On Transcripts: Character Creation

After some discussion, Character Creation.

This is an example of the speed at which character creation takes place. One player, Garth, has already created a character in this system. Rachel has played and ran many different role playing games, but has not played this one.

With bullshi&&ing, explaining each choice in total, and goofing around, both characters were rolled up and geared up in 25 minutes. The first thing the player did was grab dice and start playing.

It is nine in the morning on a Sunday.

DM: Me
Rachel: Creating Female Sage
Garth: Creating Male Alchemist
Jordan: Grant, Male Sage

DM: Ok, So, um, uh- What we're going to do is 4d6, droppin' the lowest, switch any two.

Garth: I would like to roll dice.

DM: Down the line, of course, so like you're gonna get to switch two.

Rachel: Ok. I'm very slow this morning, so uh--

DM: That's fine, there isn't-- there isn't-- no reason to hurry

Rachel: 4d6 drop the lowest, that's what we're doing--

DM: 4d6 drop the lowest.

Rachel: {Continues} I don't even need to know anything else right now. Ok.
 {Dice Clatter}

Garth: 13 Strength.
{Dice Clatter}

Rachel: 18!

DM: What!

Rachel: I got an 18.

DM: No kidding! That is exciting.
 {Dice Clatter}

Rachel: That's not as exciting.

DM: No, but it's a good start to the morning to get an 18.

Rachel: Actually it's not as bad as I thought.

DM: Even with drop lowest it's still like 2%, the chance of an 18.

Rachel: Oh, I was talking about my next roll. Uh, I'm too slow to even explain myself.

Garth: 14 Int.

Rachel: You know what--

DM: Don't you get up this early normally?

Rachel: Yeah, but I'm not feeling well this morning.

Garth: Hey 17.

DM: Wow, you guys are rolling really well. It's a lot more forgiving than 3d6, with the average being 12 instead of 8.

Garth: 13.

Rachel: All right.

DM: Ok, Ok, You can pick two and switch 'em. So you can basically put that 18 anywhere you want.

Rachel: Can I decide what I'm going to be first?

DM: Yeah, yeah, ok. So there are five classes. There are three basic classes and two advanced ones. Um, There are 4 races. Non-human races include Elf, Dwarf, and Gnome.

Garth: Are they their own class?

DM: No. They pick from the three basic classes, and then the multi-class. So you can have an Elf Fighter/Thief {Sic: Expert}, or an Elf Fighter/Mage {Sic: Sage}or an Elf Fighter/Thief/Mage {Sic: Expert/Sage}. But the thing is, these classes have a lot of options and as the racial classes, they don't get to pick any of them. Like Elf doesn't get to decide what kind of little things their fighter gets because elves are all fundamentally the same. So if you're human, you just pick one class and it has no limit. Uh, there are, the five classes are; Fighting men. Fighting men are tough letting them jump in and lead on the action. Obviously they hit things really well and they get feats every level. They get some special fighter ability. The get automatic cleave at first level and they use the fighter experience point table. Sages are fragile and have to plan all their spells in the morning. Sages get a d4 for hit points. Uh, they are restricted to gear as a magic user. They use the magic user saves. They pick from at first level, three categories. Thaumaturgy, Ordained, and Aboriginal. Thaumaturgy gives them 3 random first level spells like a wizard, Ordained lets them Bless, Heal, and Turn Undead. And, uh, Aboriginal gives them a familiar. Like, uhhhh, I dunno a cat or a wolf or uh hawk -- Grey Ooze, I don't care.

Rachel: Wizard, Cleric, Druid

DM: Yeah, but the thing is, at second level then if they have picked Thaumaturgy, they pick a school. And the school can be a couple of -- I have like a list of 100 different things. Like Thunder or Time or I don't care. And then if they are Ordained, they start picking spheres, uh, areas of influence, Fire or Diplomacy, and then they will get a selection of spells from under that. If they are Aboriginal, they will get nature oriented primal powers, so they'll get things like Druid spells and the ability to shape-change. But it's very specific. It's going to be very specific about where you're leveling up.

Garth: What about tree ability. Can you turn into a tree? Summon trees?

DM: Humans get a lot of freedom, now if you're playing an Elf Sage or whatever, you're not going to get to pick between those. You're going to have a specific thing that they do. We're using the Memory Cell Chart for spell-casting.

Rachel: Wouldn't that kind of screw you guys?

