Twilight Isles World Laws and Character Creation

   As far as anyone knows, most of these rules extend throughout entire realm of the Twilight Isles – and, presumably throughout Ars’yam Taht’leil (as a few extradimensional visitors have named the world, or at least the general area of the Twilight Seas).

   Basic Character Generation:

  • Characters are created using the standard Eclipse Classless d20 rules with the Attribute Base option from page 102 and the Energetic World Template from page 160. This gives each character (Cha/2) Power, (Con/3) Generic Spell Levels, and 1d6 Mana plus 1d2 mana every four levels to work with, whether or not they ever learn to use those resources. Sadly, characters who exhaust any one of these innate reserves become Fatigued. Exhausting two leads to Exhaustion. Exhausting all three leads to unconsciousness.
  • The major races include the Shadow Elves, the Thunder Dwarves, the Ikam, and the Veltine. Other races are available, but are quite rare.
  • The “Adventurer” template is not required, but all characters and new ability purchases must be approved by the game master.
  • Abilities which require special permission – and usually special limitations – include Action Hero / Invention (usually requires a high level), Adept (once only), Blessing (rare, usually must be very limited), Blood Curse (rare), Companion (the companion may not have a higher ECL than it’s master), Dominion and Godfire (require very special measures to acquire), Immunity (generally there is no immunity to natural laws or general immunity to magic), Mana/Reality Editing (minor changes only), Mystic Link (will not extend through the Maze), Returning (normally limited versions only), Shapeshift (the cheesy get-massive-physical-bonuses trick from the Federation-Apocalypse campaign is only allowed with special permission – which will not be easy to get), Siddhisyoga (these powers also count against device usage limits for those races or characters with such limitations), Spell/Power Resistance (purchased separately), Test of Wills (advanced versions are generally not available), and Triggering (restricted applications).
  • Attributes are rolled using 5d6 six times, keeping three each time, and arranging the resulting scores as desired. The player-characters are assumed to be among the most talented members of their age group – the ones who have a good shot at success as “adventurers” (or who have been pushed into it thanks to their semi-suicidal activities).
  • Experience will be awarded directly as character points.
    • The normal base is 2 CP per session.
    • Occasional +1 CP bonuses can be expected.
    • Players who cannot make it to a session still get 1 CP per session if they let me know about it in advance and provide some idea of what their character will be doing.
    • Players who add material to the game – such as character diaries or session summaries, notes on NPC’s, experiments they want to try off-session, and so on – will get an extra 1-2 CP per week for doing so.
    • Characters who wish to use the classical item creation rules may purchase Harvest of Artifice or Action Hero/Crafting to convert a few Character Points into a supply of “experience points” to use to make things.
  • Skill checks are made with 3d6.
    • Unskilled checks are subject to a -5 penalty.
    • Passive rolls – such as perception skills when a character is not actively searching for something – are normally taken as “5”.
    • Characters may “Take 10” normally but “Take 15” instead of “Taking 20”.
    • Knowledge Skills are limited by the available sources of information.
  • Characters who should be unconscious due to damage may make fortitude checks to cling to consciousness.
  • Dying characters may make a dramatic dying speech or take a dying action (unless they’ve been disintegrated, or buried under a thousand tons of rock or something). If they have the option but don’t use it, there will usually be a chance to save them for a minute or so after their “death” – albeit often at the cost of some long-term disability.
  • The Charms and Talismans from The Practical Enchanter are in use.

   Character Wealth:

   Characters in Taht’leil measure their wealth in several ways.

  • Personal funds include cash and other valuable acquired through adventures, once-off gifts and grants, and personal savings. When you want something special, unusual, and now, you usually have to dip into personal funds. Characters don’t usually start with much in the way of personal funds – but may easily acquire a lot more later on. They can also take out loans, but it tends to depress their social standing and perks until they’re paid back.
  • Lifestyle is derived from a character’s clan, social connections, property and business holdings, stipends, and various other sources of non-liquid income. In general, these conform to the Wealth Level Templates in The Practical Enchanter. It’s possible to raise a character’s Lifestyle through the expenditure of Personal Funds by buying properties, opening businesses, working your way into court, and so one – but it requires both spending character points and LOTS of money.

Wealth Level


Social Class

Starting Funds

Special Notes:




4d10 Bits

Just above slaves.




4d8 Coppers





4d6 Silver

No template option.




4d4 Gold

Basic social perks.



Minor Noble

4d4x10 Gold




Major Noble

4d4x100 Gold

Minimum level 6.



Mighty Lord

3d4x1000 Gold

Minimum level 12.

