Saturday, January 16, 2021

2021 Character Creation Challenge: Day 16 - Infernum

Slaver Demon from Infernum

     Mongoose Publishing took the OGL and went straight to Hell with this game.  Literally, all action is confined to the Pit with players being given options of playing demons, fallen angels and even mortals trapped (often born) in Hell.

    It's difficult to say if the game actually has character classes, each of the nine breeds of demon can be considered a class as each have their own unique abilities and physical and mental enhancements through mutation chains.  But then so do the Houses most demons belong to.  Mortals are usually fighter type more or less; but they can gain the Sorcery skill and become Sorcerer, of course so can demons.  Angels have three paths open to them, double down on being angelic; reject heaven and join the demons or become mortal and hope to be judged worthy to escape Hell when you die.  On reflection, it seems like an awkward synthesis between Runequest's characters defined by skill and 3rd Edition mechanics.  As long as I don't think about it it doesn't bother me.

     On to the character, as I said the game has nine breeds of demons - Artificers (the devil in the machine), Beasts (animalistic creatures that become more bestial as they advance, but gifted sorcerers), Deceivers (almost man like demons), Fiends (winged parodies of angels), Hulks (immense, not very bright, killing machines), Imps ( small winged demons specializing in taking possession of other creatures minds and bodies), Malcubi (incubi and succubi) , Slavers (man like task masters of Hell) and Stalkers (hunters of souls, look like bipedal canines).  I couldn't decide so I randomly determined a Slaver.

   They give a number of ways to generate the characters, from hard core (straight 3d6) to point buy. I decided to go with the 'Heroic' option (1d10 +8).

ST 17 DX 17 IQ 16 W16 CN 14 CH 18

To that I add adjustments for the breed +2 ST, -2 WS.  Hit Die d8, Good Fortitude, Poor Reflex and Will Saves, Armor Class +3.

ST 19   DX 17   IQ 14   WS 16   CN 14   CH 18

Fort +2  Reflex 0  Will 0   HP 10  AC 16

Melee Attack +5  Ranged Attack +4

Claw 1d6+4  Size Medium

Iliaster Reserve 7 - Iliaster is the substance that angels are made of, mortals produce and demons need to survive.  It is in many ways materialized will power.  Humans can produce it while alive and when they are dead their souls can produce it.  Of course they produce it under torture, which is the rationalization for the demons torturing them throughout eternity.  Each demon needs 1 point per level per day to survive.  This stat is how much they start with in 'internal storage'.  When they run out, they become dissolute - weak and vulnerable is no way for a demon to go through unlife.

Skill Points $4+ IQ modifier (*4 at 1st level) = 24

Diplomacy 4; Gather Information 4; Heal 2; Intimidate 4; Knowledge(law) 4; Survival 2; Torture 4

The demon also gets three feats at first level, and one additional every three levels.  Simple Weapons Proficiency, one chosen by the player and one determined by the House the demon is a member of .  The Houses are factions striving for control of the pit, there are nine of them also and they sort of follow along with themes of the Deadly Sins.  Reithi is Lust, Olbrutt Gluttony, Sturrach Anger, etc.  My concept has the demon a member of House Carthenay who personify greed.  As such it gains the Feat: Iron Will adding +2 to it's Will saves.  

The demon also gains a mutation.  And these are what I love about the system, I've created my own mutation table, had I read this first it would look very different.  For Mutations in Infernum follow chains with each link obtained becoming more powerful.  Demons gain a mutation each level, but there are constraints.  There is a three level cycle for mutations House/Breed - which limits selection to the mutation chains associated with their Breed and House.  So all slaver tend to have some in common and all demons in a House tend to develop the same mutations.; Random - roll the dice see what you get; and Chosen where the player selects from the list.  At 1st level I have a choice between the first links in the Slaver (Soul Shape - the ability to physically craft a soul into a specific shape.) and Carthenay (Misers and Lawyers - the ability to spend Iliaster to recall minute details.) chains.  I'm taking Misers and Lawyers.

Illbroth - Slaver Level 1

ST 19   DX 17   IQ 14   WS 16   CN 14   CH 18

Fort +2  Reflex 0  Will 2   HP 10  AC 16

Melee Attack +5  Ranged Attack +4

Claw 1d6+4  Size Medium

Iliaster Reserve 7

Diplomacy 4; Gather Information 4; Heal 2; Intimidate 4; Knowledge (law) 4; Survival 2; Torture 4

Mutation: Misers and Lawyers
   My character concept this time is that it now resides in the City State of the Invincible Overlord where it provides services (for hefty fees!) to both the court system and the Litigation Tricksters Guild.  It is also known to a personal friend of all the Magistrates in Perfect Street, and Spellbinder Sanghen of the Guild, Mitokris in the Government Bureau and that the Sage's Guild will refer questions on law to it as the most knowledgeable authority.  It is also a frequent visitor to the City Jail, where it advises wealthy prisoners and then demonstrates the finer techniques of torture to the staff.  This is how it gains Iliaster in the mortal world.  What's not known, except by which ever mage summoned it years ago, is that it is a demon.  It's nom de juris is 'Claudius'  

