The Fenoriad

Big Eyes, Small Mouth (Second Edition) mini-campaign by Tim Emrick

A Brief Introduction

For the past few centuries, the small city-state of Fenoria has been a beacon of civilization and light in the arctic wastes. The city is located in a volcanic region on the northernmost peninsula of the continent, where the subterranean heat and occasional ashfalls allowed the original settlers to cultivate crops normally impossible to grow in an arctic clime. This dependence on the volcanoes' heat--and goodwill--helped to preserve the ancient cult of the Phoenix, which the Fenorians brought north with them from their original home, the Kingdom of Lorica. Due to the remoteness of this arctic city, all contact with the Loricans was lost long ago. Of the Lorican gods, only the Phoenix is still worshipped in Fenoria.
    The remainder of the peninsula is covered in tundra and glaciers, and is home to the Thulian nomads, tribal barbarians who live by hunting and foraging in the frozen wastes. The Thulians' relations with the Fenorians have ranged from wary neutrality to outright war: the Fenorians see the tribes as brutal, godless savages, while the Thulians see the "fire-men" as interlopers who are too weak to survive in the wastes. However, the two peoples do conduct a fair amount of trade when not at each other's throats. The nomads revere the great white bears found in these parts, and many of their best warriors are said to be were-bears. Unlike the organized religion of the Fenorians, the Thulians have shamans whose primary duty is to propitiate the demons of snow and winter, in order to reduce the suffering that those spirits inflict upon the tribes.
    This past year, both Fenoria and the Thulians have suffered major calamities. The nomads lost all contact with one tribe for the space of about a month at midwinter, then the walking corpses of that tribe attacked its neighbors. The survivors fled to warn the rest of the tribes about the "blue men" and the strange weather effects that accompanied their attacks. The barbarians intuited that the winter demons had caused this plague, but were uncertain whether to blame the Fenorians for angering the spirits, or their own shamans for not offering enough sacrifices.
    At the vernal equinox, an army of "blue men" attacked Fenoria itself. The city's Phoenix Knights would have easily repelled the invasion, except for the albino woman who led them. She displayed a potent command of weather and cold magic, as well as a fearsome prowess in battle. When Lady Aldania Flostia Fenora, the theocrat of the city, was slain defending the Phoenix's temple, the surviving Knights tried to evacuate the remaining townsfolk rather than continuing the battle. Lord Lucius Adaman Fenorus, heir to the theocracy, is known to have escaped the city with a Phoenix Knight escort, but his current whereabouts are uncertain.
    The albino witch, who calls herself Queen Kryokthon, has held the city for the past few weeks. Her undead "blue men" patrol its streets, and make occasional forays against other settlements in the valley. Most of these hamlets remain free for now, but many people have moved to the towns farthest from the capital city, leaving the closer settlements easier prey. The surviving Knights are trying to rally the people to retake the land, but the common folk live in fear of Kryokthon's mighty magic--and her ability to replenish her army from her enemies' dead. Many people talk about leaving the valley, but they fear the difficulties of the arctic wastes nearly as much as the ravages of the witch-queen.
    Now comes a time for heroes to save Fenoria, before its light is extinguished forever.

Character Creation

Characters for The Fenoriad will be created using BESM Second Edition. After discussing your character concept with the GM, create him or her with 30 character points and 20 skill points. Use the "Medieval Fantasy" column for skill costs.
    No character may take an Attribute, Defect or Skill that requires technology beyond the medieval level. (The most complex "mecha" in this setting is a sailed ship and even those are small and few in number.) Additional notes:
    Law skill: Use only specialization by culture, not by area of law.
    Linguistics skill: Replace this skill with two new skills: Speak Language (1 SP/level) and Read/Write Language (2 SP/level). All characters can speak their native language, but are illiterate unless they buy at least one level of Read/Write Language. Use the progression given for Linguistics for the number of languages spoken or written. Humans speak either Fenorian or Thulian, depending on their background. The elves of the Walking Wood have their own language (Elven), which is often learned by other fey creatures. Other languages may exist, if players (or the GM) create characters from outside these three lands.
    Dynamic Sorcery and Magic Attributes: Dynamic Sorcery is very rare, and only appropriate for certain nature spirits, demons, etc. Normal mortals use the Magic Attribute; see "Magical Traditions" below.

