26 February 2017

Making a Character in The One Ring

There are five races in the game, but as I'd been reading about the Woodsmen in order to learn the rules, the more I knew I wanted to play the frontier norsemen fighting for their lives against the encroaching darkness.

Woodsmen all get a cultural blessing, in this case, Woodsmen use their favored wits score as their Parry rating when in the woods. In other words, Witty woodsmen are exceptionally hard to hit in combat when they're in forests. Sounds good to me- characters with high Wits are pretty cool anyways, so I'll keep an eye out for it.

Next, the skills. Every member of a culture has these minimal skills by the time they are an adult. (1) You just write them down on your character sheet. You get a chance to customize it a little later. The underlined skill is a favored skill, and uses the favored attribute rating instead of the base (usually a couple of points better).

You choose from between two groups of weapon skills- in this case, it's asking me if I'd like to be better at bows or axes. I choose Bows, since it seems more versatile, and write down the scores. This character has a skill of two in all bows, and 1 in long-hafted axes and daggers. Every character gets at least a 1 in Daggers, but it's nice to be able to use a good weapon, too.

I choose two specialties from a list of six: My character is good at Herb-Lore, Beast-Lore, and Leechcraft. Clearly he's got an interest in healing, which I figure come in handy.

Backgrounds next. They're numbered one through six but I'm cheating a little and just picking the one that catches my eye: The Seeker. My character's basic attributes are now Body 2, Heart 5, and Wits 7. Each attribute can be used with roughly 1/3 of the skills sometimes- spend a point of Hope and get a decent bonus. My attributes make spending Hope for Wits challenges pretty useful, but Body not as much.

I also gain a favored skill of Athletics, which I note.

I choose Bold and Determined as Features. Features are a subset of Traits, but they're all personality related and can't be gained during play. All Traits let you get automatic successes on some events that would otherwise require rolls. They also let you gain Advancement points- if you can invoke a trait while rolling a skill roll, you can get points that you improve your character.

The next step is choosing a calling. Each calling has two favored skill groups, a shadow weakness, and a free trait. Warden, the calling I'm choosing for this character, has favored skill groups of Survival and Personality, a shadow weakness of Lure of Power, and the trait Shadow-Lore. From the personality group I choose Awe, because I think it'd be interesting in the future and none of the other options appeal to me, and from Survival I choose hunting.

Next, I decide on my favored attributes. I decide to give my highest bonus to Heart, since I want this Woodsman to be a little more balanced. Wits gets plus two, since I'd like to benefit from the Parry bonus in the woods. Body gets a mere plus one, even though I have two favored skills there, because I'm hoping not to use it

My character sheet now looks like this:

Since I can't underline, I've chosen to mark my favored skills with an asterisk.

Next step, I decide what to spend my ten "free" advancement points on- either skill groups or weapon groups. I'm cool with my weapon selections, but I would like to be a little better at the axe, so I'll spend 4 points to increase that. Next, I'll increase my Awe by 1 (for 1 point), leaving me with 5 points. I don't have any good Custom skills, and I'd like this character to be well-respected. I decide to give him a boost to his Riddle, spending 3 points to raise that skill to 3. Two points left- let's make our Battle 2 while we're at it.

Next, Endurance and Hope. These are determined by your culture- mine are 20 and 10.

You start with gear appropriate to your culture. It's separated into travel gear and war gear. I don't know what time of year it is- but if it's cold, I have 2 base encumbrance. If it's warm I only have 1. This traveling gear includes food for a week- if I'm away for longer than that, I'll need to either seek civilization and get more supplies or rely on my skills as a hunter. Luckily, my character is a decent hunter and his hope bonus should ensure that we'll have food if we really need it.

Since I have a song of 1, I can choose to bring an instrument. I'm going to give this character a flute- obviously it's wooden, but I imagine he makes them himself. He's no musician, but he dabbles.

I can have a weapon for each weapon skill I have. I will choose to be fully-armed with a Great Bow, a Long-Hafted Axe, and a Dagger. That's 6 encumbrance, which I write down. I may not have a shield, but a Long-Hafted Axe can be used in two hands, so as long as I'm careful I should be ok.

In The One Ring, you choose what "position" each round to fight in. The further forward you fight, the easier it is to hit and be hit, and if you're traveling with a team that can screen for you, you can even continue to use ranged weapons in combat. Otherwise, you're limited to a volley before the battle engages, and then you're in pitched melee.

You can carry an amount of encumbrance equal to your Endurance rating, When get hurt, your Endurance score lowers and you can carry less. I'm at 6/20, however, and I think it'd be reasonable for my character to have some armor. He has a Leather Corslet, for 8 encumbrance and 2d protection. 12/20 is plenty of maneuvering room for my character- he's not especially durable but with a little care, it shouldn't matter.

Next, Valor and Wisdom. 2 points in 1, 1 in the other. Every time you increase your Wisdom or Valor score to 2 or higher, you get a Reward or a Virtue.

Rewards improve a single characteristic of any item. Qualities are the sorts of items that any culture can (and may) produce, like an especially sharp sword or a well-made helm. Cultural Rewards are a little different- only a shire-hobbit can have a King's Blade, and it would be odd for a Beorning to use a Dwarf-Wrought Hauberk.

Virtues are special skills or abilities. Woodsmen may have a special hound, and Elves may know how to speak with animals and trees. This particular Woodsman is going to have Hunter's Resolve, which lets him recover Endurance equal to his favored Heart rating (8) once per day by spending a single point of Hope. Very durable!

Up next would be company creation, but this is the part where the character hooks into the rest of the party (and the world) and since I'm just developing a single character for now, that's a little overkill. But I like what I've got.

He's a Warden, at home in the deep forests. He knows a thing or two about the shadows, even among his people. He knows the secrets of the forests, and fears little. He is scrawny, apparently, or at least not strong, but his mind is sharp.

For my last step I'll give him a name: Barald. I've decided that he's a young man, no more than 22, and that he'd go well in almost any company- he'd make a good guide, a good healer, an all around solid woodsman. He doesn't have much in the way of social graces (although he might enjoy hanging around scholars and trading riddles), and when it comes to actually traveling long distances he's at a bit of a loss. At least he's got sharp eyes!

(1) There's no way that I know of to start with less built-in points and play, say, a woodsman who was physically frail (lower athletics) or some such.

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