Archive for May 12, 2017


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We’re at book 2 of Symbaroum, after having had a chance to absorb a bit about the setting of the game it’s finally time to make our character.

Goals

One of the earliest bits of the Player’s section of the game talks about is having Goals. This is a neat little thing as it ties in nicely to the fact that Symbaroum feels a bit sandbox, and that it relies on the initiative, drive, and determination of the players to make things happen. People don’t just sit on their thumbs all day waiting for a Mysterious Stranger(tm) to walk through the door and declare a need for adventurers after all!

These goals define what it is that a character wants to achieve. A couple of goals suggested by the game include: Restore your family’s honour, become leader of a guild, chapter or an organisation, or take revenge upon a person or creature.

It’s a neat way to tie a character into the setting by giving them stakes right away.

The game also suggests having Goals for the group, just so everyone has a reason to work together. Whether it’s glory, coin or a higher purpose. The game also gives a few examples for these like: Lead a large group of people to safety, establish an organisation together or overthrow a leader.

Goals don’t always have to be epic, it could just very well be the next step in a bigger plan. What matters is that you give your group a direction to go.

Archetypes

Characters come from three archetypal backgrounds: Warrior, Mystic and Rogue. Each of these specialises in a different way of engaging with the world and game-wise it gives everyone a chance to shine.

For today let’s go with a standard Warrior Archetype.

Looking it up I see that there are further options. Among these I choose to go for Sellsword. This suggests that I take the following abilities: Iron Fist, Man-at-arms, Polearm Mastery, Shield Fighter

Attributes

Characters in Symbaroum are defined by their eight Attributes: Accurate, Cunning, Discreet, Persuasive, Quick, Resolute, Strong and Vigilant. In the game, the player rolls a d20 and compares the result with the value of one of the Attribute. If the outcome of the roll is equal to or less than the Attribute, then the test is successful.

There are two ways to generate Attributes in the game: an Array Distribution (with adjustments), and Point Buy. For this example let’s go with the Array where we assign the following values: 5, 7, 9, 10, 10 , 11, 13, 15

Accurate 13
Cunning 5
Discreet 7
Persuasive 10
Quick 11
Resolute 10
Strong 15
Vigilant 9

We’re definitely looking at a beefy guy with more brawn than brain, but does have a way about him that makes him somewhat likeable given his middle of the road Persuasive stat.

From this, we now derive his secondary attributes:

Toughness (= Strong): 15
Pain Threshold (Strong / 2): 8
Defense (Quick -Armor): 11
Corruption Threshold (Resolute / 2) 5

Success Tests

A quick segue into systems. While I mentioned the basic die roll of d20 vs Attribute. However when the roll is opposed by another character, this roll is modified by a value set by the opposing characters’ Defense. If the Defense Attribute is low (like 5) then the roll gets a bonus of +5, while high Defense Attributes like 15 apply a -5 penalty to the roll.

Race

For my character’s Race (and Name) I’m going for a Ambrian Human, which gives me access to either Contacts or Privileged traits.

Looking up the Ambrian Names, I think I’ll go for the male name “Karlio”

Abilities

Starting characters get an option of having two Abilities or Powers at Novice Level, and one at Adept, but also have the option of starting with five abilities at Novice and no Adept level abilities instead.

For Karlio, I’ve decided on taking the standard Two Novice and one Adept

  • Shield Fighter (Novice) – The damage dealt by weapons held in the character’s sword arm is increased by one step; to 1D10 if the character fights with a single-handed weapon or to 1D8 if using a Short wea – pon. The novice Shield Fighter also wields its shield as an instrument of protection with greater efficiency and therefore receives a +2 Defense bonus instead of the usual +1 when using a shield.
  • Recovery (Novice) – Active. With a successful die roll against Resolute, the character regains 1D4 Toughness. Multiple attempts can be made, but only one successful attempt is allowed per day.
  • Man-at-Arms (Novice) – Passive. The character knows how to use its armor for maximum effect, which increases the armor’s Armor tier by one step: light armor protects 1D6, medium armor protects 1D8 and heavy armor protects 1D10.
  • Man at arms (Adept) – Passive. The character is used to wearing armor and can adapt his or hers actions to its limitations. The armor no longer has a negative effect on Quick or abilities based on Quick (including Defense). The Impeding quality of the armor still has a negative effect when using mystical powers.

With this, Karlio is one tough cookie.

Shadow

Every character in Symbaroum has a Shadow (not that shadow, silly, a big “S” Shadow) which represents their spiritual connection to nature or civilisation.  In Karlio’s case, he’s a city boy of moderate standing, so I’m making his Shadow that of Copper, one that could tarnish into a sickly green with Corruption, or a different shade as his connection to Davokar improves.

Equipment

Karlio begins with Medium Armor and a Shield thanks to his Abilities. For a weapon he starts with a sturdy one-handed sword and a dagger.

He also starts with 5 thaler in his purse.

And that’s it! With that Karlio is complete.

Symbaroum’s character creation system is quick and easy, and the Abilities are really fun to look into. There’s a lot of room for character customisation here, and I’m glad that it’s easy to make characters while being able to retain the kind of mood that fits such an atmospheric setting.

Next up we’ll take a look at the Combat mechanics, as we toss Karlio into a fight!

For those interested in checking it out and following along, you can purchase Symbaroum on PDF over at DriveThruRPG for only $18.99