There are those to whom Honor is everything, adhering to strict codes of conduct imposed by the orders they belong to, or in some cases their own moral compass. These characters draw strength from their Honor and use it to inspire others to greatness. As their own personal Honor increases so does their value on the battlefield, but conversely if they act dishonorably they can be rendered ineffectual, even sometimes to the point of self-destruction.
The Honor class mechanic uses Honor similar to an additional Character Stat for Honor classes, recorded on a scale of 0-20 and in some cases rolled against like a Stat test. However, unlike a Character Stat, Honor fluctuates up and down based on a characters role-playing actions. Acting honorably increases your Honor while acting dishonorably reduce it.
Generally, when an Honor class character is first rolled up their Honor is set to 5, this represents a sort of neutral point in their journey, where they have yet to prove themselves beyond their ideals and morals. However, the GM may allow for variations in certain situations or based on particular back story elements.
The following are some rough examples of actions that would affect a character’s Honor and are not intended to be an exhaustive list. GM discretion is a key component of Honor gain/loss:
|Honor +/-||(all Honor modifiers apply only to humanoids unless otherwise specified)|
|-2||Killing an unconscious/incapacitated/sleeping target|
|-1||Attacking an unarmed target with a weapon or other means of superior force|
|-1||Attacking a target that has been rendered inactive through any means, is not able to attack back, or is unaware of your presence|
|-1||Attacking a target that is already under attack from an equally matched or weaker melee source|
|-1||Fighting from horseback against unmounted humanoid opponents, or if a knight, not yet having Spurs of the Order|
|1||Rescuing someone in danger/defending the innocent|
|1||Fighting alone or after everyone else has been rendered inactive against three or more targets|
|2||Saving a large group such as a village or town from a dire threat for little or no monetary reward|
Note that only full Honor classes can ever fluctuate by more than one point at a time.
A word of caution regarding Honor classes: due to the very subjective nature of this class mechanic, it is advised that those inexperienced with role playing avoid using Honor classes. A great deal of the mechanic is based on role-playing cause/effect scenarios that inexperienced players may not be comfortable navigating. Also note that generally speaking, expected fluctuations in a character’s Honor level should be on the scale of 1-3 points per quest/campaign. It is not the intent of this class to have Honor fluctuate up and down by a large number each battle or play session.
Based on how much Honor the character possesses, they will have access to different skills
Honor Skills can be grouped into four different schools, each functioning according to its own rule set. The four schools of Honor Skills are:
- Oaths (Honor between 5-20)
- Virtues (Honor between 5-20)
- Dishonors (Honor between 0-4)
- Codes (honor must be greater than zero)
A complete list of all Honor Skills can be found on the Full Honor Skill List page.
Oaths, Virtues, and Dishonors
The first three schools follow similar mechanic and are based on your current level of Honor. At the outset of battle you may choose to activate either a virtue, essentially a self-buff that benefits your character in some way, or an oath, which benefits not only yourself but also any allies within 0.5 tabletop inches per current Honor of the character.
For a list of all Oaths and Virtues see the Oaths and Virtues page.
Virtues and oaths must be selected just as the battle is beginning (before either side takes a turn) and remain active for their entire battle unless corrupted or otherwise dispelled. Note also that if a dishonorable deed causes you to drop below the threshold required for a particular virtue or oath, it automatically ceases to function.
Having low Honor (less than 5) forces you to select the appropriate level of dishonor, again essentially a self-buff, but one that has negative effects. Unlike virtues or oaths, dishonors are cumulative (i.e. if at 2 honor then you must apply the dishonors of 4, 3, and 2 to your character). Unlike Oaths and Virtues, Dishonors persist outside of combat and are effectively permanent until Honor is raised again. The final dishonor occurs upon reaching zero honor, at which point they become disgraced and will likely cease to function as an honor class (or may even be required to commit Seppuku) unless the GM decides to make a concerted path of redemption available to that character.
For a list of all Dishonors see the Dishonors page.
