Sunday, January 17, 2021

Character creation challenge day 17

 Day 17

System: B/X

Ability scores rolled: 9, 11, 14, 11, 16, 10

Starting gold: 100 gp

Let's imagine that I've rolled these scores -- very solid, respectable scores. Not hard to imagine, because I just did. Now, imagine that I have my heart set on playing a magic-user. Through the miracle of Moldvay-edition D&D, I can do exactly that! The d4 says 3 hit points, but a hale and hearty Constitution bumps that up to 5 -- as good as an average 1st level fighter!

Tallie Greenfallow, 1st level magic-user

Strength 9

Intelligence 11

Wisdom 14 (+1 to magic-based saving throws)

Dexterity 11

Constitution 16 (+2 hp per die)

Charisma 10

AC 9        Hit points: 5        Alignment: Neutral

3 daggers, silver dagger, backpack, wolfsbane, lantern, tinder box, 5 flasks of oil, mirror, standard rations, 2 water skins, large sack, 10' pole, 10 gp left.

Starting spell: light

Height: 5'4"        Weight: 150 lbs.        Age: 27

Born and raised a farm girl, Tallie had dreamed all her life of learning magic. Despite her lack of any strong talent, she impressed a local hedge-witch with her determination, and was taken on as an apprentice. Extremely hard-working, but also a worrier, prone to stressing over details.


As with most beginning magic-user characters in old school D&D, Tallie poses a challenge to play, forcing reliance on player skill much more than character skill and stats. She does have an edge with a few extra hit points, and if she survives, will end up being considerably more durable than average. Her average Intelligence score is not much of a hindrance at all in play; it only really matters when XP are tallied up at the end of an adventure. Not needing much in the way of armor and weapons enabled her to carry some unusual and specialized equipment, so if her party comes up against a wererat or medusa, at least they won't be totally without options. The light spell, which I rolled randomly, is a decent multi-purpose spell, with utility and combat uses.

Character creation challenge day 16

 Day 16

System: B/X

Ability scores rolled: 17, 7, 10, 7, 13, 7

Starting gold: 110 gp

I guess at some point I had to roll something completely stereotypical, and this guy is definitely a bruiser of a fighter. A d8 for hit points yields 4, plus Con bonus for 5.

Kurragh of Grimshire, 1st level fighter

Strength 17 (+2 to melee attacks and damage and opening doors)

Intelligence 7 (can write simple words)

Wisdom 10

Dexterity 7 (-1 to missile attacks, +1 to AC)

Constitution 13 (+1 hp per die)

Charisma 7 (-1 to reactions, max. retainers 3, retainer morale 6)

AC 4       Hit points: 5        Alignment: Lawful

Plate armor, pole arm, dagger, backpack, standard rations, 2 water skins, large sack, tinder box, 4 flasks of oil, rope, 14 gp left.

Height: 6'3"        Weight: 230 lbs.        Age: 25

After a (mostly) uneventful stint in his local lord's army, Kurragh has mustered out and is looking for a new career. Not particularly bright or inspiring, he's still a capable fighter, loyal and stoic. In a fight, he's disciplined and efficient rather than flashy and explosive, a result of his military training. 


With that 17 Strength, I really wanted this guy to be a tough customer who can deal out some serious hurt. Swords are way overdone in D&D, but a polearm is a great weapon for a big brawny soldier, so Kurragh is a halberdier, dishing out d10+2 on every successful attack. He's got some low scores mixed in to give him some good role-play potential as well. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Character creation challenge day 15

 Day 15

System: AD&D 1e

Ability scores rolled (4d6, drop lowest): 14, 16, 8, 17, 10, 10

Starting gold (2d4 x10): 60 gp

Let's do that AD&D thing again. Looking at these scores, and consulting the PHB, they're good enough to qualify for the illusionist class, which is one I haven't done before. Illusionists require a minimum Intelligence of 15 and Dexterity of 16 -- check on both. They roll a d4 for hit points, in this case yielding 3.

