Friday, August 26, 2011

Character creation

Some questions have come in about the classless nature and how a character is created and evolves; so I'll briefly describe this process.  I apologize in advanced to my color-blind friends (so I symbol code as well), but I think the color-coding really helps in getting the point across, so I use it all over in the core rules.

Like I said before, I have Five main attributes, Dexterity, Strength, Endurance, Intellect and Focus, these are given the following colors, respectively: Black, Red, Green, White, and Blue.  Shown to the left.

Most of the sample builds that I'll show, spends enough creation points to earn 6 attribute points.  These are normally assigned to the core attributes 0, 1, 1, 1, 2 or 0, 0, 0, 2, 2.  Assigning a 1 to an Attribute costs 1, but assigning a 2 costs 3 (1 + 2).  Nearly all costs in the game follow this cumulative cost scale.  So a 3 would cost 6 (1 + 2 + 3).

For this example I'm going to create a Hunter, many people love the Archer/Swordsman combination, so I'd guess it would be a popular character type in this game system as well.  So for this type I'd go with the 0, 1, 1, 1, 2 array, placing the 0 in Intellect, the 2 in Focus and the 1's in the remaining 3 Attributes.  With this placement the character's Attrills (Attribute/Skills) look like the diagram to the right after spending the Attribute points.  The Attrill have the corresponding color as their dependent Attributes (using the rainbow spectrum).  Attrills have the base value equal to the sum of the Attributes they are next to (i.e. Reflex = 3 because Dexterity=1 + Focus=2, Awareness = 2 because Intellect=0 + Focus=2).

Now these can improved by spending more Creations Points (CP) in the following areas, on Background Gateways, Racial Gateways, or simply on Improvement Gateways available to all character.  Most the sample builds will a lot a given amount of CPs to allow 12 to 15 points of improvement that can be spent on either Attributes or Attrills.  No longer do Attrills increase as their parent Attributes increase, this is only to determine their base value.  Once attribute points are spent Attrills must be increased independent of Attributes.

You may wonder why there are ranges on these improvement points between builds, the answer is everything is really coming out of an underlying Creation Point pool, in this example I just break the CPs allocated to each independent area of the overall character build process.  Different build templates will spend slightly differently in various areas.  The sample build templates, like the Hunter are just to give players an idea of how they may create characters that are skilled in different areas, that they may use as sort of a "quick start" guy or as an example to begin creating their own hybrid builds, or completely custom character builds.

The sample Hunter build uses 13 improvement points increase their Attributes/Attrills, collectively referred to as Ability Scores.  These 13 improvement points are distributed by increasing Strength, Dexterity, Coordination, Power, Awareness, Will, and Reflex by 1, and increasing Endurance and Focus by 2; remember that each increase of 2 costs 3 improvement points (1 + 2).  If a player wanted to increase something by 3 points the cost would be 6 (1 + 2 + 3).

At this stage the Hunter would look like the diagram below:

Open Gateways, being a d20 based game uses the above Ability Score as the base die modifiers for most of the game mechanics.  Other d20 systems use a mapping between an attribute score and a die modifier, such as an 18 would map to a +4.  In Open Gateway Attributes are only recorded as the die roll modifier.

These Ability Scores are the base values of every skill that depends on them (skills will be color and symbol coded for quick mapping to Ability Scores).  Each dependent skill can also be increased separately as well by increasing the parent Ability Score.

If your math skills are sufficient, you can see how spending points earlier in the creation process has a wide reaching effect on the dependent skills later on.  Also for Atrills, you can gain benefits more cheaply by increasing the Attributes on either side equally.  Example: A Hunter desires high Awareness, so starting with a Intellect=2 and Focus=1, which cost a total of 4 attribute points, is cheaper than having an Intellect=3 and Focus=3, which costs 6  attribute points.  Both of these would grant the same score to Awareness, which would be a 3.

Spending points earlier is also more expensive, because of the longer reaching effects, but there are still CP cost savings in doing so, if you have a lot of dependent skills down the road.  There are plenty more things to spend creation points on as well, so you don't want to spend too many on your characters Attributes, especially because the cumulative cost, getting a single Attribute to a 4 (1+2+3+4) exhausts a large amount to starting CPs .

The image below show the Hunter sample template after all of their improvement points have been spent, though keep in mind that there are still over a dozen skills and other background, racial, abilities and powers that can be learned and improved even when you go with a standard template.

The color coding of dependent skills and abilities help demonstration what Ability Scores increase various abilities on the record sheet.  Health can be seen by its coloring to be dependent on Strength, Power and Endurance (Red, Yellow, Green) and can be seen to require Focus and Intellect (Blue and White).  Various dependent skills and abilities are like-wise color and symbol coded in the rules to quickly help players determine if its something that they would be good at or should consider maybe learning something else.

The Hunter character's strengths are Ranged attacks, followed by Melee Attacks (Can be seen by these having the highest to-hit and damage modifiers out of all the characters attacks), but they still need equipment.  Also a direction needs to be chosen.  Since weapon skills are no longer linked to a character role, these too have to be chosen at creation, but can also be learned at a later time to become more of a traditional multi-class character.  The sample template provided are complete, ready to play characters, but more advanced players can use these as guides, stopping at any point along the creation process to finish them on their own, or even start completely from scratch.

The Hunter provided is more the traditional Ranger style, but another more advanced similar character is the Archer/Alchemist.  This build would trade the melee strength for some very interesting arcane powers and concoctions to increase the effectiveness of their arrows.

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