Triforcebearer: Gerudo, Sheikah, and Yiga Hylian Class Variants



In truth, there is not much difference between the Gerudo, Sheikah (including their less honorable cousins the Yiga), and the native Hylians.  In the post-calamity land of Hyrule one can find plenty of instances of these various races living together in harmony.   While the art of the Ninja and Spellblade are closely guarded secrets of the Sheikah and the Gerudo respectively, the same is not true of the classes of the Hylians.  A Gerudo that devotes he studies purely to the mystic arts to the exclusion of her skill with the blade is practically indistinguishable in ability to a Hylian mage, likewise, a Sheikah might use their natural inclination for sneaking for less noble pursuits than their brethren who complete their training.

In addition to their unique stock classes Gerudo, Sheikah, and Yiga can be Clerics, Magicians, Paladins, Thieves, or Warriors.  If your choose to be one of these stocks with one of these classes, write the appropriate stock on your sheet, then follow the standard rules for character creation for these classes with the following exceptions:

  • All Gerudo are female.
  • Gerudo’s Will can not start Higher than their health, Sheikah’s Health can not start higher than their Will.  A Gerudo Paladin therefore must start with Will and Health 4.  After character creation these stats may advance as normal (with any restrictions for class).
  • Instead of the Human special skill, instead choose from the options appropriate to your stock (below), the chosen skill starts at 3, unless your class already has that skill, in which case it starts at 4.
    • Gerudo choose between Pathfinder, Survivalist, Laborer or Hunter
    • Sheikah/Yiga choose between Pathfinder, Criminal, Scout, or Peasant
  • Gain the appropriate nature descriptors and ask the appropriate nature questions accorting to your stock (see the Ninja and Spellblade pages for the relevant descriptors).
  • Gerudo whose classes grant them a shield or helmet have a special third option, described in variants below
  • Sheikah can not have a starting alignment or Chaos, Yiga can not start as Lawful UNLESS starting as a Paladin.
  • Upon leveling up, Gerudo, Sheikah, and Yiga have a few additional options taken from there base class that they may gain at certain levels.  See Variants Below

Racial Variants

In some cases, even those who choose to forsake the standard fighting styles of their people still incorporate some amounts of it into their own interpretation of the common classes.  The abilities listed below can be taken at the listed level in the listed class INSTEAD of a normal level benefit for that level.  However, there is no requirement to do so.

Due to only gaining spells or prayers at most levels, Magicians do not have a variant option, and Clerics only have the variant option at first level of Desert Flower Duelist for Gerudo.


Desert Flower Duelist: At first level, any Gurudo in a character class that starts with proficiency with a shield, may trade proficiency with a standard shield to gain the benefits of the level 3 Spellblade benefit of the same name.  If they do, they may start with a second sword in place of a shield or helmet.  Clerics must still be able to “present” their holy symbol to cast prayers.

Desert Guide: Gerudo Paladins, Thieves, and Warriors may take the Spellblade’s 6th level “Desert Guide” ability in place of their level 6 ability.

Gerudo Paladins

  • May take Bravdo as their 4th level ability.
  • May take “Daughter of Din” as their 10th level ability

Gerudo Thieves

  • May take Wilder as their 2nd level ability
  • May take “Desert Flower Duelist” as their 3rd level ability

Gerudo Warriors

  • May take “Gerudo Master” as their 5th level ability, if they do, they may choose two weapons instead of one.
  • May take “Daughter of Din” as their 10th level ability


After character creation, a non-Ninja Sheikah or Yiga follow the same rules for alignment as any other member of their class.  A Sheikah or Yiga Thief who becomes lawful may find a mentor among the Sheikah and become a Sheikah ninja instead of a Warrior.  A Sheikah who does this suffers no penalties, but a Yiga who does this follows the same rules as if they had previously been a Yiga Ninja that became lawful.  This option is NOT available to those that became Thieves by abandoning the path of the Ninja.

Sheikah/Yiga Paladins: Yiga who become paladins might retain (and struggle against) their base nature, but may take Sheikah abilities listed here in place of their paladin abilities

  • May take Bodyguard as their 3rd level ability.
  • May take Decoy as their 4th level ability
  • Both Sheikah and Yiga Paladins may take “To Die Without Leaving a Corpse” as their 10th level ability.  Sheikah and Yiga Paladins who attain the Spirit Warrior Condition though that ability ALSO gain the benefits of the Holy Avenger level benefits at that time (if you want the benefits while alive, that the Holy Avenger Level benefit instead).  The Holy Avenger counts as the magic item you leave behind for the Spirit Warrior condition.

Sheikah/Yiga Thieves

  • May take “Ninja Tricks” as their 2nd level ability
  • May take “Gone in a Flash” as their 5th level ability
  • May take “Technological Heir” as their 6th Level ability

Sheikah/Yiga Warriors

  • Sheikah may take Bodyguard as their 2nd level ability
  • Yiga may take “Going Bananas” as their 2nd level ability
  • May take “Ninja Warrior” as their level 7 ability
  • May take “Conservation of Ninjitsu” as their 10th level abilities.  Warriors with this ability count as Ninja for the purposes of that ability.