Codes function much differently than Oaths, Virtues, and Dishonors and only require that a characters honor is greater than zero. Over the lifespan of an Honor class, they can accept up to three different codes. Each Honor class has a default first code available to them, typically awarded somewhere between levels one and three, based on the title system. As Honor classes continue to gain titles they will have additional codes that become available, selecting a second code from among other choices. Much later as they near maximum level they can gain their third and final code.
|My Brothers Keeper||Order||Default||Guardian|
|Leader of Men||Order||Additional||Knight, Wizard, Paladin, Samurai|
|Eye for an Eye||Balance||Additional||Vigilante, Guardian, Swashbuckler|
|A Power Greater||Order||Additional||Wizard, Paladin|
|Above the Law||Chaos||Additional||Vigilante, Swashbuckler, Guardian|
|Sacred Quest||Balance||Additional||Knight, Samurai|
|Ancient Powers||Chaos||in development||Wizard, Paladin|
|Feudal Lord||Order||in development||Knight, Samurai|
|Corruptor of Man||Chaos||in development||Wizard, Paladin, Knight|
|Avengers Burden||Chaos||in development||Samurai, Vigilante, Guardian|
|Honor Among Thieves||Balance||in development||Vigilante, Swashbuckler|
|Judicial Combat||Order||in development||Swashbuckler, Guardian|
Once the first code is selected, the Honor class gains one code point per level (this includes the level when they receive their first code).
Code points are spent, upon leveling up, into any of the code skills contained within a particular code., where one code point grants 1 rank of a particular code skill. Once spent the code points are not transferable. Only skills with at least one code point (Rank1) assigned to them can be used by the Honor class. If more than one point is assigned to a code skill it can become more powerful or effective when activating it, but no code skill can ever exceed Rank3.
Codes can be thought of as Honor “Disciplines”. For a complete list of Code Skills see the Code Skills Page, and filter by the “Discipline” representing your available Codes.
To activate code skills, Honor classes must first generate Code Stacks based on the particular code type that they want to use. It’s important to note that code points and code stacks are two different resources. Each code is its own unique type which allows use of only those skills contained within that type of code; however because they are unique, a character may have up to all three of their Codes stacked up at the same time.
At the start of each turn, an Honor class may choose to attempt to stack a code of their choice. This requires they take an Honor test, rolling against their current Honor much like they would for a Stat Test. This does not require an instant or action. Success gains 1 Code Stack of their choice, while failure has no penalty. The character must be conscious, in combat, and in control of their mental faculties in order to stack a code.
Code stacks remains on the Honor class for the remainder of the battle or until the Honor class decides to consume the code stack. Storing up additional code stacks of a given type can either increase the potency of a skill or allow a skill to be used multiple times. There is no limit to the number of stacks that an Honor class can have in play; however practically speaking, there is little sense in having more stacks of a given code that you have code points spent on skills within that code.
Consuming the code stack allows you to activate any skill within that code type that has been given at least one code point. This counts as an instant unless otherwise specified in the code skill description. When consuming a code stack of a given type you may choose how many stacks to consume, up to a maximum of the number of code points spent on a given code skill. In the reference chart below, let’s assume a single type of code is in play with three stacks. Though keep in mind, depending on your title, you could have up to three different types of code stacks in play, each with a different number of stacks available.
|Number of Stacks Consumed||Activate Skill||Stacks Remaining|
|1||@ power of 1 stack||2 stacks|
|2||@ power of 2 stacks||1 stack|
|3||@ power of 3 stacks||Code stack fully consumed and therefore no longer in play (unless re-stacked)|
In the above chart the activated skill would have to be Rank3 in order to consume the whole stack.
Any code stacks left over after a battle can be consumed immediately following the battle, after which any remaining code stacks are lost. This narrow window of out of combat code stack usage is open to GM discretion, but should typically be very short.
Activating code skills consumes code stacks, where the Rank of the skill dictates the number of stacks that can be consumed. There is no limit to the number of times a code skill can be used, provided you have enough code stacks to use it. You can always choose to consume less stacks than Rank of the skill.
Activating the same Code skill round after round does not stacks its ongoing effects, however if activating it with a higher number of stacks in a subsequent round it does increase the effects to match the number of stacks used. (i.e. Activating “Prudence” with 1 stack grants an extra block/parry each round for the duration of the battle, but activating it again with 1 stack on the next round does not increase its effect in any way. Where as activating it with 2 stacks on a subsequent round would increase its effectiveness to allow 2 extra blocks/parries each round)
No single code skill can have more than one point spent on it each level up, and the maximum number of points that can be spent on any single code skill is three (Rank3).