DM: What?

Garth: What?

Rachel: Like if we're being attacked -- *poof* I'm a tree.

DM: Who cares, about them, really? {Indicates the other players} "I turn into plants". Shrubbery!

DM: We use the memory spell chart which means that each spell has a shape, and you can cast any spell that's equal or less then your level. So if you're fourth level, you can cast fourth level spells if you can fit it in your brain and if you know it.

Rachel: Ok, I understand.

DM: Ok, and then there's Experts. Experts are lucky but not good at fighting. They have a d6 for hit points, they get five skills. They can have a skill at expert when they start. They every level, automatically get a new skill. Per level they get a mulligan. So a second level expert can re-roll a die they've already rolled like twice a session. Like a saving throw, or an attack roll, or a damage roll they get to re-roll once per their level. They can trade out one of their first level skills for Backstab or Poison Use. Uh, they are restricted to gear as a thief. They use the thief saves and experience. Every even level, they can also gain a +1 to hit, a +1 to AC, or an ability like a fighter. Nobody else increases in their ability to hit but fighters. So like if you're a sage, you're always going to have a +0 attack bonus. Unless your spell requires an attack roll and then you'll add your level. Um, and then there are two specialist classes. Alchemist and Psionist. Which is in the other supplement that I wrote. Did you see? Did you see? This is the playtest draft. *Thud* {163 page document hits table}

Rachel: I did start doing some rough drafts of art for you.

DM: Yeah.

Rachel: Mostly at work while I'm waiting for queries to run.

DM: So like I wrote that. It's like 163 pages.

Rachel: It's huge.

DM: It is huge.

Rachel: It needs some art.

DM: Yeah, yeah.

DM: I have I do have about 40 pages of art that I've done. The only piece that's in there is the one right behind the cover.

Rachel: I've seen this one before.

DM: Have you? Yeah.
. . .
DM: So there's that, and then there's the other class, the Psioncist. Alchemists are dicks. They create toxins, powders, potions, and poisons to punish and sicken their opponents. They are weak and opportunistic. Lacking natural skills they goad other members of the party into keeping them safe and free from harm.

Rachel: Can they make healing potions?

DM: Yes. Yes. Psionicists are physically weak --  Alchemists can make any potion in the Dungeon Masters Guide, plus, I don't know, about 500 I made up. Psionicists are physically weak with few powerful mental powers. They have a few abilities and they must be very creative in the way they are used. It's basically like a spell-caster with spells that they can cast at any given moment. They have a lot more flexibility then spell-casters than the effects of spells, but the effects are not particularly powerful.
You know there are a lot of limitations into Hypnotism. It sounds great, you can force somebody to do something, pretty much at will. But they have to have an intelligence within a pretty narrow range and they can't have more hit dice then you, and you can only affect so many hit dice at the same time. So when it comes up it's super-powerful to be like "Look, we have a thrall! And we're going to make him walk into traps!" But like, finding the thing that you get to do that to and keeping him, it's challenging. Like there's in game -- you've got to be creative.
The idea is that each class matches the actual play style that you'll be engaging in. Sages require a lot of planning. Fighters are tough and they can get out there and do stuff. Experts can take big risks because they get mulligans and can deal with a bunch of different situations. Psionicists have to be creative and alchemists have to hide behind people and make other people sick and do their shit.

Garth: And read a lot.

DM: Yeah and look through a book. Oh, yeah. If you're doing Alchemist again we're going to get a sheet of paper and we're going to write down everything you have and everything it does.

Rachel: Yeah, that was my next question. I thought you already had a character.

Garth: Yeah, he died.

Rachel: Already?

Garth: He had the best Alchemist name. Ambrose Whithers-Grigsby. It was a good Alchemist name.

Rachel: How'd he die?

Garth: Well, he took a -- he came down with a case of sword through the lung.

Garth: He made it out, barely, because he was carrying a little healing kit, so uh, the other characters grabbed that, barely healed him, I think I had a 15% chance.

DM: 15% chance. I think Hawley rolled like a 6?

Garth: So she kept me alive, dragged me out of there. I had to recover for 40d6 weeks --

DM: No, 10d6. From Organ Damage.

Garth: With a 10% chance of death per week, which equals death. If it were descending, I think that would make more sense. 10% the first week, 9, 8,

DM: Definitely, it should have been lowered, but it was like week 3 when you finally kicked the bucket.

