RPGDot Network    

Joan of Arc
Display full image
Pic of the moment
pics from the gallery

Site Navigation


   Games Database
   Top 100
   Release List
   Support Files



   Staff Members
   Privacy Statement


Lionheart SPECIAL System, Installment 3: Perks


Lionheart is a computer role playing game that is being developed by Reflexive Entertainment in conjunction with Black Isle Studios. The game is an original title which uses an updated version of the SPECIAL character development system (from Fallouts 1 and 2) in a quasi-historical medieval Europe. Lionheart diverges from traditional high fantasy by placing the player on Earth in the 16th century in which history has taken a different path and magic has been released upon the world. Using a mix of historical and fictional locations and characters, the player progresses through a deep story while advancing through the classless character system.

In this series of articles, designers of the game will discuss various changes that have been made to the SPECIAL rules system from how it appeared in the Fallout series.

Display full image

Perks in the SPECIAL system and Lionheart

Perks are one of the most intriguing aspects of the SPECIAL rules system. They allow a player to take a basic character type and customize it into a truly distinct individual. In previous installments Attributes and Skills were discussed, and both of these aspects of a character are very systematic. Perks are about as non-systematic as you can get and come in a variety of different types. So let's talk Perks.

Characters only get Perks every few levels according to their Perk Rate. Perk Rate was until just recently a function of the the character's race. The following table is what was in the Attributes and Races installment a couple of articles ago:

RaceLast Month's Perk Rate

But a number of people on our message boards pointed out that Perks were just too powerful for us to go messing around with the Perk Rate. We tossed around this argument in the office and decided that since Perks were one of the most fun aspects of the system that we shouldn't slow down their accumulation. So currently, they are all set to 3, but as usual, this is still in playtest and could change.

As a character levels up, they gain a Perk at Level 2 and at their Perk Rate after that. If their Perk Rate is 3 then they will receive new Perks at levels 2, 5, 8, 11, etc... If we do have a character whose perk rate is 2 or 4, their progression will be 2, 4, 6, 8, etc and 2, 6, 10, 14, etc respectively.

There are close to 60 Perks planned for Lionheart. Over half of those Perks are from previous SPECIAL games and have only been modified for the new setting. The remaining are new Perks we've created. In any given game, however, you're not going to have access to all of the Perks (unless you're a big fat cheater!) because almost every Perk has a list of Requirements that must be met in order for you to select it. Most requirements are fairly simple to meet, but some Perks will require some careful planning and leveling if you wish to take them.

Most Perks do very simple things such as giving bonuses to various statistics. Some Perks raise attributes, some raise skills, and some raise derived attributes. The following Perks fall into these categories.

In the following examples of Perks the entries show the Perk Name, a description of the Perk, the Number of Ranks (how many times you may take the Perk if possible), and the requirements necessary to take it. Note the numbers are likely to change, as I've mentioned in every previous article, these aren't yet balanced.

Gain Agility
Increases your Agility by +1 permanently.
Number of Ranks: 1
Requirements: Level 12

Locks intrigue you, but the stuff that is on the other side of locks intrigues you even more. So you've spent some time learning how to work locks, spot traps, and even find the occasional secret door. You receive a one-time bonus of +10 skill points to Search and Lockpick.
Number of Ranks: 1
Requirements: Level 3

Damage Resistance
When you are tough you take less damage, and you're tough. Each level of this Perk will add +10% to your Crushing, Piercing and Slashing Damage resistance.
Number of Ranks: 3
Requirements: 6 Endurance, 6 Luck, Level 3

Other Perks raise your attributes, skills, or derived attributes, but only under certain conditions or with regard to certain uses. In the following examples, the Perk raises the characters Attributes, but only when they are used in conjunction with specific skills:

Weapon Handling
You've spent some time honing your skills with melee weapons and better understand heft, weight, motion, and the subtle nuances of the attack. This Perk adds 5 skill points to One-handed and Two-Handed Weapon Skills and you receive +1 Agility when wielding these types of weapons.
Number of Ranks: 1
Requirements: Agility 5, Level 15

You have a talent for hitting things at longer distances. You get a +2 bonus to Perception when you are using a bow or crossbow. It's easier than ever to kill at long range!
Number of Ranks: 1
Requirements: 7 Perception, 6 Intelligence, Level 9

Some Perks in the game completely change how the rules behave towards your character. There aren't a whole lot of these, but careful selection and use can drastically change how your character will act in the world.

Venom Ward
Due to your mother being bitten by a magical snake, your immune system has learned to process toxins and use them to bolster your strength. Instead of taking damage, poison damage heals you instead. Cannot also have Disease Ward Perk.
Number of Ranks: 1
Requirements: Endurance 5, Level 5, Cannot also have Disease Ward Perk.

Finally, some Perks are just plain weird. They do things that aren't very explainable or have nothing to do with your characters statistics. The first example below modifies your chance to get more valuable treasure and the second gives you a bunch of statistical bonuses at an unknown cost.

Wolf Trapper
Stripping wolves of their hides has become second nature to you. Instead of only being able to obtain a wolf hide some of the time, you are able to strip a wolf and obtain a valuable hide every single time you are the one that has slain it. The wolf hides are also more valuable because of your great skill.
Number of Ranks: 1
Requirements: 4 Agility

Dark Majesty
A shadowy being has approached you with an offer that sounds too good to be true. For simply signing a blank piece of paper, he has offered you +3 skill points in all of your melee skills, +10% to poison resistance, +1 skill point per level, and a house in a very warm climate in your old age. What a deal! Sylvants cannot pick this Perk.
Number of Ranks: 1
Requirements: Perception <7, Intelligence <7, Level 12

There are all kinds of Perks in Lionheart, and the ones you pick can drastically affect how powerful your character is and the best ways for your character to interact with the world. They are really one of the most fun aspects of the system and picking the right one for your character is almost always a challenge.

The next installment will deal with Magic and how it functions in Lionheart.

Previous installments

  • 2002-07-29: Installment 1: Races & Attributes
  • 2002-08-12: Installment 2: Skills

    Average Reader Ratings: 6.15 (59 votes)
    Rate this title and view comments     Game Info     Printer Friendly Version

    All original content of this site is copyrighted by RPGWatch. Copying or reproducing of any part of this site is strictly prohibited. Taking anything from this site without authorisation will be considered stealing and we'll be forced to visit you and jump on your legs until you give it back.