Thursday 11 April 2024

Character Gen Re-Write & Prep

As I rewrite my homebrew im asking more am i sticking to this for some weird tradition or not or is it better and so a few odd results, I can see this as a great era for retro clones. 

I will probably edit this right up till i use it in play.
Maybe all the occupations could be on one d100

I feel ofter several years as a player and reader of 5th ed I finally feel i could make interesting characters and DMs often steered me from choices for what suited their play style. But I want to be a weirdo and feel I have enough power. And If I get on the edition it is in its last days. The options and powers are great for players but poor for the DM who has to deal with those options and police them and run monsters and write cinematic padding. It put me off being a DM for 5th ed. I got back to old d&d because monster stat blocks were so minimal in a module and were fast to write while BRP every monster had a character sheet and maths for its weird hit locations and the best fights in that were ambushes where you slaughter foes fast. D&D is a bit more gung ho, especially after a few levels. 

So I want a start of my character generation by including a Level 0 character system as an option which is faster and simpler for players with fewer choices and things to record. Its also a good system to generate zero level humans or followers. Its a simpler quickstart for new players or a way of earning some extra benefits with some extra risks (extra HP and spells).

I am playing Gunderholfen solo currently.
My Assamir angel cleric who manages to burn 30 attackers to ash has been fun. I look forward to fireballing encounters we meet.


The zero level system is for introducing new players or making weirder characters to roleplay with some tangible lasting benefits. You don't need to start zero level if players don't all want to and you can skip this and go straight to making a 1st Level Character.

Making a Zero Level Player Character

1 Allocate these ability scores
15 13 12 11 10 9
into the following attributes
Agility Might Vigour Charm Talent Will

*or Roll 3d6 in order minimum of 9
May swap the highest score for your class Prime Requisite

The highest Attribute is generally put into your Prime Requisite of your Character Class or something that suits your starting career. 

Attributes that are high help you enjoy certain character classes better from 1st Level and they make you more likely to succeed at certain tasks. They also improve your characters your character's performance in other ways.

Rolling under your Attribute with a 20 sided dice is a common action in-game
-Agility for making feats of accuracy, balance and manoeuvring from danger
-Might for making feats of breaking things and lifting heavy stuff
-Vigour for making feats of health and recovery from disease, poison or exhaustion
-Charm for making feats of diplomacy, attracting a follower or convincing others
-Talent for making feats of cunning, knowledge and logic or noticing clues
-Will for feats of resisting mind control magic, intimidation or tests of piety

Sometimes a roll is harder and you need to roll under half your attribute or under your bonus. Sometimes the skill roll is so easy it is automatic. A person without a skill can improvise with half their attribute and usually can only try once. Tools or certain conditions might add or subtract extra points.

High Attributes Gain a Bonus with various effects
Some of these are effective for certain character class prime attribute
Some of these benefits help any character
There is a box next to your attributes for the bonus if you have one
There is a small circle for later when you gain improved saving throws which zero level people rarely get.

Bonus Table
1-2 -4
3-4 -3
5-6 -2
7-8 -1
9-12 +0
13-14 +1
15-16 +2
17-18 +3
19-20 +4
+2 +1 for every 2 points the plus goes up 1
Mortals permanent attributes peak at 20 and can go beyond this

-Agility bonus ads to all hit rolls and AC or armour class
-Might bonus for extra damage on any muscle-powered weapon
-Vigour bonus ads to your HP and you get this with every new HD you roll
-Charm bonus is how many bonus followers you can recruit in play
-Talent bonus in extra skills or languages at the start of play
-Will bonus adds to your starting luck point score of 1 that allows you to reroll dice each game
2 Choose if you are from an Arms or Arts or Magic Background 
This assumes you are human but if you want to be a young demihuman or non-human declare it now and your special cultural abilities are not distinctly developed yet. You are the equivalent of a 16-year-old at this stage. You can make your own careers like the ones in the tables or just use them. These are just suggestions and shorthand to give you some choices or options to roll. You can ignore them or roll if confounded by choices.

