Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Character Creation: Wayfarers

I'm gonna take some time today and work on my Game Chef entry, but I feel like making a character and I have some downtime to do something more involved and/or slow. So.

Many years ago, I bought a bundle from DriveThru RPG. I've made characters for most of what was in the bundle, but a few that I've been avoiding are close to the top of the list. One was this game: Wayfarers.

I tried to read this a few months ago but eyes kept falling out. Mind, some of that is because I only have it in PDF and I hate reading books that way, but some of it is just that I find the standard fantasy setup really boring. If it's collaborative - like, if I and the players get to build the setting - that's cool. But just being fed a bunch of stuff about the world puts me right to sleep because it's always the same. It's just quasi-Medieval Europe plus Tolkien. Dwarves mine, elves forest, humans "diverse," snnnnnoooooore.

But hey. Maybe this'll be different.

The Game: Wayfarers
The Publisher: Ye Olde Gaming Companye
Degree of Familiarity: None.
Books Required: Just the one, it seems like.

So, right away we've got some dissonance. The game is called Wayfarers, right? That implies exploration and travel and discover? Here's the cover.


I mean, the art is kind of cool, but the picture is of war. I don't see a lot of wayfaring.

We get two forewords, one of which compares a game to a language, which is kind of a neat analogy. Doesn't say much about this game, though. Then we get a couple of pages about what a roleplaying games (again, no mention of this game at all). So far this could be literally any genre.

And then into chargen! Hooray!

Chargen is a 7-step process, which according to the book has no randomness involved (which is fine; I don't mind a little random in my life but either's good).

Step One: Choose the character's name, sex, age, and race. Well, I'll stick to where I'm comfy and play a dude. Everything else, I dunno? Let's start with race.

We've got dwarves, elves, humans, half-elves, half-orcs, hobgoblins, and orcs. Dwarves, elves, and humans are just as boring as they always are. I think I'll play a half-orc. Their lifespans are analogous to humans', it looks like, so let's assume my guy is 20. He's a young half-orc, off on adventures! (I say that not because it's what I'd necessarily choose to play, but because since this game seems to be yet another D&D knockoff, I assume that starting characters are going to be pretty useless, so I need to set my backstory accordingly.)

I don't see any mention of culture or civilization, and thus names, until waaaaaaay late in the book, so I assume it's just "Middle Earth but with more Vs". The world is called Twylos, by the way, but since the game hasn't seen fit to tell me anything cool about it I assume it's just "fantasy world #2321" and I should get set for killing kobolds or whatever. Anyway, I'll name my half-orc Dvat.

Next up, Determine Attribute Scores. Looks like there's five of them: Agility, Endurance, Intellect, Presence, and Strength. So far, so good. We start with 5 in each, and 35 points, but it's not a 1-for-1 purchase. Fortunately (and I can't believe other games that use this mathematical setup don't do this) there's a chart.

Well, heck. I guess I need to think about what I want young Dvat to be able to do. Kinda want to make him a generalist rather than a specialist; not terrible at anything, but not especially competent if he's just finding his feet. Would that make for a viable character? Who knows. These Attributes run 1-20, and having higher levels gives you bonus on certain things. Also, the math doesn't work out to be average across the board, so that's out.

OK, well, let's assume Dvat grew up on a farm (I'm picturing tubers and hogs, maybe mushrooms). That'll mean higher Endurance and Strength just from practice. I'll set both of those at 12, which costs me 16. I'll put Presence at 7 (he gets tongue-tied, poor dear) and Intelligence at 10 (not too shabby, but not a genius). That takes me to 23 and leaves me 12 more points for Agility and Intellect. I could put them both at 11, or I could put one higher and knock one down. Hmm. I'll bet putting Agility low is a bad idea and I don't want to make a dumb orc (half-orc), so I'll split them evenly.

Oh, wait, hang on, I counted Intellect and Intelligence as two different things (guess I failed an Intellectigence check). So I have more points than I thought. I could have 11s across the board if I wanted to. I don't, I think I'd rather have some variance. OK, so, how about this:

Agility 11
Endurance 14
Intellect 10
Presence 7
Strength 12

There we go. Now, step three: select initial disciplines and proficiencies. I get 40 points for disciplines and 20 for proficiencies. Let's see what I'm good at.

This is annoying. Both disciplines and proficiencies fit under the umbrella of "skill points," but proficiencies can only because to buy or improve proficiencies. Argh.

Ok, I get it. Disciplines are feats, proficiencies are skills, loosely. For disciplines, I'll take Bash (a bunch of goobledegook about doing damage, but the end result seems to be "hit things hard"), Blindfighting, Critical Hit, Increased Physical Resistance, Last Stand, Shield Bash, Shield Use, and I'd like to take Pause & Study but it was too many points so I'll just take Health Point to burn my last two.

Right, proficiencies. I have to take...oh, wait, shit. Weapon master is a discipline, not a proficiency. Goddammit. I have to take Weapon master for my other shit to work. I'll take weapon class A, that'll give me clubs n' shit.

All right, proficiencies are just skills, but they can only be purchased at grade 1, so it's a question of which I want. I have 20 points. Let's see.

I'll take Agriculture and Animal Handling (duh, farm boy). I'll take Climbing (gotta climb trees for fruit sometimes). Herbalism (this mushroom will kill you, this one will not). Intimidate (big n' scary). Jumping (I...have legs). Local Knowledge (WALK ON THE LEFT). Perception (you're an idiot if you don't take this). Riding (farm). And Wilderness Lore (and that mushroom makes you taste colors).

Step Four: Calculate Health Points n' related shit (I'm paraphrasing). Um, yeah, did that.

Step Five: Shop for shit. Yawwwwwn. If I must. I'll take a club and padded armor, and then I got bored and stopped shopping, because shopping is boring.

Step Six: More derived traits. I did these already.

Step Seven: Flush out your character's personality and background. Psst. Book. I think you mean "flesh."

Anyway, Dvat, as mentioned, was a farm boy. His father was a big, stout human and his mother was...also pretty big and stout, but was an orc. Dvat had four brothers and a sister, and they all worked the farm (again, tubers, mushrooms, hogs). Dvat was the oldest, and when he turned 20, his mother gave him her old padded armor and told him to go out and see the world, as she had. Dvat was pretty confused at first - "see the world?" Like, walk to the city? But he's finding as he travels that there's a lot in the world that's...well, kind of interesting. And although he never asked before, he wonders now how his parents met. While his mom was adventuring?

If I were going to play this, I'd want the GM to come up with some cool reason why mom sent me away, but I'm not, and frankly that's just as well.