Current PaDC score: 30/31

Image from Wikimedia commons: link


Triforcebearer: Sheikah and Yiga Ninjas



With this, all my initial classes I had posted in my initial post on the Burning Wheel forums are not fully fleshed out to level 10.   I believe I would like to include rules (including racial variants) for Sheikah, Yiga, and Gerudo playing as Human classes, but I am going to save that until next time.

The Sheikah and the Yiga

The Sheikah have been residents of Hyrule for as long (or arguably longer) than the Hylians.  In ancient times they were said to be devout servants of the Goddess Hylia, and this devotion continued for generations upon generations of service to her mortal descendants, the Royal Family of Hyrule.  Yet, their devotion has not always been returned by the people of Hyrule.  Their secretive nature compels them to live apart from the rest of the residents of Hyrule, and the wondrous technology they created in ages past, was both looked upon in awe and called blasphemous at the same time.  The Sheikah were often honored when they were useful, and cast aside and distrusted in times of peace.

The mistreatment at the hands of ignorant people they were supposed to help caused many of the Sheikah to grow hateful of the very people they had sworn to protect.  In time, a large group of them broke from the main clan, swearing allegiance to the Calamity and vowing the ruin of Hyrule.  This faction came to be known as the Yiga clan, and the faithful Sheikah continue to do battle with them, sometimes covertly and sometimes overtly, to this day.

Sheikah and Yiga are fundamentally the same people, but the ideological divide is so strong they count as different Stocks in game terms.  Still, many feel drawn to the ideology opposite of the clan that raised them, and it is possible to change from one to the other during play.

Sheikah/Yiga Ninja

The Sheikah and Yiga martial arts were once one and the same, and while there have been many generations since they split, many spies and traitors on both sides have kept each apprised of the others secret techniques, and the two traditions have more in common than they’d care to admit.

The Sheikah developed the techniques that make up the Ninja class as part of their service to the Royal Family as their bodyguards and spies, while the Yiga clan has adopted more aggressive techniques, the core of the style remains.

When choosing this class, you must declare yourself to the Sheikah or Yiga clan, answer the appropriate Nature questions.

Class Name Class Overview Class name Starting Options
Sworn to the Shadows A Ninja serves best when no one even knows they are there, and have been trained from a young age to serve silently and avoid being noticed. This can make things difficult when the time comes for them to try to assert themselves or take on the reigns of leadership.
Raw Abilities Raw Abilities: Will 4, Health 4. Wises Choice one of Sheikah Technology-wise or Lost History-wise, take a second wise of your choice
Skills Scout 4, Dungeoneer 3, Criminal 2, Fighter 2, Lore Master 2, Scholar 2 Starting Weapon/Armor Dagger, Leather Armor, you do not start with a shield or Helmet
Starting Trait Sworn to the Shadows Alignment Sheikah Ninjas must be lawful.  Yiga Ninjas must be Chaotic.  See Ninjas and Alignment below.

Sheikah/Yiga Nature

Write Nature: Sheikah or Narture Yiga on your character sheet. If you are a Sheikah, your descriptors are Sneaking, Waiting, and Storytelling, if you are a Yiga, your nature descriptors are Sneaking, Deceiving, and Stealing. Both Sheikah and Yiga characters have a base Nature of 3. Answer the questions below appropriate to your stock to determine your final starting Nature score, and possibly some traits.

Sheikah Nature Questions:
When confronting a foe, do you strike from the shadows, or do you meet them head on?

  • If you strike from the shadows, increase your nature by one.
  • If you meet them head on, you may replace or increase your home trait with Bold or Honorable

When the calamity rears its ugly head do you retreat to safe places to await the return of the hero or do you take matters into your own hands?

  • If you await the return of the hero, increase your starting nature by one and decrease your starting Fighter skill by one (or health if you don’t have Fighter).
  • If you take matters into your own hands, your nature and fighter remain unchanged

Can you recount all the legends of Hyrule of olde, and recite the lineage of the princess Zelda back to the goddess Hylia?

  • If you tell the legends, increase your nature by one.
  • If you don’t put much stock in old tales, you may replace or increase your home trait with Jaded or Skeptical.

Yiga Nature Questions:
When confronting a foe, do you strike from the shadows, or do you meet them head on?

  • If you strike from the shadows, increase your nature by one.
  • If you meet them head on, you may replace or increase your home trait with Bold or Foolhardy

Do you lie even when it won’t gain you anything?

  • If you never tell the truth when a lie will do, increase nature by one, but you start with an enemy (in addition to any enemy you my gain from the circles questions).
  • If you only lie when you have something to gain, your nature rating remains unchanged, but you do not start with an additional enemy.

If you need something, would you steal it, even if it would hurt the person you took it from?

  • If you steal without caring what happens to the person you take from, increase your nature by one.
  • If you won’t take from those who can’t afford to lose, you may replace or increase your home trait with Generous or Compassionate (Middarmark).

