terça-feira, 17 de julho de 2018

Set and Setting - IV - Feat Acquisition and Elfsploitation




Introduction

From coalescing some thoughts on how to manage levelling and feat acquisition to half-assing a list of racial feats, this post does it all.

Advancement

Accessorizing is important.

The process of levelling, as per the book, is much too calcified around unexciting numerical increases, every other level offering something amounting to a tired ol’+1 modifier, an enhanced number of uses on an already-unlocked feature or a feat whose parenthood has been thoroughly planned, all this made the worse by the premapped nature of the advancement pattern, which lends the whole package to optimization and builds, not to mention boredom. 

More interesting class progressions are a goal that is well served by sweeping aside the more monotonous aspects and injecting some spanish inquisition. Not content that the feats themselves be random, so too should be the instance of their acquisition, the better to contrast with the remaining class structure. I don’t really aim all of my steps to deliberately spite the fair-and-balanced point-buy paradigm, but boy do my feet ever find themselves repeatedly planted all over those lego pieces.

For those to whom the numbers are much too important, taking as given that we’re rolling for stats and Hp already, adding one more layer of variability will mean that to end up with a truly irredeemable character will be even more difficult, and the mechanic is also meant to implicitly add a convergence effect, so that the weaker characters will have an easier time upping their scores and earning their ticket out of suckdom.

Elfsploitation

To accordingly supplement the last post, the table had entries pointing to feats afforded by the player character’s race. I meant to use that design space to store certain capabilities of more or less apocryphal nature which I feel ought to manifest rarely and that would altogether unbalance or simply overburden the race profiles if used as standard features.

I pondered doing the same for “class feats” and for the longest time the 95-to-100 slot was filled with precisely that designation. The more I thought about it, though, the less sense it made. Classes are not really about waxing whimsical, rather more about structured and reliable abilities. And since I’d like for my revised classes to have something new to offer at most every level, I folded back that line of thinking.

It is useful that this embedded feat table approach affords me the space to add playable races to a setting roster at a later point, if I’m ever up for misguidingly notching up complexity for the sake of diminishing returns, something that I’m prone to do, so might as well clear the road of debris before the fact.

These following feats are about supernatural atavism and stark displays of a race’s underlying thematic. Men are extraversatile, Half-men are extra shifty, Dwarves are extra tough, Elves are extra snowflakey/better than you and Gnomes are extra magicky. Many of these are also utter bullshit, but I know I’ll get away with it because I took the care to warn you in advance.

The Crunch

— Whenever a character levels up the player rolls a d20 and chooses one among the applicable effects:

a) If the result is higher than any of the character’s attributes, the player may raise one of these scores by one. A given attribute score may not be increased twice in a row.

b) If the result is lower than the character’s level, the player may make a roll on the feat table.

Alternatively, the player may forgo the d20 roll to re-roll that level’s HD instead, the second result must stand.

The Racial Feats 

Racial Feats – Man
1.     Roll a second d20 every time you level. You still only get to choose one effect.
2.     Gain two extra uses on a class feature with limited uses.
3.     Roll twice on the mundane feat table.
4.     Choose any feat from the mundane table.
5.     You may multiclass.
6.     Acquire a feature from another class or subclass, up to a level below your proficiency modifier.

Racial Feats – Half-man
1.     May Hide as a bonus action.
2.     You can burrow into soft ground and have Advantage when digging.
3.     You can take Disadvantage to all rolls until the end of next turn to be able to Dodge as a bonus action.
4.     Can Disengage as bonus action.
5.     You gain +1 to AC against melee attacks per every size difference of the attacker.
6.     You don’t provoke opportunity attacks from large-sized (or larger) creatures. Avoid all incidental damage.

