This chapter contains rules related to characters. Either playing them as player characters or as non-player characters.

Player Characters

Definition of a Player Character

A player character (or PC for short) is any character created and role-played by it's creator.

Players are allowed to play a PC for up to 2 shifts per event as long as they NPC at least the same number of shifts that event.

Character Creation

Creating a player character is relatively simple. First the character needs a name. A background can be submitted for approval, but backgrounds are not required. Players may simply bring a character into play with no background (and optionally writing one later). Characters must select one of the game's playable species to be. Finally each character begins at level 0 assuming they haven't been assigned any experience points yet. This gives 10 skill points to spend. If you use the online character portal it will confirm you are spending those skill points according to the rules. You can print the character sheet generated by the portal and you're all set. Using a pen and paper character sheet is also allowed, but the portal is preferred by logistics. At your next event show the sheet when you check-in and it will get approved at that time.

Character Names

Character names should only be serious names, never silly or insulting, and never deliberately taken from pop culture, history, or literature.

There is also a strong preference whenever possible to not use the same names as existing player characters. It happens sometimes, particularly with more common names, but if you know its going to happen you should choose a different name. Please do not use your real life name as the name for a character.

Staff have the authority to require you to change your character's name if they deem it unfit.

Character Backgrounds

A good character background should be more than 500 words long and should contain "hooks" that can be used to give the game masters ideas to write interesting stories for you to experience in play. Submitting a background should be done by the Friday prior to the first event you wish to play a character at (or before the character has earned level 2) if you wish to earn 5 experience points for doing it.

To submit a background use this this form.

Players are responsible for having a reason for their character to be in Maplewood, the current setting of the game. It is hard to play a character who doesn't want to be part of the setting of the game, and this can be disruptive to the game.

New characters should talk to plot staff (Ryan Green and Donald Tyson) about being part of existing in-game social organizations (those in the world book). Some require a character to have an appropriate role-playing skill. Players are allowed to create their own organizations if they wish by trying to establish those organizations in game through role-playing.

You are allowed, even encouraged, to create your own hometown or village within one of the established parts of the world, but you are not allowed to create new nations.

Characters should never have a burning hatred of another player character species.

Alts (Alternate Characters)

A player can have as many characters as they wish. The player's primary character is commonly referred to as a "main" while other characters are referred to as "alts". Alts follow normal character creation rules, but there are some restrictions on playing them. Players with more than one character must choose where they assign any experience points earned to. Gear (or any other resource, such as experience) earned by one character may not be transferred to another. Only one character is used to determine what shifts a player is assigned to during an event. If one character is a member of one group and a second one is a member of another group that is on different shifts, you will still only have one shift assignment each shift balance.

Each alternate or new character should have a different character background than other existing characters you have now (or have had in the past). They should also generally seek to interact with different player characters, and join different groups. This is intended to avoid cliques forming.

Character Possessions

Each character will have it's own character sheet, which you can assign the experience points you earn to. Once assigned to a character, experience cannot be transferred to your other characters.

Any items a character earns during play can be traded with characters played by other players. You may not transfer numbered items, consumables or currency from one of your characters to another of your own characters. Mundane items like clothing, weapons and armor can be shared between two characters played by the same person, but if they are distinctive this should not be done. If observing this rule creates a financial hurdle to playing for you (such as if your very distinctive character dies, and the only garb you have was that character's) talk to staff, they will help you change up your look.

Players may have any number of characters at a time, but can only have two characters active in a one calendar year. If character death results in a situation where you can't play a PC at all due to this rule, be sure to talk to the plot marshal or second (Ryan Green and Donald Tyson) about the circumstances.


When a player brings a new character into game for the first time there are often unexpected surprises. Maybe part of the character's concept doesn't quite work out as expected, you learn the accent you wanted to have is a pain to keep doing for 10 hours in one weekend, or any number of other possible problems. We understand that completely.

Every new character gets an amnesty after the first event they are brought into play (any time before the second event they are played). A player may do this once for each character they make. This can be used to rewrite the character's background, their character sheet, any make-up or costuming choices,ain their species and other considerations. In the unusual event that a brand new character dies their first time out they are even allowed to bring the character back from death (generally with some help from the game masters to make it make sense with the story).

Character Retirement

Sometimes you just get tired of the character you are playing, or more excited for a new one, possibly both. Maybe your character has accomplished all of their goals and has no further development you want to explore. You've decided it is time to stop playing the character.

We call this character retirement.

Character retirement can be done between events at any time. Retirement can also be planned ahead with a game master. If you plan ahead with a game master generally they will write a special plot working with you to create a special send off for the character. The game masters have permission to run some special unusual kinds of plots they might not get to run during normal gameplay when working on character retirements.

When you want to retire a character get in touch with the Logistics staff and they will walk you through winding down a character. Some of your experience will carry over to either a new character (or an existing alt). This is a special exception to the rule against transferring things from one character to another. You'll also get to use the calculated value of a portion of the gear and items you take out of play towards your new character (or existing alt).

Character Death

Character deaths happen sometimes. Despite your best efforts your character dies during an event while in play. This is ok, more fun awaits you with your next character.

When a character dies you'll need to keep track of what exactly is still in that character's possession afterwards. Items that leave play when a character dies will be used to help determine what your next character will bring into play with them (or can be used towards an existing alt).

After the event where your character dies it's your responsibility to get into contact with Logistics staff (Frank Tamburrino and Taylor Dean) and they will walk you through winding down that character. This follows the same general procedure as character retirement, but without the planning ahead part.

