3. Character Creation

Characters are the center-point of the game. They are, after all, the roles that are played in our role-playing games. Without question, the players' characters should be the protagonists of the story. With so much importance surrounding these characters, it is import that each player take time making the character that they want to play.

In Dekahedron, characters are not generated randomly. The dice do not create the character, but the player does.

In order to create a character, the player performs the following steps:

  1. Develop the character concept
  2. Assign skill levels
  3. Assign strengths & weaknesses
  4. Archetype the character

Each of these steps is covered below.

3.1 Character Concept

The first step in making any character is for the player to think about the type of character that he wants to play. Does he want to play a big strong ox who would rather fight his way out of a situation, or a wise-cracking vagabond that would rather talk his way out of a fight? If the campaign has multiple species, what species will the character be? What gender? Where did the character come from? How does the character earn his keep? Does he have any special strengths or weaknesses? Most importantly, what makes this character interesting?

It's not necessary to write these things down. The idea here is just for the player to form a mental picture that will guide him in the selection of strengths, weaknesses, and skills.

3.2 Assigning Skill Levels

There are two main methods for a player to allot skill levels to the various skills. The Quick & Dirty method is very fast, and tends to avoid the sophomoric characters that some players tend to create when making custom characters. The custom character creation method gives the player more flexibility, but it is more complicated and more susceptible to player abuse. The actual method used in a campaign is up to the Game Master, but the two methods produce relatively equal characters.

3.2.1 Quick & Dirty Character Creation

The Quick & Dirty method of character creation has several advantages over the custom character creation process: there is almost no math involved, it can be explained to a new player in about 30 seconds, and it produces balanced characters with a variety of skill levels.

To assign skill levels using this method, the player simply lists the character's seven best skills, in order. Thus the character's best skill will have a skill level of 7, and the second best skill will have a skill level of 6, and so on. The player also does this for the character's five worst skills. The character's worst skill will have a skill level of -3, and his second worst skill will have a skill level of -2, and his third, fourth, and fifth worst skills will each have a skill level of -1.

If the player wishes to take any Strengths, he must Weaknesses of an equal cost.

3.2.2 Custom Character Creation

Custom character creation can be thought of as the supermarket approach. The player starts out with so many dollars and he spends them to buy skill levels (and Strengths, see below). Likewise, the player can ear a rebate by encumbering the character with some very low skill levels (or Weaknesses, see below).

It is recommended that characters start with $25. This is enough for a character to have a couple of skills at the professional level, and a like number of hobbyist skills. Game Masters who wish a more powerful campaign, can give the players more money with which to buy their characters. Likewise, if the Game Master wishes the characters to begin campaign relatively young and inexperienced, they should reduce the amout of money available to the players.

It is also recommended that Game Masters do not allow characters to start with any skill level greater than 8, even less if the characters are supposed to be inexperienced. To avoid min-maxing abuses the Game Master may also wish to apply a lower limit of -3 to skill levels, and allow no more than $6 in low skill rebates.

A player does not need to use all of the dollars at character creation. For every dollar that remains unspent, the character receives 3 kismet points for use during game play! Note that these points do not regenerate, so once they're gone they're gone forever!

The chapter on kismet outlines the game-play uses of kismet points.

3.2.2.1 Skill Costs

This table outlines the cost for each skill level. So a player who wants his character to have a skill level of 7 in Fighting will refer to this table to discover that a 7 costs $10.

For every skill with a skill level of 1 or higher, the player must choose one (and only one) Area of Expertise for that skill. If the player wants more than one AoE for a given skill, the cost for an additional AoE is given in the AoE column of the table.

Example: A player is making a character named Jalice. The player wants Jalice to have a skill level of 6 in Unlawful Entry, which cost $8. She picks Lock-Picking as her AoE, but she also wants an AoE in Safe Cracking. Referring to the table, she sees that an additional AoE for a skill with a skill level of 6 costs $2.

Skill Level Cost AoE Description
-4 -4 N/A Inept
-3 -3
-2 -2
-1 -1 Average Untrained Person
0 0
1 1
2 2 Amateur/Hobbyist
3 3
4 4 4
5 6 3 Average Professional/Accomplished Amateur
6 8 2
7 10 2
8 12 2 Accomplished Professional
9 14 1
10 18 1
11 23 1 The best of the best
12 29 1
13 39 1
14 56 1
15 89 1

3.3 Archetyping

After a player has assigned his character's skills, it is time to archetype the character. This step represents the fact that certain skills comes easily to certain people, while other skills escape them, despite their best efforts. It also helps to alleviate the tendency that all the characters in a particular campaign start to have identical skills after a period of time.

After the character has been created, the player selects the five skills with the lowest levels. Because most characters will only have three skills less than 0, the player will be able to select any of the 0-level skills that he wants to fill-out the requirement. These skills, called feeble skills, will more difficult to advance in.

Likewise, the highest five skills will be identified as the character's gifted skills, and will be the easiest to advance in.

3.4 Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths are special abilities, of sorts, like being ambidextrous or good-looking.

If strengths can be thought of as special abilities, then weaknesses can be thought of as special disabilities. These are things like colorblind and unattractive.

If using the Custom Character Creation rules, each Strength has a cost associated with it, and each Weakness has an associated rebate. Game Masters may wish to limit the number of weaknesses that can be taken in order to prevent abuse.

Appendix B contains a listing of Strengths and their game effects. Appendix C contains the same information for Weaknesses.

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