Racial Feats – Dwarf
1.    May roll on the Dismemberment table with 4d6 instead of 3d6; Advantage on Death Saving Throws.
2.    Rooted: While you don’t move and both your feet touch the ground you get a save against attempts to push, disarm or render you Prone.
3.      Can sniff precious metals (20’ radius, 10 mins, concentration).
4.      Resistant to Arcane Magic.
5.    Stone skin. Non-bludgeoning weapons can break or dull when you’re struck (attack rolls under CON mod).
6.   Gain proficiency with smith’s tools. Can forge or reforge metal weapons every level, granting or increasing enchantment by +1 a number of times equalling proficiency.

Racial Feats – Elf
1.     Your melee attacks always count as magical and their damage cannot be resisted.
2.     Your base number of attacks equals your proficiency bonus and you never drop your weapon from fumbling. Lose any feature granting accuracy or additional attacks.
3.   You don’t provoke attacks of opportunity. Your Dexterity saves against damage prevent all on a success and half on a miss and you may parry ranged attacks.
4.     Ignore all mundane difficult terrain and leave no scent or tracks. You are less likely to trigger traps.
5.     Roll a feat, receiving the improved version, as though you had rolled that result twice.
6.     Your Proficiency range is +3 to +7.

Racial Feats – Gnome
1.     Items magically resize to fit you while in your possession.
2.   Once per day, you can enlarge or shrink (but not your possessions) up to two size categories, shift lasts until a ‘1’ is rolled on the proficiency die, checked every minute.
3.     Your can attempt to Hide in the open (with Disadvantage).
4.    Odd copper pieces inexplicably find their way to you and you always find additional coins (proficiency die) on treasure troves, type as per most abundant on cache.
5.     You become Invisible as long as your eyes are closed.
6.     Once per running, you can turn a small object into red gold (worth Proficiency die gp).





sexta-feira, 29 de junho de 2018

d200 Feat Table, part the first - Mundane Feats




Introduction

Why even resort to feats?

Character differentiation. In the battle against cookie-cutting, uniqueness is the weapon of choice. I don’t mean the “uniqueness” dictated by builds, the sort that always degenerates in soulless sinergy and the grinding crunch of efficiency, but the uniqueness which only a lottery windfall befalling a poor man can provide: Fortune.

On the useful Feat

As mentioned, I don’t think of feats in terms of an exercise in optimized character aerodynamics, nor do I pay heed to the tiresome paradigm of there’s a feat for that, according to which a character wishing to be an archer in good standing unavoidably beget having the archery feat. I detest and reject the whole “mandatory option by design” school.

Courtney Campbell (of Hack & Slash fame) once wrote a resonating piece on this topic, which in an interesting case of the OSR seeping back into the mainstream ended up being adopted by fifth edition’s design ethos. I plod along much the same lines insomuch as I treat each feat as a self-contained affair instead of a branching sequence of optimization enablers. Unlike the PHB, however, instead of each feat allotting the character a whole career-making suite of expertise abilities, mine are to act more as differentiators that happen to lend a little bit of power. This necessitates that they be both randomly acquired and drawn from a large pool of possibilities.

Stumble at every hurdle

First of all, I’ve cheated. There are not one hundred feats in the table that follows, rather, the table’s design meant that it got nibbled of six entries at each end, for a total just shy of ninety.

These first hundred entries don’t feel terribly inspired. Filling the table felt easy while the first twenty-odd ideas bounced off, the momentum was kept by drawing and quartering the PHB feats and then… stall. Coming up with feats that are both mundane and that don’t simultaneously encroach red-handedly upon the thematic expertise turf of the character classes is somewhat difficult and I’m all for protecting the niches, so the going got slow. Yet, also implied, is that the list is not set in stone: once the ideas do flow, from within or with player input, I’ll gladly update and expand the table to a d300 or further still.

In a continued effort to differentiate the demihuman races I’m up for trying something different: the more overtly magical feats, the kind that would feel a bit too difficult to explain if manifested on a prosaic human, have been pushed to become part of a second table – the second d100 for magical feats. I did concede to have divine interactions seep into this mundane table, as they are implied as a natural and non-inherent kind of supernaturalism.


