miércoles, 11 de octubre de 2017


Robert sighted while closing the book he had been reading for the last few hours. The number one perk of been one of the disconnected librarian at Horizon was that he was allowed to read any book on magic theory and practice. The same permission did not extend to history of any kind, which was suspicious to say the least, but Robert was not the history revisionist type anyway.
Of course, they let them read any book on magic because they were completely and utterly unable to use magic - hence the "disconnected" part of the work description. That did was a problem for Robert, who tried once and again to get admitted in magic courses since he was a young kid with acne on his hairless face. To pull at the very fabric of reality had lighted his dreams and inflame his heart since he had memory, but after failing the access tests so many times, the university judges tested him for sensibility to magic instead, and the conclusion was that Robert was to magic as important as a feather to an octopus flying abilities. At least they had a bit of mercy (or maybe a pang of compassion) when they saw how Robert's face fell when hearing the results. That mercy was what got him his first post as librarian, and he just kept ascending due to his methodical approach to library work until he had no constraints as to what magic books he could touch or read.

Magic has been considered a way to act on the fabric of reality but it is often forgotten that reality includes minds and knowledge. The knowledge and spells written in books on magic affects the reality around it. The more potent the magic, the more potent the effect, and that is why powerful books are covered in protective symbols and why really powerful books need to be handled with care and by equally powerful wizards, who can avoid been affected by the magic inside.
Of course, no really powerful wizard would be ordering books in a library instead of studying and practicing even more powerful magic and there's where disconnected librarians are useful.
A person sensible to magic (mostly everyone, in one degree or another) is like a magnet and books on magic are another magnet. The magnetic field of both interact, but a disconnected person is like a bit of wood.

So that evening Robert was collecting the books and ordering them, and spend the next couple of hours getting each one to its place, just like any other day at work. But this particular day, when he went back to his post, he found a very old, very wrinkled and very upset wizard tapping with his foot and waiting next to Robert's desk. The same instant Robert thought he was in trouble, the old wizard turned his glare in his direction confirming that A, Robert was in trouble indeed, and B, he could be in even more severe trouble if he dared to run away. So Robert ran to his desk and asked, as humbly as he could manage without getting servile
- I am so sorry for your waiting. How can I be of help? -
- I am Verdantisinus Primus Kertian Malathen, I expect you to be a disconnected librarian or otherwise you are of no use and should better be able to call one. -
- I am a disconnected librarian, indeed. -
- Good. This is the book I want. - said the mage, giving Robert a piece of paper. The words on the paper were but a shorthand of the actual title, since even that was dangerous in that particular case. This wizard was asking for one of the most powerful books Robert had heard about, one of the few ones which he couldn't read, not because he was not allowed to, but for the security around them. Robert swallowed, divided between fear an excitement, and said
- Please, if you follow me -

The tall wizard walked in long strides just behind Robert's hurried steps, fairly shorter, corridor after stairs after corridor after stairs, until they were before a particular wall. It was a wall covered with lead, finely inscribed with all sorts of symbols of protection, both for containment and for preventing entrance. Robert walked slower while looking for a specific patch and, when found, he took his signet ring out of his pouch, putted it on, press it against a circle in one of the symbols and indicated another to the old wizard.
- If you be so kind to use your mark in that circle...
The wizard stared the circle while doing ever so minute movements with his right hand's fingers, and then, they both were in the other side of the wall, with it. Robert could barely hold his excitement as his eyes rested on the book. Inscribed chains bound the tome to a lectern and light with no apparent source bathed the room in a slightly golden shade. The wizard walked to the book and the chains opened themselves at this, allowing the old sage to peruse the pages.
And then, everything got unexpected. The wizard grab a handful of pages, with no care at all. Robert start walking towards him, startled. The wizard rips the pages from the book, which starts crackling red and purple. The light without source blinks in gold and black. A hand gesture, and the wizard throws Robert hard against the wall. A glass orb in the hand of the wizard. Robert feels maimed and bleeding. A sudden blue flash. Robert alone. The book's crackling lightning illuminates the room mixed with the golden blinking light. Robert getting to his feet. An explosion.

