Original Text
IGC Review
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By the same designer:
Great Ork Gods

Developed on
The Forge

This chef has prepared a broadly traditional dish, hoping the Chairman will delight in the excellent preparation and presentation of a familiar dish while stranger and more exotic food while initially entrancing ultimately results in frequent and unpleasant trips to the boys' room. Chanter is played in traditional style with a standard GM-player distinction, and the players' main means of influence is through the actions of their character.

Chanters world is, the chef hopes, fresh and new, however, with inspiration drawn from many feudal sources as well the writings of Masterchef John Kim and Esteemed Writer Robert Silverberg. Its alien fantasy world will provoke awe and wonder while opening the door on many exciting challenges and adventures. Will you favour honour, or mercy? Will you betray your allies, or accept defeat? Is calling in others to help protect your peons worth the debt of gratitude due?


  1. The World.
    1. Society.
    2. The Way of the Chanter
    3. Flora and Fauna
    4. Technology and Equipment
  2. Rolling the Dice.
  3. The Four Attributes.
    1. Island
    2. Ice
    3. Dawn
    4. Assault
  4. Creating Your Character
  5. Playing the Game
    1. Conflict Resolution
    2. The Order of Play
    3. Injuries and Healing
    4. Time, Adventures and Campaigns
  6. Magic
    1. Using Powers
    2. The Powers
  7. Character Advancement
  8. Example Allies, Creatures, Monsters and Foes
  9. Chef's Notes
1. The World

Each day the sun dies, and its ashes fall to earth. Every morning the Chanters chant for the new sun, and with the dawn it is born anew.

All-that-is is not like our world - it is world rich in magic and teleology. Here things fall to earth not because they are drawn by Gravity, but because that is the place they are meant to be, the plants grow by their own magic, and the Sun hangs in the centre of the world because that is its place. All-that-is is shaped like the inside of an egg, its inhabitants can see the ground curve up and away from them. The year in All-that-is is defined by the procession of the sun - every 320 days it traces out a circle in a plane through the fattest part of the egg - and in its procession it brings seasons to the lands of the bulge, colder as the sun moves away, warmer as it returns. While the wide end of the world basks eternally in a continual and barely changing heat and the narrow end is unchanging in its cold and ice.

Direction in All-that-is is reckoned with four directions: Narrowward (towards the narrow end), Wideward (towards the wide end), Pro (round the egg in the direction of the sun's procession) and Counter (round the egg opposite to the direction of the sun's procession). There are no stars and no clouds and there is no moon, the darkness of night is impenetrable outside of artificial light and sometimes, in the dark, the rain comes falling to earth from who-knows-where.

The young Chanters sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the teacher for their first lesson, excitement was obvious in their faces but they already possessed the discipline to sit still and be quiet. The teacher was old now but he still wore the bone armour proudly - its intricate carvings badges of honour from past glories. In his hand he held a hard-boiled egg.

"All-that-is is shaped like this egg. We are here," he stabbed a gnarled finger at a point on the fattest part of the egg. "Although, of course, on the inside, not the out - for how could there be an outside to all-that-is?" Taking up a knife, he sliced the egg into two neat halves. "And like the yolk lies central in the egg, so the sun lies central in all-that-is. Every night the sun dies, and its ashes fall to earth, and before every dawn you will perform the chants that bring the new sun and by this ancient duty you will ensure the life and health of all-that-is."

One child dared raise a trembling hand. The teacher raised an eyebrow. "Yes?"

"We know of the sun, master, we see it everyday and we have heard the chants. Tell us of the rain, master? From whence does it come? What must we do to ensure its fall?"

"We know not of where the rain comes, child, for it falls only in the dark when the Sun is not. You must fill the sacred bowls and bless the waters so that they may call to their loved ones that they may fall as the rain by night. All these things will be known to you at the proper time."

The Chanters are the central characters in Chanter. They are part Knight, part Lord, part Mage and part Priest. Their greatest duty is to perform the chant that brings the new sun every day before dawn, but they are also warriors, judges and landlords as the only wielders of the Dawn magic.

