Encounter Rules

This chapter includes guidelines players should know when playing a PC. Information that only applies to certain encounters is also here. Because game masters can't always be present to explain how certain mechanics work in the middle of play, players need to know them in advance.

Encounter Guidelines for PCs

Non-player characters have a variety of rules and guidelines that instruct how playing them works. When playing a player character there is tremendous freedom in what a player can do. We want to leave PCs as much ability to decide what to do for themselves as possible. There are a few guidelines that PCs should know while in play. These guidelines are about encountering NPCs and how to make sure the whole community has fun.

Adventuring Zones

Camp Kingsley is a large section of land that we have available to us, however the best locations for our purposes are in a relatively compact area. To help deal with this we have divided the site into zones to communicate to both PCs and NPCs what kinds of encounters to expect in different areas.

The central area is the Town Zone. Here is where plots are typically going to focus on being inside of Maplewood. Citizens live here, and both PCs and NPCs should take that into consideration with what they do. There are no special rules for this, its just a guideline for what is in the area. Inside of the Town Zone there are no encounter size limits. If 20 player characters join a plot in action: that is fine.

Outside of the Town Zone is the Random Encounter Zone. Here NPCs will periodically be sent to act as random encounters. These could be fights, they could be role-playing oriented, they could be anything. What matters is that player characters can initiate encounters here simply by finding what is happening. Player characters are welcome to role-play patrolling this area looking for encounters and such. Non-player characters who are in this zone are welcome to wander into town looking for easy prey. There is nothing to prevent this, but generally they will be out in the Random Encounter Zone because most predators don't want to be in the middle of a heavily populated area.

Finally everything outside of that area is the Hooked Encounter Zone. In this part of the site PCs can expect to only encounter NPCs if they travel there with the hook meant to bring PCs to the encounter. NPCs should always act as wind and not engage with PCs who are not there with their hook. This helps to make sure that when PCs follow a hook to a location they aren't going to arrive just in time to see another group has already engaged with the plot. PCs are welcome to go into the Hooked Encounter Zone any time they wish to, but they should not expect to run into ANY encounters while there without a hook. The hooks will be going into town to find adventurers to help them. When PCs are in the Hooked Encounter Zone and an encounter comes to where they are, it is appreciated if they attempt to relocate if they are able to do so. This allows whoever gets the hook can have the expected encounter there. If the players are unable to relocate (such as if they are in the middle of cooking breakfast or something like that), work with the NPCs to either stay out of the way, or to send the NPCs to a new location and then let the hook know where to go instead whenever they arrive.

Much like having an adventuring group cap this is about allowing groups to have meaningful encounters within what the game can offer, even if it comes at the cost of some immersion.

Encounter Size Limits

While we strive for immersion and a natural unforced feeling at game wherever possible, sometimes we need to make rules to help with the flow of the game. By sacrificing some immersion in one area we create more opportunities elsewhere.

One of these situations is the character limit on encounters. The town is full of adventurers looking for action. If little Timmy falls down a well and needs help, but 30 characters respond... it's very difficult to plan a balanced encounter. This is why there are limits on how many can respond to encounters.

When going to an encounter (outside of the Town Zone) players should always deliberately limit themselves to 6 total player characters. NPCs acting as hooks should keep a head count of how many PCs are coming to the encounter, and say something if there are too many. Comments like "I don't think you'll need so many people to help with this" or "You seem tough enough not to need that much help" can be used to clue PCs in to the fact they are over the encounter limit.

PCs under level 20 do not count towards this limit, but that is not an invitation to bring thirty level 19 PCs to an encounter, these characters do not count to allow experienced parties to bring new PCs along so that new PCs can get in on the fun as well.

Sometimes the sounds of an encounter brings other nearby PCs. If you are one of those PCs it is your responsibility to stay at least a short distance away and let the encounter play out. Standing there watching is still a form of participating in an encounter. Your very presence limits where creatures can roam or prevents things like an ambush from behind. Providing spells is a form of contributing to an encounter too.

In summary good encounter etiquette is to let the group that went on the encounter go on the encounter alone. Stay back, out of sight of whatever is happening. If people who went on the encounter come back and ask for help or after things go quiet THEN go see what happened.

Encounter Frequency

Sometimes PCs try to go to the inn and on their way there they run into 5 different story hooks all trying to get their attention. When this happens, generally it means somewhere, other PCs are probably off wondering: Where are all the encounters?

When you run into this sort of situation it can be helpful to take (or send) all the plot hooks to the inn and split them up with other groups. Finding ways to share encounters will keep you from being overwhelmed and will come back to benefit you when others have the same situation occur.