Bleeding. Hurt. Light. Orange light. A lantern's orange light. A lantern's orange light gets through the rubble and blocks of stone and lead over Robert.
Sheets. A bed. People talking in whispers nearby. Warm sunlight. Free. Robert's back(cover) hurts. He tries to move, but his sheets hurt. No, his inside hurt. His cover is covered and the thought makes him laugh wearily. Face. Humans get near.
Some weeks pass until Robert has to declare at the trial. There, he realizes the old wizard is not and hopes the trial is not against Robert. He tells the judges what happened and then he's sent back to home but he's suspended for the duration of the trial and he's to present himself to the court every morning until the culprit is caught.
On the next months his savings disappear, he sells his possessions and his house, moves to a small rent room first and then to an alley. His hopes disappear as his savings, and in the cold rainy nights he thinks he could be no worse. He's trying to sleep despite the cold and the feeling that mold is getting in his insides when shouting wakes him up. A few young mages are shouting and laughing down the street. Somewhere he thinks it is probably celebration for the end of tests, and then the young, drunk wizards see him and point and laugh and get near. And then one of them thinks it'll be fun to poke the hobo with a little spark. Words and gestures and a little blue lightning orb flies from one student's hands to the half-awake Robert, who jumps with the shock. And then the pain mixes up with frustration and cold and rain and misery and energy breaks through Robert, blasts through his joints and reforms and purple and red lightning jump from Robert's hands to the students, who scream and fall and get up and ran away, still screaming.
Robert knows not what happened. Robert knows he's magic. Robert knows a world of possibilities but can not focus on any. Robert laughs while tears fall from his eyes to be clean by rain.

Robert is free.

Robert Smith
Human Chaos Mage 1
STR 10 CON 12 DEX 12 INT 16 WIS 10 CHA 18
HP 21 AC 12 PD 12 MD 15 Recoveries 8x(1d6+1)
Backgrounds: no-longer-frustrated librarian at Eldolan 4, Living spell 4
Relationships: Archmage (conflicted) 3
Unique: Nobody knows if he's still Robert or the spell that was in the book
Talents: Touch of Wizardry, Iconic Warp, Separate Existence (A)
Gear: dagger (1d4), hand crossbow (1d4)

Those two background were examples on 13 True Ways, and they were too good to pass.

lunes, 9 de octubre de 2017


Khazad tripped on a loose stone and cursed in a whisper. Merchants had told him that most humans believed that Dwarves were able to see in the dark. They had laughed, but Khazad was an archaeologist and he understood that seeing in darkness would not only be useful, but something to be expected, since they had lived in profound systems of caves for millennia. Of course, a lot of cave animals were actually blind, so maybe there was a reason. It would still be useful, no doubt about that.
He kept walking but now paying more attention to the irregular floor, unevenly lighted by his lantern. Khazad was a bit known back in the districts because despite the interest in dwarven stories, not that many dwarves were interested in what actually happened, preferring to hear and believe the soul-rising stories told by priests.
Khazad knew that tradition was important for dwarves, and that stories are adorned so that they are actually soul-inspiring. They're useful to make people do what they should. But that did not mean they were true. Judging from what he had investigated, some were actually true, some were tru-ish, but most were big exaggerations when not downright inventions, and just to believe was not good enough for him. His tendencies to explain what really happened and to point inconsistencies and evidences of the more outrageous lies had never been met with pleasure.
Khazad was known, not loved.
Probably those sentiments were half the reason he was cleared to go how deep he wanted. Dwarves had had a really long history in the caves below Forge or the almost forgotten ones in The Frost Range, but a lot of them were now abandoned. Sometimes not empty. Khazad had had a few close calls encountering beasts, troglodytes and even once a tribe of barbaric, more than half-crazed Dwarves. Publicly, every Dwarf had to encourage "the relentless search for truth" that moved Khazad, but privately they, specially the ones using stories to get others to do what they had to, probably expected him to get lost or even dead in one of his expeditions. Khazad knew that, but despite all the 'teaching' he did and despite he not liking the simple mindedness of people believing "because it has always been told like that", he wanted to know more because he wanted to know that because he wanted others to know.
It hadn't been always told like that, anyway.

