Create-a-characterPosted by Marius 02 Aug, 2009 22:12:23
I admit I have a soft spot for slightly
arcane games with weird rules sets such as most FGU games, Powers &
Perils and Dangerous Journeys to name just a few. So I was naturally
curious about Lejendary Adventure and eventually got a copy of the
Essentials boxed set.
Let me just tell you about the first
· It's in a box, clearly. I like
boxes and this reminds me of those old BECMI D&D sets. Good
· It contains two books, one
bound, one stapled: Essentials and Essential Bestiary.
· It also contains two thin,
stapled booklets that look as if they were printed on a regular
office printer: Bestiary Tables and Treasures
· It comes with a set of
polyhedral dice. Nice.
· The Essentials book (which is
where all the rules are) mysteriously doesn't contain a character
sheet nor an index. These omissions can't have been for reasons of
space since the book ends with five blank pages. That seems a bit
amateurish to say the least.
· On page 3 of the treasures
booklet, the columns are misaligned so the second column starts above
the top-margin. Again, amateurish. Did nobody take a quick glance at
the pdf before printing it out? The page headings also unhelpfully
claim that this is the Essential Bestiary - I wonder of these pages
were supposed to have gone in that book, were accidentally left out
and hurriedly printed out on a regular printer and thrown into the
· The quality of the artwork is
roughly on par with what I'd expect to see in an RPG from 30 years
ago. Perversely, this gives me a sort of nostalgic joy.
OK, on with my character:
Since this is a post-D&D Gary Gygax
game, nearly every common term is renamed, so I'm not really creating
a character: I'm creating an avatar. Anyway, step one in creating an
avatar is selecting a race. It gives me the following choices:
Ilf (a dyslexic elf, apparently)
Kobold (not entirely dissimilar to
halflings but less goofy)
Oaf, typical (large, brutish humanoids)
Oaf, major (like typical oafs but more
so - why would anyone want to play a ”typical oaf”?)
I settle on Kobold.
As a kobold, my character can become
invisible at will, make two attacks per ABC (combat round) with a
+1d4+1 bonus (I get a 4) to Physique (sweet!), has an innate energy
field giving 2 points of armor, has better nightvision and sense of
touch than a human, has a natural enchantment power and a bunch of
Step two is to distribute 100 points
over the three base abilities: Health, Precision and Speed. Speed is
on a very different, more compact scale from the other two and is
multiplied by four when making checks against it. You'd be a fool not
to max it out by the RAW as that will make almost no difference in
the number of points you have left for the other two. I'm going to
mod the rules a bit here and give myself 130 points instead of 100
but I'll change the cost of Speed to 4:1 since that's what I'd do if
I were asking someone else to create a character for this game.
As a kobold, I have the following
restrictions on how to use my points:
Health: 40-70, Precision: 20-50, Speed:
I'm going to choose a good Speed of 13
leaving me with 78 points for Health and Precision. If I put the
minimum of 40 points in Health, that leaves me with a Precision score
of 38 - not terribly impressive but at least he's fast.
However, I'm not done with my
attributes (which the system calls Base Ratings) yet: I also get
random increases to them based on my race.
As kobold I get:
+2d6+2 to Health (I roll a 6 and a 2 so
+1d12+2 to Precision (I roll a 7 so
+1d4 half-points +2 points to Speed (I
roll a 2 so that's +3)
So my Base Ratings are now: Health 50,
Precision 47, Speed 16
Step 3 is to jot down the required
ability selections for my race. You get to select 4-5 abilities from
1st to nth in order of priority, but non-human races are required to
select certain abilities at certain priorities.
For a kobold, this means:
Evaluation 4th (this deals with
evaluating the feelings and intents of people and creatures - it's
not appraisal of objects which is part of Commerce)
That means all I get to choose are my
1st and 5th abilities. All avatars also get a sixth ability which
must be Weapons unless Weapons has already been chosen as one of the
first five in which case you're free to choose whicehever ability you
I'll take Swashbuckling 1st and Weapons
5th. For 6th, I'll take Physique.
