The Fallen Empire is a place of fantasy. Unfortunately, it is also sometimes a place of strife. And wherever there is strife, there are those who rise up to fight for what they believe to be good. In An Cath, you can be one of those warriors in the land of Caladonia. Soldiers with sword and shield, clan warriors with axes and fearsome two-handed swords, goblins with rude spears and clubs, elusive fairies with exotic styles–all can be found in the An Cath setting. Success increases understanding; failure often enriches farmland.

An Cath tells stories of the clash of steel between brave warriors. ArchMage tells stories of magickal dueling between wizards learned in the lore of the elements. Both are designed to be used in an online conference or “chat” environment by two participants. No moderator is used unless the participants want a rules interpreter.

Part One–Creating New Warriors

To create a warrior, choose a name and establish which of the four basic Caladonian cultures fits the warrior’s background. Then select three basic skills and an armor kit as outlined below.

  • Invaders and Convert Clans: This culture is like a feudal variation of Earth’s Roman Empire. Take Move, Shield, and one weapon from these three: Broadsword, Shortsword, Spear. Your usual armor is Cohort; Officer, Highlander, Leather, or None are all alternate role-play concepts.
  • Free Clans: Think Scots Highlanders here. Take Move, either Axe or Broadsword, and either Greatsword or Shield. Your usual armor is Highlander; Mail, Leather, or None are all alternate role-play concepts.
  • Fairy Folk: Elves of the Seelie Court are a good parallel. Take Move, Shortsword, and one choice from these three: Countersword (the art of fighting with paired shortswords), Lajatang (a long staff with large chopping blades at both ends), Shield. Your usual armor is Leather; Mail or None are alternate role-play concepts. Please do not create fairy folk fighters until the section leadership announces that it is ready for them.
  • Goblin Tribes: Orcish vermin, here’s your niche! Take Move, and two choices from these four: Axe, Club, Shield, Spear. Your usual armor is Leather (though not so fancy as the fairies); None is the most likely alternate concept, though captured armor is possible. Active fighters are encouraged to create a goblin fighter over and above their club persona(s), so there are plenty of foes for future battle stories.


There are a total of ten basic skills. Each culture has five skills available to it. Each warrior starts with three skills, and may add the other two as experience is gained. Newly-acquired basic skills start at 30%. The maximum level to which each skill can rise is given in the following table.

  Basic Skills List
  Axe (80% maximum)--Free Clans, Goblin Tribes
  Broadsword (80% maximum)--Invaders, Free Clans
  Club (80% maximum)--Goblin Tribes
  Countersword (70% maximum)--Fairy Folk
  Greatsword (80% maximum)--Free Clans
  Lajatang (85% maximum)--Fairy Folk
  Move (60% maximum)--All
  Shield (70% maximum)--All
  Shortsword--Invaders (to 80%), Fairy Folk (to 85%)
  Spear (80% maximum)--Invaders, Goblin Tribes

Defenses: For each fight your warrior will compute three defensive scores derived from your basic skills. Defensive scores are never recalculated in mid-fight. However, the ability to use a given defense may be temporarily lost.

 Defensive Scores Table
 Dodge = Move + armor type modifier (+20 for None; 0 for Leather or
         Highlander; -10 Cohort; -15 Mail; -20 Officer).
 Block = Shield if carrying one, or Countersword if fighting with twin
         shortswords.  If fighting with Greatsword, Lajatang, Spear in
         two hands, or a weapon and no shield, you can't Block.
 Parry = 10% plus half your weapon skill.  Add 15% bonus to Parry if
         using the Lajatang.

The Test Skill: Your warrior also has a Test skill, representing savvy, observation, and the fruits of knowledge. As you get more experienced, this score naturally rises. Test skill equals 40%, plus 2% per Battle Point earned to a maximum of 80%.

Battle Points: As you fight and win, you gain experience. Battle Points (BP) are awarded to winning warriors after each fight. They can be used to buy increases to basic skills. (See Part Five.) BP scores range from zero to a maximum of 40.

Part Two–Your Turn: The Attack Roll

When it is your warrior’s turn, you choose one of several actions (listed below), announce it to your opponent, and roll dice if the description tells you to do so.

Who goes first? The fighter with the most Battle Points (see Part Five) chooses whether to go first or to yield the first action to the opponent. (Dice settle ties.)

All dice rolls throughout these rules use percentile dice, which give numbers from 1 through 100 inclusive. Roll your dice on Genie or Delphi (on IRC, you’ll need a script to duplicate this command) with this command

    /rol d100

If the number you roll is equal to or less than your percentage in the skill you’re trying to use, you succeed. If the roll is greater, you fail. A roll of 1 always succeeds, and 100 always fails, regardless of modifiers. (After a failed attack roll, your foe begins a turn.)

