Friday, June 18, 2010

Gieden, Chapter Three: Character Creation (Bonus Points, Adv/Disadv, and Determination)

Once you assign your character's Stats and Skills, it's time to start considering some of the other sections on the character sheet and begin to assign your bonus points.

Just under the Skills and to the left of the Magic Circle, you will see a small section marked Adv/Disadv, which stands for Advantages and Disadvantages. These range from a minor advantage, such as being unnaturally fast, to a major one such as starting the game with a working Pre-Breaking Artifact; from a minor disadvantage such as being clumsy, to a major one such as being completely inept in certain forms of magic. I'm putting the full list at the bottom of this post so that you can look over them before deciding how important they are to you.

At the very bottom of the character sheet, you'll see a series of boxes labeled "Determination". This is what you roll against when determining if you lose a part of yourself to magic, or if you will be able to control the Nuameii born from your ashes should you magically burn yourself out. It's a measure of your strength of will.

From the original text:

Now it’s time to spend the final set of Character Generation points. Just like the Stats and Skills, these will be divided between three categories. These categories are Determination, Advantages/Stats, and Skills. Decide which of these categories is most important to you. That will be your primary. Then choose which set will be secondary and which will be tertiary. The following chart will show you how many points this will give you in each category, and the text that follows explains how to use them.


If Determination is your primary choice, then you get 7 dots of Determination. If it’s secondary, you get Five, and if it’s Tertiary, you get 3. Notice that these boxes are divided. The top of each box represents your permanent Determination score, and the bottom represents your temporary score. If a player spends a temporary Determination point in order to manage some feat of will, that point will return when they sleep. However, the temporary points can never exceed the permanent points, and the permanent points do not return if used. New permanent points must be bought with experience points.

If Skills are your primary choice, then you may add 6 more dots into the Skills of your choice, regardless of the sub-categories they fall under, although you may not exceed the maximum of five dots in any one skill. If Skills are secondary, you may add four dots, and if they are tertiary, you get to add two.

If this is your primary category, then you have three points to spend. Each point will buy you one Minor Advantage or allow you to add one dot to one Stat. Alternatively, you may spend all three of these points to gain one Major Advantage. If you decide to add dots to your Stats, you may add them to any Stat, regardless of sub-category. Remember, though, that no Stat may be raised higher than 4 dots at this time without Game Master permission. If you raise your Magical Talent or Magical Stamina, be sure and raise your Magical Disciplines or Magical Resistance score appropriately.

If this is your secondary category, you have two points to spend, so you can take two Minor Advantages or add two dots to the Statistics of your choice. If it is your tertiary, then you can take one Minor Advantage or add one dot to the Statistic of your choice.

***Getting Additional Advantages***

During character creation, you may take additional advantages (above and beyond those purchased with bonus points) by taking on an equal amount of disadvantages.

Only three points worth of advantages may be bought this way. This means that a maximum of three minor advantages or one major advantage could be bought by taking on an equal number of disadvantages--either three minor ones or one major one.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages: These, of course, are the good things.

________Minor Advantages: To take one Minor Advantage, you must spend 25 experience points, use character creation points, or take one Minor Disadvantage. Taking a Major Disadvantage would give you three Minor Advantages.

Direction Sense: You have an almost unnatural feel for direction. Even in pitch darkness, if asked which way is North, you instinctively know. This makes it very hard for you to become lost, and is an invaluable skill for adventurers or cartographers.

Blind Fighting: You have an incredible ‘feel’ for battle, and can intuitively block incoming strikes and lash out again, even when blinded. Combat modifiers against you are significantly less than for other people in situations where you must fight blind.

Speed: You are faster than most people. When trying to cover a long distance in a short time, or when trying to run down an opponent, you are very likely to succeed. This is very useful against archers.

Jumping: You can jump unnaturally high and far, allowing you to cross many barriers instantaneously. Also, if you fall, you may take less damage than others, due to your practiced landings.