Each Ability is rated as a percentage
of one of my Base Ratings, however, selecting the Abilities also
gives bonuses to Base Ratings so I have to first check what bonuses I
Swashbuckling gives me +1 to Health and
Precision and +0.25 to Speed
Stealth gives +2 to Precision
Commerce gives +2 to Health
Evaluation gives +2 to Health
Weapons gives +2 to Precision
I don't think you get anything from the
This results in the following new Base
Health 55, Precision 52, Speed 16.25
This gives the following Ability
Swashbuckling (100% of
(Health+Precision+Speed X 4)/3): 57%
Stealth (90% of Precision): 47%
Commerce (80% of Health): 44%
Evaluation (70% of Health): 39%
Weapons (60% of Precision): 31%
Physique at 10%
I need to determine equipment too. This
is done by selecting picks from lists based on your abilities. There
are two methods given for determining initial equipment for non-human
characters. Without going into detail on the two methods, let me just
say that I choose Method 1.
This means I get 5 picks for each of my
selected Abilities, 3 for each of my racially mandated Abilities and
1 roll on the Special Table.
I'll start with the roll on the Special
Table. I roll a d1o and get an 8 which means I get to pick something
from a list of my choice.
I'm at a loss, frankly, for what to
take, so I just choose 25,000$ in coin of the realm from the High
I get to make another 5 items from each
of the Middle and Military lists for my Swashbuckling and Weaponry
abilities respectively and pick:
dagger, long with sheath
dagger, short with sheath
salve, wound healing (-50% Health
recovery time), 7-application jar
clothing, good suit, dark, with hat
cloak, colorful, with hood
sword, cutting, curved, with scabbard
backpack, pouch, belt, pair, and
shoulder pouch with sling, all leather
bow case, quiver and 12 arrows
Aaaand as if all that crap wasn't
enough, Stealth, Commerce and Evaluation let me select 3 items each
from the Low, High and Middle lists respectively. I pick:
armor, cloth, half garment
canteen, water gourd one quart, with
bread and cheese for one person for
poison antidote, 1-dose bottle
knife, concealed (why does concealing
the dagger make it a ”High” item?)
clothing, fine suit, colorful, with
boots, low, soft-soled and hat
flute and mandolin (my character can't
play them but I'm running out of stuff to select...)
Another 1,000$ in coin of the realm
arrows, sheaf of 24
I need to name my Kobold too. I think
I'll name him Kroysos. His background is that he got bored with
sedentary life and decided to go adventuring bringing with him a
large selection of stuff so that any bandits that might rob him would
feel it was worth the effort.
Create-a-characterPosted by Marius 02 Aug, 2009 22:08:31
Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting! (Wah!
There are a bunch of martial arts
themed fantasy RPG's out there but one of them stands head and
shoulders above the rest. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking
about JadeClaw. A great game that I've had no success in getting my
group into. And I've bought the damn thing twice!
What I've got here is the revised
edition which is a lovely hardcover book with many full-color
illustrations. The artwork in the book is honestly very uneven but
the good pieces are absolutely gorgeous (mainly the illustrations of
the races on p. 22-36 and the NPCs on p. 297-306).
The cover is also fabulous and was what
sold me on it in the first place.
For those not in the know, JadeClaw us
a so-called ”furries” RPG set in ancient China. Characters have
Traits and Skills rated by a die type from d4 to d12 (and continuing
after that with d12+d4 to 2d12 and then 2d12+d4 to 3d12 et.c). Tasks
are resolved by rolling your skill die (or dice) and all applicable
trait dice and using the highest individual dice roll as your result.
All rolls are opposed, best roll wins. Beating the opposing roll by 5
or more means you succeed overwhelmingly.