The last digit of a successful attack roll is used to determine if a hit could be disabling. Remember it! (See Part Four.)

Your Turn Choices

Common Options

Attack: Declare that you are attacking, and roll the dice against your weapon skill. Special: A warrior with a Spear, two uninjured arms, and no shield may use both hands on the spear and add 10% to attack skill.

Double (Club, Shortsword, or two Shortswords only): This option permits two attacks in one round. Details vary by style.

   A warrior with two shortswords makes the first attack roll with
   Shortsword skill and the second at one-half Countersword skill
   (round down).  No Block is permitted on the opponent's next turn,
   since the blocking weapon is out of position.

   A Club or standard Shortsword user, on the other hand, makes both
   attack rolls at the respective skill less 10%.  These warriors when
   Doubling are subject to the Press penalty--defensive rolls on the
   opponent's next turn are all at 5%.

Press: When Pressing, you press both this attack and your luck! You may add 25% to your weapon skill for this attack. But you accept a disadvantage: Your defensive rolls on your opponent’s next turn are limited to a 5% chance. Roll the dice, and make this attack count or face the consequences.

Test: When Testing, you don’t attack. By maneuvering, feinting, et cetera, you hope to spot a weakness or draw the foe out of position. Roll dice once, like an attack, against your Test skill. If you succeed, your opponent makes a defensive roll just as though you successfully attacked. Three results are possible:

   1.  Defense roll succeeds, and is less than or equal to your
   Test roll:  Better luck next time.

   2.  Defense roll succeeds, but is greater than your Test roll:
   10% Bonus (see below).

   3.  Defense roll fails:  30% Bonus (see below).

   A Bonus earned through successfully Testing can be used one
   of three ways:  1) Add to your skill on your opponent's
   coming turn for any needed defensive rolls.  2) Add to your
   skill on your attack rolls in your next turn.  3) Subtract
   from your opponent's chance on any defensive rolls in your
   next turn.

   Declare Bonus use at any time before the roll(s) to be
   affected.  The Bonus is automatically used to reduce
   opposing defence absent a contrary announcement.

Yield: You always have the option to Yield in lieu of an attack roll. If your opponent rejects the attempt, you have lost your turn. If the Yield is accepted, your fate lies with your opponent (imprisonment is most common, with or without a ransom). You may not fight again until your opponent frees you!

Range and Movement Options

Note that range is important to these rules only if the opponents have weapons of different lengths.

 Weapon Lengths:  Greatsword, Lajatang, Spear--3
                  Axe, Broadsword--2
                  Club, Countersword, Shortsword--1

Close: A battle always starts at standard range. To Close, roll against the computed Dodge value in lieu of attacking. If you succeed, the opponent then makes a similar roll. Should the opponent fail the battle is now at close quarters.

Open: A battle can be returned from close quarters to standard range by Opening. The same sequence is used as for Closing–Dodge; if you succeed the foe Dodges; if the foe then fails the range shifts.

   Range Effects

   At standard range the higher-numbered weapon adds 5% times the number
   difference in weapon length to the user's attack skill.  The lower-
   numbered weapon subtracts the same total from attack skill.  Parries
   (and Countersword Block) are unaffected by length or range.

   At close quarters these skill modifiers are reversed.

Flee: A warrior may attempt to run from battle in lieu of an attack provided that the fighters are at standard range and the warrior does not have a disabled leg. The opponent may prevent Fleeing by trying a Dodge roll and succeeding. If this works the fleeing warrior has lost a turn. Otherwise, the opponent gets one last turn to swing at the fleeing warrior, who may use only Luck to defend. The fight ends after that turn unless the fleeing warrior takes a disabling leg hit making flight impossible.

Slow Weapons In Combat

A weapon with damage rating of 5 or greater–Axe, Greatsword, or Lajatang–is considered a slow weapon. A warrior using a slow weapon against a foe with a regular weapon will sometimes give up an extra swing due to speed.

If a warrior with a slow weapon misses an Attack or Press with a roll of 81 or greater, and the opponent is not also using a slow weapon, the opponent immediately rolls a free Attack before taking a turn. The free Attack is not subject to Test bonuses or Press changes for either side. After the free Attack is resolved, the normal turn will proceed by standard rules.

Part Three–The Defensive Roll

When your opponent succeeds with one or more attack rolls, you respond with one defensive roll against each successful attack.

Under normal conditions: You may Dodge one attack per turn unless one of your legs is disabled. You may Block one attack per turn with Shield or Countersword. You may Parry one attack per turn.

In the very rare case that a warrior who must defend two hits has only one defense available, a Luck roll (see below) is used for the other defence.

Choose which defense you will use, announce it, and roll. If your defensive roll succeeds, you will take no damage from that attack, and it is now your turn.