Letany Copperhair, 1st level illusionist

Strength 14 (weight allowance +200, open doors 1-2, bend bars/lift gates 7%)

Intelligence 16 (know spells 65%, min. spells/level 7, max spells/level 11)

Wisdom 8 

Dexterity 17 (+2 missile attacks & reaction adjustment, -3 to AC)

Constitution 10

Charisma 10

AC 7            Hit points: 2            Alignment: Neutral good

Spells known: audible glamer, detect invisibility, hypnotism

Staff, 20 darts, backpack, bullseye lantern, 5 flasks of oil, tinder box, silver mirror, standard rations, 2 water skins, 8 gp and 10 sp left.

Height: 5'8"        Weight: 140 lbs.        Age: 29

A daughter of a minor noble, Letany ran away from an arranged marriage and fell in with a traveling theater troupe where her talent for illusion was valued. She conceals her true surname. Feisty and fiercely independent, a life as an adventurer would suit her well.


Illusion appeals to me as a player (and DM) because I've come to prefer subtler magic. It's a great avenue of expression for creative thinkers to contribute to a successful adventuring party without blasting things with magic missiles and fireballs. I don't really get the crazy-high Dexterity requirement (you can be a thief with a 9, and it's their prime requisite!) but it does give our illusionist character a little bit of an edge defensively should she be unable to avoid being a target for enemy attacks. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Character creation challenge day 14

 Day 14

System: Labyrinth Lord with Advanced Edition Companion

Ability scores rolled: 8, 14, 7, 16, 12, 5

Starting gold (3d8 x10): 90 gp

I wasn't going to do Labyrinth Lord characters in this challenge, for the reason that LL is nearly identical to B/X. Then I remembered the Advanced Edition Companion, which adds some AD&D-style options to the basic game. Naturally, I want to do something I couldn't do with LL alone, and after poring over the book, I'm going with a multi-class half-elf magic-user/thief. I'll use the advanced hit dice option, so the character gets 1d4 hp for the magic-user class and 1d6 for the thief, both halved. Rolling a 4 and a 2, the character starts with 3 hp, less 1 point for Con penalty. The rules specify the player of a magic-user may choose two 1st level spells, but I'm going to roll randomly and see what the dice give me.

Perlock the Sly, half-elf 1st level magic-user/1st level thief

Strength 8 (-1 to hit and damage in melee, -1 to forcing doors)

Dexterity 14 (-1 to AC, +1 to missile attack rolls and individual initiative)

Constitution 7 (-1 hp per die)

Intelligence 16 (+2 languages, able to read and write)

Wisdom 12

Charisma 5 (+1 to reactions, max. retainers 2, retainer morale 5)

AC 6        Hit points: 2            Alignment: Neutral

Spells known: protection from evil, ventriloquism

Thief skills: Pick locks 17%, Find/remove traps 14%, Pick pockets 33%, Move silently 23%, Climb walls 87%, Hide in shadows 18%, Hear noise 1-2 on 1d6

Leather armor, short sword, crossbow, 30 quarrels, thieves' tools, backpack, crowbar, 5 days rations, water skin, silk rope, large sack, 12 gp and 5 sp left.

Height: 5'4"        Weight: 135 lbs.        Age: 26

Raised by his gruff, elf-hating uncle after his mother died shortly after giving birth and his elven father rejected him. A sour and surly outcast who resents those who are comfortable in their own skin, but has a secret soft spot for other misfits. Tired of eking out an existence using his diverse skills for odd jobs, he'll jump at the chance to join a dungeoneering expedition.

LL divides earned XP evenly between classes, with bonuses from high prime requisites applied separately to each class's pool. Perlock gets +5% to his magic-user XP, but will advance considerably faster as a thief, with +10% XP. As I said above, I rolled randomly for starting spells, and ventriloquism is quite a happy accident for this particular class combination. Curiously, there are no clarifications on armor and weapons allowed for a MU/Thief, but as the F/MU notes allow armor and weapons as a fighter, it seems reasonable that the MU/T can use the armor and weapons of a thief.

