New profession Thane

The Thane is a proud warrior who exalts in the martial traditions of an age that is almost gone: Where personal courage was paramount. Thanes are not berserkers, they are boastful warriors who delight in challenges and single combat and whose whole lives are spent in the search for a good death in battle at the behest of their Lord. They are honour bound to obey their master unless he shows himself to be craven or a man of little valour, for these warriors hold their renown dearer than any Albish Knight does. Masters of Melee & thrown spears, long axe and shield combat and other skills besides they are an interesting variation on a martial character.

Character Creation Summary

A. Strength, Reflexes, Intelligence, Psychic Talent and Looks: roll 3d6 for each (Strength
and Reflexes must both be 12 or above).
B. Health-Points: roll 1d6+7
C: Basic Attack 13, Defence 5.
D. Basic Magical Defence 4
E: Basic Evasion 5
F: Basic Stealth 14, Perception 6
G: Special Abilities at first rank: Spear and Shield Combat, Carouse, Forage, and Shieldwall plus one other ability (choose). They must also roll for one Flaw or Geas.
H: Starting Equipment: Spear or axe, Shield, Chain Hauberk (AF 3), backpack, flint and tinder, dagger, 1d20 florins.


•+1 to Attack and Defence each time the Thane advances in Rank.
•+1 to Health Points each time the Thane advances in Rank.
•+1 to Magical Defence each time the Thane advances in Rank.
•+1 to Evasion at 5th Rank and at 9th Rank.
•+1 to Perception and Stealth at 3rd Rank, 5th Rank, 7th Rank and 9th Rank.
•Choose a new special ability at 3rd Rank, 6th Rank and 9th Rank. Note that the Good Death Ability is automatically gained at 9th Rank as an additional boon.

Skills and Abilities

The following abilities represent the many virtues of this noble class of warriors. Note that abilities marked with this symbol Ф are automatically gained at first level and are the basic training that all Thanes acquire.

Spear and Shield CombatФ.

Even a 1st Rank Thane has trained all his life to fight with a great spear of ash and a huge round shield that covers the whole of his left side. This training has two results:
The first, that the Thane uses a spear as a one-handed weapon; the second is that his round lime-wood shield uses a d6 to determine if it stops an attack. On a roll of 1-2, the shield deflects the blow. Their fast and mobile brand of fighting means that Thanes cannot wear heavy armour and take a -2 penalty to attack and defence if fighting in armour of AF 4 or a -4 penalty if fighting in armour of AF 5. Hence, they tend to wear Chain hauberks. Thanes also take a -2 penalty to attack if they use any weapon except a sword, axe or spear because of their focus
on these three “manly” weapons. Thanes NEVER use any ranged weapons of any kind, except for thrown ones such as throwing axes, javelins or throwing spears, as they consider them unfit for use by a true warrior.
Important note: A Thane does not count as being encumbered when using his heavy round shield a life time of training with it means he suffers no movement penalties for using the famous round shield. If the situation occurs where a Thane has to use a different heavy shield, the Thane DOES suffer the movement penalty for using the unfamiliar heavy (tower) shield and equally, other classes only recieve the benefits of a heavy (tower) shield when using a Thane’s shield, as it is the training he recieves with it that allows him to use it in that particular style.

Shield WallФ.

If a Thane stands in a battle line with at least one other fighter who is also armed with a shield, then the Thane grants himself and his companions a temporary +1 to defence as long as they maintain the line formation. The line takes one round to form and a round to change facing by more than 90 degrees. Bonuses from several Thanes do not stack and the other warriors in the line do not have to be Thanes to benefit from this bonus. The Thane can protect a number of his comrades equal to his rank +1. One problem with this tactic is that attackers who get behind the line gain +2 to attack and the line takes a whole round to change direction to confront this new threat.


Whilst most armies in Ellesland require a baggage-train and food supplies, armies composed of Thanes can support themselves by living off the land, hunting (or ravaging) the countryside for food. A Thane can always find food for himself and additionally 1d4 other people (player rolls each day) provided he is in a terrain that is similar to that of his home area (grassland, coastal, mountains or swamp): to be chosen at character creation). He moves at only half-speed whilst foraging and in winter, a Thane can feed only himself.


Thanes spend much of their lives in mead-halls, and have a well deserved reputation for drinking vast quantities of mead, ale, cider and whatever else they can buy, loot or steal. A Thane can drink anyone else under the table as one of their favourite games is to determine who will be the last man standing. Strong drink is a mild poison that causes unconsciousness if the character fails a Strength check (see p122 DW rulebook) on 2d6. After three drinks, begin rolling the strength checks. Each additional glass adds one to the 2d6 die roll. However, for the purposes of resisting strong drink, a Thane’s strength is +4.

