I will illustrate the process of character generation in RuneQuest 6 by going through it step-by-step. Anyone who has played Mongoose's RuneQuest II will recognize the procedure is pretty similar. My character is Kassar, an infantry soldier from Polmaro, a city-state with a culture similar to Late Imperial Rome. Deciding on these sorts of details early helps later on when making decisions regarding skill selection.
The first step is generating attributes. There are several ways suggested, but I will go with point-buy since that is the approach we typically use in our games. There are seven attributes: Strength (STR), Constitution (CON), Size (SIZ), Dexterity (DEX), Intelligence (INT), Power (POW) and Charisma (CHA). Most of these are pretty self-explanatory except POW, which represents a character's magical potential and luck. Anyone interested in playing a spellcasting character will want to have a high POW score. Each attribute will have a minimum and maximum value to begin. For humans, the maximum for each is 18. The minimum varies depending on the attribute. INT and SIZ have a minimum of 8, all others have a minimum of 3. You have 80 points to spend on a one for one basis including the points necessary to buy up all the attribute scores to their racial minimums. So, in the case of humans, 31 out of the 80 are already encumbered buying up to the minimum for each attribute. At this point, I should talk about optimization. My gaming group includes a couple of notorious min-maxers (you know who you are), and all of us engage in it to some degree, so we're all cool with it. RuneQuest is not a game that provides a lot of opportunity for min-maxing, but point-buy attribute generation is one place where you can optimize. This is because there are a lot of secondary characteristics that are generated from attributes. Typically, these result from the sum of a couple of attributes which are then compared to a table of brackets. For example, action points (in effect, the maximum number of actions possible in a round) are derived by adding INT and DEX. If the total is less than 12, the character gets one action point, 13-24 provides two, 25-36 provides three and so on. So, an optimizer would try to set his INT + DEX near the bottom of one of the brackets to ensure few points are wasted. Adding to the potential for optimization, SIZ + STR determines damage modifier, while SIZ + CON determines hit points, so some manipulation of the numbers is needed to get the best use of your attribute points. After crunching the numbers, I came up with the following set of attributes for Kassar:
STR 18 CON 13 SIZ 18 DEX 9 INT 8 POW 7 CHA 7
Now, to generate the secondary characteristics: INT + DEX = 17, giving me 2 action points. STR + SIZ = 36, good for a +1D6 damage modifier. CHA = 7, giving me a zero for my experience modifier. This means when it comes time to make experience rolls, Kassar will get no bonus rolls for high CHA, but won't be penalized for having an especially low CHA either. CON = 15, giving Kassar an impressive healing rate of 3, which he will need in his chosen profession. Strike Rank is the average of DEX and INT. It is a modifier that is added to one's initiative roll. Kassar's strike rank is 9. Kassar also receives magic points equal to POW. This is important because even though Kassar is not a dedicated spellcaster, all characters are able to utilize some minor magic in this game. Hit points are provided for each hit location based on SIZ + CON. Kassar ends up with:
Head = 7, Chest = 9, Abdomen = 8, Each Arm = 6, Each Leg = 7.
The next step is the selection of skills. All skills are defined by a percentile. The base value is equal to two relevent attribute scores added together or a single attribute score doubled. There are a subset of standard skills that all characters have. These include physical skills such as Brawn or Swim, social skills such as Deceit or Influence, knowledge skills such as First Aid or Customs and combat skills such as Unarmed or Combat Style. Combat Styles are a bit more involved than mere weapon proficiencies. They usually incorporate a couple of weapons and are, to a certain degree, defined by the culture from which the character derives. There are also other skills, professional skills and magic skills that may be acquired at this stage based upon character background and concept. Starting with standard skills, even though every character gets all the skills, he or she can only add starting skill points to a select few of them based on the character's cultural background. Being from a city-state, Kassar is civilized. I will assume also that he is of the default Freeman social class. The standard skills for a civilized character are Conceal, Deceit, Drive, Influence, Insight, Locale and Willpower. He may also select three professional skills from a list of suitable choices. Kassar will have Streetwise, Lore (Monsters) and Craft (leatherworking). He will also take Combat Style (Polmaro Militia), which allows him to use the shortspear and target shield combination typical of his home city's militia. Finally, all characters get a base +40% to Native Language and Customs. 100 points may then be distributed among this list of skills with each point equal to one percentage point.
Next, the character profession is selected. Kassar is a Warrior. As such, he gets a second list of standard and professional skills from which to choose and another 100 points to distribute among them. In most cases, there will be some overlap in the lists of cultural and professional skills. Finally, there is a pool of bonus skill points based on age. They can be used to top up any skills already on the character's list and/or add one new professional skill representing a personal hobby of the character. For Kassar, this bonus skill will be Folk Magic. So, applying the base values, plus 100 cultural skill points, 100 professional skill points and 150 bonus skill points, here is Kassar's final skill selection:
Standard Skills: Athletics - 32% Boating - 31% Brawn - 51% Conceal - 15% Customs - 56% Dance - 16% Deceit - 15% Drive - 16% Endurance - 71% Evade - 63% First Aid - 17% Influence - 24% Insight - 25% Locale - 16% Native Tongue - 55% Perception - 35% Ride - 16% Sing - 14% Stealth - 17% Swim - 31% unarmed - 37% Willpower - 49% Combat Style (Polmaro Militia) - 82% Combat Style (Polmaro Archers) - 62%
Professional Skills: Lore (Monsters) - 26% Lore (Strategy and Tactics) - 21% Craft (Leatherworking) - 27% Streetwise - 34% Survival - 25% Folk Magic - 29%
More to come...
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