Non-hero character generation

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Nuvole!
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Non-hero character generation

Post by Nuvole! » Tue Jan 05, 2016 10:27 pm

Heroes are made, not born. For sure nobody can teach you courage, but a young farmer or peasant with no experience fighting with sword, armour and shield can be easily dispatched by most heroes! Maybe, in the future, rulers and armies will bow to their will, but at the moment they struggle to make pigs and donkeys doing what they want!
The new characters will be therefore young farmers or peasants: perhaps courageous and talented, but totally inexperienced of adventuring, so don't expect saving the world every other day: just saving your skin will be no minor success!
The critical part of early adventures is to provide a bunch of young, unlikely heroes with that training that makes the difference between normal folks and proper adventurers, or, better, heroes!

Optional character generation rules
In order to an even faster game start up, and set it at a suitably average-low power level, it is proposed to simplify the character generation rules as follows. Once the youngsters will be ready to become ”real” adventurers and maybe heroes, the Director will easily upgrade them to full Advanced Fighting Fantasy (2nd ed.) ruleset by granting the appropriate extra points and Special Skills that only heroes have, but only after a suitable period pf training.

Basic characters scores are these:
SKILL: 4
STAMINA: 8
LUCK: 8
MAGIC: 0

According to AFF2e ruleset, the heroes can add several more points, dividing them between the various characteristics as they like, but for this ”beginners” game, no extra point can be added, but can only be swapped between the various characteristics in this way: points of SKILL, LUCK and MAGIC can be simply swapped between them (but MAGIC can't go over 1 and SKILL can't go below 2!), so, for example, LUCK can be reduced by one point in order to increase SKILL by one point.
Two STAMINA points, on the other hand, are required to make up for one point of any other characteristic (and vice versa), so, for example, STAMINA can be reduced by two points in order to increase SKILL by one point, or LUCK can be reduced by one point to increase STAMINA by two points.
In all, up to three points can be swapped this way.
On top of this, the racial modifiers can be added as normal. This kind of adventures perhaps will be better tailored to a group of humans, but some stray character from other races may somehow fit in as well.
Please consider that a "typical" normal person (like the kind of inexperienced persons that the characters are) is considered to have SKILL at around 5-6 and STAMINA approx at 6-8, but it is acceptable, if desired, concentrating more points on one characteristic, with the risk (and the challenge) of having an imbalanced character.

Background, social classes, special skills and talents
Characters for this adventure can be either peasants or farmers: players are free to choose as they like or roll randomly, however, this choice will in part reflect on talents and special skills availability.
Each starting character will have two special skills and a talent.

Peasant:
Talents available: ambidextrous, anmalfriend, fleet footed, light sleeper, lucky.
Special skills available: axes, bows, brawling, staves, throws, acrobatics, climb, dodge, jump, swim, locks, sleight of hand, sneaking, animal lore, con, fishing, religion lore, magic minor (two starting spells to be chosen between: burn, enhance, entertain, glimmer, secrete).

Farmer:
Talents available: crack shot, fast healer, hawkeye, robust, survivor.
Special skills available: axes, bows, brawling, clubs (spade!), polearms (pitchfork or scythe!), strength, throws, climb, dodge, ride, swim, sneaking, animal lore, bargain, con, crafting, evaluate, fishing, healing, hunting, religion lore, magic minor (two starting spells to be chosen between: burn, enhance, entertain, glimmer, secrete).

Starting equipment
All characters are peasants or poor farmers, so they have their (more or less ragged) clothes and shoes, a blanket, a backpack and one weapon, depending on the weapon skill that they have chosen: it can be a staff, a hunting knife or bow, an axe for log cutting, a pitchfork, a spade, a staff or a scythe.
All characters also start with two meals in their backpacks: some fruit, cheese, dried meat, dry bread and a full waterskin.
Nothing more. Not even a coin!

Religion
Most people in Old Allansia, where they come from, has a polytheistic religion, with an extended pantheon of gods that are all worshipped, depending on the situation and the problem they are facing, but everyone has a "patron" god, that they especially (but not exclusively) worship. The players are free to choose their patron god.

Characters background
The characters are “normal” farmpeople, coming from nameless tiny hamlets and with a family with plenty of little brothers and sisters always hungry. At this stage of their lives there is nothing too dramatic nor adventurous in their backgrounds (this will come later!).
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

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SkinnyOrc
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Re: Non-hero character generation

Post by SkinnyOrc » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:27 am

Yeah I like it, it would make for an interesting game. You could start with an scenario or two that were mostly investigation with lots of NPC interaction and not much fighting. There's plenty of those around if you know where to look. They could improve their characters with experience advances right up to being "normal" starting adventurers.

What was the thinking behind having peasants and farmers? I'm not sure there's a clear cut enough difference to have two separate sets of skills and talents and there's a lot the same on the lists anyway.

It wouldn't take a lot to come up with a city equivalent, just a different set of skills and talents to choose from. A bunch of guttersnipes could also rise above their beginnings. I'm not suggesting mixing the two though, either city characters or country.

Nuvole!
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Re: Non-hero character generation

Post by Nuvole! » Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:10 pm

SkinnyOrc wrote:What was the thinking behind having peasants and farmers? I'm not sure there's a clear cut enough difference to have two separate sets of skills and talents and there's a lot the same on the lists anyway.
That came out of the adventures that I run for playtesting and, after all I like the idea of somebody putting down the spade and "learning" how to become a Hero...
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

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SkinnyOrc
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Re: Non-hero character generation

Post by SkinnyOrc » Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:58 pm

What I mean is to me "peasants" just means poor country people. They can be subsistence farmers with a tiny patch of land growing just enough to eat. Or if there's common grazing land (not owned by anyone) they could be herders. Or if there's forest not owned by a landowner they could be foresters and do some hunting. Or they could be doing any of the above on a well off landowners land, most commonly labouring in the fields.

So I was just wondering what the difference was in the playtest between peasants and farmers. Do subsistence farmers count as peasants, and farmers are those with enough land to have produce to sell (so better off than peasant farmers)? But where ever you're drawing the line I'm suggesting there may not be enough difference in what they do to have two lists of skills and talents to pick from.

Nuvole!
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Re: Non-hero character generation

Post by Nuvole! » Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:15 am

In general, I agree with your definitions.
if you have a look at the Special Skills not in common, you'll see that peasants are more geared towards travelling and subterfuge skills as they live more at the fringes of the countryside society, while farmers are a little bit healthier and stabler in places that they tend to defend.
During some playtest all players were easants, some other times they were all farmers and only some other times they could choose between the two options.
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SkinnyOrc
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Re: Non-hero character generation

Post by SkinnyOrc » Sat Jan 09, 2016 4:35 am

Social standing could come into play. For farmers you've got a range from having a tiny plot of land barely producing enough to live on up to wealthy land owners and everything in between.

Nuvole!
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Re: Non-hero character generation

Post by Nuvole! » Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:10 am

After lots of playtesting I think it is better just going with peasants and remove the farmer background option, just to keep it simpler.
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

HedgeWizard
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Re: Non-hero character generation

Post by HedgeWizard » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:42 pm

I had a lot of fun using this in the past, i also modified it slightly to have poor city dwellers as an option as well.

There is something about the zero to hero storyline which grabs me, feels more satisfying somehow than starting off as a ruthlessly efficient killing machine.

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