Ninjas and Alignment

The way of the Ninja is as much about your state of mind as it is about your physical training.  Ninjas can swap between their starting alignment and unaffiliated without any penalty.  However, if a Sheikah ever becomes Chaotic or a Yiga ever becomes Lawful, the dissonance between the philosophy of their style and their new ideals causes them to suffer the following restrictions:

  • Can not level up (although still track rewards spent)
  • Can not use any [Sheikah] or [Yiga] level up abilities
  • The internal conflict this creates causes an additional factor in recovering from Angry or Afraid

These restrictions persist even if their alignment changes again.  In order to resolve this internal conflict, a Ninja can, do one of the following:

  1. Abandon the Path of the Ninja, losing all Ninja abilities, becoming a Warrior or Thief (if alignment appropriate) of the same Level.  This can be down as personal business in any town.
  2. Act in a manner according to the proper alignment for their stock (Lawful for Sheikah, Chaotic for Yiga), until their proper alignment is restored.  Then, they must seek out their mentor, or find a new mentor if they lack one, for retraining.
  3. Find a new mentor in the opposing clan.  Often this will involve a test to prove your sincerity.  Once inducted into the new clan, reduce your maximum nature by one, and change your Stock, Nature, and nature descriptors to reflect your new Allegiance.  Replace all existing [Sheikah] or [Yiga] abilities with a different ability from the same level (you may take [Sheikah] or [Yiga] abilities corresponding to your new clan).  Gain a new enemy in the clan you left.  It is up to the GM if you can take this option more than once.

Ninja Level Benefits

Level 1
Ninja: Ninja may wield Bows, Daggers, Halberds, Polearms, Slings, Swords, and Two Handed swords. They may wear leather and chainmail armor, they cannot use a helmet or shield.

Some level up benefits are labeled [Sheikah] or [Yiga], you may only choose these abilities if you are the appropriate stock.

Level 2
Ninja Tricks: A hidden Ninja Star, a handful of needles, a bit of wire, a silk sash, a Ninja can always find or reveal an innocuous or hidden object that functions as a weapon. These ninja weapons count as weapons, but provide no bonuses.
Surprise Attack: As the level 2 Thief Ability

Level 3
Bodyguard [Sheikah]: In a Kill, Capture or Drive Off conflict, whenever one of your allies takes damage, before rolling for and applying armor, you may choose to take that damage instead, applying your own armor, if any. You take the entire amount, unless that amount is greater than you have hit points remaining, in which case, your ally takes the remainder.
Skirmisher: As the level 3 Warrior ability.
Going Bananas [Yiga]: In a Kill, Capture or Drive Off conflict, after both sides have revealed their actions on your turn to act, if you revealed attack or feint action, you may elect to take any amount of damage up to one less than your current hit points, if you do get +1s to your attack or feint roll per hit point lost on top of any other bonuses.

Level 4
Decoy [Sheikah]: Once per adventure, when your Party enters a flee conflict, you may declare yourself to be acting as a decoy, if you do, any of your other party members can choose not to participate in this conflict.  If you win the flee conflict, or lose it with any amount of compromise, those that did not participate escape without incident.  If you lose the flee conflict without compromise, this ability does nothing.
Hide in Shadows: As the level 4 thief ability
I Don’t Have to Outrun the Bear… [Yiga]: As the level 4 Burgler Oft Overlooked benefit

Level 5
Gone in a Flash: Through the clever use of Deku Nuts, Smoke bombs and misdirection, Sheikah Ninjas know how to make good an escape. Once per adventure, when you win a Flee conflict, you may downgrade the level of compromise you owe by one (Major -> Compromise, Compromise to -> Minor, Minor -> No Compromise). You should announce your intention to use this ability after the level of compromise is announced, but before the exact terms are declared (And the GM should give you a chance to do so).
Agile: As the Level 5 Warrior ability.

Level 6
Zelda’s Lullaby [Sheikah]: Gain Songbird and any other one other Song Ability from the Rito Bard’s List.
Technological Heir: +2d to all tests involving ancient Sheikah runes and ancient Sheikah technology.
Yiga Art of Disguise [Yiga]: Once per phase, you may use the First Circle Magician Spell Arcane Semblance.  You may use Scout instead of Arcanist to cast this spell.

Level 7
Protector of the Goddess [Sheikah]: As the level 7 Burglar Shoulder the Burden Ability
Ninja Warrior: Reduce the factors of all Dungeoneer tests you make by one
Blades of the Yiga [Yiga]: You specialize in the art of misdirection, even in combat.  You have +1s to the feint action in fights or battles.  This is in addition to any other bonuses you man have

Level 8
Blinding Speed: Use level instead of health for all chase and flee conflicts.
Ninja Scroll: As the level 8 thief Dilettante ability

Level 9
Heroic Ability: Choose Scout, Fighter, or Dungeoneer; tests with that skill/ability now succeed on 3-6.
Transformed: You may change one of your Nature descriptors to Fighting, Climbing, or Fulfilling (your duty).  If you change your base nature descriptors (due to changing from a Sheikah to a Yiga or visa-versa), you may choose which of your new nature descriptors to replace.

