceful, and Nimbleness determines a character's relative speed in combat. Nimbleness is also connected with Dance, one of the three combat tactics.

Mind --

Sense checks are called for to see if a character notices something, can remember something, or is able to make a repair or diagnose a mechanical problem. When a character must perform an action relating to his sense of observable reality, a Sense check determines the outcome.

Abstraction checks arise when a character needs to interpret something, or otherwise must consider that which is abstract, complex, unobservable, and not based on direct experience. Abstraction checks are likely to come up when dealing with the structure of Tempest.

Heart --

Steadiness checks are tests of a character's willpower, balance, and determination. When a character must remain calm and focused when enduring something difficult, distracting, or painful, or must uphold his self-confidence or valued in the face of adversity, a Steadiness check is called for. Feats of strength requiring determination and a steady hand also require a Steadiness check. Steadiness is also connected with Stand, one of the three combat tactics.

Fierceness checks determine if a character succeeds when he or she needs to react quickly and emotionally. Fierceness checks are also important when trying to intimidate someone. Fierceness is the attribute connected with Charge, one of the three combat tactics.

Face --

Honor checks measure a character's ability to express his or her truthfulness and sincerity. Honor checks arise when a character is leading or organizing others, or the character is trying to convince others of something he or she believes to be true.

Cunning checks determine a character's success at sneaking, thieving, conning, and lying. Whenever the character is trying to perform an action that requires deceitfulness, reading and manipulating the feelings of others, and second-guessing or duping the unwary, a Cunning check is in order.

Combat

Conflict is at the heart of any good story, and it is often resolved by physical confrontation. In the world of Knights of Tempest, conflict is all too common, and all too violent.

Combat Sequence

A round spans about half a minute of time.

1. DETERMINE INITIATIVE

For one-on-one combat, combatants each decide on one of three tactics, and then both combatants announce tactics simultaneously. Charge (Fierceness) beats Stand; Dance (Nimbleness) beats Charge; and Stand (Steadiness) beats Dance. In the case of a tie, neither combatant wins initiative. The combatant who wins initiative may attack once and defend once on this round, and may choose to resolve his or her attack first. A combatant who does not win initiative must spend an energy point to attack once and defend once on this round; if he or she does not, he or she may only attack once or defend once, not both.

Larger combats work a little differently. Combatants each declare their attack types, and roll the attribute (unmodified by weapon bonuses and most other factors) connected with that attack type to determine initiative. Higher rolls are resolved before lower rolls, and each combatant can attack once and defend once.

2. ATTACK

The order in which attacks are resolved is determined by initiative. The attacker rolls the attribute connected with the tactic he or she declared, adding bonuses for weapons and other factors.

The opponent then decides whether or not to defend, if possible.

3. DEFEND

A combatant who has been attacked may defend, if possible. The defender rolls the attribute connected with the tactic he or she declared, adding bonuses for weapons and other factors. The defense roll is subtracted from the attack roll.

4. DETERMINE ATTACK DAMAGE

If the attack has not been defended completely, then the attack roll, less the defense roll if any, is used to decide damage. The combatant who has been struck makes a Bulk roll, and subtracts the total from the remaining damage. After the defense roll and absorbtion roll have been subtracted from the attack roll, the attacker does one wound for any remaining points on the attack roll.

After all attacks are resolved, the round begins again, and combatants may declare different tactics for the next round.

 

Chapter 4: Tempest Rules

 

Tempest is the supernatural power that grants magic to its Knights. Knights of Tempest must begin the game with at least one point on any of the Tempest tracks, and any character who does not begin the game with at least one point on any given Tempest track may not ever buy points on that track. You either have it, or you don't.

Tempest tracks work very much the same as Attribute tracks. Each Knight has a maximum for a Tempest force, which corresponds to the maximum of the opposite Tempest force, on a scale from one to nine.

Air is the opposite of Earth, Fire is the opposite of Water, and Darkness is the opposite of Soul.

For each of the six Tempest forces, each level from one to nine allows a Knight to use a basic power. Basic powers come naturally to a Knight with a mastery of the appropriate level of that Tempest force. However, these powers cannot be combined with the powers granted by other Tempest forces without entering Tempest paths. Tempest paths will be explained later.

Basic powers are very simple to use. The character simply concentrates on making the power work; it requires no special action to trigger. However, a character may not do anything else that requires attention, such as attacking, dodging, talking, or repairing something, while using a basic power.

