This is a character creation system for PCs designed entirely to be quick and easy and very light on rules. As rules are basic guidelines, feel free to tweak them or change them as needed, but try to keep all rule changes (often called house rules) constant. And have fun.
The following information is the quick character creation information. Truly in depth stuff will follow when a world is made using it.
This game was begun with the idea of making a simple game system that would allow fun, complex characters within a very loose and fast set of rules. As well, the set of rules is intended to be skill based, not stats based: the character statistics are not meant to set ANY character into a stereotype like "he has a low mind, so he HAS to be stupid." How well this works is for you to judge.
1d: 1 die. Refers to using 1 ten-sided die, with 0 equal to 10. 2d would be two ten sided dice and so on.
GM: This term means Game Moderator or Game Master (depending on which you like better) and refers to the person responsible for running the game.
GMC: Game Moderator Character, a character (i.e. anyone not a PC) run by the GM.
PC: Player Character, the alternate persona invented by the player.
All fractions are rounded down.
Comparing Imperial and Metric measurements are done in a quick format. One yard equals one meter, pounds can be halved to get kilograms and a mile can be multiplied by 1.5 to get kilometers. If people really want to get more exact, they can feel free.
All optional rules are in the nice box.
Characters begin the game with 4 basic statistics: Mind, Will, Spirit and Health. These statistics range in score from 2 to 20 and are calculated by rolling 2d (2 ten-sided dice) and adding the total together four times, once for each stat. These rolls can be placed in each stat by players choice, or rolled for each one in order at the GM's discretion.
You can also have the stats rolls as 1d + 5 if the GM agrees and you want higher base stats.
Also, you could use a point system, whereby each player has 45 points to distribute among the 4 stats.
Spirit: A character's spirit refers to how spiritual they are in a broad sense. Those with a high spirit often have access to prayer and the gifts of the gods. It also determines how many basic skills one begins with, those with a higher spirit presumably having gotten along well with others and learned more during their youth. As well, people with high spirit tend to emphasise well with others and make good healers or councillors or spies. Those who a low spirit might not have much use for gods, or just not connect well to others.
Mind: This refers to how much your character has learned as well as how fast you learned it. It is the basis for trained skills but not necessarily a reflection of ones intelligence. A PC with a low mind can just claim their character has never mad time to learn skills or is to young or inexperienced rather than deciding that a low mind equates a dull or stupid character.
Will: Will is a measure of strength and inner fortitude. Someone with a high will could be very determined (perhaps even fanatical) or just the sort of person who really knows what the want. A person with low will might just be accustomed to obeying others, such as family or friends or just be a passive sort, for now. Will is used for casting magic.
Health: Health measures how healthy your character is. If you have a low health, you could be physically weak, over weight or just the victim of genetics.
Note that none of these stats describe or limit your character in any definite way, nor are they meant to. It's up to you, the player, if your character has is outgoing, or strong or intelligent. A Mind score is not intelligence, a Will score is not your personality: make your PC what you will and ignore the stats for your personality. In other words, a PC with Mind 6, Will 12, Spirit 9 and Health 14 could make his PC very intelligent but has never applies herself (hence the low mind compared to the high will) who is in good shape and generally gets along with others, unless she alienates them with her sometimes high-handed elitist views, which explains her spirit.
If a player does wish to know how strong they are for some reason, the GM could have them average out their combat and strength oriented skills to form a rough stat idea.
This game has three types of skills for PCs, Basic, Trained, and Magical. Basic are ones learned in youth and based on Spirit, while trained are learned generally after puberty when your PC is deciding what they wish to do with their life and based off Mind. Magical ones can be learned anytime, but some are restricted to those who have at least one type of magic in their basic skills, making them a true magic user. Magical skills are based off of Will (for mages) and Spirit (for priests)
Basic skills are simply the ones your PC learned in their youth (likely before puberty) and can include simple weapons, trap making, crafts, swimming, magic use and the like. Each PC has a number of points to place into basic skills equal to their Spirit X 3. No basic skill can ever be higher than 10. Each player begins with Alertness, Dodging and Fighting skills at 1 free.
Trained skills include use of weapons, tactics, thieving, powerful magic and things a PC would need to know for whatever profession they choose to embark on. If a PC does not have magic, they begin with a number of trained skills equal to their Mind X 3, so a mind of 12 would equal 36 trained skill points. Starting characters cannot have skills higher than 10, but trained skills can rise as high as the GM wishes.