Khazad realized he was whispering under his breath and stopped. Too much time by himself, probably. Maybe people needed to talk, but now that he had quietened himself a faint humming was almost audible. Intrigued but alert, Khazad kept walking, trying to understand the way echoes worked that humming to his position. For the next few days he went down and down, trying to locate the source of the humming by how loud it sounded. He got lost once, got his way again, and became more and more worried the more he descended, since the humming was accompanied by a vibration and had became really loud and strong.

And then, squeezing his body through a crack in the stone, he found... the source.

Khazad had seen many wonders in his expeditions, but of the kind that marvels other scholars. This was different, so much different. He walked forward, raising his lantern to try to illuminate what he was seeing now, but it was so huge the light could not. Before him, thousands of cogwheels of every size imaginable, from a few inches wide to several yards, were rotating, transmitting the movement one to the next, though it was just impossible to know which was "one" and which "the next". The synchronized movement was hypnotic, and this near the humming revealed itself as thousands of hummings, singing together, in a way.

Khazad consciousness drifted through that enormous device, feeling that it was somehow part of the world's workings but in a way that seemed to be stored in a part just beyond his mind, as a word you know that you know, but that you just can't remember at the time. The cogs seemed to... no, they were spinning through time, the past modifying the present, the present modifying the future. Minute symbols were edged in the very cogs, eroded by time but still almost, almost there, hidden as rugged surfaces when looked from afar but clearly obvious now. Time, and space, were being weaved together, watched, or... or controlled by the device.

And then he woke up startled with the temblors of the cave. A cave-in! He looked around, his panicked mind trying to adjust to reality, when the whole device seemed to sink in short bursts of movement. Khazad ran to it, where it was leaving a hole, swallowing the device in an unfathomable depth.
He sat in the border, shocked by what he had seen and by the disappearance of the device that had shown him the inner workings of the world itself. When the light of the lantern went out he realized the time he had been there, and that there were tears in his face. Then his lips tightened and his expression was set. He changed the oil of the lantern and after staring the hole, he started the way to the surface. He didn't know how, but he would find the device again. He felt like an idea, an intuition gotten from the time through the cogwheels. It would require time to grasp it, but Khazad would.

He needed to understand.

Khazad ai Menu
Dwarf Occultist 1
STR 10 CON 12 DEX 10 INT 18 WIS 18 CHA 8
HP 21 AC 13 PD 11 MD 16 Recoveries 8x(1d6+1)
Backgrounds: Archaeologist of Dwarven Forgotten Past 4, History Profesor 3, Wandering Mystic 1
Relationships: Dwarf King (conflicted) 2, Elf Queen (conflicted) 1; the relationships are conflicted because every ruler wants part of their history publicly known and part of it downplayed, in the best case.
Unique: Discoverer of the "Reality Clockwork"
Talents: Brain-Melting Secrets, Stance of Necessity, Unwinding the Soul (A), Warp Flesh
Prepared Spells: Bitter Lessons, Brilliant Comeback, Moment of Karma, Timely Mistake
Gear: light armor, light pick and hammer (1d4), hand crossbow (1d4)

miércoles, 28 de septiembre de 2016

Spain is different

Mi padre me envió hace poco dos noticias interesantes, más interesantes aún por el contraste entre ellas.

Por un lado, tenemos que Holanda hizo un proyecto de ley para cobrar a los presos.
En la noticia hablan de 16 euros diarios (lo que supone unos 480€ por mes o 5840€ por año). Calculan que este pago compensaría unos 65 millones anuales de euros debidos a costes judiciales y policiales. El proyecto lo ha impulsado la coalición que está en el poder, un conjunto de liberales de derechas y socialdemócratas de izquierdas.

Es una idea que posiblemente más de uno habíamos tenido ya, pero ellos ya la han llevado a la práctica: la noticia anterior es de enero de 2014, en diciembre ya estaba en práctica. El dinero se cobra al reo de los ahorros que tuviera antes de entrar; si no tiene suficiente, se cobrará cuando tenga un sueldo. Se puede cobrar a plazos para no dificultar mucho (más) la reinserción y, además, como mucho se les cobrarán dos años, aunque la condena sea más larga.

No es el único país que lo hace: en Alemania y Dinamarca, sólo pagan los que están en regímenes abiertos, no los que están encerrados todo el día. El dinero que se saca así se destina a las víctimas de sus crímenes, a pagar costes judiciales y policiales, lo que se hace también en Noruega, Italia, Portugal, Austria y Suiza. Trabajar para la prisión te exime de la deuda.