1.1. Society

Chanter society is heavily stratified, with the Chanters possessing great power and land, while the common folk (peons) live in squalor and work hard tending their crops and animals for the Chanter's benefit. There is little religion in the Chanter's lands (Chanterdom), they believe in a creator who is now gone, or dead, and that it is they that bring the sun each day and through it all growth and life. It is this role that they believe gives the right, duty and responsibility to rule over the common folk. Chanters themselves are arranged in hierarchical, and feudal, bonds of power, listed here lowest to highest:

Gin Sat - Chanters who have passed the training but have no land remain in direct service to the Sazon of their house.
Sat - the lowest landed rank (and the one to which starting players belong), they will have a small holding of perhaps fifty subjects.
Ursat - they are owed the fealty of perhaps a half dozen Sats and directly hold perhaps two hundred subjects.
Freda - their holding is likely a small town, of perhaps five hundred subjects, they also command the loyalty of three or four Ursats.
Surgay - their seat of power is usually a fortified town, of maybe one to two thousand subjects, as well as a few small villages. They usually command a dozen or so Ursats and sometimes a couple of Freda.
Sazon - Sazons rule houses (see below). Although their direct holding are usually smaller than a Surgay they wield far greater influence.
Ursazon - the high Sazon - the head of the currently ruling house, the Ursazon is the most powerful man in the land.
King - the King, although he has the greatest holdings, has less influence than the Ursazon.

Chanters owe their primary loyalty to one of the many Houses of Chanterdom, and often to a faction within that house. These loyalties are changeable and it is common for a Chanter to rise in power by means of a well-timed betrayal. The loyalty to houses, and factions, runs parallel to the legal obligations of military and financial support owed through the feudal structure represented by Sats, Ursats, Freda and Surgays and ultimately to the King. Houses are frequently organised along family lines, but there is sufficient movement among them that this is not always so and it is not uncommon to find brothers in different houses.

Chanterdom is relatively secure, although constant border-skirmishing occurs with its neighbours the Chanters have the superior arms, armour, troops and magics on the side and thus win more often that they lose. This has resulted in a society that is almost entirely in-looking, with Chanters more interested in besting each other than in besting their supposed foes. Their life is preoccupied with currying favour and trying to impress one another with deeds or words and with their devotion to the way of the Chanter.

1.2. The Way of the Chanter

Chanters value discipline and bravery above all. They have a word 'ice' that is used to describe those that are unflinching before danger and unwavering in their resolve. Although martial duels are fought between Chanters, it is more common to have what are known as 'ice' contests. Each Chanter takes turns trying to make the other react in someway without touching them, while the other one stares, unblinkingly, straight ahead. This most frequently involves sudden strikes stopping just in front of the head, or complex and obscure insults delivered as a kind of rhythmic poem (see the Ice section below for mechanical rules for Ice contests).

Chanter society is full of tradition. From the daily Chant to bring the Sun, to various yearly festivals, to many complicated rituals performed when meeting friends, challenging enemies or just eating or drinking. Chanters are expected to never become intoxicated and to do so carries the penalty of death. Chanters have the right to hold judgement over their subjects, and can summarily execute them if it takes their fancy to do so, even for the slightest of perceived insults. Needless to say, the common folk are exceptional polite to Chanters.

Chanters follow common practices of Hospitality, and will not harm anyone they welcome into their home while they remain there. To do otherwise is a great dishonour. It also considered a great dishonour to use magic against another Chanter, or to use missile weapons of any sort against another Chanter. Marriages within Chanter society are nearly always for political gain rather than for love, and it is usual for a Chanter to maintain several mistresses taken from the common folk as well as their wife (who is always taken from Chanter society). Male children born to Chanters are usually trained up as Chanters themselves - however should they be born without magic they are given to a common family to adopt and struck from the family tree of their Chanter parents.

Chanters are taken from their families at the age of seven and spend the next fourteen years in training. They study the military arts, the traditions of the Chanters, the magics they will need as well as the gentle arts - the formal manners, polite rituals and correct etiquette for polite and noble company. Life in training is hard: the boys are frequently beaten, and given little in the way of luxuries or home comforts. When they complete the training, they are tested to see if they are ready to be a Chanter and any who fail are sent narrowward in exile. Those who pass are welcomed as Chanters in a lavish ceremony. Most are given lands and become Sats in their own right, inevitable there are more boys than open lands, however, and those whoa are left over go instead into the direct service of their Sazon as Gin Sats.