Level 10
To Die Without Leaving a Corpse [Sheikah]: If your Goal is noble, not even death can stop you, if you would take the Dead condition while perusing a righteous Goal, you instead take the special Spirit Warrior condition, described below.
Conservation of Ninjitsu: When you are alone or traveling with no other Ninja, gain +2 might.  When traveling with a single other Ninja, you have +1 might.  When traveling in a group of 4 or more other ninja, all of you have -1 might.  Enemy ninja have no effect on this ability.
Calamity’s Blade [Yiga]: When entering a kill or battle conflict from a concealed position, you may automatically kill any number of enemies of your choice with a combined might less than or equal to your own, do this before rolling disposition.  If after using this ability no enemies remain, there is no conflict, and it doesn’t take a turn.

Spirit Warrior

The ultimate technique of the Sheikah, the Ninja who invokes it will fulfill their mission, even if it takes them a thousand years.  The Spirit Warrior condition has the following effects:

  • Your Maximum and current nature becomes 6 when you acquire this condition, but can be taxed and depleted as normal.
  • You are immune to all other conditions (and therefore the Grind)
  • All tests reasonably in pursuit of your Goal are considered within your nature.
  • Track spent rewards separately from existing spent rewards.

When you accomplish, change, or abandon your goal the Spirit Warrior condition ends you dissipate into the Spirit World, unable to be revived by any means. Your next character gains all unspent rewards, all rewards spent while under this condition count towards your new character. Finally, if you accomplished your goal, one piece of your equipment takes on a magic property related to stealth, protecting the innocent, or defeating evil to be inherited by your next character.

Current PaDC score: 23/31

Image from Wikimedia commons: link

Building the Gulf of False Hope, Part 7: Field Funerals, The Sacred Undead, and Liches

While writing yesterdays post, I felt that A) the overview of the types of Dead in the Gulf was enough to stand on its own and B) the section on Liches was almost enough to stand on its own.  That being the case, I’m throwing in a few other sections in with this one to round it out.  You’ll probably want to have read yesterday’s post first.

First we have the rules for giving your buddies a proper funeral, then we have descriptions of the two sub-types of the Cursed Dead, the Sacred Undead and the Lich.

So Your Comrade Just Kicked the Bucket…

(Note, in this section I use “comrade” to mean “fellow adventurer, hireling, or other person who might view you as responsible for getting them killed and has no one else to put on a funeral for them”, you don’t necessarily have to like them, in fact, if you didn’t get along it might be an even BETTER idea to make sure you put them to rest)

Adventuring in the Gulf can be dangerous, and sometimes not everyone makes it out alive. While not every dead adventurer returns to haunt their comrades who left them to die, many Adventurers choose to give their buddies the proper last rites, just to be on the safe side. To perform last rites (and allow your fallen comrade to join the ranks of sanctified dead), you need to respectfully dispose of the body and give them a funeral. These tests can be made either in the adventure phase or Camp. The funeral ritual will not stop your comrade from rising as an undead as part of a monster’s special ability, but incinerating their corpse might, and burying might bury them so deep the thing can’t get out.

To dispose of the body, you either need to bury them or cremate them.

  • To Bury the body, you must bring them to some soft earth and make an Ob 2 laborer test (ob 1 for digging, +1 evil GM factor for digging deep enough the animals can’t get at them)
  • To Cremate the Body, you must make an Ob 3 Survivalist test to gather up enough wood. The GM should give you some bonus dice or additional factors depending on the weather and terrain. The fire should be above ground or in an area where the smoke has somewhere to go.

To give your fiend a proper funeral, it is an ob 3 theologian test, failure might prevent your comrade from moving on to the next world! Each person present may tell a story about the deceased to grant the (impromptu) priest a bonus die (counts as supplies when determining dice rolled for beginners luck).

Alternatively, you can pay a ob6 resources check in any town with a temple or shine to get the local priest to cremate and bless the body for you, its up to you to get the body back.  If you have hauled the corpse back to town, friends and mentors of your comrade in the same town will help with this expense, while Families will pay for it.  Involving these people and shoving a share/all of the bill on them is a great way to earn yourself an Enemy who blames you for their loved one’s death, however.

Hauling the Body

Assuming your comrade didn’t conveniently drop dead in a good spot to burn or bury them (or right outside the gates of town), the living will have to drag them out of there themselves. For the purposes of these rules a “corpse” assumes you have removed their backpack, satchel, quivers, metal armor, and anything in their hands, if you have not, you may be required to test/have additional factors in your test.

You can drag a corpse of your race or smaller with two hands (Humans/Elves > Dwarves > Halflings), dragging a larger corpse requires a laborer test with an ob equal to the difference in size. Lifting a corpse over obstacles might require a test or additional hands, GM’s discretion, you can generally stick them on top of an animal or funeral pyre with no test, however.

A mystic Porter can carry a corpse using 8 slots of inventory for a human or elf (7 for a dwarf, 6 for a halfling), a pack animal can carry a corpse either as a Rider or as the same number of slots of inventory as the mystic porter, use whichever is more space efficient, but you’ll likely need some rope to tie them in place either way.