If you are  from an Arms Background you start with a d6 HP +your Vigour Bonus
You start with one arms skill and one arts skill from your training

d12 Example Practitioner of Arms d6HD
1 Militia - Spear & Search - leather armour, spear, thicker shield d6sp
2 Thug - Blades & Intimidate - leather armour, dagger, two knives d6cp
3 Brawler - Martial Strike & Streetwise - leather armour, two cestus, d6cp 
4 Archer - Bows & Hunter - leather armour, selfbow and 20 arrows, knife, d6cp
5 Labourer - Club & Endurance - apron, gloves, boots, wooden rod, d6cp 
6 Drunk - Martial Hold & Drinking - d4 bottles of beer, pewter stein, d6cp 
7 Smith - Hammer & Blacksmith, leather apron, tongs, iron bar, d6sp
8 Bandit - Bows & Hide, leather armour, selfbow and 20 arrows, knife, d6cp  
9 Guard - Crossbow & Alertness, leather armour, light crossbow and 12 bolts, d6cp
10 Driver - Whip & Drive, leather armour, whip, dagger, club, d6sp 
11 Woodcutter - Axes & Forestry, hatchet, sack of firewood, spool of wine, d6cp
12 Squire - Swords & Ride, leather armour, sword, knife, d6gp 

If you are from an Arts Background you start with a d4 HP +your Vigour Bonus
You start with two arts skills from your training

d12 Practitioner of Arts d4HD
1 Servant - Groom & Etiquette, fancy coat, knife, d6sp 
2 Cook - Cook & Feast, knife, cast iron pot or frypan, d4 days of food, bottle of wine, d6sp
3 Healer - First Aid & Herbalism, first aid kit, 2d6 herbal remedies, pipe, pot, d4cp
4 Churgeon - First Aid & Healer, first aid kit, surgeons kit, knife, bone saw, rope, d6gp 
5 Scribe - Scribe & Caligraphy, scribe kit, 2d6 sheets of paper, journal, ink bottle, knife, d6sp
6 Charletan - Fast Talk & Forgery, coloured water in bottles, fake mine claims, d6sp
7 Farmer - Animal Law & Plant Lore, a sack of d6 days of root vegetables, club, d6cp
8 Actor - Disguise & History, wig, face paint, face putty, popular monologue script, rod, d6sp
9 Apprentice - Repair & one craft (carpentry, mason, jeweller, etc), apron, tools, d6cp 
10 Herder - Animal Lore, Search, staff, sling and 10 stones, d4 days food, baby goat, d6cp
11 Musician - Song Lore & Music Lore, instrument, costume for performance, d6sp
12 Mariner - Sailor & Swim, Tatoo, Sack, Gaff Hook, 6m Rope, bottle of palm wine, d6sp

If you are  from a Magic Background you start with a d4 HP +your Vigour Bonus
You start with one arts skill and one cantrip zero level spell from your training

d4 Practitioner of Magic d4HD
1 Wizards Apprentice d4HD Arcane Lore & 1 arcane Lv0 cantrip spell
2 Acolyte Priest d4HD Holy Lore & 1 divine Lv0 cantrip spell
3 Initiate Druid d4HD Nature Lore & 1 nature Lv0 cantrip spell
4 Sorcery Student d4HD Carousing & 1 mentalist Lv0 cantrip spell

