Chapter One: Creating Man from Dust
There is a beginning for every person, the characters included. Now it’s time to task yourself with creating your own personality. Going to have to tap into some imagination. It’s easier than you think! Luckily you will have some stats, storytelling elements, and some tables to aid your creative process. Soon you will choose a race (in Prime, most races are human or a type of human) and a class (such as Merc, Operative, or Techmancer). Then you will be allowed to pour in some personality, their tragic backstory, and of course, their personal appearance. When you have completed your Frankenstein’s monster, your character will be like your avatar walking around N-Verse space.
Whoah, there Tex, don’t hop to it just yet. You have to think about your character a bit. You could be a tactically minded soldier for the Terran Empire. Or perhaps try a silent but deadly femme fatale. Maybe try being a back-street doctor using any means necessary to advance her craft? Or really go nuts and transform into a master of the technological arts able to manipulate technology with a thought. Maybe scroll through Pinterest and look for character ideas that spark your creativity.
After you have spent some time thinking it over, follow the next few steps in order. As you do so, you will make decisions that will reflect the character that you have in your mind. You will soon start to conceptualize what your character can do and how good they will become at it. All tabletop games use a character sheet. This is used to track your character’s stats and progress. You could do a search and find some digital pdf on the internet. Though a simple piece of paper will do. As long as there is a solid record of it, you can track their progress with ease.
We’re going to create a sample character for you to follow along with. Meet Kodar, a Titan Born soon be atom smasher!
1 . Race.
Races in N-Verse: Prime(Steel Age) are primarily different types of humans, androids, or mutants. Dwarves, Elves, Halflings have all been bred out or drove to extinction. Races in N-Verse Prime are as follows: Android, Frontier Born, Lunarian, Martian, NEO Born, Space Born, Terran, Titan Born, and Venusian. Some of these races will have subraces, and details for those races are found in their respective sections.
Choosing your race is probably one of the most important decisions of your campaign. It is the most significant step in cementing your character’s identity. It establishes your culture, ancestry, natural abilities. Also, your general appearance can be created. Each race has unique racial traits ranging from proficiencies with certain weapons, skills, or sometimes techniques (magic). You can use a metagame and choose a race that compliments a particular class. For example, the Titan Born are very sturdy and make very formidable soldiers. Lunarians have natural psychic talents, and they make excellent Psions. Though often, it’s more fun to go against the grain and choose races that do not mix so well with classes. An Android Warlock, for example, would be odd, but chances are everyone would remember them.
Each race has a specific effect on your ability scores as well. This will be determined in step 3. So be sure to record your race traits and take note of their speed and starting languages.
STEP 1 – Kodar
We’ve decided that Kodar is going to be a Titan Born. So, for now, on our character sheet, we’ve jotted down all his racial traits, speed, and languages that he will start the game with.
2 . Class.
After you found the race you like you’re now going to choose a class. Classes are like what your character does for a living. Also details the unique talents that the class gives them. You will also get an idea of how each class operates separately from the other. Some are better at fighting, while others are better at sneaking. The Character classes are described in a later chapter in, “Classes.”
Your class will give your character many benefits. These are called class features. They include fighting, technique utilization and ultimately will set your character apart from your friends as they will likely choose different classes. Notice also that each class bestows upon your character certain proficiencies. Armor and weapons, skills and saves, and sometimes even tools. Your proficiencies are what your character will be able to do more effectively than others. This could be in the form of attack rolls or seduction, to name a couple.
At this time, record all the features and benefits that your class gives your character at level 1.
Most times, you will start level 1. You advance in Level by playing and gaining XP (experience points). When just starting out in the universe, you are truly pathetic. But less pathetic than most other people who live out their daily lives uneventfully. Even at level 1, you’re more badass than your average joe. Although you are inexperienced, your class sets you apart from regular NPCs, and you are about to make your name known for all of history.
So write down the level of your character on your sheet. If you happen to be starting at a higher level, then record those features according to the level you’re starting at. Also, add XP to your character to the minimum amount required to reach that level.
HP and HD
Your character has something called HP (Hit Points). They also have something called HD (Hit-Point Dice.) Maximum HP will be defined by how many Hit Dice your character has.
At level 1, your character will have a total of 1 HD, and the value will be determined by your class. Then, you write down your hit points equal to the highest roll of that die as indicated in your class description. You will add your Constitution modifier soon to tell what your characters hit point maximum will be.
