Monday, April 15, 2013

Updated Character Generation Rules (now with Fuck It Mode!)

Character generation rules for Zak's games..

1. There are four methods of character generation, disaggregated by associated bragging rights, choose whichever you want...

A) ("Pornstar's first character" rules): Roll 4d6, pick the 3 highest and assign to the 6 stats. These are the rules the girls used for their first characters. Recommended for people who have never played an RPG before. 
B) ("Veteran" rules): Roll 3d6 for each stat, assign as you please. 
C) ("Bad Motherfucker" rules): Roll 3d6, in order. (These are the ones we all usually use now.)
D) ("Fuck it mode" rules): Roll 3d6, in order, then skip down to under the picture of the snowflake of this entry to decide everything else. (It's fast, that's for sure.)

2. Here are my canonical races and their associated bonuses, click to enlarge...

You can also be a sea elf (can survive underwater indefinitely but has to be fully immersed for ten minutes once per day) or, goblin (mechanically as halfling. They talk backwards. You can if you like.) Or hengeyokai (is actually an animal that can turn into a human)... 

...or, if you want to get crazy with it, any other thing you want so long as it's humanoid, its bonuses and penalties balance and you can convince me it's cool before gametime. Showing me a picture may help, especially if John Blanche drew it.

3. For online games we use the AD&D system for bonuses and penalties--look it up.

At home we use the 3.5 system, for bonuses and penalties. Like if you have a 12 or 13 in a stat, you're +1 to things associated with that stat, if you have an 8 or 9, that's -1, 6 or 7 is -2, etc. Write the number next to the stat. That same link will tell you where your base melee mod, damage mod, missile mod, ac mod, save mod and con mod are. Or just ask me and I can hook you up.

4. Classes available are Ranger, Paladin, Barbarian, Cleric, Thief (Rogue), Druid, Wizard, Fighter.
I have some alternate versions of the classes in bold under the "new classes" tag here, as well as a new, nonstandard class called The Alice.

Feel free to reskin them. I am also experimenting with a witch class, if you want in on that, talk to me. Once you pick a class, write down the attack bonus and save mods for your class from here.

5. You do not start at first level with maximum hit points. If your con penalty is such that you'd get 0 or fewer hit points, take d4.

6. No feats or skills. Except: thieves get skills--just pick 8 from the list here. No skill points, just pick 8. Pick 9 if you have an 18 int.

7. Other stuff to pick for your class and starting gp is summarized below, click to enlarge...(The barbarian part is messed up--add 4 to strength and con when raging--which you can do once per day.)

8. If you have a lot of time before the game, go here or to the AD&D player's handbook and buy stuff with your starting gp. If you don't, just tell me what you want and get it ok'd. If you write down a weapon's special 3.5-style crit you can have it--if you forget, you don't. We use "size m": damage only.

Any reasonable item on neither of those lists may be bought on a penny, nickel, dime, quarter, dollar basis. PCs may have familiars or buy dogs according to these rules, but all brand new PCs in any given party can only have one attack animal between them.

9. Clerics: possible gods...Vorn: Grim grey god of iron and rain, Tittivila: horned goddess of mutation and healing, Gor: bullheaded god of law, Ch'od: esoteric weirdo god, Cult of the White Web: Creepy spider cult, or invent one of your own, Akayle Ozph: elf /goblin chaos god . After and only after you have chosen your path, the DM will reveal special spells available to those of your order.

10. If you got spells, note duration, area of effect, etc. They can be from any system you want so long as you're comfortable with me tweaking them. I may use AD&D or 3.5 versions of spells, it's idiosyncratic, if my interpretation of a spell totally harshes your buzz we will discuss it before play starts and come to an agreement.

11. You may import old characters from any D&D-derivative (S&W, LL, C&C, 4e, Rolemaster, Tekumel, WFRP, LOTFP, DCC, Harn, Gurps, Pendragon, etc.) into the campaign if you have them, if they had 0 xp (or less) as of July 26, 2011, and if their stats can be intelligibly rendered in D&D format as a character of the appropriate level for the adventure I'm running. Strip them back to stats and hp, figure out the bonuses and penalties, and transfer them over. Consult me about anything weird or high-powered, we'll negotiate about it.

