World of Ara
Welcome to Ara. A table top roleplaying ruleset that brings the focus to the roleplay and story telling element of gaming. In Ara players are guided by a story teller through a series of opportunities and reactions. The story teller presents the players with an opportunity and the players must react to it. This generic attitude to driving the narrative allows for a fluid response to changes in the story as it progresses. Below you will find the resources required to learn how to drive the game as a story teller and how to respond to the story as a player.
- Character Creation
- Story Telling
- Playing the Game
Most commonly the first thing to consider when creating a character, is race. Race governs the primary appearance of the character as well as how long they’re likely to live and how other sentients in the world may react to them. The world of Ara is incredibly diverse, and your story teller may govern their iteration of the world differently to others. Below are just a few examples of races you might want to include in your game.
The Elven races evolved as a direct consequence of the discovery of magic by the human races. Over exposure during the early days of trying to harness and control the power of magic created an evolution of the human race that were particularly susceptible to it. Over time and as the understanding of magic improved the effects deteriorated and what remained was purely cosmetic. Elves live shorter lives than humans with an average lifespan of only 65 years. Elves are shorter than humans in statures, have larger eyes, larger pointed ears and sharper facial features. In their early existence they were considered a mistake and shunned by the other races, elements of this racism continue to exist in modern society. Elves exist predominantly in urban areas.
Faerie folk are the oldest of creatures in Ara. They are small, fly, and are particularly responsive to atmospheric changes around them. They are a curious folk but have little understanding of the newer races. Faeries live long lives with an average lifespan of 150 years and though they are not many in number the other sentient races have learnt to consider them as makers of mischeif or omens of luck. All faeries have wings, tall pointed ears, colourful hair and slender bodies. They can reach heights of up to 8 inches tall. Faeries are found more predominantly in the wilds but can also be found in towns and villages.
Goblins are a tough and numerous race, standing between 3’ and 4’ tall goblins are frequently seen as lesser folk. Historically goblins have focussed their efforts towards engineering and developing technology as they are naturally less attuned to the forces of magic in Ara. They are responsible for a lot of the mechanical contributions to the world including steam boats, automobiles and various industrial machines for use in production. Goblins have a short life span of an average of 50 years.
Humans in Ara are jack of all trades, with an average life span of 80 years and an ambitious drive humans play a major role in governance and research. They stand between 5’ and 7’ tall and are some of the more diverse in appearance. Many of the other races would confuse human ambition for arrogance and hold humans at fault for the creation and mistreatment of the elves. Humans have a reasonable grasp of both magic and technology.
The Leonin are a proud feline race, they stand tall between 6’ and 8’ tall and are covered in fur. All leonin are capable of growing manes, but the practice is done mostly by those in positions of power or those aspiring towards such positions and most are content to keep their fur cropped. Maybe the only race more ambitious than the humans the leonin are fiercely proud. They are the most populous of races within the arid lands of Ara and as such have become the symbolic leaders of the Imperial Conquest. Leonin share a life span similar to that of humans and live an average of 80 years.
Orcs are a complicated and solitary race. What they lack in numbers they make up for in intelligence and they have a natural affinity to magic unlike others. As a result most orcs live in communes dedicated to the study of magic and lead spiritual sects to provide specialised magics to the world. Orcs are lucky to reach 5’ tall, they have dark skin and are mostly hairless. Their appearance is considered frightening to most when combined with their snappy attitudes. Though on the surface many orcs may appear impatient, their patience is only matched by their passion to accomplish perfection. Orcs can live an average of 100 years.
Skaeven are perhaps the most populous of races on Ara and are comprised of various rodentia. Chief among the skaeven are the ratfolk who took on the responsibility of governing and maintaining the race during their early tribal days. Many of the other races are cautious of skaeven and consider the ratfolk the most mistrustful of all. This myth is perpetuated by the ratfolk themselves in order to convince people to leave them alone. Skaeven life spans range between 30 and 70 years with ratfolk living longer than most. People resembling squirrels, mice, and hamsters are also found within the skaeven race. Skaeven occupy all walks of life.
After selecting a race, appearance and name, the next thing players should do is allocate their intial points amongst their characters attributes. In Ara there are three core elements to a sentient creature and this is called the Aran Triumvirate by scholars. These three elements each govern an additional two properties that govern the abilities of the creature. A player starts with 9 points that they can allocate, a sub property can only be raised as high as it’s governing element.
Body governs the properties of Strength and Quickness as well as the general hardiness of and represents the physical capabilities of the creature. Creatures with a higher affinity to the body element may become strong warriors or agile athletes.
Strength governs the abilities of the character where their physical body may be used as a tool to overcome an opportunity as well as their general health.
