A Quick Guide to Character Creation

A roleplaying game is best described as: a group of players interacting with the story offered by a Game Master (GM) that takes place in an imaginary world shared by all, through the characters (Player Characters, or PCs) each of them has created, while the GM takes and weaves that character interaction in to blend with the story and influence its course.

Before a player can dive into roleplaying, he must first create his character (the role he plays in the game) to be the vehicle through which he participates in the game, as mentioned. That process follows the same standards the GM uses to create the people that populate the world – the non-player characters or NPCs.

The story of the character’s life prior to commencing play is told through the lens of the Character Concept – race, background, social status, trade, moral character, all contribute to form a whole. These facets are all woven into the rules but they form the basis for the persona that you, the player, assume and portray during the gaming sessions. Make sure to pick what you find intriguing, engaging and interesting!

The language we players use to describe a character’s capabilities and limitations takes the form of attributes and scores that we write down on a character sheet or character record sheet.

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Before You Get Started: Character Sheet

Download the Realms of Myth Character Sheet (for your own use) to start putting down the details of your character.

If you’re a super-advanced gamer, you may want to create your own version of the character sheet with all the pertinent details.

This would be a good time to fill in the Character Name on your Character Sheet … but is not required. Sometimes a good name presents itself as you wander down the path of creating the character, or even sometime afterwards.

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There are a couple different methods for creating characters, the Quick Method and the Custom Method. You need to find out which one your GM wants you to use before you begin. It is highly recommended that all players in the same game use the same Method for creating their characters in the interests of starting with a level playing field, so everyone has equal access to character-building resources – but the final decision rests with the GM.

This overview talks a lot about making choices regarding the character, especially regarding his origins and background. The Method used for generating the character can have a direct effect on what decisions you get to make in that regard, and what options you have when making them.

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An Overview – Character Creation-at-a-Glance

Creating your character follows these steps:

Character Concept – The Basics

  1. Race – what is your character’s race, their ethnicity? A human from some land far or near? A lithe and agile marsh elf? A short, wide and doughty dwarf? A mysterious half-elf? More on Race…
  2. Background – what social class does your character come from in his culture? Who are his parents? Where does the family stand in that class? Who ARE his friends and family?
  3. Trades & Skills – what is your character’s profession? How does he earn his daily bread? Does he even have to? What does he do with his time? What holds his interest? Is he a Knight? Carpenter? Bowyer? Tinker? Tailor? Soldier? Sailor? Wizard? Farmer? Beastmaster? And what was he trained in as a part of his trade? What did he learn from his life prior to having to find a trade?
  4. Overall situation – What is your character’s role in life? His station and his goals in life? What are his living accommodations? Is he a homebody or a wanderer? Is he employed? Is he associated with a fraternity and/or guild? What is it that is leading him into the adventure(s) that the GM is offering?

Scores & Hard Facts

  1. Attributes – the numerical scores that define your character: how tall, strong, quick, passionate, etc., is he, as measured on a standard scale applied equally to all races?
  2. Physical Description – height, weight, etc.
  3. Moral Character (Virtue & Vice)
  4. Skill Levels & Trade Ranks – what Trade or Trades is the character good at? And just how good is he in the skills associated with it/them – and with those skills NOT associated with the Trades. These are measured in both specific and general terms.
  5. Encumbrance & Movement
  6. Tactical Attributes – figuring out all the details for Combat, etc. These are based on Attributes and Skills.
  7. Equipment – what does the character have and carry around? What are the tools of his trade?

The Steps

Get your character sheet (paper or Excel Spreadsheet, or whatever form your character sheet takes!), sharpen your wits, and let’s go!

Take a quick look through this abbreviated Guide. This tells you the sorts of information that are important in describing who your character is – race (humans are not alone in a fantasy world!), background (social class and conditions in which the character grew up) and trade (what is included in his skills and knowledge?), the knowledge behind that trade, other interests, wealth and surroundings.

