Ki Khanga MapIn our last post, Milton was busy creating his character, Kofi, a veteran Constable in the merchant riverine city of Sati Baa.

Using the 150 points of Aṣe allotted to him, Milton built Kofi’s Abilities and Calculated Abilities and now has 46 points of Aṣe left to finish building his character.

Milton dunks his Danish in his coffee and then yanks the now soggy pastry from the cup of java and takes a bite. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, savoring the sweet gummy taste of the soaked Danish. “Heaven,” he whispers, and then he takes another peek at the TRAIT COST Chart:

TRAIT                         COST IN AṢE

                                                           Ability                         2 per rank

                                                          Skill                             1 per rank

                                                          Talent                          1 per Talent or Talent rank

                                                          Effect                          (base Effect cost + modifiers) x rank + flat modifiers

                                                         Defense                       2 per rank

                                                         Fighting                       10 per addl. Rank

                                                        Health                         10 per addl. Rank

                                                        Will                             10 per addl. Rank

                                                        Wealth                        10 per addl. Rank.


“Skills are next, huh?” Milton says. “Cool, let’s do this.” He thinks about Kofi, a skilled and highly experienced law enforcer in a town that is all about commerce. After a few moments of contemplation, Milton reads the Skills descriptions:


  1. Skills are learned abilities – a combination of training and natural affinity.
  2. Each skill is linked to an Ability and to that Ability’s applicable Suit.
  3. Each skill has a rank that indicates how many cards you draw to accomplish the task AND the points you add to your played card.

For example, Kofi wants to eavesdrop on a pair of sailors who are fifty feet away (a tough task, Difficulty Rating (DR) 7, plus the GM’s played card – a five of Diamonds, which raises DR to 8). Milton uses Kofi’s Listen skill, which has a rank of 3 and is linked to his Wisdom, which has a rank of 10. He draws 3 cards. He adds Kofi’s Listen and Wisdom ranks to the value of the played card (a 6 of Diamonds) for a total of 19 and compares it to the DR. In this case, Kofi easily overhears the sailors’ conversation.

  • Untrained: If you do not possess a skill, you are considered untrained. You can still attempt the skill, but you would only use the Ability linked to the appropriate skill. If the skill is designated as “Trained Only”, however, you cannot use the skill if you are not trained in it. To attempt to use a “Trained Only” skill untrained results in an automatic Fumble. Fumbles are discussed in detail in the Ki Khanga™ Sword and Soul Roleplaying Game.


Milton chooses from the list of skills below. Detailed descriptions are given in the Ki Khanga™ Sword and Soul Roleplaying Game. Here, we have included the Ability each Skill is linked to, the card Suit it is linked to and whether the Skill is ‘Trained Only,’ or not.

Each Skill costs 1 point of Aṣe per rank.

ACROBATICS [AGL; Trained Only; ♣]







CRAFT [INT; Trained Only; ♦]: Craft is actually a number of separate skills that are purchased and built individually. Some of the crafts include: Alchemy; Armor smithing; Basket Weaving; Book-Binding; Bow-Making; Blacksmithing; Calligraphy; Carpentry; Cobbling; Gem Cutting; Leather Working; Locksmithing; Painting; Pottery; Sculpting; Shipmaking; Stonemasonry; Trap-Making; Weaponsmithing; Weaving and Woodcarving.

DECIPHER SCRIPT [INT; Trained Only; ♦]


DISABLE DEVICE [INT; Trained Only; ♦]





HANDLE ANIMAL [PRE; Trained Only; ♠]





KNOWLEDGE [INT; ♦]: This skill encompasses a number of unrelated skills. Knowledge represents a study of some body of lore. Typical fields of study include: Arcana (ancient mysteries, magic traditions, arcane symbols, magical creatures); Architecture & Engineering (edifices, dams, bridges, roads, fortifications); Art & Literature (artists, ballads, plays); Folklore (legends & myths, superstitions, cultural / racial lore, folk remedies); Creature Lore (habits, habitat, strengths, weaknesses); Geography (lands, terrain, climate, people, customs); History (royalty, wars, migrations, notable events, catastrophes); Local Lore (local customs, personalities, laws, traditions, creatures); Nature (flora, fauna, fractals, weather, climate, natural cycles); Peerage (bloodlines & genealogies, heraldry, factions, duties); Religion (deities, history, traditions, holy symbols, shrines); Warcraft (tactics, strategies, leaders, siegecraft, military history).




PICK LOCK [DEX; Trained Only; ♦]

PROFESSION [WIS; Trained Only; ♥]




SLEIGHT OF HAND [DEX; Trained Only; ♦]

SPEAK LANGUAGE [INT; Trained Only; ♦]: Though Kikhanga (the “Common” Tongue) is a nearly universal trade language; most people speak their native tongue as well. You begin the game fluent in Kikhanga and the native language of your people. For every rank in this skill, you gain fluency in another language.