Accrual of Commitment

Feat acquisition can come both at character generation or later through levelling and other events derived from play. The in-setting explanation for their acquisition (or manifestation) is assumed to fall upon the player, with mediation from the referee.

I ended up artificially constraining myself to have each feat be a blurb, alloting it no more than two lines or roughly 120 characters apiece, dismembering the PHB feats and injecting some of my own brain juice among the cracks. One of the side effects was that the majority of the feats ended up not being worth more than a single mulligan token, which will force me to go back and revise the feat pricing part of the character generation procedure. If the concern for impractical characters bedecked in feats like christmas trees does come up through play (which I doubt) a feat limit equal to the proficiency modifier for starting characters or something of the sort can later be proposed.

The feats themselves offer between one and three thematically linked things. They often grant proficiency in a skill wherever it makes sense due to the nature of the accompanying ability or if the entry just needed some value shore-up. A number of them are based on affording special dispensation from both the general rules or the hogwash that I’ve been spewing this past year and touch mainly on the pillars of play – combat, exploration and interaction – that ought to be common ground to whichever race or class that ends up taking the feat. If some entries read as vague and underdeveloped, the rationale is that the referee should only expend time with something that has a 1/100th chance of occuring once it actually does. Then it can be appropriately fleshed out mechanically.

The Crunch

- Men and Half-men roll exclusively on the d100 mundane table.

- Elves and Dwarves roll on both tables (d200).

- Gnomes roll exclusively on the d100 supernatural table.

- If a feat grants training on a skill the character is already proficient in, increase the skill’s associated attribute by 1 instead.

- In the unlikely event of an individual feat being rolled twice, fashion an improved version of it (or reroll, if this proves impossible).

The table


Feat: Improved Table Reading


sábado, 16 de junho de 2018

Set and Setting - III - Races of Man


Introduction

Flowing naturally from the character generation post, here’s something regarding the races of man and their choice as avatars for play.

In a shocking leap of logic that’ll have any reader gasping in bewilderment, I’m for promoting difference through rules structure. Nobel prize incoming. What follows is expressly UN-creative fare: If you spelunk around the OSR for weird weirdness, you may well afford this post a wide berth, for inside you’ll find the familiar reeking scent of vanilla, as familiarity befits starting points.

Against Enablism

There is an ongoing trend of dilution that began long ago, starting with the decision that any race should be eligible to belong to any class rather than representing a class all of its own. This has been spilling like crude oil ever since, puddling alongside pervasive notions of anachronistic cosmopolitism onto a warcraftist morass out to choke the very concept of fantasy and all the wonder it may once have held.

This problem is well summed up by Goblin Punch’s Arnold K. (who runs a minimalist system, but whose good posts know no boundaries), that the different races all play like they’re just humans in funny hats. The price to pay being that all of the racial paintjobs feel the same and play the same, with the question of “who’s human and who’s not” being met with a shrug of indifference: to the average player what matters is the class, because that is the dam behind which most of a character’s gameworld-affecting capabilities – and thus aesthetic signifiers – are contained.

Tackling this through system alone might seem awkward, thankless and unfruitful; but even if running a stable of trained character actors who could even agree on what a given interpretation were to sound like, the realization becomes that mechanics is all one has that’s non-debatable. If adequately encoded and stressed, what a player can or can’t do in the game world ought to loop back into some semblance of character inhabitation.

Past accepting that immersion requires incentive comes the realization that there’s only so much that can be practically systemized in order to differentiate a handful or more demihuman races, short of giving everyone a battery of psychological prescriptive behaviours, different dietary requirements, different temperature tolerances, different sleep cycles and turning it all into one bloated, unmanageable chore. I’m only half-joking with this list, if a difference between races is gameable (i.e. size) it should definitely be played up. If it is not significantly or reliably so (diet, psychology), it has to be tossed by the wayside.

“You Will Never Be One Of Us”

Such is the distillation of Essentialism.

Ponder, as applied to these constructs, on what grounds would a demihuman think or utter this to a man? Then, think that the reason ought to be preferably physical, sooner than mental or (gods forbid) psychological, as these are the facets that lean most heavily on the rules and are the least liable to be glossed over at a game table.