Main Character Syndrome

It's always important to remember that everyone wants a chance to shine and have a major impact on a story. Sometimes through normal situations players will do things that by necessity makes everyone pay attention to them. This is normal and healthy. However, if you do it a lot, you might be preventing other players from getting a chance to share the spotlight. This behavior is known as "Main Character Syndrome".

It's completely ok to take the spotlight sometimes. The line is when you're doing it so often that you are preventing others from also getting to be the center of attention. The best players pay attention to others to make sure they are getting to have their fair share of the fun, and if they sense that someone might not be engaged, give them opportunities to drive the story.

Remember also that driving the story generally means driving THEIR story, not YOUR story.

Non-Player Characters

Definition of a Non-Player Character

A non-player character or "NPC" is any character that is not a "player character". These characters are sent out during events by game masters to populate the world. Common examples include townsfolk, bandits, and monsters.

During each shift the game masters running that shift will organize what we call plots and assign players to be the non-player characters needed to bring these plots to life. Often roles are referred to as being "Combat" or "Non-Combat", but these are just broad terms indicating what they are aimming for. A plot aiming at combat will sometimes be solved through roleplaying, and a non-combat plot can always get attacked.

When you've been assigned a role, you'll then gather any necessary garb from the NPC totes in logistics, garb specifically available for players to use when playing NPCs. Then if you need any make-up done you can get that from people working at the make-up desk. Finally you'll return to the GM to get any loot, get assigned stats, and final instructions.

From there you'll go out into play and interact with the PC's based on the instructions you were given. For most plots we try to keep these as instructions as simple as possible. "A group of orcs are searching for easy prey, approach town from the North and attack anyone you see." or "You're a bard desperate for new material, attempt to hire players to give you inspiration."

Plots that require very complex dialog or detailed interactions will generally be run by the GM's themselves (with the GM's playing an npc in the group) or built up over many events so that players don't have to memorize a book to play an NPC before going out on a plot.

You may not use any of your player character's identifiable garb or other numbered possessions while working as a npc. This could create a situation where you have lootable items that shouldn't be looted, and this should never happen. You also want your player character's garb to be easily recognizable as belonging to that character.

When you are on shift as a non-player character you are allowed (and encouraged) to have a tote of your own NPC garb stashed in the logistics building. When you are done with your NPC shift you'll need to remove that tote to create space in the building. A table under the front awning is the recommended location to stack out of use totes.

After a player has been part of the game long enough (around a year) it is expected that they start bringing some amount of personal npc garb with them to improve their costuming options. Weapon props are especially useful for the well prepared non-player character to bring.

Always make sure that before you leave the logistics building that you have any required costuming or make-up for the character you are playing. Most often this means that if you are playing a creature that wears a mask or is painted, that you have covered any exposed skin.

A Shared Experience

While you are working as an npc you are expected to do any reasonable task asked of you by the game master, failure to do so could result in you not earning experience for the shift.

What we mean by this is that if you are extremely tired, melting in the heat, freezing in the cold, have been painted too many times in one weekend, or otherwise take issue with a plot, communicate with the game master about it and they can let you recover or find other ways to send you out. However, if you are simply trying to avoid going out as an NPC, you're hurting the fun of the players of a shift, and that is bad for everyone. When you are out there playing a character you'll also want stories to be happening for you to interact with, help do the same for the players in game while you are NPCing.

Even if you don't enjoy something or are bad at it, you can help by participating. Not being good at fighting doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't do it. Your presence will add something to an encounter and could lead to all kinds of different outcomes that bring fun to the game.

Game Master Instructions

When GM's give instructions they will often leave a lot of details up to the player to fill in. What is the character's name? A GM generally only gives details if they're important. Letting the player come up with their own name, and other details saves the GM from needing to design everything about each character, but more importantly gives the player agency in creating the character they will play. By giving players the freedom to come up with these details they get a chance to flex their creativity and take part in the world building. Players will also be much more likely to remember the things they made up instead of trying to remember a list of details the GM has given them.

However, there are some trade-offs for using this method. One of them is that NPC's can sometimes go off the rails (even when game masters give detailed instructions NPC's can go off the rails, but in this case its less obvious that its happening in the moment). This is referring to when an npc adds details that change the plot completely.

It's a good idea to ask the GM who wrote the plot any questions you might have before you go out into play. This could be for clarification, or if you have an idea to add to the plot. It can also help you make sure what you have in mind is going to match their vision of what the plot is meant to accomplish.

Creating Your Own Details

When you fill in the blanks there are some guidelines for how to do it. The GM can't possibly tell you everything so you'll need to improvise both when planning who the NPC is, but also when you are in the field and a PC asks you a question that you should have an answer for but don't (yet).

These are the guidelines the GMs follow when designing plots, and you should follow the same guidelines when crafting details for an NPC.

