Character Creation.   Posted by Game Master.Group: 0
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Thu 19 Nov 2015
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Character Creation
Attribute Scores

Your character’s definition emerges first from six primary attributes (three physical, three intellectual/ social) that govern many aspects of play.  You will begin character creation by randomly rolling your six attributes, ending up with scores between 2 and 12 in each attribute.

Attribute Scores
Range  |  Descriptor           |  Modifier
0-1        |  Impaired              |  -3
2-3        |  Poor                      |  -2
4-5        |  Below Average  |  -1
6-7        |  Average               |  +0
8-9        |  Exceptional        |  +1
10-11   |  Heroic                  |  +2
12-13   |  Superior               |  +3
14-15   |  Beyond Mortal   |  +4
16-17   |  Titanic                 |  +5
18-19   |  Demi-godlike     |  +6
20         |  Supreme               |+7
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Thu 19 Nov 2015
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Character Creation
Steps in Character Creation

1. Roll for Attribute Scores. Roll 3d6 and keep the best two results for each of your six attributes. (Alternately, roll 2d6 for each attribute, but re-roll 1s).
  • Example: For my first attribute, I roll [1, 2, 4], I drop the 1, and end up with a result of 6. Do this six times and record the results on scrap paper.
  • I roll 7, 9, 6, 5, 7, 8.

2. Select an Archetype (pages 21-25). Record this on your Character Sheet (page 13).
  • Example: I want to play a human cleric.

3. Assign the six scores to attributes as desired (based on the needs of your archetype).
  • Example: A human cleric needs high WIS, so I assign my scores as follows: STR 8; INT 7; WIS 9; DEX 5; CON 6; CHA 7.

4. Balance your scores, as needed. For every 2 points you give up, you get 1 point back. You cannot decrease an attribute score below 6 in this way, and you cannot increase an attribute score beyond 12. Record these scores, and the applicable modifier (page 8), on your character sheet.
  • Example: I improve WIS to 10, reducing INT and CHA. I end up with:
  • STR 8 (+1); INT 6 (-); WIS 10 (+2); DEX 5 (-1); CON 6 (-); CHA 6 (-).

5. Roll 1d6 for hit points. Remember to modify this by your CON modifier. Re-roll any result of 3 or less. Record this on your character sheet next to hits (alternately, roll 1d4+2 for hit points every level, modified by your CON modifier).
  • Example: As a human cleric, I roll 1d6 and get a 1 (eek!) but fortunately I’m allowed to re-roll this. I roll again and get 5. I have no bonus from CON, so I begin with 5 hit points.

6. Determine your FEAT modifier (FEAT). Take your base FEAT (for your level) and adjust this by your prime requisite modifier. Record this on your character sheet.
  • Example: I have a FEAT of 4 + level modifier + WIS modifier. I am level 1, and my WIS 10 gives me +2, bringing my total FEAT to +7.

7. Select weapons and gear. You begin with 3d6 x10 silver pieces (sp).
  • Example: I roll 3d6 and get 7, multiplying this by 10 to get 70 starting sp. Using the equipment list starting on page 29, I purchase:
  • Leather armor (20 sp) and a shield (10 sp)
  • A mace (5 sp), a sling (2 sp) and 30 sling stones (3 sp)
  • A starter pack of basic provisions (20 sp)
  • This costs a total of 60 sp. I record the remaining 10 sp on my character sheet under treasure. I know right away that my next expenditure is going to be a holy symbol!

8. Determine your Armor Class (AC), based on any worn armor and modifiers for DEX. Add all modifiers to a base Armor Class of 10.
  • Example: with leather armor (+2), a shield (+2) and DEX 5 (-1 modifier) I have an AC of 13 (10 base +2 +2 -1).

