Issue Five | Summer 1995
Freaks and Favours
An alternative character generation system for the TIRIKELU rules. This systems generates low level characters suitable for starting a campaign in the Sharu’una Fief setting.
ALTERNATIVE CHARACTER CREATION
Every player begins with a certain number of points to spend building his/her character. These points are spent to raise attributes above 11 and to buy special advantages.
Each character starts with 10 points. Extra points can be gained by taking an attribute below 11. Note that these rules apply to buying your SIZE attribute—not Height and Build, which are then up to the player as long as they average to give the Size score he has bought.
Random attribute option:
Instead of buying attribute scores, the player can choose to roll the entire character as per the regular TIRIKELU system. To do this, spend 3 points and then roll all your attributes in the usual way. You can reroll for two attributes (of your choice) if you don’t like the original scores, at a cost of 1 point for each reroll, but you cannot otherwise change the character’s attributes once rolled.
Do not use the initial skill generation tables in TIRIKELU. Instead, all characters get the following basic skills:
In addition, any character who does not acquire weapon skills from any other source may take 1 skill level of dagger, short-sword or unarmed combat.
All characters, whether rolled or generated, are subject to the following restrictions:
- The character is a member of a medium lineage of a low status clan
- The character has no military training and so cannot take skill levels in long 1-handed or 2-handed weapons, nor the longbow, composite bow nor any crossbow.
- The character may not use sorcery, even if he or she has the requisite attribute scores.
- The character may not take any skills from the military section of the initial skills rule.
These restrictions are lifted by taking some of the advantages listed below.
The following traits can be used to embellish the character. Some are advantages, which must be bought; others are disadvantages and have a negative cost. There are some restrictions on the combinations of advantages and disadvantages that a character may take:
- No character may have more than three different advantages and disadvantages in total, and usually less.
- Each character may take a maximum of 1 of the advantages and disadvantages marked with an asterisk.
- A character may NOT take three disadvantages.
Some disadvantages will cause others to regard the character as a freak. A character who is a freak is automatically considered to be of very low lineage status within his clan, and so must also take this as a disadvantage. However, this is a "free" disadvantage and does not count towards the total of three permitted.
Albino* cost: -2 points
Albinos are considered outlandish freaks and are detested by the people of Tékumel (except in certain primitive tribes who regard them as holy wizards). The character must reduce Comeliness to no higher than 5 and will be treated with horror and revulsion wherever he goes. He also has no resistance to sunlight, taking burn damage in direct sun (which causes -1 to Dexterity for every fifteen minutes’ exposure) and being dazzled (-3 from Melee and Missile).
Addicted* cost: -2 points
The character is over-fond of alcohol or some other intoxicant. Each time it is possible to indulge, attempt one check based on Intelligence and highest Complex skill, and another check based just on Psychic Reservoir. If the Psychic Reservoir check succeeds then the character will start a "binge" unless the other check also succeeds. If the Psychic Reservoir check is a critical success, nothing can stop the binge—and, afterwards, Psychic Reservoir will have increased by 1 point and Intelligence will have decreased by 1. A binge will last 2-6 hours and will leave the character depleted (all checks at -2) for twelve hours afterwards.
Berserker* cost: -1 point
The character must roll a Psychic Reservoir check after spending more than three rounds in combat, or if challenged, insulted, or attacked. Success means that he must not employ the option of full parry at any time during the fight. Critical success adds +6 to the character’s initiative, +3 to Melee and +1 to damage but prevents any parrying or evading at all. If no opponent is close enough to attack, the character must move to engage the nearest. After all foes are down, the character must succeed in a +5 Intelligence check to come out of berserker rage; otherwise he will attack his friends.
Clanless cost: -6 points
The character does not belong to any clan, usually because he or she is a foreigner. Clanless characters have no rights or protection unless they are employed by a clan who may, if the circumstances warrant it, choose to extend their protection to the clanless person. In return, the character will be expected to perform his or her duties for a pittance: 1 or 2 kaitars a week plus board. A character who takes this disadvantage cannot take any other advantage or disadvantage relating to clan or lineage status.
Deformed* cost: -3 points
The character must set his Comeliness no higher than 6. The people of Tékumel are prejudiced against anyone with any deformity, considering them to be freaks, and the character will have difficulty getting promotions.
Dwarf* cost: -2 points
The character has the following maximum attribute limits: Height 1, Build 15, Comeliness 6. Others will treat him as a freak. (This option can be taken with a randomly-rolled character, in which case alter the attribute scores to the maxima given here. In addition to the 2 points for being a Dwarf, you also get the points difference for the alteration in attributes. For instance, if you originally rolled Height 8, Build 12 and Comeliness 15 then this would alter to Height 1, Build 12 and Comeliness 6, giving you an additional 19 points.)