Quickness governs the abilities of the character where their physical body may be used in a reactionary manner to overcome an opportunity as well as their overall speed.
Mind governs the properties of Willpower and Guile as well as the creatures natural mental fortitude, it represents the abilities of a creatures mental capacity.
Willpower governs the abilities of the character where their mental fortitude may be targeted by an opportunity as well as their natural resistance.
Guile governs the abilities of the character when their ability to think quickly comes into play in regards to an opportunity as well as their natural perception.
Spirit governs the properties of Essence and Control and represents the creatures affinity with the magical elements of Ara.
Essence governs the ability of the character to draw on natural magics around them in response to an opportunity as well as their innate capacity.
Control governs the ability of the character to command and direct magics around them in response to an opportunity as well their natural regeneration.
Health and Fatigue
Health and Fatigue represents your characters physical and mental wellbeing, and being physically or mentally tested will reduce these values over time. If either Health or Fatigue drop to 0, your character is considered unconcious.
Health can be calculated as a value equal to your characters Strength multiplied by their Body.
Fatigue can be calculated as a value equal to your characters Mind multiplied by their Willpower.
The next step in character creation is establishing your characters attitude. Attitude is indicated through the use of keywords that define your characters general response to situations. You will pick three keywords, one for positive responses, one for negative responses and one for neutral responses.
Below is a collection of questions that can help you determine what keywords you might want to choose.
You find a coin purse at the side of the road, it appears abandoned and the streets have long been empty and it’s unlikely it’ll ever find it’s owner so you claim it for yourself, how does this make you feel?
Your last quest was met with a resounding success, you’ve been paid and you’ve got not outstanding responsibilities, where will you go to relax and what will you be doing there? Can you condense that feeling into a single word?
You’ve been working towards a goal for several years and you’re about to succeed, what is your goal and what do you feel in the moments before acheiving it?
The day is quiet, you’re sat down to dinner at camp, what are you thinking about and what does that say about you?
You’ve been studying at the library for your current assignment, it’s not too busy and you have your own table, how do you approach your research?
It’s shopping day, you have to refill your regular supplies and that means going to a few different shops, it will take a couple of hours to gather everything you need, how do you feel about this?
You were walking down the road through the forest south of town on your way to deliver a message and you were caught off guard by a roving pack of wolves. You were able to fend them off but you were injured doing so. How does this series of events make you feel?
One of your party got really drunk last night whilst celebrating and was robbed, among the stolen possessions was an artifact you had let them borrow temporarily, you’re unlikely to get it back. What feelings do you have about this?
You just got back from a long and difficult assignment, you return to your employer to hand over the acquired item but they refuse to pay you. They give an excuse that’s irrelevant to the fact that you were promised payment. How do you respond?
Players who play to their attitude may be rewarded by the Story teller, players who don’t may find their Story teller introducing additional obstacles or introducing attitude changes. Whilst attitude is not a fixed or concrete guide to playing your character, it should influence a majority of their interactions.
Notes on Classes
There are no strict classes within Ara, but it is important for the player to consider how their character will respond to situations and what that characters history would position themselves as within the world. What is possible for the characters to achieve when reacting to an opportunity can be determined by an agreed consensus between the story teller and the player. It is important to establish your character with a genuine personality whose development can be traced through the opportunities they are presented with. To this end a character with a military past may be considered a fighter, a character engaged with larceny may be considered a rogue and so on though there is no concrete definition or rulesets that can be applied; the story teller may let the rogue engage with lockpicking a door where they may prefer the fighter attempts to break in with brute force instead.
The final stage of player set up is selecting your starting equipment. You are free to discuss this with your story teller, however for new players just starting out some starting kits have been included below. You can find more details about each item in the Equipment section towards the end of this overview.
|Explorer||Spear||Leather||Hooded Cloak||Cartographer’s Kit||50gc|
|Medic||Mace||Leather||Potion Belt||Alechemist’s Kit||50gc|
|Thief||Shortsword||Leather||Hooded Cloak||Thieves’ Tools||50gc|
|Wizard||Wooden Staff||Cloth||Spellbook||Caligripher’s Tools||50gc|
The character sheet for World of Ara can be downloaded as a Printable PDF below. Download
Playing the Game
Equipment in the World of Ara aspires to be as generic as the gameplay itself, it often helps to have a guideline or collection of examples of gear that may be used. Below is a non-exhaustive list of various bits of gear characters in the world can utilise. It is recommended that the story teller work with their players to create new and exciting gear throughout their gameplay and use this list purely as a reference guide for generating ideas. Though weapons and armour have mechanical properties that link back to gameplay, accessories and tools are limited only by their descriptions and the consensus of the group at play. For example, if a player is seeking to get through an area that’s difficult to traverse due to an overgrowth of vines or thorns bushes they may be able to use a knife from their hunting tools or a saw from their woodworker’s tools to get through it, despite their lack of botanist’s gear.