 

Character ConceptRaceOrigins & BackgroundTrades & SkillsAttributesVirtue & ViceSkill Levels & Trade RanksEncumbrance & MovementTactical AttributesMoney & Equipment

Character Concept

It is very important that you have a feeling for your character’s WHOLE life, that he or she had an existence prior to being brought into play, and have a direction he or she is aiming for (goals, hopes, desires) once the story begins. Family background and a sense of history are essential to good roleplaying. Detailing the family gives the you an excellent idea of the environment that molded your character, the sorts of situations he has been through up to the time you bring him into the game.

What sort of person do you want to play? Old? Young? Noble? Ignoble? Virtuous? Wicked? Happy? Sad? The beginning of any character is an idea of the sort of persona you’d like to take on. This concept probably tells you about some of the other pieces of the character you’re creating, like race, background, favored trade(s) and the like. If you’re thinking “elfin sword-princess” then that tells you a great deal about the direction the steps to come must take.

Think about a name for your character. This depends a lot on what type of setting they hail from. Realms of Myth was written first and foremost for use  with the medieval English setting of the GM’s design. All of the world-building and background information provided for both the GM’s and players is drawn from English historical references. Here are some Name Suggestions drawn from medieval English records. An historic name is by no means required, though – fantasy names are fun to create!

Before you go any further with the creation process to determine the hard statistics to back up your concept, check your character concept with your GM; there may be some limitations on such things as race, social class , or perhaps even specifically on the trades available to the characters for the story you’re about to enter into, depending on the nature of the place in which the story is to take place, or perhaps on the place from which the GM intends your character to originate.

You may also (at the GM’s discretion) want to cooperate with other players to craft a character that has a background intertwined with another character’s. By the time the game commences, you may well find that the GM has done some of this anyway  in order to pull all of the characters together and give them a common interest in the story at hand.

Check out The “Compleat” & Motivated Character for tips on building a character that can continue to grow throughout the course of the game.

At this point, you might jot down some ideas or fill in your character record sheet with some basics, such as name, sex, maybe hair and eye color, hair length and texture, some ideas about social class, perhaps even family station, birth heritage, sibling rank, or the like.

Character Creation has been laid out in the order in which decisions must be made, each step completed, so all the information needed is in hand for each step as it is taken.

 

Race

Character races available when making characters often depend on the setting created by the GM. In the standard setting for Realms of Myth, there are a multitude of races that you’ll recognize from fantasy literature: humans (us!), dwarfs, elfs and stranger options!

Certain Races may only live in certain places, so that may affect your choice of origins for your characters. See the details for your race to determine the parameter’s for that race’s weight, height and other physical characteristics. Each race named is linked to its description; click through to look at the descriptions for all the glorious details of those races that interest you.

Check this summary and record on your character sheet all your choices (or random rolls if you’d prefer) of your racial attributes.

Standard Races

Realms of Myth Races

  • Dunladdin
  • HalfOgre
  • HalfTroll
  • HalfDrow
  • Irdanni
  • Pumathar
  • Wulver

Once you’ve chosen the race that works with your GM’s setting and your character concept, check the Race descriptions to make sure you have a clear idea of what to expect from your character’s people, including any alterations or additions the GM may have made.

Go ahead and fill out the Description section of your character sheet: race, sex, eye and hair color, hair length and texture, and handedness (right / left).

 

Origins & Background

A character’s background in Realms of Myth consists of:

  1. Legitimacy of Birth
  2. Social Class
  3. Family Station within that Class
  4. Size of Family
  5. Sibling Rank within that Family
  6. Quality of Relationship with parents and siblings

The depth of the background – how detailed it is – really is a gift not only to yourself to give you a foundation to lean on when playing your character, but to the GM who can weave those details into the narrative he is creating. All the details can be found under Character Origins & Background .

Birth Heritage

Is your character’s birth legitimate (by however the society in which he grew up determines that)? Does he stand to inherit anything the parents may have? For more details or to help you along with ideas or random generation, see Birth Heritage.

Record this under "Birth Heritage" on your character sheet.

