Vow of Honor is a RPG from Ben Dutter that has a Kickstarter looming. Dutter, with experience of Kickstarter, is being very open about the forthcoming campaign.
The the full playtest rules and document for Vow of Honor, as it stands now, freely available via Google Docs. There’s no download required. The link takes you a shared space in which you can read the document online. There’s an extract below that discusses the tone of the RPG.
In the RPG the PCs are Arbiters of the Order of Fasann, an institution sworn to uphold the Tenets of Honor. They travel from Enclave to Enclave, trying to make the world a more honorable place.
The system uses a simple d6 dice pool, but is heavily tied to the five Tenets of Honor and how the characters adhere or violate those Tenets.
Vow of Honor’s Tone
Games in Vow of Honor can become emotionally charged. We’re discussing very serious subject matter here: morality, honor, justice. Your characters (and by extension, you) are expected to make life and death decisions based upon others’ moral conduct.
Sasara, as a setting, is designed for a mature game, displaying humanity’s darkness and its dignity. Sasarans are human, and just like humans on Earth, their cruelty and hatred knows no bounds. Neither does their spirit, joy, or charity. The Order tries to bring the light out in people, tries to uplift them and charge them with the responsibility of being Honorable. Sometimes, it succeeds.
Your characters will not, and should not, be perfect. While the Tenets are well defined, no single Arbiter is without fault, without dishonor. While the doctrine of Fasann is well recorded and well understood by the elder Arbiters, the characters are largely acolytes, freshly recruited and trained disciples. Their discipline and integrity will be tested.
As a group, you should decide if there are any circumstances you consider too taboo, or would make you too uncomfortable to play through. I’ll spare you from the discomfort of any examples, but I urge you to openly discuss what is and isn’t off limits.
Tenets of Honor
The Order of Fasann is an ancient and fabled organization, universally respected and recognized throughout Sasara. They have studied and practiced the Tenets of Honor for centuries, and it is through their Arbiters that the Tenets are observed and ushered into the next generation.
Since you’ll be playing a member of the Order, you should be aware of the Tenets. They directly interact with the mechanics of the game, so the GM especially needs to be on her toes, paying attention to how the Arbiters act in accordance with Honor. The Tenets and their definitions are below.
Compassion: kindness, charity, mercy, empathy, selflessness and sacrifice. Never allowing your personal desire or needs to supercede those of another.
Commitment: the determined pursuit of all aspects of your life. Consistency to form, continuous practice, never surrendering, possessing an indomitable will. Complete and utter devotion to those that depend on you and trust you. Reliability, maintaining your vows and promises, and being able to support those who need you.
Purity: chastity, cleanliness, propriety, honesty, and health. Avoiding corruption in any form, whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual. Grace of form and function. Seeking perfection in thought and action, from combat to speech to dress. Never accepting less than the best of what you or others can achieve.
Righteousness: the pursuit of what is just, good, and noble. The physical act of honor in the face of evil, corruption, and hatred. Courage and pressing forward in the face of fear, even certain death. Standing up for justice, even through difficulty.
Understanding: the pursuit of not only knowledge, but complete comprehension. Wisdom, truth, and rigorous dedication to certainty. Demonstrating respect, patience, courtesy, and open-mindedness to everyone. Acting politely and kindly to all, even those that are dishonorable or disrespectful.
Interested in reading more? You can download a copy of the full document or read it online at Google Docs.