1.3. Flora and Fauna

All-that-is is an alien world - not merely a psuedo-european patchwork - the plants in the farmer's field are not corn, potatoes or turnips and the animals they farm are not pigs, cows or chickens. The grow edible fronds, the berries of the floating Macobo plant, the tubers of the carnivorous Atalak plant and the vast, red fruit of the wide-leafed Umjub tree while it the fields the almost squid-like floating Akachibor graze slowly on the moss pulling themselves along with their powerful tentacles, the same powerful tentacles that are used to pull ploughs and wagons, while the eggs of the Cratchis lizard make for fine omelettes and the milk of the small, slow and fat Bobos makes a change from drinking boiled water. The commoners brew fine ales from the roots and leaves of Havarda and make rough wines from the fruit of the parasitic strangler vine.

The great forests are filled with strange creatures: giant snakes, quick footed reptiles and giant flightless birds inhabit the floors while howler monkeys and bright plumaged birds cry from the treetops above. Most feared are perhaps packs of the six-foot Torva lizard, with its diseased bite, and the terrible claws and beaks of the massive flightless eight-foot Welta and Grunter birds.

Worse, however, than the common animals are the strange monsters that spring unwelcome on the land. Monsters in All-that-is are not races, nor kinds, nor species but singular creations. They are unique, created once and never to be made again. There have only ever been the four black-faced trolls and there will only ever be those four. The terrible winged Manticore is the only of its kind, and it sings lonely and haunting songs for a mate will never come. Monsters are not a common threat, but they are frequently dangerous and there is great glory and valour to be found in killing them.

1.4. Technology and Equipment

Metal is extremely rare in All-that-is, thus most technology is based around wood and stone. However, it would be a mistake to think that Chanterdom is a stone age civilisation. Their woodworking techniques are easily a match for late medieval europe, and what steel they do work is of fine quality. Commoners generally live in one-room wood framed houses that contain entire families, while Chanters generally live in structures built from a mixture of wood, brick and stone. Glass windows are reasonably common; although the glass is neither smooth nor entirely clear. The richer and more powerful Chanters live in mansions of up to three or four stories, often with crenalated battlements above. Seige warfare is uncommon however, and thus vast stone castles are rare with smaller forts with wooden walls and stone keeps are prefered.

Chanters usually dress in bone armour. Constructed from worked pieces of bone sewn over tanned lizard skin it is before hard and highly protective. Chanters carve patterns onto the bones to indicate the battles they have seen, and wear elaborate and colourful cloaks over the shoulders and back of their armour to indicate their allegiances. Their swords are straight, hand-and-a-half affairs with circular guards. There are only a few forges in all of Chanterdom capable of making these fine steel blades and only Chanters have the means to afford them.

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2. Rolling the Dice

Chanter uses d6s for its bones, and you'll need a fair handful - but you're roleplayers so I know you've got them, if not you can purchase blocks of thirty-six 6mm d6s from your local gaming store for a few quid. Conflicts are determined by rolling a bunch of d6s (see below for how many should be rolled), and looking for duplicates. Rolls are called by saying the largest number of matches in what number and how many other duplicates you got (extras).

Robin rolls ten dice and gets 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6 and announces that he got two 6s and three extras.
Ant rolls seven dice, getting 1, 2, 2, 2, 4, 4, - he announces that he's got three 2s and one extra.
Gilli rolls four dice, getting 2, 4, 4, 5 - she announces that she's got two 4s.
Mike rolls eight dice, getting 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 5, 5, 5 - he announces he got three 5s and two extras.
I roll five dice and get 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 - I announce I got nothing
All rolls in Chanter are opposed. Usually the GM rolls the opposition dice - rolling a number of dice according to how hard the task is. Whoever got the highest duplicate wins, or if they got the same duplicate (i.e. both got triples) then whoever got it in the highest number wins (thus three 5s beats three 3s, but four 2s beats both of them). Each extra on the player's side mean something extra good happened (bonus), each extra on the GM's side means something extra bad happened (penalty). The player can choose to cancel a penalty out with a bonus. Bonuses and penalties can either take the form of new elements added to the situation or world, or simply consequences of the action being taken. The GM decides and declares the results of both penalties and bonuses.