|Dagger||A short bladed weapon favoured for it’s concealability.||1||Melee||Quick, Subtle|
|Longsword||A heavier bladed weapon used with both hands, an icon of knighthood in Ara.||3||Melee||Heavy, Two-Handed|
|Mace||A large heavy ball of iron fixed to a wooden handle, the mace is a fearsome and thuggish tool.||2||Melee||Heavy|
|Rod||A short rod of metal or wood used as an focus by magic users.||1||Melee||Magic, Quick|
|Shortsword||A light and versatile bladed weapon, the short sword is a staple addition to any armoury.||2||Melee||Quick|
|Spear||A sharp point atop a long pole, the fate of the World of Ara is most commonly found at the end of the spear.||2||Melee||Reach, Versatile|
|Staff||A large wooden staff frequently used by wielders of magic as a focus or by martial folk looking for a non-lethal solution.||2||Melee||Heavy, Magic, Two-Handed|
|Javelin||A shortened spear designed for throwing, the javelin is a favourite of athletes and soldiers.||2||Range||Heavy, Thrown|
|Longbow||A tall bow made of composite materials designed for firing an arrow over a large distance.||3||Range||Ammo, Heavy, Two-Handed|
|Rifle||A long barrelled fire-arm used for long range shooting.||3||Range||Ammo, Quick, Loading|
|Shortbow||A short ranged weapon suitable for hunting and putting an immediate stop to an approaching threat.||2||Range||Ammo, Quick, Two-Handed|
|Sidearm||A one handed fire-arm used for propelling bullets at an incredible velocity over a short distance.||3||Range||Ammo, Quick, Loading, Subtle|
|Sling||A small leather strap tied to a stick with string, used to aid the wielder in throwing stones with force.||1||Range||Ammo, Heavy|
|Heavy||Uses Strength as it’s attribute.|
|Loading||Requires loading as a separate actionafter attacking.|
|Magic||Can be used as a magical focus.|
|Quick||Uses Quickness as it’s attribute.|
|Reach||Can be used to reach targets just beyond melee distance.|
|Subtle||Can be concealed|
|Thrown||Is thrown and lost until picked up|
|Two-Handed||Must be used with both hands.|
|Versatile||Can use Quickness or Strength as it’s attribute.|
|Chain||Made from linked rings of metal chain affords the wearer with a strong defense, heavy but flexible.||3||Heavy|
|Cloth||Cloth clothing or robes, offers little for defence but is extremely versatile.||1||Magic|
|Leather||Armour made from the hides of animals, offers some defence to physical impacts without many restrictions.||2|
|Plate||Pressed and folded metal plates fastened together around the wearer, particularly resistant to physical damage but restrictive.||3||Restrictive|
|Heavy||Reduces the Quickness of the user by 1 point|
|Magic||Can hold glamours or enchantments|
|Restrictive||Cannot be used with Quick weapons|
|Hooded Cloak||A long cloak with a hood, used for weathering long journeys or conducting discreet business in the dark corners of taverns.|
|Medallion||A decorated medallion worn around the neck.|
|Potion Belt||A belt containing several convenient straps and pouches designed for holding potions.|
|Quiver||Worn on the back or at the hip, used to hold ammunition or throwing weapons conveniently.|
|Ring||A decorated band of metal, wood or bone worn on a finger.|
|Shield||Worn in the offhand can be used to defend the user from attacks.|
|Spellbook||A book suitable for holding the knowledge and details of spells for a student of magic.|
|Tabbard||A decorated strip of cloth worn over armour often used to represent noble allegiences or guild memberships.|
|Alembic and Mortar||An alembic, mortar and pestle for the purifying and processing of ingredients into potions.|
|Armourer’s Tools||A whetstone, collections of polish, spare straps, small hammer and cloths for maintaining weapons and armour.|
|Botanist’s Gear||A guidebook on local flora, knives, twine and seeds.|
|Caligraphy Tools||A set of pens, brushes, and parchment for writing.|
|Cartography Tools||A set of maps, a sextant and compass as well as blank parchment and inks.|
|Hunting Gear||A collection of traps, baits and a knives for the capture and processing of assorted fowl and game.|
|Instrument||An object designed to play music.|
|Thieves’ Tools||A collection of lockpicks, a kosh, fakes and other assorted items for breaking, entering and stealing.|
|Woodworking Tools||A collection of handsaws, files, chisels, polishes and varnishes for working with wood.|