Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Gorgon Archer - Fantasy AGE - Character Creation

I was originally struggling to see how I could do a Fantasy AGE gorgon without homebrewing a race to fill in. They had a Medusa adversary, the picture of which you can see on this page, but it was quite a bit over-powered for a PC character. Granted, once I sat down and worked at it, I'd likely have been able to find a good PC-compatible version that fit the flavor on my own. However, I was hoping not to do that. However, I was looking for a way to do it without resorting to homebrew. I know I homebrewed in the 5e example, but I also did a version that used official rules. Fortunately, with the acquisition of the Fantasy AGE Companion there is now a good way to create a PC gorgon using official rules.

The game breaks down character creation into a nine-step process. I tend to feel that some of the steps are merged together. The steps are as follows:
  1. Create a Concept
  2. Determine Abilities
  3. Choose a race
  4. Determine Social Class and Background 
  5. Choose a class
  6. Pick Starting Equipment
  7. Calculate Defense
  8. Pick a name
  9. Choose character goals and ties 
Our concept is, as stated, a gorgon archer. There isn't much in the way of mechanics here, but I would note that there is a lot of randomness in character generation here, so it's a good idea to have a character style that could reasonably fit to any of the three classes. Fortunately, while archery is easier to do with two classes, it's not forbidden to any. So we're in a good place.

Determining Abilities is done by rolling 3d6 nine times and comparing the results to a chart.

  • 3 = -2
  • 4-5 = -1
  • 6-8 = 0
  • 9-11 = 1
  • 12-14 = 2
  • 15-17 = 3
  • 18 = 4
Getting to 5 or higher stats requires bonuses and level ups which we'll get on to later. At first this looks like an old edition of D&D where a stat of 15 gives you a +3 bonus, but no. The 3 is the stat you have. When you spend an advance on a level up you don't go through 16 and 17 first. You go straight from 3 to 4. But we'll get into that later.

There are optional rules for arranging the stats after rolling and for buying stats. As with a lot of games where rolling is the main way to generate stats, the point buy option is rather spare. In any case, while I'm using some optional rules, I'm going to go with the default methods where I can. Also, this game doesn't suffer as much from starting at low stats.

As a note, by default, at the end of this step we are allowed to switch any two stats we rolled. So we're in a good place to make sure that we get a decent Accuracy for use with bows. I'll save that until after I have chosen my class though.
  • Accuracy - Roll: 11, Stat: 1
  • Communication - Roll: 14, Stat: 2
  • Constitution - Roll 9, Stat: 1
  • Dexterity - Roll 16, Stat: 3
  • Fighting - Roll 8, Stat: 0
  • Intelligence - Roll 16, Stat: 3
  • Perception - Roll 9, Stat: 1
  • Strength - Roll 10, Stat: 1
  • Willpower - Roll 14, Stat: 2
These abilities will be gaining "Focuses" which is one of the ways how the game represents skill and training in an ability. Normally, when you test you roll 3d6 and add the relevant stat. If you have a focus in the task being performed then you will add an additional +2 on top of that. You can also enhance that so to get a +3 bonus rather than +2 via experience. The other method the game uses to demonstrate skill and ability is Talents which we will see later.

The next thing we do is to choose a race and we're going to make a "Blooded" aka "Half-Blooded".  A blooded is an option created to allow for a person who wants to play a character with a flavor based on one of the monsters of the setting. So we're going to be using those stats to create a race package for gorgon using the Medusa Adversary write up and the Blooded process.

Normally, a race has a stat bonus, a speed calculation, a choice of two skill focuses, some unique ability and the chance to roll twice on a racial heritage chart for two bonuses. For example, the human looks like this:
  • Fighting +1
  • Pick one of the following: Dexterity (Riding) or Constitution (Swimming)
  • Speed is 10 + Dexterity (minus any applicable armor penalty)
  • You speak and read the Common tongue
  • Roll twice on the Human benefit chart, reroll if you get the same benefit twice.
    • 2 - +1 Intelligence
    • 3-4 - Focus: Constitution (Stamina)
    • 5 - Focus: Perception (Searching)
    • 6 - Focus: Communication (Persuasion)
    • 7-8 - +1 Constitution
    • 9 - Focus: Communication (Deception)
    • 10-11 - Focus: Accuracy (Brawling)
    • 12 - +1 Strength
Now, to start, we're going to go through the non-random stuff that a Blooded Medusa is going to get.