If you are  from a non human Background your starting HP Dice is dependant on your species +your Vigour Bonus. You start with one arms skill and one arts skill from your training

d12 Non Humans
1 Dwarf d6HD - Axes & Mining, Chainmail+5, Sheild+1, Hand Axe, Battle Axe, Spade, d6gp 
2 Elf d6HD - Bows & Natural Lore, Leather+3, Self Bow, 20 arrows, Knife, Hooded cloak, d6gp 
 Gnome d4HD - Club & Repair, Leatherwork suit+3, Goggles, Rod, Hatchet, Knife, Set Square, Mallet, 10 Iron Spikes, Iron Bar, 30m of Twine, 6m Light Rope, Chalk, Charcoal, Paper, d6 Lead or Tin Coins   
Halfling d6HD - Quickdraw (Rock) & Survival, Leather+3, Small Sheild+1, 5 nice Rocks, Knife, Spoon, Fork, Cooking pot, a kilo of Cheese, a Loaf of Bread, Roast Game Hen, Piece of Bacon, Six Eggs, Smoked Rabbit, a Bottle of Wine, d6gp
5 Abhuman d6HD (Barbarian) Axes & Survival, Hand axe, Dagger, d6 Ancestors bones
6 Abhuman d6HD (Beast) Spear & Track, Spear, two Javelins, dagger, d6 Pretty stones
7 Abhuman d6HD (Orc) Spear & Endurance, Spear, Dagger, d6 Chunks of Dried meat
8 Changeling d4HD (planar spirits) Swords & Cosmic Lore, Fine Outfit, Sword, Knife, d6gp 
9 Changeling d4HD (plant spirits) Spears & Nature Lore Fine Outfit, Spear, Knife, d6gp
10 Changeling d4HD (animal spirit) Sword & Spirit Lore, Fine Outfit, Sword, Knife, d6gp 
11 Giant d6HD - Clubs & Giant Lore, Sack, d6sp
12 Tako d4HD - Tridents & Sea Lore, d6 Coral pieces worth 1sp each

Group Packages
You Might create a package for starting adventurers to be the same so characters can have known each other for some time and start with skills in common. If players agree to one of these instead of individual ones let them.

Musicians in the same band (arts) d4HP- Music Lore & Perform,
Gear: instrument, knife, flashy outfit for shows, d6cp
The party have been on tour working on street and taverns on the road

Tavern Drunks (arts) d4HP - Carousing & Drinking 
Gear: Pewter drinking Stein, Pipe, Knife, d4 bottles of beer, d6cp
Rich gangs who party and riot taking over whole blocks with wild parties

Criminal Gang (arms) d6 HP - Blades & Streetwise
Gear: 2xKnives, Gang Tatoo, Club, Sack, d6cp
Party met possibly in prison or as youths adopted by the gang

Wizard School Students (Magic) d4HP - Arcane Lore & Ignite Cantrip (or pick another) 
Gear: robes and hat, stick, erotic ceramic beer stein, pipe, spell book, d6gp
Met at a prestigious prep school of magic, swap for holy lore if a church school instead

Ship Crew (arts) d4HP - Sailing & Swimming
Gear: dagger, sack, 6m rope, tattoo, shark tooth medalion, d6sp
Pressganged together on the same ship as crew for years

Noble Attendants (arts) 
d4HP - Groom & Etiquette
Gear: Fancy heraldic coat and cap,  family ring (worth d6gp), knife and a d6gp coins
Sent to be servants in household of better family to work up the noble ladder

Gladiators (arms) d6HP - Sword & Intimidate
gladius, cestus, dagger, +1AC Arm brace +1AC Fancy Custom Helmet, belt, 1m long chain or small sheild+1, body oil, d6gp 
Sweaty shaven oiled warriors who fight for money in glamourous stadiums or filthy fight pits

Urchins met in an orphanage or were adopted together (arts) d4HP Bluff & Looting
Gear: crude shank knife, d3 good rocks, sling bag, days stolen food, d6cp 
Child gang who scavenged and lied to get food until adopted or employed or join a real gang

Army conscripts (arms) d6HP - Spears & Marching
Gear: leather armour uniform +3, whicker medium shield, spear, dagger, bedroll, 2 javelins, d6sp, regimental tattoo 
Fresh from BootCamp after 
being chosen from the militia, mostly guard stuff and march