Your Chance to Defend

Dodge: Your chance to Dodge equals your Move skill plus your armor modifier (+20% for None; 0% for Leather or Highlander; -10% Cohort; -15% Mail; -20% Officer). You may not Dodge with a disabled leg.

Parry: Your chance to Parry equals 10% plus one-half of your basic skill with the weapon you use (round down). Lajatang users add an extra 15% to Parry.

Block: Your chance to Block equals your Shield or Countersword skill. You may not use Shield to Block if you have lost either arm. But Countersword may be used to Block unless the off-arm is disabled or the warrior just used both swords to attack.

Press Note: If your last action was to Press your opponent, or to Double with Club or standard Shortsword, you may not Parry, Block, or Dodge. Your chance to defend yourself is just 5%, sometimes called a Luck roll.

Part Four–The Damage Roll

If an attack or attacks have succeeded, and the defensive rolls have failed, the attacker rolls again and consults the Damage Table. The column used is the one corresponding to the opponent’s armor type.

 Damage Table    Non      Lea      Hig      Coh      Mai      Off
 Kill           01-15    01-11    01-07    01-03    01-03    01-03
 Head*          16-20    12-16       08       04       04       04
 Torso*         21-30    17-22    09-14    05-06    05-06    05-06
 Weapon Arm*    31-45    23-31    15-23    07-21    07-12    07-12
 Off Arm*       46-60    32-40    24-32    22-36    13-18    13-18
 Right Leg*     61-80    41-52    33-52    37-56    19-38    19-30
 Left Leg*      81-00    53-64    53-72    57-76    39-58    31-42
 No Effect       ...     65-00    73-00    77-00    59-00    43-00

* For starred results:  If the last digit of the successful attack
roll was equal to or less than the weapon's Damage Rating, the hit is
disabling.  Otherwise, it's a wound.

 Damage Ratings:  Greatsword--7
                  Axe, Lajatang--5
                  Countersword, Shortsword, Spear--3

A Kill ends the match. The attacker has won.
Any Wound is simply recorded with no immediate effect.
Cumulative effects of Wounds are listed below.

Disable results:

  • Weapon Arm: No Shield Blocks. The use of Axe, Broadsword, Club, Shortsword, or Spear for the rest of the fight is at one-half skill, rounded down. Greatsword and Lajatang users lose one turn drawing a secondary weapon (during which interval they may only Dodge for defence), then fight on as above. Countersword can no longer Double, but is otherwise unaffected.
  • Off Arm: No Blocks. Two-sword users may only Double using the standard Shortsword rules.
  • Both Arms: The warrior must Yield or Flee.
  • Either Leg: The warrior falls to the ground and may no longer Close, Dodge, Flee, or Open. Unless the opponent is also on the ground any even-numbered damage roll by the downed warrior which would score a Kill, Head hit, or Torso hit strikes a Leg instead (striker’s choice which leg).
  • Head or Torso: The warrior is dead.


Cumulative injury effects:

  • Injuries (wound or disable) to any four areas = Kill.
  • Injury to disabled arm = Torso hit (which kills if disabling).
  • Injury to disabled leg = no further effect
  • Injury to wounded area = Kill if head or torso; disable if limb

Part Five–The Fruits of Victory

Your warrior will improve skills, as outlined in Part One, by gaining virtual fighting experience.

Most fights are presumed to be on the practice field, using rebated or wooden weapons with little chance of true injury. Such matches use the normal rules, except that “dead” isn’t really dead and “disabled” really isn’t hurt worse than bruises. The winner of a practice fight gets 0.2 Battle Points (BP); the loser collects 0.1 BP.

Formal duels are generally fought with live steel to first blood. The possibility of death is nonexistent, given competent seconds; treat such duels as practice fights for BP awards.

Fights where death is a true hazard, usually in battles but sometimes through blood feud or accident, grant 0.5 BP to each participant. Each foe slain or taken prisoner is worth 1 extra BP to the warrior who does the deed.

Warriors may buy increases to their basic skills as their BP totals increase. The Test score also increases as BP increase. Points used to buy skills are not subtracted from the BP record, but each BP may only be used once to buy skills.

 Buying Skills
 1 BP buys a 10% skill increase, up to 50%.
 1 BP buys a 5% skill increase beyond 50%, up to the maximum.
 3 BP buys a new basic skill for that culture, starting at 30%.

 Skill Maxima
 80% for most skills.
 85% for fairy folk for Lajatang and Shortsword.
 70% for Countersword and Shield.
 60% for Move.

An Cath is Copyright © 1994 by Glenn E. Overby II.
All rights reserved. This is Version 1.03. Created May 19, 1994, by Glenn Overby.
An Cath, Fallen Empire, and Story Engine are trademarks owned by Randall Stukey.