Chapter One: Introduction (p.1)

Here begins your adventure into the world of Archaea--a world full of myth and legend, fantasy and imagination, storytelling and magic. Archaea is a medieval fantasy live-action role-playing and wargaming system dedicated to providing entertainment, excitement, and a bit of education to those interested in recreating the flavor of the past and rediscovering the fantasy of myth and folklore. To tell the tale you must live the tale--that is the motto of Archaea.


Archaea is a game. Players are encouraged to play the game reasonably, sensibly, and responsibly and to use this book as a sourcebook. Always play safely and always use common sense. Because the information found in this book may be used in circumstances or situations out of the control of the author and publisher, neither author nor publisher assumes any responsibility for any loss or injury occasioned by such use.

What is Live-Action Role-Playing and Wargaming?

Live-action means the players are actual participants in the game. Like a human chess game, the players play the part of the pieces and the imaginary world of Archaea becomes the board upon which they walk, talk, fight, and adventure. Instead of simply reading about characters in a story, the players actually become the characters and become part of the action.

Second, role-playing means each player adopts the role or persona of a created character. Much like an actor takes on the persona of a character in a play, the player of Archaea takes on the personality of the character he or she has created for the game.

Lastly, wargaming means that in the game of Archaea there are rules and provisions for live-action combat. Archaea uses padded-weapons to simulate swords, daggers, arrows, and shields allowing for the "real feel" of fighting but to insure fun and above all safety.

Where and When is Archaea?

The game setting takes place in the mythical realm of Archaea. The geography, the people, the government, the cultures, the history, and the lore and legend of Archaea have been created to provide a framework in which the players play their characters. Chapter Seven details the world of Archaea.

All the information about the realm is drawn from three places: our world's history, our folklore and myth, and from the imaginations of the players. Archaea is loosely based on the medieval period of Earth's history. Much of the arms, garb, culture, and psychology is drawn from medieval Europe but players are not limited to any one particular tradition or culture. Also, though the medieval period in Europe fell roughly between the 5th century and the 16th century of the Common Era, players may with impunity delve into adjacent time periods. See the remaining chapters for details on character costuming, equipment, and creation.

In addition, myth and legend add brilliant color to the realm of Archaea. An element of the fantastic allows for the inclusion of magic and mysticism. The game of Archaea provides rules for the simulation of magic and the mystic arts; see Chapter Five and Chapter Six for details.

What is an Archaea Event?

Archaea events are called adventures. Much like a story or plot, adventures are a small slice out of the on-going history of the realm of Archaea. The characters, played by the players, are the protagonists in the adventure seeking to solve a mystery, find a treasure, save a town, rescue an important person, or simply to discover what the world has to offer.

Like different chapters of a novel, adventures are usually self-contained yet part of a series of events. The history of Archaea is continually being spun as characters embark on their journeys and escapades. A long series of interconnected adventures is called a campaign.

Players are reminded that each event builds upon the previous events and that information learned several adventures ago may prove to be useful in the present or a future adventure.

What Do You Need to Play Archaea?

The main ingredients needed to play the game are: an Elder of the Realm, player-characters, non-player characters, props and game equipment, and imagination and common sense.

The Elder of the Realm

First, an Elder of the Realm must choose to or be chosen by a group to organize the game. The Elder of the Realm is the game master, the organizer, the referee, and the creative genius behind the adventure plots. The Elder of the Realm is the game administrator.

The Elder of the Realm organizes the time and place for an event. A little-used public park or a player's farm would be ideal sites. The Elder should always find out the rules and regulations of using a site.

He or she is responsible for keeping track of attending players and character information. He or she distributes game materials such as rulebooks, skill cards, and game money. He or she is also responsible for checking weapons, shields, and armor for safety, and checking costumes and other game requirements. Finally, The Elder is responsible for awarding Experience Points at the end of every adventure and for providing the promotion of characters in their Organizations.

The Elder of the Realm takes the information found in the Archaea sourcebook and personalizes the game, the Realm, to his or her taste. Any "house rules" or changes to the game should be made known at the beginning of the game.

Finally, of all the Elder of the Realm's duties, the creation of the adventure is the one of the most important to the success of the game. It is the Elder of the Realm who leads the players and their characters through the world of Archaea.

To create an adventure, a general outline of the story should be prepared in advance. The Elder should ask these questions: Why are the adventurers together? Where are they going? Who are what will try to stop them? What is the adventure's goal? How does this adventure fit into the continuing history of the Realm?