A PC with a low mind but a high will can decide to focus a character instead. By doing this, they have basic trained skills of Mind X 2 then add their Will as bonus skills, but they must be focused on whatever goal your PC has. In other words, a PC with Mind 5 and Will 8 decides to focus on getting revenge on the "bad guys" who killed his horse when he was younger so he has 10 (mind X 2) normal skills and + 8 from will, which he uses for Tactics 3 and Bladed Weapons 5 as an example.
Those with magical powers, either magic itself (will) or prayer to the gods (spirit) are somewhat different. They have skills equal to their Mind X2 for normal skills and their Will or Spirit themsleves as skill points to spend on magic. If a PC has both kinds of magic, their skill points would be Mind + Will + Spirit. A mage/spirit born (see magic section for details) begins with Mind + Will or Spirit X2 in magical skills to reflect the additional power they begin with.
As well as the above, a PC can choose to focus a skill itself, such as Herbalism with a focus on poisons. For a beginning character, a Herb Lore 4 skill would become Herb Lore (poisons) 3/5, reflecting their additional expertise with poisons at the expense of others. After that, the two stats increase separately as if they were different skills.
The GM can allow PCs to focus to +/- 2 or 3 in skills if they wish as well, to reflect a focused PC or a specific idea for a PC.
When making a Basic skill into a trained skill (for example, wishing to go higher than 10 in alertness, the skill is bought as if it was a new skill entirely, but ones basic skill is halved (rounded down), becoming a bonus to the new skill roll itself.
Traits are basic advantages and disadvantages, rated from 1 to 5 and -1 to -5 mostly. The number of positive and negative traits must balance when a PC is done. Each PC begins with 2d (or 1d + 5) points to spend, so if you rolled 12, you'd be able to have 12 positive traits, which you'd need to counter with 12 points of negative ones. If a GM find that this doesn't work, a PC could be limited to 3 - 5 traits instead.
Traits are used for players to be able to customise their character with odd quirks, such as "Very lucky, can change one die roll a day that I roll (3)" or "Afraid of rats ( -1)" for examples.
Combat in this game is quick and easy, designed to move things along at a fast pace. In order to help with this, each PC has a Basic Attack, Basic Defence and Basic Reaction skill, which is rolled at character creation as 1d + attack basic skill, 1d + dodge basic skill, and 1d + alertness basic skill respectively. In order to increase this skill, one must increase their basic skill.
Combat rounds in this game last as long as they need to for actions to be accomplished. As a rule of thumb, each round is roughly 5 to 10 seconds long.
|BASE WEAPON DAMAGE||DAMAGE BONUS||MODIFIERS|
|1 (Small Weapon - dagger)||+1 - Blunt Weapon||-1 Ceremonial|
|2 (Normal Sized Weapon - sword)||+1 - Cutting Weapon||-1 Dull|
|3 (Large Weapon - big axe)||+1 - Heavy Weapon||-1 Not Really a Weapon|
|+1 - Magical Weapon||-1 Rusted|
|+1 - Enhanced Weapon (fire from tip etc.)||-1 Rather Small|
Note that a weapon for a starting PC should do no more than 5 damage as a result.
|0 - Stark naked.|
|1 - Basic Clothing, Robes|
|2 - Half body / chain (1 vs arrows)|
|3 - Full body (plate) (2 vs arrows)|
|+1 - Magical|
Charcters can advance skills by doing two things. First, they have to earn enough experience (0-7 per session is normal) and then use the skill to justify increasing ones use of it. to learn a new skill, they must spend 10 exp getting it at 1 after seeing it used often enough or using it at need. Training with someone who has the skill reduces this to 5 unless it is an uncommon skill (GM's discretion). Once experience is spent, erase it off the PCs sheet. In general, improving abilities and skills only happens between sessions or perhaps between parts of the campaign, such as a week travelling between cities. In general, PCs shouldn't be able to spend stored EXP and suddenly become better with a weapon in the middle of combat. If a GM allows this, though, it also applies to GMCs.
When increasing a skill, you pay the current skill rank +1 to increase it, so for example increasing Run Away Screaming (basic skill) from 4 to 5 costs 5 (4+1). To increase it to 8 costs 26 (5+6+7+8). As a rule of thumb, no skill should go higher than double a the basic stat, so basic skills are limited to Spirit X2, Trained to Mind X 2 and Magic to Will X 2 (or Spirit X2 for those who call upon the gods).
Increasing the basic stats (Spirit, Mind, Will, and Health) costs the same as increasing a skill, but must be justified with the GM as to exactly what has increased the PCs stat. "Well, after fighting off two poisoned blades, hes tougher than before." Could work, unless the GM decided you could get a Resistance to Poison trait instead.