(Claudius) Illbroth - Slaver Level 8

ST 20   DX 18   IQ 1   WS 16   CN 14   CH 18

Fort +6  Reflex +4  Will +4   HP 52  AC 21 (-1)

Melee Attack +12/+7  Ranged Attack +11/+6

Claw 1d8+4  Size Medium

Iliaster Reserve 14

Diplomacy 8(10); Gather Information 8; Heal 4; Intimidate 8; Knowledge (law) 10(12); Survival 4; Torture 10

Feats: Iron Will; Related Knowledge (Diplomacy & Knowledge (law) +2 Synergy bonus on the Skills);  Sense of Self (+4 to resist Possession)

Mutations in order gained: 
Misers and Lawyers (Carthenay 1), 
Chitin Armor (Insect Aspect Chain 1 - +4 AC as  plates of chitin cover it.),  
Of Mortal Aspect (Chain of Man 1, shapeshift into the appearance of a man.  Spot check is needed to notice it has claws instead of finger nails. No access to other mutations when shapeshifted.) 
Shit Gold (Carthenay 2 - can weep 1d4 GP), 
Claws (Chain of Claws 1.  Damage increases by one step.  Retractable/ costs 3 Iliaster to extend)
Aspect of the Beast (Chain of Man 2.  It can spend 1 Illaster per mutation to access it in human shape.)
Soul Shape (Slaver -1) 
Extra Eye (Chain of Wandering Eyes 1.  It has an eye on the back of it's head.  +2 Spot & Search checks.)

Friday, January 15, 2021

2021 Character Creation Challenge: Day 15 - Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition

   3rd Edition, where the OSR took it's own course, thanks, I think, to the Open Game License.  Really don't know it was probably eight or ten years afterwards before I became of the OSR and people were squabbling over who invented it.  

    Lots of baggage was jettisoned in 3rd Edition THAC0 and the odd saving throw categories from the beginnings.  Lots of complexity was added, skills and feats and challenge ratings.  The first two led to the rise of the min/maxers, who always seemed to me to mistake winning for playing the game.

   Time is tight and it took me a while to come up with a character concept that I felt like building.  Too many choices was implied in the complexity.  Just to be weird, I'm going to build a half orc sorcerer,  Sorcerers need high Intelligence and Charisma, 3rd Edition penalizes Half Orcs in Intelligence and Charisma.  Ran the spreadsheet until I had a character with high scores in Intelligence and Charisma.

ST 16 DX 10 IQ 17 WS 10 CN 11 CH 16

Half Orcs get +2 ST, -2 IQ, - 2 CH, so...

ST 18  DX 10 IQ 15  WS 10  CN 11  CH 14

Half Orc Traits: Speed 30  Dark Vision 60; Orc Blood

Languages: Common, Orc

Sorcerer (2 * Intelligence Modifier (+2))* 4 = 16 skill points at first level

Hit Dice d4

Proficient in all simple weapons.  Not proficient in armor or shields

Spells 4 - 0 level, 2 - 1st Level known.  Can cast 5 - 0 level and 2 - 1st level every day.  He receives a bonus 1st level and (eventually) a 2nd level spell for his Charisma.  Spell DC = 10 + 2 for his charisma + spell level.

Special: Summon Familiar

Base Attack + 0 Saves:  Fort 0 Ref 0 Will +2


Jens the Bastard                                     Sorcerer 1

ST 18  DX 10 IQ 15  WS 10  CN 11(13)  CH 14

HP 8   Fortitude 0   Reflex 0   Will 2

Half Orc Traits: Speed 30  Dark Vision 60; Orc Blood

Languages: Common, Orc, Skandik, Draconic

Skills  Concentration 4, Knowledge (arcana) 4, Spot 2, Scry 2, Jump 2

Feats: Toughness (+3 HP)

Proficient in all simple weapons.  Not proficient in armor or shields


0 level - Detect Magic, Read Magic, Light, Disrupt Undead 

1st Level -  Mage

 Armor, Magic Missile, Magic Weapon

Familiar: Toad +2 Constitution

Base Attack + 0 Saves:  Fort 0 Ref 0 Will +2


Short Spear +4 to hit 1d8+4 damage.  Range 20'

Morningstar +4 to hit 1d8+4 damage

Gear: backpack, bedroll, Crowbar, ink & pen, grappling hook, silk rope, belt pouch, spell component pouch, spell book.  15 GP.

    Auburn hair, emerald green skin and blue eyes demonstrate his orc and Skandik heritage.  Surprisingly focused for a cross between an orc and a sea raider, he looks to make his fortune in the City State ... at someone else's expense.

Character Creation Challenge Posts:

2021 Character Creation Challenge

Day 1 - D&D 0e

Day 2 - Empire of the Petal Throne

Day 3 - Metamorphosis Alpha

Day 4 - Chivalry & Sorcery 1e

Day 5 - Traveller

Day 6 - Runequest

Day 7 - Gamma World

Day 8 - The Morrow Project

Day 9 - There was no Day 9.  Bumping the schedule back a day.