Several sample character templates are given below; feel free to discuss other ideas with the GM.

Phoenix Knight

These elite guardsmen are sworn to protect the theocracy of Fenoria, in the name of the Phoenix. They use tabards emblazoned with the city's firebird crest, and are trained in the use of sword, shield, and lance. Some also show ability with minor fire and light magics. The common folk see them as mighty heroes, and in these troubled time, may expect more of them than they can deliver.
    Attributes: Aura of Command 1+, Organizational Ties 1-2 (Phoenix Knights, 2 CP/level), Personal Gear 1+ (weapons, armor, warhorse)
    Defects: Attack Restriction (cannot harm innocents, 1 BP), Nemesis (Kryokthon, 1-2 BP)
    Skills: Law (Fenorian), Melee Attack (usually Sword or Lance), Melee Defense (usually Sword), Riding (Horse)

Fire Priest

Fenoria is a theocracy, ruled by the priesthood of the Phoenix cult. These clerics are masters of fire, light and healing magics, and many of their number exhibit supernatural resistance to fire and heat. The priesthood has never been numerous, and suffered crippling losses in Kryokthon's assault on Fenoria.
    Attributes: Magic (variable, limited to fire- and light-based effects, and healing; see "Magical Traditions" below)
    Defects: Magical Restriction (stay worthy in the Phoenix's eyes, 1 BP)
    Skills: Law (Fenorian), Performing Arts (Dance, Singing, or specific instrument), Social Sciences (Theology)

Thulian Nomad

The typical Thulian barbarian is trained as a warrior and hunter, most often using a battleaxe, club or spear (the latter two often double as thrown missiles). Their ability to survive in the arctic wastes is legendary.
    Attributes: Damn Healthy 1+
    Defects: None specifically, but most physical defects should be avoided
    Skills: Melee Attack (Battleaxe, Club, or Spear), Thrown Weapons (Harpoon or Throwing Club), Wilderness Survival (Arctic), Wilderness Tracking (Arctic)

Snow Shaman

The mystically-inclined members of the barbarian tribes are trained in the arts of contacting, appeasing and fighting the powerful spirits of nature, especially the demons associated with winter. Many can survive cold weather for long periods of time with no ill effect.
    Attributes: Magic (variable, must be related to spirits, weather, and creating or resisting cold; see "Magical Traditions" below)
    Defects: Magical Restrictions (various magical taboos) (1-2 BP)
    Skills: Cultural Arts (History or Occultism), Law (Thulian), Wilderness Survival (Arctic)


A few rare warriors and shamans among the Thulian tribes have the power to change into large white bears, the most fearsome natural predator in the northlands. However, not all of them can control this shapechanging. Use the Thulian Nomad or Snow Shaman template, and add:
    Attributes: Metamorphosis 2 (White Bear, Self, net +10 CP gain) (10 CP)
    Defects: Involuntary Physical Change (1-2 BP) or One-Way Transformation (1-2 BP) related to the Metamorphosis are appropriate, but not required

Metamorphosis Template (White Bear)
    Attributes: Damn Healthy 3 (2 CP), Features 2 (Cold tolerance, night vision) (2 CP), Heightened Awareness Level 1 (1 CP), Heightened Senses 1 (Smell) (1 CP), Light Armour 2 (Thick fur and fat, 5 points armour) (2 CP), Natural Weapons 2 (Claws, Fangs) (2 CP), Speed 1 (1 CP), Super Strength 1 (3 CP), Water Speed 1 (2 CP)
    Defects: Awkward Size (1 BP), Cannot Talk (1 BP), Marked (Bear) (2 BP), No Hands (2 BP), Vulnerability (Silver, rare) (1 BP)
    Skills: As human form

Elf Wanderer

The less harsh lands to the south include a magical forest inhabited by elves, giant lynxes, and "walking trees." The elves tend to stay within their own lands, but occasionally an adventuresome fey will wander outside the Walking Wood. The stereotypical elf is a master of stealth and nature-magic, and often distrusted by Fenorian and Thulian alike.
    Attributes: Animal Friendship 1+, Appearance 1+, Features 1 (Night vision) (1 CP)
    Defects: Marked (Pointy ears) (1 BP)
    Skills: Speak Language (at least one non-Elven language), Stealth (usually Silent Movement), Wilderness Survival (Forest), Wilderness Tracking (Forest)