Social Class & Family Station

The Golden Chain: This theory states that every thing and every one in the world has a right and proper appointed place and function or role to fill, according to the Divine Plan. The world following this Plan is in its perfect form according to the Divine Will, simply in need of a little ... maintenance. Between this popular theology and the practices of feudalism and the manorial seigneurial system, society is divided and regimented. The system of social classes is based on the “Three Estates”:
  1. Those Who Fight (the nobles whose duty it is to defend the land and it’s people – about 1% of population),
  2. Those Who Pray (the clergy whose duty it is to care for the souls of the people – about 2% of population), 
  3. Those Who Work (everyone else, whose duty it is to produce the food and goods that all must have to live)
    1. Urban Commoners (about 10% of the population)
    2. Rural Commoners (about 87% of the population)

What social class are your character’s parents? How does the legitimacy of his birth (or lack thereof) affect that, if at all?

Where within that Class did your character grow up – what is his family’s Station?

The baseline for all characters being generated for RoM is the Freeman Commoner. This default social class requires the player to make a choice between town origins or rural region, or rural town hinterlands, to further define the character’s origins.

For definitions and interpreting social classes and stations peruse the possibilities under the heading Defining Social Class and Family Station. If you’re not sure about what class you’d like your character to be, you can reference the Social Class & Family Station Tables and roll randomly!

Due to the fact that some classes and stations provide strong social advantages in the game world, the GM is likely to insist on limiting the access to them by the choice of character generation method, either requiring the player to dice randomly before witnesses for Quick Method characters, or by point-buy procedures for Custom Method characters that require the player to sacrifice points that might be spent on other aspects if social class is important to the character concept. This in order to create more of a sense of fairness and balance, with the Freeman Commoner mentioned always being available to fall back on.

Record this information under "Social Class/Family Station"

The Family: Marriages, Siblings & Family Relationships

This is the core definition of the household in which the character grew up. How many marriages has Father or Mother been through? Where in the birth order does your character stand, and out of how many children? Is he favored (first born, first son, first daughter), what is his relationship with his parents like? With his siblings? If you need some ideas or help randomly generating siblings, or just want to take a closer look at a more complete discussion, see The Family: Marriages, Siblings & Family Relationships .

Record this under "The Family" on your character sheet.
Fill in the details for your character's parents and his siblings: Names for all, Relationship (good, bad, enemy, indifferent, etc.), Sex, even hair and eye color, if you want!

 

Trades & Skills

The choice of Trade is the first one that begins to concretely define how your character views himself and his place in the world at the moment he enters the game world for active play. Your character’s Trade should (in most cases) match his social station, unless there is a VERY good reason for it/them not to. Noble characters are likely to follow careers as courtiers, knights, huntsmen and other such noble pursuits. Free Rural Commoners are likely to follow rural/agrarian trades and crafts such as, husbandman, farmer/gardener, blacksmith, and so on.

You’ll need to read through Character Creation: Trades  for details on selecting a Trade. In some ways, the Trades presented for your use are building blocks to put together in expressing as closely as possible what your vision of your character’s knowledge, skills and abilities are. Some may not actually be intrinsic but may be closely associated or Allied, but more about that under the Trades heading.

Once you have chosen a trade or trades that fits with your character concept, you can record it/them on your character sheet under “Trades”. Your character may be allowed to start play with more than one trade, up to as many as four or five, depending on how much of the characters’ growth the GM wants them to achieve through active play. Check with the GM to find his preference for his game.

Your character’s Trade description(s) includes a list of Trade Skills for you to record on your character sheet that describe the main activities undertaken by it. While your character’s trade(s) may dictate the scope of his skills and knowledge, not all skills are tied to the trades. Life Skills can help define or be derived from your character’s background, to compliment or become central to a formal trade. These provide depth and may become his strengths during play.

For more on Skills and your character’s Life Skills, check Character Creation: Skills .

Attributes

Once all this information about the character has been gathered, the actual measures of your character’s native faculties and basic abilities can be determined.

These are represented by numeric scores in his Primary Attributes: AGL (Agility), AWA (Awareness), BTY (Beauty), CHM (Charisma), CND (Condition), HRT (Heart), SPT (Spirituality), STA (Stature) and STR (Strength). These attributes define all of the character’s capacities – mental, spiritual, and physical.