Then write down your character’s Hit-Dice. This is helpful for when you rest. You can spend this total to regain Hit Points when you’re out kicking ass and taking names.
Looking at the table of your class, you can see a description that details your proficiency bonus. For a level 1 character, this bonus is +2. This number will also be added to many of your other class abilities and rolls. These include:
- All attack rolls when you’re using weapons you are proficient with.
- Attack rolls with any techniques that you use.
- Ability checks for using skills you happen to be proficient with.
- Ability check for any tools or Equipment you’re proficient with.
- Saving throws that your character is naturally proficient with.
- Saving throws for Difficulty Class (DC) for techniques used against your character.
Most of your proficiencies are determined by your class. You will receive additional skills and proficiencies from your race and your chosen background. Make sure you write all of these values down on your character sheet.
A note on your proficiency bonus. You can not add your proficiency to any of your rolls more than once. Sometimes your proficiency will be halved or sometimes doubled before you get to apply it to your roll. Even if you encounter a situation where it seems like you should use this bonus again on the same roll or that it should be multiplied, and this is silly talk. Only add, divide, or multiply one time and one time only.
Step 2 -Kodar
Kodar needs a weapon, so we’re going to give him a short sword. A scar over his eye. And we’ve chosen the Wanderer class. We’ve written down all his proficiencies and the features that are a level 1 Wanderer provides.
As a 1st-level Wander, Kodar gets 1 Hit-Dice (1d8) and his starting HP 8. This value will be increased or decreased later after we determine his Constitution score. Kodar’s proficiencies for being a level 1 character is +2
3. Determine Your Ability Scores.
The very core of your character will be the six scores that give your characters the stats that most other stats rely on. Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Each of these will have its own value on your character sheet.
Let’s take a moment to go over what each ability score does.
- Strength: Natural athleticism, bodily power. Used by Mercenaries, Soldiers, and Seekers.
- Dexterity: Physical agility, reflexes, balance, poise. Used by Wanderers, Rangers, and Rogues.
- Constitution: Health, stamina, endurance. Used by everyone.
- Intelligence: Mental acuity, perception, analytical skill. Used by: Technomancers, Scholars, Psychics.
- Wisdom: Awareness, intuition, insight. Used by: Medics, Servants, Conduits.
- Charisma: Confidence, attractiveness, leadership. Used by: Icons, Mystics, Warlocks.
There are many ways to generate your characters’ abilities. TO decides which method your campaign is going to use, and all the players use that method.
- Method 1. The Traditional Method is very random; however, you could score a very high or meager score. It adds that element of chaos. Most groups use this method. You will roll 4d6 (4 six-sided dies, remember?) for each ability. Then drop the lowest number for each of the six ability scores and then record this total. For example: If you roll a 6, 5, 3, 1, you will drop the 1 for a total of 14.
- Method 2. The Standard Array is less random, and everyone gets the same numbers. Each player just gets to choose which ability gets what number. Those numbers are 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8. Just saves time, and you get a well-rounded character.
- Method 3. The Point Buy system is a mix of both worlds. It allows a bit more specific customization to your character’s abilities scores. You will have 27 points to spend on your ability scores. Each ability has a particular cost that you would subtract from your 27 points. For example, a score of 15 will cost 9 points. By using this method, a 15 will be the highest you can go. Then you add your racial increases to your values. You may not have a score less than 8. Using the point buy method allows you to create a character who will be guaranteed to be above average that’s good all-around (13,13,13, 12,12,12). Or a character who could have three very high scores and three very low scores (15,15,15,8,8,8). You can also tweak every score between those values as long as you have the points for them.
Ability Score Point Cost
Whichever method you choose, make sure all other players are on the same method. Then after your scores are calculated, add or subtract any bonus or penalties from your racial choice.
When you are satisfied with your ability scores, you must now find the bonus they provide to your character. These bonuses are called ability modifiers. You subtract 10 from the ability score and then divide it by 2 and round it down. Or you could look at the list below. Just make sure you write the modifier down next to each of your ability scores.
Ability Scores and Modifiers
Step 3- Kodar
We’ve decided that we like a bit of randomness, so for Kodar’s stats, we went the traditional method and rolled a set of scores. We got 16,12, 12, 14,17,12. Since Kodar is a wanderer, we’re going to put our highest score of 17 into Dexterity. The next highest score, 16, we put into Strength. We took his 3rd highest, 14, and placed it into Constitution. And since the rest were 12, we put the rest into Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.
When we finished with this, we then added his racial bonus for being a Titan Born. Strength 17(+3), Dexterity 16(+3), Constitution 14(+2), Intelligence 12(+1), Wisdom 15(+2, Charisma 12(+1). Now that we know Kodar’s Constitution modifier, we can figure up his maximum starting HP. Which is a 10 + Constitution modifier +2 for a total of 12 HP for a level one character. Very impressive stats. We were able to achieve these stats by manually rolling them, so they were completely random. It could have easily worked against us, but in this case, Kodar is a badass.
4. Character Description.
Now that you know the basic idea of your character, it is now time to breathe some life into them. First, your character needs a name. Take your time and think about what you can see your character doing and how they behave and interact with others.
In the chapter on Backgrounds and Archetypes, you can now flesh out your character’s appearance and personality. Some games use a morale alignment, but it’s not required. That is up to The One. A moral alignment is a compass that guides your characters to their actions. In the chapter on Bonds and Flaws, you will find personality traits. These traits could one day become your Achilles heel for villains to exploit and could build tension for your character’s story.
Your character’s archetype details your character’s background. This gives a small glimpse into your character’s back history and former vocation that you can build off of later. The One could help you create a custom archetype separate from those listed in this book.
The archetypes will give your character several benefits. A new feature and proficiency in two other skills. It also could provide additional starting languages and proficiency with specific Equipment. Write all of these down on your character sheet.
Take a moment to go over your character’s race, skills, class, and ability scores. Use this information to give your creation the thunderbolt it needs to become alive! You should have enough information by now to think about their personality and their appearance.
For example, exceptional Strength usually refers to very athletic characters and have good muscle tone and looks physically strong. High Dexterity characters are often acrobatic, lithe, and poise. Characters with a high Constitution score are often in excellent health and increased endurance. High Intelligence means they should read effortlessly, perhaps speak multiple languages, or be really good with computers. A character with high Wisdom has excellent emotional intelligence and overall general good common sense. Those with a high Charism score will be confident, attractive, and have strong personal magnetism.
A character with low scores should have the opposite effect. It could be they are weaker, sickly, maybe a gamy leg, not well educated, lack of general awareness, has zits. You get the idea.
Step 4 – Kodar
We are now filling in Kodar’s sex, height and weight, and alignment. We’re making him Chaotic Good. So looking at him, we determine that he’s definitely going to wreck face with his high Dexterity and this high Strength. However, he will have weaknesses in social situations and tasks that require a degree of thinking. Perfect!
Now for his backstory. By including his archetype and background, we come up with one. Kodar grew up on the streets of the communist held moon of Titan. He was forced to fight on the streets, competing for food tickets to feed himself and his little sister. As the years moved on, he became a local name in the underground fighting circuits. He became a champion for the hungry oppressed. This came from his folk hero archetype.
We picked one of the random personality traits. Kodar gets irritated if people other than him get praised. For his Ideals, we gave him competitive, and he constantly tests himself with every action. Kodar’s bond makes him strive to be the best honor and glory of those that chant his name during the fights. However, he has a nasty flaw. Kodar indulges in women after each row. Women are his trophy, and there have been many nights he would wake up broke because his winnings would be missing. Oh well, onto the next fight!
5. Gear Up!
Every class and background comes with starting equipment. This includes weapons, armor, and other equipment that they might need. Record these items on your character sheet, and further details are found in the chapter on Equipment.
If you do not like your starting equipment, you can opt for money instead. The Age of Steel currency is digital, so you get the amount of GP your class gets, which is also detailed in the Equipment section.
In regards to equipment, though, keep in mind that everything has weight. Your Strength score is the limiter on the amount of gear you can physically carry. Do your best not to exceed your strength score by 15 times. More information on carrying weight is in a later chapter.
Every character has an Armor Class (AC) value. This represents how adept your character is at avoiding damage in battle or other dangerous situations. Many things factor into your AC. This includes armor, a shield, and your Dexterity modifier. Sometimes even High-Technology items or magic can increase this value. However, armor for some characters can do more harm than good so keep that into consideration.
When you are not wearing armor or a shield, your AC is 10 + your Dexterity modifier. If you are wearing items that grant more AC, be sure to record them from the Equipment chapter and record the total on your sheet.
To wear armor or shields, your character needs to have proficiency with it granted by your class. If you wear armor without the proper proficiency, you will incur penalties described in the Equipment section.
Class features and techniques will change your AC, so read the description of those abilities to calculate it correctly. If you happen to have multiple features that seem like they are trying to give you a ton of AC bonus, you can only choose one to use.