En Estados Unidos el ejemplo está en Elko, Nevada, donde es el sheriff del condado el que ha impuesto las medidas. Se cobra algo de dinero por la comida, por visitas médicas y por lo que van necesitando (ropa, artículos de higiene, etc). Si no tienen dinero, acumulan la deuda para cuando salgan.

Hay organizaciones de derechos humanos que se quejan de eso, me pregunto en base a qué. En la declaración de derechos humanos de naciones unidas se incluyen unos cuantos, pero no parece que haya ninguno en la línea de "si una persona está castigada por sus crímenes, tiene derecho a que le mantengan las personas inocentes"

Visto ese aspecto de otros países, podemos pasar a una propuesta conjunta de un grupo de nuestro Senado, el formado por Podemos, En Común, Compromís y En Marea. La propuesta pretende "reconocer los derechos laborales de los presos". Esa idea no aparece sólo en ese periódico, que podría ser tendenciosa, sino en la propia página de Podemos.

En breve, los presos que trabajen en la prisión tienen que cobrar (al menos) el salario mínimo inter-profesional incluyendo las horas extraordinarias. Por supuesto, como trabajadores que son, también tienen que poder sindicarse. Además, una vez que termina su condena, termina también el trabajo, y entonces tienen derecho a cobrar por desempleo. Estos senadores lo ven injusto, porque ese subsidio de desempleo es menor que el de excarcelación. En mi opinión, el hecho de que haya un subsidio de excarcelación ya es motivo de queja. (¿Has sido condenado por un crimen y te dan dinero cuando se termina tu condena? ¿En serio?) También lo es que ese empleo no aparezca como tal en su vida laboral.

En España, trabajar durante tu condena todavía reduce ésta, de modo que la idea sigue significando mejorar la vida de los presos con respecto a la que tienen. En muchos casos, significa mejorar la vida de los presos con respecto a la que tenían cuando no estaban en la cárcel. ¿Es que soy el único que recuerda que la cárcel se supone que es un castigo?

70.000 presos en España, a 655€ por día, saldrían a más de 550 millones de euros por año que vamos a pagar los que no hemos roto las leyes, los que nos comportamos de forma honrada, además de lo que ya estamos pagando por el coste de sus celdas, de su comida, de su ropa, de sus estudios y el resto de cosas que necesitan, incluyendo gimnasios, piscinas y televisión. Las cárceles de España están entre las mejores de Europa, y su población, a pesar de haber disminuido en los últimos años, está un 30% por encima de la media Europea.
Cárceles más cómodas para los presos, más cantidad de presos por la misma cantidad de habitantes... ¿Soy el único que piensa que hay relación?
¿Soy el único que piensa que mejorar esas condiciones no hace más que desincentivar la honradez o incluso incentivar el crimen? Después de todo, mientras no te pillen, son todo beneficios, una vez que te pillen, te pones a trabajar y ya tienes historial laboral (oficialmente, para la Administración), reduces tu condena, tienes cama, techo, comida, entretenimiento, incluyendo la posibilidad de hacer ejercicio o sacarte unos estudios...
Añadido a las relaciones que puedes hacer con otros presos que están en "negocios" similares al que te llevó dentro, un efecto de la separación por delitos que influye en la raíz de las organizaciones criminales: el intercambio de trucos del oficio y el desarrollo de amistades/relaciones "profesionales".

Esta es sólo una de las cosas que voy a recordar en las próximas elecciones.

jueves, 31 de marzo de 2016


No hace mucho oí a una persona usar la palabra "falacia" como si significara mentira, lo que ha llamado mi atención sobre la diferencia entre lo que la mayoría de la gente entiende por falacia y lo que significa realmente. El diccionario de la RAE (dado que registra cómo se habla y no cómo se debería, aunque eso es tema para otra entrada) prácticamente identifica ambos conceptos, la única diferencia que considera es que la falacia intenta dañar a otra persona, mientras que la mentira no tiene porqué. Sin embargo, el concepto original de falacia, que aún se utiliza en discusiones y debates cuando el rigor tiene alguna importancia, no es el de mentira, sino el de un argumento que, pareciendo lógico, no lo es.