As a creator, one holds on to whatever images carry iconic power and actively avoids going against that flow. The demihumans’ essentialism is an important parcel of their otherness and the physical aspects that set them apart should be emphasized: you don’t count on ever encountering a fumbling Elf or a Dwarf with a glass jaw, much as the reverse is true, with dwarven long distance runners, elven weightlifters and half-orc weaklings being a mold that’s simply not up for the breaking block.

This unvarying constance, closer to archetypal than actually human, is precisely the purpose that demihumans exist to embrace: just as a dwarf’s reduced speed and height are hard-etched onto the statblock and not something a player can overcome by generating a high number, so too should its toughness. It’ part of what defines a dwarf, part of its inherent archetypal nature.

Weighing the issue further, one arrives at a junction: too few differences and it all becomes watered down, too many and the bloat becomes unmanageable. I settled for the time-proven philosophy of striking where it counts: the attributes. This implies an organically halfway solution, falling short of race-as-class, but with certain life paths being manifestly suboptimal.


Notes on Demihuman Psychology

No player I’ve ever seen has been capable of sustainedly sidestepping the reality of play as a human person to any significant or relatable degree. Even a polished roleplayer will struggle and have a challenging time at pretending to be a different gender, let alone a whole other creature. In fact, relying on the vagaries of competent roleplaying to evoke such differences would be like tossing a coin into the air and counting on it landing sideways on the floor everytime. It can happen, but no-one’s holding breath that it will.

The burden of expressing these differences should be laid squarely at the feet of the referee’s worldbuilding effort, to be sketched and highlighted through the figure of the non-player character. All player characters of the demihuman persuasion are simply expected, for whatever conceivable reason – as merchants, as outcasts, as slaves, as hostages linked to a peace treaty – to have become acclimated to life among men and being, at most, eccentrics rather than the proverbial stranger in a strange land.

Between the Mythic and the Tolkienesque

I’m neither out to reiterate the whole descriptive shorthands of the fantasy household names nor to warp them out of all recognizability and thus practical use. I do interfere with them in minor, mostly unsubstantial fashion (for instance: condensating the subraces, as they brought little to the table, other than dilution), the better to suit my fantasy, oftentimes preferring to read closer to the mythic sources (on which I am no authority, let it be known) than the pastiche-laden ersatz that DnD constitutes.

This and other posts of this kind are not meant to replace the whole of the handbooks, at least not in one swoop, as they contain notions and definitional shortcuts still very much of use to me and the shared vision at the table. 

Allow me to name a personal sore thumb: Halflings.

Hobbits were genially devised as personable everymen for a children’s book, with a competent reprise in the much darker followup. As playable characters they’re just… lacking. The concept of goodly disposed, bucolic, cottage-owning, orchard-growing landed gentry doesn’t really hold water, especially for darker or more primitive settings. They also lack mythic substract and blur way too easily into gnomes if you stop staring at them for a second.

Unkempt, botulitic, warren-dwelling, cannibalistic primitive savages are much more my speed. Pygmies, of greek telling, if looking for the mythic analog.

The Crunch

Each race has a size hit-die, an alignment, an age spectrum for adventuring (with each level beyond the first adding an appropriate die to age if generating a levelled character), some special abilities and, most definingly, a dyad of prime/nadir attributes.

I’ve tentatively opted in for the classic alignment scheme – Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic – reflecting the races’ essence and to act strictly as a mechanical keyword, with no gameplay-related prescriptive effects whatsoever.

Prime and Nadir attributes are, respectively, the highest and the lowest rolled scores, who must forcibly be attributed in the corresponding entries, ensuring an invariably strong score on the prime and an unfailingly dismal score on the nadir, serving as a soft take on race-as-class, shaping these characters’ set of viable life paths and perspectives.