Groups and Individuals

Adventuring parties have distinct advantages for both the members and for the Game Masters trying to run a shift. But, they don't work for everyone. That's ok. This leaves two major categories of PCs during a shift: Parties and Individuals. The game is healthiest when those two categories work together to make sure everyone has a good experience.

Parties should periodically talk to PCs who aren't affiliated with groups to take them on encounters they pursue. Conversely individual players should talk to groups about going on encounters with them. When groups go off by themselves at less than the encounter cap, that can be a let down for individuals sitting around waiting for something to do. Meanwhile, when individual players just tag along with a group without saying anything, it can create issues as well.

If the party is pursuing a personal plot they are now in the awkward situation of asking the individual player not to tag along, or sometimes groups want to have an encounter with just their own roster. Letting them accomplish that once in a while is healthy. As with most things, striking a balance is the ideal.

The Helix

The town of Maplewood has long been protected by a mystical barrier known as the Helix. For centuries it stood in place protecting citizens of Maplewood from outside threats. In the year 1599 an orc invasion of the Freelands led by an Avatar of Grak came through Maplewood. During the ensuing fight the Helix helped adventurers banish the Avatar, but it's power has been diminished ever since.

Today, the power of the Helix only protects one location, the Spinning Jenny, the local inn. Inside of the Spinning Jenny attempts to attack other characters result in the offending person being cast out of the building. Those cast out are unpreventably sent across the nearby field to a fixed location (represented by the totem pole standing on the field). While this has led many to believe that the Helix is located at that spot, there is no other evidence to support this belief.

The Helix was intended to give players who didn't want to fight an area where no fighting was the expectation. It was a large experiment, and while some aspects of it worked, many did not. Over several years the size of the Helix was changed several times to attempt to find a happy medium, but ultimately it created a lot of confusion. Even without it around town, it is relatively safe. However, the inn itself still needs to be a combat free location, if only to ensure none of the camp's irreplacable things get damaged. We also want the inn to be a location where players feel safe bringing delicate items (such as musical instruments) without concern that combat might break them.


The protection is triggered by all weapon attacks, throwing a tag bag, and anything an innkeeper deems inappropriate to be happening in the inn.

Innkeepers may call a 'Time Stop!' to inform players of the protection being triggered, or when a player knows they have triggered the protection they can simply immediately put their arm up as if affected by Ley Transit and travel to the totem pole.

Trapped items are a special case situation. The Helix doesn't know who set the trap (or if it does, it doesn't do anything to them). Instead the Helix will remove anyone who sets off a trap inside the Jenny. Though traps only affect the person who sets it off, imagine a trapped box opening with a large explosion that is potentially dangerous to others as the reason why this triggers the protection.

Poisoned food or drink does not set off the protections at all, though if a poisoner is so obvious as to get noticed by an innkeeper that might still cause them to get removed from the building. Whatever remains of the Helix is in a state of flux that is not always consistent on this subject.

Reading Creature Entries

Creature Types

Every creature has a creature type. This impacts whether certain spells and abilities work on the creature and can convey special abilities as well. Some creature types have associated subtypes they always possess.

The creature types are Beast, Construct, Elemental, Fae, Goblinoid, Humanoid, Illuminated, Insectoid, Piscene, Plant, Reptilian, Sky Beast, and Undead.

At the top of each entry are the creature’s type, and any subtypes they may have. Subtypes work just like types (Charm Humanoid works just like Charm Spirit) but an ability that lets you call for any creature type cannot call for subtypes unless it explicitly says so (for example you can only call Charm Monstrous or Charm Spirit if a rule explicitly says you can).

Combat Info

These are the traits players need to know while NPCing to fight as a given creature. Creatures do not have the same caps as players, treat their caps as whatever is listed in their entries. For example if an entry says a creature has 6 body, that is their cap. Effects that buff their body will not increase this further, unless they explicitly say they break caps.

Role-Playing Info

This information is a quick reference to give an idea of common traits when role-playing a given creature.