12. You may want to roll up a backup character or two. Motherfuckers die.



1. So you rolled 3d6 in order, that was step one, now...

2. Background: roll d100

1-3 Goblin from Gaxen KaneYou are from the Great Goblin Empire. 

4-5 Goblin from Cobalt Reach. You are from the radioactive jungle. 

5-6 Dark Elf Royalty from Drownesia. How did you get this far north? You're a prince or princess that somehow wandered up here. You lost most of your stuff in the process, sorry.

7-10 Dark Elf Pirate from Drownesia.  You can sail a ship. Roll for the crew form whence you hale.
11-22 Vornheim native (human).

23-24 Vornheim native (human, aristocrat) Go here, and read the section on "Inherited Rank".

25-30 Vornheim native (elf)

31 Vornheim native (elf, aristocrat) Go here, and read the section on "Inherited Rank".

32-39 Vornheim native (half elf)

40 Vornheim native (half elf aristocrat) Go here, and read the section on "Inherited Rank".

41-45 Vornheim native (halfling)

46-49 Vornheim native (dwarf) go here.

50 Vornheim native (dwarf)(aristocrat) go here.

51-52 Vornheim native (tiefling)

53 Vornheim native (tiefling, aristocrat) Go here, and read the section on "Inherited Rank".

54-58 Alice from Voivodja (human) (your class is Alice)

59-62 Alice from Voivodja (halfling) (your class is Alice)

63-71 White elf from Nornrik. You have a cool creepy viking-elf warmask that gives you +1 AC but -1 to notice stuff visually with Wisdom rolls.

72-75 White elf from Nornrik (aristocrat) Go here, and read the section on "Inherited Rank".

76-77 Gray Elf from the Far Lands You are one of those inherently magical elves from the Hexenbrachen or some other disturbing fey realm. You have the hit points and saves of a thief, one wizard spell (pick), and are otherwise a fighter at first level. You may level up in any of those three classes using these tables. -1 con. Note that your choice of spell affects your subrace.

78 One With Two Skins from the Far Lands. 

79 Vat Spawn from some alchemist's tower in Cobalt Reach

80-84 Pirate (human) from Vornheim. You're a human. You can sail. +1 con. Roll for your former captain.

85-86 Pirate (human) from The Land of Naj: choose one piece of slightly anachronistic technology to own. You can sail.  Roll for your former captain.

87-88 Pirate (human) from The Exotic East: pick a Kung Fu number.  You can sail. If you collect at least 4 levels in both fighter and thief, or at least 3 in fighter, thief and wizard you can call yourself a ninja.  Roll for your former captain.

89-94 Dwarf from The Nameless City/Lanthanum Chromate.

95-98 Dwarf from the Far Lands. Roll on the Dwarf Land trait table from Huge Ruined Scott's Dwarf Land pdf. Oh you don't have it? Just roll d6 and tell me what you got.

99-00 Sea Elf from the Drowned Lands. 

3. Scroll up to (2) above the snowflake if your race doesn't have its own link and note the stuff. If you're an Alice, Vat Spawn or an elf from the Far Lands, you've pretty much got your class cut out for you, otherwise, roll d8 for your class:

1. Ranger 
2. Paladin
3. Barbarian 
4. Cleric or, if you're Two-Skinned/Hengeyokai, you're a thief
6. Druid or, if you're Two-Skinned/Hengeyokai, you're a thief
8. Fighter

Note all the stuff for your class from 5, 6, and 7 above the snowflake. Ignore money.

4. If you're One With Two Skins, choose what animal you are, if you're a paladin or cleric, note your god depending on your background:

Human of Vornheim
1-2. Vorn: Grim grey god of iron and rain
2.Tittivila: horned goddess of mutation and healing
4. Gor: bullheaded god of law

1-3 Great Maggot
4. Akayle Ozph: elf /goblin chaos god . 

