Men & Magic
DETERMINATION OF ABILITIES
"Prior to the character selection by players it is necessary for the referee to roll three six-sided dice in order to rate each as to various abilities, and thus aid them in selecting a role."The referee rolls the six character abilities, in order, using 3d6, and not the player. Based on this outcome, the player can decide whether he would like to play a Fighting-Man, Magic-User, Cleric, Dwarf, Elf or even Hobbit.
"The first three categories are the prime requisites for each of the three classes, Fighting-Men, Magic-Users, and Clerics."Indeed, these first three ability ratings do little more than determine whether the character receives a bonus, penalty or no modifier to earned experience.
"Strength is the prime requisite for fighters. Clerics can use strength on a 3 for 1 basis in their prime requisite area (wisdom), for purposes of gaining experience only. Strength will also aid in opening traps and so on."Clerics, but not Magic-Users, may use this rating to increase their Wisdom score “for purposes of gaining experience only”. More on this later.
"Intelligence is the prime requisite for magical types. Both fighters and Clerics can use it in their prime requisite areas (strength and wisdom respectively) on a 2 for 1 basis. Intelligence will also affect referees’ decisions as to whether certain actions would be taken, and it allows additional languages to be spoken."Again, it is noted that this rating can be used in a prime requisite area, this time by Fighting-Men and Clerics. This ability also helps the referee determine whether the actions of a player character (or non-player character) are feasible given the rating here.
"Wisdom is the prime requisite for Clerics. It may be used on a 3 for 1 basis by fighters, and on a 2 for 1 basis by Magic-Users, in their respective prime requisite areas. Wisdom rating will act much as does that for intelligence."The last of the prime requisite abilities, Wisdom can likewise be added to the corresponding scores for Fighting-Men and Magic-Users. From these three descriptions, we can see that Fighting-Men and Clerics have primary, secondary and tertiary rankings in strength, intelligence and wisdom from which experience bonuses might be determined. This vague guideline has created much debate as to how exactly such a system plays out. For now, though, we can see that a Fighting-Man has strength primary, intelligence secondary (2 for 1), and wisdom tertiary (3 for 1). Clerics have wisdom primary, intelligence secondary (2 for 1), and strength tertiary (3 for 1). Magic-Users are, again, the odd man out here, having intelligence primary, and wisdom secondary (2 for 1). Strength, it can be assumed, has no bearing on a Magic-User’s experience gains.
"Constitution is a combination of health and endurance. It will influence such things as the number of hits which can be taken and how well the character can withstand being paralyzed, turned to stone, etc."Aside from possibly having an effect on a character’s hit point total, constitution determines how well such attacks as paralyze and stoning are withstood. The definition of withstand is to be proof against, or to resist the effect of. Without jumping too far ahead of ourselves, we know that there are already saving throws in place for withstanding such attacks, which are determined by character level, and not constitution. I assume then that this ’withstand’ chance indicates whether or not a character survives the ordeal of missing such a saving throw, being so affected, and subsequently ’returning to normal’. In later editions this became system shock survival, and is, in my opinion, the exact meaning here.
"Dexterity applies to both manual speed and conjuration. It will indicate the character’s missile ability and speed with actions such as firing first, getting off a spell, etc."Aside from giving a bonus or penalty to missile attacks, this is no more than a guide for the referee to help determine the outcome of questions arising concerning acting first in a contentious situation. I know dexterity is useful for aiding the referee in judging the outcome of certain unspecified undertakings by the characters, but the above only speaks to manual speed, missile ability, and spell-casting.
"Charisma is a combination of appearance, personality, and so forth. Its primary function is to determine how many hirelings of unusual nature a character can attract."The above is expressing that there is no real limit imposed by charisma in regards to standard men-at-arms, only in regard to hirelings (defined as ‘unusual’ types, including actual adventurers and monsters). Loyalty of all of these types, including unusual and standard, is effected by charisma. Lastly, charisma apparently helps determine whether or not a character becomes a pig or a boy-toy when captured by a witch!
"Bonuses and Penalties to Advancement due to Abilities"Upon this table we see the actual numeric values determined by prime requisite scores in regard to earned experience. Surviving/survival in regards to constitution and the aforementioned “withstand” has actual numbers indicating the odds of doing so. From these we can deduce that the formula for withstanding is [(constitution minus 3) times 10], yielding a range of 0% at 3, 10% at 4, and 100% at 13 or higher.
"Note: Average scores are 9-12. Units so indicated above may be used to increase prime requisite total insofar as this does not bring that category below average, I.e. below a score of 9."This is where the primary, secondary and tertiary ability scores of the three classes gets thrown for a loop. My initial reading of the rules led me to believe that an actual reduction of those secondary and tertiary ratings could be taken by the player to his character’s ability scores, in order to increase the primary or prime requisite rating. Other readers take this to mean that one can formulate a modifier based on how high the secondary and tertiary ratings are above 9 (9 being the minimum such ratings can be reduced by when figuring this modifier) while not actually changing any of the three ratings as originally rolled by the referee. For example, under the first school of thought, a Fighting-Man with strength, intelligence and wisdom scores of 12, 13 and 14 could actually reduce wisdom on a 3 for 1 basis, and intelligence on a 2 for 1 basis in order to add to strength. This line of thinking is based on the above quote of “may be used to increase prime requisite total”. This Fighting-Man could end up with strength 15 (12+3), intelligence 9 (13-4), and wisdom 11 (14-3). Using the second method, which is based on the earlier passage under strength, (“for purposes of gaining experience only”), this numbers tinkering produces an effective experience modifier while not actually adjusting the three ratings at all. The result is still strength 12, intelligence 13 and wisdom 14, BUT, due to a derived modifier of +3 provided by the secondary and tertiary ratings, the Fighting-Man still has an effective experience modifier bonus of +10% (as if he did indeed have strength 15). The more I contemplate this, the more it makes sense that the second school of thought, or the effective modifier which is not realized by actually altering ratings, is how this was meant to be applied. The fact that, as I pointed out earlier, the three classes have primary, secondary and tertiary scores has led me to this theory. Being intelligent or wise helps every adventurer, and the fact that strength means little to a Magic-User in determining how effective he is at his profession just makes more sense to me now. Looks as if I have more house rules clarifications in the near future.
~Sham, Quixotic Referee