9. Determine your weapon ratings, based on your archetype, level, attributes and purchased weapon.
  • Example: I have two weapons: a mace and a sling.
  • For the mace, I get to add my +1 Level Modifier and +1 from my STR modifier to hit rolls. For damage, I add my STR modifier to damage. Next to the mace in the weapons section, I write (+2 to hit; 1d6+1 damage)
  • For the sling, I get to add my +1 Level Modifier to the hit roll, but must subtract my -1 DEX modifier from it. These cancel each other out. I don’t get to add any modifier to damage with missile weapons. Next to the sling in the weapons section, I write (+0 to hit; 1d4 damage).

Your Level Modifier (LM) is one half your level, rounded up. Your LM sets your base bonus to all attack rolls and your base modifier to FEATS. See the chart on page 17 for more information on Level Modifiers.

10. Note any special abilities, based on archetype. Record these on your character sheet.
  • Example: I can compel undead. I write this on my character sheet.

11. Decide on your alignment, and record this on your character sheet. See page 17 for alignments.
  • Example: I see my human cleric as a defender of his homeland, so I choose Lawful as my alignment.

12. Select a purpose and record this on your character sheet. See page 28.
  • Example: For my purpose, I decide that I want my character to “eradicate undead from the realm”. I record this.

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Thu 19 Nov 2015
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Character Creation
Types of Rolls: Checks
A check is always a d20 roll (a high roll is better), with a default target (goal) of 20. Sometimes, you roll a check using your relevant attribute or ability. If your roll (on 1d20) + your applicable rating (+/- any bonuses or penalties) = 20 or more, you succeed. If I need to make an INT check (using my INT 12) to make sense of an ancient rune I find, I roll 1d20+12. If I roll an 8 or better on the die (for a total result of 20 or more), I succeed. Regardless of circumstance, a natural 20 always succeeds on a check, and a natural 1 always fails on a check.

You use your ability rating, not the modifier, when making a check. Your modifier only applies in certain situations (see page 9).

Penalties and Bonuses to Checks
Apply bonuses and penalties as modifiers to the roll. If I am trying to use my STR 10 to force open a door, but the door is very heavy (a -4 to the check), I roll 1d20 + 6 (10-4) to see if I succeed. I still need to get a final result of 20 to succeed (meaning I need to roll a 14 or better on the die).

Situational Modifiers
Modifier  |  Situation
+4             |  Easy. You should be able to do this!
+2             |  Advantage. You have some advantage in this situation.
-2              |  Disadvantage. You will probably struggle to do this.
-4              |  Difficult. You will struggle to do this.
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Fri 20 Nov 2015
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Character Creation
Result Rolls: Attacks and Damage

For result rolls, use the appropriate die based on the weapon or attack type.

An attack (roll ‘to hit’) is always a 1d20 roll.  You roll to meet or exceed the armor class (AC) rating of your foe. Roll 1d20 + your level modifier (or hit dice for monsters), adjusted by attributes and/or magic.  For example, as a human fighter 7 with STR 10 and a sword +3, you add +9 to hit rolls with your sword (+4 from level modifier; +2 from STR; +3 from your sword).  Against a foe with AC 17, you will need a roll of 8 or better to hit (since 9+8=17).

Damage is based on the weapon or spell used.  A critical hit on an attack roll (a natural 20) allows you to double the die result from your following damage roll (before adding bonuses from abilities or magic).  With the character above, if you roll 5 on the die for damage, you deal 10 points of damage (5 from the die, +2 from STR, +3 from the magic sword); on a natural 20, you deal 15 points of damage (5 from the die doubled, +2 from STR, +3 from the magic sword).

Regardless of circumstance or modifier, a natural 20 always hits, and a natural 1 always misses.  If you must roll natural 20 to hit on an attack, you cannot score a critical hit on that attack.
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Sun 22 Nov 2015
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Character Creation

A FEAT is a resistant or defensive roll to withstand a spell, fight off a poison, or endure a difficult circumstance; alternately, a FEAT may be an active roll to find, notice, or use a skill not governed by an attribute.  A FEAT is always resolved as a check (1d20 roll) adding your FEAT rating (based on archetype, level and prime requisite modifiers).  If your total result is equal to or more than 20, you succeed.  For instance, a human fighter’s prime requisite is STR; he uses strength to fight off enemy spells, push through a poison coursing through his veins, or withstand a dragon’s breath.  Conversely, a human thief (whose prime requisite is DEX), attempts to avert his gaze at the last minute, draw back his hand before the poison can fully set in, or evade the dragon’s breath.  The human thief also ties skills (i.e. picking locks, foiling traps) to his FEAT modifier.