  • Many people play fantasy role-playing games to avoid the negative aspects of reality. There's no need to bring those topics into the game unnecessarily.
    • Avoid Blatant Sexism: It's one thing if someone wants to role-play standing up to sexism and another thing entirely to have to put up with it in fantasy escapism. Leave fantasy sexism for situations where you know someone specifically wants to engage with the topic.
      • Keep in mind that even if one player wants to engage with this topic others may not enjoy watching it. Tread carefully.
    • No Sexual Violence
    • No Real-World Racism, Genderism, Nationalism, etc, etc.
    • No Real-World Politics or Religion.
  • Don't make slavers into 'the good guys'. If a plot involves slavery it's there for the PC's to interact with, but don't make the slaver some kind of hero figure or set it up so that the players MUST protect the slaver because of the law. If the players make that decision that's up to them.
  • Use Sudden Betrayals Sparingly. Tricking PC's is easy, you have all the information they don't and the game requires some amount of trust from the players to function. Abusing that trust to trick them only discourages the players from trusting any NPC. If you are out to trick the PCs give them clues, make mistakes, BE UNTRUSTWORTHY. Players need a way of figuring it out for themselves. Try to be as blatant as you think you can get away with, it will make the reveal better if they don't catch it.
  • Use Humor Carefully. Too many jokes during a shift can alter the atmosphere of the entire game.
  • Don't Break the Fourth Wall. Immersion is an important part of the game. Avoid making obvious references to real world concepts that might break that immersion.

Silly NPCs

The GM's know what they have sent out on a shift, and what mood they are trying to convey. If they've spent hours setting the tone for the shift as dark, and dramatic so that they can have a particular climax for the shift, an NPC going out and turning a plot into a giant joke is going to undercut that work.

Comedy is one of the hardest things to balance in a shift. Everyone enjoys a good laugh. But, it can still disrupt a shift. Telling a joke is one thing, turning a plot into a joke (by playing a deeply unserious NPC is another). You should always talk to a GM before you turn a plot into a joke. It can and will disrupt a shift. Game masters keep track of players who are likely to do this and you can be sure you are going to be much less likely to get assigned to serious plots if the game master doesn't trust you not to turn plots into jokes.

Stealing as an NPC

One major issues NPCs can run into is how to handle stealing from PCs. Theft from PCs should happen... sometimes. If it happens all the time, that's tiresome and annoying. When every NPC inevitably betrays you, is it really a surprise? So what is the right frequency? That's hard to say. What can be said for a certainty is that if one particular player always steals from PC's when they are playing an NPC that's very obvious and annoying. People will stop interacting with that player's NPCs if they do this. And they aren't wrong to do so. It could be argued that players are using out-of-game knowledge to know a particular player is going to inevitably steal from them, but at the same time that player is also behaving in an unrealistic fashion: everyone they portray is a thief.

However, if an NPC never steals anything that's an issue too. People knowing a player's NPCs are always trustworthy is just as much of a weird situation as in the opposite direction. The best solution is to play a wide variety of roles if possible and mix it up as much as you can.

When a player DOES steal something from a PC as an NPC they should be sure to stay in play for at least the next half an hour as that NPC to give the PC the chance to try to get their stuff back. This is less important if they steal a small amount of coins or some minor consumables, but if they steal something of value (a magic item, a large amount of coins, that kind of thing) they should absolutely give players a chance to get things back.

Also keep in mind that just because you as a player know where a particular group's failings are in how they secure their valuables doesn't mean every NPC you play is going to know those things.

Making a Memorable NPC

You put on some garb, you put on some make-up, you get your instructions you walk out the door and find the PCs. The first thing they ask you is "What's your name?"... and you didn't plan for that. You stand there, like a deer in the headlights trying to come up with something on the spot. Meekly you mutter. "Steve".

We've all done it in one way or another. Sometimes, you prepare yourself for all the weird things a player might do and forget to prepare yourself for the basic stuff they will likely ask. The best NPCs are ready with some answers on hand to simple questions. They also know ways to stall while they come up with the answers to anything they weren't ready for.

Having ways to change the topic on hand for when you don't know what to say can be very helpful. When you're coming up with your character's personality, spend a little time thinking of what the player's are likely going to ask of you will save you a lot of headaches later. If your plot requires walking a good distance, that is an excellent time to brain storm these ideas. If you don't use something, use it for the next NPC you play.

Some players like to design NPCs around a point of reference. If you think of a point of inspiration for your NPC you can quickly think of how your inspiration might react in the situation and have a rapid reaction to surprises. Just be sure to avoid details that will make it too obvious what your inspriation is.

Challenge Levels

Some encounters are designed to be very challenging. Others are meant to provide a fun experience, or to bring the world to life. Different encounters will have different levels of challenge for the players to experience. This is important, and something the game masters take into consideration when they send an encounter out.

This is why when you are playing an NPC it's important that you know what it is you're supposed to bring to an encounter. If something is supposed to be a fun plot where you help an oddly friendly Kazvak who happens to be named Lassie rescue someone who happens to be named Timmy from a well, it would be very bad if you play that encounter as a combat challenge. A Kazvak is a creature which can be very tame or very difficult based on the needs of the encounter. A game master will give you stats before you leave for exactly how tough you should be. If you then decide in the middle of the encounter to make yourself incredibly strong and tough, that is extremely problematic. You have now changed this encounter completely.

Altering your stats in the field is something that should only happen if you are an experienced, trained lead NPC and you know the game master would approve of what you are doing.

This is especially important when it comes to what spells a character knows. The spell Leylines in particular is something that should be used incredibly sparingly by NPCs, it can be disheartening when encounters end abruptly from it.

Finally, keep in mind that not everyone enjoys huge amounts of challenge on every encounter. If players are interacting with your NPC in good faith, but are missing the clues you're dropping about something... it probably means you should be dropping different clues, more clues, or just being more blunt with whatever it is they are meant to figure out. Maybe you expect them to ask a certain question, but they only ask things that are close to it... give the players the benefit of the doubt and give up the information, whatever it may be. Figure out how to steer the conversation in the right direction where giving the information makes sense.