Burial in Absentia

You may provide a funeral for your comrade without their body, typically burning or burying a small personal item in their place. A funeral without the body counts as an additional factor in the Theologian test. Not having a personal item is another additional factor. This should also only be done when the body was unrecoverable, due to being destroyed, eaten, or too dangerous to get to, if the GM rules that you just left your fiend’s body where it was because you didn’t want to drop your stuff (or the Player’s annoyed about it), that can be a cue for another evil GM factor. The Shrine charges the same price for a Burial in Absentia as they do a traditional cremation (a more difficult ritual but they don’t have to actually burn any body), but will not perform one without a personal item. Lastly, while performing the funeral rites properly in such a manner will lay your comrade’s spirit to rest, the body is not sanctified in any manner from being brought back as an undead by a Necromancer who DOES recover the body.

Mass Graves

If you are unfortunate enough to be laying more than one comrade to rest, increase the obstacles of all tests (including paying the shrine if you choose to go that route) by one for a party of adventurers. You need a personal item for each comrade whose body you lack if you wish to avoid the additional factor.

The Sacred Undead

Contrary to most of the Cursed Dead, the Sacred Undead is not undead because of some vile act committed.  On the contrary, the Sacred Undead is too pure, too noble of purpose.  A Sacred Undead is not merely a spirit with unfinished business, no matter how noble, such spirits fall under the Vengeful Dead category.  Sacred Undead instead are those who, having lived a noble life in service of the divine will they serve, choose to continue to serve instead of passing on to the next world.  Their charge and duty comes not from any lingering regrets, but instead a divine edict from the will that they serve.

They are considered Cursed Dead, because to exist in such a way, to exist in such a state, no longer alive, no regrets to bind you, to resist the call of the next world, and to maintain your sense of purpose, self, and nobility, is agony for a soul. It is a terrible curse, a terrible burden to bear.  Yet it is one that those who still exist in such a way bear willingly.  A Sacred Undead can not be turned by any who serve the same divine will as they do, can not be permanently destroyed, and are exceedingly difficult to banish.  They pass on to the next world when they lose their will to remain, ideally after fulfilling their purpose or finding a worthy successor.  Still, the burden on the soul is great, and some merely disappear when they can no longer endure it.

The Lich

Nearly every Lich (and their kin) would disagree about being cursed.  Such a categorization is merely a slander perpetuated by the ignorant, fearful, and jealous.  Liches differ from the standard Cursed Dead because rather than some higher entity, Liches did it to themselves.  The ritual to become a Lich is intimate and complicated, and no one can be forced to complete it, to tear out ones soul is not something that can be done with any hesitation, and even those willing but hesitant have found that their hesitation merely instead resulted in their deaths.  Thus, no matter what a Lich may tell you, they chose to become a Lich.  They believed that magical power gave them the right to violate the natural order of things and do this to themselves.  To become a Lich is an act of arrogance, of KNOWING that you will do better than all those who tried before you.  Of course being a Lich is not a curse, I would not done such a thing to myself if it was a curse!

While that arrogance is their sin, not all Liches did so for ignoble ends.  Many have undertaken the ancient rituals with the most noble of ends.  A reason why they must stop the hands of time and continue whatever great work they were undertaking.  Such Liches can even succeed, perhaps they only needed another decade, and thus, whatever good they hoped to achieve can be overseen by the next generation.  A truly good lich destroys themselves then and there.  They rarely do.

To be a Lich, you must remove your soul, store it away, hide it in a special jar, yet, in order to do anything, your mind must remain with your body.  At first, it will seem like nothing has changed.  You have your memories, your personality, even some semblance of emotion.  You even still care for the things you cared for before.  And yet… You’ve changed.  It happens slowly, those things that you cared for last no where near as long as you do, and you find yourself no longer caring about anything new.  By the time you realize, you no longer even care that you don’t.  Why should you?  You have important work to do!  You can’t get half-way through a project without thinking of the next one!  Each of them so important, each of them justifying any number of sacrifices.

It is so easy to justify going just a bit further with each new experiment, your work is so important after all.  Far more important that some suffering of some time-bound creatures.  And each time you go a bit further, their pleas mean nothing to you.  Their cries of pain, their begging for mercy, their asking for their mother, their spouse, their child, all meaningless. They will not accomplish anything greater in their shot little lives than their contribution to your great work!

…And that’s just for Liches who start with the best of intentions.  All Liches become evil, because all Liches lose the ability to feel true empathy.  They can be quite clever, and they can UNDERSTAND what another being is feeling, but their time separated from their soul costs them (among other things) their ability to be moved by it.  A Lich may, for a while, keep a mental model in their head of what a “good person” would do, and they may act on it.  Yet there is no reward for them if they do so, no warm fuzzies to motivate them to keep at it, and without a compelling self-interest reason to do so, they end up deciding not to bother.

The same arrogance that lead them to become a Lich consumes them, only they and their goals matter, and they will do anything to see them through to the end no matter who they have to crush.  The Lich becomes an unrecognizable monster, while their soul suffers trapped inside a tiny box.  That is why Liches are cursed.

But I am sure for you it’ll be different, right?

