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Complete Character Creation
Published by Dragavan on 2006/10/11 (7344 reads)
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Basic Version

Complete Character Creation

Here we have the full descriptions of the steps used for character creation in the Basic Version of the Land of Karn: Fantasy Role-Playing Game. Everything you will need to create a character is not included in this section alone, though. The actual skills are listed in the Skills section, equipment & clothing is listed in the Shopping section, and so on. These are necessary parts of Character Creation, but also used at other times during the game, so they are separated into their own sections.

The LoK Basic Version Rules is not specific to any region of the world, so this section does not include any regional information or the sections that require it. The official release of the game (and other official books or supplements that come out later) will pertain to certain areas of Karn and cover the details of these regions. As such they will also include all the regional information needed to create full characters for that area.

Step 1: Attributes
The basic attributes of a character are a numerical representation of their physical and mental limitations. They are used whenever a character wants to attempt something and all skills are based off of them. The attributes themselves fall into three categories: Mental, Personal and, Physical. For more about what each of these mean, and what they are used for, see the Game Mechanics section.

Mental Attributes: Intelligence (INT), Resistance (RES), and Alertness (ALT). These are used to represent the cognitive, defensive, and active mental limitations of your characters mind.
Personal Attributes: Charm (CHR) and Beauty (BTY). These are separated since they are representations of things that are dependent on personal tastes. Each race, region, and even person may view both of these things differently, but they are no less important than the others.
Physical Attributes: Strength (STR), Endurance (END), Agility (AGI), Dexterity (DEX), and Speed (SPD). These represent different aspects of the characters physical limitations.

The average normal person in the world of Karn has a 40 in each of these attributes (with any changes due to their race). The characters you create are supposed to be the potential heroes of Karn and supposed to be slightly above average. The typical hero has an average of 50 in each of these attributes (with racial and skill changes included). How a player gets these attributes for their starting character depends on which method they choose to use (and is allowed by the GM).

Starting Attributes Method A: Random Birth
I wanted to create an attribute selection process that gave a good combination of the randomness found in nature with some level of control over creating the character you have in mind. Think of this process I have come up with as selective breeding. You have some control over it all, but the final results are left up to the randomness of life. Just as you can pick the perfect couple, but when they mate there is still a chance of getting that little freak of nature.

When starting out to create a character you have a list of ten attributes and nothing next to them. You roll 5D10 and add 20 to the total to get your first attribute roll (for a range between 25 and 70). You then immediately choose which attribute you want that number to fall under and write it there. This number must be placed now, before you roll again, and it can not be moved later if you get a roll you would prefer there. That is where the challenge and gamble comes in. Next you roll 5D10 and add 20 to the total again, just as before. You immediately place this number next, before rolling again, and continue doing this until all ten attributes are filled.

For example: Your first roll was 52 (a pretty good roll). You immediately decide to place it under STR, since you want a high Strength for your character. You then roll a 68 (an amazing roll). You can't move your 52 out of the STR spot (since you already placed it there), so you decide to place it under END instead.

After all the attributes have been rolled you can use some special methods to tweak these numbers slightly to more closely resemble what you want out of the character, but this not without a cost. See Altering Starting Attributes below.

Starting Attributes Method B: Set Standards
This method is extremely simple up front, but gives the player the most control over the attributes their character ends up with. This method simply sets all the character's attributes to a base of 50 (across the board). This makes them the stereotypical "average" potential hero character.

Starting with this base you are then allowed to fully alter then using the different methods laid out in the next section. This allows for far more control over what you end up with than with than the random method, but at a slightly higher overall cost in most cases.

Altering Starting Attributes
After all ten of the attribute spots have been filled (through either method), you may then slightly alter them according to the rules. There are two methods to do this and it is possible to use both of them for the same character, but they are limited in how much they can alter an attribute. First off, no attribute can be raised or lowered outside of the 5 to 95 range (or racial limitation lower than that).

If using Starting Attribute Method A (Random Birth), no attribute can ever be altered (up or down) by more than 20 points from what was rolled. You can always choose to lower an attribute for no gain what so ever, but only up to 20 points from what was rolled if you used Method A.