Loot is any item you are given before leaving the logistics building that is intended to be given to (or taken by) the player characters. When the game master sends you out with loot... do what you can to get looted. Unless they specifically say so, they don't want loot coming back into logistics. Whether this means dying and having the players taking the loot off your corpse, or thanking the PCs for doing something memorable (or simply for helping). We ultimately want the loot to go out. Bringing it back to logistics is making work harder for the game masters. If the players search a body and check logical locations on you and you have loot to be found they should find it.

For example Orcs shouldn't be storing loot in their stomach. It should be in obvious locations, pockets, maybe a glove or in boots. If a player character makes a serious effort to find what you have, make sure they find it. Having said that, if a player character checks one pocket and moves on it's fine if they miss things. There is a balance, but always err in favor of the players finding your loot.

Lead NPCs

For plots with several players on them it is very helpful to have one of them leading the group, and making any decisions in the field that need to be made. We call this person a Lead NPC. These are generally going to be experienced players who know where things are on site, know how to keep track of the members of their group, and know how to adjust a plot if something goes wrong in the field.

If a lead npc gives you instructions that are different from what the game master told you, that's probably ok, you should follow those instructions. Sometimes plots need to change a little in the field, and lead npcs are typically going to be the people who know how to make those adjustments appropriately.

When you think you're ready to be a lead npc, talk to the GMs and they can let you know if they have a plot for you to lead.

Targeted Plots

Sometimes plots are "targeted" at a particular player character or group. This can happen because a player requested a PIP, because it is a consequence of a previous plot, or simply because the GM had an idea that made sense for a specific character/ party. Ideally these plots are spread out, not for the same character or people repeatedly, but every now and then there are reasons they hit the same target multiple times.

When you are an NPC in these plots it is important to know exactly who it is intended for and under what conditions, if any, it is ok to deviate. A carefully planned plot for one group that goes to the wrong group can lead to all kinds of problems (the least of which being that the first target may need to have the plot repeated if it's critical to a particular story). Player's are accustomed to periodically seeing this type of plot, and if you clue them in with your choice of words they will often help make sure that NPC's get to the right target.

Hooked Plots

When we send a plot to a fixed location somewhere far in the field, we need some way to bring the player characters to the plot. We call this the "hook" for the plot. Generally this will be an NPC who is sent to where the PC's are congregating (generally the inn) to ask PC's to come with them to where ever the plot is located.

Sounds simple right? It can be. But, like everything else, once it makes contact with the PCs it can sometimes get very complex.

One problem that can occur is when the players don't want to go. They're tired from something else, engrossed in another plot, or any number of other things are keeping them away. A good hook knows when it's time to find a different group of players, leaving the ones you found alone versus when to pester those players to go anyway.

When the plot is targeted, you should be sure to indicate that somehow so they know this is something special and they should drop what they are doing as soon as possible.

What if players are farther away? Do you roam trying to find them, or do you wait where you are? The answer depends on where you are and what is happening. If you are at the inn, your best bet is to wait there. Players should know the inn is a good place to get hook for plots and are more likely to go there looking for things to do. If you are anywhere else, then roaming is probably the correct answer. Ideally you should always roam in the direction that will take you towards the inn.

Sometimes when you are a hook, you take 3 steps and suddenly players come running up to you, what do you do? Generally in this situation something has already gone a little wrong. This might be because you just left the logistics building and players are either watching it (which is bad) or they just happen to be passing by (which is ok, but not ideal). In this situation encourage the players to come with you to the inn so you can "catch your breath" or something like that. The reason you want to do this is so that other players will also see the hook, and if one group hasn't been able to get to many plots, the PCs can discuss amongst themselves which group is going to answer the plot.

Other times you'll encounter PCs right away because those players are "patrolling". At a site with more locations for encounters this can be very reasonable role-playing. Unfortunately, Camp Kingsley has many great locations for roleplaying "in town", but not as many ideal locations for fights. This means that PCs can go "on patrol" at those ideal combat locations and deliberately encounter more plots than other parties. This is poor behavior (even if they really are trying to role-play) because it disrupts the distribution of encounters among the players.

If one person or group gets all the encounters for a shift, it can be a lot less fun for others. When you see players doing this, you should do what you can as a hook to not directly reward it. Sometimes if you know they are doing it, approach from a different direction than you had intended. You'll know its happening when you see them there on your way out from logistics to the encounter site. When you do, approach from a different direction than you planned so that you won't run into them. Go past them as wind so that you can arrive from a different angle where you won't encounter those PCs right away.

Another issue that can occur while hooking is that sometimes players who are behaving extremely badly will see the npcs pass by as wind, going out to the location of the encounter. These players, behaving badly, then start "exploring" in the direction they saw the npcs go. Sure enough they then run directly into the hook or into the encounter without the hook being there.

When this happens, ESPECIALLY if your encounter's hook is in town looking for PC's to bring, the encounter should remain as wind until the hook returns with PCs. The PC's following the encounter are the ones acting in the wrong by trying to take the encounter immediately, without whatever set up the hook may be delivering to tell the story.

Finally, it happens sometimes where you're a hook for a plot. You've arrived in town to get some player. The first people you talk to... stab you dead. Now what? The first thing to keep in mind is that your encounter is out there alone waiting for you. They don't know what happened and depending on the weather may not want to be out for a very long time (in the extreme temperatures or rain/ snow). Let the PCs do whatever they end up doing with you as quickly as you can manage. Sometimes, you can still act as a hook by finding an alternate way to hook the PCs. For example maybe they find a note on your body. One you didn't prep a real prop for, but you can tell the players about so they know you were a hook and give them enough information to find the destination. Or perhaps you can tell a different NPC who is out about the information they need to be the hook for you.