Epileptic cost: -2 points
Seizures come upon an epileptic randomly (roughly 1% chance each day) and when under severe stress (2%-20% at the referee’s discretion). The seizure lasts 1-100 rounds, leaving the character physically tired and slightly absent-minded for 1-6 hours afterwards. A sorcerer who has a seizure is allowed a Psychic Ability check. On a critical success his Chusetl flies forth as in a Morphetic Travel spell, but for no spellpoint cost. At the end of the seizure the sorcerer makes another Psychic Ability check, this time at +5; critical success means that he recovers from his seizure psychically refreshed (recovering 1-100 spellpoints), but critical failure indicates the Chusetl is lost, leaving the unfortunate sorcerer in a perpetual coma.
Gaunt* cost: -1 point
You are very tall and thin. Your minimum Height is 18, and maximum Build is 3. Comeliness cannot be higher than 10. Others treat you as a freak. (This option can be taken with a randomly-rolled character, in which case alter the attribute scores to the boundary limits given here. In addition to the 1 point for being Gaunt, you also get the points difference for the alteration in attributes—even for Comeliness. For instance, if you originally rolled Height 13, Build 12 and Comeliness 15 then this would alter to Height 18, Build 3 and Comeliness 10, giving you an additional 10 points.)
Incompetence cost: -6 points
The character has a tendency to lose concentration, become overconfident and make major mistakes. A character with this disadvantage is unlikely to simply fail a skill or attribute check where concentration is important. If the character rolls a normal failure, this is considered a critical failure unless the character rolls 17 or more on a D20. An additional D20 roll is added to all weapon fumble results, though the total may not exceed 100 of course.
Lame cost: -1 point
The character has a bad leg. Encumbrance limits, Evade and movement are 80% normal, and the character cannot sprint. His base Melee value is reduced by 2.
Low Lineage Status cost: -2 point
Characters begin the game as members of a medium status lineage within a low status clan. They may choose to start as a member of a low status lineage instead.
Obligation cost: -2 points
The character owes a debt of honour to his clan, temple or influential person. There is a 5% chance each month that the debt will be called in. If so, the character must comply without further delay or negotiation, even if the request involves some illegality. If the character refuses to comply then he will be disowned by his clan (if it is a public debt of honour) or face the wrath of his creditors!
Phobia cost: -3 point
The character has a morbid fear. Examples are fear of spiders (atlunphobia), bats (vuriphobia), death (miSsúphobia), the undead (mrurophobia), and enclosed spaces (tsuru’uphobia). The specific fear must be agreed with the referee, who may reduce the points allowed if the feared object is rarely encountered. Any time the character is exposed to his fear, he must roll a Psychic Reservoir check. Success means he is afraid (i.e., his uncontrollable emotions are getting the better of him) and makes all rolls at -2 while exposed to the object of his fear. A critical success on the Psychic Reservoir check causes him to panic and run; if cornered, he must make a check based on Intelligence and highest Complex skill to fight back at all, and even then does so at -2.
Poverty cost: -2 points
The character starts the game with only 25% of normal wealth, rounded down, and may not take the "Legacy" advantage.
Psychic Dampener cost: -1 point
No magic can be cast within 1.5m of the character. Spells cast outside this zone can still affect him, but even then there is a percentage chance equal to his Psychic Ability that the spell will "fizzle out" at that distance from him. Enchanted devices and Eyes are not affected.
Very Low Clan cost: -2 points
Players start the game as members of a medium lineage of a low status clan. They may choose to be members of a clan of very low status instead. This does not affect the character’s lineage status within the clan.
Very Low Lineage Status cost: -3 points
Characters begin the game as members of a medium status lineage within a low status clan. They may choose to start as a member of a low status lineage instead.
Weak Willed cost: -1 point
The character has a tendency to succumb to temptation. The character modifies all rolls to resist hypnotism or temptation by 1 pip to his disadvantage.
Ambidexterity cost: +2 points
The character can fight with a weapon in either hand using full skill. (Without this trait, characters are at -3 when fighting with their "off" hand.) The trait is not essential to the study of Arruche: anyone can learn to fight with sword in right hand and dagger in left. An ambidextrous Arruche fighter can, however, fight with sword in left hand and dagger in right, if he wishes.
Artistic Talent cost: +2 points
The character has real genius for creating works of art in a field of his choice. If applied to music, for example, then excellent arias might be composed or even improvised. Note that this is not essential in order to play a musical instrument, etc (the Tsolyáni rather admire one who performs by rote) but will certainly improve original works.
