Sunday, April 10, 2016

A&A Quickstart Guide Character Creation (Back)

Following up from yesterdays post I'm going to walk through the back page of Character creation which for the most part deals with outfitting your character.  Part of my design is for rapid character creation, which means that rather than dealing with starting money you simply pick what you are outfitted with and then jump right into the game.  A character has four slots relating to his primary and sidearm weaponry and a backup for each.  A two-handed weapon occupies two slots which means you'll start with anywhere from 2 - 4 armaments.

On the left side we have weaponry and on the right we have instruments of elemental and magical might.  Starting with melee weapons I should indicate that ever since I was introduced to Philotomy's OD&D musings I have used abstract damage rather than variable die, with some variations.  This means a one-handed weapon deals a d6 of damage regardless of what it is, although I do bump up two-handers to 2d6 damage.  Ranged weapons follow the same structure (sling 1d6, bow 2d6) however, any weapon that requires a reload deals extra damage dice equal to the number of reload actions (Crossbow | Reload 2 | 4d6 damage).  Slings and bows are unique in that the ammo used is based off your lowest damage die, i.e. your bow deals [2,4] damage so you mark off two arrows.

Melee weapons are distinct in two categories, Speed and ITS melee types.  A weapon's speed comes into play in two circumstances, when you are trying to make a surprise attack prior to combat or when you are trying to perform a merciless melee maneuver such as a cleaving or spinning attack.  To do either your Intrepid Dice must exceed your weapon's Speed.

ITS is shorthand for Impact, Thrusting and Slashing which is another take on AD&D's Weapons VS Armor type system except much, much simpler and without the need for a table.  ITS is the only numerical To-Hit bonus, an edge given only to Melee weapons.  Each weapon has three points distributed between these melee types to describe how it functions, i.e. Gladius is ITS 0/2/1 while a Claymore ITS is 1/0/2.  This allows you or your players to create many weapon variations without too much trouble.

Now, how do the ITS types work?  Impact such as a flanged mace is very effective VS Heavy Plate armor (AC 3); Thrusting weapons are good at moving past chain links and scales VS Medium Armor (AC 5); Slashing weapons are effective VS Light Leather & Hide (AC 7); and each weapon is effective VS an unarmored foe.  Effective means you take that weapons ITS value and use it as a To-Hit bonus VS the armor class it is effective against.  So your Flanged Mace (ITS 3/0/0) would have a +3 bonus To-Hit VS heavy armor but nothing else, meanwhile your Pollax (ITS 1/1/1) Would have a +1 bonus VS any armor type and +3 VS unarmored.

On the right we cruise through the Elemental Armory.  Those blessed with an Elemental Essence as their chosen Attribute have an innate connection and control over the elements.  For the rest of us we have to make do with Wands and Tomes.  In this case the particular Wand or Tome is keyed to an element so you would choose a Wand of Fire or Tome of Earth, at character creation you are limited to your an element of your Origin but you may use any that you find in your travels.  Each of these offer 10 uses before dissolving back into its base components, the difference is that Wands may sacrifice additional uses for an equal To-Hit bonus while Tomes gain a Damage bonus instead. 

Wands, Tomes and Elemental Essence allow you to do the same thing, an Elemental Crescendo. Whether through song or oratory the elements bend to those with a powerful voice and as the flow of ambient mana increases so do the power of those elemental forces.  Below is an short excerpt pulled from the Book of Earth on the Elemental Crescendo and Channeling Mana to bolster its power.  Lastly we have the Fury of the Elements, more potent and intricate ways to interact with the elemental world provided you have Channeled Mana to reach the necessary Circle of Power.  Furys will have their own reference table in the Quickstart guide.

Whew, for a one page document there sure is a lot of explaining to do.  The quickstart guide is mainly used a quick flow chart for players creating a character and guided by an experienced GM.  Now then onto Spells!  Most of the magic-using population was eliminated in the War of the Magi and those hermits left were mostly eaten by their spellbooks that gained sentience and hungered for more knowledge to fill their pages.  It was found that a Heraldric scroll, large as they are can contain 3 Cantrips without risking sentience.  As such people moved to an entirely scroll based system of magic and many explorers can find a spellstaff from the old war in their adventures. 

Like Wands and Tomes the Spellstaff exists to give those without the gift for sorcery and eye lasers an opportunity to blast radiation with the best of them.  However, in this olden age these relic staves from the Magi War are running out of power and there is a 1/20 chance it will be rendered a useless stick each time it is used.

Spellscrolls on the other hand allow for hilarious results once they've reached their limit.  A spellscroll past the 10 limit use will spontaneously combust, an old safeguard against any pieces of paper that might take on a mind of their own.  As a result magic is outlawed in most cities by the local Wizard Watch who have scapegoated every major barn and forest fire as the work of negligent/nefarious wizards.  Additionally, anyone casting from a spell scroll that is interrupted allows the GM to create a magical mishap to the detriment of everyone involved.  This often provides the opposite effect of a spell, making someone crash rather than land softly or turning the caster themselves into a newt.

Alright, to round out things out we have our selection of Gear & Relics.  I've talked about this in the past and most of these items have gone through a number of revisions plus quite a number of additions.  We can't fit all 64 or so of these at the bottom of the page so instead we opted for some classic and intriguing items to select as part of your initial loadout.  Plus we get to avoid choice paralysis slowing down character creation.  Gear & Relics turned out to be one of the most fun our play-testers had with starting characters and through smart play allowed them to turn the tables on some Dinosaurs and a cave full of man-bats.