Wealth: You have a lot of currency, and a way to get more. In a game where money has little value, the Game Master may take this to mean that you have a lot of resources that are either tradable or inherently useful. You will not be able to house an army or fund a large expedition, but this advantage should be enough to cover your basic necessities with a little left over.

Renown: You are widely known for something very favorable: an incredible task, a prestigious family, a sense of Justice; whatever it is, it grants you respect from those who have heard of you, and they will often go out of their way to help you because of it.

Energy Awareness: You are innately attuned to the energy of a given place. You know when an area is filled with magic or when the magic has left an area. You also sometimes get a bad feeling from areas where nasty things have transpired or a peaceful feeling from places of rest. When a stranger invites you inside their home, this energy awareness may tell you all you need to know to make the right decision. It can also help you pick a suitable place to make camp, or avoid a site that is often used to ambush travelers.

Minor Artifact: You have one small tool that was created before the breaking. This may be a useful item like a ratchet set or a box of pens, or a valuable item like a crystal vase or a diamond necklace (good luck selling them for what they used to be worth, though). It could also be a book that contains valuable information, such as mechanical theories, advanced agricultural knowledge, or world geography. If it is such a book, and your character can read it, your Game Master may have you roll Intelligence + Lost Technology any time you run into a situation where the information in the book could be helpful. The difficulty would be determined by how complicated the information was. For instance, a book on auto repair wouldn’t be useful in most situations, but your character would almost certainly learn to recognize a car and know what it was supposed to do.

Endurance: You are exceptionally good at pushing your physical limits. When you have exceeded your physical stamina, you must make an exhaustion check just like everyone else. However, your target number begins at five instead of the usual target number of six.

__________Major Advantages: To take a Major Advantage, you must take three Minor Disadvantages, take one Major Disadvantage, spend Character Generation points, or spend 35 experience points.

Fast Healer: You heal unnaturally fast. You must rest to heal, so this won’t help in the middle of combat, but after a battle, you can heal up to one box of damage an hour. This means that after a battle where you take three boxes of damage, resting three hours will leave you completely healed and refreshed. Curative herbs can speed this healing even more, granting an extra ½ box of healing for every two boxes acquired naturally. The only way to further speed your character’s healing is through Healing magic.

Pain Tolerance: When a character takes injury, the pain and physical damage causes them to suffer penalties until they are healed. A character with a high threshold for pain greatly reduces their penalties; all their ‘damage’ penalties are reduced by 1. This means that damage causes them no negatives to their rolls until their damage is in the area marked ‘Severe’, and even then, they only take a 1 point penalty. Even when they are Mauled, it is their physical limitations that slow them down, not the pain. They suffer a -4 penalty instead of the usual -5.

Combat Mastery: You are a master at your chosen weapon, and when you wield that weapon, the Hit Difficulty is lowered one point. You also do slightly more damage. When you attack, combat will go as normal, except that you will have an easier time hitting your opponent. Your opponent still gets a chance to dodge, and if they successfully dodge the entire attack, then they take no damage. If even one of your successes is not canceled out by their dodge or parry, however, then they take the normal amount of damage plus one additional box.

Major Artifact: Your character is in possession of an especially valuable or useful artifact from before The Breaking. This could be a gun with one or two bullets (but no more), a cache of MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) and water-purification tablets, one hand-grenade (which the character may or may not know how to use properly), a set of binoculars and a compass, or another similar type or set of items.

Artifice: This is an item from before The Breaking that an Artificer has worked their magic on. They may work differently than they did originally, and one day they may unexpectedly break, but nonetheless they can be incredible useful. To determine the strength of this Artifice, check the magical discipline of the same name. The Game Master should determine whether the Artifice the character has was created using Rank Three or Rank Four Artifice magic. A good rule of thumb is that if the Artifice is a weapon, it is Rank Three, otherwise, it’s Rank Four, but that is up to Game Master discretion. The Game Master may choose not to tell the player all the Artifice’s uses, how long it will last, or other pertinent details.

