Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Complete Character in High Fantasy

Your humble host previously wrote about the absolutely essential abilities used in High Fantasy.  This post shall be a discourse upon the other abilities that can be used to define a High Fantasy character.

Step five of creating a character instructs the player to determine strength and coordination by rolling percentile dice for each. A low roll (16 or less) for strength confers a negative modifier to offense, while a low roll for coordination imposes negative modifiers for both offense and defense. A high roll (86 or above) for strength grants a bonus to offense and a high roll for coordination provides bonuses to offense and defense. However, only Warrior class characters are eligible for the positive modifiers derived from high strength and coordination.

Strength and coordination are two of the ten abilities called 'the basics.' The score for each basic ability is determined by rolling percentile dice. The score indicates a percentile chance of success for matters regarding that ability. A score of 01-05 indicates an impaired ability while a score of 95-100 indicates a gifted ability. The description of each basic ability specifies the drawbacks of impairment and the benefits of being gifted in that ability. For example, among other drawbacks, an impaired coordination means that whenever the character attempts to draw a weapon, there is a 10% chance that he or she will drop it. Among other benefits, a gifted strength means that the character is “extremely resistant to disease or bad health.” The other 'basics' include appearance, charisma, intelligence, and the five senses: hearing, sight, feeling, taste, and smell. It seems odd to your humble host that taste and smell should be treated separately.

Aside from the 'basics,' there are ten optional 'talents' designed to help provide background for characters. The value for each talent is determined by rolling percentile dice; each range of 20% indicating a different level of proficiency. Generally, the different 'levels' can be described as follows.

In play, the talent values are not used by themselves; instead, they are averaged with an associated 'basic' ability to determine a chance of success.  The ten talents (and their associated 'basic' abilities) are as follows:
  • Acrobatics (Coordination)
  • Business Sense (Intelligence)
  • Climbing (Strength)
  • Diplomacy (Charisma)
  • Language (Intelligence)
  • Musical (Hearing)
  • Nautical (Intelligence/Coordination)
  • Riding or Driving (Coordination)
  • Running (Strength)
  • Swimming (Strength)

Characters “can temporarily add up to 10 points” for as many as three talents via training.  The player rolls one ten-sided die to determine the number of points that may be added.  (Your humble host presumes that the points are divided among the talents as the player sees fit.)  Switching to other talents “takes at least two weeks.”  Throughout this time the points are slowly transferred from the old talent(s) to the newly studied talent(s).  At the discretion of the judge, permanent increases to talent values are possible provided a character “studies long enough” or if a character “uses a specific talent over and over again” during a given adventure.

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