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Lionheart SPECIAL System, Installment 1: Races


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.

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Attributes and the Races in Lionheart

Some of the first topics that must be discussed in order to get into the more nitty-gritty aspects of the system are things like Race, Magic, and Combat. Those need to be described a little before we can get into things like Skills, Feats and Traits, or those things won't make sense. But even before we can discuss Race, the topic of the day, we need to cover the basic Attributes in the SPECIAL system, even though they are unchanged.


Each character has seven attributes from which almost everything in the game is at least somehow affected, if not downright determined. Those attributes are:

  • Strength (ST) - the character's raw physical strength. It represents the character's ability to lift weights, punch harder, carry more equipment and use larger weapons effectively.
  • Perception (PE) - the character's ability to perceive the character's environment and notice things others might miss. It is a combination of the character's senses, including touch, sight, taste, smell and hearing.
  • Endurance (EN) - the character's general health, along with the character's ability to withstand punishment and physical exertion.
  • Charisma (CH) - the character's looks, charm, and general social ability. The higher the character's Charisma, the easier it is to deal with other characters in the world.
  • Intelligence (IN) - the character's "smarts." The higher the character's Intelligence, the more likely they are to excel in many tasks.
  • Agility (AG) - the character's reflexes, balance, and coordination. This attribute determines how fast a character can move and also affects many combat and roguish skills.
  • Luck (LU) - Luck is a hard statistic to pin down. It represents a combination of fate, karma and just general good fortune. Luck affects many things in tiny amounts.

    An average score in any Attribute is 5. Scores above this are better. You can't have a score of less than 1 and you can't have a score of more than 10 (at the start of the game, that is).


    "The Disjunction released not only raw magic onto the Earth, it also opened up our world to the spirit realms. This was not the opening of some rift... but rather a loosening of the bindings that separate our world from many, many others. And although the Disjunction was brief, there was time for all manner of spiritkind to come into our world. The spiritkind soon discovered they had no essence of their own and were forced into either parasitic or symbiotic relationships with what they found around them. Different types of spirits merged with the multitude of different things in our planet, from the rocks and rivers, to the trees, birds, beasts, and men. Many of these spirits lacked sentience and others were incredibly intelligent. And so too some were benign or helpful, while others grew like tumors within the bodies they possessed.

    All things on the face of the planet were affected by this. The changes are too numerous to mention in this brief account, but recognize that some terrain became twisted and evil, real terrors never imagined began walking the earth... and the new races of man came into being. Some 400 years later at the time of this writing, there are four documented, at least partially civilized, species of man." From the banned text, Civilized History, author unknown.

    There are four races in Lionheart, each with different advantages and disadvantage and each being somewhat more suited to certain types of characters over others. These races are Pureblood, Sylvant, Demokin, and Feralkin.

    A Pureblood Male

    Those referred to as the Pureblood come from the untainted bloodline of humans. They and their ancestors remain untouched by the Disjunction or the spirits it released upon Earth. They have average attributes and make up the majority of Europe's population. Purebloods tend to control most of the continent and it's politics.

    Advantages: Purebloods suffer no faction problems and typically can excel at anything they wish. They begin the game with 3 Tag Skills, more than any other race.

    Disadvantages: Purebloods receive no Racial Traits and have slightly lower starting abilities than the other races.


    The sylvant are perhaps the most rare of the races, or perhaps they are simply the best at intermixing undetected with the Purebloods. They come from a bloodline which has been tainted by or contains an elemental spirit. Since Sylvants tend to rely on their heightened ability to wield magic, they generally are physically weaker than the other races.

    Advantages: Sylvants have heightened magical attributes and receive two Racial Traits. They begin with one extra Attribute Point compared with Purebloods.

    Disadvantages: Sylvants have lowered physical attributes, less Tag Skills, and a lower Perk Rate than Purebloods.

    A Demokin Male

    The taint of a fiendish or impish spirit affects the bloodline of a Demokin. They tend to exhibit some signs of their heritage, but can generally hide the small horns or pointed ears from the casual observer. They have a heightened magical ability compared with Purebloods, but are not as magically inclined as the Sylvant.

    Advantages: Demokin are somewhat more magically inclined than Purebloods and are more agile, although they are somewhat slight of build. You must choose two Racial Traits and recieve one extra attribute point compared to Purebloods.

    Disadvantages: Demokin primarily suffer in the loss of one Tag Skill and a decreased Perk Rate.


    The widely persecuted Feralkin have a bloodline touched by a beast spirit. Feralkin tend to have some fairly obvious indicators of their heritage but make up for it in brute strength and physical prowess. The beast folk also have strong natural resistances to magic.

    Advantages: Feralkin have increased physical statistics and have more attribute points than any other race. They are somewhat resistant to magic and must choose 3 Racial Traits.

    Disadvantages: The Feralkin are obvious to the Inquisition and others who dislike magic or tainted folk. They have the least number of Tag Skills and have a decreased Perk Rate compared to Purebloods.


    RT = Racial Traits. Racial Traits are much like other traits, only they are generally specific to the Race. For example, a Feralkin might choose Claws, a Racial Trait that makes him very obvious to the inquisition but grants improved hand-to-hand damage.

    TAG = Tag Skills. Characters can select "Tag Skills" that advance more quickly than other skills. PR = Perk Rate. The number of levels it takes for a character to earn an additional Perk. Perks are good things, granting your character special or increased abilities.

    Note: These numbers haven't been fully balanced and could and more than likely, WILL change somewhat.


    Which race you choose for your character is going to affect their abilities, appearance in the world, and in many cases how the world responds to your character. Many things not discussed here are affected by race, so it is one of the most important decisions you can make about your character.

    The next installment will cover Skills and Perks.

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