Part 2: Character CreationUpdate 001a Character Creation
Time to introduce the mechanics for Character Creation in Exile 2. In most ways it's the same as its predecessor, but with the addition of Traits that can help complicate or make for more interesting characters.
The other big change is the addition of non-human characters. Exile has improved relations with the Nephilim and Slithzerikai, and as such, those two species are also available as PCs. It doesn't affect gameplay in any material manner, but it will affect my story.
This is the default party selection screen. 6 average PCs that I don't like, and will of course be replaced by the suggestions of the Goons in the thread. So I'm going to delete them all.
Much better! Let's move on with Art's Character Creation, shall we?
When you first start a character, you are brought to this screen. Here you choose the species of your PC, their Advantages and Disadvantages. All these options have some effect on the amount of XP the character needs to level up. You see, by default, the bog-standard human requires 100XP to go up a level. Improving your character increases the XP required to level up, and giving your character disadvantages reduces it. Note that all percentages are multilplicative, so stacking Advantages on someone will hurt their long-term prospects, a lot. So, from the top:
- Human - (+0%) The standard 'species' in Exile, Humans gain no advantages due to their nature. Default Weapon: Stone Knife.
- Nephilim - (+12%) Felinoids of the Surface world, they too have been Exiled for being 'undesirable' by the Empire. In Exile 1, they were a nuisance, but never really a threat on the strategic level. +2 DEX, Innate bonuses to Missile and Throwing Weapons. Default Weapon: Darts.
- Slithzerikai - (+20%) - A species native to the Caves, the Sliths waged war against Exile until about five years ago, when a band of adventurers slew their leader, and freed them from the plots of Sss-Thss' demonic overlord. Since then, the faction that promotes peaceful co-existence has been on the rise. +2 STR, +1 INT, Innate bonus to Polearm Weapons. Default Weapon: Stone Spear.
For the purposes of this LP, I would like one of each of the Nephil and the Sliths represented, though no more than 3 PCs total. Now, the Advantages are something that increase your character's ability in Exile, mostly in combat though exceptions exist.
- Toughness - (+10%) - Simply put, the character with this trait takes less damage. Somewhere around 10%, but a variety of factors can affect the exact number.
- Magically Apt - (+20%) - A PC with this trait deals approximately 25% more damage with spells than a character without this trait, and all other factors being equal.
- Ambidextrous - (+8%) - The character with this suffers no penalty from having two weapons in hand in combat. I'll discuss the details later when I go through combat.
- Nimble Fingers - (+12%) - Better at handling Traps, Locks and poison. Very utilitarian.
- Cave Lore - (+6%) - The description says Can Hunt, which means that you'll occasionally get some food from nowhere while a character with this skill is in the party. It's also required for certain special encounters.
- Good Constitution - (+10%) - Resisting Poison and Disease, allowing the PC to recover from these ailments faster.
I will say this right now. The PCs are not leaving the starting town unless one party member has Cave Lore. More than that would be redundant.
Disadvantages, however, are not so nice. Though they do provide a reduction in the amount of XP required to level up.
- Sluggish - (-10%) - This causes a 25% reduction in the ability of a character to move in combat by reducing their default AP from 4 to 3.
- Magically Inept - (-8%) - Cannot use Magical Items. No Potions, Wands, Scrolls, or other activated items, they are all unusable by this PC.
- Frail - (-8%) - Poison and Disease are worse for this character. Yes, this stacks with Good Constitution, meaning +2%XP for no benefit.
- Pacifist - (-40%) - This character cannot cause damage. At all. Not through spells or through weapons. They are stuck in a support role, and can only gain Plot XP, and XP from the other party members killing things.
Not all Traits are made equal, and this shows in their unpolished nature. One thing that Avernum did better was improving this system, but we're here with version 1 of the system.
Art, for expediency, is simply Ambidextrous, which she was in the first LP, but the mechanics didn't support it. Now it does! She has no other traits, as, honestly, they don't fit her character, and she doesn't need them to be the whirling buzz-saw of doom she's built to be. Now, on to allocating Skill Points for our PCs:
This looks like a lot, so I'm going to start going down on the left side from the top. The first field is the name of NPC we're training. All training through skill points earned via level up also occur on a screen like this. However, seeing as how this is a new NPC, we haven't had a chance to name him/her/it yet.
The purchasing of skills is done with two resources. The first is the amount of skill points we have on the character (earned at level-up), and the amount of gold we have in our party. The image is good enough, I won't recite the numbers later. However at character creation, we have 60 SP to work with, and infinite gold to spend. But what to spend it on?
Health is a flat measure of HP. It goes up based on a character's Strength at each level-up, but can be increased directly. Every character starts with 6 Health that cannot be reduced. The max is 201.
