Setting Up A Character 102

I originally didn’t have too many plans to vastly alter the 11 base classes listed in D&D 3.5, but I now I feel some rules are in need of simplification and more player creativity should be expressed in character creation and progression. I’ve taken bits and pieces of 3.5 and 4E that I enjoy, but I have taken the liberty of changing quite a few things.

The most important detail, which I will mention first, is that I ask the players to help contribute to constructing the game; specifically, I’d like to solidify and balance the rules and work on building unique and fun mechanics for characters. What’s really missing right now is the strong distinction between classes. It’s naturally part of D&D for players to mold a character’s personality to his/her liking, so I figured why not apply the same thinking to defining the rules and abilities as well?

As per my request, I would enjoy seeing each player being responsible for creating abilities, spells etc. for their own character. So long as you check with the DM to make sure things are balanced and somewhat fitting to the class (e.g. if a Barbarian decided he could use a teleport spell, I would deem that unfair) anything can go. If you’re too busy, or simply aren’t very interested in this aspect of the game, I have no problems making things up for you as we go along.

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Races

Since I haven’t really focused on races too much, I’ll just say that any typical medieval/J.R.R. Tolkien-esque fantasy races are available to choose from. Keep your choices from small to large-sized races. No dragons please.

Each player may design up to 2 racial characteristics or abilities based on their race/origin. Be realistic here. Don’t give your Half-Giant a +15 racial bonus to sneaking, or your desert nomad a +5 skill bonus to swimming.

Any race/class combination is alright with me, but some might be a little hard to explain within the context of the world. Just keep that in mind when you role play your character.

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Ability Scores

A measure of a character’s physical and mental abilities are translated into numerical representations known as Ability Scores. Similar to the original D&D rules, a character is defined by 6 of these values; three physical scores and three mental ones. The three physical scores are: Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), & Constitution (CON); and the 3 mental ones are: Intelligence (INT), Wisdom (WIS), & Charisma (CHA). All six of these scores play a very large roll in determining the strengths and weaknesses of your character, so when assigning values to these traits, please choose carefully.

Ability Score Descriptions
Strength How hard you hit. The size of your muscles.
Dexterity Nimbleness of hands, finesse, and finer movements. One’s reflexes.
Constitution Bodily resilience, endurance and overall fitness.
Intelligence Ability to think quickly, remember things and process information.
Wisdom Tempering the mind, mental vigilance and making astute observations.
Charisma Strength of personality, willpower and ability to understand subtle social behaviours.

We’ll be using the 38 point buy system to assign ability Scores. Players start with 38 points and choose values for each score, subtracting points from 40 based on the value chosen.

Point value for individual Ability Scores:

  • -1 – 0 points
  • 0 – 2 points
  • +1 – 4 points
  • +2 – 6 points
  • +3 – 10 points
  • +4 – 16 points

Remember to adjust skills, and other attributes accordingly if any of your ability scores changes.

Ability Scores and their Effects on Martial Attacks (Combat Techniques)
Ability Score Type of Effects
Strength Melee strikes, brute force tactics and consistent damage
Dexterity Ranged and melee strikes with chances of doing very high damage
Constitution Grappling, self-mobility and self-restoration
Intelligence Tactical thinking and increasing chances for critical blows
Wisdom Enemy observation and finding weaknesses
Charisma Party support and morale boosting
Ability Scores and their Effects on Magical Attacks & Effects (Spells)
Ability Score Type of Effects
Strength Increases the damaging power of some spells
Dexterity Increases the accuracy in which some ranged spells may hit
Constitution Affects spells that require channeling and spells that enhance others
Intelligence Raw damage, psychic manipulation and physical destruction. Contributes to the number of non-combat spells that can be cast before taking an extended rest.
Wisdom Deceptive and illusionary magics, and alterations of the physical and the magical. Contributes to the number of non-combat spells that can be cast before taking an extended rest.
Charisma Protective powers, dispelling magic and restorative abilities. Contributes to the number of non-combat spells that can be cast before taking an extended rest.
Ability Scores and their use as a Defense
Ability Score Type of Effects
Strength Never used in defense
Dexterity Typically defends against ranged or projectile attacks or anything where reflexes are a factor
Constitution Typically defends against hard hitting melee blows, poisons or effects that inflict internal damage to the body
Intelligence Never used in defense
Wisdom Typically defends against attacks that are very explicit in their execution (e.g. a long winded spell or causing meteorites to fall from the sky) or attacks that attempt to expose a weakness
Charisma Typically defends against attacks that affect morale or attempt to affect the mind
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Skill Points

All level 1 characters receive 6 points to invest into any of the 6 simple skill categories or their trained skill category. New characters also may choose 3 separate and specific skills which fall into any of the skill categories available to them. These specific skills are considered specializations and grant a +3 bonus to the player when using that skill. (E.g. A specialized point placed in Lock-picking under Thievery grants an additional +3 bonus to your Thievery skill roll when Lock-picking is involved)

Each level up provides them with 2 additional skill points to invest plus 1 additional specialization in a skill, and +3 to a Miscellaneous skill.

Until Level 6 individual skills can only be specialized into once for the +3 bonus. Starting from Level 6 players may invest another point for an additional +3 bonus.

Read Different Skills for more detail.