Should the roll be tied both on duplicity and number shown then it is a tie and no resolution to the action is achieved (if they're climbing a cliff, they got a little stuck for a while but can carry on; if they're picking a lock they haven't solved it yet but might be able to; if they're fighting someone, they've fought back and forth but neither side has yet gained a conclusive advantage) any extras, however, still take effect.

Some situations can give the player an advantage or disadvantage: for example they could be using better armour, or better weapons than their opponent, or they could be using top quality equipment to pick the lock, or they might be in a hurry, or injured. Each advantage gives the player an extra dice, while disadvantages take dice away (alternatively the GM can choose to raise the difficulty instead) - although the total bonus from advantages should typically never go above two extra dice.

Ant's character, Sat Morizas, is attempting to climb a cliff to sneak into the back of an enemy encampment. The cliff is pretty steep, so the GM calls a difficulty of 7 dice. Ant is throwing 8 dice, so he has a pretty good chance of success. He rolls three fours and one extra, while the GM rolls two fives and two extras. That leaves Sat Morizas with a success with one penalty. The GM decides that the penalty means that Morizas kicked a rock down the cliff as he was climbing. The noise from the rockfall will mostly likely alert his enemies to his presence.
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3. The Four Attributes

3.1. Island The island stands alone in the ocean, in its strength it resists the wind, the tide and the waves. It survives alone, and on its one merits. Similarly, a characters Island is their ability to look after themselves. Players roll island to hunt, to climb walls, to track prey, or enemies, to hide from foes and to sneak through the undergrowth without being scene.

Example difficulties:

2 Walking against a strong wind, swimming in calm waters.
3 Climbing an easy tree, running on rough ground. To track a large group of people who passed in the last day or two.
4 Swimming against the current, climbing a rough cliff, building a simple shelter in good conditions. To sneak past an inattentive guard.
5 Hunting and gathering enough food for one person in a forest, climbing a hard tree. To track one person who passed in the last day or two.
6 Climbing a rough cliff in the rain, walking across a narrow ledge in a strong wind.
7 Hunting and gathering enough food for one person in open planes, or gathering enough for a few people in the forest.
8 To track one person who was trying to cover their tracks and passed in the last day or two. To climb a sheer cliff.
9 To sneak past a well-trained and alert sentry.
10 To climb a sheer cliff in the rain.

3.2. Ice Ice, as discussed above, is the measure of the perfection of ones embracing of the way of the Chanter. It represents will power, cool, rigidity of thought and mind and the ability to stand unflinching in danger. Contests of Ice are common and important in Chanter society, a contest of ice is a straight forward roll of the player's ice vs. their opponents ice. Ice also determines the order of action where it is important in a scene (see below).

Example difficulties:

3 To keep ones cool when faced with a Torva lizard.
5 To keep ones cool when face with a pack of Torva lizards.
6 To avoid flinching when surprised by a sudden and loud noise. To avoid crying out when injured.
8 To keep cool when faced by a terrifying monster, such as a Troll or Manticore.

3.3. Dawn The magics of All-that-is are intricately linked to the dawn, and the daily creation of the sun. It is the magic that runs in the blood of all Chanters that allows them to chant in the dawn and, indeed, makes them Chanters at all. Dawn is used primarily in the casting of spells, however it is also a measure of one's linkage with the world and thus it also covers rolls to notice, or spot, things as well as to identify plants and animals. See Magic And Spells for details.

3.4. Assault The fourth and final attribute is Assault. Battles, duels and other forms of combat are common in All-that-is. Monsters threaten villages, the conflicts between factions and houses frequently spill over into violence and there is the ever-present threat from other civilisations and from barbarian tribes. Assault is used in any combat situation.

In a combat situation, better armour (i.e. bone vs. anything, leather vs. none) and/or better weapons (Chanter steel vs. anything, flint axe vs. wooden clubs, wooden clubs vs. no weapon) count as advantages. Thus, players will commonly find themselves with a two dice advantage when fighting foes. Additionally during combat bonuses can be counted as injuries to the foe, and penalties as injuries to the characters (see injuries).