Nightwatch (arms) d6HP - Clubs & Night Vision
Gear: leather armour, buckler, club, dagger, 6m rope, d6 torches, tinderbox, d6 wanted posters d6sp
Working at guard on waterways and warehouses and merchant caravans.May even investigate crimes to catch problem criminals

Bailifs (arms) d6HP - Club & Judgement
Gear: leather armour, club, dagger, 6m rope, set of manacles and keys, d6sp
Serve judges and sheriffs seizing people to appear for court or prison and aiding other legal officers dealing with gangs, smugglers and troublemakers

3 Calculate Other Starting Abilities

Your Starting HP are either a d4 or d6 + your Vigour bonus depending on your background. You get an extra HD based on your class each level you go up to a maximum of level 10, after that you get a set number of HP per level based on your class. 

Your starting-to-hit bonus equals your Agility Bonus and is a measure of your ability to hit enemies. You always hit on a natural 20 roll and a 1 is always a miss. A mortal may only use +20 Hit Bonus max

Your Talent Bonus grants you extra Skills
-an extra weapon like Swords, Bows, Handguns, Blades
-an extra arts skill like from one of the lists here or the skill section
-you could use these skill slots to buy cantrip spells of one list type as magic skills

Your starting AC armour class is 
your Agility Bonus and plusses from your shield or armour. This plus 10 is the target number required for enemies to hit you. 
Basic clothes offer no armour.
Light Armour is usually Leather +3
Medium Armour is usually Chain +5
Heavy Armour is usually Plate +7
A small shield or buckler Is +1 Armour
A medium shield like most knights or warriors use +2
A Large shield covers more and is more awkward +3
There are other types of armour and piece-based armour but that won't come up yet right away
A mortal may only use +20 AC max

Your damage dice are based on your weapon + your damage bonus from Might
A knife is d3
A dagger or stick or dart is d4
A club or small sword or javelin or hand axe or shortbow is d6
A sword or battle axe or short spear is a d8
A polarm or great sword or great axe or long spear or lance is a d10

Your Mov score is your speed and an average of your Agility And Vigour
Most people are between 9 and 12

There are other scores and abilities on the character sheet but most are not used at zero level. Most characters start with minimum equipment and money to buy food, accommodation or more weapons.

4 Have a Simple Adventure to advance to 1st Level
Now you are ready for a simple adventure
You don't need much and should have your character ready for play in the same first game session. Three small encounters and a few athletic risks avoiding hazards are typical first adventures. 

Your DM Might have prepared an adventure or have something they bought or found online for beginning characters. They might even be solo possibilities with a player using random tables like encounter tables in woods or city looking for trouble. Its ok to run away at Zero Level you are just normal people.

d12 Sample Beginner Adventures
1 Vermin control some small slightly perilous creatures like giant rats, snakes or stray dogs
2 Several humanoid pests are harassing travellers, Two goblins for example
3 A bandit and several gang members are hiding in the area and have rewards offered
4 Merchant wants it recovered from an abandoned house with some hazards and perils
5 Deliver a message between several locations and meet a wilderness encounter
6 Beat up a bully perhaps in a bar to shame them publicly 
7 Someone needs some escorts for a short trip that might turn violent
8 A dangerous wolf is bothering farmers and livestock
9 Find a missing person for their guardian or master
10 Help find a missing animal lost by a shepherd 
11 Rescue a person from a gang who has them captured
12 An old haunted murder house has been making odd noises

Advancing to First Level
When you are ready to advance to First Level go to the making a 1st Level Character section, pick a character class usually based on your best attribute and interests. Keep your zero level HP and Skills in addition to the ones you gain at the first level. If you don't play as a zero Level character you can't claim the benefits of having been zero level. Once you have played the game you might wish to skip zero level for future campaigns if players no longer find it interesting.

What is the Process of gaining a level?
For most people, it takes 1-4 years to learn a character class and then a month per level for each further level of school, study under a master, do research or work in a gymnasium. This is for those who only adventure once a year or so. Heroic types might avoid this.