De nuevo, el concepto "lógico" se malentiende de forma habitual, igualando con "obvio", "de sentido común" y demás, cuando no es exactamente eso. Un argumento lógico es el que lleva de una idea A a una idea B, de modo que B se prueba tan cierta como sea A. Para empezar esa cadena lógica hay que comenzar por una idea sobre cuya corrección no haya dudas, como por ejemplo un hecho. Una cadena como esa es lo que llamamos habitualmente "deducción".

Un argumento se dice que es válido cuando es imposible que las premisas (las ideas iniciales) sean ciertas y la conclusión sea falsa. De otro modo, el argumento es inválido.
Una deducción es correcta cuando todos los argumentos son válidos y además las ideas iniciales son ciertas.

¿Por qué es importante prestar atención a estos conceptos? La deducción es una herramienta fundamental en cualquier actividad que implique el pensamiento analítico o crítico. Cuando estamos equivocados en algo, la deducción es lo que nos permite darnos cuenta. Cuando estamos en lo cierto, la deducción es lo que nos permite demostrarlo a otros. La mayor ventaja de una deducción correcta es que puede compartirse. Me explico: una opinión subjetiva es particular de una persona y por ello puede convencer a algunas personas y a otras no. Ante una deducción correcta sólo puede optarse entre aceptar la conclusión o rechazarla - y con ello mantenerse en un error.

Veo que los pétalos y las hojas de esta rosa son del mismo color, aunque tengan un matiz distinto. Todos los que estamos aquí coincidimos en ello. Por tanto, esta rosa es de color verde.
Este razonamiento es incorrecto porque el hablante - y el resto de las personas de la sala - pueden tener un problema visual como el daltonismo.

Nuestro cerebro funciona con dos tipos de razonamiento que se influyen mutuamente. El razonamiento analítico se basa en deducciones, y es en el que se fundamentan los avances de cualquier ciencia, sea física, medicina, biología... Cuando tenemos información en la que basarnos para llegar a una conclusión o estimar la probabilidad de varias, estamos utilizando este tipo de razonamiento.
El razonamiento emocional es el que hace que hagamos cosas llevados por emoción.

Una ruleta tiene 38 números, nuestro razonamiento analítico es el que nos dice que apostar a un número tiene una probabilidad de 1/38 de redundar en nuestro beneficio, y 37/38 de resultar en perjuicio. Nuestro razonamiento emocional es el que nos dice que hoy es nuestro día de suerte.

Cada día nos vemos sometidos a manipulaciones más o menos disimuladas y más o menos sinceras. Cuando un amigo tiene una cara triste lo vemos, nos damos cuenta, nuestro razonamiento emotivo nos hace sentir tristeza en simpatía y nos impulsa a preocuparnos por él. Lo que hagamos está menos claro, depende de cómo somos nosotros y lo que sabemos de él: ¿es de contar las cosas sólo cuando le preguntan? ¿es de decir que no pasa nada hasta que está listo para hablar y dar detalles? ¿somos de los que esperan hasta que un problema puede resolverse? ¿somos de los que intentan resolver el problema tan pronto como lo ven?

Los efectos emotivos se producen como reacciones independientes de la realidad. Ver una cara triste inspira tristeza, ver una sonrisa inspira confianza (según la sonrisa, claro), ver una cara de enfado dirigida hacia nosotros puede inspirar temor o enfado... Y esos efectos se producen sin importar si lo vemos en un desconocido a seis metros o en un actor en una película. Nuestro razonamiento analítico matiza las acciones que pueden ser impulsadas por el efecto emocional: "Es un actor y no es de verdad", "Es un amigo y es sincero", "Es un amigo pero siempre es un exagerado"...

Las manipulaciones emotivas directas, por expresiones de pena, furia, alegría, no son fiables. Es muy probable que causen una emoción, es bastante probable que causen la que pretendemos, pero también pueden producir reacciones opuestas según a quién se dirijan. Tienen otro defecto como táctica de manipulación, y es que es fácil identificarlas tanto como emocionales como manipulaciones. Además, las respuestas emocionales que provocan no suelen generar acciones a largo plazo: no te enamoras de alguien la primera vez que sonríe ni consideras a alguien un enemigo la primera vez que te grita. Por mucho que pese la primera impresión, una respuesta emocional a largo plazo es algo que se inspira provocando reiteradamente la misma reacción emocional.

