Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Character Building: The One Ring RPG


Hello all! This time around, I'm doing a post that I call "Character Building". I've decided that now that I have a huge load of game systems on my shelves (and in my "RPG" computer folder), I should get better-acquainted with them. So begins these posts, wherein I take a game system and create a character for it. I'll start with systems that I don't really know all that well, so this time around--it's The One Ring.

The One Ring: a quick intro
The One Ring follows in the footsteps of many RPGs based off of Tolkien's celebrated stories, coming back to Middle Earth with some fancy new dice and a gorgeous boxed set. The mechanics are tailor-made for Tolkienesque fantasy, with an emphasis on journeying far and wide, and on holding out hope even as darker impulses within threaten to consume what's good and pure about you. It touches on some cool things, and I want to get a better handle on it.

Kicking Off Chargen: the first choice
I've got a big choice right off the bat. I have to pick a Heroic Culture for my character to belong to. We've got Bardings, Beornings, Lonely Mountain Dwarves, Mirkwood Elves, Shire Hobbits, and Wilderland Woodmen. Beornings sound fun; let's play a Beorning. Beorn was cool. Apparently now, he's attracted followers, eschewing his formerly lonely attitudes. This gives me a cultural blessing (when I'm wounded, I'm not affected by being Weary or Miserable for the rest of the fight!), skills, and a choice of weapon skills. It also gives me a few special traits. The Athletics skill is underlined; this means that it's a favored skill (more on that later).

My Selections: I choose Great Spear 2, Axe 1, Dagger 1 (yeah Great Spear) as my weapon skill "loadout", and Story-telling and Beast-lore as my specialty traits. Here's my character so far...

Character Skills
Awe (3)Inspire (1)Persuade (0)
Athletics (2)Travel (0)Stealth (0)
Awareness (2)Insight (3)Search (1)
Explore (0)Healing (1)Hunting (3)
Song (0)Courtesy (0)Riddle (1)

Weapon Skills: Great Spear 2, Axe 1, Dagger 1

Specialties: Beast-lore, Story-telling

Blessing: When you're wounded in battle, Weary and Miserable don't affect you until the fight ends.

Next Up: the past (backgrounds)
In The One Ring, your "background" is your origin. Just for fun, I'm gonna roll one up at random, since there's exactly six. I got..."Lightfoot"--a scout/sneak upbringing. That gives me my core attributes, a favored skill (Stealth), and lets me choose traits from a list as my Distinctive Features. I pick Curious and Suspicious.

Attributes: Body 5 | Heart 5 | Wits 4
Character Skills
Awe (3)Inspire (1)Persuade (0)
Athletics (2)Travel (0)Stealth (0)
Awareness (2)Insight (3)Search (1)
Explore (0)Healing (1)Hunting (3)
Song (0)Courtesy (0)Riddle (1)

Weapon Skills: Great Spear 2, Axe 1, Dagger 1

Specialties: Beast-lore, Story-telling
Distinctive Features: Curious, Suspicious

Blessing: When you're wounded in battle, Weary and Miserable don't affect you until the fight ends.

Small Details, and Callings!
I get a little lost in this section, but there's some Beorning names, bynames, and finally a suggested age for adventuring. I decide that my character is Avina the Red, and she started adventuring at the age of 19. After I page through all of the different cultures, I finally find the next step in character creation: Callings. A Calling is sort of like a character class, only it just gives me favored skills, a special trait, and a particular Shadow weakness--what I'll turn into should corruption overtake me!

Given that my character's a Beorning, I judge the Warden calling to be particularly fitting--a protector of the civilized world who roams the wild places. My favored skill groups are Personality and Survival skills; flipping ahead a few pages, I figure out which groups these are, and choose Awe and Hunting as my favored skills, trying to enhance their already good ratings. My acquired trait is Shadow-lore, and my Shadow Weakness is the Lure of Power. Ooooo.