Day 10 - Warhammer FRP.

Day 11 - Judges Guild Universal Roleplaying Adventure

Day 12 -  Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 

Day 13 - Space 1889

Day 14 - Shadowrun

Thursday, January 14, 2021

2021 Character Creation Challenge: Day 14 - Shadowrun

  Set in the near future (2050s are getting closer all the time), this is a game set in a gritty cyberpunk world where America has collapsed magic and the old races returned in 2012.   Started playing this in the Navy, one of the few systems for which I bought more than the initial rule book.  Haven't played since the early 1990's, the creation system is an unusual point buy.

       There are five categories (Race, Magic, Attributes, Skills and Resources) and five priorities (A-E) to start with.  You assign on a priority to each category and that determines what you have to work with - as shown in the table below.

So if you want to be a metahuman (Elf, Dwarf, Orc and Troll), you have to assign Priorty A to Race.  If you want to be an Elven Magic User you need to assign Priorty A to Race and Priority B to Magic.  That at best will leave you with Priority C to assign to the six physical and mental attributes (Body, Quickness, Strength, Charisma, Intelligence, Willpower)  - 20 points doesn't go very far even when the system caps human maximum at 6 points in all the attributes.   There are three other attributes that I'll address later as they are calculated values (Essence, Magic and Reaction).  Skills, well you get paid for having and using your skills for various, usually illegal, ends, so having a good skill set is important.  Resources are cash/magic points you still only assign one priority and get both.  The weird Y with two lines is the game currency 'nuyen' (new yen), but it's the real symbol for Yen. 

   There's no real character class definition, rather like Runequest, your abilities are defined by your skills.  They do provide a number of 'archtypes', NPC examples of characters.  A bunch of fighter types, detectives, gang members, mercenaries, company men.  Magic users - shamen, wage mages, street wizards and two technology focused characters - deckers (hackers) and riggers who specialize in controlling vehicles.

   I'm going to create a 'rigger' a vehicle specialist.  As I will need a lot of cash to buy equipment and I don't care about race and magic here's my priority list.

Race  - D - Human

Magic - E - None

Attributes - C - 20 points

Skills - D - 30 points 

Resources - A - 1,000,000/50.  (But the magic points are irrelevant.)

Tashina Kionori - Rigger

Attributes (20 points)

Body              3                Intelligence          4            Essence        6

Quickness      6                 Willpower           3            Magic           0

Strength         1                 Charisma            3             Reaction       5

As a rigger she needs quick Reactions. which are the average of Quickness and Intelligence so they are her highest scores.

Essence is the soundness of her central nervous system and spirit, which will be degraded by cybernetic implants.  She starts at 6 and it will be lowered when she buys her gear. 

Skills (30 points)

Combat                                         Technical                                    Social

     Firearms 1 (Pistol)                         Biotech  2                                Leadership 2

     Gunnery 4                                       Computer   2

Vehicle                                        Build/Repair                                Knowledge

    Bike 5                                            Ground Vehicles 2                        Computer Theory  1

    Car  3                                             Aircraft 1                                       Military Theory 1 (Tactics)

    Hovercraft 4 (Racing)

    Rotorcraft  2

Not surprisingly for a Rigger, she spent a lot of points in Vehicle skills.  The description in parentheses (Pistol, Racing, Tactics) indicate a concentration within the skill.  Concentrations are rated one skill level higher and any other concentrations under the skill are rated one level lower.  For example for Firearms(Pistol) she is rated at Firearms 2, but for Rifles, Submachine guns, grenade launchers etc, she is Firearms 0.

Gear  (1,000,000¥)

Vehicle Control Rig Level 3 - 300,000¥ Cost - 5 Essence.  Neuro enhancers and muscular signal transference interfaces enabling her to use a vehicle as an extension of her body.  Adds +6 Reaction and +3d6 Initiative when she's rigging.

Datajack - 1,000Y Cost 0.2 Essence. Biometric input/output port

Chipjack - 1,000¥ Cost 0.2 Essence.  Biometric input port allowing access to skill soft data chips.

Datasoft Link - 1,000¥ Cost 0.1 Essence.  Allows the user access to the information on the data chips  


    10 language chips (rating 6) - 360¥

     Build Repair Ground Vehicles (Rating 10) - 2000¥

     Build Repair Aircraft (Rating 10) - 2000¥ 

Remote Control Deck Level 3 - 15,000¥ Control station with video screen allowing her to remotely control properly equipped vehicles. 