  • The CP cost does not count against normal disadvantage limits. Veltine suffer a “-1” wealth level penalty. If this takes them below Destitute, they’re either new exiles (and are lucky if they have a loincloth) or are slaves. Thunder Dwarves enjoy a +1 wealth level bonus, although this cannot take them above the Imperial level.
  • The “Social Class” listed is pretty general. “Well-Off” might indicate a younger child or a minor noble, an up-and-coming priest, or whatever.
  • “Cash” varies a lot, but includes coins, precious metals by weight, magical materials, spices, amber, letters of credit, gems, trade tokens, pearls, and various other items. Characters without a bit of the “Appraise” skill can be ripped off very easily.
  • The special benefits to Mounts, Pets, and Familiars available to characters at the Wealthy and Imperial levels in The Practical Enchanter are replaced in Ars’yam Taht’leil by +6 and +12 CP in the Companion ability respectively.
  • Servants may be hirelings or slaves at the player’s option. At that end of the social scale, the difference isn’t very large.

   Other characters may measure their wealth in Favors and Influence, or in bound spirits, or in more esoteric ways – but they’re unusual.

   Magical Modifications:

   The over-saturated magical environment of Taht’leil makes higher-level spells woefully unstable, requiring an additional margin of control to keep them from running wild. Effects of levels 3-5 require one extra level of “control”, those of 6-7 require two, those of levels 8-9 require three, and so on. Unfortunately, there is no “control” metamagic theorem, so spellcasters cannot simply buy Streamline or Glory and have done; it always has to be done on the fly. Common methods include:

  • Putting spells into higher-level slots. Simple, direct, efficient, and only calling for a far more powerful spellcaster.
  • Using the Compact Metamagical Theorem. This approach works just fine, but makes the spell far more difficult to actually cast, since the Compact Theorem reduces the level of the spell it’s applied to by adding complications and sacrifices to the actual casting.
  • Casting a Stabilize Magic spell to prepare for the high-level spell that the caster actually wants to cast. This allows the safe casting of a spell of up to two levels higher than the level of the spell used. Unfortunately, this is recursive; casting a ninth-level spell will require a seventh-level stabilizing spell to cast safely, which will itself require a fifth-level stabilizing spell, which will require a third level spell which will – finally – require a first level spell which requires no special preparation.
    • Any of these three methods will work for the creation of magical items, but will – obviously – make the creation of such devices considerably more difficult.
  • Spending Mana. This is also quick and easy, but getting the mana in the first place is harder. The better-known sources include:
    • Personal Supplies: These are simply purchased as Mana. Handy, but expensive to accumulate.
    • Familiars: Companions purchased with Mana and Blessing to allow them to share it. Very useful, but slightly perilous; storms can cause serious oversurges and other difficulties.
    • Manastones: In general, these are minor relics. Self-charging Manastones must incorporate a power source – either a Najmhan core or the soul of a sapient being.
    • Magical Catalysts: Spellpowders are generic, and are popular with minor mages, but yield only one point of mana and are used up during spellcasting. Talismans are attuned to particular spells or to very small groups of closely-related spells and are not used up – although they still provide only one point of mana per casting.
    • Using the Gathering Thunder skill to tap into the energies of Creation, Transformation, or Destruction as appropriate to the spell being cast. This normally requires one standard action and a roll at DC 15 to provide one point of Mana for whatever spell the user casts in the next action. It can provide two points at DC 25 and three at DC 40 – but drawing Mana in this way is dangerous; Each point so tapped requires a Fortitude save against a DC of (the number of points drawn so far today). Each failure results in 1d4 points of stress, which only goes away at a base rate of one point per week (although there are some ways to speed it up) – and each time your stress level exceeds your constitution, something permanent, nasty, and progressively worse will happen. Physical decay and madness lie along this route. Still, when you need power now and can take time off to deal with any stress you get later, this is a useful technique.

   This is a minor variation on the Power Sink world template from page 161.

   Psionics use the “psionics are different” rule. Psionic powers are not subject to the limitations of high-level magic, but are tiring to use. Characters suffer a “-1” circumstance penalty on all their roles and checks after expending 25% of their power, “-2” after 50%, and -3 after 75% or more. Psionics are widely distrusted for some reason.

2 Responses

  1. […] cribbed from the CP costs for Wealth Level Templates (found in The Practical Enchanter) over on Twilight Isles World Laws and Character Creation. In this case, Barney won’t have access to magic items, obviously, but we’ll say that it does […]

  2. […] relevant campaigns – Federation-Apocalypse Campaign, Ironwinds Campaign, Atheria Campaign, Twilight Isles Campaign, and Darkweird […]

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