A Basic Guide to Yellow Paper
By Paul Chapman
Firstly, understand that you are opening a can of worms here. Once you cross this threshold, you can never go back, but it will take you years to truly master the points apps system. It is the most complicated, and to many the most exciting aspect of the Labyrinthe system.
OK, post 8th level there are a number of abilities that you can buy with points, their availability being based on your level (total points), class and race, with other secondary factors. These are â€˜standardâ€™ or â€˜publishedâ€™ abilities .
The very best thing about the Labyrinthe system (IMO) is that you are not limited to the published abilities, and can make up your own abilities! So if you have an idea which you feel is appropriate for your character and you would like him to be able to do, you can try to get it as a non-standard ability, or â€˜points appâ€™ as theyâ€™re commonly known (from â€˜Points applicationâ€™ - read on).
Of course, you canâ€™t just have any old ability, or the system would be a random mess of people who were all unkillable and could kill anyone just y looking at them. Thus someone has to decide whether itâ€™s OK for your character to have any given ability, and how many points it should cost. The person who does this is the Game System Manager (GSM), who for some years was Bruno Murray, and more recently by Mark Cox. Mark bases his decision as to whether itâ€™s OK for you to have the ability on a number of factors. As already mentioned:-
Your level (total points). The more experienced your character becomes and the more of the power of legend he gathers to himself, the greater the magnitude of the powers he can wield. Look at the tables for examples - on Table 1 you can buy relatively minor developments such as additional specialist skills and jumps, whereas on Table 12 you can buy abilities which are almost godlike and have big heroic names (e.g. â€œJustice of the Kingsâ€).
There are ways of getting more powerful abilities earlier, but this is an advanced subject not suitable for this introduction.
Your characterâ€™s base class. Generally said, a priest can get spiritual abilities many times more easily than he can get physical abilities. Nonetheless, a second weapon mastery for a Table 10 warrior priest would be a perfectly sensible ability, even though itâ€™s a warrior ability, because a warrior priest has some amount of martial skill. Your class-based progression is one of the more intuitive factors involved in whether a points app is suitable, but one of the most frequently ignored also. Your characterâ€™s base race. Similarly with base class, your base race defines reasonable character progression. A Gythanki getting neuronic abilities on the basis of his race is sensible, as is an elf getting magical abilities. The converse does not make sense.
Other factors should form part of a more advanced discussion, being generally much less intuitive and much more difficult to master. So how do you go about getting one of your ideas looked at?
You have to pay for the service. A not insignificant amount of work goes into processing your applications, and Bruno is paid for it. To pay for the service, you purchase â€œyellow sheetsâ€ at the check in desk. These sheets cost several pounds each and come in 3 flavours:-
Basic Points Abilities: For individual abilities that you would like your character to have. You can apply for as many abilities as you can reasonably fit in single-lined text on each sheet - which means that complicated abilities cost more to apply for than very simple ones, regardless of the relative power levels.
Multiclass / Multirace: Which each allow for an application for a single non-standard multiclass or multirace.
Glyphs / Miracles sheets: Which allow for the application for 2 Wizard
glyphs / Priest miracles / Neuronic talents / Druidic Evocations per sheet.
Once you have bought the sheet(s), you fill them in with details as required, write your abilities neatly on them in black ink, and hand them back in to the desk. Some weeks later (and it varies, in the past 6 months between about 2 and 6 weeks) the processed applications will be waiting for you in an envelope behind the checkin desk - so just ask if there are any for you every time you are at the caves.
Bruno will either have passed an ability as is, in which case he will have given it a threshold and a price, just like standard tables abilities, failed it outright (in which case it will have a big green â€˜NOâ€™ written across it, or similar, often with an explanation nearby or on the back of the sheet), or passed it with modifications in green pen. These modifications are usually non-negotiable, and may be restrictions on the ability or simply notes on how it works.
To purchase a non-standard ability, you write it on your card as usual, take a copy of the passed ability to Bruno to check, whereupon he will sign it on your card and you can then use it. This is also a chance for Bruno to 'sanity checkâ€™ the ability one last time before you buy it, and he very rarely) makes a change to it then, or even refuses it if thereâ€™s an obvious loophole or it has become unsuitable. This is very rare though, so donâ€™t worry.
You have to have all your non-standards ready to show the referee on every adventure you play, and even if the referee doesnâ€™t have time to check them all (some high level characters have literally dozens of non-standard abilities), it is a good idea to give him a quick verbal synopsis - the referee will always ask about anything he needs clarifying.
I think thatâ€™s all for now. Any questions?
Stacking Points Requests
Points requests do not stack unless they specifically say they do. Abilities that grant a fractional / numerical and percentile â€œsomethingâ€ only stack if they are damage reduction or they state they stack.
Base Class and Base Race changes
This is something I've posted on a different forum, but thought I'd enshrine here for the sake of future generations...
As a rule of thumb a Base Class Change or a Base Race Change is a very simple, flavour defining, ability. A small change, allowing the character to have some special feel to them but without making the character particulalry powerful.
The idea of these abilities is not to create a powerful charater but, rather, to get something that's a bit interesting and different. In most cases such abilities will cost about 40 points and add nothing to the character's potency. In effect, if you're looking at a charaters "raw power" the points that are spend buying such abilities are completely wasted.
People generally use these abilities because they have an idea for a character that doesn't quite fit in with the way things usually work, and want to try playing something a little bit different to the norm.
These tend to take one of two forms:
The first is to allow the player to create a character who is a non-standard mix of class and race (such as an Alfar Warlock, Blauz Pure Priest or a Baronial Human Witch).
The second is to allow the playing of a character who is, in some way, unusual ~ It may be that the player has an idea for a strange form of Elf, who has different magical innates, or wants to play a character of a completely non-standard race.
In such cases it's importaint to note (again) that you're basically looking to swap racial abilities for others of equal (or even slightly lower) potency.
An example of a Base Race Change along these lines could be something like
Is no longer an Air Elf, instead is a Storm Elf
Racial Innates are now
"Affirm" 1/level @ 2nd level
"Storm Blast" 1/2 levels @ 3rd level
"Lightning Bolt" 1/4 levels @ 6th level
Exactly as Goblin, except instead of having +1 DAC in darknessm gets +1 DAC in normal daylight. Alignment must be goodly.
Something that makes very simple changes to a character, swapping exisiting abilities for something of similar, or slightly less, power.
If you're looking at Base Class Changes then, perhaps, something along the lines of the below could be possible.
Knight of the Storms
Is no longer a Warrior, is now a Cavalier.
Cavalier code against using ranged attacks does not apply to using own Racial magical innates.
As a trade off for this advantage, only has 1 point of Live to Minus per level, not 2.
Loses Gold as a Colour: Swapping for Silver.
Loses all Goodly Miracles from list: Swapping for a 30 point spirit list, which can only contain miracles from the Comming Tree/Sphere.
Everything else stays the same"
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