Charisma cost: +3 points
A person of forceful personality and obvious leadership quality. Promotion rolls get a +1D6 modifier in the character’s favour. In situations where instant leadership is needed, he must make a check based on Psychic Reservoir and the applicable skill (eg, Soldier): success means anyone of lower averaged Psychic Reservoir and skill-level will do whatever he says.
Clan Favour cost: +1 point
The character has rendered some favour to his or her clan in the past. The clan will look very favourably on a single request from this person for an important favour or service in return. A clan favour could be used, for example, to allow a friend to join the character’s own clan. This advantage may only be taken once.
Education cost: +2 points
A character may elect to have received a Temple school education. A prerequisite for this is a Reasoning of 13 or more. An education gives the character the following additional skill levels:
Education can, under certain circumstances, be taken without using up one of a character’s advantage/disadvantage slots (though it still costs 2 points). This is allowed:
- In combination with the Wizardry or Priest skills (but excluding Warrior Priest)
- By any member of a high clan
- By members of a high or very high lineage of a medium clan
- By members of a low or very low lineage of a very high clan
Fame/Notoriety cost: +1 point
The character is well known for his skill in some field. Anyone locally will probably have heard of the character and will have a 10% chance of recognising him or her on sight (or 70% if the character has ability in the field for which the character is famous). A character may take this advantage only once, and must have some justification for the reputation: an attribute of 22 or more, or a skill level of 15+ in any skill.
Friendship* cost: +3 points
The character has struck up a friendship with an influential person. This is similar to a patronage, except that neither side may politely request a service or favour of the other. However, minor favours such as "Please tell me what this document says as I cannot read Engsvanyali" will normally be granted. If a character does ask for a substantial favour of his influential friend then there is a 75% chance that the friend will comply. Regardless of whether he or she complies, the friendship will be dissolved.
High Clan Status cost: +8 points
Characters begin the game as members of low status clans. Taking this advantage allows the character to begin as a member of a high status clan. The character’s lineage is reduced to very low status in the new clan, but may be increased by taking other advantages.
High Lineage Status cost +3 points
A character whose lineage status is medium may raise his or her lineage status to high by taking this advantage. The status of the character’s clan does not affect the cost of this advantage. Due to the restriction on the number of advantages that a character may take, he or she may well not be able to achieve this status in a higher clan than the one they started in.
Language Aptitude cost: +2 points
This advantage allows a character to learn a modern language. The character’s aptitude with the language is determined by rolling a D6. This advantage may be taken several times for the same or a different language. If the character is literate then this advantage also applies to written skills with the language.
Legacy cost: +1 point
The character has been left a bequest by a clan relative. The bequest may be one of the following:
- a suit of medium or heavy chlen plate armour, plus shield if necessary
- a small weapon of ordinary steel (1 dagger, 5 arrow heads or similar)
- D20 x D20 kaitars
This advantage may NOT be taken multiple times..
Legionary cost: +4 points
The character must meet the attribute requirements for belonging to the legion (i.e., the bonuses given in TIRIKELU for being a legionary must be paid for from the player’s initial points total). Characters not taking this option cannot have belonged to a regular legion. A character who does take this skill is not subject to the weapons skills restrictions given in the introduction and gets the following additional skill levels:
Low Lineage Status cost +2 point
A character whose lineage status is very low may raise his or her lineage status to low by taking this advantage. The status of the character’s clan does not affect the cost of this advantage.
Medium Clan Status cost: +4 points
Characters begin the game as members of low status clans. Taking this advantage allows the character to begin as a member of a medium status clan. The character’s lineage is reduced to very low status in the new clan, but may be increased by taking other advantages.
Medium Lineage Status cost +3 points
A character whose lineage status is low may raise his or her lineage status to medium by taking this advantage. The status of the character’s clan does not affect the cost of this advantage. Due to the restriction on the number of advantages that a character may take, he or she may well not be able to achieve this status in a higher clan than the one they started in
Militia Member cost: +2 points
The character is a member of the Hekellu district militia. This allows the character to develop skill in any weapon, i.e. to disregard the weapon restrictions given above. However, there is a 4% chance each week that the character must report to barracks for training and maneuvers. The character must adjust his strength and stamina scores to a minimum of 11 each before taking this advantage. The following additional skill levels are obtained by joining the militia:
Night-Vision cost: +2 points
The character has extremely good night vision and takes only half normal penalties for movement, combat and vision at night or in poor light.