If heroes are engaged in a thrilling busy saga on the move these time frames can be ignored but you could have some kind of montage scene advancing time if you want. Perhaps chosen heroes of the gods can advance without all the time most people do, especially if working on some world-shaking caper. You might bring in longer times for when you can't find a higher-level trainer who isn't a jerk or just for 10th+ levels. This can help nudge people into year-per-session campaign play for landed nobility.

Fast Campaign Mode
Gain a level per session or when a campaign achievement is made
A month for starting a new class
Day per level training from someone higher level or weeks of self-training
Top tier usually has supernatural training
Lets you experience the range of the game with rapid power-ups

Slow Campaign Mode
Gain a level with one session per level 
or when a campaign achievement is made
A year to start a new class
Week per level training from someone higher level or months if self-training
Top tier usually has supernatural training
Lets you experience power-ups ups slowly to enjoy them more, levels more significant  

Zero Level Followers
These are on the lame side but the sooner you start having followers the more powerful they will be in the long run. The humans are likely to be your relatives and dependants of you may be their legal guardian. You are responsible for pets. You can retire an old follower and recruit a new one in play. You can choose a follower if you have a charming bonus or roll one if indecisive. Roll a d12+8 if you definitely want a human or a d6 for an animal.

You can retire a follower but it is nice to give them a payment or pension or a job perhaps in one of your businesses.

d20 Typical Zero Level Followers
1 Terrier Dog d4HP AC+3 d3 Bite Mov15 expert ratter and yappy
2 Farm Hound d4HP AC+3 d4 Bite Move 12 can track, return small game and guard livestock
3 Small Goat d4HP AC+3 d3 Butt Move 15 Climb 3 can carry a small pack
4 Ferret d4HP AC+3 d3 Bite Move 12 Climb 3 catch rodents or rabbits
5 Cat d4HP AC+3 d3 Maul Move 15 Climb 3 catch rodents 
6 Iguana d4HP AC+3 d4 Bite Move 9 Climb 3 Swim 3 eats bugs and veggies
7 Bird d4HP AC+3 d3 Rend Move 3 Fly 24 alert and mobile
8 Wise Elder d4HP AC+0 d4 stick Move 9, has a History Lore skill. Has a stick and pipe
9 Village Idiot d4HP AC+0 d4 stick Move 12 with Begging skill. Has bowl and stick
10 Child Servant d4HP AC+0 d3 knife Move 9 Groom skill. Has bag of brushes, knife and rags
11 Elderly Nurse d4HP AC+0 d4 stick Move 9 First Aid skill. Has bag of bandages, blanket, soup pot and stick
12 Elderly Poacher d4HP AC+0 d6 shortbow Mov9 Hunting skill. Has bow ten arrows, knife, sack
13 Young Urchin d4 AC+0 d3 knife Mov12 Streetwise skill. Has knife, throwing rock, chalk
14 Old Porter d4HP AC+0 d4 stick Move 12 Endurance skill. Has stick, pipe, sack
15 Old Squire d4HP AC+0 d3 knife Move 9 Knows Etiquette skill. Has knife, pipe, faded fancy clothes, stick
16 Old Thug d6HP AC+3 leather d6 Club Move 12 Knows Intimidate Skill, club, knife and sack
17 Old Lamp bearer d4HP AC+0 d4 stick Move 9 Knows Night Vision. Has tick, lamp, oil jar, 2m pole for lantern
18 Old Hermit d4HP AC+0 d4 stick Move 9 Knows Holy Lore. Has stick, holy text, d6 candles, a begging bowl
19 Young Messenger d4HP AC+0 d3 knife Move 12 Knows Flee skill. Has a satchel and knife 
20 Young Apprentice d4HP AC+0 d3 knife Move 12 Knows Repair skill. Has a knife, ball of twine, jar of paste, spatula, a bundle of sticks 

Current side A character zine 

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