Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Creating Characters

An Overview

  1. Choose a race
  2. Roll Primary Attributes
  3. Generate Secondary Attributes
  4. Create the character 's background and general concept
  5. Develop Skills
  6. Equip the character.

The first step in creating a character is to determine his race. Frequently the type of race chosen will influence the values of various skills. Numbers alone, however, should not be the player's main concern. Primarily, the player should consider the culture and personality characteristics and think about what type of character he wants to role-play. Exactly which race is available is up to the GR and may vary depending on the type and setting of the game.

The next step is to generate the Primary and Secondary Attributes. At this point the player should have some type of idea of what the character is like. Is his physical or mental attributes more developed? Is he more nimble than strong; is he more social than intellectual?

Next you should develop the character background and general concept. What led the character to pursue the adventurous life? What is his current needs/goals? What does he ultimately want to do with his life?

Once the character is clearly defined, the player should begin developing the character's skills to reflect both his background and his long-term goals. Here the GR will need to be consulted as well to help determine what skills the character could realistically have developed and how much training he is likely to have had.

Finally, the character's resources need to be determined. If he's the warrior type, he is going to need weapons and armor. The ARG System is a "classless" system, however the player will still need to choose equipment appropriate to his character's profession.


Character Races

In the World of Anghar, there are eight human races. For the basic game's purposes these races will be treated the same. You will find information on eight different human types and a number of non-human character races in the World of Anghar section. In addition there are numerous demi-human races available to players. The most common are the Booka, Duergar and Faeyn.

 

Booka

These short, brown-skinned people live in earthen houses, under hills or in small wattle and daub villages. They are simple souls who love the creature comforts of life. They prefer eating and telling stories to adventuring. Their distrust of strangers is balanced by a natural curiosity. Booka are generally between 3' and 4' tall. They will tolerate being called "Brownies" by other races, but will be insulted if called "Halflings".

 

Racial Advantages and Disadvantages

Booka are hardy and nimble creatures. They get a +2 on all Stealth skills and +3 on Search/Hide. If a Booka chooses a renegade profession, they get an additional +2 to Burgle, Pilfer and Traps. Booka also get a +2 on Acrobatics and +3 on Endurance vs. poisoning. Because of their size Booka get a -2 on Running and -3 on Jumping.

Booka are also limited to small and very small sized weapons. A large Booka (around 4 feet tall) may wield a long sword with two hands (taking a -1 initiative penalty) treating it like a two-handed sword.

Booka have a natural resistance to magic. They get a +2 resistance to all magic and an additional +3 vs. Necromantic and Enchantment schemas. If a Booka becomes a mage, he looses the +2 resistance but keeps the bonus verses Enchantment and Necromantic schemas.

Most Booka have a somewhat limited version of twilight vision as the Faeyn, but only effective for about 60 yards. Some Booka of questionable parentage may also have a limited version of infravision--effective for about 30 yards or so.

 

Duergar

These short, powerfully built and generally bearded people live in mountainous caves and love working stone and metal. They also like precious metals and jewels for their artistic value, frequently working them into their creations. Because they have often been the victims of treasure seekers, they distrust other races and keep to themselves. They stand between 3.5' and 4.5' tall and are indifferent to being called "Dwarves", but don't insult their house or blood will be spilt!

 

Racial Advantages and Disadvantages

Duergar have a reputation for being clumsy creatures and receive a -1 to any skill requiring physical agility (All Athletics skills except Endurance where they get a +2 and an additional +1 vs. poisoning). However, they are actually skilled craftsmen and have excellent manual dexterity. They get a +1 to Burgle and Pilfer and other skills requiring nimble fingers, and a +3 on Traps.

Duergar can generally use a long sword as a bastard sword, while tall duergar can even wield it without penalties. They cannot use longer swords or pole weapons, though they have been known to cut down halberds and other pole axes to their size and use them quite effectively. They seem to have a preference for war hammers and axes of the two-handed variety, which they can use without penalty despite their size.

Duergar share the Booka resistance to magic and the same restrictions against invoking schemas. Duergar are, however, skilled at crafting numerous enchanted items (especially weapons) in ceremonies that does not invoke Xaris directly through their persons and so does not violate the restriction

Duergar may (very rarely) share a limited form of twilight vision similar to the Booka (30 yard range), but generally all possess true infravision (60 yard range). This allows them to see heat sources in absolute darkness. However, strong heat sources or visible light can "fog" their vision.