You get to either roll dice for each of these or distribute points (DP’s) to determine your character’s scores, according to your character concept. Check with your GM to find which method he favors.

NPC’s are the source of the racial averages. Their scores are determined in a much more random fashion than those of PC’s, and lean heavily towards the average, because the common run of people is the pool from which the NPC’s are drawn. Those characters with scores above and below the average that are the exceptions standing out from the crowd. The PC’s are intended to be exceptional in one way or another, or perhaps in several.

This is the first part of the hard numbers or statistics that govern how effective the character is and in which areas in the context of the rules.

With the character’s attribute scores in hand, the player can then further detail the actual measures and limits of the character’s body, his zone of control in battle, his ability to run, jump, and leap, lift and carry, and the like.

See Character Creation Step 5. for all the details, and record the resulting scores on your character sheet.

Your Attribute Modifiers, on the character sheet under +/- next to each Attribute are determined by:

(Your Attribute) - 13

Calculate Secondary Attributes: CRD, MGA and MSS

CRD = (AGL + AWA ) / 2
MGA = (CHM + HRT + SPT ) / 3
MSS = (AWA + SPT) / 2
BUILD = (based on Race, Elf: Light, Half-Elf: Medium-Light, Human: Medium, Dunladdin: Medium-Heavy, Dwarf: Heavy )
BUILD MULTIPLIER = ( Light: 0.75, Medium-Light: 0.9, Medium: 1.0, Medium Heavy: 1.25, Heavy: 1.5 )
MODIFIED STA = STA * BUILD MULTIPLIER

Physical Description

Your character’s height and weight still need figuring and writing down. Head over to Physical Description to figure out these details to put down on your character.

Height = 6 + (3 x STA) inches
Base Weight = (based on BUILD:  Light: 101, Medium-Light: 122, Medium: 135, Medium Heavy: 169, Heavy: 203 )
WEIGHT = Base Weight + (STR-13)*6 + (STA-20)*6 + (13-CND)*2 in pounds
STONE WEIGHT = WEIGHT / 14
Eye Color, Hair Color, Hair Length should be recorded as desired (and appropriate) if not already done
AGE = Starting age is 14, plus added years based on Trade. See the Age by Trade table.
BIRTHDAY = What time of year were you born?
STARSIGN = What sign rules the date of your birth? 

Moral Character (Virtue & Vice)

The moral personality is expressed through the Virtues and Vices. Those who have powerful virtues Walk in the Light. Those with powerful Vices Walk in the Darkness. The rest of us Wander in Shadow. Where does your character fall in terms of Character Creation: Virtues and Vices?

MORAL POINTS = SPT Attribute Modifier (Positive = VIRTUE, Negative = VICE)
Allocate your VIRTUES and VICES to support delectable roleplaying.

Skill Levels & Trade Ranks

So, now you know what your character can do (skills) and how he is known (trade), and what his native talents are as far as physical, spiritual and conscious resources go, but how good is he with those things? His background and which among them are classified as Life Skills may provide you with bonuses.

Quick Method characters start with all Trade Ranks (TR’s) at one (1), and all Trade Skill Skill Levels (SL’s) at one (1). Starting SL’s for Life Skills and Life Skill Bundles are determined according to your character’s background, with a default of one (1). See the details in Character Creation: Trade Ranks & Skills Levels. (link)

Custom Method characters start with the trades purchased in Step 3. at TR one (1), but have the option of purchasing more, at the appropriate rate quoted in Character Creation: Trade Ranks & Skills Levels, up to the ultimate limit set by the GM for characters entering his game world.

All Trade Skills start with a SL equal to the TR of the trade from which they are derived. From this point, the SL’s of the Trade Skills for a given Trade may be shifted around to better suit the player’s preferences. Every SL deducted from one Trade Skill  may be added to another, to a minimum of SL1 and a maximum of (TR x 2).

For every Trade your character has been equipped with under which the same Trade Skill appears, add the starting SL’s of it together.

