Character Creation

The basic steps of Character Creation for the Grimdark Campaign:

First, get a copy of a character sheet (there is a free version of the Blueholme OSR sheet here) or make one on a sheet of graph- or dot-grid paper. Start by thinking about what kind of character(s) you would like to play.

Keep in mind the setting is a dangerous place. Every hamlet, village and town is walled, with at least a ditch and log palisade.

Merchant caravans travel under heavy guard, with trained Merchant Guild soldiers.

Cantrip-like magic and Knacks are fairly common.

Smaller settlements are protected with hexes, enchanted totems, runes of power and phylacteries.

The Gods are real, they are known to walk among us, and Clerics have real power affecting everyday life. To the layman the Gods are effectively equal, and though someone may have a favorite or a patron deity, all people propitiate whichever God for assistance in their sphere of influence. A farmer may have a shrine to Bempusa, Goddess of Agriculture, on his land, but may pray and sacrifice to Ekalwyn one morning before going out to hunt or fish. Later that farmer may sacrifice to Pkutbay for favorable prices on the harvest. Clerics, therefore, are a very important part of everyday life as they are known to speak directly with the Gods. Due to their special role clerics have outsized social influence. (+1 to initial Charisma score, +2 whenever dealing with co-religionists).

Faeries are real and are to be treated with respect, as there was a terrible war with Faerie long ago and they have not forgotten, nor forgiven the Mortal Races.

Plan on making two or three characters and perhaps an Apprentice. This will be a West Marches style campaign (if needed).

Eligible character races:

  • Human
  • Ossethon (Raccoon – Not for starting characters)
  • Dwarf
  • Gnome

See the following chart for available character classes:

Human Ossethon Dwarf Gnome
Fighting Man Y Y Y Y
Soldier Y Y Y
Knight Y Y
Monster Hunter Y Y Y Y
Shepherd Y Y Y
Magic-User Y Y Y
Illusionist Y Y
Exalted Warrior Y Y
Nurdiyan Y Y Y
Witch Y Y
Rogue Y Y Y Y
Thief Y Y Y
Assassin Y Y
Pirate Y Y
Brigand Y Y Y

NOTE: The range of races and classes is limited on purpose for starting PCs. If you REALLY want to play something outside the preferred range please discuss it with me first. And be prepared to come up with a totally kick-ass Personal Bio.

If you have chosen a Magic-User Class, decide if you want to “go it alone” or with a Mentor, as a Hedge Wizard/Alchemist which may be limited in level advancement but has strong social influence, or if you want to be all you can be and train at the Tower of Silence. If you choose the formal training, it takes 5-10 years in the Silent Tower, possibly in a monastic section that only opens to the outside world every ten years. It last opened in Midsummer of CY 563 (8 years ago). Some are unable, or unwilling, to commit to a ten-year term, so they study in the one-year section and “graduate” as L1 M-Us after 5 years or so. Work that into your Personal Bio.

  • Get a notebook that you can use as a Campaign Diary, I recommend at least A5 in size with a dot-grid pattern on the pages. Reserve the first four blank pages for an Index, then number the rest of the pages (I usually put a number in the bottom right corner of the right-hand page, starting with 2, then 4, 6, 8 and so on).

Ability Scores/Attributes

Your Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution and Charisma. (We will also be getting into some Sanity and Luck scores, this will come later)

 

Roll 4d6 five times, choose three dice for a total score, write the scores down in order. Roll a d6, write the number 10 into the list at that position.

  1. Choose one of the numbers, as desired, for a Prime Requisite or whichever Ability you’d like to have a particular score.
  2. Choose the ability score that will be a 10 (or the lowest, if you have a lower roll).
  3. Fill in the remaining scores in the order rolled as listed above (S-I-W-D-C-Ch).

Starting Hit Points are equal to the Constitution score. Additional HP are gained each Level, depending on PC Class.

Personal Bio

This can be written in your Campaign Diary notebook, or kept as a Doc on a laptop or in Google Docs. Whatever is best for you. Please keep in mind I will need a copy before the beginning of play.