ADDITIONAL ABILITIES (choose one at 2nd, and every rank thereafter).

Reckless Charge

Thanes are used to taking the battle to their enemies and are well versed in charge attacks. On the first round of a fight, the Thane can move and attack in the same action. If he moves at least 3m and hits, he gains +1 to Armour Bypass rolls and to damage. He suffers a -2 penalty to defence during any round in which he charges.

Unstoppable (3rd rank or higher only)

Thanes with this ability are resistant to many toxins and poisons after years of drinking the strange brews favoured by these fierce warriors. Thanes with this ability now have an effective Strength of +6 for the purposes of rolling to resist the effects of any chemical or venom based toxin, including Alcohol.


Thanes can use their fierce mien to frighten lesser men and adversaries (note that this ability works only on animals, humans and living humanoid monsters). In battle, a Thane can roar out a battle cry (Ute, Ute, Ute!) as a free action, once per combat. This is treated as a Fright Attack with a strength equal to the Thane’s rank + 3. For each enemy present, the Thane subtracts the target’s rank from this strength and attempts to roll equal or less than that number on 2d10 for each opponent. If the attack succeeds, each affected target flees the combat for 1d4 rounds, though this does not trigger a free strike at the back of anyone retreating, as it is not a full rout.This ability can be used to intimidate PCs. Off the battlefield, Intimidate can be used to frighten someone into giving information or for manipulating NPCs, though once someone is no longer afraid, they become hostile to the Thane who has used this ability against them. Note that once someone has made a check once, they never need to check again and are immune to this ability from that individual Thane thereafter. However, those affected before can be targeted again until the first time the Fright attack fails against them.


A Thane with this ability is so adept with his round-shield that he can use his full defence against two foes attacking him in the same round, provided that both are in front of him, he has his shield, and he can clearly see them. This ability can be used only against two foes: more neutralise the ability and he must split his defence normally. A Thane using this ability takes -2 to Attack in any round in which this ability is active.


Any time the Thane’s round-shield deflects a blow, he may choose to make an immediate shield-bash counter-strike as a free action, once per round. This uses his normal attack bonus, minus 3 and is always pitted against the foes’ normal full defence and does not require that the foe split their defence against later attacks. If the shield-bash hits it does (d8,2) points of damage.


A Thane choosing this skill gains two special attacks against his enemies’ shields. The first is a spear attack where the Thane can hurl one of his throwing spears deliberately at his foes’ shield (normal attack versus defence). If he hits then his spear has lodged into the shield rendering it useless until the foe spends a full round pulling out the spear. The second attack can only be carried out with an edged weapon. The Thane may aim his attacks at his enemy’s shield (normal attack versus defence) and if he hits, he makes an Armour Bypass roll against an AF of 3. If this succeeds then the shield is destroyed! Note that a Thane can’t damage a magical shield unless his weapon is also magical, (and he must do a total of 10 hp of damage to break it, instead of it breaking in one hit) in which case the rules above apply (magical shields are no harder to break when attacked with a magical sword or axe for a Thane with this skill). Broken magical shields require the attentions of a high level mystic or dwarf smith to repair. These individuals are hard to find and will demand service for their help…

Fearless (6th rank or higher only)

A Thane with this ability is so self-confident that he becomes resistant to all forms of fear. Fright Attacks now use the Thane’s Rank +5 as a target number to determine their effects and magical spells that induce fear automatically fail.

Throw Hunting Spear

A Thane with this ability carries with him three serrated and dangerous throwing spears that are traditional Cornumbrian hunting weapons invented by the Bruinii tribe. He can launch them at his foes as javelins (2d4, 4 points) and suffers no penalty or injury when wielding these weapons. Anyone hit by a hunting spear can move at only half speed and takes 2 damage for each round in which they move more than 1m, until he spends a full round to remove the spear from the wound. Removing one of these spears inflicts an additional 2 damage. No other class can use these spears since self-injury is certain if they are thrown by the untrained; a serrated hunting spear deals 1d4 damage to an untrained user if they throw it.