Dark Elf
3 Lolth
4-5 The Dracolisk
6 Akayle Ozph

Other I haven't got there yet, make something up

5.  You have a knife and another melee weapon of your choice and a backpack. If you are a cleric you have a holy symbol, if you're a wizard you have a spellbook.

Roll d20 on this table until you get the same result twice or the table instructs you otherwise

1. Shield or helmet AC +1
2. Leather armor +2
3. Studded/ring mail AC +3 or take leather armor or a cloak and (no matter what you choose) roll d10+10 on this table from now on
4. Scale mail AC +4 or take leather armor or a cloak and (no matter what you choose) roll d10+10 on this table from now on
5. Chain mail AC +5 or take leather armor or a cloak and (no matter what you choose) roll d10+10 on this table from now on
6. Banded/Splint mail AC +6 or take leather armor or a cloak and (no matter what you choose) roll d10+10 on this table from now on
7. Plate mail AC +7 or take leather armor or a cloak and (no matter what you choose) roll d10+10 on this table from now on
8. Crossbow w/10 bolts 
9. Roll d20 under your charisma. If you fail, take one thing, if you succeed, choose a number of things off this list equal to the number under, then stop.
10. Mirror, wolvesbane or 10' pole
11. 100gp or or thieves' tools
12. 5 torches + 2d4 oils
13. Rope
14. Grappling hook
15. Bedroll + some mundane object smaller than a breadbox not on this table
16. Caltrops or 10' chain
17. Melee weapon of your choice, it may be throwable
18. Short bow w/10 arrows
19. Lantern + 2d4 oils
20. Rations: 1 week +Wineskin

6. Fly little bird.


  1. This is pretty awesome. I'm planning on running an old-school-ish game soon, so these might be seeing some use. I'll let you know how I get on!

  2. As always, simple and genius. Cool. I am using quite a few of your ideas for my OSR game.

  3. Wonderful timing. I've been planning to introduce some DnD elements to the game of Dungeon! my 6-yr old daughter and I play. But, not having any actual play experience myself, I wasn't sure how to create characters easily; the above appears to be a nicely streamlined method. Thank you.

  4. Very Cool, I would throw in some of the gods from Petty Gods just to screw with my players

  5. I'm new to the blog, so if you've covered this question, I apologize.
    Do you use the D20 system version of skills for Thieves? Or Percentile? And what do you do for non-thieves?

    1. i say something like:
      "This is a task for an 8th level thief"
      roll under relevant stat
      +1 per level over
      -1 per level under
      -5 or -10 if you aren't a thief, depending how specific
      roll twice if you explicitly have the skill
      works for other classes too, like for druids identifying plants

  6. You really should do rules compilation, a sort of PHB of your own. I liked those weird tables where you roll random bonus when you gain a level. It would be interesting to see all this rules stuff about character generation, advancement and related topic mashed together.

  7. Yes please, I would buy a pdf or kickstart something like that. Also if you ever wanted to publish your take on type 5 with the different play types it would be awesome especially with more of your art.

  8. Tried out the Fuck It method, rolled one of the better characters of my recent memory. Meet Dani, the scimitar-wielding halfling Alice. 18 cha, 8 con, 16 dex, 11 int, 5 str, 15 wis. love it.

  9. I would love the Zak Sabbath-illustrated D&D. A version of OSRIC or some new hybrid with all of the classes and rules suggestions. Also, a full Vornheim worldbook--smaller, more awesome-looking and more useful than any other campaign setting. I would totally drop some pennies in the box for these.

  10. Very inspiring. Just ordered Vornheim. LotFP (etc) has turned my D&D perspectives inside out. The above blog post on char gen is great.

    1. Glad to hear it, Mike. Thanks for writing!

      I hope the next one works out as well for ya

  11. I made my players use "fuck it mode" for characters. So far, no one has died a grisly death though there's been a couple close calls. Was curious about the skills setup in your homebrew... if there are none, do you have people roll D20+stat and add an extra bonus for thief/alice, or do you use the LotFP skills results?