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HOMBAK house rules: character creation part1 : background


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GM or player, character creation is one of my favorite part in rpg.

based on episod two of the blog

I like the process described in the rules but as GM there is one point I always flee (roll for characteristic or skills) and some I prefer to change. My main goal is to have players happy to play their characters, and characters with nice story.

That means 2 main things:

  • Players decide and don’t roll

  • Players align their stats with their background

 

In this post I will describe the oriented background part. Another post will follow in few days, with my house rules dedicated to statistics

 

I see few issues with the Core book background process :

  • the campaign starts around 1625.

  • the background is focused on great events. All your pc will have some “heroic” ancestors and nothing about their clan or anything closest than “the big history”. Nothing to help you to create an unknown fisherman whose family never leave their part of the river for example. Nothing to define that the great father had an affair with the naiad, explaining some weird power (or skin color) the pc has.

Note 1:  Following the core book background does not imply you cannot add more "local" and "personal" color. Of course you can !

Note 2:  the core book background is very helpful to understand what happened in dragon pass, to discover runequest/glorantha.

That’s just say chaosium proposes one way to help players to create a background
 

And of course, if my campaign starts in 1625, I see no issue if one player wants his character to follow the official process than another one.

Here is another way.

 

I split my creation process in three questions. Each question’s main purpose is to create the background, but it helps the pc to start the “build”. Players may choose the order of the questions they answer. Two players may have different orders, that is perfectly fine. In fact, the order defines the story arc and what is important for the player, nothing more.

 

Q1: what does the player want the character to be seen by others and also what the player wants to play (a strong figther? a beautiful poet? a poor merchant? a rich merchant?)

Q2: what does the player want the character to think and react? (runes and passions oriented)

Q3: what does the player want the character to know and can do? (skill oriented)

In my story, I start with three characters:

  • I want Hendrostos to be a sorcerer (with a battle spell): I will start my exploration by Q1 (profession), then Q3 (spell skills are very important to sorcerer), then Q2

  • I want Irillo to be a victim who will try to become stronger (I don’t know if he will succeed or die for the moment): I will follow Q2 then Q1 then Q3

  • I want Aendel, the hero to be too many things, so I have to keep in mind all the options. Yes you don't need to follow any order, be free, follow the wind of your imagination :20-power-movement:

the challenge is to explore the answers deeper and deeper.

Aendel's creation example:

I want Aendel to claim a kingdom (so I start my creation by one passion : “become a king”):

Why does Aendel claim it? because his mother wanted it. Why his mother wanted it? Because she was from a very poor noble family and develop a kind of social revenge desire, and transferred it to his son. (I get the profession : “noble”)

Now we know the mother, what about Aendel’s father ? I don’t know (well I know but let’s say the player has no idea, yes a player may have no idea or want to not explore a point) Good, you GM have a hook there to introduce a scenario during the campaign based on the pc and his father!

I want Aendel to be a “lover” (so another passion : “lust women”) Why is he a lover ? because he looks for his mother in the women he seduce (yes freud is the invisible god) Why does he look for his mother ? Because she was killed during the battle of Boldhome. (yes Boldhome battle may give other passions than “hate lunar”)  I understand I have to put points in seduction skill (already 1 +25 is booked from personal skills)

I want Aendel to know heortling customs. It will help him in any sartarite court. Why and how did Aendel learn heort customs skill? Because her mother wanted him to know everything needed to rule people (profession noble) and he studied in Lhankor Mhy Temple (hum… are we defining a cult because a cult skill ?). When and why was he in the temple? After the battle of Boldhome, his family sent him to Nochet. Why Nochet ? Because some of them want to protect him, and some of them saw him as a competitor? Who ? I don’t know (another potential hook)

I want Aendel to be a strategist: How did Aendel learn battle skill? In Nochet, his studies were focused on battle between EWF and god learner (oh and opportunity to get “exotic” skill)

How did Aendel learn sword skill? he trained when he was a child (profession noble), and (in episode 3)  he fought in several occasions as teenager and was trained by the Humakt temple (gain honor / loyalty humakt temple).

Etc…

 

 

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Your Aendel is somewhat similar as my ideal character - Noble Lhankor Mhy with a Notchet background, but strong ties to Orlanthi through the mother (I was thinking Enhlyi tribe - just for the Sun boost :p). Sorcery is important, but also +25 to weapon skills.

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2 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

Your Aendel is somewhat similar as my ideal character - Noble Lhankor Mhy with a Notchet background, but strong ties to Orlanthi through the mother (I was thinking Enhlyi tribe - just for the Sun boost :p). Sorcery is important, but also +25 to weapon skills.

haha sometimes there are... surprise 😉

 

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