FEATS may involve situational modifiers up to +4/-4.  These modifiers will be noted in the description of the item, spell or creature.  For example, a spider with a weak poison may allow those affected by it to roll the FEAT at +4, while a powerful magic item may impose a penalty of -2 to the FEAT vs. mind control.
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Sun 22 Nov 2015
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Character Creation
Other FEATS: Sense and Morale

Roll a sense FEAT to notice a passive environmental feature (a secret door, a hidden trap) or another creature using stealth against you.  Roll 1d20 + your FEAT modifier, comparing this to the static environmental target (usually 20) or the result of the foe’s sneak FEAT roll.

Other creatures (including your enemies and allies controlled by the GM), may need to make a morale FEAT, a check that determines whether or not a monster or ally of the player characters will remain in combat.  If the check fails, the creature turns and flees.  Creatures check morale if they suffer the death of an ally or incapacitation of better than half of their forces.  Player Characters never need to check morale; players decide whether or not their characters continue to fight.  A follower takes a bonus based on the CHA modifier of his leader.  For example, if you have CHA 12, your followers take +3 to morale FEATS.  Henchmen always take +2 to morale (since they are more loyal); retainers always take -2 to morale (since they are less loyal).
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Sun 22 Nov 2015
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Character Creation

Your alignment indicates your general ethos.  The three alignments include:

 Lawful. You value fairness and honesty.  You feel that life should be protected, and would consider sacrificing your life to defend others.  You generally respect others, and expect them to respect you as well.  Most people would perceive your ethos as ‘good’.

 Neutral. You try to deal in fairness and honesty, but you know that you cannot always trust others.  You extend respect to those worthy of it.

 Chaotic. You feel that lying and cheating are acceptable in order to get what you want.  You value your own life more than the lives of others.  Most people would perceive your ethos as ‘evil’.
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Sun 22 Nov 2015
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Character Creation

All characters are assumed to speak and understand the trade tongue, the common language of all civilized folk.  Dwarves, elves and stoutlings also know the native language of their respective race.

 With INT 1-3, you can speak, but not read or write, the trade tongue.
 With INT 4-7, you can read, write and speak the trade (and racial) tongue.
 With exceptional INT (8+), you can read, write and speak a number of extra languages equal to your INT modifier.
 With INT 11, you know the trade tongue, any racial language, and 2 additional languages.
 Common languages include elf, dwarf, stoutling, goblinoid, dragon, or giant.
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Sun 22 Nov 2015
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Character Creation

These rules provide seven archetypes to select from.  Each archetype defines your character’s basic abilities and scope, using the following qualities:

 FEAT gives the method for determining your FEAT modifier.
 Armor lists which armors (by type) that you have access to.  If you wear heavier armor than you have access to, you take -4 to all action/ FEAT rolls while wearing this armor, and you cannot cast spells.
 Shield indicates whether or not you may carry a shield.
 Weapons lists which weapons (by type) you have access to.  For dwarves, elves and stoutlings, the availability of weapons is based on their relative size compared to various weapon types.

Magic indicates if this archetype has access to arcane magic or faith magic.

You record spells in your spell book (for arcane magic) or prayer book (for faith magic).  As a faith caster or an arcane caster, you add these spells to your spell book by finding them on spell scrolls or uncovering them through research; for both faith and arcane casters, scribing a spell in your spell book destroys the scroll from which it came.

When you want to cast a spell, you may choose from any spell in your spell book at that sphere; you can cast the same spell repeatedly, as needed, until your available allotment for that day has been used.  Casting a spell takes one action.