Characters can spend experience to gain new traits or to raise/lower existing ones with GM approval. Each point raised or lowered costs 10 experience (minimum) and, as with increasing stats, must make sense to the GM. This is an optional rule since some GMs might want PCs unable to get new traits, or not able to increase them, but still able to buy off weak ones.
This is a sample PC.
In order to use this game properly, you need to know exactly what the rolls mean. In general, a PC only has to roll dice for combat, casting spells and seeing if a skill does what they want it to quickly or not. All you need are 2 ten sided dice and luck. Also, the point of games is too Have Fun, which means role playing, not roll playing. Aside from combat and perhaps for randomness or in stressful situations, the GM shouldn’t require the players to roll dice for everything they do.
But what if I can’t do something? Well, then you might be in trouble. Or not. A GM can allow a PC who, for example, never took Swimming to use some close skill, such as Acrobatics for example, halved and try and roll that to be able to stop drowning. In other situations, a GM could have them roll 1d + their lowest skill, or halve their Mind, Will or Spirit (or even Health, on odd occasions) as a skill substitute. Failing all that, just use common sense.
While the other 3 stats were covered in the beginning, Health was left somewhat lacking, mostly because combat hadn’t been explained yet. In this game, losing health can be a very bad thing. If you/re health reaches 0, you are dead. If it goes below 0, very few magics can heal you. If it ever ends up at a negative lower than you health is, such as Health 18 being reduced to -19, you are possibly even beyond the ability of deities to bring back.
When a character (PC or GMC) has their health halved, they are hurting. They get a -2 to all rolls made until someone heals them. At a quarter of optimum health, you suffer -4 to all rolls. Once down to 2 or less health, you know you’re in trouble. At this point, the only thing keeping you going is adrenaline and fear of dying. With the exception of simple combat and skill use, you get a -8 to attempting anything else.
Now that your PC has skills made (or should, we hope), what the skills ranking system means is important. Basically, a skill from 1 to 4 is basic use, 5 - 10 is average, 11 - 17 is fairly good, 18 - 25 very good and 26 - 34 is extremely good. 35 - 44 is considered a master and 45 - 55 is simply legendary.
Challenge ratings for skills are entirely up to the GM. As a basic level, the following chart can apply:
As an optional rule, players who roll a 10 on the ten-sided die can roll again, adding the new roll to their total. Conversely, if a player rolls a 1, they roll a ten-sided die and subtract that roll from their total.
A GM can also allow multiple tens to continue rolling so a PC who rolls 10, 10, ,3 gets 23 and not just the 20 they would get with the above rule. It could also be nasty, since a player rolling a 1, then a 10, 10, 8 would get -29 instead of -11. It can also upset gam balance a lot so it is discouraged.
|5||Easy||“I use my Agriculture to see how useful this land is.”|
|10||Average||“I swing my sword at him.”|
|20||Hard||“I swing my axe at his head, yelling a war cry at the top of my lungs and making faces.”|
|30||Very hard||“I swing my sword at his head, trying to cut it off but not knock over my ale.”|
|40||Very, very difficult||“I try and cut his head off without too much blood.”|
|50||Insane||“I cut his head off and spin around to cut his friends head off too.”|
|60||“I think I pulled a muscle.”||“I cut his head off and he doesn’t notice for a few minutes.”|
At a first glance, skills might seem inordinately hard. Where’s the list to pick them from? What do they mean? The simple way to look at it is that the skills mean whatever you wish them to. For example, all PCs begin with Fighting, Dodge and Alertness at 1 as basic skills. Now, fighting is a rather vague skill in itself, so one player might make it fighting (unarmed), another fighting (staff) and a third could decide that his PC isn’t fit for combat, so tries to ask the GM for fighting (taunting) instead, or change it to Acting (cower in fear) or Run Away ... The first is possible but the last two don’t really give you any help in your basic attack roll, so would likely not be included in it as would the taunting in some situations.
What that example was meant to show is that what you name a skill is very important since you - the player - are making up what the skills do. Broad skills like “Fight With Any Weapon” are obviously absurd, but “Daggers: could cover throwing dagger, knives, silverware and the like as weapons if a GM wishes. A true fighter type should be able to (with GM permission) use practically any weapon and hit someone with it. An example would be making a Weapon Use (any) skill that acts as a + bonus (halved) when using really obscure weapons or things that were never meant to be weapons and a normal weapon skill otherwise. A Gm agreeing to that could well have the points to go into that kill cost double or triple the normal experience, just because it is so broad.
The GM is free to permit or disallow any skill (of course) but they can also decide to allow really broad or really focused skills, but have them cost more or less experience than the normal amount to raise something. (That “normal amount” being the current rate +1.)
