Sunday, 18 January 2015

12 different starting characters with Fighting d12

One claim that comes up from time to time is that PCs who start with Fighting d12 are too specialised and narrowly focused to be good at anything else. While it's certainly true that Fighting d12 requires a major investment of skill points (and I generally recommend that players try to spread their points around a bit more) it doesn't mean the character has to be a one-trick pony.

In this post I'll describe 12 starting characters with Fighting d12, each of whom can also contribute to the party in other ways.

Note that this is once again an elaboration on a post I've made in the past on the Pinnacle forums, but as the subject came up again recently I thought it was worth revisiting - and as the "Taking Action" issue of Savage Insider (Volume 2, Issue 2) should be coming out soon, I thought it would be fun to include a few more characters using some of the options from my Savage Archery article.

Jed
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d4
Skills: Fighting d12, Notice d4, Shooting d6, Stealth d4, Survival d8, Tracking d8
Charisma: -; Pace: 6; Parry: 8; Toughness: 5 (1)
Gear: Leather armour (+1), axe (Str+d6), medium-pull self bow* (Shooting; range 12/24/48; 2d6; +1 damage on a raise from broadhead arrows*)
Hindrances: Wanted (Major), Phobia (Minor: Snakes), Illiterate (Minor)
Edges: Woodsman
Background: Jed is an outlaw who lives off the land and takes whatever he needs. As a child he nearly died after being bitten by a rattlesnake, and he never fully recovered, either physically or psychologically.
Party Role: Jed is an expert outdoorsman and highly skilled tracker. He is competent with a bow, but truly excels with his axe.

Shalk
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d12, Notice d8, Repair d6, Shooting d8
Charisma: -2; Pace: 6; Parry: 10; Toughness: 5
Gear: Rapier (Str+d4; Parry +1), small shield (Parry +1), medium-pull repeating crossbow* (Shooting; range 10/20/40; RoF 2; 2d4+1; AP 1 from quarrels*)
Hindrances: Reckless Shot* (Major), Death Wish (Minor), Enemy (Minor)
Edges: Crossbow Speed Shooting*, McGyver
Background: Shalk is a skilled crossbowman with a reputation for recklessness and an utter disregard for the safety of both himself and his supposed "allies" (some of whom are still trying to settle the score).
Party Role: Shalk is effective at both melee and ranged combat, but is also a wiz with mechanical devices. He's designed his own repeating crossbow, and can rig up all manner of other useful devices to aid the group.

Mork
Attributes: Agility d12, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d4
Skills: Fighting d12, Notice d4, Psionics d8, Riding d12, Shooting d12
Charisma: -2; Pace: 5; Parry: 9; Toughness: 5 (1)
Gear: Leather armour (+1), staff (Str+d4; Reach 1"; Parry +1), light-pull composite bow* (Shooting; range 9/18/36; 2d6)
Hindrances: Elderly (Major), Ugly (Minor), Quirk (Minor)
Edges: Arcane Background (Psionics; uses the No PP rule), Steady Hands
Powers: Beast Friend, Smite, Boost/Lower Trait
Background: Mork is an ugly and eccentric old hermit with a mysterious past. He loves animals, and spends most of his life in the saddle.
Party Role: Mork excels at both melee and ranged combat, and uses his psionics to enhance his skill further - he can use Boost/Lower Trait to increase his skills above d12, Smite to enhance his damage, then charge on his mount for a further +4 damage. In ranged combat, Steady Hands negates the penalty for firing from horseback, and his mount makes him fast enough to evade most melee attackers. He can also use his powers to buff his allies, and give himself non-combat skills when needed.

Jack 
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d6 
Skills: Fighting d12, Boating d4, Climbing d4, Lockpicking d4, Riding d4, Shooting d4, Stealth d4, Swimming d4, Throwing d4 
Charisma: -; Pace: 6; Parry: 10; Toughness:
Gear: Rapier (Str+d4; Parry +1), medium shield (Parry +1), medium-pull pistol crossbow* (Shooting; range 9/18/36; 2d4+1; AP 1 from quarrels*) 
Hindrances: Curious (Major), Wanted (Minor), Big Mouth (Minor) 
Edges: Jack-of-All-Trades 
Background: Jack has spent his life wandering the land, trying his hand at dozens of different trades and professions - not all of them legal. His habit of poking his nose into other people's business combined with a loose tongue when it comes to secrets has ensured that he never stays in one place (or one job) for too long. 
Party Role: Jack can handle any role the party might be missing, or provide a backup if the main character is unavailable. He can sail a ship, talk to NPCs, pick locks, tend the wounded, do research, repair a broken wagon, gather information from the street, track and forage in the wilderness, and provide information on any knowledge-related task you might need. 