Sometimes multiple characters will be fighting one foe, or one foe will be fighting multiple characters. In this case those with the numerical upperhand get an extra dice for each one of them after the first. The single opponent must roll once for each foe and must win all the conflicts in order to put down a single foe. The multiple fighters need only win one of their conflicts to defeat the foe.

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4. Character Creation

Players in Chanter all play Chanters (big surprise!), and thus begin with land holdings, and all the status, trappings and responsibilities that go with that role. Players must assign each of the four attributes a priority starting from 'A' as the best, down to 'D' as the worst. They can choose either to either to assign one A, one B, one C and one D (ABCD) or two Bs and two Cs (BBCC) for a more generalist character.

Mike wants his character to be strong on magic, and deeply involved in the structure of Chanter society but not so capable of looking after himself - he decides that ABCD is the best option and assigns an A to Dawn, a B to Ice, a C to Assault and a D to Island.

Ant wants his character, San Morizas, to be independent and a capable all rounder - he decides that BBCC is his best option and assigns Bs to Island and Ice and Cs to Dawn and Assault.

The four attributes (Island, Ice, Dawn and Assault) are assigned a number of dice based on their priority: 10 dice for A, 8 dice for B, 6 dice for C and down to 4 dice for D. It should be noted that a typical commoner only rolls three or four dice for any action, thus the PCs have a substantial advantage before even considering their probable advantage in terms of equipment

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5. Playing the Game

Ok, so you know about the world. You know the good part of rules. Maybe you even like what you've read. But what now what do you actually do? And how do the rules relate to what you do?

5.1. Conflict Resolution

Chanter uses conflict rather than task resolution for all situations. Thus rather than rolling 'I hit, I do 5 pts of damage, they hit me they do 4 pts of damage, etc.' you roll 'I fight, I win' or 'I fight, I lose so now I try and run away'. After every conflict occurs the GM will announce the resolution, the players can either accept that resolution, ask for a new and different conflict to change the resolution or, if they won, ask for a different resolution. Let's look at an example:

Ant's character, Sat Morizas, is fighting a bandit. Morizas has an Assault of 7 dice and is armed with a Chanter steel sword but unarmoured as he wasn't expecting a fight. The bandit rolls 5 dice, is wearing leather armour and carrying a flint axe. Morizas advantage in having a superior weapon is cancelled out by his lack of armour relative to the bandit.

Ant rolls three 4s and no extras, while the GM (rolling for the bandit) rolls two 3s and one extra.

Ant wins the fight, but suffers a small wound (from the bandits extra). The GM announces that Morizas has killed the bandit. But Ant objects, he wants only to pin the bandit and not kill him. This is a reasonable resolution to the situation so the GM agrees.

Now let's look at what might have happened if Morizas had lost the fight:
Ant rolls remarkably poorly getting only two 4s and one extra, the GM meanwhile rolls an impressive three 6s and no extras.

The GM announces that Ant has lost the fight, and the bandit has slit his throat. Obviously, Ant doesn't want his character to die, so instead he wants to run away. He asks that his extra mean that the bandit stumble when trying to follow him. The GM agrees, so play moves on to a second conflict - that of Morizas trying to escape - but with the bandit suffering a disadvantage for having stumbled. If Ant wins Morizas escapes, if the bandit wins then Morizas is now in deep trouble. Since the fight conflict has already been determined (and Morizas lost) he cannot now attempt to fight the bandit again, but must choose another course of action (perhaps offering his surrender, or attempting to bribe the bandit).

5.2. The Order of Play

The order in which players take their actions is not usually important in Chanter, however if it should become so then characters with higher Ice can choose whether they go before or after characters of lower Ice. If two characters have equal Ice their players can either choose arbitarily who goes first, or if they really care, they can have an Ice contest to see who gets to decide.

