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    Character generation

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    Rook
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    Character generation

    Post  Rook on Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:48 pm

    Character generation in a game for younger players should be quick and straightforward.  

    Players are presented with 5 cards, each with one of the following written and illustrated on it - Healing, Magic, Nature, Sneaking, and Weapons.  The player picks the one card that their character is best at / has the greatest talent for.  Then, the player picks among the remaining 4 cards for their character's next greatest strength / talent.  The two card combination results in a character archetype and there is one character sheet per archetype.  The player is handed the character sheet and then needs to choose a name, gender, and picture from those provided.

    If the same basic character generation method ("two-card method") was used with older players, some additional decisions could be included in character creation, including weapon selection, spell selection, ally selection, etc.
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    Rook
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    Re: Character generation

    Post  Rook on Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:06 pm

    Each Talent has an associated attribute - Healing - Wisdom, Magic - Intelligence, Nature - Charisma, Sneaking - Dexterity, and Weapons - Strength. A Talent that is selected first begins the game with a +3 modifier; a Talent selected second begins the game with a +2 modifier. For example, a Healing-Magic character has a +3 Wisdom and a +2 Intelligence, whereas a Magic-Healing character has a +3 Intelligence and a +2 Wisdom.

    Each archetype has two additional +1 modifiers. [I haven't settled on how those are selected. I developed a table which showed the priority for each Talent to show me how to select them and to make each Talent different from the others, but the results aren't quite a clean as I'd like.]

    The information about attributes on the character sheet will not include a value that is/was rolled with 3d6. It will only include the modifier to dice rolls (0 to +3) since that is the value the [new] player needs to understand to play the game.

    Example: Healing-Magic character

    Strength: +0
    Dexterity: +1
    Constitution: +1
    Intelligence: +2
    Wisdom: +3
    Charisma: +0

    There is no attribute decision making in character creation beyond the selection of the two Talents (e.g. Nature). The downside for this is there is no variation between Archetypes (e.g., Nature-Sneaking) from one game to the next and there are "only" 20 Archetypes. The upside is that character creation is quick and simple, and a DM experienced with system would already know the attributes of a particular Archetype.
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    Rook
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    Re: Character generation

    Post  Rook on Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:11 pm

    In each game, only one character of a particular Archetype would be allowed. For example, only one Healing-Weapons character could be played in a party / adventure. This has a pragmatic basis - only one of each character sheets would be in the box, and because there is no difference in character stats, powers, etc. having two of the same Archetype would not allow for individualization beyond role-playing. If two players wanted to play with the same Talents, they could select different primary and secondaries (e.g., Healing-Weapons and Weapons-Healing). The "powers" offered to each Talent as a primary and a secondary are different enough that those two characters would have different strengths.
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    Rook
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    Re: Character generation

    Post  Rook on Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:51 pm

    Talent Powers

    Healing as a first choice (Primary)
    Healing touch - (Wisdom modifier x level) + proficiency bonus (so, 5 at start, then 8, 11, and 18)
    Protective ward - bonus equal to Wisdom modifier (so, +3 at start, and +4 at 4th level)

    Healing as a second choice (Secondary)
    Healing touch - (Wisdom modifier x level) + proficiency bonus (so, 4 at start, then 6, 8, and 14)
    Protective ward - bonus equal to Wisdom modifier (so, +2 at start, and +3 at 4th level)

    Healing touch can be used once per long rest.  It requires touch and costs an action.  Any amount of hit points can be healing in a single action.  It requires no additional components.

    Protective ward is a bonus to armor class and saving throws.  As a default, the character with the Healing Talent receives the benefit of the protective ward, but as an action and by touch they can give it to another character, and it stays with them until they choose to end it.

    Magic as a first choice (Primary)
    4 cantrips - Light, Fire Bolt, Mage Hand, and Minor Illusion
    Sense magic
    Proficiency in Perception (so, +2 at start and +3 at 4th level)

    Magic as a second choice (Secondary)
    2 cantrips - Fire Bolt and Mage Hand
    Sense magic
    Proficiency in Perception (so, +2 at start and +3 at 4th level)

    Cantrips can be cast any number of times.  It costs an action.  The range, damage, etc. are as per the Player's Handbook.