Basic skills are essentially the skills your PC is born with or develops during the childhood. Rural PCs might have some knowledge of agriculture, or be good with animals. A PC from a city might have learned how to beg well or the basics of picking pockets. No basic skill can rise higher than 10 simply because they are basic skills. Basic skills can become trained ones if a PC wishes to advance in one further. For example, a PC has a simple Pick Pockets basic skill of 7 and makes it a trained skill. Since they already have the skill, the begin it as if they already had training and pay 1. The basic skill become a +3 (7 halved and rounded down) to any rolls with the trained skill. Unlike trained skills, basic skills are less likely to be decreased if not used over time. A Gm might impose a small penalty to a PC swimming for the first time in eight years or something, but they’ll get the hang of it again quickly, or drown.
A PC wishing to begin with magic as an innate skill can choose the low magics (Life or Death) and the greater magics (Creation and Destruction) as basic skills.
Trained skills are ones your PC has learned and are generally more broad than basic skills.. A PCs trained skills should also reflect what they do for a living, or at least give the player a general idea of that they want their PC to do. Anything except magical skills is acceptable as a trained skill and they can increase as far as the GM wishes to permit them. No starting PC can begin with a trained skill over 10 simply because they are just starting out. If The GM is allowing skill focusing of +/- 3, a PC could have a skill as 7/13 starting out.
A PC can also use trained skills to get the non-inborn magics (such as elelemental ones) but only with GM permission.
Magic is a complicated issues, mostly because it actually covers 4 different things. Magical skills can be the actual use of magic OR the ability to call upon deities for aid, being a priest or cleric in effect. As well, a PC can be mage born or spirit born, someone with an exceptional amount of magic in them. For skill purposes, the normal magic user has their Will (mage) or Spirit (priest) to place into magical skill, and their Mind X2 into trained skills. Mage and spirit born have Will or Spirit X2 to place into magical skills and Mind for trained ones. They also focus more on types of magic, but that will be covered later.
Sample magical skills that any magic user can learn include: astrology, basic divination, healing etc. More on magic will be in the magic section itself.
Magic, being the ability to manipulate the world around oneself in unsettling and powerful ways, is an extremely powerful force, and not one to be taken lightly. It is also a misleading term, covering the use of actual mage spell casting and a priests calling upon their god. As such, they are covered separately and some priests take great offence at being asked if they do “magic.”
An old legend claims that magic exists in the world because “It is a power so great that the Gods have denied themselves it for fear of what it would turn them into.” Of course, many scholars debate exactly what “great” was supposed to mean, but it serves as a lesson for anyone wishing to learn magic: to become a power in the world is to pay a price.
For true mages, there are 2 kinds of magic, lesser and greater. To use them, a PC must have the magics as basic skills, essentially innate magic that they are born knowing. Most mages have Life and Creation or Death and Destruction while a rare few have Life and Death and some just have one of the 4 types of magic. Having just the greater magics is extremely rare. The elemental magics can be learned by anyone and do not need to be innate (i.e. not basic skills). As well, a caster of elemental magics can create their element, destroy it, and affect the living things and objects equally as well. No accepted classification for elemental magic exists, but most mages place it between lesser and greater in theory and lower than lesser in practise, looking down on those who use it.
|Lesser Magic||Greater Magic|
|Other (Elemental Magics)|
In general, having a type of magic isn’t enough, or at least not everything. A mage must give it pathways to follow, learn ways to use it: these are a mages skills. A mage with combat magics, or defensive, ones or healing, or divination will be able to use magic to accomplish those deeds. Another mage only can at great cost, using raw magic and perhaps faith and luck. In game terms, when a mage uses a type of magic, they use their skill as the Ranking, and the magic itself as a bonus to the roll. So a mage with Life 8 as an innate skill and Healing 3 as a magical one can roll 1d + 3 (healing) +8 (life). A mage healing someone without a healing skill uses their skill halved, so it would be 1d + 4.
Magic challenge ratings are just the same as skills.
|5||Easy||“I find out how many people are around the room.”||Life|
|10||Average||“I send a bolt of dark energy into him, hurting him.”||Death|
|20||Hard||“I create a meal out of magic, with cutlery and a table.”||Creation|
|30||Very hard||“I cause the inn to collapse into rubble around me.”||Destruction|
|40||Very, very difficult||“I cause the ground to quake under the city.”||Earth|
|50||Insane||“A roll of thunder smashes into the opposing forces, deafening them and breaking their bones.”||Air|
|60||“I think I melted my brain.”||“I will the sun to rise tonight.”||Fire|
In addition to this, every spell a mage costs that is higher than Easy effort to cast drains 1 Health, even if the casting fails or partially succeeds. For this reason, many mages learn to place healing magic inside items such as staffs to use on themselves during great need. They are also careful to conserve magic.