5.3. Injuries and healing

In the course of the violent and dramatic life of a Chanter it is quite likely that they will pick up a few injuries. Injuries are dealt with in an abstracted manner in Chanter. The first injury a Chanter takes has no effect, but each injury after that counts as a 1 dice disadvantage on all actions, thus a Chanter with three injuries is at -2 dice to all actions. When the reduction in dice reduces a Chanters effective Island to one they are no longer able to take any strenuous activity, but can still hobble about and (if their Dawn is still high enough) manage to cast magic. When their effective island is reduced to zero or below they are effectively bed-ridden, and usually rendered temporarily unconscious.

Healing an injury takes a number of weeks equal to the current injuries. Thus healing from four injuries down to three takes four weeks, and healing completely takes another six weeks for a total of ten weeks. Chanters do have healing magics available to them; however, they feel to deal so trivially with pain is cowardly and, thus, tend not to use it unless the need is pressing.

5.4. Adventures, Campaigns and Time

Different adventures in Chanter should have months or even years of game time between them - this allows for a changing political and economic climate through across different adventures and allows players advancement through the power structure of Chanterdom to be measured rather than sudden and metioric. Campaigns are likely, therfore to follow whoel lifetimes for the PCs, and possible the lives of their children after them. Since character advancement is linked to their age, unless you follow this convention the PCs will not get a chance to improve.

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6. Magic

A Chanter's magic ebbs and flows with the passing of the dawn, the day, the dusk and the dark. Their greatest powers are only available in the three hours immediately after the birth of the new sun, their powers remain steady during the day but as the sun fades and dies they begin to dwindle before vanishing with the fall of ashes. Chanters cannot cast any magic during the hours of darkness. The below table shows which power are available when:

Dawn only


Dawn and Daytime


Dawn, Daytime and Dusk


6.1. Using Powers

Using magic is simply a matter of willing it so. Some powers (see their descriptions) require an extended period of concentration to achieve results, others are instantaneous - either way there are no magical gestures, words of power or spell ingredients required. Using a power is a Dawn attribute roll against the a number of dice determined depending on the power (see their descriptions), failure is handled specially for powers - failure always results in a temporary loss of one dice from the character's Dawn attribute and a Backlash dependent on the power. The power does not take effect. The player may also choose to take a penalty as a reduction in their Dawn attribute instead of suffering the detrimental effect - but only if they have three or more dice of Dawn left. Characters who have lost points of Dawn recover one each day at the Chant.

Using powers in rapid succession is tiring. Characters who do so increase the difficulty of the later uses by one dice for each time a power is used. A five-minute rest is sufficient to recover and avoid any further penalty.

6.2. The Powers

Animals: Just as the sun guides and creates life, so do the Chanters than bring the sun have a strong link with life. The use of the animal power allows the caster to change the behaviour of animals towards him, to control animals and to talk to animals. These are detailed separately below. The Backlash in all cases is that the animals the caster is trying to effect will view him as a foe, and either flee, attack or threaten as appropriate for the kind of animal. Animals that have had their reaction changed by backlash cannot have it changed back by the caster. The animal's opinion of the caster will return to normal in about a day. All animal powers are affected in difficulty by the kind of animals: reptiles cost an extra dice; insects cost three extra dice; herbivores cost an extra dice; domestic animals cost one less dice and, finally, particularly small or stupid animals cost an extra dice.

The easiest power is simply to change the animals reaction towards him, animals can be considered hostile, neutral or friendly - each step the caster wants to achieve along that line is a two dice cost. Thus to change an animal from hostile to friendly is a two dice difficulty. Additional targets after the first cost an extra dice each.

Next is talking to animals. In the world of All-that-is all animals have languages that they talk to each other in. However they may, or may not, have the words (or thoughts) to express all human concepts. Herd animals tend to be obsessed with the herd, and with the plants they eat, while pack animals thoughts are constantly torn between loyalty to the pack and the desire to overthrow their leader and replace them, etc. Talking to an animal costs a base of 4 dice.

Commanding animals is harder, although the difficulty depends on how natural the action is. To command an animal to do something it might naturally do costs a base of 4 dice, to command an animal to do something that it wouldn't otherwise do but doesn't go against it's nature costs 6 dice and to command an animal to do something that goes against its nature costs 8 dice. What an animal can be commanded to do depends upon its intelligence.