Damage rolls work a bit differently in
that you compare the attacker's best die to the defender's best die
and the next best to the next best and so on. Each damage die that
beats the defender's soak die usually causes one point of damage.
Overwhelming the defender's soak die causes two points of damage.
Anyway, on to creating my character. I
get six dice ratings (d4, d6, d8, d8, d10 and d12) to distribute over
my character's six traits: Race, Career, Body, Speed, Mind and Will.
But first, I must choose just what my character's Race and Career
will be. Given the domain-name of this blog, I think the Race choice
is a no-brainer. But what kind of career should my panda follow?
Pandas are portrayed as being mellow and wise but given this is
warpanda.com, I think I'll go against type and create a violent,
belligerent panda. The again, I could go for a warrior type that's
more mystical in nature: a Tomb Defender.
I note down that a Tomb Defender's
career skills are: Weapon skill of choice (I'll go with Staff), Lore,
History, Observation and Resolve.
A panda's racial skills are Camouflage,
Climbing, Herbalism and Qi-Sao (Qi-based medicine, basically)
An error that still hasn't been
corrected is that Pandas have Claws and Teeth listed as their racial
weapons but they don't actually get Teeth as a natural weapon. SInce
Bears do get Teeth and pandas are a kind of bear, I think they
probably should have them so I'll assume my panda gets Claws and
Pandas also get Strength+1 (which
increases their Body by one die type but only for purposes of
strength and not for endurance or toughness) and Night Vision which
is pretty self-explanatory.
Their Racial Habitat is forest and
their Racial Sense is smell.
What this means is that they get to
include their race die with all attacks using their racial weapons,
with all environment-based skills when in their racial habitat, with
perception rolls with their racial sense and with all uses of any of
their racial skills.
I also note that being a Panda will
cost me 4 points plus 1 for the Teeth that I assume they should have
had. More on this later.
For now, I need to distribute my trait
dice. As useful as a high die type in Race would be, I suppose that
my character's non-typical career choice suggests that he isn't
really much of a Panda. So this is where I assign the d4. I'll put
the d12 into Tomb Defender since this way it'll aid in two skills
that a fighting Character will need a lot: My primary weapon skill
I figure my character (whom I now name
Furious Pi) will rely mainly on brute force and skill over speed so I
assign the d10 to Body and the d6 to Speed (which I'll probably
regret later) which leaves me with d8's in Mind and Will. Furious Pi
is neither stupid nor weak-willed.
Next, I calculate how many points I
have to build the rest of my character with. Everyone starts with 20
points minus the cost of their race. Since it cost me 5 points to be
a Panda, I now have 15 points left. I may spend up to 10 points on
Gifts and I can gain up to 10 more points from Flaws. And I'm going
to need every point I can get so I might as well start looking at
I'll give Pi a Bad Reputation in the
Panda community (for being rash and violent) which is worth 1 point.
I'll also give him one level of Corpulent (Pi likes his meals) for
another point. Wrathful kind of suggests itself and is worth 3
points. I also want Pi to be a hero. Heroic and Honorable are both
good choices but I choose Heroic as it's the one that's most likely
to spur him into rash action. That's another 3 points. Finally, I
decide that Eerie seems like a suitable flaw for a Tomb Defender.
That's my 10 points, so I can now spend 25 points. I may spend up to
10 of those on Gifts and I will. I'll start by spending 4 on
Increased Trait to get his Body up to d12 as this will (with the
Strength +1 for being a Panda) allow him to use the biggest staff as
an Easy weapon.
I'll also take Belongings for 1 point
so I can get a good suit of armor for Pi.
I'll spend the last 5 points that I may
spend on Gifts on Martial Arts.
