[Conan RPG First Impressions] Character Creation Preview

Posted: June 10, 2016 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Conan, Roleplaying Games
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Modiphius sure knows how to make someone happy on their birthday! I got the Conan RPG Kickstarter email with an a little surprise: The character creation chapter for the Conan RPG!

And so today we’re taking a moment to build a character.

STEP ONE: HOMELAND

The wonder of Conan’s stories lie not just on the shoulders of Conan himself (though those are truly impressive shoulders, indeed) but also on the incredible amount of detail in the setting.

As such, the first key consideration for a character in the game is where their Homeland is. Mechanically, a character’s Homeland gives them a talent and a language that they can speak.

There’s a large table of possible Homelands to choose from, but one can also roll 2d20 to get a random result. I feel lucky today so I’m going to go for a random selection.

I rolled a 29, giving me a Khauran, with the Cosmopolitan Talent, and Shemitish or Kothic as a language option.

Cosmopolitan
Your homeland has many visitors and people dwelling within it, all with different customs and tongues. When speaking with a non-player character that also has the Cosmopolitan talent, it is assumed that you each possess enough of each other’s languages in common that you are considered fluent when speaking with one other.

STEP TWO: ATTRIBUTES

Characters have 7 attributes: Agility, Awareness, Brawn, Coordination, Intlligence, Personality and Willpower. For humans, most attributes range from 6 to 12 with 8 being an average rating.

All characters usually begin with a starting value of 7. with GM permission you can reduce one or two of these to 6 in order to raise an equal number up to 8.

Okay at this point it gets a little messy. Roll twice on an Attributes Table, each result gives you a set of 4 attributes, 2 of which are Mandatory, and 2 of which are Optional.

For my Khauran character then, I rolled a 13 and a 16. This gives me the following set of Mandatory Attributes:

Agility, Willpower, Agility and Coordination

As well as a choice of Brawn and Coordination as one set of Optional Attributes and Brawn and Willpower as the other set.

I rank my Mandatory Attributes as:

Agility +3 (Best)
Agility +2
Coordination +2
Willpower +1 (worst)

All my Optional picks gain a +1, so among my 2 sets, I pick

Brawn +1
Brawn +1

This results in my attributes becoming:

Agility 12
Awareness 7
Brawn 9
Coordination 9
Intelligence 7
Personality 7
Willpower 8

Not the most balanced set of Attributes but I’ll work with what I have.

STEP THREE: CASTE

A character is born into a social class, and this is generally the class since birth, though in some extreme cases that might not be true.

Castes grant two caste talents, one skill and a story. Rolling for his caste, my character ends up as a Herder.

This gives him the following:

Caste Talents: Sentry, Subject
Caste Skill: Animal Handling (Expertise 1, Focus 1)
Social Standing: 1

STEP FOUR: Story

Each character then rolls for a story related to their caste. Each story bestows a Trait as well. For our character, we’ve rolled a 12, resulting in:

A DECIMATED HERD

The illness left many dead in its wake. Superstition had its way, and even more of the herd were sacrificed to save the healthy. When the plague had passed, only one in five lived. The herd was doomed. Your cattle master drove the remainder to town, where they were slaughtered and the money divided amongst you. In the morning, you found him hanged with a lock of his wife’s hair still woven around his fingers. Just the night before he had seemed so wise. What was the last thing he said to you?

This story left my character with the Survivor Trait.

STEP FIVE: ARCHETYPE

Now that we have my character’s past, let’s move on to the next section which covers the type of character he is on an adventure. Again I’m rolling for this, and got a 13 resulting in a Priest.

Archetypes bestow a Career Skill, Career Talent, Mandatory Skills, Elective Skills and Equipment.

So, what I have is:

Career Skill: Counsel +2 Expertise, +2 Focus

Career Talent: Quiet Wisdom
Mandatory skills: +1 Expertise and +1 Focus to Insight, Lore, Persuasion and Society

Elective Skills: +1 Expertise and +1 Focus to Alchemy and Healing

Equipment:
A single melee weapon of choice
A single copy of a scroll or book with your faith’s precepts and holy words
Travelling clothes adn priestly vestments
Oils, herbs and religious accoutrements
A mule
One kit for each elective skill chosen.

STEP SIX: NATURE

The next step is to determine the character’s Nature. I roll up a Cautious character, and this gives the following benefits:

Attribute Improvement: +1 Willpower

Mandatory Skills: +1 Expertise and +1 Focus to Lore, Parry and Stealth

Elective Skills: +1 Expertise and +1 Focus to Animal Handling, Athletics

Talent: One Talent Associated with any of the above skills

STEP SEVEN: EDUCATION

The next phase is to determine the character’s Education. My character is Educated

AGAINST YOUR PARENTS’ WILL

You sought out your own education, defying your parent’s wishes. Though they tried to guide you in a particular direction, you practiced secretly. Perhaps it was the path followed by one of your parents, a close relative, or some figure significant to you.

Mandatory Skills: +1 Expertise and +1 Focus to Discipline, Lore, Stealth

Elective Skills: +1 Expertise to Animal Handling, Survival

Talent: One Talent associated with any of the above skills

Equipment: A broken family heirloom

STEP EIGHT: WAR STORY

War is a reality in Conan, and almost every character has had a run in with conflict. My Character is:

DISPOSSESSED

An gains a +1 Expertise and Focus to Resistance and Survival

STEP NINE: FINISHING TOUCHES

At this point I can increase two of the character’s attributes by +1 or one attribute by +2. I decide to spend it on Intelligence alone.

Agility 12
Awareness 7
Brawn 9
Coordination 9
Intelligence 9
Personality 7
Willpower 9

Next I can improve Skills. Adding a total of +3 to any combination of skills. In this case I got +2 to Melee and +1 to Stealth.

Alchemy +1/+1
Athletics +1/+1
Animal Handling +3/+3 (L)
Counsel +2/+2
Discipline +1/+1
Healing +1/+1
Insight +1/+1
Lore +3/+3 (L)
Melee +2/+2
Parry +1/+1
Persuade +1/+1
Society +1/+1
Stealth +3/+3 (L)
Survival +1/+1

Personal Belongings and Garments are rolled, with my priest having:

A necklace of animal teeth or bones, and long, flowing robes embroidered with coarse thread in traditional patterns.

His weapon is a Sword decorated with polished stones.

STEP TEN: FINAL CALCULATIONS

At this point we go and determine the values of derived stats such as Vigor, Resolve and starting Gold.

Vigor is Brawn + Expertise in the Resistance Skill = 9

Resolve is Willpower + Expertise in Discipline = 10

Starting Gold is Personality + Expertise in Society Skill = 8

Damage bonuses are next, with bonuses determined by the attribute used for attacking.

Melee (Brawn) [CD]1
Ranged (Awareness) NONE
Mental (Personality) NONE

Overall, Conan’s character creation is fairly straightforward with a little bit of bean counting as you try to keep track of each of the skills you gain at each phase.

That said if you’re not really that well versed in Conan lore, the system lets you craft someone that you would like to play that fits in the setting perfectly without having to be a scholar.

The option to both roll for, or simply pick from the options is a good one that works for players who might have a higher or lower tolerance for random results.

Overall, it takes a bit of getting used to but definitely well worth checking out the rest!

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