Fire allows the caster to create, control, extinguish and direct fire. Controlling existing fire is easier than creating new fire. The total number of dice depends on: the amount of fire controlled (one dice for each torchworth of fire), the amount of fire created (one dice for a candlefire, or two dice for each torchworth) and what they wish to do to it (to shape fire costs one dice, to project it costs one dice per ten feet) and how many pieces they wish to break it into (one dice for each additional part). Extinguishing fire costs one dice for each two torch's worth of fire. A torchworth of fire if directed onto a living target deals one injury of damage, and will set fire to flammable targets.

Mike wants to project fire from the campfire onto the approaching pack of wolves. He has ten dice of Dawn at his disposal, so he decides to strike the first three wolves with fire, each for a torchworth. Three torch's worth of fire costs three dice, the wolves are 15' feet from the fire, so that's another two, and he needs to hit three targets so that's another two dice for a total of seven.
Playing with fire is dangerous however, as any backlash from using Fire will burn the caster. The caster suffers one injury for every two dice he was attempting to manipulate, to a minimum of one dice.

Healing of the injured is a rather mundane activity and Chanters rarely engage in it, however their powers are well capable of coming in useful. Healing can only be used on a given target once per day whether the healing is successful or not, and whether it is cast by the same Chanter or not. The difficulty of healing is equal to the number of injuries plus another four dice. Successful healing removes one injury from the target. Failure results in the injury worsening (the healing time is doubled). Bonuses and penalties may be ignore on healing rolls.

Mindspeech allows the caster to send mental communications to others. Mindspeech costs one dice for each word to be sent, plus another dice for each hundred feet after the first hundred feet the message is to be sent. The Backlash from Mindspeech is a sudden blinding headache for the caster that prevents them using any further powers for the next half hour. Penalties may result in the words being slightly altered or garbled, while Bonuses can manifest as images or inflection in the message helping to make it clearer.

Plants may seem to be simply a coloured backdrop to the altogether more active and exciting world of people and animals, but in reality they are like a great sponge soaking up an awareness of all that is about them. The Chanter can tap into this sense and use it to know what is around, and what has happened. Tuning in to the plants takes five minutes of quiet concentration. Once tuned in the caster can attempt to gain knowledge from the plants, the easiest is to know what is happening know in an area round the caster - this costs two dice per fifteen feet of radius around the caster. Knowing what has happened in the near past is also possible - this costs an extra dice for each hour back the caster wishes to go. Each 'sense' takes one minute to complete. The backlash on using plant sense is that all the plants being used die. Sensing through plants only works with a good concentration of living plants, and thus cannot be used in urban areas.

Sensing through the plants is not the only use of the Plants power however, Chanters can also shape wood with their minds. This power works equally well on living and dead wood and can be used on targets up to ten feet from the caster. The wood moves slowly as it shapes itself so this is rarely an effective attack. The difficulty of the casting is a base of two dice, plus one extra dice for each litre of wood to be affected, plus another three dice if the wooden object to be affected is being used held and used by someone (or something). There is no Backlash to using woodshape.

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7. Character Advancement

Characters in Chanter follow a predictable progression of improvement, apogee and decline. This progression is based on time in the game world. It is assumed that starting characters have just turned twenty-one, and thus just come into lordship of their first demesne (pronounced, surprisingly more-or-less as domain), when they reach twenty-two they gain a bonus die they can assign to any one attribute. At twenty-three the same happens, and so on until they reach thirty. At thirty, they receive a final bonus attribute die and then, for the next three years, remain level. Starting at thirty-three they lose a die each year. Characters are usually retired at forty-five to fifty. Thus players receive a maximum of nine extra dice (for a total of thirty-seven before declining indefinitely, usually falling below the level of a starting character before retirement). Removed dice cannot be used to lower a stat below 2 dice, and added dice cannot be used to raise a stat above 14 dice.

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8. Example Allies, Creatures and Foes

Non-chanters are generally given scores for three attributes: Island, Ice and Assault - Dawn is not usually relevant for non-Chanters. Even those who use magic typically have their own means of casting quite different from that of the Chanter. Use Ice, instead, for perception rolls. No example monsters are given; for fear that you might use them in your games as 'stock' monsters - each monster in Chanter should be a unique and special butterfly.



