Sinter RPG: Trade Types and Attributes
Sinter RPG features six trade types: Archinxect, Curia, Gemyltan, Kybernan, Mallei, and Smolders. Each trade is associated one of six characters attributes: Craft, Temperance, Wit, Bearing, Might, and Devotion. (There is also a seventh derived attribute called Binding that I will detail in a later post.) Once players roll their attributes, they may rearrange their scores and choose the trade that a) best benefits the party’s bond and b) best benefits their attribute score arrangement.
These two aspects are clearly drawn from traditional Dungeon & Dragons roleplaying design. The 1983 Mentzer Basic Set featured four human classes (Cleric, Fighter, Magic-user, Thief), three demi-human classes/races (Dwarf, Elf, Halfling), and six ability scores (Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma). Many roleplaying systems adopt some variation of this basic model. Sinter diverges from D&D in several ways:
- Trades are not generic archetypes. A Fighter describes thousands of different hero types. A Mallei is a specific type with special abilities, weapons, weaknesses, etc. Neither of these are better or worse; D&D’s generic quality is part of why it has been so successful. Sinter’s trade approach is catered closely to its setting.
- Races are not classes. Later editions of D&D scrapped this idea, but some retro clones like Dungeon Crawl Classics implement race as class.
- Sinter’s six attributes do not map directly to D&D’s abilities. Some, like Might and Strength, are correlated, but Sinter’s attributes tend to hybridize the traditional scores. Again, Might describes a character’s overall strength, but also dictates their hit point pool. In D&D, HPs are governed by Constitution. Bearing is similar to Dexterity, but also includes a general sense of direction and navigational skills, handy for piloting air and land vessels. Craft and Devotion, however, have no clear analogs in D&D.
The following provides brief descriptions for each trade. Keep in mind that these are still works-in-progress, so some trades are better fleshed out than others:
The Archinxect, or Xect, are builders and crafters trained in stone, wood, smote (a raw material used for producing fuel), and other rigid materials suitable for fashioning into war machines massive and miniature. The Xect are also experts in mechanical traps and devices. The Archinxect build various small- and medium-sized mechanical automata to assist them in their travels and adventures. All Xect carry a special pouch, containing the tools necessary for their trade, on their person at all times.
The Curia practice and abide by the Law. They carry the Codex Senex (or The Old Man’s Book), whose contents, inscribed as rules learned by all followers of their chosen trade, govern the laws of the world. At the highest ranks, the Curia may bend reality according to the law and even inscribe their own rules into the Codex, which may then extend to the Corpus Senatus (as their group is known) as a whole. The Curia are cunning, quick-witted, and charming. They prefer to bend foes to their Law rather than their might. The Curia gain advantages in negotiation, mercantilism, diplomacy, secrecy, deception, theft, writing, and seduction. In practice, many of the Curia’s skills function like a standard thief, though not due to proficiency with lock-picking tools or nimble fingers. Rather, the Curia may ‘rule align’ the lock according to a Law that dictates all locks be open. As Curia progress in rank, these alignments expand from the local to the regional and eventually to the universal.
The Gemyltan are masters of pharmakon: potions, tonics, poisons, philters, brews, and other liquid concoctions. By trade, they are Wan’s spiritual descendants, but they have also sworn to never devise a pharmakon so powerful that it might plunge Sinter into another Ashen Season. In Sinter society, the Gemyltan’s most important task is the conversion of smote to xote, the rare fuel equivalent that powers war machines, mechanical devices, and locomotive vessels. They also serve as healers and medicinal experts. In battle, Gemyltan prefer short piercing weapons laced with poisons or other harmful alchemies. Their combat strategy is ‘death from a single cut’; the initial strike appears superficial, but contains a venom that affects their foes over time, debilitating them throughout battle. Quick wits and light armors permit fast, calculated strikes from either melee or ranged distances.
The Kybernan are experts in navigation, seafaring, skyfaring, exploration, spelunking, shining (sourcing fine materials), tracking, hunting, and sport. The Kybernan proclivity toward bearing grants them enhanced accuracy using ranged weapons, namely toxons, discs, and bolt spears.
The Mallei are trained to wield a maul, the weapon of their namesake. The heavy cudgels bear the stamp of their Archinxect maker and are bound to their owner in the Rite of the Held. Both head and handle are handpicked from rare and valuable items, whether planks from the Horace branch or the blood of a dusk-winged elcen. Many Mallei choose to bind their wrist and hand to their maul with an ornamental leather glove burnt with the names of their kin and closest companions. Mallei tend to be strong, due to the difficult labors of mining.
The Smolders are purveyors of smoke, known pejoratively as the Reek or Vapor. Smoke is the enchantment of the world, thought to rise from the twenty-chambered heart of Belsein, She Who Sleeps at the center of the world. Legend says that Belsein once loved the fierce and powerful Chelle, a mortal tasked with stoking the cinders at the heart of the world. When Chelle was slain, Belsein was so crestfallen that she sank into an interminable slumber, her heart shattered into twenty chambers, and her grief seeped as smoke into the world. Those who partake of smoke are granted great but sorrowful powers. Over time, their deep love for Belsein, combined with the smoke’s pervasive influence, manifests physically as a grey pallor with traces of ruby red around the lips, eyes, and fingers. Smolders summon smoke through coiling, a series of practiced whip strikes performed with the Lady’s Lash.
And finally, here are lengthier descriptions of each character attribute, along with their associated trade:
Might (Mallei): Characters with high might (MT) excel in physical tasks, such as pushing, pulling, or lifting heavy objects. A Malleus’s maul (hammer) is a formidable weapon, both in combat and heft, and thus requires significant might to handle properly. Characters with low might are fragile and more susceptible to injury or illness.
Temperance (Curia): Characters with high temperance (TP) are judicious, calculated, and wise. They do not make impetuous decisions that will put themselves or their companions in danger. Such characters are drawn to the strictures of Law practiced by the Curia. Characters of low temperance are brash, brazen, and spontaneous.
Devotion (Smolders): Characters with high devotion (DV) are passionate and dedicated, either to themselves, their companions, or a particular person, place, or object. The manipulation of smoke requires deep devotion to Belsein and her mysteries, often to the detriment of their own mortal form. Characters of low devotion are aloof, rootless, and socially distant.
Craft (Archinxect): Crafty (CF) characters are good with their hands, tools, and mechanical devices. They like to disassemble and reassemble machines in order to see how they work. They are skilled at identifying various natural and unnatural materials for use in building and forging. Such characters acclimate easily to the Archinxect. Character with little craft have no interest in machines and struggle with their proper use.
Wit (Gemyltan): Witty (WT) characters are intelligent, inquisitive, and charismatic. Their curiosity leads them to invention and experimentation, a valued trait among the Gemyltan. Characters with low wit are ignorant, dull, and tend to avoid new experiences.
Bearing (Kybernan): Characters of high bearing (BR) are agile, quick, and possess an innate sense of direction. In general, they are acutely aware of both their body and its orientation among others’, both animate and inanimate. Such characters are well-suited to the Kybernan, who rely on direction and agility in navigation. Characters of low bearing are clumsy, slow, and tend to get lost easily.
In the next post, I will introduce a few of Sinter’s die mechanics and how they relate to the trades/attributes.