Some elves are able to form a telepathic bond with a giant lynx, who becomes a constant companion. These cats are nearly the same size as the elves who befriend them, and more intelligent than their smaller kin. "Bonded elves" add the following to the template above:
    Attributes: Servant 4 (Giant Lynx [see "Bestiary"], 20 CP, cannot be replaced) (4 CP), Telepathy 2+ (only with felines, 1 CP/level)

Names and Appearance

Fenorian names are pseudo-Roman. Most Fenorians have three names: a given name; a patronymic (simply the father's name, changed to a feminine form if a daughter); and a family name. This people have ruddy skin, dark hair, and brown or green eyes. Red hair is not uncommon, and is considered a sign of the Phoenix's favor.
    Thulian names are Norse, with a given name followed by a patronymic (father's name plus "-sson" or "-sdottir"). Epithets based on animal attributes are commonly used. These nomads are very pale in color, with blond to white hair, and light blue or gray eyes. Albinos are not unknown.
    The elves of the Walking Wood have Celtic-sounding names. They are somewhat shorter and slighter of build than humans (averaging five feet tall and 80-90 lbs.), with pointed features, prominent ears, long dark hair, and gold or copper irises.

Personal Gear

The following is a sample list of items that might be taken as Personal Gear, or otherwise acquired during play.


Melee Weapons

Bastard Sword [2]
Melee (sword)
Inaccurate, Melee
Melee (axe)
Melee (club)
Lance [3]
Melee (lance)*
Longsword [4]
Melee (sword)
Melee (knife)
Melee (sword)
Melee (polearm)
Staff [1]
Melee (polearm)
Concealable, Flexible
Melee (whips)

Crossbow [1]
Slow, Static*
Archery (crossbow)
Longbow [1]
Archery (bow)
Thrown Weapons

Thrown Club
Limited Shots (1), Short Range
Thrown Weapons (club)
Thrown Knife
Limited Shots (1), Short Range
Thrown Weapons (blades)
Thrown Spear
Limited Shots (1), Short Range
Thrown Weapons (spears)

Notes: [1] Requires two hands to wield.
[2] Delivers +10 damage if used two-handed.
[3] Delivers +10 damage when used in a mounted charge. If attacking while dismounted, use Melee Attack (polearm) instead.
[4] Delivers +5 damage if used two-handed.

Body Armour

Damage Stopped
Leather Jacket or Fur Cloak
Hidden, Partial (unarmored area)
Complete Leather Armor
Partial (thin area)
Light Mail
Hidden, Partial (unarmored area)
Complete Fur/Hide Armour
Partial (thin area)
Partial Metal Armour
Partial (unarmored area)
Complete Heavy Metal Armour
Partial (thin area)
[See Shield Attribute, p. 138]

Other Items

The following are further examples of minor and major items:
    Minor Items: full camping gear, expensive tool kit, lock picks, poisons, mule [see "Bestiary" below], light-stone (continually sheds light in 5 m radius).
    Major Items: warhorse [see "Bestiary" below], smith's forge, alchemist's lab, wagon and team of draft animals.

Items of Power

The following is a sample list of exotic objects that might be purchased as Items of Power (2 CP/level):

Bear-sark (Level 2, 4 CP): This enchanted cloak was crafted from the fur of a white bear. It allows the wearer to "skinchange" into a white bear at will; the fur merges with the character, becoming his or her new skin. Metamorphosis 2 (see White Bear Template under "Were-Bear," above) (10 CP).

Blasting Seed (Level 1, 2 CP): This exotic seed (from the Walking Wood) becomes a dangerous trap when planted. Weapon Attack 1 (Damage 60, Area Effect, Trap, Limited Shots [1], Melee [must be carefully placed]) (4 CP).

Phoenix Sword (Level 1, 2 CP): This hilt appears to have no blade, but produces one made of fire when drawn and readied. This flame also serves to illuminate the surroundings like a torch. Environmental Control 1 (Light, small area) (1 CP), Weapon Attack 1 (Damage 30 [fire], Burning, Melee) (4 CP).