I follow this up by giving Favored Attribute bonuses. You gain your Favored Attribute bonus whenever you use that attribute for a favored skill. That's a pretty cool and elegant system. I get a +3, a +2, and a +1 to distribute; the +3 can go into Wits (for my Stealth and Hunting), the +2 can go into Body, and the +1 can go into Heart. I've got a very clever character who sneaks about and knows stuff about evil creatures. This is interesting.

Finally, I get to spread around some points to custom-raise skills. I'm going to raise Stealth to 3, since I should be sneaky, and raise Explore to 2. I have one last point, so I'll raise Travel to 1. No adventurer should be without traveling experience, right?

Name: Avina the Red
Age: 19
Attributes: Body 5/7 | Heart 5/6 | Wits 4/7
Character Skills
Awe (3)Inspire (1)Persuade (0)
Athletics (2)Travel (1)Stealth (3)
Awareness (2)Insight (3)Search (1)
Explore (2)Healing (1)Hunting (3)
Song (0)Courtesy (0)Riddle (1)

Weapon Skills: Great Spear 2, Axe 1, Dagger 1

Specialties: Beast-lore, Story-telling
Distinctive Features: Curious, Suspicious
Calling Trait: Shadow-lore

Blessing: When you're wounded in battle, Weary and Miserable don't affect you until the fight ends.
Shadow Weakness: Lure of Power

Cleanup Stuff
There's a little bit of math to do, based on the charts. My character's Endurance stat is 29, and her Hope is 13. Endurance is like hitpoints in a traditional RPG, and Hope is a stat that lets you boost yourself in dire times. She'll take autumn traveling gear (which is a bit heavy; encumbrance of 2) and one weapon for each skill that she has--a Great Spear (encumbrance 4), an Axe (encumbrance 2), and a Dagger (encumbrance 1). This "encumbrance" that I've been noting forms the "Fatigue" score. When your Endurance is less than your Fatigue, you're Weary (which really saps your dice results). Right now, Fatigue is at 9.

I won't go into the weapon stats, because those are largely irrelevant here. However, there's one final little step...

Valour and Wisdom
Valour and Wisdom track your character's stature, and you get to start with one of them at 2 and the other at 1. If I start Valour at 2, I get a Reward (a special possession); if I start Wisdom at 2, I get a Virtue (like other games' "feats"). Cool gear is cool, so I'll start Valour at 2 and Wisdom at 1! Since this is my last character creation decision, I'm gonna head to the chapter where they talk about Rewards...

I decide that I'd like my axe to be a Splitting Axe; getting a "critical success" with it makes it harder for my opponent to avoid being wounded. That's pretty sweet. And that wraps up my character!

Name: Avina the Red
Age: 19
Attributes: Body 5/7 | Heart 5/6 | Wits 4/7
Endurance: 29
Fatigue: 9
Hope: 13
Valour: 2
Wisdom: 1

Character Skills
Awe (3)Inspire (1)Persuade (0)
Athletics (2)Travel (1)Stealth (3)
Awareness (2)Insight (3)Search (1)
Explore (2)Healing (1)Hunting (3)
Song (0)Courtesy (0)Riddle (1)

Weapon Skills: Great Spear 2, Axe 1, Dagger 1
Gear: Autumn traveling gear (2), Great Spear (4), Splitting Axe (2), Dagger (1)

Specialties: Beast-lore, Story-telling
Distinctive Features: Curious, Suspicious
Calling Trait: Shadow-lore

Blessing: When you're wounded in battle, Weary and Miserable don't affect you until the fight ends.
Shadow Weakness: Lure of Power

A Brief Review
If you're still here, kudos. That took a bit of a while, but I like the end result. At this point, I actually have a pretty clear picture of how this character is going to play, and she's a pretty cool adventurer. The book definitely isn't ideally organized for putting a character together, what with the options all being in different chapters, but I guess it's not much worse than typical D&D. What I truly like is the flavor of it all, and how it constrains your choices via the Backgrounds and Callings. And Avina the Red is definitely a character I'd like to watch in play.