Long Axe Combat

A Thane can wield this weapon either one (d6, 5) or two handed (d8, 5). When a Thane who is so trained, wields the Long-axe, he is able to launch trip attacks against bipedal, medium-sized enemies, as follows. Whenever such a foe attacks the Thane and rolls a 20 for his attack roll, then the Thane can immediately launch a trip as a free attack. He simply rolls a d6 and adds his rank and if the roll is higher than his foe’s rank, then the foe is knocked prone (-4 to attack, -2 to defence and 0 evasion). Standing up from prone requires a full round, but foes may elect to attack whilst prone. A Thane who wields a Long-axe may also trip his enemy if he rolls a critical hit: the player chooses whether to inflict automatic damage or whether to attempt a trip. Such a trip attack is resolved exactly as described above, as are its consequences, if successful. A trip can be attempted whether the Long-axe is wielded one or two handed. Shifting between one and two handed Long-axe use takes a full round.


A Thane with this ability can, as a free action once per combat, goad any single foe who can hear his voice into attacking him if they fail to roll greater than the Thane’s rank on a d12. (Targets of the spell who are greater rank than the Thane may add half their rank, rounded down to the roll). The foe does not need to speak the same language in order to be affected as the taunt is very much based on tone of voice and body language. Anyone aff ected immediately stops what they were doing and makes straight for the Thane for 1d4 rounds ignoring all others unless attacked; foes using ranged weapons or spells instead focus all their attacks against the Thane. Any foe so affected gains a temporary doubling in speed as they heedlessly rush towards the object of their hatred. Note that this ability only works once on any individual. PCs can be affected by this ability.

A Good Death (9th Rank boon skill)

The mightiest Thanes know how to die well and this ability is gained by all Thanes at 9th Rank. If such an exalted warrior is reduced to below 0 HP, he may choose not to die or fall unconscious (until -20 HP) and can instead carry on fighting with a strange “hero-light” playing around his head as a sign of his bravery. Healing during these final rounds of combat has no eff ect and the hero dies at the end of the combat or when he reaches -20hp no matter what is done to save him. He knows and is fully cognisant of his impending doom and gains +2 to Attack, Armour Bypass and Damage rolls for these final heroic moments of his life. Note that any hero dying in this fashion cannot be raised from the dead for the Gods themselves will not release so valiant a warrior once he has entered their halls.

Note: A Thane without a round-shield cannot use any of the shield based abilities until he acquires another(cost 100 florins), a heater or tower or kite shield will not suffice.


All Thane PCs must roll on the table below for a flaw at character creation. These flaws represent the shadow cast by the Thane’s own greatness. They are of two types: mundane flaws are quirks of personality or minor irritations. Geas are supernatural prohibitions that bind the Thane and must be followed lest he place himself and his friends in great danger. Indeed, manare the stories that are told of Thanes who broke the terms of their Geas and placed themselves in mortal peril: once these eldritch compacts are violated the world itself seems to conspire to place the offender in deadly hazard as a test of their virtue. Those who survive this trial gain strength, but most die on the very day they break faith with their Geas.

Note to the GMs & Players, these have two functions: to provide micro-stories to enrich the game and to balance the abilities of the Thane with some less beneficial characteristics.
For Flaws roll 1d20.

1-3 Boastful
4-6 Amorous
7-12 Drunkard
13-15 Gambler
16 Honour-Bound
17 Bound-totem
18 Unseen Master
19 Gentled
20 Truth-Geas

Mundane Flaws

Boastful The Thane with this ability is compelled to tell tall tales of his deeds and exaggerate his prowess at all times. This seems harmless until the Thane encounters other fighting men, who will usually take an instant dislike to the upstart warrior and will almost certainly challenge him to prove his worth in some contest of strength or steel. In addition, the Thane will also be regularly attacked by groups of drunken hot-bloods seeking to make a name for themselves. In game terms, there is a 10% chance every time he enters a town or village, that the Thane is challenged to a duel by a local warrior or Knight. An alternative encounter is also possible: the Thane is ambushed without warning by 1d6 drunken hot-bloods because of past boasting.

Amorous The Thane with this ability is somehow a magnet to lower-class members of the opposite sex, regardless of looks, and will regularly encounter situations where women try to bed him or otherwise seek to join his entourage. This might seem amusing until the enraged husbands and troth-pledged lovers of these women turn up and demand “satisfaction” resulting in many entanglements with the local law-givers. Some of these women are not so easily thrown off either, and a few will make up lies about the PC, as they try to exact revenge upon the blind fool who has spurned them. In game terms, every time the Thane enters a village or town there is a 10% chance that a low-class woman throws herself at him or a cuckolded husband turns up and must be paid off or defeated, with inevitable consequences.