Current PaDC score: 19/31

Building the Gulf of False Hope, Part 6: Dead & Undead

Even across the sea on the mainland, Undead are one of the few types of monsters the civilizations of Asila have not be able to stamp out, although not for lack of trying.  The simple fact is, even if every zombie, skeleton, ghost and their kin were to pass into the next world tomorrow, more people would die with regrets binding them to this world, and more secret cabals of vile necromancers would continue to practice and pass on their black arts.

The untamed land across the sea, the Gulf region included, provides amble opportunities for these conspiracies to operate away from prying eyes of the authorities, and if a few people in some remote town go missing while walking in the woods, well, that won’t raise the eyebrows of many people outside that village, at least not before it is too late.  Ad to that the ancient ruins and still active curses of lost tombs and the living dead are still alive and well (so to speak) in the Gulf.

The Dead

In general, the dead fall into a few categories, which speak more to the nature of the creature than what specific kind it is.  In fact, in some cases, a creatures of the same kind might fall into separate categories, a Skeleton, for example might be considered Vengeful Dead if it is animated by its spirits desire to protect its own tomb, or a Enslaved Dead if under the power of a Necromancer.


It is actually a matter of theological debate among the Way if the some or even all of Saint-Heroes ever actually died or not.  On one extreme, some factions believe that all true Saint-Heroes ascended to the next world while still living, even those that supposedly died as martyrs actually ascended to the Heavens just before their supposed death, on the other end, there is a group that believes that Saint-Heroes are only recognized as such after their normal, human, death.  Regardless, the spirits of Saint Heroes are said to reside in the next world, and it is by their power that clerics are granted their miracles.

The Sanctified Dead

Those that have died and have been given proper funeral rites.  Many believe the spirits of the Sanctified dead are guided into the next world during the last days of winter.  A proper funeral eases the regrets of a troubled spirit, making it much less likely they will return to haunt the living.  While most corpses in the Gulf are cremated, even those that are buried in the ground will be more difficult for a Necromancer to raise.

The Unsanctified Dead

Those that have died and not been given proper funeral rites.  Without final rites to ease their bitterness and resentment, many such spirits will bear grudges against the living, and find it difficult to move on to the next world.  Even among those that do not become vengeful spirits, corpses dropped in a ditch by the side of the road are both magically and logistically easy for a Necromancer to obtain and use.

The Vengeful Dead

The vengeful dead are spirits who are either unable to find peace in the next world, or whose rest has been disturbed by the living.  The vengeful are driven by their own powerful emotions from life, and sometimes aided by some curses crafted either by them in life, or those who prepared their tomb, in fact, a tomb designed to use its willing dead to punish transgressors are one of the few times it is EASIER to raise a properly buried corpse.  Weaker Vengeful Dead such as Tomb Guardians, but stronger Vengeful Dead will merely reform if they are not properly banished or the source of their regrets is not resolved.

The Enslaved Dead

The Enslaved Dead are those given unlife by to be bound into another’s service, all of these poor creatures have had their spirits bound by their creator, leaving them in spiritual agony until freed.  For this reason, even those who seek to animate the dead for the most helpful reasons (such as to do manual labor and not terrorize villagers) are often reviled by socity at large and banned by almost every sect of The Way.

While most of these undead servants, are brought forth by living Necromancers, certain other types of Undead are capable of creating minions of their own to serve them.  Most of the enslaved dead can merely be physically destroyed, although some powerful necromancers can even call forth incorporeal spirits to serve them which must be banished purely because physical attacks have little effect.

The Hungry Dead

The Hungry Dead are driven by a compulsion, exactly what this compulsion is varies depending on the exact time, but the Hungry dead differentiate themselves from the Vengeful dead in that this compulsion is unrelated to their unresolved emotions from life.  Most often, as the name implies, the compulsion is a desire to feed on the living.  The Hungry Dead can be intelligent, such as in the case of Vampires, or mindless beings ruled by their hunger such as the case of Ghouls, but either way the compulsion is irresistible.

While a human with good enough reason and willpower could chose to starve themselves to death, but a vampire, no matter how strong of will, how ancient, or how powerful, will always give in to the craving eventually even if it requires losing their sanity and becoming a blood-starved beast in the process.  In most cases, these Undead are created by Hungry Dead feeding on the living, with the corpses of victims joining their ranks, in others, they are most often created by Necromancers seeking to bolster their forces, which then almost inevitably break free of their control.

The Cursed Dead

The Cursed Dead often straddle the line between all three of the other categories of Undead.  Many are, in some sense, created and bound by another, many times this is because of something that they did in life, and many have a compulsion that they can not resist as part of their curse.  These undead are the result of some vile act by the living often vile in nature, that catches the attention of a powerful entity.  A deal with a devil, a betrayal of a sacred vow, the murder of a protected innocent, are all common themes.  For this, they are punished, forever barred from the next world, their bodies and spirits bound by the weight of their act.

They often retain somewhat of a will, just enough that they can remember what got them to this place in the first place, but they are often twisted and corrupted by the weight of their sin, and are further often compelled to partake in some ironic punishment or reminder of their misdeeds.  If the entity that created them is powerful enough, often not even their destruction or banishment will release them from their hell on earth, as their judge will just reform them to continue their punishment.  Perhaps most ironically, most of the Cursed Dead DO have a way to find peace, some atonement they can perform that will release them from the curse, yet it is almost always something so deeply related to their sin and the flaw that caused it, the Cursed Dead will never find peace on their own.