In general, life and death magics only affect living things, while creation and destruction magics work best on non-living things. Note that no creation or destruction magic is East to cast. All are Average or higher, by virtue of being the greater magics. Elemental magics have many easy affects and don’t really make a distinction between living and non-living things -- it affects both equally.
Becoming one of the mage born is not something anyone aspires too. In fact, it is considered impossible to become one by choice. To be reborn as a mage, the person is literally engulfed in magic and remade, with a price attached. They have no memories of their family and don’t look like who they were before -- sometimes not even of the same sex. In addition, the magic used in the change is powerful enough that most mage born end up destroying their own families entirely by mistake. Most mage born cannot recall what happened for at least a week after their change, likely as a form of self preservation.
In game terms, a mage born begins in a game at the time they are changed, or somewhat after. Playing a PC who becomes one could be done for the sheer insanity of it all, but isn’t advisable. While normal spell casters begin with their Will in magic, mage born begin with Will X2. While they lose out on normal skills, its one of the prices of using magic. The obvious price - besides having a new body, no family and possibly being a new sex (which takes lots of getting used to) - is deformity. All mage born have a -3 or -4 deformity, along the lines of horrible scarring, missing limbs, being mute, stuttering badly, nasty allergies or some forms of insanity. On the other side, they can get advantages to balance it out or use magic to make up for their limits but it remains as proof. To be a mage is to use magic, to be mage born is to be magic.
Every mage born is focused in some of the low and high magics. Most tend to do Creation and Life or Death and Destruction though odd combinations do exist, sometimes even just having one, or just the low, or just the high, or even (more rarely for them) all four kinds. Each mage born begins with 5 free ranks in each magic they know and makes their PC from there. Some mage born also have a knack for certain skills and get +5 to a mage skill like prophecy or healing or defensive magic if the GM wishes. Perhaps most terrifyingly, mage born do not pay health for spells that are Easy or Average, while most mages pay for Average and higher. This alone makes they very dangerous, and also very feared.
The magic of those with faith in the gods - who take a very dim view to it being called magic - cast their spells at it were prayers to their deity. Their version of lesser and greater magic is Prayer and Miracle. The more ranks in each, the more the deity can do once summoned. Both can be innate or learned, though those with Miracle innate tend to be a bit otherworldly. Exactly what can be done with both depend on the magical skills the PC has (Combat, healing etc. etc.) that they can use to focus the prayer. Often, prayers done using a skill linked to the deity come from the followers own faith, while others, such as using combat magic when serving a god of peace, require the deities permission or approval.
The Prayer magic covers direct calling of the deities power to cause specific deeds to happen. Most priests prefer to have a wide variety of skills and use the prayer power only at dire need, since deities tend to look down on those who abuse such strength. Prayers only cost Health if the GM determines, but any deity-powered ability used on non-believers costs 1 health to work, since their belief isn’t helping your power but countering it.
Miracles are exactly that. When someone invokes a deity for one, they must be asking for aid within the deities chosen powers. A deity of war will not respond to a miracle for peace under most circumstances. Also, miracles are costly. Besides 1 health, they often entail a debt owed to the deity. Only a true believer is capable of using this magic, and most of them are wise enough to know not to use it at all.
Exactly what the line is between the two forms of magic is up to the GM, depending on circumstances, the deity and whatever random factors there are. In the main, most followers of deities tend to get along with their own skills, their own inner faith (magical skills) and rarely call upon a deity for prayers or miracles unless they have no choice.
Like mage born, there are a few mortals reborn by deities. Unlike mage born, they don’t have their bodies change (often) and generally recall their families. However, they have been changed. They are no longer strictly mortal and become driven by their deity to perform certain tasks. In game terms, all spirit born use Spirit X2 for spirit (magic) skills and Mind for normal ones, like the mage born for magic. They also gain two free basic skills: Manifest Deity at 5 and Aura of Power at 5. These can be increased and become magical skills for them alone.
The aura of power makes the user seem impressive, inspiring, glow with holy light and the works while the manifest deity allows the spirit born to use the gods power, through themselves. They can even ask the deity to manifest directly in the world, though it costs high, even for them. In general, such power is feared and distrusted. No one knows what a spirit born might do, since they are the will of their gods. No spirit born’s word is taken as truth, for their god could make them break it in a moment if it wished - or just break them. Note that spirit born pay no health to use prayers or miracles. They suffer enough in serving.