Magical Traditions

The following lists give examples of Attributes that are appropriate to buy with Magic power points (PP) for various types of spellcasters found in The Fenoriad. These are just suggestions, and players are welcome to propose new spells (or even new traditions) for the GM's consideration. For most of these spells, levels are left up to the player, but a few suggested minimums and/or maximums are given in brackets.

Fenorian Fire Magic

Fire Priests are limited to spells involving light, fire, and healing:
  • Environmental Control (Light) (1 PP/level)
  • Environmental Control (Temperature) (1 PP/level to increase only, 2 PP/level to increase and decrease)
  • Healing (4 PP/level)
  • Light Armour (optimized vs. fire) (1 PP/level)
  • Regeneration (4 PP/level)
  • Servant (fire-based creatures) (1 PP/level, bought separately) [For a typical fire elemental (Level 4), see the "Bestiary"]
  • Sixth Sense [1] (Detect Magic) (1 PP)
  • Special Attack (4 PP/level, per attack):
    • Armor of the Phoenix: damage by level -45, Aura, Burning
    • Blinding Light: damage by level +0, Area Effect, Flare, No Damage, Short Range
    • Fireball: damage by level -30, Area Effect, Burning
    • Flaming Sword: damage by level +15, Burning, Melee

Thulian Shamanism

Snow Shamans are limited to spells involving spirits, cold and weather:
  • Astral Projection (3 PP/level)
  • Environmental Control (Temperature) (1 PP/level to decrease only, 2 PP/level to increase and decrease)
  • Environmental Control (Weather) (2 PP/level if general, 3 PP/level if very specific)
  • Exorcism (1 PP/level)
  • Light Armour (optimized vs. cold) (1 PP/level)
  • Servant (arctic animals or cold-using monsters) (1 PP/level, bought separately) [A white bear is a Level 5 Servant, a minor winter demon Level 6.]
  • Sixth Sense [1-2] (Detect Magic, Detect Spirits) (1 PP/level)
  • Special Movement [1] (Light-footed) (1 PP)
  • Spirit Ward (1 PP/level)
  • Special Attack (4 PP/level, per attack):
    • Blast of Cold: damage by level +0, Spreading, Short Range
    • Icy Prison: damage by level +0, Incurable (only fire "heals" tangle damage), Tangle, Melee, No Damage

Elven Nature Magic

The elves of the Walking Wood use spells that allow them to emulate the Attributes of beasts, or to control plants or animals:
  • Features (homing instinct, night vision, etc.) (1 PP/level)
  • Flight (4 PP/level, -1 total if Skimmer, -2 if Glider)
  • Meld (with trees, animals, etc.) (2, 4, or 8 PP/level)
  • Metamorphosis (animal forms) (5 PP/level)
  • Natural Weapons (1 PP/level)
  • Servant (any natural or giant animal) (1 PP/level, bought separately)
  • Sixth Sense [1-3] (Detect Magic, Detect Spirits, Empathy) (1 PP/level)
  • Special Movement (1 PP/level)
  • Speed (1 PP/level)
  • Stealth (Hearing, Smell or Vision) (1 PP/level, bought separately)
  • Swarm (2 PP/level)
  • Telekinesis (wood) (1 PP/level)
  • Water Speed [1-2] (2 PP/level, or 3 PP/level if amphibious)
  • Special Attack (4 PP/level, per attack):
    • Musk Spray: damage by level +0, Area Effect, Irritant, Short Range, Toxic
    • Webbing: damage by level +0, Spreading, Tangle, No Damage, Short Range (or Constricting Ivy: remove No Damage)


Horses (10-12 CP)

Mule (10 CP; minor item)
    Body 4, Mind 2, Soul 4 (10 CP)
    Attributes: Damn Healthy 1 (1 CP), Jumping 1 (1 CP), Speed 1 (1 CP)
    Defects: Cannot Speak (1 BP), No Hands (2 BP)
    Derived Values: Attack Combat Value 3, Defense Combat Value 1, Health Points 50, Energy Points 30, Shock Value 10

Riding Horse (10 CP; minor item)
    As Mule, but add Extra Capacity 1 (1 CP) and Awkward Size (1 BP)