Talents lists the levels at which you earn a Talent, a specialized area of training or a special ability.  Humans earn Talents at levels 3, 6, 9 and 12, while demi-humans earn Talents at levels 4, 8 and 12.

Abilities include specialized areas of training or expertise, or innate abilities possessed by members of that archetype.  Roll most ability attempts as a FEAT, typically against a target of 20

This message was last edited by the GM at 05:14, Sun 22 Nov 2015.

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Sun 22 Nov 2015
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Character Creation
Human Cleric
FEAT:  4 + Level Modifier + WIS modifier
Armor:  Medium
Shield:  Yes
Weapons:  Melee: Heavy (blunt only); Missile: sling only
Magic:  Faith Magic
Talents:  Levels 3, 6, 9, 12
Abilities:  Compel Undead

Human Fighter
FEAT:  4 + Level Modifier + STR modifier
Armor:  Heavy
Shield:  Yes
Weapons:  Great
Magic:  None
Talents:  Levels 3, 6, 9, 12
Abilities:  Improved hit points; Improved critical range; 2-handed fighting

Human Magic User
FEAT:  4 + Level Modifier + INT modifier
Armor:  None
Shield:  No
Weapons:  Light or staff only
Magic:  Arcane Magic
Talents:  Levels 3, 6, 9, 12
Abilities:  Cantrips

Human Thief
FEAT:  4+ Level Modifier + DEX modifier
Armor:  Light
Shield:  No
Weapons:  Medium
Magic:  None
Talents:  Levels 3, 6, 9, 12
Abilities:  Activate Magic as an INT check; Foil Traps; Pick Locks; Pilfer; Sneak; Sneak Attack

Dwarf Myrmidon
FEAT:  5 + Level Modifier + better of STR or CON modifier
Armor:  Heavy
Shield:  Yes
Weapons:  Heavy
Magic:  None
Talents:  Levels 4, 8, 12
Abilities:  Darkvision (60’); 2-handed fighting; +1 to AC; +2 sense bonus while underground

Elf Champion
FEAT:  5 + Level Modifier + better of STR or INT modifier
Armor:  Medium
Shield:  Yes
Weapons:  Heavy
Magic:  Arcane Magic
Talents:  Levels 4, 8, 12
Abilities:  Darkvision (30’); +2 to all sense FEATs; 2-handed fighting

Stoutling Explorer
FEAT:  6 + Level Modifier + better of DEX or WIS modifier
Armor:  Heavy
Shield:  Yes
Weapons:  Medium
Magic:  None
Talents:  Levels 4, 8, 12
Abilities:  Darkvision (30’); Immune to fear; Luck; Sneak (as a FEAT); 2-handed fighting
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Sun 22 Nov 2015
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Character Creation

An encounter includes any meeting with an obstacle (such as a river to cross or a puzzle to solve) or a creature (whether friend or foe, predator or prey).  Measure time during encounters in turns of 10 minutes and rounds of 10 seconds.  A sequence of combat may last one round or many rounds, but is always assumed to take at least 1 turn (including the time recovering from the battle, cleaning weapons, tending to wounds, etc.).


Your movement rate indicates how many feet you can travel in one round (10 seconds) while doing nothing else.  It also indicates how many 10’ square areas you can explore in 1 turn.  You can travel half of your move rating (in feet) as a combat move.  When you make a combat move, you take -2 to the simultaneous attack roll.  You cannot make a combat move and cast spells at the same time, but you can compel undead, drink a potion, or make a check while taking a combat move.

 Humans and elves have a move of 40.
 Dwarves and stoutlings have a move of 30.
 Take -10 to move every time you surpass your encumbrance threshold.
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Mon 23 Nov 2015
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Character Creation
Appendix C: Callings

Callings are add-ons to your existing archetype, specialized fields of expertise within the archetype.  You must select a calling at character creation.  By taking a calling, you take a 30% penalty to all experience points you earn; if you finish an adventure and earn 40 XP, you lose 12 XP (30%), and earn 28 for that adventure.  List your calling in parenthesis after your archetype; for example, as a human fighter 4 with the warden calling, you are a human fighter (warden) 4.