Harley Scorpion Motorcycle (Rigged) 15,000¥ + 10,000¥ for Remote Control + 2,800¥ for Rig

Chrylser-Nissan G12a Hovercraft (Rigged) 50,000¥ + 10,000¥ for Remote Control + 2,800¥ for Rig

Northrup PRC-428 Wasp Helicopter (Rigged) + 2,500 for Remote Control + 2,800¥ for Rig

Patrol Vehicle (Tracked Drone) 10,000¥

2* Hunter Drones 40,000¥ unarmed

Docwagon Platinum Contract (1 year Emergency Medical Response) - 50,000¥

Ares Viper Silvergun (Pistol) - 600¥ + 100 Flechette rounds 1000¥


     Armor Jacket 900¥ Full Light Armor Suit 10,000¥  Fine Clothing 500¥ 

Vehicle Repair Facility 200,000¥

Personal Electronics 10,000¥


   Low Lifestyle (1 year) 12,000¥

   Buddy 10,000¥

   2 Additional Contacts 10,000¥ (Get two contacts for free)

8740¥ left from resources = +874¥ starting cash

Tashina Kionori - Rigger

Attributes (20 points)

Body              3                Intelligence          4            Essence      0.5  

Quickness      6                 Willpower           3            Magic           0

Strength         1                 Charisma            3             Reaction       5


Combat                                         Technical                                    Social

     Firearms 1 (Pistol)                         Biotech  2                                Leadership 2

     Gunnery 4                                       Computer   2

Vehicle                                        Build/Repair                                Knowledge

    Bike 5                                            Ground Vehicles 2                        Computer Theory  1

    Car  3                                             Aircraft 1                                       Military Theory 1 (Tactics)

    Hovercraft 4 (Racing)

    Rotorcraft  2

    Tashina looks normal, her only noticeable implants are a datajack and a chipjack such as an salaryman or woman might have for accessing their corporate matrix.  Inside she's barely human with most of her nervous system having been replaced by a high end vehicle control rig.
    She's widely known as the hottest hover racer on the Sound, if not the West Coast.  She's invested her winnings in her own vehicle repair shop 'Tashina's  Tearers ' where she and her buddy/copilot/mechanic Gino create high end customizations of ground vehicles and aircraft.  And she has begun rotor racing in a brand new Wasp, one of the very few outside of corporation or military control.
    She's obviously well connected with the racing industry.  What's not as well known are her corporate connections, who are rumored to have augmented their sponsorship money of her racing in exchange for both smuggling runs and extraction services for their more deniable retainers.  
    She lives very modestly in an apartment in repair shop.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

2021 Character Creation Challenge: Day 13 - Space 1889

     Thomas Edison goes to Mars 

The Scramble for Africa 

becomes Interplanetary!!!!

  Those headlines sum up the concept of Space 1889, flight through the ether to our nearest solar neighbors, colonial Mars and Venus, mad scientists building we would now call steampunk gadgets.

   The character generation system is unique on my bookshelf.  There are six attributes Strength, Intellect, Agility, Charisma, Endurance and Social Level and the titles self-explanatory.  Under each Attribute are four skills associated with it.  The first skill (and the second under Strength) are default skills and the character automatically receives a skill level equal to one less than the Attribute.   Other skills come from chosen Careers and other may be bought through 'General Skill Points' at the end of character creation.

   While the game support rolling dice and point buy options, I'm going with the default character generation option of taking the values 1-6 and assigning one to each Attribute.  Since I want him to be an inventor with some combat capability his careers will be Engineering Officer in the British Army, followed by a second career as a Inventor.  He needs at least a 3 Social to be an Engineering Officer and a minimum Agility of 3 and Intelligence of 4 to be a Inventor.  These minimums will drive Attribute values.  High Intelligence allows him to Invent more devices, so I'll start by giving him a 6 Intelligence.

Strength  4        Intelligence   6        

Agility  3           Charisma  2      

Endurance  1          Social Level  4

Slightly above average strength, with poor constitution and unsociable scion of the Gentry (Social Level 4). 

Adding in the Skills for his Attributes

Strength  4                          Intelligence   6

     Fisticuffs  3                       Observation 5

     Throwing   3                      Engineering*

     Close Combat*                  Science*

     Trimsman*                         Gunnery*

Agility  3                          Charisma  2      

     Stealth 2                               Eloquence 1

      Crime*                               Theatrics

      Marksmanship*                 Bargaining

      Mechanics                         Linguistics

Endurance  1                   Social Level  4

     Wilderness Travel*  0          Riding* 3

     Fieldcraft                              Piloting*

     Tracking                                Leadership

     Swimming                             Medicine

* denotes a Cascade Skill, where points bought are assigned to a subcategory, such as Marksmanship - Rifle and receives Skills in the other subcategories (Pistol, Bows) equal to one half of those Skill Points.

    As an Officer of the Royal Engineers, he receives the following skills Leadership 2, Marksman 1, Close Combat 1 and Engineering - Fieldworks 3.  He selects Marksmanship - Pistol, and Close Combat - Edged Weapons for the primary skills in those areas.