No deities power can manifest in the presence of a true non believer. This is not someone who believes in another deity, but someone who refuses to admit deities and their power exists. Their unbelief is powerful enough that no Prayer or Miracle work near them (within sensing range, often just visual). A spirit born near one is very weak and reduced to being mortal often enough. Most true atheists seldom live long as a result though there are tales of heretical spirit born living near them to cease serving their deity.
When a mage casts a spell, they call magic to them and - if there is enough magic in the area - it comes and the spell is cast. As magic is generated by everything, a mage can just wait for the areas magic level to increase and cast their spell later. In game terms, an areas magic level can be Easy, Average, Hard etc. and is effectively the level of spell that can be cast there. Mage born, on the other hand, do not use magic so much as create magic. They can cast spells 2 levels higher than the areas level of magic as a result and can increase the level of magic in an area by concentrating a few minutes and bringing it up to their own level. There are rumours of mage born who can lower it, but they are just rumours.
When people cast spells via a deity, they call inward and use their own faith for magical skills. So if a follower questions their faith, their own strength diminishes, which on the whole is a pretty mean trick by deities but is generally works. Using an actual Prayer is dependant upon the strength of belief in the deity itself in the region. The more followers, the stronger the prayer. Some claim the same applies to Miracles and others that since the god manifests its power directly through them that the amount of need is the factor, not the number of followers close by. However, miracles are rare enough that the matter is still unresolved.
A characters traits are perhaps the most important part of them. They show what the PC can do and, perhaps more importantly, give a glimpse into what kind of person the PC is. They also allow PCs to do things that skills and magic don’t cover, or do them in stranger ways. All skills rank from 1 to 5, positive or negative (lower or higher than 5 is possible, but rare).
The points that can be placed into traits are calculated as 2d (or 1d+5). The GM can limit the amount of traits a PC can gain or allow them to get as many as they wish. In other words, a PC with 8 to spend in traits could get 4 as +2 and 4 at -2 or 8 -1’s and 2 +4’s. If the GM limits how many traits you can put points in, that changes things. What limiting traits does in ensure that a PC will have one or two negative trait at more than -1 if they roll more than, say, 4 if the limit for traits is 4. That means they could have up to 4 positive and 4 negative traits. Also note that the bonus and penalty (-3 to -4) for being mage born counts as addition to the maximum number of traits a PC can have, unless the GM says otherwise or says that the PC must have up for the -4 with their rolled traits score.
A PC wishing to spend Trait points on other can be allowed to add them to his or her Health, with GM permission.
The trait points could also go into Basic Skills, allowing a PC to make a character very good starting out with, for example, 3 types of magic (Life, Death and Fire) at higher levels than normal.
So what do the +2’s and -4’s mean? They use the same level of strength and weakness as the skills. To whit:
|+1||Easy||1 - 5||Nuisance||-1|
|+2||Average||6 - 10||Not Good||-2|
|+3||Good||11 - 20||Bad||-3|
|+4||Very Good||21 - 30||Very Bad||-4|
|+5||Very, Very Good||31 - 40||Very, Very Bad||-5|
|+6||Insane||41 - 50||Insane||-6|
|+7||“I am all powerful!”||51 - 60||“I am really screwed”||-7|
This corresponds to the difficult level of skills (and everything else in the game). So a PC with -2 needs to roll against a difficulty from 6 and 10 to beat whatever it is, if it can be (such as resisting a phobia with a mental toughness skill). Note that even if a PC does resist a negative trait, it still exists. A PC with a fear of heights might resist it to be able to leap out of a burning building, but they won’t go leaping off a cliff to dive into some water to impress their friends.
This covers everything on the character sheet, with the information above to aid you in explaining why the PC has what they have (if it is needed) and how to work yours out.
This, next to background and personality, is the most important part of your PC. It tells others what your PC does and where they are from, giving them some idea of what they are dealing with. While this section of the sheet is largely self explanatory, some information will be provided for the confused.
Character Name: This is the name of your character, and may eventually include descriptors such as Jorg the mighty or Achel the blue earned during the game.
Player Name: This is your name. Hopefully, you won’t have trouble figuring it out.
Experience: This is a listing of your current unspent experience. Keeping track of total experience received during the game can also be helpful, to show your PCs relative “power” to another GM if you wish to play it in another game, hence the 0 / 0 designation on the sheet..
Race: This is your players race/species. For the picky, a race signifies members of a species who can interbreed. For example, the human race is one species. Skin colour would be each persons race in the modern world. If you choose to have the Species available for PCs called races, all it really means is that they can interbreed with each other, even if they are separate species (such as elves and humans producing half elves in a fantasy setting.) Most people simply won’t care one way or another.