For example, (x) skill appears under y, z and q Trades, for which the player purchased starting TR’s of 3, 2 and 4, respectively. This would make the starting SL for the Trade Skill = 9. This Trade Skill’s SL may NOT be further altered.

Life Skills and Life Skill Bundles were purchased also at a SL of one (1), but one or more of them are likely to receive a bonus according to your character’s background. These can be further enhanced by spending additional DP’s, up to 2 x the SL bonus awarded OR the ultimate limit set by the GM, whichever is less.

Once the overall SL of a Life Skill Bundle has been determined, the SL’s of the sub-skills that make up the Bundle are treated in the same manner as Trade Skills, starting as equal to the Bundle SL, but able to be shifted around to suit the player’s preference.

Encumbrance and Movement

The things you carry around slow you down.

How fast do you move in the first place? Check out Encumbrance and Movement to figure out all the details.

Encumbrance

Encumbrance & Movement

The things your character carries around slows him down – BUT these rules are considered optional, not all GM’s and players like a lot of “crunch” in this regard. Check with your GM to determine whether you need to generate this information for his game.

 

Encumbrance

STR Zero Light Semi Heavy Extreme
1 0 0 0 0.5 1
2 0 0 0.5 1 3
3 0 0.5 1 3 5
4 0.5 1 3 5 10
5 1 2 4 8 15
6 2 3 5 10 20
7 3 5 10 20 40
8 4 8 15 30 60
9 5 10 20 40 80
10 6 13 25 50 100
11 8 16 31 63 125
12 9 19 38 75 150
13 11 22 44 88 175
14 16 32 63 125 250
15 20 41 81 163 325
16 25 50 100 200 400
17 30 59 119 238 475
18 34 69 138 275 550
19 39 78 156 313 625
20 44 88 175 350 700
21 48 97 194 388 775
22 53 106 213 425 850
23 58 116 231 463 925
24 63 125 250 500 1000
25 68 135 269 538 1075
26 71 142 283 575 1150
27 77 154 307 613 1225
28 82 163 325 650 1300
29 86 172 344 688 1375
30 91 182 363 725 1450
(31) 96 191 382 763 1525
(32) 100 200 400 800 1600
(33) 105 210 419 838 1675
(34) 110 219 438 875 1750
(35) 115 229 457 913 1825
(36) 119 238 475 950 1900
(37) * 123 247 494 988 1975

 

IF (modified) STA < 20, add [(modified) STA – 20] to effective STR to determine his Extreme ENC limit.

IF (modified STA) > 20, subtract the difference from his effective STR.

IF the effective STR is < 35, multiply the difference by 75 to find the applicable Extreme ENC limit, and divide that down by halves to find the lesser rates.

* The table was taken to this cut-off point due to the fact that it represents the greatest combination of STR and STA among the characters presented for character generation in the Basic game, the “industry standard” dwarf.

From the gray bar upwards (scores 1-5) the individual’s own body weight is no longer included in the equation. They cannot support their own weight. The weights noted apply only to what they can lift pull or push by hand or foot or limb when their own bodyweight is otherwise supported (seated or bed-ridden).

 

Encumbrance Steps

There is a section on your character sheet to record the ranges of your Encumbrance – you can calculate those ranges this way, to facilitate the use of the Endurance (END) rules:

 

Extreme Heavy Semi Light Zero
ENC ENC / 2 ENC / 4 ENC / 8 ENC / 16

 

Movement

How fast does your character move in the first place? Check out Step 7. Encumbrance & Movement to figure out all the details.

