Sunday, January 2, 2022

2022 Character Creation Challenge 2) Skyrealms of Jorune (1987 update)

Day 2 of #CharacterCreationChallenge

The Skyrealms of Jorune character sheet from the 1987 edition is an integral part of the character creation process – the rules supplement repeatedly directs people to the character sheet where it will all make sense. And it more or less does. But it's also a 4-page monstrosity. So I'm doing a descriptive Walk Through 

First I decided I wanted to play a Boccord, an offshoot of humanity that is bigger, stronger, and has some special senses over regular humans, but suffers some social drawbacks. This is right in my wheelhouse, as I love playing big, strong PCs. 

I rolled the stats, which are in 4 groups of 3. Roll 3d6 (or 1d6+7 for the last group) 3 times for each group and place where you want. Then roll 1d6 bonus points that you can distribute inside that set. My sets

Constitution 12, Social 8, Color 10. Bonus die was a +1, which I used to increase Constitution. I could have swapped the Social and Color rolls, and a low Social will end up hurting me in the long run, but you need at least a 10 Color to access the Boccord special senses, so that was a no brainer. 

Strength 12, Education 13, Isho 9 (I swapped the Education and Isho rolls). Bonus due was a +1, which I used to increase Strength. The low Isho has very little impact on a Boccord, so no loss there. 

Speed 8, Agility 13 Aim 9 (I was already seeing a strong melee fighter so I swapped the Agility and Aim rolls). Bonus die was +5, which boosted Speed to 10, Agility to 14, and Aim to 11. 

Spot 8, Learn 13, Listen 9. Bonus die was a +4, so Spot moved to 10 and Listen to 11. 

The immediate thoughts when I was rolling were for a strong warrior type, and I really liked the high Education and maxed out Learn scores. Combined with the low social and Hemen Korath (yes, that's his name) had become a voracious reader and autodidact. 

Now, to flesh that out with skills. Skills are purchased in three passes, and each time you have your EDU stat to spend. The first pass lets you buy packages of skills and occupational groups. Buying the packages gives you logical clusters by skill type, while occupations are more varied but still make sense. Each skill has 10 levels, those are grouped into Inexperienced (0-1), Familiar (2-4), Experienced (5-7) and Seasoned (8-10), and the 1987 rules supplement gives the GM guidelines as to what success or failure looks like at each level – experienced people not only have a higher chance of success, but they also get more when they make the roll and fail forward more often. It's complex, but it's comprehensive. 

My picture for Hemen was a very bright kid from a low social status who read a ton and ended up going into the armed forces to expand his skills. He might not have expected to, but when he's out of the army he's going to start his Tauther test and head for citizenship. 

His high Agility gives him an automatic Familiarity (level 3) with Athletic skills, while his modest Aim makes him suck less at ranted combat (level 1). His Education gives him a Seasoned (9) Writing and Experienced (5) reading of the Human language. His low social gives him a starting skill level of 1d6-1 in interaction, and I lucked out with a roll of 6. So Interaction starts at an impressive Experienced (5). 

I started with saying Hemen grew up in Ardoth, the capital city, and picked up the City Skills group for cheap (it's only 1 point if you have an urban background). He's got a broad Familiarity with Ardoth, and is Experienced with Connections and Bureaucracy. 

I also dropped 2 points on Practical Knowledge, the skill package that covers, well, day to day knowledge. I wanted Hemen to be broadly read and this was a good place to start. This made him Familiar with Current Events, Geography, Arithmetic, Weather, and Fauna Recognition and experienced with Lore. I'm deliberately leaving off Earth Tech and History for reasons to be made clear later. 

Now, I could have one with the Iscin career, or bought the packages of Classics and/or Sciences, but those imply a broader, more formal education and I like the idea of Hemen being one of those street kids rising to General someday, hence the Practical Knowledge. 

Then 2 points buys the Yord career, which is the equivalent of a town guard. This is Hemen's first step out of the lower classes. He works 2 years in that for the cost of 2 Education points (that's 5 spent total, 8 left), and gives him Experience with Getting Around, which since it's in the City Skills group he already has adds +1 to the 5 of normal Experience level, so he is Experienced (6). He get Familiarity (2) with all pole weapons, knife and fist. Finally, he gets Familiarity with Human Interaction, which raises his base in that from (5) to (6). 

Hemen's next step is moving to the Burdothian Military (for 8 Education, wiping him out). He enlists for 6 years and gets all the advantages of the Militia career and the Burdothian Military (Infantry) Career. This is a big deal because the Militia lets you make 3d6 rolls against Spot, Listen, Constitution, Strength, Aim and Agility, and any where you roll higher than your current increases it by 1 point. This ends up increasing Hemeth to Strength 14, Spot 11 and Listen 12. Not bad. 

The Militia also gives Familiarity his Knife and Fist, which adds to his Yord career and gives him Familiar (3) with both. He gets Familiarity with one pole weapon, and I increase his Pike to Familiar (3), again adding to his Yord career. He gains Familiarity (2) with the whole Outland group – and I'm not sure if the level bonus he'd get from his Agility applies to Conceal Self and Silent Move because those only come if you purchase the group – and Expertise (5) with Set Up Camp… There's a Set Up Camp skill? OK. He also gets +2 levels on all the Athletics skills, which with his Agility bonus means he's Experienced (5) in all. 

Most Importantly for his long term ambitions he gets Military Etiquette (5) and Earth Tech (5) from Practical Knowledge, which is why I didn't raise it earlier. 

Being in the actual Burdothian Infantry improves this by giving him Experience with one pole weapon, so I'm improving Spear to Experienced (6) – again a boost on the Yord career. He also gets Experienced (5) in Sword and Defense w/Shield. He's a very versatile close combat fighter, able to use sword alone, sword and shield, or spear with great experience. 

That's the first round of skills. Now he has his Education in points to raise any skills, 1 point per point, up to a maximum of (5). 

First step is taking Classics – History Familiarity (2), which indicates a deeper dive in history than the Practical Knowledge skill. Succeeding in this gives you broad and deep insight into History and failing at the Familiar level gives you what you would have gotten from a success Practical Knowledge roll. It's the only Classical skill you can raise without buying the whole set, and it's the core to the character being an autodidact. He also picks up Familiarity (2) with Human Etiquette, Storytelling and Oration, rounding him out as an acceptable public speaker who, while still clearly of the lower classes, isn't an embarrassment. 

Finally, finishing his military career he adds 1 level in Range – Knife and Range – Spear. The difference between his current, Aim based Inexperienced (1) and Experienced (2) is huge (5 points on a d20), so that's a no brainer. He also has practiced his Advance maneuver, letting him change range categories, moving it to Familiar (2). It's not great, but it's something. I have one point left that goes to Woofen Interaction (1); he's at least had some contact with one of the planets genetically engineered races. 

Last Step! Harren has 13 points to spend to increase Practical Knowledge skills. This is the "yes, you're going to short change these skills to learn swordplay, so we're going to force you to take them" mechanic, but since Harren already has this Package he is able to move a lot of his skills here to Experienced – the only ones that aren't are Fauna Recognition (1), Fauna Recognition (2) and Geology (0). 

There's a lot of steps to this, and a contemporary game design would do it VERY differently, even if just in fleshing out the nascent Lifepath system of the three rounds of Education spend, but it does lead to a nicely rounded character. The dice roles gave me something to hang my hat on for an idea, and I think Harren is well positioned to start his Tauther test. 

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