Each calling is listed with its availability (listing which archetypes may take this calling), requirements (minimum abilities needed to take this calling) limitations (any restrictions to the primary archetype) and benefits (unique abilities) of taking this calling.

Minor Magic Access

A calling that grants minor magic access allows the character to wield magic of the type, using his or her Level Modifier in place of the caster level for all intents and purposes.  For example, a human thief (bard) 7 is a level 7 character; however, his Level Modifier is 4.  This means that he has the same casting abilities as an arcane caster 4; he may wield up to sphere 2 spells, and whenever a spell is affected by his level, he uses 4 as the modifier instead of 7.  He does not get unique archetype features of a human magic user, such as access to cantrips.

The Bard
As a bard, you are a storyteller and entertainer who has learned a smattering of arcane magic.
 Human fighter; human thief; dwarf myrmidon; stoutling explorer
Requirements: As a bard, you must…
 Have INT and CHA of 8 or better.
Limitations: None
Benefits: As a bard, you…
 Have minor access to arcane magic.
 Receive the bardic voice talent automatically at level 1.  If you purchase this talent again, those who hear your tales take -4 to the FEAT roll to resist.

The Druid
As a druid, you are a keeper of the woods and a protector of the natural world.
 Human cleric, human magic user, elf champion
Requirements: As a druid, you must…
 Have a WIS of 8 or better.
 Be neutral (human clerics who take the druid subclass must be neutral, and cannot be lawful or chaotic).
Limitations: As a druid, you…
 Must remain neutral.
 Cannot wield metal weapons; most weapons will be of wood or stone.
Benefits: As a druid, you…
 May use nature magic in addition to your normal spell selection.  You do not gain additional spells, but have a wider selection of spells to choose from.
 Have a natural companion that follows you and obeys your commands.  This companion has a CL equal to your LM, and always advances when your LM increases.  It is unquestioningly loyal to you.  If your companion dies, it will be replaced in 1d6 days.  Common examples include huge eagles, wolves, bears and great cats.

The Paladin
As a paladin, you are a champion of justice.
 Human fighter; dwarf myrmidon; stoutling explorer
Requirements: As a paladin, you must…
 Have CHA of 10 or better.
 Be lawful, and always remain lawful.
 Always maintain the highest standards of honor and integrity.
Benefits: As a paladin, you…
 Take +1 to your FEAT modifier.
 Have minor access to faith magic.
 Can compel undead as a cleric does, using your LM instead of your level.  If you take the undead acumen talent, you compel undead at your level +2.
 May summon a special mount once you reach level 4.  This mount is a unique creature that will serve you only.  The GM will decide what sort of mount you get: an exceptional horse of the finest breeding, or even a magical mount such as a hippogriff or pegasus.

The Warden
As a warden, you are a guardian of the natural world, seeking out those who would cause it harm.
 Human fighter; human thief; dwarf myrmidon; stoutling explorer
Requirements: As a warden, you must…
 Have a WIS of 8 or better.
Limitations: As a warden, you …
 Cannot be chaotic.
Benefits: As a warden, you…
 Have minor access to nature magic.
 Are able to track foes.  Use 1 turn to roll a FEAT to attempt to track a foe.  Take up to -4 to the roll for difficult circumstances (for example, tracking stealthy foes or those who have walked across stone) or take up to +4 to the roll for favorable circumstances (for example, tracking through snow or tracking large numbers of adversaries).

The Warlock (or Witch)
As a warlock (or witch) you are a wielder of dark magics, drawing upon ancient, and often malign, powers.
 Human magic user
Requirements: As a warlock or witch, you must…
 Have both INT 8 and WIS 8.
Limitations: As a warlock or witch, you…
 Cannot be lawful.
 Have enmity with fiends (see below).
Benefits: As a warlock or witch, you…
 Have full access to both arcane and faith magic (but may only cast the reversals of faith spells that can be reversed).