   Mustering out and becoming a Inventor, he receives Science 2 (Physics), Engineering 2 (Naval Architecture)Mechanics 2.  As he had two careers he gets 2 general skill points to spend as he wishes.  But the cost depends on the Attribute - 5 or 6 = 1/2 General Skill Point per skill point, 3 or 1 for 1, 1 or 2 = 2 general skill points for each skill point.  He spend 1 point buying two more points of Engineering - Structural (note only the first buy in a skill group cascades) and with the other he buys a point each of Science (Chemistry and Biology)

Hiram Crowle

Strength  4  (Fisticuffs  3 ,Throwing   3, Close Combat* [Edged Weapons 1, Bashing Weapons 0, Pole arms 0], Trimsman* 0)                        

 Intelligence   6 (Observation 5,  Engineering* [Fieldworks 3, Structural 3, Naval Architecture 3, Explosives 1],  Science* [Physics 2, Chemistry 2, Biology 2, Geology 1, Archaeology 1, Astronomy 1], Gunnery* 0)

Agility  3  (Stealth 2,  Crime* 0, Marksmanship* [ Pistol 1, Rifle 0, Bow 0], Mechanics* (Steam 1, Electrical 2, Precision Machinery 1  )                 

Charisma  2 (Eloquence 1, Theatrics 0, Bargaining, 0 Linguistics* 0)

Endurance  1  (Wilderness Travel*  0 ,  Fieldcraft 0, Tracking 0, Swimming 0                             

Social Level  4 (Riding* (Horse 3, Camel 1, Elephant 1, Gashant 1, Ruumt Breehr 1, Flying Skrill 1, Pacyosaurus 1) , Piloting* 0, Leadership 2, Medicine 0

As a member of the Gentry he starts with d6*50 = 5 * 50 or 250 pounds sterling and as an Inventor he receives 2d6 * 10 = 11*10=110 pounds sterling in annual royalties.

 Inventing Hiram decides to research Transportation.  Every skill point he has in Engineering, Science and Mechanics gives him one 'Research Die' in that skill.  He also gets one die for each point of intellect.  Transportation uses the skills Engineering (Structural and Naval Architect)  he can roll six dice for his skills and six for his Intelligence.  The limit is that each Research Die can only be rolled ONCE for each character, so you burn through them fast.  Before you can invent you build your knowledge in the field.
     He decides to roll all six Engineering (Structural and Naval Architect) dice on Transportation research.  4,6,4,5,3,3 gives him 25 points in Transportation, the inventions (minimum research points to invent) in this field include Space Suit (4), Submarine (10), Heavy Tractor (14), Diving suit (16), Deep diving submarine (22), Tripod Walker (24).  
    Hiram ties to invent a Tripod Walker which requires spending an additional Research Die.  As he's out of Engineering (Structural and Naval Architect), he has to burn an Intelligence die.  He rolls a 3 and has successfully invented a Tripod Walker that he intends to take to Mars for trials.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

2021 Character Creation Challenge: Day 12 - Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

      The one I played the most, four years in college, a little in the Navy and back to it again the last couple of years.  In my mind it's the classic edition, and so needs no real introduction, I can jump straight into building the character.

ST 10 DX 9 IQ 16 WS 14 CN 12 CH 14

Not overwhelming and I know of some players now a days who would consider this one "hopeless".  Still

Sutherland illustration from the PHB

looks like a decent magic user, so I'll kit them out that way.

One of my home rule randomizations is character sex, I use a 70/30 male/female split when I don't have a specific character concept in mind. 08 will be a guy.

I did a lot with the Wilderlands setting the last couple of years, including creating my own distribution of human cultural/racial types, including distribution of skin, hair and eye coloring within each population based on the tables in the various Judges Guild Installments.

Background 64 = Altanian descended from the tribesmen south of the City State.  Most have reddish brown skin, black hair and green or brown eyes.  I use Old High German name for these characters.

Skin 75 - Reddish brown, typical for his background

Hair 30 - Black, again typical

Eyes 96 - Exotic, requires a second roll.  33 white, completely white including iris and pupil.

I'll roll up his height and weight using tables I derived from Chivalry & Sorcery.  And use that system for his social class - those being weaknesses in AD&D in my opinion.

Height and Weight first get d20 rolls to determine "frame" 14 height and 17 weight, he's average height with a heavy frame.  Another d20 to determine actual values 1 gives me 5'8" and reading up a row for the frame 155 pounds.

Social - a roll of 46 makes him a Townsman, and an other roll of 42 tells me he's the fifth child.  No real chance for inheritance, but yet another role to determine what his family thinks of him is 01 so he's considered a "Good son".  Finally rolling on the profession tables first 70 then 33 tells me that his father works for a Cobbler, but doesn't own the shop .  At least this guy has good shoes.

 Bernger                                                    Human                                Magic User 1

ST 10         DX 9         IQ 16         WS 14         CN 12         CH 14

HP 4          AC 10 (None)              GP 47          


Poison  10   Petrification  13    Rod/Staff/Wand   14   Breath Weapon 16  Spell 15

Combat  THAC0 20

Quarterstaff  1d6/1d6

Dagger          1d4/1d4  (-5 to hit, not proficient)

4 Darts          1d3/ 1d2 (-5 to hit, not proficient)  (ROF 3)


First Level: Identify, Jump, Magic Missile, Read Magic

  The son of a cobbler, Bernger has the red skin and black hair of his Altanian ancestors, it's his dead white eyes that manifest his talent with magic.  He's 5'8, weighs 155 pounds and has been accepted as an apprentice by Trapper Kistotian on By Water Road, where his appearance seems to motivate the charmed dwarves laboring in the sweatshop.