I'll select Parry Thrown Objects and
Second Parry which will help Pi's defense along since he usually
won't be using a shield and a staff gives a bonus to parry so this
will definitely be his best defense. Finally, I choose Knock Down (an
attack that, if succesful, knocks the target down instead of causing
damage), Nerve Strike (which makes it possible, on an Overwhelming
hit, to paralyze the target for 3 rounds or more) and Sundering Blow
(which, on an overwhelming hit, lets Pi destroy his opponent's
armor). I make a note that Nerve Strike requires a Qi-Sao die of d10
or better and since I only have a d4 (from being a Panda), I'll need
to buy it with skill points, speaking of which ...
I have 15 points with which to buy
Skills. 1 point gets me a d4, 2 get me a d6 and so on.
I know I'll need a Qi-Sao skill of d10
so that's four points spent already and I'd be a fool not to max out
my Staff skill (d12) so that's another 5 points leaving me with a
measly 6. I really want to have a good Resolve skill since this is
what prevents me from being sent reeling when I get hit, so I spend 5
points on getting that up to d12. Finally, I spend my last point on a
Dodge of a measly d4.
And this is when I realize that the
default Special for a staff is Double Attack and not Concussion
meaning I can't use it with Nerve Strike. So I'll select Tricky
Maneuver instead (an attack that basically increases the stakes: any
success or failure is considered overwhelming!). This means that I
won't need that Qi-Sao skill of d10, so I'll increase Dodge to d12
instead and have a small chance of surviving an encounter with
someone armed with a bow, crossbow or a sling.
I'll also need to select a favored use
with each skill. When your favored use is applicable, you may reroll
one die that comes up 1.
This, then, is Pi's skill list:
d12 Staff (my favorite staff)
d12 Resolve (when standing my ground)
d12 Dodge (arrows)
As I start looking at armors, I realize
that a Brigandine (the heaviest armor that it would make sense for Pi
to wear given he also has to carry a big staff and his fat gut) is
only of average cost meaning he won't need the Gift of Belongings so
I strike that and take Sure-Footed instead.
With his armor on, Pi's soak roll is
d12 (Body) + d10 (Armor)
With his big staff, he causes d12+d4
(Strength) +d10+d8 (weapon) damage.
His attack dice with is staff are d12
(skill) + d12 (Career) + d6 (Speed)
His parry dice are the same but with a
bonus (for the staff) which increases it to 3d12.
His Dodge dice are d12 (skill) + d6
His Resolve dice are d12 (Career) + d12
(Skill) + d8 (Will)
When Striking Sure, his attack dice are
When Striking Hard, his damage dice are
When Guarding, his parry dice become
4d12+1d4 and his Dodge dice become 2d12+1d4
Edit: I've drawn up a character sheet for Furious Pi.
Create-a-characterPosted by Marius 02 Aug, 2009 18:09:20
Flashing Blades is a swashbuckling RPG
set in 17th century France. It was published by FGU in the 80's and
is actually still available along with all of its supplements. It's
an excellent game and the supplements are great too.
It's pretty unusual for an FGU RPG in
that it's actually pretty simple and easy to play.
Anyway, the first step in creating a
character for Flashing Blades is to roll 3D6 in order for each of my
character's six stats: Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Wit, Charm and
Luck. I get 17, 9, 11, 5, 11 and 13 - a musclebound oaf.
Next, I determine height and build. I
get to choose one and roll for the other. I choose to be Stocky and
roll for height - an 8 results in average height. Being stocky and of
average height results in a +1 to Endurance for a total of 12.
I'm allowed to move points from one
attribute to another on a 2:1 basis and decide I might as well max
out his Strength all the way to 18 by reducing his Charm to a meagre
So my final attributes are:
Strength 18, Dexterity 9, Endurance 12,
Wit 5, Charm 9, Luck 13
I decide right now to name him Hercule.
I need to determine Hercule's Hit
Points next. HP start at 10 modified by attributes and build. Being
stocky gives +1. Hercule's impressive Strength gives him another +2
and his Endurance gives him +2 more for a mighty sum of 15.
I also have to determine Hercule's
Encumbrance Value. Like HP, it starts at 10 and is modified by build
and attributes. Again, stocky gives +1. Strength 18 gives +4 and
Endurance 12 gives +1 for a final total of 16.