Cutter 
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6 
Skills: Fighting d12, Climbing d6, Lockpicking d6, Notice d4, Persuasion d4, Stealth d8, Streetwise d4 
Charisma: -; Pace: 6; Parry: 8; Toughness: 6 (1) 
Gear: Leather armour (+1), short sword (Str+d6), dagger (Str+d4) 
Hindrances: Overconfident (Major), Greedy (Minor), Enemy (Minor) 
Edges: Connections, Thief 
Background: Cutter isn't the brightest of street thugs, but he's a skilled thief and a master with the blade, and he has guild connections he can call on when needed. 
Party Role: Cutter competently fills the standard thief role, and can also call upon his connections in a pinch should the party require outside help. 

Sir Rylak 
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d4 
Skills: Fighting d12, Intimidation d4, Stealth d4, Knowledge (Battle) d8, Knowledge (Military Engineering) d8, Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Riding d4 
Charisma: +2; Pace: 4 (d4 running die); Parry: 9; Toughness: 6 (1) 
Gear: Leather armour (+1), rapier (Str+d4; Parry +1) 
Hindrances: Elderly (Major), Obese (Minor), Loyal (Minor) 
Edges: Command, Noble, Scholar 
Background: Sir Rylak was awarded his knighthood for outstanding military service many years ago. He hasn't aged gracefully, but he's still recognised as a master with the blade and a scholar of tactics, and is well respected for his many great deeds in the service of the crown. 
Party Role: Sir Rylak is a competent face for the party, and his Command Edge provides a bonus to other PCs during combat. He's also a learned scholar on the subject of military history, making him very useful should the party ever find themselves commanding troops on the battlefield. 

Father Peter 
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d4, Vigor d6 
Skills: Fighting d12, Faith d8, Healing d6, Knowledge (Medicine) d4, Notice d4, Survival d4 
Charisma: -; Pace: 6; Parry: 9; Toughness:
Gear: Staff (Str+d4; Reach 1"; Parry +1) 
Hindrances: Code of Honour (Major), Pacifist (Minor), Cautious (Minor) 
Edges: Arcane Background (Miracles), Elan 
Powers: Healing, Boost/Lower Trait 
Background: Father Peter is a wandering priest. He considers violence a last resort - but he didn't always feel that way. In his youth he was trained by the military faction of his church, and was top of the class, but then something changed his outlook on life. Now he prefers to save lives rather than take them. 
Party Role: Father Peter can provide healing, both magical and mundane, and can also boost the attributes and skills of his allies during combat.

* This weapon, Edge or Hindrance comes from the Savage Archery article in Savage Insider (Volume 2, Issue 2).

Shaintar characters

These characters are designed for the Shaintar setting. As the characters are generally stronger, and there's a much wider variety of Edges, it's easier to create more interesting and diverse characters with Fighting d12 than it is using just the core rules.

Koralle 
Race: Eldakar 
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6 
Skills: Fighting d12, Notice d6, Investigation d4, Knowledge (History) d4, Knowledge (Politics) d4, Persuasion d8, Stealth d4, Streetwise d4 
Charisma: +6; Pace: 6; Parry: 11; Toughness: 8 (3) 
Gear: Partial chain (+3), rapier (Str+d4; Parry +1), parrying dirk (Str+d4; Parry +1), Bracers (+1 Parry) 
Hindrances: Curious (Major), Stubborn (Minor), Cautious (Minor), Enemy (Racial) 
Edges: Bard, Charismatic 
Other Abilities: Low Light Vision, Detect Arcana at will, +2 sight-based Notice, +4 damage from Black Iron and Blood Steel 
Background: A wandering bard, Koralle combines his fae beauty with natural charm. 
Party Role: Koralle's +6 Charisma makes him a fantastic face for the party, and his racial senses make him a good watchman. 

Grom 
Race: Dwarf 
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d4, Strength d8, Vigor d8 
Skills: Fighting d12, Knowledge (Engineering) d4, Knowledge (Metallurgy) d4, Notice d8, Repair d8 
Charisma: -; Pace: 4 (d4 running die); Parry: 9; Toughness: 10 (3) 
Gear: Partial chain (+3), dwarven axe (Str+d8; AP 1), medium shield (Parry +1) 
Hindrances: Arrogant (Major), Stubborn (Minor), Obese (Minor) 
Edges: Apprentice Wright, Keeper of the Old Ways 
Other Abilities: Low Light Vision, can use Vigor for fear checks, sinks like a stone. 
Background: An engineer with a fondness for building weapons. 
Party Role: Grom is a skilled engineer capable of improvising devices when needed.