Luck: Your character was born lucky, and as such, you may choose one roll per gaming session to ‘do over’. Once you have rolled again, you may choose to take the better of the two rolls.

Nuameii Bond: You begin the game linked with a Nuameii, even if you do not yet have a Taint. Nuameii of this type tend not to attack you, or even to respond favorably to you, and you sometimes gain information about this type of Nuameii in your dreams. If you resist the destruction of your body, you still get a chance to control the Nuameii you become when your body is finally destroyed by magic (Determination vs. a difficulty of 7). If you accept that you will someday make that transition, then the transition is easy for you and you automatically gain full control of your Nuameii form.

Earthbound Spirit: Perhaps you have a destiny to fulfill or a lesson to learn, or perhaps your spirit has simply grown too fond of its current incarnation; whatever the reason, your spirit will not pass on the afterlife. If your character is killed by any other way than being turned into a Nuameii, you may attempt to take over the body of another. This is very hard if there is already a spirit in that body (Determination vs. 8, two successes needed), and taking over an ‘inhabited’ body will lead to the two personalities constantly vying for control (Determination rolls vs. each other). A better choice is to revive your own body (Determination vs.8 brings you back to Mauled), or take over the body of an individual who has been recently slain (no Determination roll needed, but you start at the ‘Devastated’ level of damage).

Expert Parry: The character may choose one weapon (including their hands) with which they are very good at parrying. They may attempt to parry any weapon attack by using their chosen weapon; for example, if Sara chose Expert Parry: Hands, and someone swung a sword at her, she could attempt to parry by knocking the sword aside with her open hand. Also, they always roll 2 extra dice when attempting to parry.

Disadvantages: Taking on a Minor Disadvantage allows you to take a Minor Advantage. Alternatively, you may take three Minor Disadvantages or one Major Disadvantage in exchange for one Strong Advantage.

___________Minor Disadvantages: Taking a Minor Disadvantage allows you to take on one Minor Advantage. Three Minor Disadvantages will allow you to take on one Major Advantage. These cost 25 experience points to remove.

Dirty Little Secret: You have a dirty little secret that, if it got out, would damage your reputation and cause you a major problem, such as landing you in the Prison District, losing you a valuable friend, or endangering your family. You must tell the Game Master what this secret is.

Minor Taint: One of your eyes is already Tainted, making it obvious to all who see you that you are Gieden and that you lack a certain…shall we say…caution. People may not treat you as well as they normally would, and you aren’t welcome in the Roian District. Also, in most cities, you may not be a public official if you have a Taint. See Chapter Five, The Tainted, for more details.

Nuameii Bait: Nuameii are drawn to you, and not because they like you. They sense your presence when you are near and are automatically hostile.

Unnatural Aura: There is something off about you, and people can feel it. You make some people and most animals a little uneasy just by being nearby. Many horses and cats will not tolerate your presence at all, and dogs will bark at your approach.

Clumsy: If you ever roll three ones at once, whatever action you were attempting goes horribly, sometimes fatally, wrong. You may go to swing your sword, lose your grasp on it, and throw it across the battlefield, leaving yourself helpless. Or you may accidentally draw too much magic into yourself, causing yourself physical damage; you may fall off of a galloping horse and be crushed beneath its hooves. Whatever the outcome, it will be bad. Very bad.

Oathbound (Minor Geas): A Pure Magic user has bound your character to a single oath (see the section on Pure Magic for details.) Luckily, this oath isn’t overly hard to keep; unfortunately, there may be no way to end it. This oath may be to never harm a dog, to say a prayer for anyone the character kills, to snap their fingers before eating a meal, or almost anything else, so long as it isn’t terribly limiting or hard to keep. Be careful what is chosen for the oath; failing to keep it means instant death. If, however, the character is truly attempting to keep the oath and fails, they will not die as long as they continue to try. For instance, someone sworn never to kill a duck feeds a duck something, the duck chokes, and although the player tries desperately to help it, it dies. The character will live, but they must try even more diligently to never harm another duck.