Nationality: This shows what nation or grouping your PC either is currently a member of or was born as.
Occupation: This is what the PC does for a living.
The next listing is linked better from top to bottom, rather than across ( sex/age, height/weight etc.) so will be separated in that manner and not across like the ones above.
Sex: What sex your PC is (if any).
Age: How old your PC is. Apparent age (if different) can be noted in the PCs description and background.
Height: How tall is the PC on this sheet?
Weight: How much does he weigh?
Hair: How hairy is the little doggy in the window .... Sorry, got carried away. Hair generally means the hair on the PCs head. If the PC is bald, but has a white beard, just note bald/beard and have it in the description. If the PC is furred, change Hair to Fur if you want.
Eyes: The colour of your PCs eyes, if they have any.
The above are just rough guides for the player to get a vague description, not for a player to write: Sex: Male, but likes to dress as a female and go into bars and pretend he’s a lumberjack. That sort of stuff goes into background, personality and description.
Description: This is what other people see when they look at your PC. Personality traits can be added to it if you wish.
These are the four stats rolled (the only rolls made during PC creation besides the one for number of Traits.
As these four stats are explains above, there is no need to go into them in depth. Adrex chose Health as highest simply because he was a warrior and would need to survive being hit more than anything else. Mind was next because the player decides that learned skills were important and the PC needed a strong will over a strong spirit, a personal choice.
Skills are obviously important as a measure of some of the things your PC can do. As you invent them yourself, not much help can be offered except to look at the sample PC and explain why those skills were chosen for him.
Basic Skills: Adrex (like all PCs) Began with 1 in Alertness, Dodge, and Fighting as generic broad skills. Since Adrex is to be a fighter, the player adds 5, 4 and 6 to each. Not willing to limit the PCs basic skills to just combat and combat avoidance, the player decides that the PC should be able to swim, at least enough to not drown. Lastly, he invents a skill Inspire Others, which he tells the GM acts like a natural charisma -- he could convince people to help put out a fire by appealing to their better nature, for example. He tells the GM the skill might be expanded into a leadership-style trained skill, but he wants the PC to have this as a basis. The GM agrees.
Trained Skills: Adrex is a fighter, so being able to fight people unarmed is a must. The player decides that unarmed combat should begin at the maximum (10) along with sword use, but also adds his fighting skill to his use with swords instead of unarmed combat. Healing makes sense for someone used to fighting, and the player decides that specialising in battle wounds (quick wrapping of wounds, dealing with shock fast and the like) makes sense. Adrex has also done some sailing in the past, so has a secondary profession of sorts to fall back on, or a career in pirating. Assess Foe, the player decides, allows Adrex to see how wounded someone is at a glance, so he can pull back blows and knock someone out rather than killing them. The GM agrees, only if the skill applies to combat. The player figures that haggling with a merchant could be called a form of combat - but decides not to push it.
Magic Skills: The player decides to begin Adrex with a simple fire starting elemental magic that replaces using flint and tinder. he says that it could probably be used on people and such, but the PC has only ever used it on wood to light fires and once or twice to light a torch at the end of a room with a glance. He decides that Adrex would need to be very desperate to use it on someone (likely their hair) and would need instruction to be able to use the fire magic for other things than simply replacing his flint and tinder.
As noted before, your PCs traits give you (and the GM) an idea of your pc. As with skills, we will use Adrex as the example and explain the reasons for his traits.
Sense Magic (+3): This trait was picked for two reasons. 1) It could allow the PC to branch off into learning magic and gives him a reason too. 2) More importantly, it allows him to sense magic around him at all times (while this could be detrimental in some incidences, it would be good for finding out if weapons or doors are magical - and thus, possibly deadly).
Nightmares (-4): As this is a -4 Trait, its likely more than the terse “Never gets a good nights rest” noted on the sheet. In fact, the PC likely heals less damage than normal, just from not being able to rest and recover his strength. It also gives the player some interesting ideas for the background: why does Adrex have such horrible dreams? Given his last traits, its quite possible he did something truly evil at one point.
Fear of Drowning (-1): A fear, because no person is complete without a weakness or two.
Predators Smile (+2): This is just a good way to tell others that this PC means business: do not get in his way. The player decides that its not a feigned skill, he’s learned it during whatever incidents gave him his nasty nightmares.
This just lists the weapons and armour the PC has. Why they were picked should be self explanatory, but the sword was picked because the PC likes swords (the swordsmanship skill), the axe and dagger because they are always useful (they'd use his innate fighting skill halved, rather than swordsmanship, in combat).
