The Great Game

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A strategy game played by many peoples across Ferath; the version described here is specific to humans and the races that live close to them (gnomes, halflings, roden), but elves, dwarves, and lizardfolk have their own names for games that are nearly identical.

Each of the two players in fidchell has a slightly different goal: one player controls a King (also called the Hierophant, Emperor, or Elder depending on who is playing) which he must defend from the attacks of the other player.

The game's history is unclear; although several groups claim to have invented it, its ubiquity suggests an origin far more ancient than most of these claims could support. Many legends ascribe supernatural origins and capabilities to the game; it is said to be played by gods and forest spirits, to control the fate of armies, and to predict the future.

In its most basic form, a game of fidchell is an opposed Strategy Games test between two characters. Possible FoRKs include Strategy, Tactics, and Aura Reading. Such a game may be played for agreed-upon stakes, or serve as part of a linked test for another social skill. Alternately, a high-stakes game of fidchell may be played out with The Great Game rules above.

Special Uses

  • Spirit Games - A solitaire version of the game may serve as a linked test for Astrology or Spirit Binding. The player makes a versus test, rolling the skill to be linked against his own Strategy games; if successful, the linked skill is at +1D, otherwise, the second test is at +1 Ob.
  • Challenge the Named - The fidchell board exerts a potent force on Spirit Natured creatures, including the Named. Named will never violate the agreed-upon stakes of a Great Game, will never cheat, and have the greatest difficulty resisting a challenge (Will test, Ob 4; stakes must still be agreed upon).
    • A confident summoner may challenge the Named to a Great Game in place of bargaining: if the summoner wins, he gets his service at the minimum price possible (Marked). If the Named wins, however, he takes his price and laughs in the summoner's face.
    • For the purposes of fidchell, Named may use Bargaining as Strategy Games.
  • Study the Foe - A game can be used to understand the mind of an opponent you're about to face in some other arena. In addition to the named stakes (or in place of them, for just a "friendly" game), the winner gains +1D to all tests of a certain type for the duration of the next time (and only the next time) he comes into conflict with the same opponent.
    • In an opposed test against the same opponent: Oratory, Rhetoric, Strategy, Tactics, Haggling.
    • Dueling skill maneuvers and Incites in a Duel of Wits.
    • Positioning in Fight! or Range and Cover.

The Great Game

  • Agree on stakes beforehand. Unlike a Duel of Wits, a Great Game is an all-or-nothing affair: no compromise is ever required on the part of the winner. However, both parties must agree on the stakes before the game begins (if this required Haggling tests or even a Duel of Wits to decide, so be it).
  • The goal of the game is fixed not by the abilities of the players, but by the rules of the game. Fichell can be played on boards of varying sizes, with proportionately more or fewer pieces. Both players' Strength (equivalent to the Body of Argument) is fixed at 5, 7, or 9 when stakes are agreed upon.


Similar to stances from Fight!. Both players begin in Neutral formation. Changing formation takes one action. The maneuvers Incite, Distract, and Fork are not affected by formation.

  • Neutral Formation - The default; no tests are modified.
  • Aggresive Formation - Advance and Sacrifice are at +2D; Retreat and Zwischenzug are at +2 Ob.
  • Defensive Formation - Retreat and Zwischenzug are at +2D; Advance and Sacrifice are at +2 Ob.


  • (using Strategy Games, loosely named for chess tactics)
    • Advance - The defender advances towards the edge of the board, the attacker towards the king; both capture as they go. As Point.
    • Retreat - Delay your opponent, or maneuver for a better position. Similar to Avoid the Topic: test your Perception, and subtract successes from your opponent's Advance or Sacrifice.
    • Sacrifice - Great risk for great reward! As Dismiss.
    • Fork - Offer your opponent two simultaneous threats. As Feint.
    • Zwischenzug - Respond to a threatened capture by threatening your opponent's position in turn. As Rebuttal.

  • You may also use the normal array of social skills to play mind games with your opponent.
    • Incite - As DoW
    • Distract - As DoW Obfuscate
    • Cheat! - When faced with a clearly superior opponent, you can always cheat. Cheating may be scripted in tandem with any other maneuver. To cheat, test your Sleight of Hand or Strategy Games (possibly FoRKed with each other, or with Falsehood) against your opponent's Observation skill. You may also cheat or catch cheating with Beginner's Luck, of course. If you have more successes than your opponent, the margin of success is added to whatever maneuver you scripted in the same volley. If you equal your opponent's successes, nothing happens. If your opponent has more successes, you've been caught! If he chooses to call you on it, you automatically Forfeit.
  • Forfeit/Smash The Board - A character who walks away from the game forfeits, and must give up his stakes; that is, unless he wishes to escalate the matter by Smashing the Board. He cannot attempt to wriggle out of paying his stakes socially: he must pay or do something drastic.
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