Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Distant Inheritance Characters

I ran the first session of a Distant Inheritance today (and since we play monthly, the only one that will correspond with this month’s write ups) and thought I would share how the character creation went.

It went well. The player group was one 30 year grognard (Jason), one 20 year veteran (Kris), a private with 2 years under his belt (Nick) and a pair of raw recruits (Logan and Dylan, ages 10 and 8). As usual, the most experienced players drew character creation out, strategizing on plot and mechanics elements while the younger players grabbed what they wanted.

I started with a quick description of each of the Archetypes then asked people which ones they wanted. Dylan really wanted the Hedge Wizard (because it had the word Wizard in the title) and Logan glommed onto the Expert Treasure Hunter. Nick quickly requested the Wiry Woodsman. Kris stalwartly rejected her nature for several minutes before she gave in and selected the Bookish Noble – after consultation with Jason to make sure we had at least one fighter type. Jason went with the Lost Heir as the most evident ‘plot hook’ character, though he and Kris did think that her Bookish Noble could have done the job if it came to that.

Then I ran through the Inheritances. Both young boys were clear on which Tolkien archetype they wanted: Dylan claimed one of the Elf options (I had 4 Elf and 4 Dwarf inheritances on the table in case they wanted a predominantly elf or dwarf party), then Third Eye when I listed it, and then dropped Third Eye for Wizardry. The kid wanted to be an elf wizard by golly, and nothing was going to stand in his way. After a lot of hemming and hawing we worked out his Talents that he is actual able to change into a giant eagle (without burning any of his Wizardry uses) through his magic and has a lot of birdlike qualities even when an elf.

Logan, by contrast wanted to be a Hobbit Thief, claiming Light Fingers inheritance along with the Hobbit one. Both are clearly highly optimized with 5d and lots of Talents in their key Traits.

Nick also pursued an optimization route by claiming the Hunter inheritance (only to see a lot of overlap with the Woodsman, which we had to work around by altering some Talents to prevent duplicates). He then took Company, which he traded in for Distaff – Nick’s at that lovely age where the joy of mechanics kicked in and he realized that the +2d bonus for surprising people with his competence as a woman was just as good as the bonus for having 12 people help him out but also less cumbersome for a sneaky woods type. That made the decision easy.

Kris and Jay went back and forth, trying to see if both of them could get the Noble Knight inheritance since they were kinfolk princes, but she took Great Family. She then claimed the Third Eye inheritance that Dylan had abandoned, wanting some supernatural oomph on her bookishness.

Jay claimed Noble Knight and then took the abandoned Company inheritance since everyone agreed that having an extra 6-12 men along could be useful and certainly fit the idiom. The system showed its versatility because his PC hits all the same notes as Thorin but he’s clearly in a different tune – with a strong need to maintain the appearance of royalty even with no kingdom he is both a connoisseur of food and wine and an expert with horses.

In any event, the PCs
Edgir Edrimson, Lost Heir of Tarmalania
Athletics 2d (Horse Racing)
Burglary 1d (Scouting)
Education 2d (Homeland Knowledge)
Lineage 4d (Prince of Tarmalania, Command)
Perception 2d (Spot Ambush, Connoisseur)
Warcraft 3d (Armored Combat, Mounted Combat)
Inheritances: Noble Knight, Company (2 squires, 1 sergeant, 4 soldiers, 1 quartermaster, 1 scout and 1 cook)

Rolf Edrimson, Scholarly Son of Tarmalania
Athletics 1d (Endurance, Dodge)
Burglary 1d (Slip Away)
Education 4d (Family History, See Enchantment, Identify Object)
Lineage 4d (Courage, Speak with Spirits, Diplomacy)
Perception 3d (Intuition, Sight)
Warcraft 2d (Mounted Combat)
Inheritances: Great Family, Third Eye

Ellena Ergrimsdotter
Athletics 3d (Survival, Acrobatic Movement)
Burglary 3d (Escape)
Education 1d (Nature Medicines [adapted from Education-based survival])
Lineage 1d (her family line are all Hard to Kill)
Perception 3d (Tracking, Trapping)
Warcraft 3d (Archery, Heavy Weapons [her father’s battle axe])
Inheritances: Distaff, Hunter

Fredegar Coopersmith
Athletics: 1d (Climb, Run Like Heck)
Burglary 5d (Small Stature, Pick Pocket, Lockpicking)
Education 2d (Map Reading)
Lineage 2d (His family has always been immune to poisons)
Perception 4d (Size Up Mark, Keen Ears, Hears Lies For What They Are)
Warcraft 1d (Thrown Weapons)
Inheritances: Hobbit, Light Fingers

Merogas the Eagle
Athletics 3d (Weightless Stride, Eagle’s Shape)
Burglary 2d (Roost [can perch anywhere staying out of sight])
Education 5d (Elf Lore, Fire Lore, Water Lore, Animal Lore)
Lineage 1d (Language of Birds)
Perception 1d (Flat Earth, Eagle Eye for Weakness)
Warcaft 2d (Grow Talons)
Inheritances: Elf, Wizardry

That’s a group that claimed both Sneaky archetypes and two of the three Educated ones, leaving one lone Warrior (who didn’t even max out his Warcraft, preferring a balanced approach). The only thing that makes them look like a group of warrior-adventurers is the, well, 10 other guys with swords riding horses.

No one took the Hidden Depths archetype but I think I can work in the Bildungsroman aspect through the two princely brothers becoming more like each other (and therefore both fully rounded individuals), and with Ellena’s fight for acceptance as an equal. As it stands the rest of the group believes that she is along because she is a) the prince’s distant cousin and b) is the daughter of the man whose actions set 20 years earlier gave the princes the clues they need to achieve their destiny and c) she might be a half-decent archer. Even Edgir thinks she carries the battle axe solely out of filial devotion and not because she can actually use it. Her path, more than any other, will mirror Bilbo’s, but we shall see how it plays.