Enmity with Fiends
As a warlock or witch, you call upon the names and powers of dark creatures to power your magic.  Whenever you cast a spell of the highest sphere you have access to, you must roll a FEAT (target 20).  If you fail, a fiend takes notice of you, and will actively work against you.  For a sphere 1 or 2 spell, you attract the notice of a minor fiend; for a sphere 3 or 4 spell, you attract the notice of a true fiend.  For a sphere 5 or 6 spell, you attract the notice of an elder fiend.  This creature might attack outright, or may be drawn to the realm by your power, and work against you in secret.  For example, as a magic user 7 (warlock), your most powerful spells are sphere 4.  Any time you cast a sphere 4 spell, you must roll a FEAT (target 20) or attract a true fiend, drawing it into the realm.
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Mon 23 Nov 2015
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Character Creation

As you achieve the thresholds for Talents (levels 3, 6, 9, 12 for humans; levels 4, 8, 12 for demi-humans), you earn a new talent.  Select any of the talents from the options below.

1. Armor Mastery. Improve your armor availability by one rating (for example, a magic user may wear light armor; a cleric may wear heavy armor). Human fighters, dwarf myrmidons and stoutling explorers will not take this talent.

2. Backstab. Take +1d6 damage on surprise attacks in melee combat; this stacks with existing thief bonuses.

3. Bardic Voice. Tell stories or perform to win over an audience.  When you have at least 1 turn to tell a story or perform, roll a contested FEAT against all thinking creatures within 60’ that can understand you.  Those who fail will consider you a friend and ally for a number of hours equal to your level, unless you seek to do harm to those targets.

4. Elementalism. Cast arcane spells of the selected elemental type as if you were one caster level higher.

5. Enemy. Take +1 to all rolls against one enemy type.

6. Expertise. Take +1 to one attribute (you may increase an attribute to 13, but may not increase the same attribute more than once).

7. Focused. Take +10% to all experience points you earn.

8. Fortitude. Take +5 hit points.

9. Frenzy. Once per day per Level Modifier, enter a rage for 1 turn as a free action; take + level to hit points, +1 to hit, +1 damage with melee weapons.

10. Initiative. Take +4 to initiative FEAT rolls.

11. Improved Critical. Increase your critical range to 19-20 (or to 18-20 as a human fighter).

12. Leadership. Take +2 to CHA for reaction rolls and morale of followers.

13. Luck. Re-roll any result of 1, as a stoutling explorer does.  You must take the second roll. If you are a stoutling explorer, improve your existing luck: any time you re-roll using luck, add +2 to the second roll (a natural 1 on an attack may still fumble normally, and a natural 1 still fails a check).

14. Mysticism. You know one sphere 1 spell (either arcane or faith).  You may cast this twice per day.  As a caster, take 2 extra sphere 1 spell slots per day.  Non-casters (or casters taking magic of another type) use their Level Modifier as caster level.  A human fighter 6 taking cure light wounds can cast that spell twice per day, restoring 1d6+3 hit points each time.

15. Night Sight. Take darkvision 30’, or increase existing darkvision range +30’.

16. Parry. Take +1 to AC when you have a melee weapon drawn; take +2 to AC when you wield two melee weapons.

17. Perception. Take +2 to sense FEATs.

18. Quick Draw. Take one extra missile weapon attack every round.

19. Quick Spell. Once per turn, cast two spells on your action in one round.

20. Quick Strike. Take one extra melee attack every round with your primary melee weapon.

21. Running. Increase your movement rate by +20.

22. Second Wind. Once per turn, recover 1d6 + your level modifier hit points as a free action.  You may do this a number of times per day equal to your Level Modifier.

23. Sharpshooting. Take a +1 die shift to damage rolls with missile weapon attacks; ex: a short bow (1d6 damage) deals 1d8 damage in your hands.

24. Shield Bearer. Share your AC bonus from a shield with one ally within 5’.  Both you and the ally receive the bonus from your shield.  You must have shield use available to your archetype to take this Talent.  Alternately, use this Talent to take a shield as part of an archetype that does not typically use a shield.

