Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Setting or Characters?

For the moment we are continuing in the Ancient Greek setting. The party lost a man in the last running, which was unexpected. (He was poisoned, and although I secretly rolled his saving throw vs. poison and found it unsuccessful, the rest of the party went to such great lengths to save him that I allowed him another saving throw in plain view of everyone. It failed--but not before one of the other characters lopped off the afflicted appendage in desperation.)
Favour of the Greek setting was quite vocal by the players present. Although I was given what I think is a very good reason by one absent player--the weather--I'm afraid that the party's current preference may be based somewhat on the relative superiority of the characters.
I concede that English weather isn't any fun, and that having to worry about chillblain and dying horses can be distracting from other aspects of the adventure. Mr Smolensk recently made the case that characters should receive XP for travel, and I'm very much of the opinion that suffering through adverse conditions should confer some kind of benefit toward advancement. If hostile environmental conditions exist as just one more nuisance that can be avoided by choosing a world with fewer of them, and that world is just as rewarding to run in, then doing so would be the only rational choice.
But I created the pre-rolled characters by different methods. For the Kingdom of Minoa, I rolled the dice just as the players would if they were creating their own characters: six ability scores each determined by 4d6 minus the lowest die roll, and arranged as suitable for a variety of character classes. This gave us a bard, some rangers, and specialist mages in addition to the standard archetypes, and all were quite strong.
For Shropesyre, I chose six numbers from 14 to 8 and arranged them as I saw fit to create two each of the standard archetypal classes. Thence I added their proficiencies, chose their weapons, and rolled dice for character traits. This may be why it was commented that the fighters in this setting were 'not so good'. They were merely slightly superior to the average freeman of the town. No paladins, no bards, no rangers. This is more in keeping with Smolenk's suggestion that pre-rolled trial characters shouldn't be too special.
I'm afraid that the characters chosen in Minoa were chosen based on how powerful they were, rather than on their class or traits. Now that we've had trial sessions in three settings and have at least eliminated one, it might not be a bad idea to run a session in each of the remaining two worlds with players rolling their own characters and adapting them to the respective setting.
The character sheets as we've been using them have two sides: the front (shown above) shows who they are and what they can do, and the back lists what they own. I've prepared these sheets to be optimum for our campaign, but there's no reason they can't be amended. Indeed, I hope and expect that they will be as characters advance in level. There has been a tradition of players leaving all their records at my house and going home empty-handed, but I'd like to discourage it if possible. When players create their own characters, I should email them the sheets as Word files and let them do with them as they like. Naturally, I can foresee some initial resistance, and in some cases it will probably be several months before some players feel their sheets have become unreadable enough to merit re-printing, but as DM I should really be putting all my effort into the world and its attributes, and let players take care of themselves.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like great stuff, T. Looking forward to reading more.

    Have the players keep as many copies of their sheet attributes as they can, once the characters get established. The important thing is to have a back-up copy if someone forgets their sheet or loses it, so that the character can still be played. That's the main thing.