 

Faeyn

There are two common tribes of Faeyn most likely to be encountered: Valaeyn and Thraeyn. In general the Faeyn are very much in touch with nature and wildlife, rarely associating with men. They are nearly immortal and are generally more concerned with art and poetry than fame and riches. A Fae member of a Valaeyn tribe will tolerate the label "Elf" (they assume a human that uses that term lacks the intelligence to understand the distinction) but a Thraeyn will not. They barely tolerate being lumped in with the rest of the Faeyn, preferring to be identified by their particular tribe (i.e. the Wolfriders or the Treedwellers). Valaeyn are also taller than Thraeyn. A Valaeyn generally stands between 4' and 5' tall while a Thraeyn is usually a half-foot shorter.

 

Racial Advantages and Disadvantages

Faeyn are all very agile creatures and gain a +1 on all skills related to either physical agility or manual dexterity. They are also very perceptive beings and gain a +3 on all perception rolls. The Faeyn are naturally Xaris-using creatures so they do not possess the inherent resistance to magery that the Booka and Duergar possess, but they do get a +2 resisting Necromantic schemas and a +3 resisting schemas from the spheres of Spirit Mastery and Mysticism and 1 skill point which can be spent on any mage skill regardless of the Faeyn's profession.

The biggest disadvantage the Faeyn possess is an allergy to pure iron. Faeyn will actually take burning damage from touching iron, which has not been enchanted or exposed to high levels of Xaris. (See the notes on iron on our website under the World of Anghar section.) They dislike being around large amounts of it and will take an extra damage if wounded by a steel weapon. Enchanted steel or steel which has been exposed to high levels of Xaris does not present a problem to them.

Faeyn tend to prefer weapons made of argentium, argent-steel alloys (white steel), or if they cannot afford that, brass or bronze. They are not otherwise limited in their weapon choice, though the Thraeyn, being shorter, are limited to the same weapons as dwarves.


Primary Attributes

There are five primary attributes that describe the characters overall abilities. These do not generally change through the course of play. They are:

The Five Attributes

A numerical value between 1 and 6 needs to be assigned to each of these attributes. A score of "1" means that that stat is low, "2" means it is below average,"3" or "4" is average, "5" is above average and "6" is high. Any of several methods may be used to determine their value:

  1. Roll 1d6 for each attribute.
  2. Roll 5d6 and assign them to a specific attribute.
  3. Roll 6d6 (or more) and pick the five best. (If the GR wants above average stats.)
  4. Give the players 15 (or more) points to distribute between the five attributes.
  5. Just assign a value to each stat based on a well-developed character concept. (This option should only be used by experienced role players to avoid munchkinism.)
  6. Any combination of the above.

 

It should be noted that in the "advanced" version of this game, a number between 1 and 100 is generated for the Primary Attributes. Each attribute, in turn, is subdivided into a Speed, Accuracy and Strength rating, resulting in 15 Sub-Attributes.


Secondary Attributes

Secondary Attributes are attributes that typically do change during the course of play or are derived from other attributes.

Wound Level (WL) --is a measure of the actual physical damage taken by the character. It starts at zero. When it reaches a Maximum Wound Level (MWL), determined by the character's physicality, the character must make an endurance roll to stay conscious and functioning.

Maximum Wound Level (MWL) --is determined by taking the character's vitality, multiplying it by two and adding eight to the number. MWL=(VIT*2)+8.

Xaris Level (XL) --is a measure of the character's magical spiritual fatigue from invoking schemas. It operates like the physical wound level in determining if a character can continue to invoke schemas.

Maximum Xaris Level (MXL) --is determined by the character's spirituality. For non-mages who have only learned a little bit of magery, the two are the same. For full mages, multiply SPI by two and add eight to the number. MXL=(SPI*2)+8.

Piety/Lordly Favor -- is a measure of the character's relationship with the forces of good and evil. A beginning character's Piety Level (PL) will tend to be neutral and will either increase or decrease with play. The players' starting Piety Level equals SPI+7. Every significant moral act will raise or lower the character's PL from 0.1-1.0 points. Generally, at the GR's discretion, a significant event will occur in the character's life whenever his piety rises or falls two whole points. If the character's piety falls below 6 points he is cursed. If it rises above 15 points, he is blessed.

Lordly Favor (LF) --functions much as luck or karma in other systems, and is based on the character's piety. The character starts with 1LF for every 2PLs over 5. A character may request Lordly Favor (a special or miraculous help) from his patron lord at any time. (The Higher Lords will be discussed in the World of Anghar section.) The form in which the request is granted is up to the GR. It may be anything from reducing a critical hit to an ordinary hit, or allowing the player to re-roll an important die roll. The LF spent is temporary and may be regained with an act performed on behalf of his patron lord's interest. (The next point of PL gained.)

