Monday, November 7, 2016

Chronicles of Ashmont: Volume 2 - Character Creation Guidelines and Discussion

Hello everyone and welcome (back) to Ashmont!

First a very quick digression into some of my principles of role-playing games, specifically as it impacts character creation.

I strongly believe that the fun of RPG's comes from the interplay of drama and catharsis. Player Characters (PC's) are introduced to a situation. They explore that situation using both the character knowledge and abilities as well as the Player's intuition, curiosity and "game-sense". The dungeon master presents a choice or series of choices. The Players react to those choices. There are consequences. These consequences create drama and the resolution of the situation provides catharsis.

Drama and Catharsis. 

Conflict and Resolution.

This is the balance that I try to strike in every game. Possibly the most important originator of drama is randomness. I am not a dungeon master that pulls punches. I do not decide a pre-determined outcome and then force things to happen that way. I rely heavily on the dice to keep my opinions and preconceptions and ego out of the equation.

This impacts character creation in the following way: some of your character's background will be random. I strongly feel that without a little chaos, interesting choices can't and won't be made. If every character is a perfect hero, then no growth can occur and no drama happens.

As a dungeon master I also emphasize choice and the consequences of choice. I want you to have to make difficult choices because from those choices come meaning and drama.

Elements of an RPG Character

So, there are three separate elements that make up your character:

1. Random Elements
2. Selected Elements
3. Character Created Elements

Random elements are those over which you as a player have little or no control. In some games these include everything from starting stats to race to your character's appearance. In my game this means your character's background. If you're interested in learning more about this decision and why I made it, you can read from where I stole my background generator. In short, your character had a life before you started playing him/her and you must deal with the consequences of that life. Make note that higher starting abilities impact background in a positive way.

Selected Elements are those parts of the character that you choose from a list. These include your character's race, gender and class as well as starting city and, in this campaign, their Starting Abilities. 

Character Created Elements are those things that you get to make up to be included in my campaign. This is where you get to have a little fun in deciding what sort of people your character associates with, what places they hold dear and who their enemies are. It lets you tell me what you find to be important and it lets me customize the campaign a little.

Character Creation Rules

Selected Elements
1. For starting stats use a 15-point buy. More info here: No starting stats above 18 please

2. For your characters race you may choose from: Core Races + Catfolk, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Ifrit, Kobold, Oread, Ratfolk, Sylph, Undine

3. For your character's class, you may choose from: Pathfinder Core + Base Classes + Hybrid Classes. Talk to me if you want to play a Vigilante.

4. Max Hit Points for your class at first level.

5. No Traits

6. Everything else is by the book.

7. I will generate your starting gold with which you may purchase items.

8. Your village of origin.

  • Ashmont - you are a city dweller, through and through. You like the night life, you enjoy easy access to wares and entertainment. You also know how to handle yourself in the city. You can add +2 to your Knowledge Local checks when in Ashmont and you may re-roll any gossip check once per session while in the city of Ashmont. -2 to morale checks when in the wilderness at night.
  • Lockton - you are from the sticks and you're proud of it. You know how to hunt and trap for sustenance and you know your way around a bow. People may think a little less of you because of your simple manner. Add +2 to survival checks when foraging. You are proficient with the longbow, if you are already proficient, add +1 to hit. -2 to social checks made when in towns.
  • Bremel - you are from the oldest town in the area and you're proud of it. You love nothing more than your own hearth and it's said "one from Bremel always knows the way home." However, growing up around dwarves has left you a little wary of new-comers. +2 to Knowledge History checks and you can always point toward Bremel. -2 to morale checks toward new hirelings.
  • Lark - you are from the high plains and spent your life riding horses and listening to the wind through the grass. Your greatest joy is an open sky. +2 to Ride checks and you can tell when bad weather is coming. Sleeping inside is difficult and you are useless fighting from a wagon.
  • Slaketon - you know the seas like the back of your work-hardened hand. You have also spent a lot of time looking at foreign goods and you can spot a well made item. Your calloused hands make precision difficult for you though. +2 to Swim and you can operate sea-craft. You can also identify a counterfeit item if you succeed on an appraise roll. You are at a -1 on critical confirmation attempts and really delicate operations like sewing are best left to others.
  • Formby and Bushwick - you are normal in every way. No bonuses, no drawbacks.

Generated Elements

I will generate the background from your chosen race and stats.

Character Created Elements

Each party member may create the following:

1. A positive link or relationship with 2 other party members.

2. An NPC with whom you have a positive relationship.

3. An NPC with whom you have a rivalry.

4. A location that you have a link to.

Please make a blog with the information formatted however you wish. Let me know your race and stats so I can generate a background. If you have difficulty with any of this please create a comment on this post and I'd be more than happy to assist you.

As a side note, when coming up with your character, please try to keep the secrets and anti-social behavior to a minimum. We are all here to play a game and have fun together, as a group.

I will be available on here and the Facebook group for any and all questions. I encourage communication between the party members as well.

We will start when I get my notes back together, definitely not before Nov 14 . I can tell you this: You'll start in the capital city of Ashmont on a festival day. The first post will give you a reason to be together.


  1. I'd like to know if you want us to do skills as per the normal rules or as per how we did them last time (2 knowledge, 1 profession, 1 crafting)? My personal preference was how we did them last time, but if you want us to use skills, that's fine too.

    Also, is the no starting stat above 18 before or after racials? Goblins have a +4 to Dex, so I'll need to know before I buy my stats.

    1. By the book skills. It's just easier to make rules decisions.

      18 total after racials.

  2. I am leaning on going a completely out of character choice. Probably Hunter. Or paladin.


  3. Subbing. Will work on a few ideas today if I have downtime!

  4. Quick question. You said you wanted us to make a blog of our character once we get it sorted. Did you mean that we should write a post for THIS blog - or create a NEW blog? Last time Twiggy had his own blog but I didn't do anything with it except post his stats & loot. (Kinda.) Is it the same kind of thing this time around?

    1. Same thing as last time. I know it doesn't get much use but it's nice for me to be able to check it for stats and hopefully for you to keep your gear updated.

    2. Yes! I was hoping you'd say that, Sam! It's good accountability for me, too.

  5. Pie you should make a dummy Facebook so you can join the convos going on there.