Alteration Method 1: Point Shifting
You can alter your Mental or Physical attributes by taking from one to give to another. This is done by lowering some attributes to collect the points to raise other attributes at a cost of 2 lost points for every 1 gained. You don't have to take all these deductions from only one attribute.

This method can not be used to effect Personal attributes at all if you used Method A (Random Birth). If you used method B (Set Standards), and the GM allows it, this can be used to affect the Personal attributes.

Alteration Method 2: Creation Points
You can raise any of your attributes by spending some (or even all, if you are crazy) of you Creation Points on them, but this is costly. For every 20 CP you spend, you can raise any attribute by one point. This limits you to a possible maximum of only 50 points to spread between your attributes, even if you spend your entire 1000 CP on them. I advise against using too many CP on this though, since you want to make sure your characters has at least some skills.

For example: You wanted to raise your characters INT by 5, from 55 to 60, you could lower the SPD by 7 and ALT by 3 (for a total of 10) or you could spend 100 creation points. Or any combination of that, like lowering SPD by 6 and spending 40 CP.

Step 2: Choosing a Race and Sex
Even though it may sound strange, your character doesn't currently have a race or sex yet. They are just a series of numbers used to represent attributes. Now it is time for them to be born unto a race and start to become a true character. The chart in this section lists the basic information on the main races of the world of Karn, which is all you need to make the character. These races and more are fully detailed and explained in the full book, but you don't need that information to test out the system in the Basic Version, since they are mostly tied to the cultures of the world, which are also not explained here.

Once you decide on a race for your character, you have to pay any Creation Point costs there are for it and choose which available sex you want them to be. Once you have done this, make any needed changes to your attributes (staying within the racial limits) and write down any special racial abilities you get. Something to keep in mind when choosing a race is that you can not usually change your character's race later in the game, so you want to choose something you can live with a long time.

Some people like to have a random race selection method. For them I have included a column of numbers to divide up the major races in the chart. These are for rolling randomly using a D10.

Attribute ChangesNatural Abilities
Dwarf: Shorter stocky humanoids best known for gruff attitude and combat skills.
25 CP
RES +5, ALT -5, STR +15, END +10, AGI -5, SPD -10Nightvision, Toxin & Temperature Resistant
25 CP
RES +5, STR +5, END +15, AGI -5, SPD -10
Frenal: Tall thin humanoids best known for their complex and arrogant society.
25 CP
ALT -5, CHR -5, AGI +10, SPD +5Nightvision
25 CP
ALT -5, STR -5, END +5, AGI +10
Goblin: Small gangly greenish humanoids mostly ignored or seen as nuisances.
0 CP
INT -10, RES -10, ALT +5, CHR -5, STR -5, AGI, +5, DEX +10Better Immune System, Nightvision
0 CP
INT -5, RES -10, ALT +5, STR -10, AGI, +5, DEX +5
Human: You better know what these are.
0 CP
RES -5None
0 CP
RES -5, STR -10, END +5
Orc: Average sized humanoid "monster" race treated as slaves or living tribal lives.
0 CP
INT -5, RES -5, STR +10, END +10, DEX -10Better Immune System
0 CP
INT -5, RES -5, STR +5, END +15, DEX -10
Rowgrran/Grendarin: Very tall Wolf-like humanoids with militaristic pack cultures.
25 CP
INT -5, ALT +10, STR +15, END +5, DEX -10Nightvision, Small Claws, Heat/Cold Resistant
25 CP
INT -5, RES +5, ALT +10, STR +10, END +10, DEX -10

Step 3: Hit Points, Stress Points, & Magical Energy Points
Once you are completely done altering all of the base attributes of your character, you get to mark down their starting Hit Points (HP), Stress Points (SP), and Magical Energy Points (MEP). All of these are fairly simply and only require marking down a couple numbers.

First you have to write down your characters natural starting Hit Points. The HP start out as equal to half the character's END attribute (remember to round down if needed). This number is their starting base Hit Points and it may go up later through skill selection. There is a limit though; a character's HP can never go above double their END without magical assistance.

Next you have to write down your characters natural starting Stress Points. The SP start out as equal to half the character's RES attribute (remember to round down if needed). This number is their starting base Stress Points and it may go up later through skill selection. There is a limit though; a character's SP can never go above double their RES without magical assistance.