In the Old School we just made most of this stuff up, there were only charts for height and weight and Secondary Skill. I understand the 5e PHB has some charts and prompts, feel free to use them if you wish. This does not need to be a novel, just a snapshot of who and what your Character is.

Feel free to draw inspiration from Appendix N.

  • Age (initial: d4+15, may be modified by subsequent training), Height, Weight, Physical Description
  • Family status (single, married, only child, seventh son of a seventh son[1], orphan, etc)
  • Any memorable childhood experiences (traumas or benefits, gifts, etc)
  • One paragraph on how they came to be an adventurer, include a Motive or Life Goal. 200 words maximum, the idea of OSR gaming is that your character develops a Background through play.
  • Social Strata – Upper, Middle or Lower class in Polite Society [may have an effect on Charisma, starting Financial Situation]
  • Secondary Skill (AD&D DMG, p. 12/ASSH p. 111)
  • Magical Ability – For those choosing Non-Magic-Using Classes. Roll 5d8 + 56. (61-96)
    • a score of 61-85 = Knack – A Knack is a sliver of magical ability, just a touch if you will, where the Life Force can be used to enhance the result of a particular task. For example, your Grandmother may have had a Knack for making biscuits – no matter the weather or season they always came out of the oven fluffy and perfectly golden brown. Or how your cousin can always tie the perfect knot for the situation – quickly, even blindfolded! His hitches never slip and his slipknots never pull free until he wants them to. He can untangle a string or cord in no time.
    • a score of 86-95 = Talent – A Talent for magic means that a person can regularly and consistently connect with the Life Force and may be able to reach 2nd level of Mastery on their own (through trial and error) or under the tutelage of a Mentor of higher level.
    • a score of 96 = Gift – These individuals are able to grasp and focus the power of the Life Force, using it to manipulate the world around them in greater ways. Individuals with a Gift may be able to reach 5th level of Mastery on their own, with a Mentor, or training at the Silent Tower. Gifted individuals make up most of the Hedge Wizards and Alchemists and will likely be found in the service of the Nobility or wealthy Merchants.
    • Talented and Gifted individuals will also have a Knack. 
    • A score of 86 plus indicates your character has the spell-like ability to Read Magic (as per the spell).
  • Personal network (we’ll work together on this, but you can come up with basic roles)
    • Parents/siblings/extended or adoptive family, etc
    • Friends, Allies, Rivals, Enemies
    • Mentor, Teacher, Master or Employer
    • Animals – mount, pet, familiar [2]
  • Personal Quirks/Mannerisms
    • Likes and Dislikes (foods, weather, allergies, phobias, OCD, etc)
    • Personality Strengths and Weaknesses (Yes, at least one of each)
    • Preferred style of dress and presentation
  • Financial situation – Each PC will begin with 3d6x10 GP worth of Trade Goods from their hometown with which to trade for weapons, armor, equipment, etc. 11-20% (d10+10) may be in Copper or Silver coinage. Most “purchases”, especially in small Hamlets or Villages, will be via barter. In very rural areas, people will not take coin, except at outrageous markups (what is a shepherd in the mountains 20 miles from a village going to do with a gold coin?) In addition to the Trade Goods, PCs will begin play with normal clothing & footwear, belt, cloth coat or cloak, hat, kerchief/bandana, belt knife, pouch and an Amulet of Protection. [3] The colors, quality, and decorative nature of the starting equipment will reflect the PC Social Strata.

 

[1] If you choose seventh son of a seventh son (or seventh daughter), there will be an in-game effect. You have been warned.

[2] Familiars will be a special case and this will require some one-on-one role-play.

[3] These Amulets have been purchased from a Hedge Wizard as a going-away gift, or gifted to the PC by their parents or Mentor. They are very minor Magicks that can be very specific if you would like (Amulet of Protection from Spiders) or general (Amulet of Good Health).

Character Races

This campaign will be fairly limited in terms of Character Races that are available to start.