Large axe: This weapon does 5 damage because it is large (3), heavy (+1) and a cutting weapon (+1).
Dagger: A dagger does 2 damage due to being small (1) and cutting (+1)
Sword: Being an average weapon, it does (2) damage, +1 for cutting. The other +1 comes from it being an old family relic and magical (though the GM wouldn’t specify what the magic does).
Leather Armour: This armour has a rating of 2 since it is not full plate (3) and protects more than robes and such (1).
Shield: All shields have a rating of 1. For the most part, they can be used to add +1 to a PCs defence if the GM wishes and counter the -1 to armour vs arrows.
This simply lists the supplies your PC has (putting your money first is a good idea). The notes section is exactly that: just a place to list things you might need to recall. How much things cost etc. depends upon the campaign. Use common sense in determining how much your PC actually has with them.
The most important part of your PC (From a role playing perspective), this section is last so you can devote time to it after working out your PCs stats and decide here how and why he or she has those abilities and why they are what they are.
Personality:When deciding on a PC personality, the important thing to remember is that it isn’t set in stone. Writing a personality is to give you, the player, some idea of the kind of person your PC is. A written personality gives the GM something to go by and allows the player to figure out how they want to role play their PC.
For example: Adrex tends to be a quiet person, cold to those he doesn’t know but friendly in private to the few people he calls friends. He has a tendency to withdraw from situations - or at least to put his emotions aside when dealing with them - that can often alienate others. As well, his cold smile has made many people assume that he is really an evil person, or a good actor. The truth is somewhere in the middle, and not even he knows where anymore.
This tells the GM something about the PC: That he is a bit of a loner, than he can frighten others and that he has done evil and isn’t even sure if he is a “good” person himself anymore.
Background: Making a background for your character is a very good thing, even if its only an outline of the past or some point form notes. A basic background should include:
Family - Do you have any? If no, why not and if yes, why are you not at home?
Adventuring - Why do it? (Basic motivations for the starting character)
Past - Who taught you in the ways of your class?
Goals - Where do you see the character heading and what are his/her plans for the future?
The GM might have the players answer specific questions like: What would you die for? What would you kill for? Why did your PC decide to have the job they have? Does the PC have pets? etc. when making a PC, but this varying from GM to GM. How a player chooses to answer the questions tells a lot about their PC. Saying that “Adrex will kill only as a last resort or if defending another.” is far different from “Adrex generally does not kill, but if you give him 5 pieces of gold and a good meal, he’s your man.”
Sample background 1: Bob has no family and is an orphan. He left the orphanage to adventure when it went bankrupt. He taught himself how to fight dealing with bullies in the orphanage and a retired fighter who lived close by taught him a little. He wants to be famous.
Sample background 2: Eral is a wizard, and that has been his goal in life since for as long as he could remember. Born the youngest of 12 children, he knew what it was like to be powerless for most of his life, and magic represented power to him. He was painfully shy as a child and was taught to read by a kindly young cleric named Walter, who also taught him the basics of magic. Eral, despite his respect for Walter, didn't become a cleric since it seemed to much like being controlled by a god, and Eral didn't want to be controlled by anyone. He learned wizardry from an unnamed wizard passing through the village on his way south. The wizard taught him how to detect magic and read spells, cantrips and left behind some first and second level spells in a spell book for Eral, telling him that Eral had the potential to be a great mage. Shortly after that, a plague struck the village and killed most of his family. Unable to deal with the loss and too introverted and prideful to speak of his pain even to Walter, Eral fled the village to seek the cause of the plague and never returned, making his home outside it to brood and be alone in.
The unnamed wizard may have been the cause of the plague. (Good motivation would be making Eral reach his potential by travelling, bad would be because he was bored and Eral could be a challenge to him later on, something to occupy his time with.) Also, Eral is slowly become nuts because he never resolved what happens to his family, might be haunted by their ghosts or something when he thought he was free of them. Taking it further, Eral himself might have caused the plague accidentally while experimenting with his spells.
The second background is obviously more in-depth and includes ideas for the GM to exploit in the future. The first is also acceptable, and leaves a lot of room for character development -- abuse in the orphanage, the exact name of the old warrior etc. can all be used by the GM and player to enhance the character. Some players prefer the first method so they can developed a background and history on the go, and not have one built into the character. Both methods work.
Once a PC is done, getting the GMs approval to play him or her is essentil, for obvious reasons. It is best to know what kind of PCs the GM is looking for in a campaign before making one as well as talking with the GM while making the PC, for ideas and input into your plans. Once everything is set and approved, just remember that the point of a game is to have fun and relax :)