Each level in a Tempest force is similar, no matter what force is being used; each step offers a certain level of power, and involves similar limitations and complications:

1 -- Sense

The Knight may sense whether or not an "element" corresponding to the given force is present, and the general location, but not the identity or type of "element." The check determines the range to which the sense power extends.

2 -- Comprehend & Identify

The Knight may sense the nature of an item composed of the "element" corresponding to the given force. For example, the function of a structure can be understood, or a particular individual sample can be identified.

The range of the check is treated as though it were a sense power, but one step lower. The character also gains the general benefits of the sense power, knowing the general location of the item. The character can identify the type of item present, can understand its basic nature, and can judge if it is a particular individual the character is familiar with. Higher levels of understanding, at the game master's discretion, may be achieved with a high check.

3 -- Shape

The Knight may manipulate the "element" corresponding to the given force, changing its shape or general nature without changing its mass or amount. The effects of a check vary greatly depending on the force used; see the force descriptions below for more details.

 

Chapter 5: Setting

 

The Laws of Tempest

Any with Tempest is a Knight, and deserves the title.

This Law was questioned in ancient times, but it has not been for hundreds of years. A Knight, by definition, is any man, woman, or child who is capable of wielding Tempest, regardless of their race, faith, nationality, or any other factor. Such prejudice is still upheld among many commoners, but a Knight transcends these petty lines by virtue of power, if nothing else. A Knight, no matter what else they are, is to honored and often too powerful for most commoners to insult.

Centuries ago, this law made tremendous difference in the history of the world. When European and Asian Knights began to explore the New World and the Dark Continent, they discovered that there were individuals among those peoples who used Tempest, but that they were not bound by the Laws. Still required by this Law to consider these shamans and priests to be Knights, but bound by other Laws and tradition not to slay them except in ritual combat, the Knights found themselves unable to win conflicts against their "heathan" counterparts. Since then, the "heathans" have become so powerful that they cannot be challenged, even by those young Knights who have come to disregard the Laws.

And, unfortunatley, as other traditions and Laws become observed less rigidly, the real meaning of being called a Knight has become reduced. Who cares if a Knight is called a Knight, when the Laws no longer afford any protection?

A Knight shall be the ward of an Order.

This Law has proven to be the most resiliant. For thousands of years, Knights have maintained the Order system -- some say since even before the Laws were formalized -- out of necessity; Knights stay close to their Orders for the countless benefits afforded by them. Orders are at first a source of training and indoctrination, and later a source of ideological and political support for their members.

In earlier times, Knights of an Order were more tightly knit, and vows of loyalty and even servitude to an Order were common. Now relatively few Orders are able to maintain such strict control, and only a few try. Nonetheless, even in these modern times, Knights are generally bound to their Orders by a sense of debt and duty, giving both the Knights and the Orders additional power.

No Knight shall be slain by one without Tempest.

This Law is upheld by Knights everywhere, and contributes to the unwritten law that commoners are allowed no control over their world.

No Knight shall slay another Knight but by a Tempest Blade.

A Tempest Blade is a carefully crafted sword, prepared by a master craftsperson so expertly that it may be empowered with Tempest; either a blade endowed with Tempest or one with the potential is considered a Tempest Blade. In simple terms, this Law means only that only a Tempest Blade can be used to kill a Knight, but in older times this Law was steeped in customs and traditions that went far beyond this simple law. Knight-to-Knight combat was an elaborate event, preceded by formal challenges, and staged either as a public spectacle of broad import (more common in the West, especially during Roman and Medieval times), or as a private, sacred ritual (more common in the East). The slaying of a Knight was no mere scuffle, but a match resplendant with chivalry, honor, and ceremony.

But, even in old times, this Law was occasionally ignored. In nearly all known examples (with most occuring in Russia, though Greece was also a hot spot), the violator was a tyrant who had gathered a large amount of earthly political power, and sought to maintain it by eliminating all rivals. In most cases, infant Knights were slain, particularly within the tyrant's family. Such violators who were revealed were hunted and

In these darker modern times, this Law is far less sacred. Many traditionalist orders still teach strict adherence to the old traditions, insisting that a Tempest Blade must be used by both combatants, that combat must be face to face, and that no Tempest may be used during the battle except channeled through the Tempest Blade. But even these traditionalist Knights know that theirs is the less common perspective. Most Knights will not quibble over a Tempest weapon other than a sword (for any weapon properly crafted may channel Tempest), and will not bother to object to a normal weapon being used, though nearly all shun technological or missile weapons. Most agree that combat should be one-on-one and formally agreed upon. More common than a face-to-face duel these days is the "hunt" style combat, whereby most Knights believe it is honorable to slay another Knight under any circumstances, be it the backstab, ambush, or trap, so long as the opponent has been notified first, which is often done by phone or messenger, rarely by post. As to using Tempest during a battle, few Knights object these days.