    Sense magic is a continual detect magic within a 30' radius.  It does not reveal school but can reveal relative strength of magic.

    Proficiency in Perception gives Magic Talent characters a chance to notice things by simply being around them.  Perception is a Wisdom-based skill, so this will vary considerably across characters (Healing-Magic types will have +5, while some (Weapons-Magic?) will only have +2).

    Nature as a first choice (Primary)
    Speak with all animals
    Camping skills
    d8 hit dice (instead of d6)
    Begin game with a cat, dog, or bird animal companion

    Nature as a second choice (Secondary)
    Speak with one type of animals (cats, dogs, birds, reptiles, horses, etc.)
    Camping skills

    Speak with animals works on all non-magical creatures and may have limited success on animal-like monsters (e.g., Worgs, Pegasi, Unicorns).

    Camping skills include being able to start a fire, forage for food and water, create/find shelter, and determine North with no meaningful tools.

    The animal companion (for Nature Primary's only) is a normal cat, dog, or bird with no special abilities but a unwavering loyalty to the character.  

    Sneaking as a first choice (Primary)
    See in the (non-magical) dark
    Stealth expertise - double proficiency bonus + Dexterity modifier (so, +7 at 1st level, +10 at 4th level)
    In combat, Sneaking characters act first each round

    Sneaking as a second choice (Secondary)
    See in the (non-magical) dark
    Stealth expertise - double proficiency bonus + Dexterity modifier (so, +6 at 1st level, +8 at 4th level)
    In combat, Sneaking characters add their Dexterity modifier twice to initiative (so, +4 at 1st level)

    See in the dark is darkvision (pg 183 of Player's Handbook).

    The "act first" modifier only applies in the first round when the Sneaking Talent character is not surprised.  (Initiative in 5th edition is rolled once and then play continues in that order.  I may revert to older edition rule of roll each round for Apprentice.)  If two Sneaking Talent characters are in the same group, they roll initiative against each other but they are still ahead of all non-Sneaking Talent characters.

    Weapons as a first choice (Primary)
    One melee weapon that does d6 damage and one ranged weapon that does d6 damage
    Damage advantage on each attack action
    Use of a shield (+2 to AC)
    d8 hit dice (instead of d6)

    Weapons as a second choice (Secondary)
    EITHER one melee weapon that does d6 damage OR one ranged weapon that does d6 damage
    Damage advantage on each attack action

    Damage advantage only applies to attack action and not surge (which they'll get at 2nd level)

    Both ranged and melee weapon will use Strength bonus modifier for to hit and damage.

    [DESIGNER NOTE - I don't think Secondary Weapons is good enough, but I'm not sure how to balance. As is, Primary Weapons will get +5 to attack and deal d6+3 damage with advantage on the roll, and Secondary Weapons will get +4 to attack and deal either d6+2 or d4+2 damage with advantage on the roll. This is compared to any non-Weapons Talent which will be d4+0 or d4+1 damage. Maybe it is enough.]
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    Rook
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    Re: Character generation

    Post  Rook on Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:00 pm

    NEW IDEA: Create a new skill called "Notice" as in "roll to see if you notice anything." The skill replaces Perception and Investigation and uses the better of the Intelligence or Wisdom modifier. Notice skill would probably come into play for surprise in combat. Characters with Magic Talent as a Primary add their proficiency bonus to Notice checks (so, they will have a +5 to Notice) and almost every character will have at least a +1.

    If Magic Talent as a secondary seems to weak, considering adding half proficiency bonus (rounded up) to Notice checks (so, +1 1st-4th level, +2 from 5th+).
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    Rook
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    Re: Character generation

    Post  Rook on Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:44 pm

    The character sheet will only have a few things on it and will be designed to make it easy for young players to find the information they need. The sheet will not reflect any calculations of how numbers were derived.