Warhorse (12 CP; major item)
    Body 5, Mind 2, Soul 4 (11 CP)
    Attributes: Damn Healthy 1 (1 CP), Extra Capacity 1 (1 CP), Jumping 1 (1 CP), Speed 2 (2 CP)
    Defects: Awkward Size (1 BP), Cannot Speak (1 BP), No Hands (2 BP)
    Derived Values: Attack Combat Value 3, Defense Combat Value 1, Health Points 55, Energy Points 30, Shock Value 11

Giant Lynx (20 CP)

The giant lynxes native to the elven woods are roughly the size and bulk of a sheepdog. Most weigh from 80-100 lbs. They are not big enough to be ridden.
    Body 5, Mind 3, Soul 4 (12 Stat Points)
    Attributes: Features 2 (Cold tolerance, night vision) (2 CP), Heightened Senses 3 (Hearing, Smell, Vision) (3 CP), Jumping 1 (1 CP), Light Armour 1 (Thick fur, 2 points armour) (1 CP), Special Movement 1 (Cat-Like) (1 CP), Stealth 1 (Affects Hearing) (1 CP), Telepathy 2* (only with bonded companion) (1 CP*)
    *Telepathy is discounted because it only applies to one other character. Non-bonded lynxes do not have this Attribute, so are worth 19 CP total.
    Defects: Cannot Talk (1 BP), Marked (big cat) (2 BP), No Hands (2 BP)
    Skills: Acrobatics 1 (Jumps) (3 SP), Stealth 1 (Silent Movement) (4 SP), Unarmed Attack 1 (Strike) (4 CP), Wilderness Survival 2 (Forest) (6 SP), Wilderness Tracking 1 (Forest) (3 SP)
    Derived Values: Attack Combat Value 4, Defense Combat Value 2, Health Points 45, Energy Points 35, Shock Value 9

White Bear (25 CP)

Body 8, Mind 2, Soul 4 (14 CP)
    Attributes: Damn Healthy 3 (2 CP), Features 2 (Cold tolerance, night vision) (2 CP), Heightened Awareness Level 1 (1 CP), Heightened Senses 1 (Smell) (1 CP), Light Armour 2 (Thick fur and fat, 5 points armour) (2 CP), Natural Weapons 2 (Claws, Fangs) (2 CP), Speed 1 (1 CP), Super Strength 1 (3 CP), Water Speed 1 (2 CP)
    Defects: Awkward Size (1 BP), Cannot Talk (1 BP), Marked (Bear) (2 BP), No Hands (2 BP)
    Skills: Controlled Breathing 1 (Hold Breath) (2 SP), Stealth 1 (Hide in Snow) (4 SP), Swimming 1 (Endurance) (1 SP), Unarmed Attack 1 (Strike) (4 CP), Wilderness Survival 2 (Arctic) (6 SP), Wilderness Tracking 1 (Arctic) (3 SP)
    Derived Values: Attack Combat Value 4, Defense Combat Value 2, Health Points 90, Energy Points 30, Shock Value 18

Fire Elemental (average) (18 CP*)

Body 4, Mind 2, Soul 4 (10 CP)
    Attributes: Environmental Control 1 (Temperature, increase only) (1 CP), Heavy Armour 1 (20 points armour vs. fire only) (4 CP), Special Attack 3 (Flame Aura: Damage 15, Aura) (12 CP)
    Defects: Cannot Talk (2 BP), Easily Distracted (burnable items) (1 BP), Marked (pillar of flame) (2 BP), Unskilled* (2 BP), Vulnerability (water, common) (2 BP)
    Skills: None
    Derived Values: Attack Combat Value 3, Defense Combat Value 1, Health Points 40, Energy Points 30, Shock Value 8
    *If bought as Servant, do not count Unskilled defect (20 CP total; Servant Level 4). Larger fire elementals will have higher Attribute levels and Body stats, and sometimes higher Soul stats, but rarely have new Attributes (other than fire-based Special Attacks) or high Mind stats. The more powerful an elemental is, the larger it is, usually acquiring Awkward Size at CP totals much above that shown here.

Run Notes

Third Edition Conversion

See The Fenoriad (3E) (originally posted at the BESM 3e Fan Wiki [site no longer available], now here at Thastygliax's Vault).

The material presented here is my original creation, intended for use with the Big Eyes, Small Mouth system from Guardians of Order. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Guardians of Order. BESM is copyright Guardians of Order, Inc.; all rights reserved.