Next, I must select Hercule's
background. I get to choose between Rogue, Gentleman, Soldier and
Nobleman and choose Nobleman without a second's hesitation. Each
background has a list of background and bonus skills. Bonus skills
cost 1 skill point to learn, background skills 2 points and all
others cost 3.
The number of skill points I get to
spend is determined much like HP and EV above but unlike HP and EV,
the stats affecting Hercule's skill points are not his good stats. He
starts with 10 which is reduced by 2 for his poor Wit and his Luck
isn't high enough to compensate. So 8 it is.
It's worth noting that none of the
skills are combat skills - those are determined separately at a later
stage thereby guaranteeing that every PC will have a selection of
non-combat abilities and be able to hold his own in a fight.
Anyway, for Hercule I select Etiquette
and Horsemanship (both bonus skills) and add Captaincy, Gambling and
Magistracy and I'm done.
Next comes Martial Training - this is
where we determine how and how well Hercule fights.
I choose for Hercule to be a member of
a Fraternity which allows him to select two Dueling Styles. I choose
French Style (Naturellement!) and Old Style which is a style that
relies on heavy chopping weapons that can tak advantage of Hercule's
mighty muscles. In addition, he gets a +1 to Expertise with one
specific weapon which I choose should be the two-handed sword - in
many ways not a very good weapon in FB but it does dish out
horrifying amounts of damage.
His Expertise with thee Two-Handed Swod
start out at 8 with the above mentioned +1 and his modifiers from
Strength and Wit cancel each other out, so 9 it is.
Expertise with all other weapons he's
trained with starts at 10.
This is what Hercule rolls agains on a
d20 when attacking, so he could use some experience.
I can also select an Advantage and a
Secret to give Hercule some more color which, of course, I do.
I choose Title for his Advantage, roll
a d20 and learn that Hercule is a Viscount.
For his Secret, I choose Sworn
Vengeance - Hercule holds a deadly grudge against his cousin Nessus
who has repeatedly accused him of being a fool and a buffoon.
Next, I roll 1d6 for Hercule's yearly
allowance and get a 6 - 500 Livres! And he gets another 250L for
being a Viscount for a total of 750L.
I get one year's allowance with which
to buy equipment for Hercule and buy:
a Two-Handed Sword and Scabbard (32L)
Longsword and Scabbard (30L)
Main Gauche (16L)
Riding Horse w. Gear (172L)
Hand Cannon, Powder Horn, 20 shots and
Fine Dress (24L)
Padded Doublet (18L)
And that's it - Hercule De La
Fouchardier is ready to serve France!
Create-a-characterPosted by Marius 02 Aug, 2009 12:37:58
Okay, I'm finally going to start on the
great create-a-character-for-every-RPG-I-own project. I'm going to
start by laying down a few ground rules that I may or may not adhere
to as the mood strikes me.
On what constitutes an ”RPG” for
these purposes: If it has its own corebook and doesn't require the
corebook from another RPG to use, I'll consider it an RPG. Otherwise,
it's a supplement. So for these purposes, BESMd20 and Damnation
Decade, for example, are supplements and I'll only make a character
for them if I feel like using them when making a character for the
system they're based on. I'll make an exception for the nWoD games,
though, for no particular reason. I'll also not consider different
editions of the same game to be separate games unless I feel they're
different enough that they really are separate games. So I'll try to
make both an OD&D character, a D&D 3.x character and a D&D4E
character but I won't make both a Shadowrun 2e and a Shadowrun 3e
character. I would make a Shadowrun 4e character but I sold the book
because I thought it was such a piece of crap, so I won't.
On what rules and house rules to use:
I'll use whatever supplements I have around that I feel like using.