USE MAGIC DEVICE [PRE; Trained Only; ♠]


Milton chooses the following skills and gives them the listed ranks: Bluff: 2; Climb: 1; Concentration: 2; Diplomacy: 3; Disable Device: 1; Gather Information: 4; Intimidate: 3; Knowledge – Creature Lore: 1, Geography: 1, Local Lore: 2; Listen: 3; Move Silently: 1; Ride: 1; Search: 3; Sense Motive: 3; Speak Languages – Ki Khanga (common), Twi / Asanteman (native), Kiswala; Spot: 2; Swim: 1; Taunt: 2.

The total cost of these skills is 37 points of Aṣe. Milton now has 9 points of Aṣe left.


  1. Talents are the extraordinary traits we all possess that are more than skills, but not quite on the same level of power as Effects (see Effects in Part 3).
  2. Talents often enhance skills we already possess and sometimes give us access to abilities most people do not have.
  3. Like Abilities and Skills, Talents are bought with – and advanced by – Aṣe. Also, like Abilities and Skills, Talents are rated in ranks. Most are 1 rank (the rank required to purchase the Talent), however, some Talents can be purchased multiple times to increase outcomes, or to add new outcomes. Some Talents are linked to Suits and some are not, as they apply to Skills of more than one Suit.

Milton peruses the list of Talents below. He doesn’t have many points left, so he decides to pick only a few talents and save a few points to buy an Effect.

The Talents and the Skills they modify are listed below. The cost of each talent is 1 point of Aṣe or 1 point per rank in that Talent. A more detailed look at Talents is included in the Ki Khanga™ Sword and Soul Roleplaying Game rulebook:

AGILE: +2 on all Balance and Escape Artist checks.

ALERTNESS: +2 on all Listen and Spot checks.

ANIMAL AFFINITY: +2 on all Handle Animal and Ride checks.

ATHLETIC: +2 on all Climb and Swim checks.

AMBIDEXTERITY: You can use either hand with equal aptitude. ♦

BASH: You can make a bash attack with a shield. ♣

BEGGAR: +4 on Diplomacy checks when you are begging. ♠

BREW POTION: You can create potions, which carry spells within themselves. Prerequisite: Knowledge – Arcana 5; you must possess the Spell Effect you want to add to the potion. ♦

BRUTISH: You are strong and menacing-looking. Add your STR as well as your PRE to Intimidate.

COMBAT CASTING: + 4 to Concentration checks made to cast a spell or to maintain an Effect. ♥

COMBAT EXPERTISE: Take up to -5 from your Attack check and add the same rank number (5 or less) as a bonus to your Defense. Prerequisite: INT 6. ♦

COMBAT REFLEXES: You can take up to your AGL rank in attacks against Stunned and Unaware opponents (only one additional attack per opponent) (see Conditions). Prerequisite: AGL 6. ♣

CRAFT MAGIC ARMS & ARMOR: You can create and repair magic weapons, armor and shields. Prerequisite: Craft – Armorsmithing 6, Weaponsmithing 6; Knowledge – Arcana 6.

CRAFT MAGIC ITEM: You can create a wide variety of magic items (other than armor and weapons). Prerequisite: Knowledge – Arcana 5; Use Magic Item 6. ♦

DECEITFUL: +2 on all Disguise and Forgery checks.

DEFLECT ARROWS: Once per round, when you would normally be hit by a ranged weapon, you may deflect it so that you take no damage. Prerequisite: DEX 6; Combat Expertise. ♦

DEFT HANDS: +2 on all Sleight of Hand and Use Rope checks.             

DILIGENT: +2 on all Appraise and Decipher Script checks.

DODGE: During your Action, choose an opponent and receive +1 to Defense against attacks from him.

DUAL WIELD: You can make an additional attack with an “off-hand” weapon. Both attacks are executed using only one attack Action. ♣

CONSTITUTION: You receive a +4 on the following checks: Swim, to resist drowning; END to keep running, avoid damage from starvation or thirst and from hot or cold environments. ♥

FAR SHOT: When you use a projectile weapon, such as a bow, increase its range by x1½ . For thrown weapons, increase range by x2. Prerequisite: Point Blank (Talent). ♦

GREAT FORTITUDE: + 2 on END checks against poisons, disease and environmental hazards. ♥

HAND-TO HAND: +2 on all unarmed attack checks. ♣

IMPROVED DISARM: +4 on Attack checks to disarm your opponent. Prerequisite: INT 6; Combat Expertise. ♦

IMPROVED GRAPPLE: +4 on all Grapple checks, whether you initiated the grapple or not. Prerequisite: DEX 6; Hand-To-Hand. ♦

IMPROVED INITIATIVE: +4 on Initiative checks. ♣

INVESTIGATOR: +2 on all Gather Information checks.

IRON WILL: You receive +2 on all Will checks. ♥

MAGICAL APTITUDE: +2 on all Use Magic Item and Knowledge – Arcana checks.

