In all times and places of Hyborian history there arose great men and women who stood out from among the common mass of humanity by virtue of exceptional capabilities and/or knowledge. These people are represented in the game as characters. Characters will perform tasks that you assign them and carry out orders to the best of their ability. There are six types of characters: Nobles, generals, heroes, priests, wizards, and agents. While a wizard may use magic very well, it by no means keeps him from possessing other qualities that would make him well-suited to command an army. This is determined by each character's rating (using the Standard Rating Scale) in each of seven ability categories. Some ratings are critical for some character types, but each character has a rating in every category.
Personal Combat - Specifically, prowess in personal combat of characters versus a wide range of opponents. They could be other characters, monsters, or just some guards that stand in the way of some goal. Combat is a primary ability for heroes.
Diplomacy - The ability to engage in negotiations, whether subtle or overt. Priests, and the nobility, by virtue of culture and education, will be more likely to possess this ability.
Rulership - The ability to govern, and administrate provinces and their local populations. Primary ability for nobles.
Military Command - Military command is the ability to lead in large scale combat situations. This includes a grasp of strategy, and the ability to carry out successful troop maneuvers. Generals require a mastery of military command.
Heroism - The courage and ability to inspire and rally troops and improve their melee ability. Heroism is important for not only heroes, but generals and all front-line battle commanders.
Intrigue - A very important ability for anyone dealing in the subtler side of international relations; this includes such things as spying, theft and assassinations. Intrigue is a primary ability for agents.
Magic - Whether by means of divine grace or through delving into the arcane arts of sorcery, the ability to use magic is primary for--but not limited to-- wizards. Priests use magic equally in conjunction with diplomacy. Other characters may occasionally come to possess magical abilities through either knowledge of spells or magical artifacts.
In addition to a rating in each of the above abilities, each character is given a name, a game ID number, province of birth, gender, and age. Characters with magical ability will have a list of spells and magical artifacts they may utilize. Since play will span the course of centuries, characters will age, die of natural causes or be slain, replaced by new generations. While succeeding generations will not be exact copies of those who came and went before them, they will generally be able to fulfill the tasks you assign them. A nation of warriors will tend to raise youths who glory in war; a nation that relies on other abilities for its survival will instruct its youths accordingly.
Characters are lost and gained independently from one another. New characters are gained based solely upon the passage of game time. A kingdom which begins the game with 6 characters may, during the course of the game be reduced to having as few as two characters (you will always have a Chancellor and an Adjutant-General). There is no limit to the number of characters a kingdom may increase to.
While the time scale of the game spans centuries, the lives of individual characters are relatively short. Characters do not increase or decrease in ability from their original starting values. There is only one exception. Those characters who undertake to go on an adventure may during the course of their adventure increase in ability in one or more areas. Note, however, that adventure is highly dangerous for characters lacking in ability.
It is a good idea to keep in mind that the outcome of any character mission will depend in part upon a character's abilities. Every mission will benefit by high ratings in at least one primary ability and one secondary ability. Most missions are also influenced by a third or fourth character ability. For example, If a character is sent on a military spying mission, the success of the mission will depend most heavily on the character's Intrigue, but any military command ability that the character has will also be useful. If the character were to become involved in combat, personal combat ability would be in demand. Just one more example of this consideration. A character sent to assassinate a wizard would need primarily intrigue, but would also benefit from any magical ability. The rule to follow when assigning any character to an action is to ask first, "What abilities might this mission demand of my character?" The obvious second question is, "Does the character I am assigning to the mission have the necessary abilities?" Dangerous missions should be reserved for characters with Excellent or higher ability. Characters with Good ability should usually be given assignments that do not automatically place the character in a life threatening situation. For example, Good characters should be used to perform world spying, cast spells (if have magic ability), avoid diplomatic influence, actively rule etc. Characters who have even just a small amount of heroism and/or military command can prove useful in battles.
There are two special characters in your kingdom: the Chancellor and the
Adjutant-General. The abilities of these two characters are intentionally NOT
listed in your original kingdom reports. While these characters are
responsible for reporting to you their judgments as to the abilities of the
rest of your characters, they do not report their own abilities. The
Chancellor and Adjutant-General may be commanded upon various assignments just
as you may command any of your other characters. It is quite possible to find
out exactly what the abilities of these two characters are. However, we leave
it to you devious and clever rulers of Hyboria to determine the best
method of going about this. All kingdoms will always have a Chancellor and
Adjutant-General at all times. If either of these characters ever dies they
are automatically replaced with a new character. If either of these two
characters is ever captured, they are automatically ransomed for the minimum
amount of wealth. Thus at a minimum, a kingdom will have two characters, the
Chancellor, who always doubles as the provincial ruler of the capital province
and the Adjutant-General who will become the monarch if no other characters
exist to fill that position. The Adjutant-General may be assigned as a
provincial ruler in keeping with the normal rules governing the assignment of
provincial rulers. The Chancellor may never be assigned to be the monarch.