Grog 
Race: Ogre 
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d4, Strength d10, Vigor d8 
Skills: Fighting d12, Notice d6, Investigation d4, Knowledge (Kal-A-Nar Empire) d4, Knowledge (Magic) d6, Sorcery d8 
Charisma: -4; Pace: 7; Parry: 9; Toughness: 11 (3) 
Gear: Partial chain (+3), battle axe (Str+d8), medium shield (Parry +1) 
Hindrances: Wanted (Major), Vow (Minor), Vengeful (Minor), Outsider (Racial) 
Edges: More than Muscle, Sorcerer 
Powers: Bolt, Obscure, Deflection 
Other Abilities: Attackers get +1 to hit, +2 scent-based Notice, Reach 1, +2 Size, Thermal Vision 
Background: A former slave of the Kal-A-Nar Empire, Grog escaped and learned magic before returning for some payback. He's been a thorn in the Empire's side ever since. 
Party Role: Grog is a strong fighter as well as a competent spellcaster, and knows his way around the Kal-A-Nar Empire. 

Raff 
Race: Goblin 
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d4, Vigor d6 
Skills: Fighting d12, Notice d4, Tracking d4, Knowledge (Magic) d6, Stealth d6, Streetwise d4, Survival d4, The Way d8, Throwing d8 
Charisma: -2; Pace: 6; Parry: 10; Toughness: 5 (1) 
Gear: Partial leather (+1), staff (Str+d4; Reach 1"; Parry +1), Bracers (+1 Parry), dagger (Throwing; range 3/6/12; Str+d4) 
Hindrances: Bloodthirsty (Major), Loyal (Minor), Vengeful (Minor), Quirk (Racial), Outsider (Racial) 
Edges: Adept, Training 
Powers: Healing, Deflection, Mind Reading 
Other Abilities: Attackers suffer -1 to hit, +2 scent-based Notice, Hardy, -1 Size, Thermal Vision 
Background: A goblin wanderer, Raff is far more dangerous than he appears. 
Party Role: Raff is a ruthless warrior, but is loyal to his friends. He's also a potent psionicist trained in psychic healing and interrogation, and is comfortable living off the street or the land. 

Talshin 
Race: Korindian 
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6 
Skills: Fighting d12, Swimming d6, Boating d4, Climbing d4, Healing d4, Knowledge (History) d4, Notice d6, Stealth d6, Survival d4, Throwing d6, Tracking d4 
Charisma: -2; Pace: 6; Parry: 11; Toughness: 7 (2) 
Gear: Korindian studded leather armour (+2), korindian fighting sticks (Str+d4; Parry +1), Bracers (+1 Parry), sling (Throwing; range 4/8/16; Str+d4) 
Hindrances: Code of Honour (Major), Quirk (Minor), Cautious (Minor), Enemy (Racial), Outsider (Racial) 
Edges: Child of the Island, Martial Artist, Training 
Other Abilities: Low Light Vision, cannot use metal, +1 Parry, +2 damage from Black Iron and Blood Steel 
Background: A well trained Korindian warrior who has left his island home. 
Party Role: Talshin is skilled at surviving in forests and jungles (thanks to Child of the Island), and deadly with both weapons and unarmed combat.

Wasting Points

A common argument against starting with a skill above its linked attribute is that it wastes skill points, however this is only true if you later plan to raise the attribute. As Agility d8 already unlocks all of the Agility-based Edges (at least in the core rules), for some characters that may be as high as they ever wish to take it - they can only raise one attribute per rank, after all, and a melee character may decide they'd rather focus on Strength or Vigor.

If you've no wish to ever raise your Agility above d8, don't plan to raise any other Agility-based skills above d8, and you take Agility d8 during character creation, it can make a lot of sense to start with Fighting d12.

But even if you start with Agility d8 and Fighting d12, and later plan to raise Agility to d12, at most you've wasted 2 skill points. If you'd left Fighting at d8 and waited until you'd raised Agility before increasing Fighting, you'd save an advance in the long run (assuming there were other skills you wanted to raise) - but you'd also be a worse fighter until at least your second Seasoned advance (five total advances, which usually requires around 10 gaming sessions).

At that point you need to ask yourself if it's worth reducing your combat effectiveness for the first 10 gaming sessions in return for a free advance at the end. Some players might think so, others might not - what if the campaign only runs for a dozen sessions? What if your character dies after a dozen sessions? Isn't it better to create the character you want to play right from the start?