Labyrinth Lord, I've noticed, has a fair number of little idiosyncrasies that set it apart from B/X, but it's a familiar enough that one could forget and apply a long-memorized B/X rule instead and nobody would notice. AEC strikes a decent balance between AD&D's fiddly minutiae and B/X's simplicity, though in my opinion it hews a little too closely to AD&D at times, such as the ability score requirements for advanced races and classes. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Character creation challenge day 13

 Day 13

System: Goblins & Greatswords

Ability scores rolled (3d6 in order): 9, 16, 9, 6, 15, 13

Starting silver (2d6 x10): 70 sp

Lucky day 13, and it's time for another fantasy heartbreaker character! Goblins & Greatswords is even more fast and loose as regards classes and ability scores than even B/X. There are no prime requisites, for one. This set of scores looks like the makings of a quick, agile warrior, which is just what he'll be. Warriors roll d8 for hit points, giving a result of 7. Looking now at the equipment lists and the starting silver, I don't know what I was thinking, giving a paltry 2d6x5, so I'm revising that to 2d6x10.

Trastor Rellos, 1st level warrior

Might 9

Agility 16 (+2 to Combat Rating)

Fortitude 9

Wit 6 (speaks native language fluently, rudimentary read/write, -10% to XP earned)

Presence 15 (+1 to reactions, max. retainers, and retainer morale)

Spirit 13 (+1 to saves vs. magic and non-class magic item use)


Defense: 11           Damage Reduction: 2          Hit points: 7

Combat Rating: +4 (base 2 +2 Agility modifier)    Secondary Talent: Navigator

Mail armor (Damage Reduction 2,) quarterstaff (Damage 1d6, Defense +1,) backpack, bedroll, 10 days rations, 2 water skins, 50' rope, tinder box, 6 torches, large sack,  3 sp and 2 cp left.

Height: 5'10"        Weight: 165 lbs.        Age: 25

After serving for several years as a guard and deck hand on a coastal trading vessel, Trastor has put ashore to look for new prospects, and would welcome a place in an adventuring party. Merry and swaggering, tends toward overconfidence but his years as a marine guard have taught him the value of cooperation and teamwork.


Trastor's not going to be a heavy hitter due to his average Might, but Combat Rating (boosted by high Agility) is used both offensively and defensively, making him a skilled fighter nonetheless. A quarterstaff seemed a good choice for weapon, suiting his fighting style and his background.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Character creation challenge day 12

 Day 12

System: B/X by the book

Ability scores rolled: 7, 10, 16, 9, 14, 11

Starting gold: 80 gp

It occurs to me that I haven't made a thief character yet, and even though the ability scores here really don't fit the standard RPG ideal of the thief, B/X is the kind of game that allows you to try pretty much whatever the hell you want to try. In real life, sometimes your passion is not the same as your talent, and sometimes your situation dictates your vocation. Let it be so with this character. Rolling a d4 yields 2, plus Con bonus for 3.

Bram Fletcher, 1st level thief

Strength 7 (-1 to attack, damage, and opening doors)

Intelligence 10

Wisdom 16 (+2 to magic-based saving throws)

Dexterity 9

Constitution 14 (+1 hp per die)

Charisma 11

AC 7          Hit points: 3        Alignment: Neutral

Special abilities: Open Locks 15%, Find/Remove Traps 10%, Pick Pockets 20%, Move Silently 20%, Climb Walls 87%, Hide in Shadows 10%, Hear Noise 1-2 on 1d6

Leather armor, short sword, sling, thieves' tools, backpack, rope, 10' pole, standard rations, water skin, 12 iron spikes, hammer, 10 gp left.

Height: 5'6"        Weight: 145 lbs.        Age: 18

Bram grew up an orphaned street urchin. With no talent for fighting and no faith in religion, he turned to petty thievery. Having run afoul of the law one time too many, he's now turned to the semi-legitimate world of adventuring for his livelihood. Tends toward cynicism and sarcasm, but capable of fierce loyalty to those who treat him with respect. 

Obviously this character is not going to be a combat monster, nor the classic cat-burglar, but if you like a challenge, he could be a roleplayer's dream. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

I swear to Bob ...

 ... if I see one more gaming blog preaching to me about politics, I'm going to take a machete to my blog roll. Games or get the fork out!

That is all.