  • Intelligence: Each creature has been assigned a level of intelligence it is capable of, this isn't a matter of smart or not, but rather what the species is capable of achieving. This should be used to guide role-playing.
    • Controlled Actions: The creature has NO actual thoughts of its own. It is a mindless puppet that follows preset commands. This does not mean it moves slowly though, on the contrary - many such creatures are fast and dangerous.
    • Animal: The creature lacks higher reasoning, but has free will. They operate on instinct and will to survive only. They are not able to be reasoned with.
    • Slow: The creature possesses some reasoning capacity, but is limited in what it is able to grasp. It may take a long time for a concept to sink in, or it may not happen at all. These creatures are capable of simple strategies.
    • Primitive: Creatures in this category aren't unintelligent, they just lack knowledge. They may be able to adapt and learn, but their experience is limited.
    • Normal: Creatures in this category are capable of normal thoughts and reasoning. They are only limited by the reasoning and strategy of the person playing them.
  • Languages: The languages listed in this section are spoken by most if not all creatures of the type being described by the entry. Creatures are capable of understanding/ speaking additional languages as plots require (or fewer if a GM wants that). GM's will always instruct NPCs of additional languages when this is the case, if in doubt, you should be sure to ask the GM for assistance.
  • Movement: This describes the maximum speed at which a creature may move. NPCs are expected to hold to this standard of movement while role-playing the creature. An NPC can always choose to move slower than what is written, but never faster.
    • Stationary: The creature is rooted in one spot and may not move from it.
    • Shuffling Walk: The creature may only move as though it had a leg wound (note: it doesn't have a leg wound)
    • Slow: The creature is only capable of walking at a normal pace at best. Slow creatures may never run.
    • Normal: The creature is able to move at the same speed any player is capable of, including running.
  • Standard Habitat: This is where you can typically find this type of creature. It has no impact on the game directly. It is there to give an idea of where the creature can most commonly be found.

Useage Info

  • Common Loot: This indicates what loot is typically found on a creature. It is a suggestion and nothing more.
  • Required Loot: Some creatures have special circumstances that require certain items be present on them, or things that they can produce. These items will be listed here.
  • Associates: Creatures that typically travel with another type of creature will list those others here.
  • Typical Group: This is how many creatures of this variety that will be part of a typical encounter. Sometimes this is based on game balance reasons and sometimes it’s based on story reasons. We don’t always have enough costuming to fulfill these numbers (we can’t always predict when costumes get damaged).
  • Frequency: Each creature will have a frequency associated with it. This indicates how frequently AT MOST the creature should appear.
    • Common: Creatures in this category will be the most frequently encountered of all creatures. They can be encountered any number of times per event. Many common creatures would be impractical to send out every single shift, nor is it necessary. Being common simply means they COULD appear every single shift.
    • Uncommon: These creatures are not encountered in daily life, but are not so rare that an adventurer should be surprised to see them. These creatures should not go out more than 3 times a shift without permission from the Plot Marshal/ Second.
    • Rare: These creatures are not frequently encountered. Game Masters cannot send them out more than once a shift without permission from the Plot Marshal/ Second.
    • Extremely Rare: These creatures only appear as part of special stories centered around them. You'll never encounter one of these creatures in a random encounter. Game Masters cannot use them without the approval of the Plot Marshal/ Second.
  • Conditional Frequency: Some creatures have conditional frequencies indicating conditions under which the standard frequency is different. For example, cold blooded creatures are always rare or extremely rare in cold weather. Undead can’t appear in the daylight.

Costuming Info

  • Face/ Head: This will list any items that go on the head.
  • Accessories: Any unusual accessories such as wings, mantles, or other parts will be listed here.
  • Clothing: If a creature has custom clothing, or a particular style of clothing they should wear it is listed here.
  • Skin Covered: If this says yes all of a player’s skin should be covered. The idea is that the creature’s skin doesn’t look like human skin, so we don’t want any human skin showing.
  • Hair Covered: If this says yes all of a player’s normal hair should be covered. The creature either doesn’t have any head hair or they have a special wig that needs to be worn.
  • Mask Required: This allows you to quickly see if a mask is needed.
  • Paint Required: This allows you to quickly see if paint is needed.
  • Costuming Quantity: At last count how many of this creature we have costuming to field. This can change regularly due to misplaced or damaged costuming. Note that just because we can field a certain number doesn’t mean we should regularly, this number exists for special encounter consideration. A creature’s “number appearing” entry is how many should be in most encounters. This number may be higher to allow for back ups, or for special plot circumstances.

Creature Subtypes

Subtypes give certain additional rules to a variety of creatures. While some creature types all have particular subtypes, subtypes can be possessed by multiple creature types. For example all Fae are Otherworldly, but not all Otherworldly creatures are Fae.