In any country as open in its lands and uneven in its society as Chanterdom there are malcontents that live by stealing and mugging. Some bandits are ex-soldiers, others are escaped criminals while others simply fell out with society. Bandits are typically poorly equiped compared to Chanters - protected by lizard skin armour, and armed with flint axes or hardened wooden spears.

Typical Bandit

Island: 4
Ice: 5
Assault: 5

Bandit Leader

Island: 5
Ice: 6
Assault: 7


No, not the pretty, singing kind but the giant, flightless and dangerous kind. Two forms are particularly common: Weltas and Grunters. Weltas are slightly larger and stockier while Grunters are more lightly built and faster runners - able to reach around forty miles an hour. Both have grey, brown and yellow plumage which makes them difficult to spot in the forests in which they hunt. They are usually solitary, although a mother may be accompanied by young chicks.

Welta Island: 8
Ice: 6
Assault: 7

Grunter Island: 7
Ice: 7
Assault: 6


The common folk will generally run, surrender or beg for mercy rather than fight. If they do fight it is likely that they will only be armed with farming implements, or axes designed for chopping wood.

Male Commoner Island: 3
Ice: 2
Assault: 3

Female Commoner Island: 3
Ice: 2
Assault: 2

Woodsman Island: 7
Ice: 4
Assault: 3


Most towns and villages will have a few men who have been given basic training with weapons. They are typically unarmoured, but carry wooden shields, and spears or axes.

Island: 3
Ice: 4
Assault: 4


Snakes are a common threat on the forest floors. Ranging in size from about a foot in length, to maybe twelve or fifteen feet long, all are to avoided for a view are venomous. Anyone bitten by a poisonous snake must make an 8 dice Island roll, or collapse into unconsciousness and be bedridden for several weeks recovering from the venom (Chanter magic cannot heal poisons or diseases).

Small snake (<3 feet)

Island: 7
Ice: 4
Assault: 2

Medium snake (3-6 feet)

Island: 7
Ice: 5
Assault: 3

Large snake (6-10 feet)

Island: 7
Ice: 6
Assault: 4

Giant snake (10-15 feet)

Island: 7
Ice: 8
Assault: 6


Standing armies are relativaly rare and small in Chanterdom, the highly limited availability of metal weapons means that battles tend to centre on conflicts between well armed, and trained, 'heroes' rather than mass melees. Soldiers generally high quality lizard skin armour, or even bone armour, a few have metal blades but steel-tipped spears or steel-headed axes are more common.

Island: 5
Ice: 5
Assault: 6


Torva are carnivorous pack lizards, about six-feet long, and two to three foot tall. Although generally slow moving, they are capable of sprinting short distances at great speed. Their heads are rounded, with powerful jaws packed with long, sharp teeth and their toes are tipper with powerful, tearing claws. About as intelligent as dogs, Torvas are capable of decent organisation and have been known to ambush travellers. They live in packs of six to ten individuals, led by a single male who can be up to ten feet long and is distinguish by red markings on his head and neck. Solitary males are also occasionally encountered. Torvas mouths are usually festering with bacteria and disease, and so bites from them frequently become infected. Anyone bitten by a Torva must make a 6 dice Island roll or sucumb to infection. The infection will flare up about a day after the bite, and render the victim bed-ridden for up to four weeks - Chanter magic has no effect on poison or disease.

Torva female

Island: 6
Ice: 8
Assault: 5

Torva Male

Island: 5
Ice: 6
Assault: 7

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Appendix: Chef's Notes

This chef began by using the four ingredients as the four attributes. This was his central concept. However, as his game as progressed, two of the four have gained roles in the world outside of the attributes. This chef fears that the comparative difference in strength of concepts between different ingredients will count against him. An obvious solution would be to change the world to be organised as Islands, however this chef feels that to compromise the dish to prioritise the ingredients would be foolhardy.

The chef feels that it is apparent that his dish needs the sauce provided by mechanics for political intrigue among the houses, however the chef feels that preparing and refining such a sauce would take longer than he has and that providing a poorly construed sauce in such an area would be worse than providing no sauce at all.

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Chanter is copyright 2004 Jack Aidley