Spell Points power magic spells, and do not go up with level, they can only be purchased with the skill points earned by levelling up. The max is 99.
Strength represents a character's soundness of body. The higher, the more HP a character will have in addition to dealing more damage with physical attacks. All characters start off with 1, but if they feel like taking any damage at all, should start with at least 3. The max is 20.
Dexterity affects how ofter you hit or get hit in combat, as veterans of RPGs may assume, but also affect the Actions Points of a character, which will be explained when combat comes around. A high Dexterity will allow a person to do more per turn of combat than others. All characters start with 1, but if they want to do well in combat, should have at least three. The max is 20.
Intelligence affects Spell Points and Magic damage as Strength affects HP and physical damage. It's a nice dichotomy. All characters start with 1, but if they want to do anything with magic, should have at least 3. The max is 20.
Edged/Bashing/Pole/Thrown/Archery are all classes of weapons. Swords, Clubs, Spears, Throwing Stars and Bows respectively. They represent specialization in weapons, and the more you have, the better your ability to deal damage goes up. Focusing on a weapon can give more benefits than just the general benefits from a high Strength and Dex, so don't forget them. They all go to 20.
Defence is a general skill to defend yourself with; making shields better and in general not getting hit, or even reducing damage. However, the most important aspect of it is that this skill reduces the Encumbrance you get from your equipment. I'll explain that in Combat. A good long-term investment. Goes to 20.
Mage and Priest Spells represent the levels of spells available to the character. Having levels in these also improve your SP upon levelling up! Spells will be covered in more detail later, but at character creation, only spells up to level 3 are available. By the time we get to places with Level 4 spells available, we'll have enough skill points to buy more ranks in this. They both go up to 7.
Mage Lore is a passive skill that is pooled across the party to determine if they know about stuff for plot points or resolving quests. It goes to 20, and by the mid game, we should have at least that many points in it across all our PC's.
Alchemy is important for brewing potions from ingredients gathered from across the world, and they range from the 'why bother?' of thinks like Weak Poison Potions to 'absolutely vital' like Skill Potions. There is a core quest that requires this, but that won't be until very far into the game. Goes to 20.
Item Lore allows us to identify items in our possession without spending money or spell points on Identify spells. It's fairly passive, and useful at low amounts to detect if an item is cursed or not. This goes to 10.
Disarm Traps and Lockpicking are exactly what they say they are. Used for Traps and Locks, the skills go up to 20, and can be used on things magic won't work on. Dexterity provides a passive hidden bonus to these skills.
Assassination is an unusual skill. Characters with it have a chance of doing bonus damage against any foe lower levelled than they are. This can help with cleaning trash mobs, or even against boss fights if you're over levelled. I like to think of this skill as the 'Win Harder' skill. Goes to 20, at which point you're dealing massive damage to anything less powerful than you.
Poison is a skill that allows you to safely add poison to your weapons to try and hit foes with. Can be useful with Thrown or Archery based weapons, but I find it's just not worth the skill points in the long run. Goes to 20.
Luck costs no money to train, and it does the most dangerous and powerful thing of all it affects the RNG. Can go all the way to 20, if you dare.
Here is what I'm putting into my initial character. 4 extra points of Health, 5 baseline Spell points, 5 in each of the base statistics, 3 levels of Priest spells, and the last 8 points into edged weapons, as knives and swords are common weapons. In practice, this a build that buff themselves using Priest spells for a round or two, then charges into melee. Casters and other ranged attacks can pick it apart, so support will be needed in the long run.
This is the Character model selection. All PC's can have their own icons, and here is where the fun really begins! All PC images are bitmap images, 36x28, mirrored for when facing the other direction. For this LP, I will accept custom images for submitted PC's! Added to this from Exile 1 are the last two columns. 4 more Human PCs, including a freaking NINJA (WHY?), then four Nephil PC portraits then 4 Slith.
I'll say it right now, I find the non-humans to be far less interesting than the human ones, so if anyone really wants to try their hand at a new PC graphic, please be my guest.
But for now, I'm just going with the bottom of column two for no apparent reason. Wait, no, I have a splendid reason. And it's not just because it's the same graphic for Art back in Exile 1.
Finally, we get to name our PC, and I've chosen Art. Because I can.
I'll be taking calls for FIVE additional Player Characters. What I want are names, backgrounds and stats (or just guidelines). You can choose a PC picture yourself, or make on for additional brownie points. Just keep in mind that over the course of the game, we're going to be getting a lot of skill points to spend (upwards of 200 more during the course of the game), so you can have some flexibility in what you want to do. If there are more than five characters submitted, I'll put it up to the goons to weigh in on which ones they think are better. I will, of course, reserve the final say for myself.
Now, on to the show!