Character Creation Challenge Posts:

2021 Character Creation Challenge

Day 1 - D&D 0e

Day 2 - Empire of the Petal Throne

Day 3 - Metamorphosis Alpha

Day 4 - Chivalry & Sorcery 1e

Day 5 - Traveller

Day 6 - Runequest

Day 7 - Gamma World

Day 8 - The Morrow Project

Day 9 - There was no Day 9.  Bumping the schedule back a day.

Day 10 - Warhammer FRP.

Day 11 - Judges Guild Universal Roleplaying Adventure

Monday, January 11, 2021

2021 Character Creation Challenge: Day 11 - Judges Guild Universal Roleplaying Adventure


 Not actually a game system, rather a universal way of stating up your character to use across systems.  Judges Guild in it's heyday was putting out material for D&D, AD&D, Dragonquest, Traveller, Runequest, Chivalry & Sorcery, Tunnels & Trolls, Superhero and Empire of the Petal Throne.      URA was the one notation to bind them, so you could for example convert your character (or possibly  the intention was for you to take their adventure) and convert it from say D&D to Runequest.

   Anyway, I've found the system written up at the back of the Tarantis and Wraith Overlord books.  The core mechanic of the system is that every characteristic is a three digit code, making spacing easy in a fixed space font on a manual typewriter.  Note that there are some differences between Wraith Overlord, published 1981 and Tarantis, published 1983.  In particular, the third digit in Wraith Overlord was used to determine "the number of times per day the characteristic can be tested to the utmost without checking for stress damage."  How to set it and what checking for stress damage entailed were not detailed.  SO, I'm going for the simpler system and setting the first digit of those scores to 0.

 The Characteristics

CLS - Class.  Profession or Occupation.  The list of abbreviations in Tarantis lists 27 different classes,   from Alchemist to Witch, including Child, Demon and Valkrie.  Not really sure why you would play a child, but handy for an NPC I guess.

ALN - Alignment is an indication of moral tendencies.  Positive Law/Good, Negative Chaos/Evil.  First two digits are significant, the third digit indicates a "suppressed tendency."  Whatever that was supposed to be.

LVL - Level in the class.  First two digits are the level; third digit indicates the total number of occupations in which the character is skilled.  Doesn't make a lot of sense when I read the last bit, every occupation should have it's own Class/Level combination; so is it if you're an armor you are skilled in making, say 11 of the 32 different armors?  You're hitting old Traveller hexadecimal notation now to keep it to a single digit.

HTK - Hit to Kill.  i.e. Hit Points.  Took me a while to puzzle that out first time I encountered it.  In URA, characters don't die until the damage equals negative Constitution.  That's a convention worth stealing.

ACL - Armor Class.  Only exists in the Tarantis version.  I'm using the AD&D AC

ARM - Armor Type worn.  But not really.  In URA armor acts to reduce damage.  ARM is the sum of the armor points of all the armor you are wearing.  It will absorb up to one tenth the ARM in a single round, the rest presumably bleeding through as damage to the character.  Wearing armor reduces the Agility and "SPD", an otherwise undefined term, but I'll presume speed of a character.  Each piece of armor has it's own three character code indicating the type of armor, gauntlet or tower shield, etc and the material that piece is made from.  Probably going to give that a pass this time.

PSL - Personal Social Level.  C&S and Runequest have this as core mechanics, but in this case I'll use the system from City State of the Invincible Overlord.  First two characters are the social level, third is "notoriety gained in a twenty mile radius."  Hmm, using CSIO it will be Hierarchy (1st) Social Level (2nd & 3rd positions).

STR - Strength

INT - Intelligence

WIS - Wisdom

CON - Constitution.  Ability to withstand and recover from physical hardships

DEX - Dexterity.  Coordination and manual ability.

CHA - Charisma.  Raw animal magnetism

END - Endurance.  Amount of physical hardship a character can be subjected to.  Almost but not quite the same as Constitution.

AGL - Agility the character's ability to maneuver their entire body.  Sounds like coordination? See Dexterity

LED - Leadership.  The ability to command respect and boost morale.

LCK - Luck.  The first two are the character's luck, the last one is the number of times a character can test their luck before incurring the wrath of the gods.  No instructions on setting it.

PSY - Psionic Ability

WPN - The character's commonly carried weapon.  The table runs form Sword to Trebuchet and includes codes for all of Gary's favorite polearms.  First position is material, last two are the weapon codes.

Let's get rolling.  I'm going to use 3d6 to generate the stats, assuming that this is basically an AD&D character from the City State.  Rolled the physical stats first, ended up with a high dex, so going for a straight Thief.  Level 1, has master one occupation so LVL = 011.  Gets his dex bonus to ACL so leather with 17 dex is 5.  ARM, I'm calling leather as a "Hooded Tunic" (9 pts), material is Leather (2 pts) 982 = ARM of 18.  As a thief he's automatically in the guild, so Hierarchy 4 Social level 3 (Apprentice).  Weapon is an Iron (I) Shortsword (SS)


CLS   ALN   LVL   HTK   ACL   ARM   PSL   

THF   NN    011   005   005   018   403


012   011   014   013   017   014   010   013   09A   011   ISS

    Of Altanian descent, he has sable hair, the typical reddish brown skin and gray eyes.  An apprentice thief looking for loot and adventure (but especially loot) in the City State of the Invincible Overlord.


