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Found 11 results

  1. Skills are important to a Mythras game. Yet there is an opinion that some skills are less useful than others. Skills such as Acting, Bureaucracy, Customs, Ride, Swim, Seduction, and even Teach are regarded by some as being unnecessary, and only a handful of skills - Athletics, Brawn, Combat Styles, Evade, Endurance, Willpower - are essential for play. Even Unarmed has sometimes been neglected in the rush to make Adventurers as skilled as possible in an exceptionally narrow range of skills, suited for combat and dungeon delving. And yet there is more to adventuring than dungeon delving. Useful Skills Players want their characters to excel at their fields. And that means building their adventuring skills, preferably to at least 50%, preferably higher. For the most part, some players believe that this just means Combat Styles - and Athletics, Stealth and the resistance skills of Brawn, Endurance, Evade, and Willpower. The next most important are Perception and Unarmed. Skills such as Sing, Dance, Acting, Boating, Swim, Crafts, Musicianship, Seduction, Lore, Language, and Teach are practically ignored. What makes the "useful" skills useful? Survival Skills Of course, these skills are useful if the stories are all set in some sort of labyrinth through which the player characters must delve, for whatever reason. Each member of the party needs Athletics, Stealth, a healthy mixture of Combat Styles, and the resistance skills of Brawn, Endurance, Evade, and Willpower. Specialists within the party will also need their particular skills: locksmiths and engineers to use Engineering, Mechanisms and Lockpicking to defuse traps and open locked doors; First Aid and Healing, for the party's healer (why do they only have one?) and of course magic skills for whoever the party's magician is. Even out in the wilderness, specialists can be called on for their expertise in Locale, Navigation, and of course Survival, and Track; not to mention Craft (survival cooking). Skills such as Bureaucracy, Courtesy, Boating, Navigation, and Musicianship never seem to come into settings, and even Swim and Unarmed are not seen to be as being that popular among players, as compared to the Dungeon Survival Skills above. So let's look at some of these clusters of the more obscure skills, and see how they can come in handy. Entertainment Skills The entertainment skills are Acrobatics, Dance, Disguise, Gambling, Sing, Musicianship, Oratory, Sleight, and even Seduction if you want to go down that road. Characters who develop these skills are immensely popular in the community. They can provide a distraction, boost morale, and make people forget their woes, even if only for a little time. Townspeople are easily bored, and will pay handsomely for someone who can put on a fine show of juggling, a bit of street theatre, or recite some amusing poem or sing bawdy songs to get the crowd dancing. Stories centered around entertainers will naturally focus on their ability to entertain, which can provide a different style of adventure - one which can be as cutthroat as any courtly setting in the hallowed halls of power. But whether a character is an actor, an opera singer, a bawdy ecdysiast, an after-dinner orator, or a circus performer, the show must go on. Paper Skills How can Bureaucracy, Commerce, and Influence be useful in an adventure? Perhaps the Adventurers might need something from somewhere, and either have to haggle for it in a marketplace, bid for it at auction, or requisition it from a complex system of obscure and arcane rules. An adventure can drag the Adventurers into a place no player characters have ever been to before - a terrible nest of vipers, a den of iniquity and corruption, a bastion of treachery and betrayal simply known as ... City Hall. These skills can also come in handy if the character is helping somebody else. If they have really good Bureaucracy skills, for instance, they might get to reach the parts of City Hall that their Connections might not - and such influence can only lead to people owing the characters a favour down the road. People Skills Courtesy, Culture, Customs, Deceit, Oratory, and Influence are so useful for Adventurers in many aspects of the adventure. Adventurers can open up trade with travellers they meet; break bread with fellow travellers at night, and establish trust and good relations; they can make a good impression at court (Courtesy, Culture, and Customs can include knowledge of how to dress as much as how to act), Influence is always useful in swaying opinions, and Deceit can be useful for everything from harmless little white lies to defuse an overenthusiastic courtier's aggressive and clumsy attempt at a seduction ("Sir, I really shouldn't. I am spoken for, and my lover is both jealous and insanely violent") to outrageous swindles ("Give me money, and I shall set to work building a moat to protect this town!"). Communication Skills Language and Literacy are the primary skills, though Deceit, Sing, and Seduction have their uses here, too. In the Mythras Core Rulebook, Literacy is separate from Language because of the assumption that the default fantasy milieu is some sort of Dark Ages, where literacy rates are low - as if low literacy rates were common to cultures which were not Civilised. They don't have to be. In the historical Middle Ages, literacy began to decline when the Romans retreated and civilisation declined in their absence. In the fantasy settings of your world, as Games Master, your world's history does not have to parallel this development. Perhaps the tendency of your pre-Iron Age civilisation is to develop the oral tradition to a fine art, meaning that Literacy is as much a verbal and mnemonic skill as a written one, and alphabets of symbols could serve as mnemonic keys to remembering huge amounts of information in memory palaces. In your setting, everybody might have access to the written world. Counting, calculation, arithmetic, higher mathematics, might not be the jealously-guarded province of the church and magicians, and the printing press might have made its way from the East a thousand years before it would have been "invented" in the West. In a world of a hundred nations, there might be a hundred or more languages; and for each, there could be a Culture, a Language, a Literacy, and a Lore. Perception Skills The two main perception skills are Insight and Perception. Insight is an undeservedly underused and undervalued skill, because it can be used to sense if a person is lying (Deceit), using wiles (Influence, Seduction) or they are genuinely trying to communicate with the character. Insight can disclose a gambler's intent to cheat, or gather that violence is about to break out, from examining people's changing expressions, tone of voice, and body language; Perception can spot the subtle movement of a hand to undo the peace knot on a sheathed sword, or to spot someone palm a card before dealing it. If the characters are conducting a discreet surveillance of a target, Perception can spot other spies in the crowd and determine that they might have been made; and Insight can tell them if the person they are surveilling has made them and is about to bolt. Creative and Artistic Skills There are a cluster of these - Art, Craft, Engineering, Mechanisms, and Lockpicking. For the most part, the skills a lot of Adventurers go for are Engineering, Mechanisms, and Lockpicking, for the purpose of spotting and defusing traps, finding secret rooms, and so on. However, these skills can be used for a far greater purpose in down time; they can provide the characters with a living. A character who is an artist, engineer, jewelsmith, and so on is likely to ply their trade and earn money during down time from a stream of steady customers seeking the products of their crafts. Even Craft (cookery) can find a use in a court, working in the kitchens - and who knows what juicy gossip might float about in the dining halls of power, and come to the ears of a humble servant providing the great and the good with their daily breakfast. A creative type can be called upon to create some sort of wonder, whether it be an intricate figurine carved from a rare wood, a statue carefully sculpted from a block of marble, a city monument or an entire building. The possibilities are endless, as are the adventuring opportunities as the creative sort travels far and wide in search of inspiration, or markets to buy building materials or expensive fabrics or dyes. Knowledge Skills Lore is the main knowledge skill - but Locale is often overlooked, even though it is about a very specific, practical kind of knowledge. Knowledge is power, whether it be Mathematics, Astronomy, Astrology, or Tactics & Strategy. Many a puzzle has been solved by a player who simply declared to their Games Master "I'm useless at puzzles, but my character Trinisca is a master of puzzles with Lore (Puzzles) 90%, so I roll to see if she works out what that gibberish on the door is supposed to mean." Transportation Skills Boating, Drive, Ride, and Seamanship might not have much use in dark, narrow dungeon corridors, but outside of those cramped environs they can be essential. Campaigns set in a Nomadic culture, for instance, can involve the characters travelling hundreds, even thousands, of kilometres over land and/or water to get to the next destination. They can face many different kinds of hazards, and not just hostile people. Landslides, natural disasters such as wildfires, mudslides, hard weather such as storms, snow, and tornadoes, and even earthquakes, volcanoes and floods, might take their toll on travellers, and characters' mastery of the appropriate transportation skills might be tested to the limit under such harsh environments. Physical Skills Acrobatics, Athletics, Dance, Ride, Seduction, Swim, and Unarmed, not to mention Combat Styles, are the last category to be covered here. These are the most immediate skills, they are physical, they generally require little mental effort, and they can all be useful for the most obscure reasons. A Master of Swim, for example, might be called upon to brave a treacherous strait to make their way across to an island on the other side in order to secure a rope for the rest of the party to use; an athletic character could be the only person able to climb up three storeys to get to an open window in an otherwise locked building. Useful Skills In the final analysis, every skill is potentially useful, either in an adventure or as a source of income during down time. As the saying goes, "Jack of All Trades, Master of None - but better that than a Master of One." Spread those Skill Development Points around. The more your characters come over as Renaissance people, the more they will be in demand, and the more likely they are to survive to a ripe old age (i.e. until their retirement at the end of the chronicle or campaign).
  2. This week, and for the next few weeks, you're going to take a little side step. You're going to be presented with the voices of the different cultures of Mythras. I know, you've already got The Primitive Voice, The Nomad Voice, and so on, from the Core Rulebooks. But these Voices are different. A Connected World These voices assume two things: one, that fantasy worlds are connected places, where that which affects one person, one place, affects other people, other places; and two, that the world is not always out to get you. Unlike most roleplaying books, if you reach out your hand to help, they're not going to cut it off at the wrist. The worlds of roleplaying games have become bitter and cynical since 1991's Vampire: the Masquerade attempted to make it cool to be an edgelord. Spoiler: it's never been cool to be an edgelord. In these fantasy worlds, if you meet beings with pointy ears, or fur and tusks, they're not sent there to try and kill you, nor are you expected to have to try and kill them. There is no automatic assumption that encounters are solely combat encounters. Roleplaying has evolved away from wargaming. We're not beholden to the lineage of That Guy Who Invented Roleplaying In The Seventies to continue to play the games their way, when we can honour Greg Stafford's memory and play a much more shamanic, connected, mysterious, and often magical game, where mysteries are to be explored, secrets revealed, and the characters belong to peoples and cultures who are just living their lives. Primitive Cultures Ask any anthropologist, and they'll tell you that primitive cultures are anything but "bang two rocks together, wear animal skins, ugh, everybody afraid of sky." That's a racist holdout from colonial days, when Westerners would descend upon isolated villages and immediately denounce the locals as "savages" ripe to be converted to Christianity. "Primitive" meant "lacking in brain power, unlike us," and primitive peoples were depicted in the popular media as clumsy, filthy, crouching, beastly people, little better than animals. Converted natives would be branded "the Noble Savage," and depicted as clean-shaven, tall men, standing straight, wearing very civilised loin cloths to hide their modesty - modern fig leaves, echoing the Biblical Adam after he had eaten of the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden and thus, somehow, lost all their innocence. They were painted as wise men, cunning men, in tune with "savage Nature," with their ear to the ground - this being the literal origin of that "ear to the ground" trope. These wise men could literally put their ear to the ground and somehow discern the movements of all living things within a few miles by the sound their feet and hooves made in the ground. Often, civilised people would be depicted in comics as slumming it. Robinson Crusoe roped in Man Friday; Lord Greystoke became Tarzan, and Sheena became Queen of the Jungle. Somehow, all it took was a bit of civilised nous, and Westerners could fancy themselves as lords of the savage land, always charming, perfect teeth, not one hair out of place or speck of dirt on their oiled-up, flawless supermodel bodies. The Primitive Tech Level Lest you imagine otherwise, primitive cultures continue to surprise us Westerners. They have art, musical instruments, knowledge of how to make jewellery, and trade. Modern anthropologists maintain that the marks of emerging sentience include evidence of first aid and attempts to heal injuries through surgery, including trepannation, and tattoos on ancient bodies which seem to be road maps similar to acupuncture meridians (as well as tattoos placed on modern bodies to tell radiotherapists where to focus their beams). Others cite the invention of bags as a mark of emergence of civilisation, rather than weapons. Bags allow people to carry tools with them, in anticipation of their future use. Bags allowed primitive workers to carry the tools of their trade along with them - awls, scrapers, drills. Bags could be used to carry a variety of items - medicinal herbs, firemaking kits, knives for cutting, bows and arrows to hunt food. Other technologies have made it through the centuries. Leather burnishers are traditionally made from bone; there is no other material, natural or synthetic, which comes close to what bone can do when used to burnish leather and seal in the pores. People still use bits of flint to create fires, even though those flints are now found in Zippo lighters. Sure, tools such as knives could be used as weapons against other people; but primitive people also carried trade goods, which meant that they travelled between communities, sometimes looking for work, sometimes looking to trade. Ores of tin from Cornwall and malachite from North Wales were dug up, and there was a brisk market in those ores, essential in the making of bronze. Those people who knew the secret of smelting were close to magicians. And they were impressive artists. The Mold Cape is a garment of solid gold, some 3600 years old. Nobody knows how it could have been made using the technology of the day, or even the technology of today; but make it, they did. The Beaker People, also, showed remarkable sophistication. So-called because of the containers (beakers, jugs, jars) found with their bodies, the Beaker People showed a highly sophisticated knowledge of medicinal preparations, clay working and pottery and, going by the mead and ale residues in the bottom of some of these beakers, brewing. Mead infers beekeeping, and beer infers agriculture; which means that primitive cultures had developed a symbiotic relationship with the land. The ability to anticipate the regularity of winters shows that early humans had learned about the seasons, and could count the days and moon cycles, and perhaps came up with primitive reasoning such as "three moons full, hot days go away and leaves turn brown; three moons full after that, days are short and snow starts to fall." The Oral Tradition Until the written word obliterated the need to retain long memories, there was always the oral tradition. Modern people cannot imagine what it was like to carry the equivalent of several books around in a person's head, nor how much time and effort was needed to train people to recite the sacred knowledge, word for word, intonation for intonation, until they could sing the same songs as their ancestors did, even after generations. Primitive, barbarian, and nomadic cultures specialise in having long memories. Traditions such as memory palaces are nothing compared to the mnemonic techniques which were developed by ancient cultures - techniques which we have, quite literally, forgotten. Oh, yes - let's also not forget that thing with the big stone monoliths. We atill can't figure out how they got those big sarsens of bluestone from the Brecons all the way to Wiltshire to build an observatory at Stonehenge. It's not exactly like they carried those stones around with them in their pockets. So there is much more to primitive cultures than Clan of The Cave Bear or The Flintstones, or even Stig of The Dump. Bearing that in mind, I am closing this little rant with ... The Primitive Voice The days and nights are endless. We have much to learn. Once, my Mother said, My birth was announced By the spirits of the storm. The storm brought with it Wind and rain, Thunder and lightning. The spirits howled to us "Among us is born A Great Spirit." I give no credence to that. I only recount What Mother says. I do know That when I came of age, I underwent The Rite of Ad'aan. The Elders took me Deep into Orna's Forest, To the darkest place, And forced me to survive there, With nothing but woad on my body And a knife of obsidian. The food was good. I built a fire. I found honey in an old tree, And the bees fell asleep With the smoke from the fire. When I was weak, I dug up talla roots And ate small eggs from a nest High up in a tree. I left most of the hive, the biggest root, And the largest eggs, Because I knew That the world only gave me What I needed, And that if I took it all, Mother would not feed me again. When the spirits came for me, I was ready. When the elders came for me, To see if I had passed the Rite Or perished, They were surprised to see That I had built a shelter, And the Spirits had provided Medicines from the Forest Medicines for the sick For the women with child. "So young," they said. "Truly, the spirits were right." And they left me there, In the darkest part Of the Forest. But it is no longer Orna's Forest. It is the Forest of the Healer. It is the Forest of the Child of the Storm. And they say of me "Listen to her, The Child of the Storm. Take her medicines. Listen to her If she comes to the village." The days and nights are endless. We are not afraid of what they have to teach us.
  3. Version 1.0.0