Garth: And I rolled an 8 which means I would have still--

Rachel: It took 3 weeks to get to town?

DM: No, he recovered in town. He was like "well, I'm not going out again." So he was rolling to see how long -- I just don't feel that the ability to recover from a punctured lung in a fishing town I describe as --

Garth: You're right, you're right.

DM: Decrepit fishing village.

Garth: The only thing is that the rule for the recovery. It should start at maybe higher than 10%. But it should descend 1% at a time. Because it doesn't make sense to make it 39 weeks and be like "Hey, I think I've got the hang of this -- OOPS Instant death!"

DM: Ok. I think it should probably only be like 10% for the first 6 or 8 weeks and then done. When you get 0 hit points, nothing bad happens except you start taking criticals.

Garth: So the hit points are just our buffer. It's petty handy.

DM: Before you get to actual wounds.

Rachel: {Sigh}

DM: What's the deep sigh for?

Rachel: I'm thinking Sage.

DM: Ok.

Rachel: What do you think?

Garth: I think I'm going to go back to Alchemist, try that. I will choke the rivers of this land with dead Alchemists.

DM: Which one do you want? The spells, the blessings? Ordained? Thaumaturgic, or uh, Aboriginal.

Garth: We could use an Ordained.

DM: You let her do whatever she wants.

Rachel: I'm trying to decide. I definitely don't want the last one.

Garth: The Shamanistic

DM: The familiar?

Rachel: Yeah.

DM: It's not really the best first level pick I don't think. Because then you're like "What can you do?" "Oh, I have a dog." {ED: this has been addressed}

Garth: Wait, they have no spells?

DM: No, just the familiar.

Garth: What?

DM: Well, later on they get to turn into animals and stuff.

Garth: That's not a class, that is a choice at the pet shop on the way to the adventure.

DM: No, it's a faaaamilllliar. You get to have it be special. It's getting to take two actions a round.

Rachel: If you can make healing potions. . .

Garth: I will hopefully. Now are basic healing potions common? Potions of cure light wounds?

DM: No, No, Uncommon, elixirs, uncommon.

Rachel: So you said that there was a fire sphere. How does a blessings person have a fire sphere?

DM: Well, when they get first level, all they can do is Bless, Heal, and Turn Undead. Anytime. There is no limit. They don't need a spell sheet. They are just like "now is blessing time", everyone gets a +1 bonus to saves versus fear and +1 to hit.

Garth: Do they have to check to be able to do that?

DM: Or they can bless water. Yeah, same thing with turning undead. Light healing. When they hit second level, it's just like wizard. Instead of picking schools of magic, they are picking spheres of influence. Like a sphere is Chaos or Diplomacy or Travel or, you know, it's almost identical to a school, except it's {mostly} cleric spells instead of wizard spells.

Rachel: I guess I'll do the healing one. It'll keep us alive better, because we have a warrior.

Garth: Plus, this is a lot more free-form, so you can just come up with some cool spheres.Now do they only have one sphere? Because the old gods used to have --

DM: No, but if you pick from different ones, you'll keep getting low level spells. You have to pick the same ones to get the more powerful spells. So specialization is rewarded. Then again, the lower level spells don't take up as much space in your brain. So you can have a bunch of low level spells.

Garth: I have swapped my Dexterity for my Wisdom. All right. The only thing I know about this character is that his initials are going to spell out PBAU.

Rachel: Why?

Garth: Because that's the symbol for lead and gold.

DM: Not healing potions, but there is a common curative tonic that heals 1d6-2.
{Jordan arrives}

DM: I'm sorry, I'm wrong. The elixir of healing {Ed:Elixir of Cure Light Wounds} is common. Purified water, Rare earths--

Garth: Purified like, blessed?

DM: There's a recipe for pure water. Troll blood/Healing Essence one dram, Powdered Pearl one dram, Powdered Silver one dram.

Garth: What? What's the crafting gold cost?

DM: So you need that stuff. 10 gold.

Garth: So it must be tiny amounts of the stuff.  Because healing potions are relatively common.

DM: Yes, anything you can convince me you can get a healing essence from.

Garth: Is that a creature or dead--

DM: Something with fast healing or regeneration or life oriented.

Garth: Is it possible to buy items.

DM: Like buy drams?

Garth: Like buy something that can be dissolved or concentrated into  --

DM: Yeah, a living creature that you can convince me  -- you have to extract the healing essence.

Garth: What about from fish.

DM: You can get cold, and you can get water from fish that have full hit dice. But I don't think you can just be like "Salmon!". Who signed up for the obsidian portal?

Garth: It's weird, because if you sign up, it won't show your name on the player list. Just the list of other players.

Rachel: But is still shows up on your list of games, right?

DM: Percentiles. When you add a picture, I will give you 500 bonus XP.

Rachel: A picture of my character?

DM: Any kind of picture associated with your account so you don't have the simple default face.

Garth: My picture looks just like me.

DM: It doesn't have to look like you at all, it just has to be a photograph that's not the basic head.

Garth: 15. What am I rolling for.

DM: 15 is coins, this is your bonus for signing up on Obsidian Portal. Roll again
{Some rolls later}

DM: You get 20 hard silver. You can keep the same equipment list for your last character.

Garth: I think that the Alchemist -- I mean you've got a class that's a person with a dog so I don't think the Alchemist deserves a ton of starting stuff, but uh, I think it's very fun to start with a little bit of everything. So you might have a random pack of beginning alchemical items.

DM: That is an excellent idea.

Garth: They could even be themed. Like roll 1d6. You get a 4. That's the outdoorsy, the other one was the tomb-robbery.

DM: That's an excellent idea. Done. Sold. Are you waiting on me?

Rachel: What am I supposed to be doing, I thought you were working on his character?

DM: So you're sage and you decided to go ordained. Your stat bonuses are at 13, 16, and 18.

Rachel: But I need to probably move Dex, to like Wisdom? And you can only make one move, right?

DM: Wisdom is going to be the stat cap -- I mean the spell cap for Ordained.

Garth: Do you get bonus spells?

DM: No, you get the brain size. But it affects the maximum number of spells she can know. She can know twice her level plus twice her bonus. So right now, she can know 8 spells.

Rachel: Ok, that's done.

DM: Which at this point, I'm not going to give you a sheet, because you -- how many slots are there? Five? So you have five 'battle healing spells' because you can bless at any time.

Rachel: Do I write these abilities down anywhere?

DM: No, don't worry about it.

Garth: You start with those special abilities and additional spells.

DM: No. Just bless, turn undead, and heal.

Garth: But each of those abilities have to take up a slot.

DM: No. Only for combat.

Garth: The druid is still super weak.

DM: It's not really a druid - it's a familiar.

Garth: That class choice is still pretty weak. It's a person who happens to have a dog.

DM: It's not a dog.

Garth: Whatever it is.

DM: If you picked dog, that would be 'dire wolf'. Does a dire wolf do more damage than a magic missile? I bet it does more damage per round. On average.

Garth: I still think their should be spells. Especially Duridic things that would function like those abilities.

DM: {To Rachel} I'm sorry. It's a D4 for hit points. So you do that and you add your constitution modifier.

Rachel: 4!

DM: Congratulations! You said your Constitution is +1? That means that weird little trapezoidal shaped box right there is your system shock. It's 90 + Three times your Constitution modifier. I have some gear sheets for you. Roll 3d8.

Rachel:  Ok. 21.

DM: 210 gold

Rachel: Where do you put gold? Do I put that somewhere?

DM: Yeah, the back, the bottom, I didn't print of equipment sheets again. Your base bonus to attack is 0. Your melee is strength and your ranged is dex.

Rachel: What about my movement?

DM: You're movement is going to be 12"

Rachel: My race?

DM: If you're going to be picking Ordained, you're going to be human.

Garth: Because only humans are the gods chosen people.

DM: If you picked Dwarf Fighter/Sage; the first level Dwarf Sage automatically gets ordained. They don't get to pick, that's just what they get because they are Dwarves. You pick Elf Fighter/Sage/Expert the first level sage would get animal companion. Because they don't pick, they just automatically get whatever.

Rachel: Ohhh! I can get an elephant!

DM: You can afford an Elephant?

Rachel: Yes I could.

DM: "What do you have there?" "Oh, nothing, just a pachyderm."

Jordan: Ok, I'm signed up for obsidian portal now and have a picture.

DM: Ok, Jordan is like "Bonus!"
{Some rolls}

Rachel: Are we doing stuff like blankets that we have to pay for?

Garth: There's a master kit that's got all the-

DM: She's got them.