I just noticed I skipped a couple of systems, like this one and AD&D.  I'm going back and picking them up. 

Character Creation Challenge Posts:

2021 Character Creation Challenge

Day 1 - D&D 0e

Day 2 - Empire of the Petal Throne

Day 3 - Metamorphosis Alpha

Day 4 - Chivalry & Sorcery 1e

Day 5 - Traveller

Day 6 - Runequest

Day 7 - Gamma World

Day 8 - The Morrow Project

Day 9 - There was no Day 9.  Bumping the schedule back a day.

Day 10 - Warhammer FRP.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

2021 Character Creation Challenge: Day 10 - Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying Game

   Warhammer is probably better known in the US as a science fiction and tabletop army game than as a RPG, even though it has gone through a number of editions and spawned the Zweihander retro-clone.  I have only used in as solo-play and not much of that honestly.  I still like to use it's settlement patterns in world building and really I sit down and read through all the different occupations over and over again.  That's where it's so different from D&D and most other games - your character might be adventuring, but they have occupations with specific skill sets they can learn and then use on their adventures.  Almost all starting professions have at least one skill that should  be immediately useful, although if you're a Fisherman - maybe not.  Rather than leveling you spend experience points on acquiring Skills and improving your Characteristics.

  Let's jump into rolling up a character, lots of dice rolling to do.

Characteristics - Fourteen characteristics, nine physical and five mental.  The characteristics are either expressed as integers or percentile.

Movement (M) - the creature's speed humans average 4 or 8 yards/10 seconds

Weapon Skill (WS) - Melee skill, some weapons require a Specialist Skill to use them

Ballistic Skill (BS) - Missile combat

Strength (S) - self explanatory

Toughness (T) - damage resistance, in terms of saving throws not subtraction of damage to the body

Wounds (W) - Hit Points.  Most humans start with 6, if you're lucky your careers will give the opportunity to add a few more.

Initiative (I) - described as 'speed of thought', it's reaction time

Attacks (A) - The number of blows the character can strike in a round

Dexterity (Dex) - A measure of a character's manual dexterity 

Leadership (Ld) - Ability to lead others

Intelligence (Int) - IQ

Cool (Cl) - the character's ability to remain calm under pressure

Will Power (WP) - Mental and magical resistance and awareness

Fellowship (Fel) - A measure of the character's social skills

The character profile is expressed as a two row stat block

M    WS    BS    S    T    W    I    A    Dex    Ld    Int    Cl    WP    Fel

1      25     25      1     1    1      1    1     25      25     25     25     25     25

I have a choice of Human, Elf, Dwarf and Halfling.  Dwarves are pretty standard portrayal of the race.  Elves are a bit more androgynous and divorced from humanity than we usually see, but not nearly as far off as Runequest takes them.   Halflings - this is the only system where the halfling race is provided a backstory that makes sense as to why they aren't miserable slaves and food to dragons.  But, yeah, they'd fit in in Bag End, Hobbiton, The Shire.

I'm going to choose human, because there are so many more occupations they can start with.  I need a d3 (which I've had ever since I was a kid) and two d10s.  Note each race has it's own variation on what they roll for characteristics, Dwarves & Halflings for example roll D2+2 for Movement.

Movement D3+2 = 2+2 = 4

Weapon Skill 2d10+20 = 9+2+20 = 31%

Ballistic Skill 2d10+20 = 9+10+20 = 39% (This guy is a good shot!)

Strength D3+1 = 3 +1 = 4 (Strong too)

Toughness D3 +1 = 1 + 1 = 2 (Sad trombone)

Wounds D3 + 4 = 1 + 4 = 5

Initiative  2d10 + 20 = 4 + 10 + 20 = 34%

Attacks 1 = 1 (no randomization to begin with)

Dexterity 2d10 + 20 = 9 + 6 + 20 = 35%

Leadership  2d10 + 20 = 5 + 4+ 20 = 29%

Intelligence  2d10 + 20 = 10 + 8 + 20 = 38% (Smart!)

Cool  2d10 + 20 = 9 + 2+ 20 = 31%

Will Power  2d10 + 20 = 3 + 7 + 20 = 30%

Fellowship  2d10 + 20 = 6+ 9 + 20 = 35% (Plays well with others) 

M    WS    BS    S    T    W    I    A    Dex    Ld    Int    Cl    WP    Fel

4      31      39     4     2    5     34   1     35      29     38     31    30      35

Next is Racial Abilities

Speaks: Old Worlder

Night Vision: Zero

Alignment: Neutral (Human Player Characters must start as Neural)

Height: 5'4" + d10" (Male); 5' + d10" (Female) Think I'll roll up a female character so roll a 9 = 5'9"

Psychology: No special rules (Dwarves have Hatred for Goblins, Orcs, Hobgoblins)

Age: I have a choice 6d6 for a younger character or 6d10 for an older character.  If the score is below 16, I roll again and add the scores together.  4,4,4,2,1,1 = 15.  Do it again.  5,5,4,4,3,3 = 24 - 24 + 15 = 39.