MOUNTED ARCHERY: Using a ranged weapon while mounted does not increase the DR level for performing several Actions at once. Prerequisite: Ride 6; Mounted Combat.

MOUNTED COMBAT: Once per round, you can add your Ride rank to your steed’s Protection and Health when it is attacked. Prerequisite: Ride 1.

NEGOTIATOR: +2 on all Diplomacy and Sense Motive checks.

NIMBLE FINGERS: +2 on all Disable Device and pick Locks checks.

PERSUASIVE: +2 on all Bluff and Intimidate checks.

POINT BLANK: +1 to your Attack Total with ranged weapons at a distance of 30’ or less.

PRECISE SHOT: You can fire a ranged weapon into melee combat without imposing the standard -4 penalty to your Attack Total. Prerequisite: Point Blank. ♦

RAPID SHOT: Add another attack as if you were executing a combined effort (see Dual Wield). Prerequisite: DEX 6; Point Blank. ♦

RIDE-BY ATTACK: Charge and attack while mounted on your steed (which is standard) and then move again. Prerequisite: Mounted Combat; Ride 6. ♣

RUN: Move at 6x normal walking speed when running. ♣

SCRIBE SCROLL: Create a scroll of any spell that you know. Prerequisite: Craft Magic Item. ♦

SELF-SUFFICIENT: +2 on all Heal and Survival checks.

SKILL FOCUS: Choose a skill – you gain +3 on all checks involving that skill.

SPIRITED CHARGE: When you execute a mounted charge, you do double damage (triple if using a lance or a great spear). Prerequisite: Ride 6; Mounted Combat; Ride-By Attack. ♣

SPIRIT-STEP: Move up to ½ your total speed before and after your Attack check. ♣

STEALTHY: +2 on all Hide and Move Silently checks.

SUNDER: +4 on Attack checks on your opponent’s weapon or shield (as well as other objects) when your goal is to break the object. ♣

SWIFT: Your speed is increased by x1½. You can purchase this twice for x2 speed.

TOUGH: Draw a card: a red card = +2 Health; a black card = +1 Health; If you draw a ♥, add the +2 and draw again, adding the second draw also (if that is a ♥ too, add +2 and draw yet again, etc.). ♥

TRACK: You can follow the trails of creatures and characters across most types of terrain. Prerequisite: Survival 6.

TUMBLE: +2 on all Jump and Acrobatics checks.

TWO-WEAPON DEFENSE: When wielding a double weapon (like a quarterstaff), or two melee weapons (not including natural weapons, like claws, or unarmed strikes), you gain +2 Protection. Prerequisite: Dual Wield.

WEAPON PROFICIENCY: Each choosing of this talent adds one weapon you are skilled in the use of. You suffer a -4 to your Attack Total when you use a weapon you are not proficient with.

Ki KhangaMilton chooses the following Talents for Kofi: Alertness; Ambidexterity; Far Shot; Investigator; Precise Shot; Weapon Proficiency – Throwing Club, Club.

These Talents cost Milton 7 points of Aṣe. He has 2 points of Aṣe left.

The corners of Milton’s mouth curl up into a broad smile. “I have 2 points left,” he says, lifting his gaze toward the Heavens. “I can purchase an Effect!”

Milton leaps from his chair and jogs around his office once. He collapses into his chair, struggling for breath. He silently curses himself for getting overly excited and running too far, too fast.

While Milton catches his breath, let’s do the same and return in two days to add an Effect and to put the finishing touches on our character.

About Balogun

Balogun is the author of the bestselling Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within and screenwriter / producer / director of the films, A Single Link, Rite of Passage: Initiation and Rite of Passage: The Dentist of Westminster. He is one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk – a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or steampunk fiction – and writes about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at He is author of eight novels – the Steamfunk bestseller, MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2); the Urban Science Fiction saga, Redeemer; the Sword & Soul epic, Once Upon A Time In Afrika; a Fight Fiction, New Pulp novella, Fist of Afrika; the gritty, Urban Superhero series, A Single Link and Wrath of the Siafu; the two-fisted Dieselfunk tale, The Scythe and the “Choose-Your-Own-Destiny”-style Young Adult novel, The Keys. Balogun is also contributing co-editor of two anthologies: Ki: Khanga: The Anthology and Steamfunk. Finally, Balogun is the Director and Fight Choreographer of the Steamfunk feature film, Rite of Passage, which he wrote based on the short story, Rite of Passage, by author Milton Davis and co-author of the award winning screenplay, Ngolo. You can reach him on Facebook at; on Twitter @Baba_Balogun and on Tumblr at

6 responses »

  1. Aton Bridges says:

    Excellent work, guys!

  2. […] the last two posts, we have worked on our Ki Khanga™ Characters. In this post, we complete our […]

  3. Fujimoto says:

    One of the most unique systems I’ve seen, and dice aren’t even needed!

  4. […] the Ki Khanga Anthology, a collection of stories based on the world we created for the upcoming role playing game of the same […]

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