The bonuses, more than just a simple mitigation device, are a way to push already high values past the realm of the humanly possible; whereas a man will tipically be limited to the 18th numerical gradient of any facet of being, a demihuman will not only frequently exhibit extremes that only a vanishing proportion of humans ever touch, but also flirt with the superhuman reaches of the 19th and 20th degrees.

The Races of Man


Men

Our own selves. Versatile, adaptable, capable of occupying both the loftiest perches of idealism and the lowest rungs of debasement, oftentimes within the confines of the same individual, weighed down by the leaden whole of the human condition. Fated to supplant sooner than coexist, man will not stop until every monster has been slain, every mountain has been conquered and every dark corner of the world has had a light shone upon it.

Alignment: Neutral

Age: 10 + 2d6 years

Height: 4’8” + 2d10” *

Weight: 110 lb. + (* x 2d4) lb.

Size: Medium (d8 hitpoints)

Speed: 30’

Special abilities:

- Receive one additional mulligan token at character generation.



Half-men

The most abundant of the demihumans. Half-men (also called pygmies or halflings) shoulder, if anything, as weighty a burden as mankind. Short of stature, violent by nature, they proliferate quickly and live short lives, reaching physical maturity at six years old and living only to be forty. Their preferred habitat are the hills, whose soft earth they hollow out with their communal burrows. Ferocious and carnivorous yet civilized after a fashion, their shortness in years shackling them to a legacy mired in barbarism, compensated by the fact that they never want for unproven youth brimming with hot blood to take up the mantle of tribal hero.

Alignment: Neutral

Age : 5 + d4 years

Height: 2’7” + 2d4” *

Weight: 35 lb. + (*) lb.

Size: Small (d6 hitpoints)

Speed: 25’

Ability score adjusments: +1 to Dexterity, +1 to Constitution, +1 to Charisma.

Prime attribute: Dexterity

Nadir attribute: Wisdom

Special abilities:

- Can move through the space of any larger creature.

- May attempt to hide from sight whenever obscured, even if only by a larger creature.

- As long as unengaged and not expressly drawing attention to himself, a half-man has a 50% chance of being targetted last by attack.



Dwarves

Focused, industrious and bellicose, dwarves are a relatively numerous race, held in check by the natural confines of their underground living environment and their specious reproductive capabilities. Renowned smiths, relentless bargainers and inured drinkers of spirits, they slowly and diligently carve out their mountain holdfasts one pickstroke at a time, feverishly driven by a hunger rarely sated, for gold, for gemstones, for precious metals. Their interests rarely conflicting with those of men, as they are loath to brave the open sky and even less the rollingly chaotic expanses of large bodies of water.

Alignment: Lawful

Typical adventuring age : 30 + 2d10 years

Height: 4’ + 2d4” *

Weight: 125 lb. + (* x 2d6) lb.

Size: Medium (d8 hitpoints)

Speed: 25’

Ability score adjusments: +2 to Constitution, +1 to Strength

Prime attribute: Constitution

Nadir attribute: Dexterity

Special abilities:

- Darkvision 60’

- Worn armour does not impact a dwarf's encumbrance.

- Resistant to poison damage and at Advantage on saves against being poisoned.

- Dwarven combat training: proficiency with battleaxe, handaxe, throwing axe, warhammer, light and medium armour.

- Stonecunning: mastery on all Intelligence or Wisdom checks related to mines, tunnels or stonework.



Elves

Dwindling in number, slow to mature and fiercely isolationist. The fair folk dwell in the fae-touched places, within deep woods and upon tall mountain spires, completely unsoiled by man or civilization, avoiding contact with the outside world. Their hedonistic, unknowable ways coupled with the hauteur of the gifted shaping a civilization with a siege mentality, as elven presence is encroached upon on all fronts by the multitude of lesser spawn of the gods, which has these self-styled exemplars of creation marked for doom. An ancient rift has further split their number onto two distinct lineages, the grey elves, who took for theirs the rigid demeanour of the mountains they settled, and the wild elves, fierce and unpredictable as the shooting growths of the verdant primeval forests they inhabit.