Consuming Code stacks to use Code Skills is considered to be an instant unless otherwise specified by the particular Code Skill being used.
Learning New Codes and Skills
Honor classes cannot learn a previously unknown Code or Code Skill (i.e. putting the first code point into Honor Strike) unless they are taught/instructed by a Mentor (aka Code Trainer) that knows the corresponding skill. If assigning additional code points to an already known code skill, then no trainer is required and the point can be assigned immediately (i.e. increasing the number of code points in Honor Strike from 1 to 2). This represents an Honor class honing their skills rather than actually learning a new skill.
It is sometimes possible to find a wandering Honor class (that also happens to be an appropriate Code Trainer) that is willing to impart their knowledge for a price. The going rate for learning a new Honor Code Skill in this manner is 24 gold. However, there is typically no cost associated with learning a new Code Skill when the Honor class is taught by an organization they belong to (i.e. a Knightly Order). In some role-playing specific instances, it may also be reasonable to assume that a skill is taught at no cost (i.e. a father teaching his son or a retired Knight passing on a skill to his young protégé).
For a complete list of Code Skills see the Code Skills Page.
An Example of Codes in Action
The following is a rough example based on a level 4 Knight with three code points in “Honorable Strike”, one code point in “Prudence”, both of which come from the “Chivalry” code, current Honor of 9, and carrying a gladius and heater shield:
Round 1 – At the start of the Knight first turn he attempts to gain a single stack of “Chivalry” (kind of like a passive buff) at no cost; he rolls a 9 on a d20 which is less than or equal to his current Honor of 9, so it is successful. He then moves but takes no instant or action and then the enemy goblin also moves.
Round 2 – At the start of the second turn, the Knight attempts to gain another stack of “Chivalry” but he rolls a 12 this time and therefore fails (as it is higher than his current Honor). He now remains with a single stack of “Chivalry”. He moves again, but takes no instant or action. Then the goblin moves into base contact and attacks, but misses with both weapons.
Round 3 – At the start of his third turn the Knight rolls an 7 and therefore successfully gains another stack of “Chivalry”. The Knight now has two stacks of “Chivalry” available for consumption. He decides to use an instant to activate “Prudence”, consuming one of his two stacks of “Chivalry” to do so. “Prudence” allows the Squire to block/parry one extra attack for the remainder of the battle, per stack of “Chivalry” consumed. Since the Squire has only one point in “Prudence” he cannot choose to consume more than a single stack of “Chivalry” even though he had two stacks available, therefore he may only block/parry one extra attack with his shield. He now has only one stack of “Chivalry” remaining. He then swings and hits for 6 damage with his gladius. The goblin swings with both weapons, but the squire blocks one and the goblin misses the other one.
Round 4 – At the start of the Knights fourth turn he rolls a 20 and therefore fails to stack a code, thus remaining at one stack of “Chivalry”. He then attacks the goblin but misses. The goblin swings with both weapons. The Knights blocks the first attack and then also blocks the second attack because of “Prudence”. The goblin by this point is getting rather frustrated.
Round 5 – At the start of the Knights fifth turn he rolls a 2, gaining another stack of “Chivalry”. He now has two stacks of “Chivalry” available and chooses to activate “Honorable Strike” (which counts as an action) instead of making a regular attack. Because he has 3 code points in “Honorable Strike”, he can choose to activate it at a power of 1, 2 or 3 stacks. But since he only has 2 stacks of “Chivalry” currently available, the Squire can’t choose 3 as an option, and so decides to consume 2 stacks, which activates an “Honor Strike” at a power of 2 stacks. According to the description of “Honor Strike”, the squire makes a single attack against the goblin with his gladius, which hits for 9 damage, and adds bonus damage based on his current honor. With two stacks consumed and 9 Honor he therefore adds 9 damage, doing a total of 18 damage. The goblin is split in half and falls over dead. The Knight ends the battle with one of his three “Honor Strikes” still available; however at the conclusion of the battle, all his code skills are replenished.