Fate: Each character has a number of Fate points they can spend to change a bad outcome (like death).  Humans have D3+1 = 2+1 = 3

Now I'm going to choose an initial class, which will determine initial skills and occupation.  The four classes are:

Warrior - minimum 30 Weapon Skill

Ranger - minimum 30 Ballistic Skill

Rogue - minimum 30 Initiative (except Elves who need a 65!)

Academic - minimum 30 Intelligence and Will Power.

She qualifies for all of them, so I'm choosing Academic.

Initial Skills:  Each character stars with D4 + N skills, where N is determined by age and race.  As a 39 year old human, she gets D4 + 2= 3 +2 = 5 skills.  Humans roll for all of their skills randomly, non-humans have a mandatory first skill (Halflings - Cook) and a choice of second skill, if they have more than one (Elves  -Dance, Musicianship, Sing).

Rolling on the Academic/Human chart -70, 35, 08, 86, 78.  She has Read/Write, Drive Cart, Ambidextrous, Super Numerate, Silent Move Urban

Now for a roll on the initial occupation: 34 = Herbalist  As a herbalist she gains the following skills:  Arcane Language - Druidic, Cure Disease, Heal Wounds, Herb Lore, Identify Plant, Read/Write (already has it), Secret Language - Classical, Secret Language - Guilder and a 20% chance of Prepare Poisons (57 = no).

She also has the Trappings of her trade.  A mortar and pestle and a string bag with dried herbs.

Herbalists have an Advancement Profile (characteristic increases and any skills not initially available) of 

M    WS    BS    S    T    W    I    A    Dex    Ld    Int    Cl    WP    Fel

                                       +1  +10         +10            +10

She can spend XP to buy 1 more Wound or a 10% increase in Initiative, Dexterity, or  Intelligence  or the skill Prepare Poisons.  As an adventurer, she gets a 'free advance' and chooses to increase her Intelligence.  Which is reflected in her Current Profile

Elena Acerbi 
Starter Profile

M    WS    BS    S    T    W    I    A    Dex    Ld    Int    Cl    WP    Fel

4      31      39     4     2    5     34   1     35      29     38     31    30      35

Advancement Profile

M    WS    BS    S    T    W    I    A    Dex    Ld    Int    Cl    WP    Fel

                                       +1  +10         +10            +10

Current Profile

M    WS    BS    S    T    W    I    A    Dex    Ld    Int    Cl    WP    Fel

4      31      39     4     2    5     34   1     35      29     48     31    30      35

Ambidextrous - no penalty to using off-hand weapons.  +10% on all Dexterity based risk tests.
Arcane Language - Druidic: The tongue of the Old Druids and the most ancient men.  Found on many tomb inscriptions and artifacts.
Cure Disease - recognizes common illnesses automatically, rolls an Int test to recognize rare diseases.  Can cure a disease on a test against her Int plus the patient's Toughness.
Drive Cart - she can drive any animal drawn wheeled vehicle without needing a risk test.
Heal Wounds - she can bind Wounds in the field and restore up to 1d3 Wound points.  And afterwards if she makes an Int +20% test once per day for a patient, the patient will regain their Toughness in Wound points (otherwise they regain 1/2 Toughness.)
Herb Lore - recognizes the properties of different herbs and how to gather them
Identify Plant - a lesser version of Herb Lore, but also includes identifying plants that are not herbs.
Read/Write - She can read and write all the languages that she speaks
Secret Language - Classical: The Academic language akin to Latin or Greek.  Used in many academic and religious texts.
Secret Language - Guilder: The secret language used in Guild Rituals.  She would be considered a member of Guild of Physicians, although she could never rise in it as a mere provider of nostrums.
Silent Move Urban - she can move through built up areas almost silently.  Listen tests against her are a -10%.
Super Numerate - she has "an uncanny and deeply irritating ability to work out maths in almost no time at all." She gains +20% on Estimating tests and +10% on Gambling tests.
Trappings: A mortar and pestle and a string bag with dried herbs.

   For twenty years, Elena and her husband crisscrossed the Empire, gathering herbs and selling them to the apothecaries and physicians in the cities, while providing healing to people of the countryside.  In the heavily patriarchal Empire, most assumed her husband was doing all the work and she just drove the cart and kept the camp.  In truth, she is a brilliant accomplished woman with a great depth of learning.  Her husband, their cart and home were destroyed in a recent beastman attack.  She has decided that she would like to settle down as a physician - but that requires that she gain enough money to live on for several years, pay the fees at the hospitals to study and the bribes need to get the physicians to overlook that she is in point of fact female.  While not a front line fighter, the adventuring party that recruits her has a much higher chance of coming back in one piece.