As for house rules, I'll generally create each character with
whatever rules I'd use if I were having someone else make a character
for the game in question. I'll try to note when this deviates from
the rules printed in the game and why I'm choosing not to follow
them. If I'm feeling particularly chatty, I may even elaborate
further than ”because the printed rules suck”.
With all that out of the way, on to my
Trinity is an excellent sci-fi game
from White Wolf. It had some mechanical issues (being a WW game) but
nothing that couldn't be fixed with a few minutes of consideration
and some cussing. The character creation rules were OK, though. All
in all, it's my considered opinion that it's the best game WW ever
I'll be using the core book only and
leave the Player's Guide on the shelf since I don't think it adds
anything but unneeded complexity.
First of all, I need to decide what
kind of character I want my guy to be. I decide it would be fun to
have him be someone ordinary and unglamorous who found his latent
psychic powers and got thrown into all the whole mess
semi-reluctantly. Let's say a postman. I'll name him Nicholai ”Nick”
For his Aptitude, Nature and
Allegiance, I choose Electrokinesis, Survivor and Æon Trinity
Incidentally, I thought Nature and
Willpower were the most brilliant bit in WW's games and wish they'd
kept Nature instead of dropping it in favor of Motivation in Exalted
2e and the boring Virtue/Vice in the nWoD games.
Next is Attributes. I imagine Nick
being a somewhat cynical, gloomy kind of guy with fairly modest
social skills. He's also probably got great Stamina from his
physically oriented former vocation. So I'll make Physical primary
and give him Str ***, Dex *** and Sta ****. Mental is secondary and
he gets Per ***, Int ** and Wits ***. Finally, his Social Attributes:
he gets App **, Man * and Cha ***.
For Abilities, I need to spend 10
points on Æon-based abilities. Given Nick's largely physical
focus, I'll choose Academics *, Investigation *, Firearms ***,
Resistance ** and Melee ***
With the remaining 13 points I buy
Athletics ***, Drive **, Stealth **, Endurance *, Awareness ***,
I need to buy seven dots worth of
Backgrounds, another of my favorite bits from WW games sadly absent
from the nWoD games. I spend three points right off the bat on giving
him Devices *** to get an improved version of the Wingpack from the
tech manual since it's such an awesome item. I decide he has it
because he needed it for an earlier mission and, as it was fitted for
him, he might as well hold onto it. I also give him Resources ***
(he's scraped a bit of money together working for Æon) and
For Modes, I just toss all three dots
into Photokinesis (giving him Control Illumination, Spectrum Sight
and Electromagnetic Shield).
I'll be a naughty buy and skip the
Finishing Touches until I've spent my 15 Bonus Points. I'll spend 5
on increasing Dex to ****. I'll put another 8 into buying a dot in
each of Electromanipulation and Technokinesis and spend the last 2 on
an extra dot of Willpower.
Applying the Finishing Touches now, I
get the following results:
Willpower ***** *
Move: Walk 5m, Run 16m, Sprint: 32m
I'll also buy him a bio laser gauntlet
and a few other bits and bobs but I don't feel like going into detail
with this so I won't. Also, I can't find the spot in the book where it tells me what the benefits of attuning with bio-tech weapons are, although I'm sure I've read it at some point. Any help?
Anyway, here's the final character:
Origin: Postman, Nature: Survivor,
Allegiance: Æon Trinity
Str ***, Dex **** and Sta ****.
Per ***, Int ** and Wits ***
App **, Man * and Cha ***.
Academics *, Investigation *, Firearms
***, Resistance ** and Melee ***, Athletics ***, Drive **, Stealth
**, Endurance *, Awareness ***, Intrusion **
Devices *** (high-capacity wingpack)
Photokinesis ***(Control Illumination,
Spectrum Sight, Electromagnetic Shield)
Electromanipulation * (Stun)
Technokinesis * (Power Surge)
Willpower ***** *
Move: Walk 5m, Run 16m, Sprint: 32m
Superior wingpack, Laser Gauntlet, Probably a vehicle of some sort or another