As mentioned in the Character Creation page, if you have an idea for another race/class/etc please discuss with me and be prepared to have a REALLY, REALLY GOOD BACKSTORY that explains how this character came to be in this world and join up with this adventuring group.

 

Humans

 

Xongu: Golden-hued skin tones; Eyes: Green to Grey-Green; Fine, straight hair, blue-black to dark brown; long limbs and oval facial features, high cheekbones

xongu reps

Telantean: Dark, bronze skin; Eyes dark, black to amber; wavy or curly, dark, black to brown; Sturdily built with broad, strong faces

Xythian: Tan to olive skin tones; Eyes highly variable, light brown and grey most common; hair dark blonde, light brown, auburn; Tall, wiry build with strong jaws


Tanso: Fair skin; Eyes blue, hazel, lavender; hair wavy, dark auburn through red; shorter in stature, wiry and strong with pointed chins

Please contact the DM if you want to play Tanso, there are some special rules for Tanso culture.

Saringa: Very pale skin; hair light blonde to white; Eyes pale blue, grey, violet; tall and lean with narrow facial features.

(Half-Elven) The Saringa are a sub-species of Human magically combined with Elven blood in ancient times. 90 Percent of the Saringa population has a Knack or magical ability. They are unable to digest red meat. They suffer reduced effects from ingesting raw Mother’s Milk. Saringa may only successfully interbreed among themselves. While interbreeding with baseline Humans is possible, the offspring lack any Saringa species traits, their appearance takes after their Human parent, and they never have a Knack or magical ability.

Ten percent of Saringa are born Anti-Pnakotic – utterly separated from the Esitouche. These folk are naturally Magic-Resistant, 1-6 chance that any magical effect simply ignores them. They have no Knack or magical/ritual magic ability. They have black & white vision. They have no sense of taste or smell (everything is oatmeal to them!). They are invisible to the effects of Scrying or ESP magic. They have a -3 to initial Sanity score, are prone to Paranoia induced by any Sanity loss. Anti-Pnakotic Saringa are not treated as outcastes, rather, they receive preferential treatment and special schooling, often as Ambassadors, secret agents, assassins or other, covert assignments. The Elleneffera actively seek these anti-Pnakotics as children, offering “scholarships” (read, pay money to the parents) to attend schooling at the White Tower.

(The Emperor desires their services as well, and will often kidnap them or substitute a Changeling for an infant)

ABILITY score mods as per Half-Elf, (Saringa-Human hybrid: -2 initial Sanity, prone to Sanity loss inducing Paranoia; -2 to initial CON (or roll 4d4), hybrids are prone to sickliness)

Halflings: Re-skin as Ossethon (Raccoon)

Clawfoots: Similar in shape and coloration to Badgers; 22-32 inches tall with stout, blocky build

Longfellows: Taller Raccoons, with a longer, flexible torso, resembling a stoat ; 32-42″ tall with slight, slender build

Ossethon will begin as an NPC race.

Dwarves: Ohknazh

Deep tan to light brown skin, very earthy tones; eyes are bright green or hazel with gold flecks that flash in sunlight; hair is coarse, wavy, black to platinum blonde; though always concealed by long beards, dwarves have wide faces with round, protruding noses and pointy chins. 48 – 56 inches tall

Gnomes:

Medium- to grey-brown skin, more wooden shades than earthen; eyes are all shades of blue, and sparkle like frost crystals in any direct light; hair various shades of platinum blonde with brilliant, colorful highlights in the sun; males may or may not grow beards, some clans like particular styles (mutton-chop, van dyke, etc); they tend toward slightness, with tall faces, long noses and bushy eyebrows; 32-40 inches tall.

 

Elves are NOT available as a PC race, as the Elves have left Weirth for a Sanctuary dimension.

Alleged “Dark Elves” of the Underdark or Aquatic Elves of the oceans are purely legend.

No Tieflings. Eldritch spawn of this nature would be considered an abomination and a demonic enemy of all mortal beings. Any Tieflings in this dimension will be enslaved to/in the service of the Emperor.

 

 

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