Lastly you have to write down your characters natural starting level of Magical Energy. The MEP level for a basic character starts out as equal to half the character's INT attribute. If a character takes the Spell Casting skill group later, that new MEP level replaces this one (not added to it). All characters have magical energy as part of their life force, as all living things in Karn do. For a more detailed explanation of MEPs see the magic section.

Step 4: Starting Initiative Bonus
Before choosing skills, but after finishing all your character's attribute changes, you need to calculate their starting initiative bonus. This bonus is used to determine who acts first in some situations, usually in combat. This step can seem a little complicated, but at least it only needs to be done once. If this step is skipped you automatically get a bonus of 0 (even though the usual average is 2).

Complete Method
To get a characters starting initiative bonus you add their AGI and SPD. 2.5% of that number is your starting bonus (remember to round down). Another way to look at is as a mathematical type equation: 2.5% (AGI + SPD) or (AGI + SPD) * 0.025. This really sounds a lot more difficult than it is.

For example: Your character has an AGI of 48 and a SPD of 55. You add them together (48 + 55) and get 103. 2.5% of 103 (or 103 * 0.025) is 2.575. This is then rounded down to 2. So the starting initiative bonus is 2.

Simple Method
To make it extremely easy on you, I have done most of the math for you. The following chart lists the total AGI + SPD of your character and what their starting bonus would be. This chart is based off the basic limits of 5-95 for all attributes. You will find that most characters tend to start with a starting initiative bonus of 2.

AGI + SPD Total
Initiative Bonus
10 - 39
40 - 79
80 - 119
120 - 159
160 - 190

Step 5: Family background
Normally this is a large section that breaks character backgrounds down by the common cultural and racial groupings found in the area of the world the book covers. It then allows the player to roll for their character and see what kind of family they were born into. This does not mean they are necessarily still part of that cultural class, but it does effect how they learned and what skills they would have easy access to or not. Since the Basic Version is not tied to any part of the world this step is skipped. You can just put whatever you want for it in your back-story since it has no effect on anything right now.

Step 6: Religion Selection
Normally this section is where a player chooses what religion their character is going to believe in or follow (or not). Since religions are also more of a regional or cultural thing and this Basic Version does not cover any specific area of the world I have decided to leave this section out as well. As such you can just say that your character is either a believer in the "Creators" or Agnostic or Atheist. It will have no effect on the rest of the rules, but since the "Creators" are the general gods that most of the major religions of the settled world are based on it is a place to start.

Step 7: Skill Selection
This is the skill selection part of the process, where you actually choose the specific skills that your character has learned over their life so far. This is done by spending more (or all) of your remaining Creation Points (which should still be most of them at this point). These are the skills they learned growing up and over the years before the current adventure or story began.

Most of what you need to do this is explained in the Skill Section, along with a complete list of most of the included skills. Some groupings of special skills are not explained in that section, as they have sections of their own (like Magic and spells). Some skill related information that may or may not found useful at this time, mostly about using them, can be found in the Game Mechanics section. Some GMs may limit some skills or groups so you may want to check with them first.

You can also spend some of your Creation Points to increase the percentage level of a skill you have already taken (at a 1 CP per 1 percent ratio, up to the maximum allowed for the skill). Combat skills and some other non-percentage skills are not raised this way. They are often improved through buying bonuses instead.

Remember to keep track of what Skill Groups you have purchased and make sure not pay for any of them twice.

Step 8: Personality Creation
You should already have a number of statistics and skills that represent your character, but they are still just that, a list of words and numbers. Now it is time to create the personality that makes your character who they are. This section of the character creation process is more fluid and open ended, so it uses only general areas that can change over time.

The first thing I suggest is to just think about what kind of person you want your character to be. It might even be useful to use an old writer's trick and interview your character to find out more about them. Pretend they are a real person and ask them a bunch of things about themselves and see how they would answer. Trust me, it really works well.

Once you have all this in mind, you should start writing down notes about your character that fit into each of the appropriate parts of the character sheet or at least the categories talked about here (if you are doing this without a printed character sheet). There are two main areas used for this and each of them has sub-sections. What follows are brief descriptions and some examples about them.

