Template: Ruler (King/Queen/Prince/Princess — Beguilement)

Although I created this as a template to allow players to use this character type, in fact I suspect I will disallow Rulers as player-characters. How many gangs of adventurers include the queen, after all? So this template is here for completeness, and as a way for me to stat out and thus be able to look up some beguilement powers quickly so that I can give them to important boss-strength Rulers who are enemies. So I’ll tag this post as an NPC and enemy as well as a character template.

Rulers: The Primer

In The Land of the True Game, rulers have the power of beguilement. Rulers typically acquire their position (that is, their job — what it is that they are ruling right now — not their talent) by beguiling an army to wage game on another ruler, who they unseat by killing them in battle. Sitting rulers are often kept busy by fending off these challenges, and this produces a large amount of all gaming: so-called “great games” involving armies, anyway.

The required costume for a ruler is a crown. Rulers are called “king” or “queen” if they rule over a demensne, a major city, or an important schooltown. If they rule over a smaller area (town, a single house in a schooltown) or have some other, more specific duty in a large demensne (such as commander of the guards, commander of an army) or they have yet to rule over anything then the ruler is called “prince” or “princess” and the crown is miniature, or a tiara is worn.

Marriage is not common in this setting, and these titles refer to talent not blood. Marrying royalty does not grant you the title of a ruler. The children of rulers have no title until their talent manifests after puberty, and it might be a different talent from beguilement (or no talent at all).

“There Are Some Kings Who Should Not Be Kings”

A widely-whispered heresy is that “there are some kings who shouldn’t be kings.” It’s heretical because everyone is said to be born to their true calling. The saying highlights some important gameplay effects for this kind of character, however: The meaning is that just because someone is born with the talent of beguilement doesn’t meet they have any other qualifications to rule, including IQ, common sense, etc. The typical ruler in the Land of the True Game does not possess these skills. Instead, their talent (psionic power) allows them to fudge it. Practically speaking, this means that it is the norm that any particular demensne ruled by a king or queen is a horrible mess of autocratic misadministration, waste, and inefficiency.

Combat Queens!

Rulers are essentially non-combatant characters who depend on their followers. In a battle it is vital that they move around the field and motivate their own army with beguilement. Killing the king/queen is the objective of the opposing troops, so defensive abilities are important–cautious rulers often carry a shield. Some kings will be able to defend themselves a little bit, however. It’s also possible to use some forms beguilement offensively (see the lenses below the template).