There are two notable sub variants of the Cursed Dead, The Sacred Undead, and the Lich.  Both of which, along with some mechanical rules for providing funerals for your fallen comrades, will be discussed in tomorrow’s post.

Current PaDC score: 18/31

Triforcebearer: Traits and Hometowns



Still got the Sheikah Stock and Class to do in terms of playable character, but I figured I would mix things up if I was going to do two Triforcebearer things two days in a row, so today we’re talking about hometowns and their respective traits.  The towns chosen in this were lifted from BotW, and the map of Hyrule itself can changed from game to game, so feel free to modify these for the era you want to run.

Not long ago, Hyrule was a great and prosperous kingdom, blessed by the goddesses, and ruled by noble line descended from the Goddess Hylia.  Until the day the Calamity came, bringing with it hordes of monsters and corrupting the ancient defenses and divine beasts.  Now, many have fortified themselves in their ancient ancestral homes, and all travelers must be wary for beasts and servants of the Calamity could be upon them at any moment, still, some all adventurers are from somewhere, and what follows is a list of notable towns in post-Calamity Hyrule:

New Towns

Only new traits are described below, traits marked with a single asterisk (*) are from the core rules, while traits with a double asterisk (**) are from Middarmark (But if you do not have access to Middarmark they are fairly self-explanatory).

Gerudo Town (Women only) Built around an oasis in the Gerudo desert, Gerudo village is a city that only allows in women, and the tough Gerudo guards are more than happy to enforce this ban.  Voe (male) guests seeking to do business typically have to settle for the nearby Kara Kara Bazaar, although, rumors say that the right outfit can work wonders…

    • Skills:Survivalist, Laborer, Pathfinder
    • Traits: Desert Flower, Fierce**
    • Haggler Obstacle: 3
    • Alignment: Chaos

Goron City Carved into and built on the Rock of Death Mountain, the Goron’s home is a sturdy one frequently rocked by earthquakes and other dangers of the Aptly named volcano’s activity.

    • Skills: Armorer, Stonemason, Haggler
    • Traits: Industrious**, Stubborn**
    • Haggler Obstacle: 2
    • Alignment: Unaffiliated

Hateno Village The largest Hylian settlement in the wake of the Calamity, Hateno maintains relative peace due to its distance from central Hyrule and its defensible location.  It is also home to the Hateno Ancient tech lab, one of the foremost research facilities (as far as that goes post Calamity) on ancient Hyrule

    • Skills: Weaver, Scholar, Lore Master
    • Traits: Obsessive, Generous*
    • Haggler Obstacle: 4
    • Alignment: Unaffiliated

Kakariko Village The home of the Sheikah, Kakariko village has moved many times throughout its history.  Nowadays, many Sheikah merely live out their lives working the land, but Kakariko is still a place of ancient tradition and duty.

    • Skills: Scout, Peasant, Theologian
    • Traits: Quiet*, Rough Hands*
    • Haggler Obstacle: 5
    • Alignment: Law

Lurelin Village A small fishing village in southeast Hyrule, strong southern winds provide Lurelin with a hot, humid climb compared to the rest of the region.  The people there live simple lives, just trying to get by and find joy where they can in the age of the Calamity.

    • Skills: Sailor, Peasant, Scavenger
    • Traits: Sea Salt, Stoic*
    • Haggler Obstacle: 3
    • Alignment: Unaffiliated

Rito Village Perched on a high rock on a lake in Northwestern Hyrule, Rito village is no place for one with a fear of heights.  Blessed with superb air currents and updrafts conductive to flying, the Rito can navigate the multi-level structure with ease.  Ground bound visitors and residents will instead get quite a workout climbing up and down the many staircases that connect one level to the next.

    • Skills: Hunter, Cartargopher, Pathfinder
    • Traits: Fearless*, Aloof
    • Haggler Obstacle: 3
    • Alignment: Unaffiliated

Zora’s Domain Sometimes said to be the headwaters of all of Hyrule, Zora’s Domain is the beautiful home of the Zora built right on top of the water.  The pure clean waters are renowned for their medical properties and it is a great place to practice your swimming.

    • Skills: Dungeoneer, Healer, Sailor
    • Traits: Thoughtful*, Clean
    • Haggler Obstacle: 4
    • Alignment: Law

New Traits:

  • Aloof: Some people just seem like they are above it all, this detachment can help keep them sane and calm in otherwise draining situations, but it isn’t likely to make them very many friends.
  • Clean: Going above and beyond in terms of hygiene and healthy food and drink can lead to a healthy body and mind.  On the other hand, they might not have quite developed the iron stomach needed to chow down on what adventurers call food, or deal with the very unhygienic places found underground.
  • Desert Flower: Skin tanned from the heat of the Gerudo Desert, some find it easy to have fun in the sun and know how to get along in hot or dry conditions, while the heat doesn’t seem to bother them, these desert adapted folks tend not to get along well in the cold.
  • Obsessive:  When some people set their mind to something, there can be no stopping them, not even sleeping until they accomplish their great work.  This great obsession can sometimes lead to them pulling off amazing feats, but can also blind them to any potential consequences.
  • Sea Salt: Some find themselves at home on the sea, they know how to read the currents, tie a knot, and don’t get seasick.  Still, when they turn to a life of adventuring, they may find that life above the water doesn’t really prepare them for life below ground.