Starting Skill Points = 6 Skill Category Points; 3 Specializations Points; 1 Misc. Skill Point
Level Up Skill Points = 2 Skill Category Points; 1 Specialization Point; 1 Misc. Skill Point
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Health Points

Based on your class, your HP will be….

Starting HP
Barbarian = 32 + Constitution
Fighter, Paladin, Ranger = 28 + Constitution
Monk, Rogue, Cleric = 26 + Constitution
Bard, Druid = 24 + Constitution
Sorcerer, Summoner, Wizard = 22 + Constitution
Level Up HP Gain
Barbarian, Paladin, Fighter = 6 + 1/2 Constitution
Ranger, Monk, Bard, Rogue, Cleric = 5 + 1/2 Constitution
Sorcerer, Summoner, Wizard, Druid = 4 + 1/2 Constitution

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Class Talents, Combat Techniques and Spells

At every level, players may add a unique ability or characteristic to their character that should help identify them in their class and distinguish them apart from other players. The effect of this added trait should be significant and will apply to either combat or role-playing situations. Some examples might be being able to manifest a pet familiar to assist you in battles and to carry some of your belongings, or heavy training with swords thus making you likely to strike with greater precision when using them.

To read more about the specific classes and the advantages and disadvantages to each one, please refer to the Updated Class Rules page.

Attack Scores and Defense Scores

Each character has 6 ability scores, each being able to act as an attack score or defense score. Attack scores represent a character’s aptitude in striking a blow or landing a spell. Defense scores represent the skill in evading or resisting an attack. A good number of offensive combat techniques and spells will require a player to make an attack score roll against another target’s defense score. Each score is modified by one of the 6 ability modifies (Strength/Dex/Int etc.) plus any miscellaneous modifiers that might apply.

Attack and Defense Score Formulas

The general formula for any attack score is:

Attack Score = 1d20 + Ability Score + Misc.

The general formula for any defense score is:

Defense Score = 1d20 + Ability Score + Misc.

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Other Attributes

Melee and Ranged Proficiency (Melee)

Each class is described as having a certain proficiency with weapons, allowing them to wield certain kinds and attack with added bonuses. There are 3 levels of proficiency: Basic, Intermediate and Expert. Characters with a Basic weapon proficiency receives no bonus when attacking and may only use the simplest of weapons (e.g. Clubs, daggers). Having an Intermediate proficiency grants a +1 bonus when making melee attacks and allows one to wield more complex weaponry (e.g. Longsword, Axes). Expert proficiency gives a +2 bonus to attacks and the character may wield the most powerful or exotic weapons with complete comfortability.

Basic = +0 Attack Bonus & Low Damage Weapons
Intermediate = +1 Attack Bonus & Medium Damage Weapons
Expert = +2 Attack Bonus & High Damage Weapons
Armor Class (AC)

Wearing armor gives the benefit of reducing physical damage taken from any source. The Armor Class (AC) value is usually dependent on the armor a character wears or sometimes by other magical influences. Certain classes are proficient with heavier armors and can thus soak up more damage than those that can only wear lighter armors.

The downfall of wearing heavier armor is usually that it can be cumbersome and may give major penalties to skills that require finesse or mobility. These are commonly found in the skill categories: Stealth, Thievery, Athletics, and Acrobatics.

Physical damage taken by any character is reduced by an amount equal his/her AC.

Armor Class = Helmet Armor + Body Armor + Shield Armor + Misc. Armor Bonuses
Speed and Initiative

The speed of a character is simply the number of spaces he/she may move in a single move action. It is a value that starts with a base of 5 and is affected by one’s Constitution. Other factors, such as the weight of one’s armor, spells, or the character’s race/class/etc may also affect this value.

The initiative is the bonus which is added to a 1d20 roll when determining a player’s or monster’s turn order. The higher the final initiative value, the greater the chance of going before others. Your initiative bonus is often equal to your Dexterity score, but may also be affected by a list of other factors.

Speed = 5 + Constitution + Armor Penalty + Misc. Bonuses
Initiative = Dexterity Score + Misc. Bonuses
Max Hero Chips and Starting Hero Chips

Hero Chips have several functions which are further described under More Combat Rules and Building Decks.

Max Hero Chips refers to the maximum number of Hero Chips a player can hold at any time. If a player were to surpass this limit, any extra Chips would need to be immediately discarded. The base value for all players is 5, but this attribute can be increased by placing points into Combat Training, or by equipping well crafted armor pieces.

The starting number of Hero Chips is how many chips a player starts with when a battle begins. This value is based on one’s Combat Mastery skill, or from the weapons one wields.

Max Hero Chips = 5 + (Combat Training / 2) + Armor Bonuses + Misc. Bonuses
Starting Hero Chips = (Combat Mastery / 2) + Weapon Bonuses + Misc. Bonuses
Non-Combat Spells per Day

While spells certainly have their use obliterating foes in the heat of a battle, they also play a utility role in other, less violent situations the party may find themselves in. Subtly using a sleep spell on the vigilant guards to enable the party a safe and hasty escape, or casting a light spell to reveal the hidden nooks and crannies of an abandoned crypt are just a few examples of these types of spells.

Only a limited number of spells can be cast outside of combat before having to rest again. This number is calculated as shown below.

Non-Combat Spells / Day  = 5 + CHA + INT + WIS

Setting Up A Character 102

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