    The top of the character sheet will have the Archetype Talents listed (e.g., Healing-Weapons). As noted above, the character sheet will have the six attributes and the attribute modifier score (e.g., Strength +3). It will have armor class (and maybe two values for Healing Talents with Protective Ward and without) and hit points. It will have a section on attack values (e.g., Attack with Weapon - +5 to hit, d6+3 damage). It will list an initiative modifier and Notice skill modifier. It will list the special powers of the Archetype (e.g., Healing Touch - 5 hp restored, once per long rest).

    Things that might need to be noted but won't be on the character sheet are: a picture of the character, an animal companion (for Nature Talents), the type of animal that a Secondary Nature Talent can speak with, the d8 weapon a Secondary Weapon Talent uses, and special equipment. Ideally, a card system would be used these.

    In order to make the sheet even easier to for younger players to use, some of the important values will be enclosed in a shape, and shapes will not be used for different values. Each shape corresponds to a natural association related to the concept or the die being used as noted in the parentheses. Armor class in a triangle (referring to a shield). To hit modifier in a circle (referring to the d20). Damage value in a rectangle (no reference - just need some space for the formula). Attribute modifiers in a square (referring to a d6 shape, which is used old-skool to generate attributes). Notice modifier in a oval (referring to an eye). Initiative modifier in a diamond (totally making shit up here). Hit points in a larger rectangle (or hexagon?) (again, more a function of having space to write down loss of hit points).

    The different shapes around different types of values allows the DM to say "Roll the twenty-sided die for initiative. Add the number in the diamond to your roll."

    Color could be used to further differentiate different values if the list of essential things on the character sheet grows.
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    Rook
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    Re: Character generation

    Post  Rook on Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:07 pm

    One idea I'm playing around with but not sold on is a name for each Archetype.  While the two Talent combination is descriptive, it isn't flavorful in the way I'd like.  The challenge I'm facing is that the names I'm coming up with are a bit loaded / limiting in how people might view the character type.

    EXAMPLES:

    Nature-Sneaking:  The Explorer
    Sneaking-Nature:  The Scout
    Weapons-Healing:  The Knight
    Healing-Weapons:  The Protector
    Magic-Healing:  The Oracle
    Healing-Magic:  The Mystic

    QUESTION:  Do these labels help?  Are they too similar to one another?  Is this (below) better?

    The Explorer (Nature-Sneaking).  A sociable free spirit, excited to experience something new.
    The Scout (Sneaking-Nature).  A quiet presence in perpetual in motion, drawn to discovery.

    [DESIGNER NOTE:  These may be awesome or may suck; I can't tell.  They add a lot of complex words to a character sheet, which works against other principles I've asserted.  The Primary-Secondary inversions are difficult (Nature-Stealth vs Stealth-Nature) since they are really similar.  Thoughts?]
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    Admin
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    Re: Character generation

    Post  Admin on Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:52 pm

    Rook wrote:One idea I'm playing around with but not sold on is a name for each Archetype.  While the two Talent combination is descriptive, it isn't flavorful in the way I'd like.  The challenge I'm facing is that the names I'm coming up with are a bit loaded / limiting in how people might view the character type.

    EXAMPLES:

    Nature-Sneaking:  The Explorer
    Sneaking-Nature:  The Scout
    Weapons-Healing:  The Knight
    Healing-Weapons:  The Protector
    Magic-Healing:  The Oracle
    Healing-Magic:  The Mystic

    QUESTION:  Do these labels help?  Are they too similar to one another?  Is this (below) better?

    The Explorer (Nature-Sneaking).  A sociable free spirit, excited to experience something new.
    The Scout (Sneaking-Nature).  A quiet presence in perpetual in motion, drawn to discovery.

    [DESIGNER NOTE:  These may be awesome or may suck; I can't tell.  They add a lot of complex words to a character sheet, which works against other principles I've asserted.  The Primary-Secondary inversions are difficult (Nature-Stealth vs Stealth-Nature) since they are really similar.  Thoughts?]

    Personally, I like Names & Titles. Especially as a "Storyteller" who will be describing and Role-Playing - it gives a flash & flair to interactions. Granted, a little over-the-top, but even the players can introduce themselves.

    Per our phone conversation, I can see a "Matrix" with X/Y for Primary & Secondary meeting in the matrix to show the Title.

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