For this game we will be using the Hero system 5th Edition rules. Characters in Gothick Empires are normally built on 100 points - 50 points base plus up to 50 points in disadvantages (although you may take less if you wish). It's pretty obvious that you cannot start out as a mighty wizard or all-conquering warrior at this point level- but that's the point. Fun and interesting characters can be made at this level though (check out the NPCs if you want inspiration). All equipment - weapons, armour, mounts and so on, are provided free - assuming you can get hold of them.
All characters must take the disadvantage Normal Characteristic Maxima at 0 points.
Before designing a character, you might want to check out the house rules we will be using. If you wish to play a magic-using character, you should look at the pages on the nature of magic and creating a magic-using character. There are also notes on everyman skill packages available to people from different areas, plus perks and fringe benefits.
Arth is home to a number of sentient races, but the overwhelming majority are human. The other races can be read about in the bestiary, but none of them would make good player characters.
Player characters are always human - or something reasonably close (unless you can persuade the GM that you have a Really Excellent Idea TM ). Thinking that playing a Fay or a beastman would be "cool" does not qualify it as a Really Excellent Idea TM . However, in the ancient and decadent world of Arth, "human" is a fairly broad category - humans come in a wide variety of colours and shapes. The more conventional races are detailed in the section on Races and Cultures. However, if your tastes run to more marginal races, (and you don't mind your character being pointed at or subjected to racial slurs) you may wish to consider the non-human races. Their unusual powers balance off against their altered characteristics so that they start with the same basic points as "normal" humans.
You may also wish to equip yourself (you're going to need it).
You can shop for:
- hand to hand weapons,
- missile weapons,
- or less warlike gear, such as
- Livestock, Tack and Transport,
- Food, Drink and a Roof over your head
- or Miscellaneous Useful Items.
For the Current Game
The current game is set in the Su'venayan Archipelago. Certain archetypes are available:
The Armiger are the warrior class of the Archipelago. Armiger characters must buy "Perk: Armiger" at 2 points. This lets you carry weapons freely, gives you the expectation of a certain amount of respect from the peasants, hospitality from your peers and the right to trial by combat. Of course, locals will also expect you to live up the standards of your clan, which means behaving respectably, killing bandits and so on.
PCs can also pay 2 extra points for "Perk: Member of the Lower Nobility", which basically means you are a member of some ruling clan, with all the extra privileges that implies. Alternatively, you may buy "Perk: Member of the Aristocracy for 5 more points, with increased prestige and influence. In either case, PCs will be junior members of their clan, and depending on where you are, these connections can be a liabilty as well as an aid.
Armiger PCs must have the following skills:
FAM: Common Melee weapons and TF:Large Rowed boats, small sail-powered boats
Familiarity with some form of missile weapon and large sailed boats is recommended but not required.
KS: Upper class society (this is not the same as the High Society skill, which is the ability to be at ease in polite society - this is just the basic knowlege of how to address a superior, what is and is not appropriate behaviour and so on. If you want to buy High Society instead, you don't need this KS)
These skills don't have to be much good, you just need to have them to at least the FAM level. If you are not to be thought a dirty backwoods swordswinger, literacy and at least two culture type skills are a good idea - Literature, Dancing, KS:Famous Clans, etc etc.
While not required, disadvantages reflecting the Armiger ideal - Devotion to your Lord, Loyalty to the Clan, Fearlessness, Code of Chivalry, etc, are encouraged
Noble PCs may be armigers, or from a non-armiger Clan. In either case, they must have the following skills:
KS: political alliances
Literacy (costs 1 point)
A good smattering of other cultural skills and some Area Knowlege skills is a sensible idea as well to complement any skills of deceit. As described above under armiger characters, Noble characters must buy one of the two Nobility Perks. A noble may also be an armiger, in which case the required skills must be purchased.
While not required, disadvantages reflecting the noble ideal - Pursuit of aesthetic principles, Pride of lineage, etc are encouraged
Priest PCs must have the following skills:
KS: The Twelve or KS: The Forest Man (or both)
KS: Cult Rituals (define which cult &endash; more than one is possible)
Characters who are novices or lay brethren need not buy PS: Priest. Members of the Church Militant (fighting priests) must buy at least one weapons FAM.
While not required, limitations reflecting the priestly ideal - Devotion to the Cult, Spreading the influence of your religion, etc are encouraged
Other character types are more diverse and do not have required skills or Perks. One thing that should be mentioned - players who wish to play a Sorceror (magic-using) character should check the rules on Magic. This is not a class or career-path as such. Nobles, armigers, priests or commoners can all be sorcerors, while the archetypical wizened old man who makes his living by magic is also possible. While allowed, magic carries heavy penalties in its use, and the powers available are heavily restricted. Magic use is neither common, easy or safe &endash; but it can be very useful.