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Character Creation 1: Æternal Legends

The Game: Æternal Legends
The Publisher: Mob Unted Media
Degree of Familiarity: Intimate. Oh yeah, baby. Err, that is to say, I wrote the setting and a whole range of mechanics around Malcolm's R2R system. I've since run an ongoing game and a number of demos.
Books Required: Just the corebook. Which is less than £15 (or $30, if you swing that way).

Æternal Legends is a game of modern fantasy: elves and dwarves in the modern world, hunting dragons among skyscrapers and kicking the crap out of hydras at rock concerts. It's designed to have belief and passion front and center. But I'm telling you, and that's bad. On with the show:

Step 0: Concept
So, who are we creating? I'm thinking a real introductory character, so someone who was Unaware of the magical world around him until the world's magical field picked him out as a hero based on the strength of his convictions. Yeah, he's a guy. The game riffs on fantasy tropes and cliches deliberately, so I'm going to revisit the "farmboy-to-hero" idea.

So, who have we got here? Amos "Moss" Ford, a high school student in a run-down part of Detroit. His dad's a mechanic, and he's never known his mom. He's coming to the end of school, and he wants to go to college. Unfortunately, money's tight and his dad can't afford a good college. Moss has got a future of helping his dad in the garage and saving all he can, but he really wants to experience something new. Moss is gay, though only his father knows for sure. He wants to go somewhere where people don't hang his whole childhood and all their expectations on him, somewhere he can be who he wants to be.

Moss has wanted to believe that there was something else out there for a while, and it hit just a couple of months ago. He'd gone to a party, got drunk, and hit on a guy from another school when he thought they were alone. They kissed, but when Moss pulled back the other guy looked different—what had been skin was stone. The confusion flipped a switch in Moss' soul, and he felt a white light suffuse his body. When it faded, he knew both who he really was and what he had to do.

Step 1: Attributes
I've four Attributes and seven points to split between them. I know that I want a lot of Ethos: it covers force of belief, after all. I drop three points there. I see Moss as being fitter than he is smart, so I place two points in Body. That leaves him with one point each for Mind and Presence.

Next, I get one Edge and one Flaw, situational bonuses like Specialties in the Storytelling system. I think Moss is good at thinking outside the box (Mind Edge), but can let his low self esteem get in the way (Presence Flaw).

Step 2: Traits
Traits are derived from the main attributes. Moss has Health 7, Wits 6, and Will 6. Because he's a Legend, he gets Conviction 8, Degeneration 0, and Magic 8 as well.

At this point we also figure his Initiative. It's worked out in the same way, but isn't a pool of points. Moss' Initiative is 5

Step 3: Aptitudes
Aptitudes are broad professions or passions that take the place of skills in other games. I figure that Moss has spent a lot of time in his dad's garage, and wanted to take that to the next step at college, so I choose Engineer as one of his Aptitudes. I'd like his other Skill to come from his Aware life so far—it's been short but eventful and will have left its mark. The strange world has strange weapons, and he'd want to know a lot of practical information first, so I pick Squire. In addition to using archaic and modern weapons, it covers the basics of ettiquette and strategy. Two points go in each.

I get one Skill, which is like and Edge for Aptitudes. I think that he's got a particular talent for getting the most out of cars, which will come in handy. I thus give him the Cars skill on his Engineering Aptitude.

I also get an Expertise, something that's his focus. I could funnel that into engineering as well, but I want to diversify a bit. I figure he's mostly trained in traditional weapons, and has a good head for them—especially spears, which he sees as more down-to-earth than swords. I take an expertise of Spear Combat, keyed off Body + Squire.

Step 4: Beliefs
I get one Belief per point of Ethos, and this is when I really start to get inside Moss' head.

"Everyone has a right to be who they want to be."
"Sometimes, violence is the only answer."
"Witholding freedom is the greatest crime."
"The world has to see how good I am."

Every time I play to one of those, I can get (or spend) Conviction. Every time I go against one, I get (or spend) Degeneration. Too much Degeneration and I fall to the Dark.

Step 5: Clade
One thing I didn't consider: is Moss going to be human, elf, dwarf, or gnome? Looking over my options, I think he works best as a human. That gives him two powers: Soul of the World brings his Magic to 10, and Animal Dominion gives him something to spend that magic on: manifesting animal traits.

Step 6: Sphere
Moss is going to be a Knight, a Legend of the sphere of Strength. I can fit the Sphere to pretty much all of his beliefs, which is a good thing. He gets another Aptitude, covering the whole range of the Sphere. In this case, any situation he can understand as a conflict or battle gets a bonus die from his Sphere Aptitude.

I think Moss is moving towards the Guardian role, so I note that down. When he's protecting people, I can spend a point of Magic to get Body + Strength as another Expertise.

Moss also gets a minor power to increase damage, and a major power that grants a free counterattack.

Step 7: Social Class
Social Class comes into play as a mechanic for when Legends get to the "mover and shaker in communities" level. At present, Moss is at 0 among both Unaware and Aware: he's a Legend, which counts for something, but he's from a poor background and hasn't made a real name for himself.

Among mundane people, Moss has a Revenue of 3—he might own a car, but that's about it for assets. When trading with the Aware, he has a Revenue of 4 instead, as his reputation as a Legend carries some weight.

Step 8: Equipment
Moss isn't an enchanter, so I don't want to give him anything too flashy equipment-wise. He's probably got a car that he knows intimately—an old Ford Torino or something, say Speed 75/140, Handling 1, Structure 7, with a set of decent tools in the trunk. When it comes to breaking heads, he's got weapons and armour in his car: a spear (3 Force (Wound)), a scrappy suit of armour that covers his vitals but not much else (1/2, -2 penalty), and a large shield (1/+1).

That's it!

Name: Moss Ford
Clade: Human
Expertise: Spear Combat (Body + Squire)
Social Class: 0/0
Revenue: 3/4

Attributes
Body 3
Ethos 4
Mind 2 + Thinking Outside the Box
Presence 2 - Low Self Esteem

Traits
Health 7
Conviction 8
Wits 6
Will 6
Degeneration 0
Magic 10

Aptitudes/Spheres
Engineer (Cars) 2
Squire 2
Strength (Guardian: Body + Strength) 1

Beliefs
"Everyone has a right to be who they want to be."
"Sometimes, violence is the only answer."
"Witholding freedom is the greatest crime."
"The world has to see how good I am."

Combat
Close Combat Defence: Base 3, Max 7, Armour 2/3
Ranged Combat Defence: Base 3, Max 7, Armour 1/2 (0 against firearms)
Weapon: Spear 9 Wound

Comments

( 5 informants — We want information! )
the_seraph
Jul. 9th, 2008 01:47 pm (UTC)
I like him.
digitalraven
Jul. 9th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
It says a lot that I took longer on thinking up a name than I did on just about everything else. :)

In other news, I need to remember to write you a letter in reply.
brain_hurts
Jul. 10th, 2008 12:02 am (UTC)
A fine character.

Down to earth enough to be played without great difficulty, but with the potential to become someone truly fantastic. Which is really how it should be in the system.
innocent_man
Oct. 18th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
Having now read AL cover-to-cover, I'll say that one thing the book really could have used was an example of chargen.

Fortunately, you've got one here. :)
digitalraven
Oct. 19th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
Heh. Good point. I think that's an artefact of the way we put the book together. I'll make a note to put this entry somewhere a bit more findable.
( 5 informants — We want information! )

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