First Draft Character Creation

Okay, first draft for character creation.  It’s pretty simple overall:

  • Come up with a character concept;
  • Choose cornerstone talents that suit the concept;
  • Choose common talents that suit the concept;
  • Choose capstone talents that suit the concept;
  • Choose gear (I usually give starting characters gear that matches their talents);
  • Choose descriptive elements like height, weight, alignment.

I’ve got a slew of common talents defined (at least in draft): Divine Talents from Agents of Faith, Combat Talents from FantasyCraft, and more Combat Talents from Iron Heroes mastery feats.

I’ve also started a document containing new talents, including a cornerstone talent.

Already I have errata.  Capstones are ‘shaped’ more like standard talents, including potentially having multiple tiers and being cumulative in their effect and ‘upgradeable’.  The ‘bottom’ tier, like any other talent with limited range, is expected to be as good as that tier is for any other talent — which is to say, it has as much ‘good stuff’ in total as other talents will have accumulated by that tier.

Thinking about how I phrased cornerstones last night clarified this for me and should hopefully sort out a problem I was having with capstone design.  It also suggests that if a talent has a gap and is missing tiers, the extra mojo should be stacked into the next tier available.

Echelon Character Creation Draft
Echelon Character Creation Draft, click to download PDF

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    • Okay, I had a quick look. Depending on the order he takes his cornerstones he might have no need for Expert Martial Training — Training Bonus cannot exceed ceiling(level/2). If he has Expert Warrior Born and Basic Martial Training his Martial Training Bonus (MTB) is as high as he can get it here. If he has Basic Warrior Born (and thus Expert Natural Leader) then Expert Martial Training will give him the same MTB but he won’t be able to get MTB +4 at seven level.

      I make this, so far, Level Bonus (LB) +2, MTB +3, BAB +5. This gives him AC 22 with chain mail and large shield, 16 hit points, Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +2 (which aren’t horrible saves, despite being the lowest they can be right now, because saves are expected to be calibrated to this level — someone who takes Great Fortitude, etc. is expected to ‘excel’ at them, the talents aren’t expected just to get by).

      Sword tricks, shield tricks, intimidation (there are several talents that could fit there, including one or two in the Iron Heroes document), plus whatever Natural Leader, War Leader, and Veteran Sergeant bring.

      I like how this looks. A lot. I’m open to hearing some ideas for those talents I’m not familiar with.

      • War Leader is from the Iron Heroes talent list (2.42), and I changed Intimidate to Overwhelming Presence (2.26). I imagine that Natural Leader enhances token gain in War Leader and similar leadership-related talents. Veteran Sergeant: perhaps resistance to fear and the ability to inspire similar in allies?

        Regarding the order of cornerstones, I am not sure. As previously discussed if they are supposed to be “foundational” parts of the character (something inborn) then I wouldn’t really expect them to have an ordering. I would therefore arbitrarily pick one unless I specifically wanted to emphasise one cornerstone over the others. My instinct in this case is to have Warrior Born and Martial Training both at Expert tier and damn the optimisation. 😛

        • I had forgotten about War Leader being in Iron Heroes, I was pretty much on autopilot at that point. It would seem reasonable that Natural Leader would interact with that in some fashion, yes. I’d like to see if there could be some other leadership-related abilities out there that would benefit as well.

          Veteran Sergeant providing morale bonuses of some sort? I could see that.

          Cornerstone talents are… describing them as “what the character is” is a convenience. They do reflect in-born ability and the like, true, but even that can be varied. Remember that Echelon has no ability scores, so this is one of the ways to indicate natural ability.

          Also, you have only a single cornerstone per tier. This is deliberate — Warrior Born and Steeped in Magic (or whatever I end up calling that one) don’t both get to be at the highest tier.

          • I meant to have Warrior Born at Expert tier and Natural Leader at Basic.

            I am redoing an up-to-date version Devri Vannalat from the old intersystem test I did way back. Will probably involve adding some talents again, I have a neat idea for an Oratory talent which I’ll post up tonight. He will also be a caster so I’m giving him Caster Training and Ice magic which I’ll put together (based on the “tiered magic” stuff I posted on the forum previously). Or maybe I should just stick with the 10-level Spell Threads for the sake of speed?

