Rise of Æster

Imagine a steampunk world of adventure, an alternate history that never was…

Rise of Æster LARP Demo Rules

Note: This is only a brief overview of the complete rules set, sufficient for running a demo game such as the Captain's Table.

The goal of Rise of Æster is not measured in the strength of skills or successes against challenges, but rather the quality of the story told by the game as it unfolds.  Roleplaying is key, and the character attributes here are intended to guide that activity, not dominate it, nor to somehow establish a particular player’s stature or power in the game.

To this end, the design of characters at the start is intended to leave weaknesses, and limit strengths, as it is overcoming those weaknesses that can produce the best story. In fact, we think that some of the best roleplaying can arise as a result of failures rather than successes. (To that end also, the system is intended NOT to be promptly lethal…)

Please keep that in mind as you create your own avatar in the Rise of Æster world.

Character Skills

A skill is a character attribute that describes a specific ability of an individual, and their level of facility with it. It provides an abstraction of training, experience and native ability which the actor may not actually have.

Character skills are organized by trait, based on subjective evaluation of which trait is most key to one’s competence in it. A list of skills is provided which is by no means complete. Actors will most certainly imagine and describe additional skills pertinent to roleplay. It is up to the actor and navigator to determine the trait to which a new skill belongs.

A player’s facility in a skill is identified by level, of which there are 5: Superior, Great, Good, Fair or None.  Skills are ordered by SUPERIOR, GREAT, GOOD and FAIR.  Any action taken which is not listed on your sheet as a skill will be treated as having the quality “No Skill”. Skills can be further modified by GLOBAL skills and WEAKNESSES. Example skills are listed below.

Intellectual Skills

*Academic  Sciences (choose)

*Academic Discipline (choose)


Engineering (choose subtype)

Gambling (betting games: dice, racing, lottery, etc.)

Parlour Games (strategy games: chess, whist, go, bridge, etc.)

Manners (class customs, broken out further into low, middle, upper-class and aristocratic).

Note: manners are the understanding, not the execution of said manners


Military Science (Logistics, Strategy, Tactics, etc.)


Operations (choose variant)

Practical Skills

Mechanic (choose subtype)

Animal Husbandry (Choose variant, includes training)

*Trade (choose subtype)

Cleaning (how to clean stuff, not the act of…)


Engineer (choose subtype)

Agriculturalist (choose subtype)



Piloting (choose variant)

Operator (includes repair – choose variant)

Steam Works


Survival (choose subtype/environment)

Physical Skills

Aerialist (trapeze, tightrope)

Blunt Weapons (choose variant)

Flame Thrower (RatCatcher tool)

Dextrous (applies to dodging, escaping confinement, being able to Juggle, etc)

Feats of Strength (weightlifting, lifting, forcing open, etc.)

Feats of Dexterity (climbing, contortion, balancing, etc.)

Guns (choose Variant)

Blade (choose variant)

Pole Weapon (choose variant)

Roguish arts (choose Sleight of Hand, Sneaking, Forgery, Pick-Pocketing)

Sport (choose variant)

Throwing/Missile Weapons (Choose Variant)

Unarmed Combat (choose variant – Fisticuffs, Wrestling, Martial Art, Brawling)






Organizing Skills

Characters start with 2 GREAT, 4 GOOD and 6 FAIR skills to be set in one of the three Traits, as determined by their chosen Vocation.

Actors will order these three traits as Primary, Secondary and Tertiary, and then assign skills to each trait using descriptors of the Player’s choosing.

What level of skill you may apply in a trait, and what level it may achieve is dependent on how you order your Traits. You must place a minimum of 4 skills in your Primary, 3 in your Secondary, and two in your Tertiary Trait.

GREAT skills may only be applied in a player’s PRIMARY or SECONDARY traits; however, one GREAT skill *must* be applied to the player’s PRIMARY trait.

GOOD skills may be applied to any trait; however, a character may only have one GOOD skill in their TERTIARY trait.

FAIR skills may be applied in any trait.

As Actors can use any skills that are accepted by the presiding game Navigator, a wide variety of skills could be used.  Actors are encouraged to be creative, but to also think of skills that are specific enough to be useful without being overreaching.

GLOBAL skill - Players may exchange both GREAT skills for a GLOBAL skill in their primary trait.  A GLOBAL skill gives players a base level of FAIR in any skill in that trait.

SUPERIOR skill - A character may exchange both GREAT skills in order to take a SUPERIOR skill at character creation. The SUPERIOR skill may only be added to the player's PRIMARY trait. A SUPERIOR skill must also be very narrow in scope. For example, a player may not have “Guns” as a SUPERIOR skill, but may have “Revolver” as a SUPERIOR skill.

When a player chooses a SUPERIOR skill, they must also select a specific WEAKNESS to balance that ability.   This is a roleplaying requirement, and must be approved by the local Navigator.  At any event, the officiating Navigator may choose to relegate a SUPERIOR skill to GREAT, and eliminate the player-selected weakness.


Mathematical incompetence

Social ineptitude