The World of Llowellen
So tell me about your character…
1. Consult GM: In order to maintain the integrity of the world setting some unity needs to be arrived at between the players before play begins. This is the responsibility of the GM (see Rule Zero).
For example, if the GM was planning to run her campaign in the First Age and one player wanted to play a verrik from Ken’ Kazuki and another had their heart set on a halfling from Cilgarren there would be no means for these two characters to ever meet and no realistic way for the campaign to begin. It is always possible to explain away how a lone foreigner arrived on a faraway shore, but if the PCs are all lone foreigner’s it can threaten the credibility of the campaign.
As the Ages pass and the races begin to migrate and travel to new continents this becomes less of an issue. To avoid one of the players in the example above being forced to compromise, the GM will inform her group, at least, of the location of the campaign and in which Age (First, Second, Third, or Fourth) it takes place. This will open up a great many options with which the players may then create their characters.
The GM may also wish to present further parameters to aid character creation, for example, “Our game will take place in Farid during the First Age, you are all currently residents of the city of Ishtaduk. You have lived in the city for at least two years, if not for your whole life.”
Or, “Our game will begin far out to sea above the Kalani Ocean. Whether you are a serving member of the crew, or a paying passenger, you are on board an airship owned and operated by the Merchant House Summonel.”
2. Character Concept: The first thing to consider when creating a character is who that person will be. At this stage it is not necessary to think about specific game concepts such as class or statistics, instead try to picture the character’s personality, background and motivations. Place yourself in their head, and consider the following questions as if you were that person.
What is your name?
What do you look like? Are you beautiful, plain or hideously ugly? How are you dressed? In tattered rags or battle-worn armor? In the finest silks and latest fashions? Or in the practical garb of a tradesman? Do you have any scars? Any tattoos? Any unusual features? Would someone notice you in crowd?
Imagine your family. Do you know your parents or were you orphaned or abandoned? Who are they? Do they live together? What do they do? Are they beggars or nobles? Are they thieves or merchants? Are they guild members or guardsmen? When did you see them last? When might you see them again? Do you have any siblings? Are you the oldest or the youngest? Would you sacrifice your life for your family? Or do you value your own life above all else?
What are you the most passionate about? Are you in love? Has your heart ever been broken? Have you ever broken someone else’s heart? How is your temper? Are you cool under pressure? Or do you have a hair trigger temper? Do you follow your heart or your head? Or your libido?
What do you most regret? Is there something in your past you wish you could change? Where do your insecurities lie? Is there something about yourself physically that you would change? What are you afraid of?
What do you despise? Is anything that you hate? Do you hold any prejudices? What are your flaws? Are you a boaster or a liar? A bully or a coward? Are you greedy or an addict? Are you gullible? Are you unreliable or inhospitable? Are you slovenly, profane or argumentative?
What do you find interesting or enjoyable? Do you have any habits, either good or bad? Do you wring your hands or play with your hair? Do you smoke a pipe? Any hobbies or collections? Do you enjoy music? In the theater or the tavern? Do you enjoy reading?
Did you go to school? In a university? Or a small schoolhouse? Were your teachers kindly or harsh? Were you an apprentice? Are you superstitious? Are you cultured or coarse? As a child did you once the break the window of the mad old wizard that lives nearby? Were you once plucked from a life of crime by a Sergeant in the City Watch? Or was there a local beggar that always took the time to tell you some fanciful tale of his life long ago?
How strong is your faith? What is your faith? What is your families faith?
What is your job or career? If the GM’s adventure wasn’t about to happen, what would you be doing? What would you like to be doing in five years? Or twenty?
There are no right or wrong answers to any of these questions, but whatever those answers are they will bring the character to life in a way that no statistics will ever do.
World of Llowellen characters do not have alignment; instead they have growing and evolving personalities. No magic can determine good from evil, or law from chaos – instead people must make their own moral judgments and assessments of themselves and of others.
3. Ability Scores: This stage of character creation is covered in full detail here. But, in a nutshell, if you are playing a Fey character you can roll 4d6, discard the lowest and assign the scores as you choose (because fairies are generally luckier and always tougher than mankind).
If you are playing anything else you should use the Point Buy System found in your DMG. How many points you have to spend at 1st level depends on which Age you are playing in (because mankind was never tougher, faster or smarter than in the good old days before we all got lazy and fat behind our modern technology): if you’re playing in the First Age you can spend 52 points; in the Second Age, 46 points; in the Third Age, 40 points; and in the Fourth Age, 34 points.
4. Race and Nationality: The next stage of Character Creation is to select the character’s race and nationality. The GM should already have adjudicated the nature of the campaign (see Step 1) and this will determine the options that are open to the player. The GM should be equipped to help the players if they are unsure whether a particular race would be appropriate to the campaign.
A character may be of any race that is native to the continent on which the campaign will begin. They may also be of any race that could realistically have traveled there from another land.
Fey and Heavenborn characters both enjoy a global society and are not restricted by region. Therefore any Fey or any Heavenborn race is appropriate to any continent and they do not need to select a nationality.
Once a character’s race has been decided, any racial modifiers to their ability scores should be applied.
If the character is Mortal then a nationality needs to be chosen. Many nations might exist on a single continent, not all of which will have similar cultures (although they might share the same race). A Mortal character’s nationality is an important part of their identity. Again, consultation with the GM will be helpful while making this decision.
5. Select your Class.
6. Spend skill points. Your class description has a section titled “Skills”, refer to this section to determine how many skill points you have at 1st level.
For example, if you are playing a ritual warrior your class description reads “Skill Points at 1st Level: (4+ Intelligence bonus) x4. Therefore, if your Intelligence score is 15 your ritual warrior has 24 skill points to spend.
Each class is more proficient at certain skills than others and these are called class skills. Class skills are listed in the same section of the class description. It costs 1 skill point to buy 1 rank in a class skill. It costs 2 skill points to buy 1 rank in any other skill.
The maximum number of ranks a character can have in a class skill is equal to that character’s level +3.
The maximum number of ranks a character can have in any other skill is half that number.
7. Select feats and talents: It is important at this point to decide whether or not the character (regardless of race) is unbound or not. This decision affects the character’s initial feats and will have lasting consequences throughout the character’s life. For more information on the Unbound see Chapter Five: Feats and Talents in Monte Cook’s Arcana Evolved.
8. Calculate hit points. You can have the maximum at 1st level, but then you are at the mercy of the dice.
9. Buy equipment: A character’s starting funds and the equipment available to them will vary greatly depending upon the campaign. A player should confer with the GM for these specifics.
10. Complete character sheet: All of the above details and other specifics such as age, height and weight should be recorded on the character sheet. At this point all the character needs is a name and a reason to adventure!