Tales of Brittanis
The Twelve Precepts
…Or, replacing Alignment with Character Values.
Ages ago, after the Dawn War was finished, the gods prepared to withdraw from the mortal realm. The agreement they had made with Sarai and the other powerful Primal Spirits forbade the gods from inhabiting and directly interfering with the natural world. They knew that in their absence the mortal races would have no connection to the Celestial Realms. Thus, before they abandoned the world to its devices, they allied themselves together and each spoke words of celestial power into the earth. These words carried immeasurable mystic power, and the gods bound these sigils into the essence of Sarai, the Primordial who had bound her energy into the world in order to save it. Thus, these words of power have resonated through the mortal realm since the beginning.
Scholars believe that when the ancient elven race was exiled from Faerie into the mortal realm, it was these ancient Deep Magics that caused so many to go mad in those first years–the conflict of the Deep Magic writing itself into their being when it the elves had not experienced it before. The Twelve Precepts are embedded deep in everything that draws life, and especially those creatures that have a soul. Whether they know it or not on a conscious level, all sentient creatures native to Brittanis are influenced by the Deep Magic in myriad ways–at times overt, but most often a subtle, soft push here and there.
All player characters must choose at least three Precepts for their character. The character cannot take more than one as inverted. If a character chooses an inverted precept it must be designated before play begins and cannot be changed without permission of the GM.
All devout followers of a god or primordial must choose at least two Precepts in conjunction with their patron. This also applies to some followers of powerful Primal spirits.
Note: Yes, these are deliberately VERY vague and open to interpretation in a myriad of ways. They are designed to be potent, base-level assumptions about the world and thus are truly beyond good and evil. They simply are. That’s part of what I love about this kind of a system: two players can write “Prowess” on their character sheets and come about it from two very different, even diametrically opposite, views– but both of those players know that the accumulation of power in some form is of importance to the character. Also, it’s entirely possible to take one of these precepts and claim it as an inverted value, meaning the character knows of the tenet and actively chooses to flout it. Either way it bears a significant influence on the character’s choices and actions.
Seek excellence in all endeavors. Perfection, even if unattainable, should be your goal always. Gain strength, knowledge, and power in order to increase yourself towards your goals.
The words that issue from your mouth are your bond. Ensure always that you hold true to what you say. Regardless of personal interest, ensure that contracts are honored and bonds remain unbroken. Recognize that justice can be terrible, but it is that which keeps us from true chaos.
Be known for unwavering commitment to the people and ideals you choose to live by. There are many places in life where compromise may be needed. Loyalty is not among them.
Seek always to defend that which you hold allegiance to, whatever or whoever it may be–your nation, your lord, your family, your companions, and those whom you believe worthy of loyalty.
Courage means choosing the more difficult path, the personally expensive one. It is the choice that something else is more important to you than fear. Be prepared to make personal sacrifices in service of the precepts and people you value. Courage is choosing the hard and difficult path and walking past the easy, expedient path.
Whatever your belief, hold true to it. Do not require evidence or proof of your belief, but instead keep the truth of your belief close to you and guard it well. Keep the tenets of your faith and walk in the protection of that power.
Place value upon the contributions of others. Do not boast of your own accomplishments–if you wait, others will do this for you. Tell the deeds of others before your own, according them the renown rightfully earned through deeds.
Be generous insofar as your resources allow. Place the needs of others before your own. The needs of the community are greater than those of any one being. To hoard your resources– be it skill, knowledge, or wealth– weakens all those around you.
Seek stature, magnificence and superiority above others. It is the duty of those with the strength to lead to do so in the best way possible, for the masses will never lead themselves. Through leadership over others you can influence the world around you towards greatness.
When in doubt as to a course of action, hold to your beliefs first before all other considerations. Your ethics and beliefs are motives unto themselves and they will carry you through moments of trial so long as you rely on them and live in them. Follow your beliefs to their conclusion always.
Strive to succeed in all situations. Seek achievement always, no matter the circumstance, for attaining one goal empowers the acquisition of the next goal. Do not restrict your exploration to a small world, but seek to infuse every aspect of your life with these qualities. Should you succeed in even a tiny measure, you will be well remembered for your quality and victory.
The world is ordered and governed by codes of behavior, traditions and customs passed down through all races and that resonate with deep, quiet power. Learn and honor these ways and guide others to do the same. It is through these shared conventions that chaos is kept from our doorstep.