Por otro lado, se puede manipular a alguien aprovechando sus carencias (su falta de práctica o atención, nada más) en razonamiento analítico, haciéndole creer que estás dando pruebas o siguiendo un razonamiento lógico cuando éste no es válido. Ese tipo de razonamiento es el que se llama falaz, y esa manipulación sí puede producir acciones a largo plazo porque al convencernos de algo, hacemos nuestra esa idea. Al haber llegado a esa idea mediante un razonamiento asumimos que es correcta y la mantenemos aunque olvidemos el razonamiento, a diferencia de las respuestas emocionales, que se recuerdan pero no perduran del mismo modo ni con la misma facilidad. Esta asunción se hace porque es el método en el que nuestro propio cerebro aprende del mundo que le rodea para adaptarse y resolver problemas

Precisamente por la eficacia de los engaños basados en falacias tendríamos que prestar más atención a éstas, de modo que podamos reconocerlas cuando las usan. No siempre las usarán para dañarnos, a veces el que las usa lo hace sin darse cuenta de que su razonamiento es incorrecto y está convencido de una idea equivocada que puede o no hacerle daño.

Por último, hay que destacar que el hecho de que un razonamiento sea falaz ni significa que las premisas sean falsas ni que la conclusión sea falsa, al igual que no implica que sean ciertas. Lo único que significa es que a partir de las premisas no puede deducirse la conclusión.

Este tipo está loco, así que por mucho que lo repita, se equivoca diciendo que el cielo es azul.
La locura de ese hombre no tiene porqué hacer que se confunda al reconocer colores

miércoles, 23 de marzo de 2016

Shadows of Esteren

I just finished reading Shadows of Esteren (Book 1) and I wanted to share my impressions about this game.

Shadows of Esteren is a little world. The setting is based in a peninsula called Tri-Kazel which is spiritually linked to a somewhat celtic inspiration. This peninsula is isolated from the continent by an almost impassable mountain range, and the sea surrounding the rest of it is so stormy and furious that it's equally impassable. This continent is simply called the Continent, although it's known it has at least two different nations, one of it is a Theocracy, and another is a more scientific nation.

This setting is a low fantasy one, meaning medieval fantasy, with no elves, dwarfs or any other creature usually imagined in such settings. The supernatural part is represented by the Feondas, which is just the common name of an array of creatures that tries to kill other living beings. These feondas seem like twisted versions of vermin, animals, plants and humans, and nothing is explained about them except what they are thought to be.

There are three supernatural-kind-of ways to understand world. The native way is based on spirits of nature. Under this perspective, the Feondas are the expression of the fury of such spirits for not having been paid the proper respect. From the Continent came a faith in a one god, creator of everything, and to the faithful of it, Feondas are demons, enemies of that one god. From a different country of the Continent came the Magience, a kind of Magic-Science based on the fabrication of artifacts that use a kind of energy called "the Flux". For magientist, the Feondas are just part of the natural world, just not yet understood.

After reading the ambientation, one is under the impression that Feondas are far from being the the most important topic, while the differences between the traditionalist nature-spirit-believers, the one-god faithful and the magientist are truly important.

The writing generally do a good job at presenting each part of the world under a different, subjective vision, stating that is a collection of testimonies of different sources about the peninsula, gathered by a noble and delivered to his counselor. Reading it is very enjoyable and actually makes you want to play stories in this setting. It has enough details to feel defined but not enough to make it constrained, so each group of players can (and should) define its own Tri-Kazel to reflect what they prefer regarding how precise each represented viewpoint really is.

The rules are simple, just 1d10 plus some modifiers and versus a target number to be reached (or surpassed)

The skill system has a nice detail: there are several narrow skills called Disciplines. To access one particular Discipline you need a general skill that includes that Discipline. This general skill is called Domain, and some Disciplines are accesible from several Domains. Domains are from 0 to 5 points, while Disciplines are from 6 to 15. Some Disciplines, like weapon disciplines, have to specialize again from 11 to 15, so you can be a legendary swordman with Longsword 15, but you use other one-handed blades at 10 and any Close Combat way of fighting with 5. It's a nice point that all artisans know a bit about other crafts, and any specialist in a particular science has a basic knowledge on all of them, because it helps reflecting how most skills actually work in the real world, more related than isolated.