  • Amphibious: Amphibious creatures are equally at home in the water and on the land. They are capable of disappearing into nearby water sources for safety.
  • Aquatic: Any creature labeled as aquatic is capable of breathing underwater. This has relatively little impact on the game because it is live action, and no amount of roleplaying will let someone actually breathe underwater. It is there largely as a reference for role-playing and for things like lores.
  • Cold-Blooded: These creatures don’t produce their own body heat and rely upon the environment for warmth. As such they are less active during cold weather months, and have increased rarity.
  • Damaged Spark: Creatures with damaged sparks possess one that isn’t properly attached to the body the individual inhabits. With a normal healthy individual a spark will return to the body naturally over time. When Undead have their sparks detached that spark will not return naturally. There are powerful rituals that are capable of returning sparks to Undead bodies approximating the Revive spell.
    • Spirits also have the damaged spark subtype. They have, or possibly more accurately are, sparks. These sparks are not healthy, they are in a state of limbo outside of where they are designed to be. Thus, they also qualify as damaged.
  • Incorporeal: Incorporeal creatures are so insubstantial they can’t be affected by any normal means such as weapon attacks or spells.
  • Lycanthropes: Lycanthropy is a special type of hex that spreads through blood contact. It can infect nearly anything with a full spark.
  • Monstrous: Monstrous creatures are some of the biggest, most muscular creatures in the world.
  • Non-Living: A non-living creature may have once been alive (undead) or potentially was never alive (constructs). (Re)animated by powerful sorcery they behave like the living even though they are not.
  • Otherworldly: There are other places beyond the world. A variety of strange creatures live in these places, capable of visiting through summons or other unique means. These creatures have been labeled as otherworldly. Otherworldly creatures don’t actually physically visit Illumina. Instead when they are present it is as a physical, but temporary magical embodiment. Killing such an embodiment leaves behind the illusion of a corpse that will dissolve rapidly without the consciousness holding it together. The animating consciousness will then return to wherever it was it came from. In some cases returning again may be more difficult. The Fae for example take a year and a day before they can return from the Fae Realms after being killed while visiting Novitas.
  • Sparkless: The subtype indicates a creature has no spark at all.
  • Spirits: Spirits are incorporeal creatures visible to all but only capable of talking to and hearing Mediums. Most Spirits cannot handle fine motor manipulation of the world around them. They are just solid enough to attack with whatever means of offense they possess, and are vulnerable to some damage as well.
  • Wild: Creatures with the Wild subtype are capable of being influenced by Druids and Nature magic. Scholars aren’t entirely sure exactly what determines what does and doesn’t qualify. Primitive creatures who have existed since the beginning of history are part of this subtype, but so are things that have been modified since that time. Beasts, Elementals, Fae, Insectoids, Plants, and Reptilians all qualify as Wild.

Hexed Items and the Hexed Condition

A hex is a type of jinx or curse (the word cursed is associated with the 'Curse!' call so we try to avoid using it when describing a hex). Hexes can come from powerful traps or from terrible or protected items not meant to be disturbed. When a hex comes from a trap it typically lasts for the remainder of the game day, though its possible for the most powerful traps to last even longer. Hexes from items can potentially last forever or until the hex is broken.

The Hexed Condition

Characters can gain the Hexed condition from a variety of sources. The source of the hex will indicate how long it lasts. A character can have the Hexed condition multiple times.

The Hexed condition will always be accompanied by a hexed item, a different condition, or some effect. An accompanying item cannot be discarded until the Hexed condition is removed. When the Hexed condition accompanies an condition or effect they cannot be ended through normal means. The accompanying condition or effect ends automatically only when the Hexed condition ends.

The Hexed condition cannot be removed through the Dispel magic spell or the Cleansing ritual, regardless of the source. To remove the Hexed condition a character must either wait for the duration to expire or perform the Remedy ritual. Some sources of the Hexed condition will mention specific ritual components (or sometimes other things) that must be provided when the Remedy ritual is performed. If these components are not included with the Remedy ritual, it will fail and the Hexed condition will not be removed.

Hexed Items

A hexed item is a magic item designed to cause trouble for the bearer. All hexed items are difficult to get rid of, otherwise their drawbacks would be easy to avoid. When a character picks up a hexed item that is not attuned to a character it immediately becomes attuned to them. The character gains the Hexed condition for as long as they have the item.

After being attuned a hexed item it can't be dropped, though it can be stored on the person it has attuned to (they don't need to keep it in their hands, just on their person).

The event a character acquires a hexed item it counts as slotless, but if you begin an event with a hexed item it MUST occupy the item's normal slot following all magic item slot rules.

A hexed item will list that it is one in its entry in the identify magic listing. The item description will also include how to break the Hexed condition. Generally when a character obtains a hexed item as part of a plot, an NPC will let you know out-of-character that the item is hexed.

Transferable Hexed Items

Some hexed items will be labeled in their entry as "Transferable" this means that the hexed item can be passed to someone who voluntarily takes it. Magical compulsion CAN be used, but you can't surprise someone by shoving it into their hands and saying it's theirs now. When a valid transfer happens the new person immediately becomes attuned and can no longer drop it just like someone newly acquiring the item. "Transferable" hexed items can't be given back to someone who has successfully given it away.