Current PaDC score: 17/31

Triforcebearer: Rito Bard



Before I go into the bard, I want to talk briefly about about song magic and the Bard (And, since it is my blog, I get to talk about what I want).  Most of these stock/classes for Torchbearer are based on prominent NPCs of that stock, often from Breath of the Wild.  For example, the Gerudo were based on Ganondorf, Twinrova, and Urbosa, all of which had some combination of martial and magical might, and the forthcoming Sheikah are based on Sheik (an arch-typical example despite being a Hylian) and the various incarnations of Impa.  For the Rito, my choice of iconic Rito (while there are several other named Rito in the games they appear in) were Medli, Revali, and Kass.  Medli and Kass were both musicians and although Revali was not, I figured I could take the bardic theme and incorporate a few bits of archery into it.

My initial draft of the Rito Bard just took certain Zelda songs, made them level up abilities, and called it a day.  This isn’t a terrible idea, and ultimately is basically what this draft of the Bard does. I hope that this produces a character that kind of gets the feeling of some of the musical songs found throughout the series… for the Bard.  Still, I felt like these magical songs should be something anyone can use, and could be given out like a magic item in loot, like how songs could be rewards for quests in some of the games.  But I wanted a system that:

  1. Felt right and Zelda-like and fit with the lore
  2. Felt right with the torchbearer limited resource/inventory economy
  3. Did not make the Bard feel redundant when anyone could do their main thing

Ultimately, the best I was able to come up with was to leave the Bard mostly as is (although I decided to throw in a lot more song abilities and let the bard choose to mix it up), and to just give out magical instruments that have a singly or limited amount of songs available to them (ideally not from the Bard’s ability list).  Treating them as you would any magic item or wand.  Maybe that’s the ideal solution after all, but I’ll keep thinking on it.  Ideally I would like a unified mechanic, so we’ll see if I ever revisit this later.  As no matter what I do that’ll involve changes to the Rito class, if I come up with something cool that satisfies points 1 and 2, but not really point 3, I’ll also consider reworking the Rio concept into something else entirely.  For now though, I believe I have something that works and is a playable, fun class. This one got really long, so click here to see the class and song abilities

Potion Properties in the Gulf

Torchbearer, like many fantasy games of its kind, contains magical potions that the player characters can find in these ancient ruins.  These potions might be quite unlike the potions brewed by alchemists today, and identifying them by inspection can be difficult.  In Torchbearer, one can sip a potion to learn its effects without risk of consuming it, however, if the potion is poisoned/cursed the negative effects kick in even from the single sip.  Therefore, for my purposes in the Gulf, I need descriptions for the potions based on what one could examine without tasting.

Potions of the same type by the same potion manufacture will have identical properties, potions of the same type from the same era/school of alchemy will be similar, but not identical.  On the other hand, potions of the same type from different eras/schools of alchemy can be very different, and potions of different types from different eras can ALSO be similar to other potions from other eras.  The containers are not listed here because they are not properties of the potion itself, although they can help identify when and where the potion was made (assuming the potion is in its original container).

The contents of the bottle seems to (1d10):

  1. Stain the bottle (and anything it gets on)
  2. Easily Separate (Roll twice for color and transparency)
  3. Be Constantly Glowing (although not in a sufficient amount to be a light source)
  4. Be Multi-colored (Roll twice for color, once for transparency)
  5. Be Fizzy
  6. Be a Gelatinous substance instead of fluid
  7. Be a Powder instead of fluid
  8. Flow like honey
  9. Flow upwards
  10. Contains numerous suspended particles

The substance itself is a (roll 1d3 for transparency and 1d12 for color unless description above specifies otherwise)…

  • Transparency
    1. Transparent
    2. Cloudy
    3. Opaque
  • Color
    1. Red
    2. Pink
    3. Orange
    4. Yellow
    5. Neon Green
    6. Dark Green
    7. Teal
    8. Dark Blue
    9. Purple
    10. White
    11. Black
    12. Brown

And smells…

  1. Earthy
  2. Metallic
  3. Of fresh berries
  4. Like rotting flesh
  5. Like roasting meat
  6. Like blood
  7. Acidic
  8. Of ozone
  9. Like fresh baked bread
  10. Like a fine wine
  11. Like bad wine
  12. Like Coffee
  13. Like freshly fallen rain
  14. Of sewage
  15. Salty like a sea breeze
  16. Like wildflowers
  17. Of animal musk
  18. Of sweat
  19. Of tobacco
  20. Like strong cologne/perfume

Might come back to potions and consider some miscibility rules in the future, but the description table will do for now.

Current PaDC score: 15/31