The most different thing about the system is that the place of attributes like Strength or Intelligence is taken by personality traits called Ways. Everyone is average in Strength, Intelligence and the rest of traditional attributes/characteristics/abilities, except when they buy a particular advantage or disadvantage related to it, and when you divide people in a 1d10 range, pretty much everyone is average.

The definition, then, is about how the personality is. The ways are Combativeness, Reason, Creativeness, Empathy and Conviction, and are evaluated from 1 to 5. Most usually, more is better, but there is a caveat. Since they express personality, to "help" playing your character as it is, there is the "test" idea. For instance, if your character is in a very emotional situation you're probably portraying that and behaving in a way the emotion is getting the upper hand instead of the tactical advantages, but if you are not, you will have to make a "test". You'll roll 1d10 and compare with a target number equal to your Combativeness (which also represents how much you tend to let yourself go with your emotions) plus a modifier.

It's a nice thing to see how personality actually influences what you can do, and even with its limitations (a person with high Combativeness and Reason would not be as emotional as one with high Combativeness and low Reason) it is interesting. After all, in the instance of a fight (a particular easy one, when you are used to think reallistically about them) what you can do is obviously important, but it's far more important what you're willing to do.

Ways mean personality, then, not ability as it, so Combativeness means how quick you are to anger (and any emotion, really) and prone to solve problems through force (of will, shouting or fighting, that depends on your details). Reason represent how prone you are to think about things, not how well you do, and likewise with the rest.

Overall, it is a system with nice ideas to experiment and to represent the normal world, but it has a few problems.

First of all, the supernatural systems (Magience, Druid-kind-of and One-God religion) are not coherent with the low-fantasy the setting is presented to be, nor with the ambientation presented through the book. The first problem is that the Druids and Faithful have what amounts to powers. Powers that most usually work to some extent in a clear way. For instance, both have magical healing, the Druids can make lighting fall on you from the sky and the Clerics can freeze you to death. When a person is able to freeze somebody to death in the six seconds a combat round represents, with but a prayer, its religion is not a matter of faith anymore. The same happens with the Druids and the nature-given favors, such as petrifying an enemy. And both are not coherent with a low-fantasy setting, at any rate.

As for Magience, it could have been a bit more coherent, but it is not in a different way. Magientist artifacts are usually difficult to use (to switch them on you usually have to expend a round and a roll) and breakdown prone, and that I could understand. It's a way to mix a kind of steampunk in the setting and I'm ok with such more or less experimental artifacts to be difficult to use, specially in a rainy, cold place like a celtic peninsula, with mountains and swamps and whatnot. What I find most incoherent about Magience is Flux. Flux is an energy extracted in a liquid form, from just about anything. There are different types of flux (mineral, vegetal, animal and fossil). Fossil flux is already "extracted", while the other types are depending on what you have grind to extract flux from. It's a bit like Mage's quintessence, that is everywhere, in everything. In the ambientation you are told that magientists are most famous as the inventors of Nebulars, a kind of lamp. They use these lamps often and the greatest cities have nebulars to light the streets (at least, on the good neighbourhoods) Then you get to the system and see that a single, portable Nebular uses one Flux charge every 12 hours. How many charges do a whole neighbourhood worth of Nebular lamposts use? Keep that number in mind, because you need to grind about 400 pounds of rock to get one single charge. Now multiply and see if it's reasonable to use that amount of matter. Add now that the refined charge is about three ounces of mass and the rest of the matter grind is turned to a contaminant amount of something ashy, nothing you could do something with, and then it's even more incoherent the world that has been presented to you with its rules.

And, of course, magientist weapons use one charge per use, while damage is about the same of a bow. Honestly, if the first portable firearms had had no advantage over a bow but required a process of a whole day and a couple hundreds of minerals for every shot... we'd still be using bows or crossbows.
In conclusion, it seems a nice setting to play stories about intrigue, mysteries, thrillers... but it needs to tune way down the powers of druids and clerics and a deep revision of the magience thing.