|Wildfire, halfling mage|
Over the next few months, I'll be sharing some of my thoughts about the games and its rules. To start off with this week, I'll review the process of character creation.
First, ask your GM for some basic information about the world they will be using, and with that in mind, create a character concept. Keep this concept simple for now--you're only a 1st-level character, so you have yet to acquire any fame or fortune. Also, unless you're using some of the optional rules (in italics below), character generation involves a great deal of random chance, which might result in you deciding to modify your original idea.
Next, determine your nine abilities: Accuracy, Communication, Constitution, Dexterity, Fighting, Intelligence, Perception, Strength, and Willpower. You roll 3d6 for each ability--in order--and consult a table to get your starting ability, which can range from -2 (if you rolled a 3) to 4 (on an 18) , with 1 (9-11) being average.
You may then swap two abilities if you wish. It can be very useful at this point to skip ahead a few steps to see which of the three classes has primary abilities (the four most important to that class) that best match what you rolled. That way, you'll have a better idea which scores could be most useful to swap. For example, the Warrior's primary abilities are Constitution, Dexterity, Fighting, and Strength. If you have good scores in three of those, but a mediocre one in the fourth, you might want to swap that low one for a better score that you rolled for one of your five secondary abilities. (This randomness in character generation makes Fantasy AGE something of a throwback to early editions of D&D, in which you also rolled your six ability scores in order, then had to choose your race and class based on those results.) Thinking about your class at this point can also inform some of your choices in the next two steps, race and background.
Each ability has a number of ability focuses that indicate a special knowledge of one aspect of that ability. If you have a focus that applies to an ability test you make, then your ability is treated as 2 higher for that roll. At character creation, you will get access to a few ability focuses through your race and background (the next two steps). You will gain additional focuses as you advance in level.
Optional rule #1: With GM permission, you can roll your nine scores, then arrange them as you wish among the nine abilities.
Optional rule #2: This second method gives you even more control over your starting abilities. All abilities start at 0, and you get 12 advancements to spend on increasing them (on a 1-for-1 basis). You can't increase an ability above 3, but modifiers for race (see next step) are applied after buying abilities. Unlike many RPGs with point-buy systems, you can't lower an ability below 0 to get more advancements to spend on other scores.
[In my own games, I started with the default method just to see how it worked out in play. I found that using random rolls to determine abilities tends to end up with approximately the same overall total as buying them, but characters will be less optimized for their class. On the other hand, the random methods have the potential (however small) for higher--and lower--results than you can buy, and the quirky results can inspire some fun roleplaying.]
Choose your race: dwarf, elf, gnome, halfling, human, or orc. Each race will give you a +1 bonus to one specific ability, give you a choice of one of two ability focuses, and will determine your starting languages, base Speed, and whether you have Dark Sight (the ability to see in darkness). In addition, you roll 2d6 twice on the race's benefits table; possible results vary by race, but are typically +1 to an another ability, an ability focus, or training with a Weapon Group.
|Xerkanta, elf/gnome warrior|
Determine your social class and background by rolling 1d6 twice. The first roll's result will determine your social class, which determines which table you roll the second die on for background. Each background gives the choice of one of two ability focuses.
Optional rule: If you use the option for buying abilities, you can use similar rules for race and background. Instead of rolling on those tables, you get 4 advancements to spend on the options available to your chosen race and background. An ability increase costs 2 points, while any other benefit costs 1 point.
Choose your class: Mage, Rogue, or Warrior. Your class determines your starting Health and the Weapon Groups in which you are trained (with Warrior knowing the most groups and Mage the least). You also gain the class's Level 1 powers, which include at least one talent and some other abilities.
Talents represent special aptitude or training, and include things like armor training, weapon styles, animal-related skills, and special advantages when using specific ability focuses. Each talent has three degrees (Novice, Journeyman, and Master) that add new capabilities as you gain more experience with them. All talents gained at 1st level are, naturally, at the Novice degree.
Warriors' starting talents include Armor Training (which eliminates the armor penalty to Dexterity) and two weapon styles (which give special benefits when fighting with the related weapon group, or with a shield).
Rogues start with a choice of three talents (Contacts, Scouting, or Thievery), plus the class-specific powers of Precise Strike (which adds bonus damage if your Dexterity exceeds your target's) and Rogue's Armor (which lets you ignore all penalties associated with leather armor).
Mages start with a choice of three talents (Chirurgy [medicine], Linguistics, or Lore) and two magic talents (which grant the knowledge of two spells each). They also gain Magic Points which are spent to cast spells, and a ranged attack with an arcane blast (which requires no Magic Points).
|Hanamor, elf rogue|
Calculate Defense, which is 10 + Dexterity + shield bonus (if any). Only warriors with the Weapon and Shield Style talent can gain more than a +1 bonus from using a shield. Armor does not add to Defense, but instead penalizes Dexterity if you lack Armor Training. The benefit of armor is that it reduces damage from each attack.
Choose a name, some personal goals, and ties to some of the other characters, and you're ready to start play!