If you can't solve relay the hook easily your next step is to head straight into logistics to let them know what happened. Ideally the game masters can send a back up hook out to get the job done. Failing that they will send a runner to let the encounter know it's time to come back.

Every situation is different, but a good hook can make or break an encounter.


Defining Languages

All languages in Novitas are categorized as common, uncommon, rare, or extremely rare. Common languages are those that are actively spoken by large portions of the population. Each common language has at least one nation on Novitas that currently speaks it. Uncommon languages are those languages either actively spoken but only by cultures that are marginalized in some way or they are no longer actively spoken. Rare languages are only spoken by cultures that do not want others to know their languages or who would be dangerous to learn from. Finally, extremely rare languages have mystical components that make learning them incredibly complex. These languages require more than standard tutelage to master.

All characters in Novitas begin play knowing the most basic of all languages, Common, the general trade tongue of all Novitas. This is at least in part a matter of convenience. Characters who come from the lost continent of Vargainen are not native speakers of Common, and have likely never had any exposure to it. However, as a consideration for allowing player characters to be fun, they are given Common for free anyway. These characters are encouraged to roleplay taking the steps of still learning Common, but each player is free to handle this as they wish. Other characters can at the player's choosing also not know Common if they desire.

Non-human characters begin play knowing an extra language, determined by what species they are. This represents the cultural heritage that character comes from.

Beyond that, any character can learn new common languages by using skill points. Uncommon languages are learned through role-playing skills, most commonly Scholar. Rare languages can be learned with skill points and plot marshal or second (Ryan Green and Donald Tyson) permission after having sufficient opportunity to learn the language through roleplaying. High level scholars also get the opportunity to learn rare languages through that skill without requiring further permission (beyond earning the ability to take the high level role-playing skill).

Many players love adding accents to their characters. As a game we allow accents, but we do generally discourage them. Different regions of the world might logically have different accents. This is a very reasonable assumption. However as an accessibility choice we do not have any interest in forcing all players who wish to make a character from one nation to be able to speak an accent in order to be from that location. This would result in players unable to make a character with the origin they desire, would result in players speaking with terrible forced accents constantly, or players would be stuck making accents that quickly devolve into silliness.

For these reasons we have, as a game, made a conscious choice that we don't have any official accents from any regions of the world. Characters may still add a local accent from their small, not officially supported heritage if they wish, but they should never try to say their accent is how any larger group of people talk.


If your character has a language skill to speak a language they can automatically read and write in that language. Should you desire your character be illiterate that is perfectly acceptable and you can roleplay that however you desire as long as you are consistent. Learning to read and write could be a very interesting arc for character development. Just don't suddenly regress and spontaneously cease to be literate without cause.

Different languages are all represented by different fonts for in-game documents. For simplicity sake these fonts are simple replacements of English letters with characters that don't look like English. This means that someone could treat foreign languages as a cipher, and translate them back into English. Don't do this. Other languages have different grammar structures, different words, different structure. They don't follow the rules of English. Translating an unknown language is a painstaking process that could take years to figure out one document. We use alternative fonts for simplicity sake to create interesting looking props, they are not designed to be solvable puzzles.

Documents of any importance that are written in other languages should always include a translation in normal English fonts. These can be read by anyone who speaks the corresponding language in-game. These translations will note at the top what language is needed to read it, saying something like '<In Elvish>'. When you see this, only read the translation if you speak the language.

The fonts are available for players to download so they can make their own props using them. A simple prop like a bow that says "Pew Pew Pew" in Elvish on it, looks cool, and adds to the setting while carefully concealing a joke so that it's subtle. No one needs to know what the bow says. Characters who want to be able to translate this kind of prop can get a translation guide from the logistics desk for any language they can speak. This is the one time where translating alternative fonts back to English is appropriate... to see the inconsequential, but fun little details people have added to enrich the game.

Speaking Foreign Languages

Characters who know languages other than Common can speak them at any time. To do this announce what language you are speaking and then proceed to say what you want to say. Players often add hand signals rather than saying 'In Draconic' repeatedly, but this is purely optional and not an actual rule, just a common practice. As long as people overhearing the conversation understand what language is supposed to be represented, any means of communicating when you are speaking that language and when you are not, works.

Word Puzzles

While you can't use in-game foreign language fonts as ciphers, you can use an actual cipher if you wish to. Use any characters you want as long as they are not from the fonts used by game to represent different languages. You could even put a cipher in a language other than Common, by adding something like '<in Terran>' at the top of the page. Then have the translation be the cipher which only characters who speak Terran could attempt to solve.

Player Character Species

Species Summary

While most of the population of Novitas is human, other species also exist in significant numbers. Four of the nations of Novitas are dominantly non-human. Players may create characters from any of these species as long as they are willing to meet the costuming requirements. Costuming requirements range from relatively easy (such as for elves) to quite complex (for drakes and snow goblins).

A common question from new players is, 'Are there characters that are half one species and half another?'. The answer is that, with one single exception, there are not. There are a couple of reasons for this, but most notably is that we want every species in Novitas to have distinct costuming, and it would be nearly impossible to meaningfully separate a half-elf from an elf (for example).

While there is a small mechanical benefit to playing a different species in the form of an additional free starting language (in addition to common) there are no other mechanical benefits to playing a character from another species.