The Piety rules are optional, but encouraged. If the GR uses the piety rules at all, he must use them for ALL characters in the same campaign or adventure. The GR should play the universe as either fundamentally moral or fundamentally amoral. Either way, it should be consistent.


Character Concept

Characters are more than just a collection of numbers and skills. They are people with a past and a hope for the future. They have a specific height, weight, eye and hair color, likes and dislikes. When you create a character, you need to come up with a concept of who this character is and why he does the things he does. Is he a strong burly warrior seeking fame and fortune, a short heavy thief who enjoys the challenges of a life of crime, or an older more mature holy man who just wants to do good in the world? These and other considerations will help you as you choose your skills and shape your character. 

For more to help you round out your character, click here.


Character Background

After determining the character's race, the player should begin (with the GR's help) to develop the character's background. One important consideration is his family's social class. Many factors, such as wealth, literacy, and types of skills available may be partially or wholly determined by these background factors. The following tables and information is provided solely as an aid in developing the character's concept. This is not mandatory and the GR is the final authority as to the type of characters who will fit in the setting and adventures he has designed.

Character Social Class Table

d20

Lvl

Position

1-2

1

Lower Peasant

3-4

2

Middle Peasant

5-7

3

Upper Peasant

8-10

4

Lower Freeman

11-13

5

Middle Freeman

14-16

6

Upper Freeman

17-18

7

Lower Aristocrat

19

8

Middle Aristocrat

20

9

Upper Aristocrat

 

Another consideration is the character's Native Local. Some skills, such as swimming, are more likely to be known if the character were from a Sea/Lake or Marsh area, and virtually unknown n the Desert or Tundra areas. Other skills, such as survival, will be more successful if used in that character's native local and similar areas, than in radically different areas.

Decisions as to what effect the background has on character skills are left up to the GR's discretion.

d20

Native Local

#

1

Desert

1

2

Tundra

2

3-4

Mountain

3

5-7

Hills

4

8-10

Plains

5

11-13

Forest

6

14-17

Marsh/River

7

18-20

Sea/Lake

8


Character Professions

Ultimately, using the tri-polar chart, we will present over 30 different professions available to players. For now we will present three or four variations on the three main FRPG character types: Warriors, Renegades, and Mages.

 

There are three main Warrior professions. These are; Soldier, Mercenary and Crusader.

Soldiers work for the lords or city authorities. They are guaranteed a steady (if low) income and a moderate level of starting equipment though they are allowed to purchase their own. They receive decent training and combat experience and can usually get access to a healer, often a mage. Soldiers are generally required to turn over all treasure and magic obtained while performing their duties to their superiors (though some choose to risk fines, imprisonment and physical punishment by disobeying when they think they can convince their fellow soldiers to keep it a secret). They do, however, get to keep a percentage (which varies by the officer in charge) as a reward.

The main drawback to being a soldier is that it is either terrifying or very boring. Most of the time they are tied down to a specific local where they are stationed. They can't just drop everything and go adventuring when they hear of possible treasure. Sometimes that station is a lonely way station along a highway, at least a full days ride from the nearest human. More than a few of these isolated stations have been burned to the ground by marauding Gobolyns or Spriggans.

Mercenaries work for themselves. They can go where they want, do what they want and keep all the money to themselves--assuming no one tries to take it away from them. The down side is that they receive less training than soldiers, have less quantity and poorer quality starting equipment, and less access to healers and other resources. Unless they get a cushy job guarding a rich guild merchant (which is usually even more boring than being a soldier) they are usually poor and familiar with hunger.

Crusaders work for the Higher Lords. They are usually the best trained of the warrior professions because their trainers push them with a ruthless zeal for perfection. They usually start with ample equipment and sometimes even relatively inexperienced crusaders may have access to magic items. While a crusader's experiences may be more varied than most soldiers and many mercenaries, they live only to serve the Higher Lords. While a mercenary may hope to someday recover a great treasure and retire wealthy, the crusader must be content to serve in poverty. Everything a crusader has literally comes from his patron Lord. While a spiritually mature crusader may be entrusted with greater financial resources (and responsibilities) they will never be wealthy.

Soldiers usually look down on mercenaries, seeing them as undisciplined rebellious amateur warriors who are little better than thieves. They fear and envy crusaders even while mocking them behind their backs.