Removing Hexed Items

To get rid of a hexed item typically requires the Remedy ritual to be performed. Many hexed items will require a special ritual component as part of that ritual. When a special ritual component is required it will be listed in the item's identify magic entry.

Upon being removed a hexed item will say that it is either destroyed (return it to logistics) or transformed (inform logistics and they will update the entry with new information (this is listed in the item's non-public description).

A Sample Hexed Item's Entry: Martial Length Sword of Nox's Boon, Bearer has the Diseased condition that can't be cured. Hexed item (Transferable, Requires a Remedy ritual with a vial of troll's blood to remove, Destroy on removal).


A plague is an illness that has been magically enhanced to be more potent. There can be many different effects for plagues, some might even have duplicate effects. Once cured a particular plague will never affect the same character again, but the character could be affected by a different plague with the same effects.

Each plague is given an item number even though it isn't an item. This is to allow players to more easily look up what the plague does if they need to do so.

Each plague will have a drawback they cause, a trigger that causes the plague to spread, and criteria for it to be cured.

Generally the cure will be the Remedy ritual, though it may require one or more additional special ritual components to cure.

A sample plague's entry: Frailty Plague. While affected by this plague you are capped at 1 Might and Accuracy. Trigger: physical contact with an infected person. Requires a Remedy ritual with a sprig of Madweed to cure.

The Plagued Condition

A character with the Plagued condition has been infected with a plague, a magically enhanced malady. The plague will have an item number describing it. That description will include a drawback (the negative effects of the plague), a trigger that causes you to spread it to others, and a criteria that will allow you to cure the plague. Most of the time the cure requires use of the Remedy ritual.

Plagues last until they are cured, they do not expire due to time. Once you have been cured of this particular plague you can never be infected by it again. A cured character can use the trigger that spread the plague to spread the cure to other people infected by the same strain of plague.

While this may not be the most immersive thing, imagine magic is involved. Without this rule every time you wanted to cure a plague only requiring a specific flower that blooms once every thousand years you'd have to gather every last character infected or the plague would spread forever more. And if the plague took multiple events to find a cure and a player who had it was missing that event they would be doomed to have the plague forever.

Your character does not know the details of the plague, even though you the player needs to know how it works. Only characters who cast Diagnosis on someone with the plague should understand the trigger and how to cure it. Recognizing the drawback of the plague will vary from plague to plague depending on how obvious the effect is.


Lycanthropy in the world of Novitas is a specialized kind of plague. Those infected appear as normal intelligent people (or sometimes other creatures) until certain criteria are met and then they shift shapes into ravening beasts. Sometimes these criteria are external, such as a full moon or they can also be internal, such as witnessing bloodshed.

There are two kinds of Lycanthropes. 'True Lycanthropes' are born as lycanthropes, they have complete control over when transformation occurs and can even gain the strength of their bestial side without needing to transform.

If someone is exposed to the Lycanthropy condition regardless of source and goes for too long without curing it, they will become a 'Lesser Lycanthrope'. Less powerful than those born to it, but infected none-the-less. Infection can come from the claws or bite of a True Lycanthrope, or another Lesser Lycanthrope.

Characters who are infected with the Lycanthropy condition don't necessarily know it has happened, but most individuals in the world of Novitas are familiar enough with Werecreatures to know that when you are hurt by one you should be sure to treat yourself, most commonly with Wolfsbane.

If you suspect you will be fighting lycanthropes of any variety be sure to bring silver weapons with you.

The Lycanthropy Condition

Whenever a character takes any Wound condition or body damage from any melee attack delivered by a lycanthrope who is in bestial form will gain the Lycanthropy condition. This condition can only be removed by items that specifically remove it by name. The Lycanthropy condition and lasts until it is cured, even if that takes longer than an event.

If this condition is not removed by the end of the event after the character has been afflicted (which is used to represent the current phase of the moon coming a second time) the character becomes a Lesser Lycanthrope. PCs who become Lycanthropes are forced to retire, becoming an NPC lycanthrope.

Unlike other plagues, lycanthropy must be cured each time a character gets it, the cure cannot be shared, and the same source can reinfect you after you cure it.

The Encounter Codex (Player's Version)

You can find a public friendly version of the Encounter Codex here. It contains brief write ups of many, but not all of the creatures a PC can encounter at Kingdoms of Novitas. Rules for common creatures are there so that players can learn a bit about how creature entries work, and what is fairly common knowledge. Characters shouldn't have all of this information memorized (even if a player does), each player should use their own best judgment about what details their character would likely know.

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