Patron* cost: +6 points
The character has a patron, who is an influential member of a higher clan or an influential priest or official. A patron will grant up to one favour (see Clan Favour or Temple Favour) each month, but there is a 5% chance each month that the Patron will require the character to perform some service or favour in return. This must be done without delay, complaint or further bargaining, otherwise the patronage will be lost and the patron may even have the character beaten or assassinated!
Priest: cost: +3 points
The character may choose skills from the "Priest" section of the TIRIKELU rules, except for the Scholar Priest and Lay Priest skills (which require the "Wizardry" advantage) or the Temple Guard skill (see above). There is a 10% chance each week that a character with this skill will be called away on Temple business.
Secret Society* cost: +4 points
This is similar to the "Patron" advantage except that the character must only visit his or her society in secret. Favours will not be granted for personal reasons, only if they further the goals of the society. Furthermore, the chance of the secret society requiring a favour or request in return is 10% each month. Secret societies almost always assassinate recalcitrant members.
Stealth cost: +3 points
The character is able to move quietly and follow people without being noticed. Roll 2D6 for the character’s stealth aptitude level. The character may make a skill success check against this aptitude to hide, or to follow or ambush another character. This advantage may be taken more than once and the aptitude is cumulative.
Streetwise cost: +1 point
The character knows the darker side of life in cities and towns. Roll D6 for the character’s streetwise aptitude level. The character may make a skill success check against this aptitude to know of rumours, informers, crimes, gossip or where "items" can be obtained. He or she also gains an equal number of skill levels in the "City Lore" skill. This advantage may be taken more than once, counting still only as a single advantage, and the aptitude is cumulative.
Strong Willed cost: +1 point
The character is resistant to temptation and may modify any roll against hypnotism, mind-control or temptation by 1 pip in his or her favour.
Temple Favour cost: +1 point
The character has rendered some favour or service to his or her Temple in the past. The Temple will look very favourably on a single request from this person for an important favour or service in return. A Temple favour could be used, for example, to obtain sorcerous healing at no cost, but not a full revivification. This advantage may only be taken once by each character.
Temple Guard/Warrior Priest cost: +3 points
The character is employed by a Temple in a military or combative capacity. A character taking this advantage must have a Strength and Stamina of at least 10 each. There is also a 10% chance each week that he or she will be called away on Temple duties. In addition, a Temple Guard has the following additional skill levels:
|Sword OR Mace: :||4|
Very High Clan Status cost: +12 points
Characters begin the game as members of low status clans. Taking this advantage allows the character to begin as a member of a very high status clan. The character’s lineage is reduced to very low status in the new clan, but may be increased by taking other advantages.
Very High Lineage Status cost +4 points
A character whose lineage status is high may raise his or her lineage status to very high by taking this advantage. The status of the character’s clan does not affect the cost of this advantage. Due to the restriction on the number of advantages that a character may take, he or she may well not be able to achieve this status in a higher clan than the one they started in.
Wizard cost: +5 or 7 points
The character has the option to be a sorcerer. He must also adjust his attributes accordingly so as to reach the minimum scores needed. However, Psychic Reservoir cannot be reduced in order to increase other attributes at this time, and must initially remain at 11. Once the process is complete the player must reroll his Psychic Reservoir and take the new score. (Thus, you can’t be sure of not ending up a sorcerer with a low Psychic Reservoir). Two points costs are given for this advantage because it is possible to take the literacy advantage with this skill without it taking up one of the three advantage slots. The higher cost is paid only if the character elects to take the literacy skills.
EQUIPMENT AND BELONGINGS
Characters start the game with the following equipment:
- A chlen hide or wooden weapon for each weapon that they have skill in.
- 20 items of amunition for each missile weapon possessed
- Militia members have a suit of light chlen armour
- Legionaries have a suit of medium chlen armour, plus a shield
- Clothes appropriate to profession, rank, and clan
Characters also start the game with an amount of money determined as follows:
- Clanless characters start with 1D6 Kaitars and ignore the rest of this section.
The basic cash amount is determined by clan status:
Very High: 100+D100 Kaitars High: 50 + 2D20 Kaitars Medium: 25 + D20 Kaitars Low: 10 + D10 Kaitars Very Low: 6 + D6 Kaitars
- The basic amount is multiplied by a factor for the character’s lineage status:
Very High: x3 High: x2 Medium: x1 Low: x0.75 Very Low: x0.5
- This amount is further multiplied by a factor for the character’s Intelligence:
18+: x3 14-17: x2 8-13: x1 4-7: x0.75 below 4: x0.5
A player elects to generate a character. He decides to go for a famously strong ex-legionary. The character’s main attribute will be his strength, and this will be paid for by reducing mental and psychic skills: