Classless Skills & Powers
Custom Character Generation Example

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The last section was an exercise in generating characters similar to the standard AD&D classes. The benefit of this system, of course, is that you can make a character that can do a wide variety of things that cross traditional "class" boundaries.

For example, let us take the example of a character that aspires to be a powerful warrior, born of sturdy barbarian stock. Yet he makes his living more often by stealth and theft than not, much as Conan the Barbarian and Fafhrd, the erstwhile companion to the Grey Mouser in Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar tales.

We will assume that we rolled up high Strength (18/76) and Dexterity (16) befitting such a character, such that STR and DEX based skills will cost 1 CP less because of the character’s high Prime Requisites. He only has an 8 Intelligence, so will only get 3 extra CPs (three times his Bonus Proficiencies for Intelligence). So we start with 203 CPs.

First, we decide that the character should be human (0 CP) and possess a savage alertness form his wild heritage (Alertness trait, 6 CP). Then, we buy from the required skill tree - we want a super warrior, with warrior THAC0 (40 CP) and saves (30 CP), and d12 hit dice (50 CP). We take a worse XP table (Wizard, 10 CP) to make up the points - 130 CP total from the required tree.

We have already spent 136 CP, and have 67 CP remaining to build our character. Since we know we’ll be taking a lot of skills from both Melee Combat and Stealth, we pay 12 CP to get the Stealth tree as a primary, and 20 CP (twice the normal buy-in cost) to get Melee Combat as another primary tree.

That leaves us with 35 CP to buy skills. Not much at this point - we get Move Silently (9 CP, 10 -1 for a high DEX), Climb Walls (4 CP), and proficiency in the broadsword (9 CP). We don’t like how close we’re getting to our limit, so decide to go back and take a couple disadvantages - a mild Phobia: Crowds (4 CP) and a mild Phobia: Magic (8 CP) to reflect his outdoor, primitive upbringing. So we now have 25 CP left to spend around.

We spend 4 CP on Detect Noise and another 8 on 20 discretionary thief skill points to spread around, leaving us 12 CP. Our character needs to be able to ride a horse (2 CP), and we buy into the Wilderness Craft tree for 5 CP. We don’t really have enough points left to buy many specific skills from that tree, but we may want to later, and it fits his background.

Note that we could have taken Wilderness Craft as our other primary tree rather than Stealth, and then bought the Wilderness versions of the various thief skills. However, we decide that he probably learned the thieving part of his skills in civilization (and we want him to be able to function well in cities while thieving, now and in the future) so we chose this combination of skills.

The remaining 5 CP can be saved for later - but we spend it on raising his Riding rating on the grounds that his people were fierce mounted warriors. His initial Riding rating was 8, +3 for his 16 DEX = 11. It costs us 4 points to raise the rating 2 points (because it's between 10 and 15, see the "Improving Skills" section) - so we are almost out of CP after getting his Riding rating to 13. At the end, the character has one CP left we save for use during play as an emergency reroll (cf. S&P p.7).

So, at first level we have a beefy warrior with only one weapon skill, and three thief skills. Not bad, but not a world-shaking character (yet).

As time progresses, our character (we’ll name him Aethelred after the Saxon king) spends some time as a mounted guardsman and occasional thief in a port city. He reaches 4th level in a couple years, and is becoming more battle-seasoned from his combat against humanoid and bandit incursions in the hills.

Over this time, he has gained 60 CP. Although he has progressed a little more slowly than would otherwise be expected due to his XP progression table, those d12 Hit Dice have brought him through his experiences intact. Aethelred has added 50 points to his thieving skills (20 CP) and has both expanded his skill in weapons from the broadsword to the tight group of medium swords (10 CP incremental cost) and has specialized in his trusty broadsword (22 CP total, weapon of choice + expertise + specialization). Long weeks spent in those hills have also taught him the art of surviving in that climate (Survival, 6 CP). His Initial Rating in Survival (6) is not good because of his low INT and WIS, so we spend the last two points to make it 8.

Over the next year, he tires of the constant fighting of guard duty and takes a job as a private bodyguard in the city - this also affords him an opportunity to hone his thieving abilities further. He manages to minimize his trouble with crowds by working largely at night. He reaches 7th level (another 60 points), and spends 30 CP on the next rank of multiple attacks and 6 on another 15 thieving points. He is now pretty good about sneaking around the city, and when he gets caught, his broadsword is a formidable ally, with his Strength and specialization (he’s getting 2 attacks a round at a THACO of 11 and a +6 damage bonus). He has also purchased Backstab for 10 CP and Hide in Shadows for 9 CP - those guards never hear him coming, and double damage drops them like flies. He also buys into the Craftsman tree for 5 CP, mainly so he can perform quick fixes on his weapons and armor when the need arises.

Well, this sort of behavior eventually gets Aethelred in trouble with the law, and he ends up fleeing town on a ship headed to sea. He discovers he’s taken refuge with a group of pirates, and joins up for a life of freebooting and fun on the high seas.

In a couple years Aethelred is 10th level (another 60 CP) - a dreaded scourge of the seas, he has learned the arts of seamanship (Sailing tree for 4 CP, Seamanship for 5 CP, and Navigation for 5 CP). He has honed his fighting skills to a razor’s edge - another 30 CP gets him to the top rung of the multiple attack chart. He buys Rope Use for 4 CP and develops a keen eye for the value of treasure (Appraisal, 3 CP). He also takes a new weapon proficiency (9 CP) in the belaying pin (they come in handy when boarding ships).

About this time he and his crew make the mistake of overtaking and trying to board a vessel carrying an archmage to a meeting in the East. Paralyzed by his fear of the resulting magical display, Aethelred is left clutching a fragment of his ship, which was burned to the waterline by three or four well-placed 15d6 fireballs.

He makes landfall and swears revenge on the archmage. Over the next couple years he quests to find out the identity, location, and powers of the wizard in question, and makes his way across the continent in a series of adventures. He makes a living as a warlord, a caravan guard, a bandit - then meets up with a group of adventurers also questing against the wizard in question.

The group of adventurers defeats a dragon in its lair, hoping to use its hoard as both a lure for the mage (whom they’ve learned is greedy to a fault) and for its powerful magic to use against the mage. Though Aethelred does not like magic much, he sees the reasonableness of this course of action - he leaves the funkier magic to his teammates, only taking a magical shield for himself.

As the party prepares to confront the archmage, Aethelred is 12th level. He takes shield proficiency (10 CP) and Weapon and Shield style specialization (10 CP), dropping his AC considerably. He brings his skills of stealth to their fruition with 25 points worth of thief discretionary skills (10 CP), and takes the Ambush skill (10 CP) in expectation of their trap.

Should Aethelred survive this encounter, he will move on into the realms of legendary heroes - as he continues he can master his weapon, perfect his thief skills, and begin learning powerful skills from the High-Level Campaigns rulebook. He may well determine that the reins of rulership are his destiny, beginning with the land he will liberate from the archmage’s dictatorship and thence wherever his warband will venture.

Aethelred is not as skilled in warcraft as he would be if he had concentrated solely on combat. He’s not near the thief that a 12th level dedicated thief would be either. But he is very good at both, and as his situation in life changed he was able to quickly adapt and learn the skills that suited the needs of his harsh life.

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