Child: Your character is a child, no more than twelve years old. In some campaigns, there may be no record of time and therefore no way to be sure of your character’s exact age, but you are young enough that it is obvious to everyone around you. You don’t get listened to, you may get no respect, some places will not allow you admittance, and your parents may get angry if you go off adventuring.

Fear: Your character is terribly afraid of something; fire, the dark, Dragons, or even certain types of magic. When faced with this fear, you must roll Determination vs. 7 to stand your ground and act normally. If you fail, you may seek others whom you trust, run away, or blindly attack the object of your fear.

Lack of Endurance: When you exceed your physical stamina score and must make an exhaustion check, you do so with a -1 penalty. This means that, like everyone else, you are in no danger of being exhausted until you have been active for a number of rounds equal to your physical stamina score, times two. Once you exceed this number, however, you must roll a 7 or better (instead of the usual 6) to avoid taking exhaustion penalties.

________Major Disadvantages: Take these with caution. They allow you to take one Major Advantage or three Minor Advantages, but you may find that they aren’t worth it. They cost 35 experience points to remove.

Magical Ineptitude: You will only get access to two Magical Disciplines, and you will only be able to use their Rank One abilities. You may put more dots into these disciplines, but that will only allow you more dice to roll; it will give you no further abilities. It may seem like a good idea for a Roian character to take this Flaw, but think again. You never know what the future holds, and even Roian may someday need magic. The only Roian who cannot take this flaw are those who have zero Magical Resistance or zero Magical Talent.

Old Injury: You have an old injury; a battle-wound, a birth-defect, or the result of some childhood trauma that throws you off and causes you pain. As a result, you add 1 point to each of the negative modifiers marked in your hour-glass. This means that at ‘Minor’ wounding, you get a -1 modifier to all your rolls, at ‘Wounded’ you get a -2, and at ‘Heavy’ you get a -3. At ‘Mauled’ you may find it very difficult to move at all.

Oathbound (Major Geas): A Pure Magic user has bound your character to an oath, and failing to follow that oath to the best of your character’s ability will kill your character. (See the section on Pure Magic) This oath may be to protect a specific family line, to never sleep in the same place twice, to never lie, to never speak the truth, or almost anything else, but it must be something that comes up often and demands action on the part of the character. Also, it should not be a task that can be completed within a few years. This flaw is meant to be a life-long curse.

Haunted: Something otherworldly torments you. You may wake up with mysterious wounds (worth no more than 1 box of damage), have terrible nightmares, see disturbing visions that have nothing to do with reality, or think you saw things that didn’t really happen. Sometimes you hear a voice in your head, compelling you to do terrible things to yourself or others. On occasion, when the voice is very insistent and you are under stress, you will be asked to roll a Determination check, vs. a 6, to avoid doing what the voice tells you.

Weak-Willed: All your Determination rolls are two points more difficult than they would ordinarily be, and people find you easier to manipulate (all your manipulation rolls are vs. 7 instead of 6).

Hunted: You are being diligently sought after by a group with much power, prestige, and/or wealth. They are determined to hunt you down, even to the ends of the earth, and they may be aided by unnatural means. To make matters worse, you have a distinguishing mark that makes you instantly recognizable to anyone who knows what they’re looking for. This may be a birthmark, a tattoo, an unusual Tainted appendage or the like; you would be wise to hide this mark.

Unbound Spirit: Your spirit is not bound strongly to your body. If your damage level ever reaches ‘Mauled’, you die unless you are healed within three rounds. This may not be taken in conjunction with the Strong Advantage Earthbound Spirit.

Magical Backlash: Your character has trouble containing the magic that they summon, and sometimes they suffer a horrendous magical backlash, causing them physical damage. For every 1 rolled when attempting a magical task, your character takes two boxes of physical damage. For every 2 rolled, they take one box of damage. This Flaw cannot be combined with the Major Flaw Magical Ineptitude.

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