  • +1 to the adversary's highest stat, which is Constitution (moderately surprising)
  • Choose one Ability Focus - I'll go with Perception (Seeing)
  • Speed 10 + Dex as standard for taller races.
  • Speak and read Common and Serpent
  • And roll twice on the Blooded table:
    • 7 - +1 to second highest ability, tie between 5 Abilities, so choosing Accuracy
    • 6 - Weapon Group from the Adversary right up, obviously choosing Bows
As a note, if the class we choose gets Bows as a weapon group then this will become an Ability Focus with Bows, which will make her really accurate with them. We did not roll the result on the table that would result in us making a weaker version of the petrifying gaze. So I'm assuming her Perception (Seeing) focus comes from all the eyes of the snakes she has for hair, but she doesn't have the major ability of a gorgon, which is fine. She's not the first gorgon I've made that doesn't have a stone-gaze.

To further comment, to create a half-race you would normally choose one of the races as the primary race that the character appears as and the other as the secondary. You would get all the normal benefits of your primary race but, when you rolled for your random benefits you would roll once on your primary race's chart and once on your secondary race's chart. In this gorgon's traveling companions you'll find an orc mage who has a halfling parent. Randomly rolled odd/even, she has a halfling father.

Next is Social Class and Background. The core book has you do this by rolling for social class and then background. There isn't any mechanical benefit to having a lower or higher social class. You will start with more money if you are of higher status, but that has minimal impact and my experience with PC funds is that they drift to party funds anyway. This will mostly just provide the character with another Ability Focus. The Companion has an alternate background method where you first are organized by type of background such as Arcane or Military, and then specific background. I am going to go with the second because I'm not particularly interested in having an upper class character. The GM might also allow you to just choose a character background rather than rolling for one.

A roll of 3 and 5 gives me a general background of Religious, which is interesting. Even more interesting gives me a roll of 6 which translates to her being a Priest of some religion. This is a Middle Class occupation and gives me the choice of three Ability Focuses: Communication (Leadership), Willpower (Faith), or Intelligence (Religious Lore). I'm actually going to choose the Communication focus.

Now it comes time to choose class. This character will make a decent rogue as Accuracy, Communication, Dexterity, and Perception are the primary stats of that class. She could also make a credible Mage, which uses Accuracy, Intelligence, Perception, and Willpower. Now, in the past, we've focused on primarily non-magical gorgons, aside from the gaze and nature. This character is a priest however. I think I will go ahead go with the Rogue. I am also going to go ahead and not switch out any of my stats as 2 is a reasonable starting Accuracy being a little better than the average person who has a 1.

Rogue provides our starting Health (25 + Constitution + 1d6), some starting Weapon Groups, and a few class abilities including our first Talents. The Weapon Groups include Brawling, Light Blades, Staves, and a choice between Black Powder Guns and Bows. We're obviously choosing Bows which upgrades our Weapon Group bonus from the race to a focus, meaning she has an additional +2 to hit with Bows beyond what her Accuracy gives. She also gets Pinpoint Attack and Rogue's Armor, Rogue specific abilities that allow them to do increased damage when their Dexterity is higher than their target's and ignore the armor penalty of lighter armors.

Talents are the main skill groups of the game. Each Talent has three "degrees", Novice, Journeyman, and Master. Each of these degrees comes with a benefit that allows them to perform better in the framework of the situation described by the talent's name. Rogues can start with a choice between Contacts, Scouting, or Thievery. As this character is a priest, even without magic, I'm going to give her the Novice level of Contacts. This allows her to make semi-permanent connections with NPCs she meets.

For starting equipment everybody gets a backpack, traveler's garb, and a waterskin. Rogues further get light leather armor and two weapons. We're giving her a longbow and short sword. If you choose a bow or crossbow, you automatically get a quiver of 20 arrows or bolts as appropriate. They also gain 50 + 3d6 silver due to their Middle Class occupation.

Defense is calculated using 10 + Dexterity. There may sometimes be a shield bonus but our character doesn't have skill with shields. She does wear light leather armor, but that works by reducing the damage she suffers from incoming attacks. In the case of light leather, it reduces incoming damage by 3.

The last two steps are roleplaying oriented and come with finding a tie to your fellow players as well as coming up with a name for your own character. I'll just note those in the completed character. As a note, this character has a limited number of starting Focuses because she rolled the Weapon Group and the stat bonus for her racial ability.

Kallistas, Priest of the Wooded Eaves

Elf-Blooded Gorgon Rogue Priest

Accuracy 2 (Bows)
Communication 2 (Leadership)
Constitution 2
Dexterity 3
Fighting 0
Intelligence 3
Perception 1 (Seeing)
Strength 1
Willpower 2

Health 30
Defense 13
Speed 13 yds
Armor Rating: 3 (Light Leather)

Weapon Groups: Brawling, Light Blades, Staves, Bows

Rogue Abilities:
Pinpoint Attack
Rogue's Armor

Novice Contacts

20 Arrows
Short Sword
Light Leather Armor
Traveling Garb
61 Silver

Kallistas was raised and trained by Ailine Stonered, an official of the church.
Her church and the army rangers were trained by the same archer, so she knows Donal.
Her classes in religious lore were taught by the Orcish friar, Feldra.

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