25. Sundering. Make a simultaneous melee attack against all targets within 5’ with every attack you make with your primary melee weapon.

26. Thievery. Take +2 to any one thief ability (if you already have it) -or- take one thief ability as if you were a human thief of that level.

27. Two-Handed Fighting. As an archetype that does not have two-handed fighting, take this ability.  As an archetype that has this ability, take an additional +2 to damage when fighting in melee two-handed.

28. Two Weapons. Attack with two weapons each round; your primary weapon attacks normally, while your second weapon strikes only once per round.  Both weapons must be rated one rank below your available weapons; a dwarf myrmidon could wield two medium weapons, but not a heavy weapon and another weapon.  You cannot use a shield as well.

29. Undead Acumen. As a cleric, take +4 to compel undead; as another archetype, compel undead as a cleric.

30. Weapon Mastery. Improve your weapon availability by one rating (ex: a human magic user may use medium weapons).  Fighters cannot take this.

This message was last edited by the GM at 03:47, Mon 23 Nov 2015.

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Character Creation

Light Armor
Padded +1 (AC 11)
Leather +2 (AC 12)

Medium Armor
Studded +3 (AC 13)
Chainmail +4 (AC 14)

Heavy Armor
Scale Mail +5 (AC 15)
Plate Mail +6 (AC 16)

Shield* +2 AC

* A shield may only be used while wielding a one-handed weapon.
Maximum DEX Bonus gives the maximum modifier to AC you can receive from exceptional DEX while wearing this armor.
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Character Creation
Part 3: Advanced Characters

While many players will be happy to continue sending their heroes into wild lands and deep labyrinths in search of fame and treasure, others may decide to take their characters in other directions, or to expand their sphere of influence.  This section includes some suggestions for ways to do this.

Note that there are few hard and fast rules for advanced characters.  While most characters who establish strongholds and attract followers are level 9 or better, you are not required to wait until level 9 to take such action.  A highly successful and exceptionally wealthy level 5 character could conceivably establish a stronghold and attract followers.  However, at level 5 you may not be prepared for the many challenges you may face or powerful enough to overcome the rival armies that may seek to take over your new fortress…

Henchmen are close friends and allies of the Player Characters.  They are loyal, faithful, and more reliable than retainers.
 A henchman may be a character with an archetype and level; however, the henchman must be lower level than the PC who takes the henchman on.
 A henchman is quite faithful.  Any time a henchman must make a morale check, roll the FEAT (target 20) at +2 (also adding the PC’s CHA modifier).  If this check fails, the henchman flees for 1 turn, but will return if possible.
 A henchman is created and played by the player.
 A character may not employ more henchmen than his or her CHA modifier +1 at one time; with CHA 12, a character may have 4 henchmen at one time.
 Henchmen are not paid a wage; they expect a share of treasure and experience.  A henchmen expects half a share of treasure, and half a share of experience (so two henchmen count as one player character).  Because they have exceptional skill and training, they are entitled to a larger reward for their services.

Retainers are less committed – and also cheaper to maintain – than henchmen.
 A retainer is usually a level 0 man-at-arms (1d6 hit points, light armor, light weapons) who is looking for work.
 A retainer is less faithful.  Any time a retainer must make a morale check, roll a FEAT (target 20) at -2 (also adding the PC’s CHA modifier).  If this check fails, the retainer flees for 1 turn, but may return (this is up to the GM).
 A retainer may not be entirely honest about his or her background, experiences, alignment, and motivations.
 A retainer is often willing to work for as little as 3 sp per day, although it is expected that the PC will provide weapons and gear for the retainer.
 A retainer will not do something that is clearly deadly or exceptionally dangerous.  For example, a retainer might be willing to go first into an unknown room, but will probably not jump into a pit of flames to try and recover an item from within.
 A retainer is played by the GM.
 A character may employ no more retainers than his or her CHA rating.  A character with CHA 9 may employ up to 9 retainers at once.