Personality Traits
This covers the basics of the character's attitude, from how they are perceived by others to how they perceive the world around them. This section covers all the main parts of how the character acts and is seen by others, including any strange quirks they may have.

Most of the kind of things found in this section can (and often do) change over time for most people, although not that easily. This goes for your characters as well. Changing a character's personality isn't something to be handled lightly since people are generally resistant to change, even when they want it. In order for a change to truly take effect they either have to be worked on over time by the character or something major has to happen to cause it to take place quicker.

Disposition is a general listing of your character's dominant moods and attitudes. This should include the basics of how your character acts and is perceived by others. These can be as simple as one-word statements or as long as a full page of information. It all depends on how detailed and laid out you want your character's attitude to be laid out. Just remember, no matter how simple or detailed you make it, you have to follow it while playing the character, or it was all for naught.

For example: Sir Henry Longbind is serious, stoic, and tends to be a little paranoid or Jackie Greenbottom is a schemer who seems to be a happy and talkative man, but usually has a mischievous plot behind all chipper appearances.

Likes & Dislikes
These should be fairly simple to figure out and choose since they are just lists of some of the larger likes and dislikes the character may have. Perhaps they will even be as strong as Loves & Hates for certain items. What can count as a like or dislike varies greatly, from a particular race to a type of food to color to just about anything you can think of.

For example: John Spindolli likes beer and loves women but dislikes Pendrali with a passion, or Aragon has a thing for the color blue and fine dress leathers but wouldn't go near a Dwarf to get one.

New likes or dislikes may be added all the time and old ones may be slowly removed from the list as others become larger and overshadow them. It all depends on what the character is currently attracted to or disgusted by, usually as results of events that happen within the game.

Other Notes
There will always be other parts of your characters personality that don't seem to fit anywhere else but you want to make note of, so just make a note of them where you can. This could be lifetime or short-term goals, quirks, and just about any other personality trait you can think of.

Personal Belief Structure
This section is a little more complicated than a simple list of traits and common actions. This section of character creation actually deals with what your character believes is good and evil, right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable. These are the deep seeded beliefs of the character, usually based on family and religious beliefs, but they don't mean they always act in accordance to them. They are just their beliefs.

Don't get me wrong, this is not an excuse to create immoral characters who are "technically" good, since they believe everything most people consider bad is good and vice versa. You have to be able to explain and defend what you put here to the GM, since the GM has to approve it. Perhaps even have a back-story to justify any that seem too far off the path of what is believed to be normal and acceptable.

There are three main parts that make up a characters personal belief structure: What they believe to be right and good, what they believe to be wrong and evil, and what they are indifferent to and believe is no big deal. I have described each of these in the following sections and, like most everything else, what you put down for these must be checked over by the GM before you begin play.

It is important to note that even though a character has this set of values and beliefs, they don't necessarily have to follow them. This is most common among criminals who do believe that stealing and/or killing is (at least "technically") wrong, but still does it for easier personal gain or even just the thrill of it. This would make these people evil, even in their own minds, but they may not care that they are.

Even many generally good people have moments when they break their own value system, for some "guilty pleasure" that they indulge in or even in a fit of passion or rage. These acts don't necessarily mean they are evil people, just they have done something that they consider wrong and perhaps even feel guilty about. These are moments that are great to play into the story of the game.

Right (good & ethical)
These are big things that the character knows in their heart to be right, or good. Doing these things would make the character believe themselves to be good and/or doing right, perhaps even in the eyes of their gods. Little things should not normally be written here, since this is about the big things that people really care about and believe in.

For example: Some common things that often falls into this category are helping the needy, aiding the church, following the laws of the land, protecting the innocent, etc.

Wrong (evil & unethical)
These are things that the character knows in their heart to be wrong, or evil. Doing these things would make the character believe themselves to be evil and/or doing wrong, as criminals often do. It doesn't mean they have to care, just that they believe them. Hell, sometimes people will even try and justify doing them to themselves and others, even though they truly do still believe they are evil and wrong to do.

For example: Some common things that often fall into this category are killing an innocent, breaking into private property, stealing, aggravated assault, etc.