Mercenaries see soldiers as boring and cowardly or (for those who prove themselves in combat with the darker races) too stupid to question orders given by inexperienced and politically appointed leaders. The fact that a number of mercenaries are former soldiers (who may or may not have gone AWOL) doesn't help either. Mercenaries do not understand crusaders at all. Like soldiers they respect the crusader's extreme competency in warfare though they may question their sanity.

Crusaders respect soldiers who both honor their duties and are committed to improving their combat skills. They view all mercenaries with suspicion. On those occasions where a crusader meets a mercenary with the obvious discipline needed to develop his warrior's skills, the crusader will inevitably encourage him to stop following selfish pursuits and put his abilities to better use--namely in the service of the Higher Lords.

 

There are also three main Renegade professions: Scouts, Thieves and Archivists.

Scouts work for the lords or city officials. Their primary purpose is to gather information though they are occasionally used as secret couriers. They are just as likely to search the "lower" city districts for evidence of smugglers as search the countryside for evidence of activity of the dark races.

Thieves are, unsurprisingly, never tolerated by any civilized people. If you have ever been robbed, you'll understand why there are no officially recognized "thieves' guild". Of course that does not mean that thieves do not exist.

One similar profession, which is quietly recognized, is the recovery man or rogue. In large cities, guild merchants have been known to license a limited number of individuals to recover certain valuable items which have been lost by or stolen from its members and other wealthy persons (and which cannot be retrieved by normal means). Assignments are few and usually quite dangerous. Payment is a flat fee on success, usually much less than the item is worth. In exchange for all this the city authorities agree to look the other way while the recovery man is doing his job. Unauthorized recovery of non-stolen goods, or failure to return any recovered items is punished severely.

Archivists are recovery men who work for the higher lords. In fact it was the successful employment of such men (over the objections of civil authorities) that prompted some cities to establish the recovery men. The stewards of the High Lords have accrued over the centuries a number of holy artifacts, which are occasionally lost or stolen. The archivist's job is simply to find and return them. Unlike their recovery men counterparts (who may or may not be reformed thieves) archivists are expected to be above all reproach and are occasionally tested by the stewards.

 

Finally, there are three main Mage professions: the true Mage, Mage-Practitioner and Steward.

The True Mages' primary goal in life is to master the mystical force called Xaris. They prefer to stay home and study above all else. However, their books and arcane supplies are expensive, sometimes requiring them to perform works of magery for a fee (a service they detest and charge highly for). A mage desperate for supplies may even go on a short quest to get them for himself, but little else could drive him out of his safe library.

Mage-Practitioners are mages who are more interested in how Xaris can be used than in just the study of Xaris for its own sake. As apprentices they were always impatient to start invoking "schemas" and tended to skip over some of their more foundational or theoretical studies. As a result they have a lesser mastery of Xaris, though they are more likely to use it.

Stewards serve the Higher Lords. They study Xaris because it is the expression of the glory of the Lord of the Mountain. They are equally devoted to their craft as mages (though for different reasons). However, unlike mages, stewards share their knowledge. Thus they tend to advance faster and gain a greater mastery of their craft than mages. Their main restriction is that they only use their skills in service to the Higher Lords, which requires a strict moral code. They never charge for their services, though they will except a free-will donation to their order.

True mages tend to look down on Practitioners as mage-pretenders, especially the Alchemists whom they deeply scorn because most of their "works" do not involve manipulating Xaris through their person. True Mages see the Stewards as a weak, servile bunch who gain their knowledge by sifting through the "crumbs" dropped by Higher Lords. True Mages are a proud and independent group who value what can be gained through diligent study.

Mage Practitioners have little patience with "True" Mages. In their opinion, knowledge that is never used is worthless. This does not mean that Practitioners do not study hard at their craft. They are, however, more prone to experiment and take chances. Many minor "cursed" or flawed magical items were from Practitioners' experiments gone awry. Practitioners may admire the skill and willingness of Stewards to use their craft to help others, but they rankle at the restriction placed on them and--to be honest--couldn't bear to pass up on the coin that can be earned through magery.

Stewards are constantly frustrated by true Mages who can spend so much effort learning how to manipulating Xaris, yet learn nothing of its true nature. They are even more disappointed with Practitioners whom they see, largely, as tinkerers who are careless with their craft and more interested in earning coin. They do not see their moral code as restrictive, but a reflection of the nature of Xaris itself. Anything else is considered a misuse of Xaris and, ultimately, an act of self-destruction.