Ruler Template

159 points

Attributes: ST 11 [10]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 14 [80]; HT 11 [10].
Secondary Characteristics: Dam 1d-1/1d+1; BL 24 lbs.; HP 11 [0]; Will 14 [0]; Per 14 [0]; FP 11 [0]; Basic Speed 5.25 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0].
Advantages: Beguilement: Charisma 5 (Requires Skill vs. Will Roll -15%; Link +20%; Variable +5%; True Game ESP -20%) [25] (at 5/level) selectively linked with Beguilement: Appearance: Very Handsome/Beautiful (Requires Skill vs. Will Roll -15%; Link +20%; True Game ESP -20%) [14] and Status 2 (Powerful Gamesman) [10]. ⬤ 15 points chosen from among Ally Group (3 x Trusted Bodyguard, 25% of player’s points, 15 or less and 1 x Trusted Counselor/Majordomo, 25% of player’s points, 9 or less) [10], Empathy [15], Rapier Wit [5], Intuition [15], Legal Immunity [15], Legal Enforcement Powers [15], Patron (demensne or powerful demensne; 9 or less) [10 or 15], Reputation +2 (Among Pawns or Among Gamesmen: Wise or Fair or Competent or similar) [5] Smooth Operator 1 [15], Social Chameleon [5], add +1 additional level to Status for Status 3 (Lord or Retinue) [5], Wealth (Comfortable) [10], Voice [10].
Perks: Choose one of: Courtesy Rank [1], Fearsome Stare [1], Good With (Wizards or [Other] Rulers) [1], Haughty Sneer [1], Looks Good in Uniform [1], or Penetrating Voice [1].
Disadvantages and Quirks: Choose one from among: Enemy (rival ruler or demensne, 6 or less / 9 or less) [-10 / -20] or Enemy (unknown rival ruler or demensne, 6 or less / 9 or less) [-12 / -25] or Reputation -2 (Among Pawns or Among Gamesmen: Cruel, Oppressive, Arbitrary, Incompetent, or a similar reputation) [-5] ⬤ Choose one from among: Bad Temper [-10*], Bully [-10*], Guilt Complex [-5], Indecisive [-10*], Jealousy [-10], Megalomania [-10], Miserliness [-10*], Sadism [-15*], Sense of Duty (my entire demensne) [-10] ⬤ Then select additional traits until the total for disadvantages reaches -50 from among: Either Code of Honor (Oathbound or Gamesman’s) [-5 or -10] or Honesty (Rules of the True Game) [-10*] or Fanaticism (True Game) [-15]; Careful [-1], Combat Paralysis [-15], Compulsive Carousing [-5*], Dependent (50%, member of your court, 9 or less) [-5], Duty (belligerent demensne requires you to lead armies into battle; 6 or less) [-2], Fat [-3] or Overweight [-1], Fearfulness [-2/level], Gluttony [-5*], Hidebound [-5] or Dull [-1], Humble [-1], Incurious [-5*] or Staid [-1], Intolerance (Pawns or Wizards) [-5], Missing Digit [-2], Paranoia [-10], Phobia (Being Alone) [-15*], Proud [-1], Stubbornness [-5], Unfit [-5], Workaholic [-5], and/or adjust attribute -1 HP [-2]
Primary Skills: Beguilement (Psionic Power Skill) Will+4 [20]-18, Technique: Aura Extension (Psionic Power Technique) Skill-5 [0]-13
Secondary Skills: Shield DX+2 [4]-12 ⬤ Choose one package from:

  1. Non-combatant: Choose from among the following traits for a total of 8 points: Current Affairs (Headline News, Powerful Demensnes) IQ+0 [1]-14, Fast-Talk IQ-1 [1]-13, Observation IQ-1 [1]-13, Stealth DX+1 [4]-13.
  2. Combatant: Either Shortsword DX+1 [4]-13 or Smallsword DX+1 [4]-13 ⬤ Either Knife DX+2 [4]-12 or Karate DX+0 [4]-10.

Background Skills: Savoir-Faire (Powerful Demensnes) IQ+0 [1]-14, Module: Educated [7] ⬤ Choose two of: Carousing HT+0 [1]-11, Connoisseur (Wine) IQ-1 [1]-13, and/or Dancing DX-1 [1]-9.

Lenses

Actually Competent (+5 points): Choose four from among: Administration IQ-1 [1]-13, add +1 point to Area Knowledge (home demensne), Diplomacy IQ-2 [1]-12, Heraldry IQ-1 [1]-13, Law (True Game) IQ-2 [1]-12, Leadership IQ-1 [1]-13, Observation IQ-1 [1]-13, Public Speaking IQ-1 [1]-13, Strategy (True Game) IQ-2 [1]-12, or add additional points to these skills until 5 points are spent. (This lens is rare in the setting!)

Machiavellian (+5 points): Choose five from among: Acting IQ-1 [1]-13, Detect Lies Per-2 [1]-12, Fast-Talk IQ-1 [1]-13, Intelligence Analysis IQ-2 [1]-12, Interrogation IQ-1 [1]-13, Politics IQ-1 [1]-13, Poisons IQ-2 [1]-12, Propaganda IQ-1 [1]-13, Sex Appeal HT-1 [1]-10, Streetwise IQ-1 [1]-13, or add additional points to these skills until 5 points are spent.

Mesmerizing (+26 points): add the ability: Affliction (Slave Mentality) (Accessibility [Must be making eye contact]) -10%, Malediction +150%, Based on (Will) +20%, Disadvantage +40%, Sense Based [Visual] -20%, True Game ESP -20% ) [26/level] (note that this ability is NOT linked to the other beguilement powers).