Alignment: Lawful (grey) or Chaotic (wild)

Typical adventuring age: 40 + 2d20 years

Height: 4’6” + 2d10” *

Weight: 95 lb. + (* x 2d4) lb.

Size: Medium (d8 hitpoints)

Speed: 35’

Ability score adjusments: +2 to Dexterity, +1 to Intelligence.

Prime attribute: Dexterity

Nadir attribute: Constitution

Special abilities:

- Low-light vision 60’ (dim light counts as bright)

- Keen senses: proficient in the Perception skill.

- Fey ancestry: Advantage against charm, sleep and paralysis magic.

- Elven weapon training: proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.

- May innately cast a level 0 spell once per day (randomly determined at chargen).

- Can attempt to hide when lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.


Gnomes

Gnomes are the scarcest of demihumans. Possessed of a nature verging on the utterly magical, touched by but a few aspects of the human condition. They form communities in a loose sense of the word, with kiths of a handful of individuals living in symbiotic proximity with both mankind and other worldly animals. They are strongly associated with places of dwelling, abandoned or otherwise, often lairing unseen amid the beams and nooks of the homes of unwitting benefactors with whom they share living arrangements, struck in indirect and haltingly ritualized fashion, but otherwise having few dealings with its prosaic inhabitants, while being attracted to the innocent and impressionable, drawn by their sense of wonder.

Alignment: Chaotic

Age: 30 + 2d12 years

Height: 2’11” + 2d4” *

Weight: 35 lb. + (*) lb.

Size: Small (d6 hitpoints)

Speed: 25’

Ability score adjusments: +2 to Intelligence, +1 to Dexterity.

Prime attribute: Intelligence

Nadir attribute: Strength

Special abilities:

- Darkvision 30’

- Advantage on all mental saving throws against magic.

- May innately cast Minor Illusion once per day.

- Can become invisible for a few minutes once per day (Effect lasts until a "1" is rolled on the proficiency die, checked once per minute, concentration required).

- Through sounds and gestures, can communicate simple ideas with Small or smaller beasts.



sábado, 2 de junho de 2018

General Rules Revisited - Character Generation




Now comes the time for an updated take on character generation, a belaboured procedure under the more modern paradigms of the game, and that my gut feeling says should be as seamless and immediate as a game is deadly. Despite thinking of attachment to a character as something absolutely positive, the old school of “gravel for breakfast” is not about projecting expressionist fetishism onto a shell predestined for success, rather more humanly about coping with the unknown quantities fortune inflicts, starting right with the character sheet. The less choices to agonize about at the outset, the better. This means attributes, starting equipment, feats and most else is to be randomized, in a deliberate push against customizability and toward improvisational play.

Past this thought of immanent attachment only mattering insomuch as failure also can befall the character, it bears out that if shit does happen, player and referee alike will want to get back into the game post-haste. As such, tightened the procedure aiming for swiftness, as I definitely did not want to compromise the “five minutes and it’s done”-ness of the process.

Outshined

There is a reason why this is being called character generation and not character building. Lack of care for balance sits at the core of the process, the unpredictable essence of which is what makes for an entertaining generation procedure: not knowing what you as a player are going to get and adapting to what the dice give to you is vastly more interesting than buying scores, tweaking feats and the whole optimization trailer of manifest destiny, complete with bulging background saddlebags.

A liminal stat value for viability has not been traced. It is to be accepted that character building, even if pared down to inane point-buy schemes, will inevitably see characters cling to differing power curves; if not from their raw stats, then from the different classes, which is something this procedure attempts to offset both through randomness and a more “apples to oranges” remedial approach, by awarding extra feats to attribute-poor characters.

Narrativists seem to like flawed characters (as long as the flaws stay well the fuck away from interfering with the payoffs, also known as “forced down the path of what one was going to do anyway”) whereas characters marred by shortcoming, like unhappy families, tend to all rapidly gain in distinct traces of true character.