          • Warrior Born at Expert means you get no benefit from Expert Martial Training right now (though you would when Martial Training gives something more than just +1 MTB — just the extra bit, MTB would still be limited).

            I just looked at the forum thread again, I do like where that’s going. I’d suggest sticking with the Spell Threads talents for now. That whole section will be redone eventually, but as I recall I had those ones written. More or less, I’d need to look again because they aren’t currently anywhere obvious on my site.

  1. David Lamb

    From GreyKnight’s example I gather hit points are meant to be rather lower than in D&D — 16 for a 5th level martial character is about half what a D&D character would get. Are weapons comparably scaled down, or is combat meant to be deadly.

    • David Lamb

      Armour giving DR makes a big difference to how one thinks about the hit points issue, so I look forward to seeing what happens with that.

      Pg. 3 you have Fort save modified by Great Will instead of Great Fortitude.

      • Heh, yeah. I find myself abstracting to just the tier. Expert = professional badass, starting adventurer. The only time I really remember there are four levels before that is when I have to do math on ability scores, or when I’m deliberately thinking about it (as when describing the tiers).

    • Remember that “fifth level” Echelon characters are intended to be analogous to “first level” RSRD characters. A human first-level barbarian with 18 Con would start with 16 hit points in an RSRD game.

      If armor gives DR instead of AC that’ll make a difference as well. If anything, I suspect I might want to turn weapon damage up, at least at higher tiers.

      • David Lamb

        I made a spreadsheet comparing D&D fighter (with 10 Con) with echelon fighter (MTB=level if using both Warrior Born and Martial Training). The D&D HP peak at 80% of the Echelon at level 4 (just before Echelon takes a tier leap). With Con 16 (Con mod +3) the peak is at 119% (same level). Generally, at lower Con levels, D&D HP are lower than Echelon for fighters.

        • That sounds accurate. Hit points generally trend higher in Echelon unless and until higher Constitution scores, when you correct for level (subtract four from Echelon level to get RSRD level — ‘Ftr1 Con 10’ starts with 10 hit points in RSRD, but ‘Ftr5’ has 16 here).

          Generally, at least. The curve isn’t nearly as linear in Echelon, so you may find at the higher levels in the tier that RSRD characters start to catch up, and may in fact surpass, the equivalent Echelon character.

  2. David Lamb

    Contemplating what it might mean to become “more dwarfy.”

    First, one not have all the dwarven abilities from the PHB available at Basic tier and defer some of them. I doubt that’s usually appropriate.

    Second, one could look at the dwarvish paragon class in UA. Getting all 3 of those benefits might be an appropriate Expert talent.

    Third, there are dwarf-specific prestige classes. Dwarven Defender in the SRD comes to mind. There’s also one where a dwarf gets some interesting extra benefits from wielding an axe he crafts for himself; it might be in CWar.

    If the basic idea seems reasonable I could work up some suggestions for a couple of tiers, though right now I can’t imagine what a Legendary dwarf might look like.

    • Dwarven Defender, Dwarven Battlerager, Dwarven Runecaster, Dwarven Craftmaster… all seem like they could be paragons of dwarven culture.

      They all start from the same base, ‘Dwarf’. I suspect they would each work best as capstones.

      • Dwarven Defender tanks up, obviously, takes Shield Mastery or Shield Proficiency (as appropriate, whichever is more defensive). Could have multiple tiers of this (I mentioned capstones can now be multiple-tier, right?).
      • Dwarven Battlerager takes Rage talents (likely derived from either Iron Heroes or Pathfinder), probably Great Fortitude, one or two other applicable talents.
      • Dwarven Runecaster takes magic-related stuff that ties into using runes, divination, binding, etc.
      • Dwarven Craftmaster takes Craft-related talents, possibly/probably including magic item creation.

      It’s possible to be more than one of these, even. Defender and Battlerager might have a BAB or MTB requirement (Battlerager might be specific enough to say Warrior Born, actually) but I didn’t show them above.

      “Prestige Class” generally says capstone to me. You grow to become it, it acknowledges what you have learned or done, etc.

    • And yes, I agree. Deferring some dwarven abilities doesn’t seem right. Some can be left right out if they look like they are learned abilities, but I don’t see any — for dwarves, at least — that look right to defer.

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