Drunkard A Thane afflicted with this flaw seeks out strong drink and will spend most of his spare time and money on drinking. Whenever such a Thane encounters the sight or mention of alcohol, they are subject to a compulsion. Th e Thane must roll under his Psychic Talent on 4d6 or else succumb to the urge to drink himself insensible, regardless of the needs of his companions or his coin-belt. Such a Thane will suff er no after-effects of such a drinking bout and will be cheerfully sober the next morning. Note also that a Thane selecting this flaw
as NO money at character creation.

Gambler A Thane is so strong and powerful that many are addicted to danger and risk. These Thanes are unable to refuse a wager and will often be indebted to others. A Thane selecting this flaw owes 6d20 florins to someone powerful at character creation and that person will send bounty-hunters and bully-boys to try to induce the Th ane to pay up. The Thane also has to roll under his Psychic Talent on 4d6 whenever he is challenged to any form of wager. If he fails, he accepts the terms of the wager no matter how outrageous.


A Geas is a magical prohibition that a Thane somehow acquires. Oftentimes a Thane becomes associated with a prophecy or is otherwise marked from birth. At other times, the Geas is laid on the Thane by his own actions: perhaps through the swearing of a powerful oath. Whatever its origin anyone marked by a Geas is destined for greatness or death. A Thane who transgresses the terms of his Geas suffers the following penalties: -4 to Attack and -4 to Defence and he can gain no experience until redeemed. Redemption often takes the form of a spiritual quest that seems to occur in a world that is half in the waking world and half in the world of the eldritch where everything is imbued with mystical significance. The Th ane must often seek out one of the Druids or other harbingers of the Old powers to learn what must be done to lift the curse upon them. Note that only PC Thanes are usually subject to Geas, unless the GM has some particular need for an NPC to be so affected.

Honour-bound The Thane with this Geas is bound never to refuse a challenge to single combat by any man, no matter how powerful. All such contests are to the death, unless the challenger chooses some other stricture. The Fey can often sense a man is under this prohibition and thus become much deadlier opponents, using a Thanes’ honour against him.

Bound-totem The Thane under this prohibition is bound never to eat the flesh of a certain animal, nor to kill it, and is bound to protect all such creatures whenever they are in his sight. The creature is often a revered animal that is part of the Thane’s coat-of-arms or is associated with his family or the region where he comes from. For example, a Thane from Old Esgalen might have been boun never to eat the meat of a Heron not to suffer one to be slain. Common animals for this Geas are crows, dogs, wolves, hawks etc. This Geas seems harmless until it is remembered that the Fey and other eldritch creatures can often sense such Geas and will always attempt to use them to weaken or kill the Thane. One favourite trick of the wee folk is to transform the object of the Thane’s Geas into human or other animal form and send this Dromen against the Thane, so that he breaks his Geas without realising. Similarly, Sorcerers can divine a Geas using spells and once this weakness is known, then the Thane can be tricked into breaking it.

Unseen Master The Thane is bound to obey the commands of some eldritch being. The creature, who might be a remnant ancient god, fay spirit or saint, will require the Thane to complete certain tasks. This being will always have ways of contacting the Thane, through birds or other animals. No other person can ever perceive this being or his messengers and hence such a Thane is often thought mad. Every full moon, there is a 40% chance that a messenger arrives from the eldritch master with a new and minor task. Often the tasks will be annoying or mischievous ones designed to bring trouble down on the Thanes’ head, depending on the nature of the spirit. The being will always insist that the tasks it requires are “tests of virtue”. These tasks are not to be refused and penance for doing so is usually terrible and humiliating.

Gentled The Thane with this affliction is bound never to refuse a cry for help from one in danger, no matter from whom it comes. He must aid the person to the best of his abilities until they are no longer in danger or until they attack or otherwise harm the Thane or his companions. This includes current enemies.

Truth-Geas A Thane with this Geas tends to speak little for he can never knowingly tell a lie or give an answer that is less than the whole truth, no matter who has asked him or what the consequences of speaking are.

Thane Background

Most of this warrior race will have come from noble stock but a few will have risen from more humble beginnings. Thanes use the same table as Knights to determine the social class of their forebears. Roll or choose from below to determine where any player-character Thane was born and trained.

01-65 Northern Cornumbria – Thane
66-80 Thuland* – Huscurl
81-90 Ereworn – Thegn
91-95 Glissom – Thegn
96-00 Albion – Thegn or Huscurle

New profession Thane

Sleeping Gods Regor