  • Rulers with the above lens can cause a specific person they can make eye contact with to lose all independent initiative. Characters affected in this way must make an IQ roll at -8 to take any action that is not obeying a direct order, and automatically fail all Will rolls unless the GM rules otherwise. The effect lasts for 1 minute per point by which the initial Will roll failed. Each additional level gives an additional -1 to the victim’s resistance.

Enrapturing (+10 points): add the ability Beguilement: Mind Control (Emotion Control -50%, Accessibility [Must be making eye contact]) -10%, Aspected [May only cause joy/pleasure] -20%, Rationalization +20%, True Game ESP -20%) [10] (note that this ability is NOT linked to the other beguilement powers).

  • Rulers with the above lens can impart joy to a specific person they can make eye contact with.

Shock-and-Awe (+24 points or more): add the ability Blast of Awe: Awe (Visual; True Game ESP -20%) [24] and optionally add additional -1 modifiers to the “awe check” [8/each] (note that this ability is NOT linked to the other beguilement powers).

  • “Awe” is a variant of the Terror (p. B93) advantage. Awe is defined in GURPS Powers p. 85. Awe requires those affected to take an “awe check” instead of a fright check, including modifiers. Awe check failures are resolved on the Awe and Confusion Check Table (GURPS Powers, p. 85)
  • Rulers with the above lens can produce a “blast of awe” that affects everyone that can see them. This is an extremely disruptive, unpredictable, and powerful lens when bought with multiple levels of -1 modifier.
  • There are no range penalties for the blast of awe, you just have to be seen, but if the “awe check” is failed, use the fright check range modifier on the Awe and Confusion Check Table: +1 for 100 yards or more.

Multiple lenses can be stacked together. The first two lenses (Actually Competent, Machiavellian) can be taken multiple times.

The modules Survivor (+21 points) and/or Minor Heretic (+4 points) can also be stacked on this template.

Notes:

  • During a contest of wills, everyone resists a ruler’s charisma and appearance beguilement as well as the joyfulness and mesmerizing lens uses the range penalties (that is, the bonus to resist based on distance) under Size on the Size and Speed/Range Table, p. B550. (so, e.g., -1 at 3 yards, -2 at 5 yards, -3 at 7 yards, …) This is per GURPS Psionic Powers.
  • When using the “Aura Extension” technique, the range penalty (that is, the bonus to resist based on distance) is instead based on long-distance modifiers (p. B241), so e.g., -1 at 0.5 miles, -2 at 1 mile, -3 at 3 miles, …).
  • Note that “Awe” is a variant of the Terror advantage. It’s pretty rare in my GURPS experience. Awe is defined in GURPS Powers. It is like Terror, but produces an “awe check” instead of a fright check. .
  • The main advantage (power) here of Charisma is adapted from “Aspect” in GURPS Psionic Powers.
  • If Legal Immunity is used, this might mean that the ruler is in charge of (or somehow backed by) a powerful demensne or a complicated network of declared alliances that make her mostly untouchable, no matter what rules of the true game she breaks. (No one would dare report her to the referees, and the referees would take no action.) Of course, doing something that angers the other powerful demensnes who are underwriting this immunity will not be overlooked.
  • Legal Enforcement Powers can represent a ruler who has been deputized by the Referees to investigate heresies or violations of the rules of the true game.
  • The noted Patron demensne could be one that you yourself rule over, or it could be one to which you are pledged (e.g., a princess receives aid from a patron queen).
  • In this setting the Ally Group could include two Mirrormen who would act as a body double in order to protect the Ruler by serving as assassin bait.
  • People talk about rulers. The way this template is constructed, a ruler HAS to have a reputation or an enemy.
  • Note that the base template does not have leadership skills like Public Speaking or Leadership. However, when the Charisma power is activated, levels of these skills at default will be e.g., 14.
  • The GM may wish to forbid Sadism on a player character. I always do.
  • An asterisk (*) next to a cost means that a self-control number is required. This assumes a number of 12.
  • This is an adventuring-skills-light template, as is true for all of the templates in this campaign. See the discussion of why this template is skills-light.

(Image coda: Amaterasu, image in the Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.)

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