However, it is becoming more and more common for a younger Knight to simply ambush and eliminate a rival using explosives, firearms, or any other modern means, or for a group of Knights to gather and overwhelm a common enemy, with no regard for tradition or Law. Many lament the passing of old ways, but they are passing nonetheless. Violators are rarely caught these days, and are generally only punished if they are disliked or if their victims had close and powerful allies.

 

The Orders

 

The Dryanic Order

Once widespread in Europe, the Dryans were nearly wiped out in the War of Reason. Since then, the Dryans have been mostly restricted to Hibernia, where they remain in a sort of asylum arranged through a complex political arrangement with the Order of the Fox.

The Dryans practice a strange and ancient combination of blood magic and plant mastery. Their practices center around Europe's standing stones, though those are believed to have been associated with the older Lord's Order, native to Britannia but now extinct. The Dryans' Tempest is deeply entwined with ceremony, and they wear green robes during gatherings.

The Ninth Circle

The Ninth Circle is a deeply mysterious secret society of Knights that formed in the late eighteenth century. Within only about twenty years, the Order of the Lion attacked them vigorously, claiming that the Circle was formed for the sole purpose of overthrowing their power in Europe. Whether or not this was true, the Ninth Circle disappeared. In recent years, however, the other orders have begun to suspect that this order has endured, and remains hidden in modern Europe.

The Ninth Circle's style of manipulating Tempest is not widely known. The Order of the Lion tells that the Ninth Circle somehow manipulated fate or probability.

The Order of the Fox

Like the Order of the Lion, the Order of the Fox seems to manifest Tempest power through heredity. But this is not surprising, since the Order of the Fox is an offshoot of the Order of the Lion. In the sixteenth century, the royal family of England split with the Lions, and founded an order of their own.

Soon after the Foxes split with the Lions, the latter order put a curse upon the former, banning them from using falconry magic. Responding with adaptability, the Order of the Fox revealed their power to use a new style of Tempest, the power to channel their soul energy into a flexible, metal-like extension to their bodies, forming armor, wings, and even aircraft.

The Order of the Lion

By far the most powerful order in modern Europe, the Lions are nonetheless few. Lions comprise the ruling families of nearly every monarchy in Europe, and the power of Tempest seems to be hereditary for them. Consequently, the Order of the Lion maintains a library in Switzerland with extensive genealogical listings. The Lions are often best known through history, as they have not only maintained meticulous, if not entirely accurate, historical records of their own reigns, but past rulers have also left behind mammoth statuary to help extend their reputations throughout time.

Characteristic of the Order of the Lion is a form of Tempest the Order calls falconry. Falconry involves capturing, training, and mentally controlling birds of prey for hunting as the first step, but in its more advanced forms a Lion can cause the bird to grow and adapt to large sizes, and can even transform his or her self into a bird of prey.

The Shadow Order

The Shadow Order is a dark group of witches, and they are appallingly widespread. The Shadow Order clings like fungus to the dark corners of Europe, despite the tireless attempts of the more traditional orders to eradicate them. It is believed that the Shadow Order is very ancient, but they did not become widespread in Europe until Christianity did. Where the Order originated before that, no one knows.

The Shadow Order specializes in contacting, summoning, and arranging bargains with the mysterious, alien, and often powerful entities that dwell within the Tempest. They stereotypically wear black.

The Temple of Bone

The Temple of Bone is a very ancient order from Egypt, dating at least to the Pharaohs. They are widely reviled by other orders, and consequently are not very widespread. Even in Egypt they are not numerous, as they tend to stake out large territories.

The Tempest style of the Temple of Bone is that of the necromancer, the mastery of the dead. This talent has earned the Priests of Bone their dreadful reputation among the other Knights. They are otherwise very individualized in Tempest style and personal taste, though it is fashionable for twentieth century Priests of Bone to shave their heads.

The Three Dark Orders

The Three Dark Orders include the Shadow Order, the Ninth Circle, and the Temple of Bone.