Character Generation Example!
“Verily, Siddhartha first son of the Aryas did visit his guidance counsellor and seek advice on entering a suitable college degree…” Not in 2d20!
Our developer Benn Beaton prepared this introduction to character generation for you all, so over to Benn...
Other 2d20 products use a lifepath system to build their characters from Birth to the time they choose to adventure. They include random events for each stage of development and give you options as to how many careers your character engaged in before going adventuring may have embarked upon. But the Hyborian age is one where character is as likely to be a young teen of prodigious talents as a veteran of many wars. It is a time where education is haphazard and delivered largely by practical application. It is a time where career is a meaningless concept in the face of the demands of local warlords and petty nobles. You might be a thief one day, a mercenary the next, a pirate on Tuesday or even find yourself atop a throne.
None of these activities change the nature of your character, even if they suggest some useful Xp spends later. Given the nature of the Hyborian age, the usual lifepath systems used to create characters is not being used in Conan. Conan uses a lifepath system that has random character generation built into its core. You can roll up a character in moments by grabbing a handful of d20s and reading off the results.
But Conan’s character generation has one feature that marks it as distinct from other random generation systems.
If you cheat at these rolls, Crom cares Not!
At no point does the system force you to play a scholar when you want to be a throat slitting Mercenary. At no point are you at the mercy of the dice. The dice are used to create interesting characters you might not normally consider. The dice are at your mercy and if you want them to deliver a result. They must obey you!
So how does it work?
Each of the “Random Rolls” considers an aspect of your character. This might be; your Homeland, the Caste you grew up in, your notable attributes, how you were educated, your nature and most importantly you’re Archetype.
Each of these steps gives your character an improvement. This might be a series of skills, some Attribute improvements, a Talent, or even a Background story. The different aspects combine to make characters distinct. A wrathful barbarian and a stoic barbarian will both be excellent warriors but where the wrathful barbarian would emphasis attack, the stoic would emphasis resilience.
So lets take character generation for a Test spin. To start off I roll nine d20’s and write the numbers down(2,3,9,13,14,15,17,17,17) I then consult the character generation tables to see what I’ve gotten.
Step One Homeland. A roll of a 2 gives me Zamora as a homeland. I gain the language Zamoran and the talent Honest Corruption.
Step two Attributes. You get two Attribute Aspects. My 3 gives me the Attribute Aspect “Acute and aware”. This increases my Awareness and Intelligence attributes and gives me the option of improving Agility or Co-ordination. My 9 gives me “Wise and Friendly” increasing Intelligence and Personality with the option of Co-ordination or Brawn. This character is going to have a solid intelligence score perhaps this character will wind up a scholar? If I wasn’t keen on these options I might choose to be “Brave or Fool hardy” and “Strong and Resolute” or any combination of Aspects including taking the same aspect twice!
Step three Caste. My 13 translates to the Merchant Caste. Being a merchant gives me the skill Persuade at 1 as well as the Caste talents Tradesman and Vagabond.
Step Four Caste Backstory. 14 gives me the Backstory “Lash of Taxation” This comes with the Trait, Witness to Brutality. This trait can be used in game to regain Fortune points and will serve as an ongoing plot hook for the character.
Step Five Archetype. 15 gives me the result Scoundrel but that’s not going to work for me so I ignore the 15 and decide to play a Scholar. The scholar archetype will give me the majority of my skills. Giving me the lore skill at 2 with its initial talent (Disciplined Student) Four other mandatory skills and a choice of two of the three optional skills. It also provides the character with most of my starting equipment.
Step Six Nature. 17 gives me the result Scheming. Not what I had envisaged but let’s roll with it. Scheming gives me three mandatory and a choice of two of the three optional skills. It also gives me an improvement to Intelligence and a talent to select from amongst the skills gained. Talents can be left unassigned until the player chooses to select a talent.
Step Seven Education 17 has me educated on the battlefield. Of all my results this is likely the weirdest but it gets my imagination going. This character was a messenger during a campaign for a general’s scholar. He learnt his trade with the scholar when he was pressed into service and had to fight his way out of more than a few scrapes. Education grants my character skills and talents in a similar way to Nature.
Step Eight War stories 17 would have my character surviving a shipwreck but the character is now taking shape and I choose “Survived a massacre” instead. This gives me the skills Stealth and Survival and helps explain how my scholar left the service of the army.
Step Nine As a final step we calculate Vigor & Resolve and perform some minor customisations improving a couple more skills and adding Fortune points, a talent and a language.
At this point you have a fully customised character ready for play.
Geomorphic Floor Tiles. Quick update - we are going to include a squared grid in the PDF versions that can be turned on to use with them if you wish (and turn off the movement spaces of course). Also as someone pointed out it's 32 Large tiles and 32 medium tiles in the bundle :-)