Lightning

(Tom Clare)

Lightning strikes are uncommon but not rare in a country where tall castles, towers and churches tend to be built on the highest points of a district. Lightning is accepted as an act of God*, one for which there is no real remedy but prayer… and the violent ringing of church bells.

Whenever a thunderstorm seems imminent the bell-ringers are called to their churches to ring out great peals, which, the learned say, causes undulations in the air and breaks up the worst of the storm. Most people, however, believe that the consecrated iron bells simply drive off the spirits of the storm. ‘Fulgura Frango’ (“I break up the lightning”) is often inscribed around the lips of bells. The act of pulling the thick bell ropes that hang, suspended in the tall bell tower of a church during a thunderstorm is, however, extremely dangerous to the ringers (see ‘shocks’ below).

Trees, especially solitary trees, and especially oaks, are also prone to lightning strikes. A blasted tree will detonate in a medium explosion, affecting anyone sheltering under it (and, in a rainstorm on an empty plain, finding shelter is a natural thing to do). The masts of ships at sea are another obvious target for thunderbolts, and the little wooden ships of the time are particularly susceptible to damage or destruction by lightning and subsequent fire.

Lightning Rules

  • A small lightning strike delivers 3d6 points of damage.
  • A large lightning strike delivers 5d6 points of damage.

Players whose characters are wet or wearing metal armour must roll an additional die of damage. A character who is floating or flying may reduce the damage rolled by two dice.

Lightning striking flammable materials, such as thatch, wood, or fabric, has a 4 in 6 chance of starting a medium fire. If the material is wet, as is probable, the chance is 2 in 6.

Electricity is unpredictable; if a player rolls a six on any of the dice when working out damage from electrical attacks, they must roll that die a second time and add this result to the damage gained. If this roll comes up with a six they must roll again, and so-on.

Shocks

Although the usual source of electricity in Albion* is lightning, those in contact with metal or water while in a highly charged atmosphere (such as during a thunderstorm) or when present at a scene of great magic may receive an electrical shock. Some uncanny creatures or spirits may also use electricity as an attack.

The referee might roll 1d6 to find the severity of the shock: on 1 to 3 the character suffers a small shock; on 4 or 5, a sizable shock; on a 6 they are subject to a large shock.

  • A small shock delivers 1d3 points of damage (such a small shock is limited in the harm it can do – damage is only rerolled once, on a three).
  • A sizable shock delivers 1d6 points of damage.
  • A large shock delivers 2d6 points of damage.
Again, if a player rolls a six on any of the dice when working out damage from electrical attacks, they must roll that die a second time and add this result to the damage gained. If this roll comes up with a six they must roll again, and so-on.

(For the record, the 'rolling again on a six' mechanic for electricity was borrowed from the Québécois Gear Krieg.)

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