Instruments of Death
Your character is proficient in weapons granted by their class or race features. When you attack these weapons and then add damage after you score a hit on your target. To make an attack, roll a d20 + your proficiency bonus and also the correct ability modifier.
- Melee Weapons. Use your Strength modifier to attack and add to your damage rolls. Some weapons have a finesse property that lets you use your Dexterity modifier instead.
- Ranged weapons. Use your Dexterity modifier to attack and add to your damage rolls. Some melee weapons can be thrown, and you can use your Strength modifier instead.
Step 5 – Kodar
We wrote down Kodar’s starting equipment from the Wanderer class and his folk hero background. His starting equipment has no armor or personal forcefields. Kodar’s AC is 15 (+3 for Dexterity and +2 for Unarmored Defense).
Kodar’s starting equipment was shortsword and 10 darts. The shortsword is a melee weapon, so his Strength modifier will be applied to his attacks and damage. His attack bonus is +5 (Strength +3 and Proficiency +2). The damage of his shortsword is 1d6+3.
Kodar is also very good at hand-to-hand fighting. His unarmed strike attack bonus is +5 (Strength +3 and Proficiency +2). The damage of his Unarmed Strike 1d4+3.
Kodar’s attack bonus with his darts is +5 (Dexterity +3 and Proficiency +2). The damage of the dart is 1d4+3.
6. Party Time!
The game is a lot more fun with family and friends. Each of them will play with a role in mind, and you should work together to tackle the challenges The One will present. The game is greatly improved and memorable when there is teamwork and cooperation. Having a team dramatically increases your chances of successfully surviving the dangers of The N-Verse. Discuss with The One and the other players to figure out if your team knows each other, how they met, and most importantly, talk about what type of game you want to play.
Your characters are going to gain experience and treasure as they defeat challenges. Once your reach a specified total of XP, your character will advance to the next level. This is called leveling up!
As your character gains levels, their levels will grant additional abilities and features detailed in the class descriptions. You will also be able to increase your ability scores. You can either increase one score by 2 points or increase two scores by 1 point. You can not improve your ability scores past 20, as 20 is considered the pinnacle of human potential. Your proficiency bonus will also increase when you reach certain levels.
Hit Dice increase again every time you level up. At every level, you will gain 1 additional Hit Die. Roll that Hit Die, add your Constitution modifier to your roll, and add that total to your maximum hit points. If The One wants, he can increase everyone’s HP maximum by a fixed value based on your class, usually just the average.
Special note on Constitution. When your Constitution modifier is increased by 1, your HP maximum will increase by 1 for every level you have acquired.
Bonus Progression for Proficiency and XP
Below is the Character Advancement table. It provides a summary of all the XP you need to advance from level 1 to level 20. It also details the proficiency bonus for a character of that level. Ensure you consult the section for your class to see what new abilities your character will gain every time they level up.
As your character advances in level and power, they will gain renown. There are five levels of renown, and each changes how the world interacts with them. These levels are different according to your campaign and era so adjust them accordingly. Your medieval characters aren’t going to be known on other planets, for instance. These levels are for The Age of Steel. The levels of renown are as follows:
- Renown 1(level 1): The party is a bunch of nobodies. No one cares about them. They could easily just be another face in the crowd.
- Renown 2 (levels 2-4): Still unknown, they are basically seen as apprentices or beginners. They learn the ropes for their class and figure out what distinguishes them from each other and those around them. They also get to specialize in specific classes during this time and really begin to hone their might. The threats they face are considered minor to those of authority but are a good opportunity for them to learn how to take a few bumps. Near the end of this tier they will become known throughout the city, county, and state.
- Renown 3 (levels 5-10): Your characters have found their own way. Technique users can access the powerful 3rd level abilities while weapons users get multiple attacks per round. Their entire home nation knows your character’s names. They also get a red check mark on Twatter.
- Renown 4 (levels 11-16): Character at this stage of development have become powerful and well known on their planet. Other adventurers and mercenary groups are very aware of their existence. 6th-level techniques are unlocked and martial awareness of weapon users are almost superhuman. At this level, characters are known and are called for the big jobs worldwide.
- Renown 5 (levels 17-20): Your character is known throughout the entire solar system. The mere mention of your name can bring inspiration or total fear. Wherever they go, the chances of them being noticed are considerably higher. This could be a good or bad thing in equal measure as fame has its price. The fate of entire planets or even the whole solar system could hang in the balance of your character’s actions.
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