It is highly recommended (but not required) that your first PC be a human to ease your way into the world. Elves, and Terrans have minimal make-up requirements and have only slightly more complex cultures than humans, making them the next best starting choices.Faekin are fairly easy to do the costuming for, but they also tend to be expensive. Snow Goblins, Drakes and Verdurans are all both difficult and expensive.

For details about any of these species see the world book.


The most populous species in all of Novitas are humans. Humans have no special costuming requirements and gain no mechanical benefits.

Humans in Novitas are most commonly citizens of the Empire of Civen, barbarians from the Dellin Tribelands, and subjects of the Theocracy of Vlean.


There are no dwarves in Novitas. Though dwarves are a staple of the fantasy genre, players can't meaningfully alter their height without getting into caricature. So, instead there are earthkin. The earthkin have a strong affinity for the underground and crafting, the cultural elements commonly associated with dwarven themes.

All earthkin gain the Terran language for free at character creation.

All earthkin have stones growing out of their skin. For simplicity sake the stones molt periodically and grow in different locations, allowing earthkin characters to avoid needing to memorize exactly where their stones are (and to account for when they accidentally fall of during play).

Earthkin should have at least 5 gemstones total, each roughly coin sized, on clearly visible areas of the character's body. This is the face for most characters. All gemstones should be the same color. The color of an earthkin's gemstones can change from game to game but should always be shades of the same base color.


A classic of the fantasy genre, elves are an important part of Novitas. They generally come from either Fionn A'ilean (The Great Forest) or Evenandra. The elves of the Great Forest, sometimes called wood elves, are more wild and nature oriented in their personalities and attitudes. Elves from Evenandra, sometimes called high elves, are more civilized, hierarchical and formal.

All elves gain the Elven language for free.

All elves must wear ear tip prosthetics. These must be affixed with prosthetic adhesive and blended with the surrounding skin using make-up.


Faekin are the desflatendants (either directly or through multiple generations) of Fae and mortal parentage. This means that all faekin are also a second species as well. Frequently this is human, but it can also include elves and earthkin. There are no faekin who are drakes, snow goblins, or verdurans.

Faekin gain one free language at character creation. If their lineage comes from Light Fae they may learn the Sylvan language. Those with Dark Fae lineage may learn the Diabolic language. Should the character be an earthkin or an elf they may take terran or elvish instead. In total they will gain one single extra starting language regardless of which they choose.

Faekin characters must wear colored contact lens and have a matching wig or colored hair. Any facial hair must also be colored to match the contacts. Natural hair colors are not acceptable for this, nor is being bald, hair needs to be present and look 'unnatural'. Once chosen Faekin characters cannot change their in-game hair color through dye or other means, but they can cover their hair up with hoods, cowls or other methods.

If the character is elvish or an earthkin they must ALSO meet the requirements for the respective species.

Snow Goblins

Might makes right to a snow goblin, and the strong are destined to rule the weak. Failing that, the devious will rule the trusting and stupid. Snow goblins possess a fierce sense of honor and personal reputation, and insults or slights are often settled by elaborate duels. Most snow goblins follow their laws precisely, technically. Lawbreakers are punished severely.

All snow goblins learn the Gershan language for free.

Snow goblins all share two distinct traits. They have bright white skin and stark white hair reminiscent of snow.

To play a snow goblin, all exposed real hair must be covered in some manner. This could be directly with a wig, or with a bald cap and then a wig on top of that. Facial hair should be covered with a fake white beard. Any exposed skin must be covered in white make-up. Covering skin can be a desirable alternative to avoid needing to paint it.

Finally snow goblins all have some kind of mutation or unusual trait that is different from character to character. These irregularities don't grant the snow goblin special abilities or penalties. They also are a permanent part of the character's costume and may not be discarded later for convenience. Unique additions and irregularities are highly encouraged and will help a character stand out.

Some sample traits could be: Pointed ears, over-sized noses, fangs, extra limbs, tail, extra eyes, deformities (hunchbacked, etc.), horns, large claws, extra fingers, costume contacts, or severe ritual scarring.

Difficulty and cost depends greatly on the physical irregularities, deformities and mutations chosen. A player who chooses simple deformities such as fangs and horns will find their costume much easier to create than a player who chooses deformities involving prosthetics such as noses, extra eyes, scarring, etc. New players desiring to play snow goblins are encouraged to seek guidance and advice from players who have previously done so.

In order to bring a snow goblin character into play your costuming must be approved by the props and atmosphere marshal (Christina Mevec) first.


Drakes are the offspring of ancient, long missing dragons. While Draconus has been gone for millennia, the once-powerful dragons have suffered, and have atrophied into their present state: that of the humanoid bipedal drakes. Lacking fearsome claws, fangs, or wings, the drakes have turned to magical pursuits to offset their loss of physical power. They are now the foremost practitioners of magic in Novitas. Drakes have no homeland, but live together in monasteries and enclaves throughout Novitas.

All drakes learn the Draconic language for free at character creation.

The single most expensive and complicated species to play is also the rarest.

To play a drake requires a full reptilian or amphibian facial prosthetic which must be worn and blended with exposed skin. All exposed skin must be covered or made-up to match the facial prosthetic. Drake clothing tends toward ornamented and rich fabrics such as velvets or brocades. There are drakes from every background, drakes have enclaves and monasteries in every land.

Due to the great difficulty and expense that goes into building a complete costume for this species, new players desiring to play drakes are encouraged to seek guidance and advice from players who have previously done so.

Bringing a drake character into play requires that your costuming must be approved by the Props and Atmosphere Marshal (Christina Mevec) first.


The newest playable species of Novitas is also a complex one to costume. Verdurans are a plant people native to Novitas and Vargainen. They draw nutrients and moisture from the soil, and do not require nourishment like others.

Verduran's from Novitas begin play knowing the Apian language.

All verduran characters must have all exposed skin painted green or covered at all times. They have natural colored hair, which should have vines woven into it.

Character's from Vargainen

The continent of Vargainen was long thought to be destroyed, but very recently (2022 in real time) it was found to have survived the sundering. Player characters can now come from the continent of Vargainen. To play a character from Vargainen you'll need to learn about a culture that is very different from the cultures of Novitas. Also, your garb will have to meet specific standards as we attempt to define exactly how the people of Vargainen look and appear. You can find more information about Vargainen garb standards here.

Characters from Vargainen can be Human, Elven, Earthkin or Verduran. Snow Goblins, Drakes and Faekin cannot come from Vargainen.

Regardless of the species, characters from Vargainen gain the Andaranian language as a free starting language. This includes humans. These characters gain no other free language skills.

One of the cultural differences is that characters from Vargainen have only very recently learned common. While these characters still gain the common language for free (for simplicity sake), it is advised that they attempt to role-play inexperience and learning it while at the same time avoiding a "foreigner speaking English badly" stereotype.

Character Advancement (Skills and Experience)

Experience Points

Characters in Kingdoms of Novitas do not earn experience. Players earn it. Experience in Kingdoms of Novitas is awarded for actions that help improve the game.

Whenever players donate money to the game or pay for things like event entry fees they get 1 experience point for every $10 donated or spent.

While money is one way to help the game, there are many others as well. Each shift a player NPCs earns them 1 experience point. Players who NPC 3 or more shifts get an extra experience point for the third and fourth shift they NPC. Helping with setting up and breaking down each event also earn experience, a point for every hour spent.

Work groups have a variety of positions that need to be filled every event, such as the make-up desk, game masters, and innkeepers. These typically get 2 experience for a shift.

Item donations to the game will earn experience when they are requested. Not every donation is acceptable, the Marshals will periodically post lists of the things they are currently looking for at that time.

Several times a year, the Boy Scouts host "Work Days" where volunteers work on improving the camp site for everyone's benefit. We award experience to players who participate and help at these work days.

Finally, Marshals will from time to time have special projects for improving the game, or maintaining our supplies. These include things like laundering the NPC garb, building new costuming, technical projects (such as working on this Wiki or the Web Portal), going to conventions to recruit new players, and writing projects.

Players can check how many experience points they have by going to the online experience look-up located here.

To get your player ID number or character ID numbers speak to the Logistics Marshal or Second (Frank Tamburrino and Taylor Dean).

Character Level and Skill Points

Players take the experience points they earn and assign them to their characters. All experience points go to one character until you speak to the Logistics Marshal or Second (Frank Tamburrino and Taylor Dean) to change who they are going to. The total number of experience points assigned will determine what level a character has. Characters begin at level 0 with 10 skill points. Each level after that earns a character 2 skill points. The first 20 levels require 5 experience points each. Every level after that requires 10 experience points.

That means you can calculate how many skill points a character has with these two formulas.

Then use this formula to determine skill points: (Level * 2 + 10).

Thankfully you never need to memorize these formulas, you can use the online character sheet.

Learning Skills

Characters can spend skill points to learn new skills. Each skill has a cost listed to learn it, and many have prerequisites of other skills that must be learned before you can learn that one. Other than role-playing skills and rare (or extremely rare) language skills you do not need permission to learn skills. Role-playing skills and rare (or extremely rare) language skills require permission from the Plot Marshal or Second (Ryan Green and Donald Tyson) to learn.

When you learn a skill simply mark them down on your character sheet to note that you've learned them. The online character sheet located at can be used to track how you have spent your skill points or you can use the most current paper version of the character sheet.

Once you've entered play with a character sheet the skill points spent should remain spent the same way (unless a player is using the character amnesty rule). An exception to this is that when rules updates take place, they can cause a character sheet to cease to be accurate, legal, or it can cause a character to have skill points not spent as previously intended. If this happens the rules update will generally come with instructions on how to handle the situation (whatever it may be). In the event that still leaves issues be sure to speak to a 1st Marshal (Christina Mevec, James Vertucci, and Ryan Green) to figure out how to remedy the situation.

Players should have their most up-to-date character sheet on them when playing their player character at an event. The character creation portal does not give members of staff access to any information you put into it. You'll need to be sure to print out a copy of the sheet so you have that on hand.

Specialist Titles

Weapons Master

A character who has learned every Combat skill is awarded the title 'Weapons Master'. Twice per game day a weapons master may while make an attack with any weapon a 'master's strike'.

Furthermore, weapons masters are the only ones who may wield great javelins or great spears (a subtype of great weapons) with a second weapon or a shield. This counts as a type of dual wielding. While doing this you may only make stabbing attacks with the great javelin/ spear, never swinging attacks. A weapon in the off hand can be swung as normal.

Finally, weapons masters are also the only characters who can take advantage of master's blades.

Master Crafter

A character who has taken the craft point skill ten times (for a total of 20 craft points), and has rank 5 Ornamenting is a 'Master Ornamentor'. If they have 20 craft points and rank 5 Tinkering they are a 'Master Tinkerer', and if they have 20 craft points and rank 5 Weaponsmithing they are a 'Master Weaponsmith. Having any combination of one or more of these three titles makes a character a 'Master Crafter'.

Master Crafters gain 4 additional craft points each event. When using these craft points they do not need to spend any coin.

