Friday, June 28, 2013

Character Creation: Earthdawn

As you may know, in between Promethean stories, we run "intermezzo" games, including Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. So now, having just finished a story, we're going to play Earthdawn.

Yeah, I'm a little worried, too. I don't normally run fantasy, Earthdawn is kinda involved, and it's a lot crunchier than I'm used to (amusingly, the runners-up were Critical! and Secret of Zir'an).

So Michelle and I are going to make characters to get ourselves ready for group chargen on Monday! Huzzah!

The Game: Earthdawn, 1st Ed.
The Publisher: FASA
Degree of Familiarity: Basically none. My brother bought this game years ago and I think I made a character. I don't remember ever playing, but if we did we probably played once and Jon's GM ADD kicked in.
Books Required: Just the one.

So! We start at Step One: Choose a Discipline. Well, I usually play spellcasters in fantasy games and I figure I'd better learn how the system works as much as I can before Monday, so I'll go with Illusionist. These guys, as the name suggests, cast deceptive magic. I like that, sounds like fun.

Next, we Choose a Race. Earthdawn has a lot of the standard fantasy races (elf, dwarf, human) but also some odd ones like the reptilian t'skrang and the rocky obsidiman. My first thought is t'skrang, since they're dramatic and flamboyant and that fits with an illusionist, but y'know, I like a challenge. I'm gonna make a troll.

Now we Generate Attributes. There are two ways to do this, point-buy and random. Since Michelle is going to do random, I shall do point-buy. I get 66 points to buy Attributes. It's not a one-for-one buy, which annoys me, but eh. I need Perception and Willpower to be high, but I have to have Strength and Toughness at 11, because trolls is big. I do, however, get bonuses there. Hmm.

Well, let's do this. I'll buy Strength 7 and Toughness 9, that'll put me at my minimums after the modifiers. That sets me back 6 points.

I'll buy Perception at 13 and Willpower at 11, which sets me back a further 16 (22 total). Hmm. This is better than I thought. OK. Let's buy Dexterity up to 14 (I see this guy as lean for a troll), which is 13 points (35 total). I'll buy Charisma at 12 (8 points, or 43 spent). That leaves me 23 points. OK. Let's spend 10 more each on Perception and Willpower. That means I spent 16 on Willpower (for a value of 15) and 20 on Perception...wait, hang on, gotta spend one more. 21 gives me 17 in Perception. OK. I've spent 21 points, I have two more.  Let's put those into Toughness, why not. That puts me at 10 Toughness.

OK, now I apply racial modifiers, and my Attributes look like this:

Dexterity 14
Strength 11
Toughness 12
Perception 15
Willpower 15
Charisma 12

Now we record step numbers and action dice, which tell me what to roll. I'll put that on the sheet.

Next we Record Characteristics, which is derived traits, which I still don't understand putting in the middle of chargen rather than at the end, but whatever. I fill out all my stuff. It's on the sheet if you want to look at it; I don't have a good sense of what it means anyway.

Now we Record Racial Abilities. I have Heat Sight as a troll. That's easy. Oh, hell, now I just realized something. As a troll, I need an unmodified Strength and Toughness of 11. BALLS. Hang on.

I need to free up five points. Blargle. Let's knock off three from Willpower (dropping me to 14) and 2 from Charisma (dropping me to 11). That's actually OK; it knocks my Willpower down a step, but jacks my physical stats up a bit. I'm still at minimum for my race, so I'm still a fairly lean and quick troll. Oh, I do have to adjust my characteristics, though.

Now for the fun bit: Assign Talent Ranks! I get 8 points to assign, and because I decided to be crazy and play a spellcaster, I get to fuck with that system, too. My Talents are:

Karma Ritual
Read and Write Language
Read and Write Magic
Spell Matrix
Spell Matrix (yep, it's in there twice)
Thread Weaving (Illusionist)

Hmm. So apparently I can't put ranks into, like, melee weapons, which is kind of dumb. Lessee now. Well, reading the spellcasting system, it's a multi-step process. I basically have to weave threads of magic into a spell matrix, and then I carry the matrix around (it's apparently a physical thing that can be damaged) until I need it. So it's a little more elegant than "memorizing spells" (LOL DND) but still kind of clunky.

Well, first thing's first. I'll put a Rank into Karma Ritual. I'll put 2 points into Spellcasting and 2 points into Thread Weaving (Illusionist). I'll buy two Spell Matrices at 1 point each, and the last point I'll put into Read and Write Magic. Actually, no, you know what? I'll put that last point into Spellcasting.

OK, now I'll fill in the details on my Talents, and then I gotta pick spells. Spells come in circles (1 and up), but as a level 1 character, I can only cast level 1 spells. Now, I can take higher-level spells, but they eat my points, so it seems like it'd be better to load up on lower-level spells so I can use them. But I don't know how hard it is to advance a circle. Hrm. I get 7 points in spells, and Circle 1 spells are 1 each. There are only 8 listed, so basically I can just pick the one I don't want.

Some of these are pretty dumb, actually. Or rather, they don't fit the vision I have for this character. I'll take Disguise Metal, Displace Image, Light, Rope Guide and Unseen Voices, and then I'll take one Circle 2 spell. How about...Monstrous Mantle.

Now, Skill Ranks. I get a rank 1 Artisan Skill (Robe Embroidery). I get two ranks in Knowledge Skills, which I can basically make up, so I take a rank in Wild Animals and a rank in Creature Lore. I get my native language (Troll) and I speak Dwarven, since that's kind of the lingua franca.

Equip your character. Oy. Not a fan of this part. OK, two. I get 120 silver to buy shit, and armor can make a difference. I'll buy padded leather armor (20 silver), a troll sling, a blowgun, and a mace. I could buy other shit, too, but I'll leave that.

Finally, Flesh Out Your Character. Here we take personality traits, and do the 20 questions thing.

So, I see my troll as a hunter. As a young troll, though, he became fascinated with the idea that animals could camouflage themselves, blending in to surroundings or mimicking their predators. It was that interest that led him to be an illusionist, trying to find a way to mimic - or fool - the Horrors and become a legend that way. I'll take Watchful and Curious as my personality traits.

My troll is slightly shorter than average (8'5''), and weighs in at a lean 450lbs. His skin is a dark olive tone, and his hair is a muddy brown color. His robes are mostly earth tones, but the inside of his robe has a bright red stripe - he likes the color, but doesn't want it showing unless he's ready to fight.

He was born in the mountain ranges, and his family has a warren-like network of caves near the foothills. His parents and siblings were hunters and warriors, but his aunt was a wizard, and they figure that's where his bent for magic comes from. He likes to hunt, but detests fighting other thinking beings (though he will when necessary). He doesn't like to reveal that he's pretty weak for a troll, and loves talking to other magic-users about their craft. His name is Rejik Malirin.