 

Sprint Run Jog Walk Stroll
Ground MPH AGL AGL * 3/4 AGL / 2 AGL / 4 AGL / 8
Tactical

Ft/CS

AGL x 14.7 AGL x 11 AGL x 7.3 AGL x 3.7 AGL x 1.8
Tactical

25mm

AGL x 6.1 AGL x 4.6 AGL x 3.1 AGL x 1.5 AGL x 0.8
Tactical

10mm

AGL x 2.4 AGL x 1.8 AGL x 1.2 AGL x 0.6 AGL x 0.3
Tactical

5mm

AGL x 1.2 AGL x 0.9 AGL x 0.6 AGL x 0.3 AGL x 0.2
Pulse

Ft/sec

AGL x 1.47 AGL x 1.1 AGL x .73 AGL x 0.37 AGL x 0.18
Pulse

25mm

AGL x 0.61 AGL x 0.46 AGL x .31 AGL x 0.15 AGL x 0.08
Pulse

10mm

AGL x 0.24 AGL x 0.18 AGL x 0.12 AGL x 0.06 AGL x 0.03
Pulse

5mm

AGL x 0.12 AGL x 0.09 AGL x 0.06 AGL x 0.03 AGL x 0.02

 

Jump = STR x 1.3 inches

Leap = STR / 2 in feet

Running Leap = STR in feet (+ Acrobat SLs x 0.5)

Encumbrance Steps

There is a section on your character sheet to record the ranges of your Encumbrance – you can calculate those ranges this way:

Extreme Heavy Semi Light Zero
ENC ENC / 2 ENC / 4 ENC / 8 ENC / 16

 Movement

Sprint Run Jog Walk Stroll
Ground MPH AGL AGL * 3/4 AGL / 2 AGL / 4 AGL / 8
Pulse
Ft/s
AGL x 1.47 AGL x 1.1 AGL x .73 AGL x 0.37 AGL x 0.18
Pulse
25mm cm/s
AGL x 0.61 AGL x 0.46 AGL x .31 AGL x 0.15 AGL x .08
Pulse
10mm cm/s
AGL x 0.24 AGL x 0.18 AGL x 0.12 AGL x 0.06 AGL x 0.03
Pulse
5mm cm/s
AGL x 0.12 AGL x 0.09 AGL x 0.06 AGL x 0.03 AGL x 0.02
Jump = STR x 1.3 inches
Leap = STR / 2 in feet
Running Leap = STR in feet  (+ Acrobat SLs x 0.5)

 

Tactical Attributes

Combat demands detail. Tactical attributes are calculated Attributes for use in the compressed time of tactical situations can be found under Tactical Attributes .

ZoC (Zone of Control), or Zone = Character Height
Initiative Modifier = AWA Attribute Modifier + HRT Attribute Modifier
RoA = From the table in Step 9. Tactical Attributes, according to the character's AGL
Physical Resistance (P-RES)  = ((CND + STR + HRT) / 3) + (STA - 20)

Magick Resistance (M-RES) = (HRT + CHM) / 2

POT (Potence) of weapons wielded 1-hand = (STA + STR) / 2 + DB (Damage Bonus of Weapon)
This includes Hurled weapons.
POT (Potence) of weapons wielded Either 1- or 2-handed = ((STA + STR) * 0.75) + DB
POT (Potence) of weapons wielded only 2-handed = (STA + STR) + DB
POT Ranged weapon = STR + DB 

Wound Threshold = ((STA + CND ) / 8) + (STA - 20)
END (Endurance) = (CND + STR Attribute Modifier) + trade bonus (as applicable) + skill bonus (as applicable)

BP (Body Points) = (STA + CND + STR Attribute Modifier) + trade bonus (as applicable) + skill bonus (as applicable)

Money & Equipment

Visit Money & Equipment to determine your starting money.

Armed with coin, look into getting weapons, armor, trade goods, travel gear and anything else your character would start with. This includes things that reflect his current situation, like a particularly fine steed, and/or special items the player has purchased as a means of carrying wealth in a more portable form for his own convenience, as was commonly done with silver tableware and serving ware to display it in a useful form, easily taken to the mint to coin at need.

Some of the character’s belongings will be detailed and awarded without cost, simple basics according to his social class and family station. Most characters must pay for the tools of their trade and individual skills, but not all.

In the case of NPC’s, the GM determines the extent of personal belongings, moveable goods, home(s), property (-ies), household retainers, and the like, all personal resources. To accommodate the special circumstances surrounding the GM’s NPC’s, the rules for generating them are compiled in a chapter of their own, Chapter 3. NPC’s & NPC Generation.