Master Tinkerers have unique items only they can craft. Only someone who is a Master Ornamentor and a Master Tinkerer can craft an Alchemist's Laboratory. To craft the Master's Blade feature onto a weapon a character must be both a Master Weaponsmith and a Master Tinkerer. In order to craft the Master's Staff feature onto a weapon a character must be both a Master Weaponsmith and a Master Ornamenter.


A character earns the 'Savant' title after learning all production skills (20 production points, Alchemy Mastery, Brew Potion, Scribe Scroll), as well as the following knowledge skills: Estimate Value, First Aid, Herbalism, Read Magic, and at least one Common or Rare language.

Savants gain 5 production points that break cap. When producing Potions or Scrolls savants instead of being limited to only spells they know, they may also copy potions and scrolls they have on hand to determine which they can make. This cannot be used to copy scarce items.

Only savants can use an alchemist's laboratory.

School Master

This title represents seven different titles at once, one for each school of magic. When a character has learned all spells in a school, taken the power points skill 20 times, and learned the ritual skill for that school (either through Scholar or by paying a skill point to learn it) they are a Master of that school. Characters can become masters of every school they qualify for.

Upon becoming a Master of a school the character may choose one level two or higher spell to specialize in. To indicate which spell you selected circle it on the character sheet. At the time of this writing the portal does not have the ability to record your selection, you'll need to do it by hand on the printed copy of the character sheet. Your selected spell costs you one less power point to cast (to a minimum of 1). This discount does not stack with other discounts.

A Master of a school is the only one who can benefit from a Master's Staff.

Adventuring Parties


Over the history of the game many hundreds of players have come and gone. Many stick around for long periods of time and get into all kinds of adventures over the years. Others never really get engaged or maybe don't find what they are looking for. The primary difference between the two is often that players who band together into parties tend to have a better time overall.

There are a couple of different reasons for that. From just a basic structure standpoint, parties are groups of people who often become very close real world friends over a long enough window of time. When you spend 10 hours during a weekend most months with the same group of people that tends to happen. This inherently makes the game a lot more fun, because now you are doing cool things with friends.

Groups also help keep each other entertained. Maybe you don't have anything happening right now, but the druid in the party has something they really want to look into. Now you have something to care about too.

From a staff perspective groups help tremendously with allowing targeted plots to function. If an average event has 60 or 70 players, even with many GMs learning 60 or 70 character histories and then writing specific plots for all of those characters is a lot of work. And remember the GM's are all volunteers with other parts of their lives to keep balanced too. Then those same GMs need to come up with normal plots, plus lores, running PIPs, and still find time to be a PC themselves. It can easily get overwhelming. However, it is practical to try getting a plot together for each group. Sending targeted plots at a group of players is significantly more manageable.

Forming Parties

How do you go about forming a party? That's sometimes the hardest part. There are different ways groups form. Sometimes it's just two people get together and start playing together every event. Then they add another person and another, until suddenly there is a full group.

Other groups form when 6 players all talk and decide they would like to join forces. Some groups are real life friends who come to events as a collective and decide to explore Novitas together.

Players leave over time, players have real world responsibilities, or move away. When that happens groups will recruit new players, and if they can't do that, sometimes groups that aren't full size will sometimes merge together to make one group from the remains of 2 (or more).

Groups sometimes have themes of what they are interested in doing and sometimes they are just people who enjoy each other's company.

Party Benefits

Not only are players who join parties more likely to have a good time and stick around, but there are other perks as well. Adventuring parties will get priority assignment when shift balance is figured out each year. Parties are kept together so they can accomplish the goal of playing together.

Parties of 4 or more active players also get stories aimed at them on a regular basis. Roughly twice a year these plots will have bonus rewards, epic items, as part of them. Independent characters can still acquire epic items in play, but we can't reasonably give out one epic item per character, it would simply be too many on a yearly basis.

Many parties also eventually create encampments where they can rest between adventures. While any individual can do this, having a group to work with leads to less burn out all around and often brings out the coolest looking encampments.


Groups should never be so large that more than 6 players show up on a regular basis. It's hard to put an exact limit on groups because if a group is full of people who attend irregularly we want them to be able to still work together. On the other hand if a group were 10 people who all attend every event... that is too many. We never want to get into a situation where half of a shift everyone is part of the same group. That makes awkward situations for the people who aren't in the group and skews the game into being about that party.

When you retire an existing character (or your character perishes) the next character you bring into the game should not be part of the same party. Go out and meet more people, make additional friends! This rule is in place not only to encourage branching out, but also to help prevent the game from breaking down into cliques. Its worth pointing out that if you spend all of your time with a group, but aren't a "member" of that group, that still counts for what this rule is intended for.

You may find that you want a new character to come into the game and see where they naturally fit in. This is interesting and immersive. But, be careful. Out-of-game players have friends that you are likely going to fit right back in with. This can lead to the same issue. Sometimes you need to metagame (in the good way) talk to other players out-of-game to arrange for a meeting or a reason to join a new group.


Parties create in game places to gather and make into a sort of temporary home which we call encampments. There is no restriction on what an encampment can look like or where it can be (though some locations are prohibited from being used by players because they are reserved for encounters). Most parties choose to use one of the lean-to's that are available at the site, but some find other unusual locations instead. Encampments can move from event to event, but generally cannot move in the middle of an event.

One of the primary uses for an encampment is as a place to keep encampment items, powerful tools parties have access to which cannot be stolen.

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Page last modified on February 14, 2024, at 10:51 PM
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