Indifferent (no big deal)
These are things that the character has no firm opinion of as far as being right or wrong, but most think they should. The only things that should be written here are those that most people have set opinions of but your character doesn't. Most of the time this section will be left blank, but when you want to put something here you should have a darn good reason as to why.

For example: Perhaps your character is indifferent to the plights of the poor or the sanctity of private property.

Step 9: Rounding Out The Character
If you haven't already, now is the time to pick your character's name, appearance, and other final information to flesh them out. It is also time to find out what your character has to start with and make any final notes about them. Most of these things are either physical or family based information. They are either based off of what you have already chosen and rolled or are completely up to you, so there is not a lot to say about it.

You will need to pick your characters full name, given to them at birth, and what they are known as or go by with most people. The full name of the character often includes a family name as well as their given name, usually according to the races naming standard. Full given names are needed by mages when they want to target a specific character with a spell, so people who know this are often reluctant to give them out.

Nicknames, on the other hand, are just what people go by and are called by most people who know them. They can change over time and some people have multiples of them. They are often nothing more than the short form of their given name, but can be quite creative too. Nicknames can not be used to target a specific character with magic.

For example: If the true name of a character is Miscental Minasela Taleen (a fancy Frenal name), they may have a nickname of Misc (an abbreviation of their name), Missy (a play on their name), or even "The Stick" (perhaps there is a story behind this one).

For this you should pick your character's height, weight, hair color, hairstyle, eye color, identifying marks, tattoos, and anything else that would help make the character seem more real and fleshed out. Basically this is just a physical description of what you look like, so other characters and NPCs can know how to react to you on sight. This is also the best time to choose your characters current age, which is most likely around young adult (unless they have extensive training that would put them at an older age).

It is a good idea to keep your characters BTY and race in mind when you are designing their appearance. You can also work in certain visual things to help explain their BTY level.

For example: Your character has a BTY of 28 (very low), so you might mention that they have a number of burn scars on the right side of their face (due to a childhood experience) as part of their appearance description.

Family Information
Since you have not rolled a family background for your character (as that is not included in the Basic Version of the rules), you should come up with some of the details that describe your family's background history. What follows are some of the types of questions that could be answered to help do this.

Where did they live (Land of Origin, area, city, etc.)?
What did they do for a living?
How many siblings does the character have?
What is their birth order among them?
Who is still alive and where are they located?
You should also list anything else you may want to make a note of about their family.

Money and Starting Equipment
The amount of starting money a character has to spend is usually dependent on their family background, but since that was not rolled all characters will start with the same amount in the Basic Version of the game. This is the amount of money and starting equipment the character was able to scrounge up before they left home. All items they choose at this time as part of this starting equipment must be approved by the GM.

All money here is listed in Senton Gold Dollars (sgd) and Senton Silver Pieces (ssp) for simplicity sake. There are dozens of different currencies found around the world, but I had to choose one to use in this Basic Version of the rules. The reason I chose this one was that it was what I am using in the main full book, so everything I already have is using this standard. Call it lazy.

All starting characters get the following:
1: Choose two sets of clothing (no armor).
2: Basic living or traveling supplies: blanket, small tent, sacks or packs, moneybag, basic eating supplies, etc. The key being Basic. Nothing fancy or unnecessary here.
3: One set of basic tools needed for any skills they have.
4: One average quality weapon matching a weapon skill they have (if any).
5: 1D8x50 sgd.

Step 10: Shopping
Now it is time to hit the stores and have your character spend some of their starting money on additional equipment. See the shopping section for the lists of items, but talk to your GM for what is and isn’t available, since you have to remember the availability of items in the area you are in. You should be able to use the standard base prices for things at this point, since your character may have gone to a large city to buy most of the items some time before the adventure began.

Starting items from the previous step can NOT be sold off at this point to get more money to buy other things with. After play has started (and it fits the character), feel free to sell off certain items for cash, but then you will have to deal with shopkeepers and haggling who will not want to pay even close to value for the items.

And now, having completed these steps, you should have a finished and playable character ready for adventure and excitement in the Land of Karn.

The Land of Karn: Fantasy Role-Playing Game Basic Version 0.3.5
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