    An archive of Ian Young's notes and the translated manuscript (except the section on realms, to be added later). Digitized for easy reading.
  4. Version 1.0.0


    The introduction to Selenim for the Chaosium edition, copied from Ian Young's old site.
  5. Version 1.0.0


    Describes the retaining of Occult Development Points from Past Lives for use in the modern-era game, instead of in acquiring occult skills etc during character generation. Originally uploaded to yahoo group by michael.bishop Sep 5, 2000
  6. Version 1.0.0


    Liber Ka - A Summary of the Changes It Brings to Sorcery (and PC Generation) Originally uploaded to yahoo group by agarthan Jun 18, 2004
  7. Version 1.0.0


    Nephilim PC language skills and how they will affect the way the game is played here. Originally uploaded to yahoo group by agarthan Jun 18, 2004
  8. Version 1.0.0


    Add Summon spell list --still wip Originally uploaded to yahoo group by exubae July 9, 2014
  9. Version 1.0.0


    Using the Tarot to build past lives - base on Nephilim Redux Originally uploaded to nephilim yahoo group by sjohnson327 Nov 21, 2007
  10. Version 1.0.0


    Nephilim Ka Mixes (potential) Originally uploaded to nephilim yahoo group by agarthan_at_work Jun 8, 2005
  11. In the RQG corebook, in page 73, in cult starting skills you can read "Each cult has starting skills taught to his members. Add the listed skill bonuses to these skills. Add an additional +20% to one of these starting skills and + 15% to another...", but in the Vasana's saga (the sample character), I don't see this bonus and I think that you can get a +40 to one skill via cult is too much increase. what do you think? You take this bonus in the character generation? thank you.
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