Garth: There's the kit selection stuff. Where if you select the kit--

Rachel: Ok there.
{Jordan finishes his rolls}

DM: You have a 50 gold piece pair of silk trousers. They are embroidered -- and where are the other things?

Jordan: I sell them.

DM: They are silk. There's little buttons on the side made from rare crystals. Rare furs. Trousers worth 50 gold pieces!

Jordan: I sell them.

DM: Why would you sell them!? They are fancy pants!
{All Laughter}

Garth: You can have a middle name of fancy pants!

Jordan: I'll be ok. I'll take the gold.

DM: You cannot buy pants like this anywhere.

Garth: You probably cannot sell them to fishermen {All laugh} who's yearly income taps out at like 10 gold.

Jordan: Fine, I'll keep the fancy pants.

DM: Are you going to wear them?

Jordan: Yes. I'm going to wear them.

DM: That is awesome.

Jordan: Of course I'm going to wear them. I'm not keeping them for show. I can't be called 'fancy pants' if I don't wear the fancy pants.

DM: "Two hours later, Your pants are torn".

Garth: I like to imagine that everything is just rainbows and laughing as you're walking along with your fancy pants. And then like we camp for the night and wake up, we're all happy. And you come out of your tent. You're not wearing the fancy pants and just sadness. Rain.
{Hawley speaks up}

Hawley: Wait, we get points for doing things on that website?

All: Oh yeah.

Hawley: You didn't tell me that part.

DM: That's right, I didn't. It's a surprise.

Hawley: I just signed up.

DM: Well then you get a roll. You too may have a pair of fancy pants!

Garth: {deadpan} You may have already won.

DM: There are stat bonuses on that table. 2400 is the experience point total for second level sage.

Rachel: All right?

DM: Can you just show Rachel your sheet so she can copy your saving throws?

Rachel: The modifiers aren't the same as his, right?

DM: No, the modifiers are based off your stats. It's just the numbers in the circle you're concerned about.

Rachel: Ok, I got the numbers. Now what about the modifiers. Poison/Death is what? Constitution?

DM: Yeah, what is he have modifiers next to.

Rachel: There's saves and then there's a line with modifiers.

DM: Yeah, yeah, uh.

Rachel: Poison, Death, Constitution? Do you take the 14 into account or not?

Garth: 14 is a +1

DM: You roll a die, and you add the number that's the modifier and if it's over the number in the circle you get it.

Garth: Those are both +1, those are 0's

Rachel: Oh a 12 is a 0?!

Garth: It goes 13, 16 and 18.

Rachel: Well, that's annoying.

DM: That's the statistical bell curve.

Garth: Nobody likes that.

DM: I like it.

Garth: they want a +1 for a 12 and a +4 for an 18.

Rachel: So annoying.

Garth: You see? You see?

DM: I see that her 18 is really special.

Garth: It would still be special. It would be an extra +1

Rachel: Anyway. So what do I put in my modifier column.
{Adding save modifiers}

Rachel: All-right Garth. Should I just take the master kit and the expert scholar's kit, or do I need other stuff? I don't know. I don't want to think.

Garth: Then just start with the elephant.

Jordan: You don't want to think. No thinking! Hack!

Rachel: I'm not getting the elephant, that will take all my money. And it's probably a work elephant, not a war elephant.

Jordan: So? That thing can still trample people.

Garth: Do you know the difference between those?

Garth: One overzealous slap.

DM: One panics a whole lot?

Rachel: Can I just write master kit?

DM: Yeah.

Rachel: Maybe I should just write all this crap down. Unless I can look at this whenever I want.

DM: You can keep that. You want to keep that? You can keep it. This is not "exercise your writing hand for an hour in the morning". Just write down master kit and keep the sheet and then you can look at that. I won't need it.

Garth: This is brilliant. I'll just keep making alchemists and each one will will the accumulated horde to the next one. Eventually I'll reach critical mass.


  1. I'm really enjoying these transcripts. Thanks for putting in the effort to make them public.

    1. It is quite a bit of work. And as noted, things don't always go perfectly at the table.

  2. Replies
    1. Er, It's complicated

      We are using the experience point progression from OSRIC for fighters, sages (Magic-users), and experts (thieves).

  3. I'm sorry, maybe this is stated somewhere and I missed it, but what system is this? D&D advanced?

    1. As noted in the comment above yours, it is a 1e/OSRIC variant with my two home brew classes.


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