As stated before, a player that finds his character reduced by circumstance is free to retire and return him to the setting fishpond whenever he feels like.

Master of None

As written elsewhere, I’ve looked to reducing the syndrome of stat dumping or gold-star stats. Quixotic, I’ll agree, but the aim remains wanting for players to pine for competence to the extent that, unless endowed with scores of 15-plus across the board, a character ought to always feel inadequate and overextended.

This meant attaching greater value to the mental stats and strength by resorting to a variety of small details.

Like the first version, I’ve kept the inclusion of some flavouring options in the shape of feats (table to follow soon), of varying levels of power and tied down to randomness, having them be determined first to minimize deadwood by allowing the player some elbow-space to make the most of what he rolls.

The Crunch

Mulligan Tokens

A player gets 6 tokens at the beginning of character generation. Once per stat, whether attribute, hit-die or feat, a token may be expended to roll an additional die of the appropriate type and then discard one of the results (typically the lowest).

1)      Choose Character Race

2)      Buy Feats

Trade mulligan tokens for rolls on the feat table at an increasing cost of one token per roll.

3)      Generate Stats

Roll Attributes

Roll six sets of 3d6, assigning one to each of the character’s attributes.

Choose Character Class & Roll Hit-points

Roll the hit-dice: one dictated by size, for the unleveled character’s health, the other granted by class training.

4)      Is the character viable?

Total up the character’s attribute modifiers; if the sum is negative, either retire him and roll another or add back a corresponding number of bonus tokens, to be spent only on feats, and continue the generation process.

5)      Gameable Details

Some details, such as height, weight and age are gameable details and thus must be generated.

Height & Weight: the PHB’s competent take on this (pg. 121) suits me perfectly.

Age: 10+2d6 years for mankind, adding a d6 per level past first.

Starting Experience: multiply character’s age by his Intelligence modifier, minimum 0.

6)      Choose Name and finishing touches

Choose name and details – hair, eye or skin colour – that are minor or have no gameable impact.

7)      Determine starting equipment

Depending widely upon the vagaries of where and how a character joins a party, the new arrival’s starting equipment will need to be randomly determined:

Basic equipment: You’re guaranteed a simple melee weapon of choice, a basic set of clothes, boots, a belt pouch (1 slot), a small backpack (5 slots) and a roll on the armour table.

Armour Table (d10):

1. Leather
2. Studded leather
3. Chainmail
4. Scale mail
5. Ring mail
6. Half-plate
7. Splint mail
8. Full Plate
9. Buckler shield, make a second roll on this table with a d8.
10. Medium shield, make a second roll on this table with a d8.

Results with which the character has no proficiency are counted as Leather Armour instead or can be replaced by a roll on the equipment table

For equipment, you’re entitled to 5 rolls on the following table, modified by Wisdom. Any result can be replaced with either d6 rations, d6 torches or a full waterskin.

Equipment Table (d20):

1. Any item here presented or a roll on d100 trinkets.
2. 10’ pole, 3 iron spikes or whetstone
3. Small keg of beer (weighs 3 slots, 3d6 servings)
4. Simple ranged weapon of choice (10 pieces of ammunition)
5. Vial of contact poison (d4 doses), or healing potion
6. Mirror, flask or tankard (bronze)
7. Vial of acid or alchemist’s fire (50/50)
8. Climbing hammer and 10 pitons
9. Cloak and hunting horn
10. Torches (2d6) and flint
11. Melee weapon of choice or simple ranged (10 pieces of ammunition)
12. Crowbar, shovel or miner’s pick
13. Bedroll, tinderbox, wooden mug and cooking pot
14. Bag of Caltrops or Ball bearings
15. Chain (10’)
16. 2d6 rations and a full waterskin
17. Rope (50’)
18. Lanthorn, flint and 2d4 flasks of oil
19. Grappling hook
20. Large backpack or sack (10 slots) and two additional rolls on this table

Starting money: d20 silver pieces, modified by Charisma (positive modifiers add further d20s, negatives decrease the die size).