The Elder should begin with the nature of the Realm. What are the current politics? Are there any quests or legends of note? Is there a battle between two provinces, two organizations, or between good and evil? The Elder should consult Chapter Seven for information and inspiration about the Realm of Archaea.

Next, the Elder should take into consideration the types of player-characters on the field and any character histories that might have been submitted. Different player-characters and their respective organizations and personal stories are often a good source for adventure ideas, conflicts, and sub-plots.

Furthermore, even the physical location of the event may affect how an adventure is run. Is the site forested? Hilly? Criss-crossed with paths? Near a stream? On a field? Depending on the nature of the site and whenever possible, the kind of adventure should suit the terrain and landscape.

Lastly, with the adventure in mind, the Elder can add to the atmosphere of the event by including special costumes, props, and even theatrical make-up.

Once the setting has been decided, once the characters have been created, and once the plot has been tentatively set, the Elder of the Realm's job is to guide the players. The Elder of the Realm describes to the players all that they see, hear, feel. He or she listens to the players, take account of what players do, and decide what happens next in the adventure.

All in all, the Elder of the Realm's job is to match the creativity of his or her players. The Elder must be the strategist, the dramatist, and the artist. Juggling all that happens at an event can be overwhelming and the Elder of the Realm may appoint other players to help him or her as referees, monsters, and non-player characters.


The Elder of the Realm may wish to elect a handful of other players (usually more experienced players) to assist him or her in the running of the game. These players, simply called Elders, are the field referees making sure the game runs smoothly, safely, and fairly.

Besides being the adjudicators of game rules, Elders can also play an important part of the running of adventures. Many skills, abilities, and some spells require the presence of an Elder.

Elders come in different shapes and forms. Generally, an Elder will be separate from the action of the game and will have a surcoat designating him or her as a game official. Sometimes an Elder will double as a game official and a non-player character; these Elders often play people who may have a great deal of knowledge and amassed information such as a town bureaucrat or a reclusive hermit or a powerful hero.

Remember that Elders are a resource. Bring any in-game or out-of-game queries to an Elder. Also remember that the ruling of Elders is final and all players must follow the judgment of an Elder.

Player-Characters (PCs)

Second, a game must have players. When a player begins the game of Archaea, he or she creates a persona that will be controlled, "played," by the player himself or herself. All of the information found in following Chapters culminates in the inspiration, construction, and development of an Archaea character. This persona is the player-character--the character played by the player only.

Once the event starts, once the adventure begins to unfurl, the player must act and react as his or her character. Aside from playing safely and fairly, how a player acts or role-plays is one of the most important responsibilities of the player.

Non-Player Characters (NPCs)

Non-player characters are people, creatures, and monsters that the player-characters will encounter on an adventure. The Elder of the Realm selects a group of people to play these parts. Basically, at every event, a group of players will be asked to play non-player characters rather than their own characters; the same players should not NPC all of the time. The number of NPCs should be balanced against the number of PCs in the adventuring party.

NPCs should be denoted in game by surcoats, special costuming, or make-up to distinguish them from the player-characters. The Elder may wish to make up separate markings for human and non-human NPCs.

Remember that NPCs are under the supervision and guidance of the Elder of the Realm and the event staff. They are the extras that populate the setting of the game adding sound, site, voice, intrigue, spectacle, and atmosphere to the adventure.

Props and Equipment

The materials needed to start the game are minimal. However, players may wish to spend extra effort and investment into making the game more enjoyable.

Each player should have a copy of the sourcebook and should be encouraged to read the rules thoroughly to avoid later confusion and misunderstanding. The players then create the character that they wish to play. The Elder of the Realm should help players formulate their character concepts to fit the flavor and the nature of the game world.

Aside from the sourcebook, a player must have a suitable costume. Garb does not have be period (historically accurate), but it must have the look and feel as if it could have come out of a medieval wardrobe. See Chapter Two for details on costuming requirements.

Next, players may wish to invest in making padded-weapons. Weapons and fighting are not requirements to play, but wargaming is an integral part of the game. Chapter Four details guidelines on how to make several different types of weapons.

Other than weapons, armor and shields may be used. Archaea uses padded shields with specific construction details explained in Chapter Four. On the other hand, armor is the only thing that is close to the genuine article; again, see Chapter Four for construction requirements.

Lastly, players will need some game paraphernalia such as skill cards, game money, and other game items, which should be carried at each event. Sample skill cards, game money, and other game materials can be found at the back of the sourcebook and may be duplicated and used in the game.

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