SDMB RPG: Shadows of Arcady - Setup Thread

SDMB RPG: Shadows of Arcady

Welcome to the play-by-post RPG: Shadows of Arcady, in the vein of the illustrious Fighting Ignorants, the years-long Middle Earth D&D Game and my own, briefly-successful Rule of Three (RoT). What follows in this thread is a brief description of the setting, character creation rules and a player roster and party organization discussion.

[ul]
[li]What is Shadows of Arcady (SoA)?[/ul][/li]SoA is a play-by-post RPG campaign set to take place on the SDMB.

[ul][li]What system will SoA be using?[/ul][/li]SoA will use a somewhat modified version of White Wolf’s Storytelling System (see: World of Darkness, Vampire: The Requiem, Mage: The Awakening, Werewolf: The Forsaken, etc).

[ul][li]What kind of setting will SoA take place in?[/ul][/li]SoA takes place in a low-magic medieval fantasy setting similar to those found in Warhammer Fantasy Battles, the Song of Ice and Fire, Dragon Age, etc. The world will lean dark and, as those of you who know my DMing style will no doubt be aware, be potentially quite brutal, for PCs and NPCs both.

[ul][li]What kind of schedule will the game have?[/ul][/li]I hope for people to post at least once a day excepting occasional delays. While I understand if you can’t keep up with that, I’d appreciate only people who can expect to play regularly signing up.

[ul][li]How many players will you need?[/ul][/li]I’ve got three spots reserved and the ideal party size will be five or six players, meaning most of the party is already filled out at the time of this post. That being said, I’d love to hear from you even if I won’t be able to fit you into the starting roster: You can help us by being a potential replacement in case a starting player has to drop out.

Notes on available character archetypes:

[spoiler]In SoA the players will be taking on the roles of denizens of Platinum Falls (or its outlying regions) in one of the few true remaining centers of civilization in all Arcady. Most any kind of character you can think of, from a dwarven camel trader to a halfling cook to an elven soldier is available for play. Just one thing to keep in mind: Life in Platinum Falls is hard and cheap. Those who don’t have something to offer might not last long.

The character creation process should be a pseudo-communal effort involving input from fellow players as well as the DM. The easiest way to go about it would be to announce what kind of character, in general, you’d like to play and then we’ll forge a party from there.[/spoiler]Notes on magic:

SoA is a low-magic campaign. The average person in the game world has seen magic only a handful of times in their lives. Spellcasters are often feared and occasionally treated with outright hostility. Nobody knows why some people are born with inherent magical powers and others are not, but of course everyone has a theory. Due to magic’s relative rarity no more than two members of the starting party will be allowed to be spellcasters (and even that many is not necessary).Notes on gender:

SoA’s game world is not as sexist as actual medieval society, but gender roles still exist. Female characters can certainly have martial training and indeed even surpass their male peers, but women soldiers simply aren’t common at all. Though it would be highly unusual you can play a female warrior- if you do, expect the party to take some flak for this in-character.Notes on race:

[spoiler]Much more important than gender is species, more commonly referred to as “race.” Humans and halflings tend to get along the best (at least compared to the others) but all the other races are suspicious if not outright hostile towards one another. There are stories of love and friendship breaking down racial barriers but in reality the only thing that tends to motivate members of different races to get along is money.

The four dominant races in Platinum Falls are: Humans (who are by far the most numerous), dwarves, elves and halflings. Most dwarves reside in Goldhelm, the last true delve, beneath the streets of Platinum Falls. The elves of Platinum Falls tend to live in the Island Disctrict, a gated section of the city exclusively populated by their kind and home to the only institution of magic that exists, the Prime Academy. Halflings, like their human cousins, are dispersed pretty evenly throughout the city.

These four groups, along with the rare and universally-shunned half-elves, make up the five playable character races.[/spoiler]Notes on nobility:

If your character is a noble, even a disgraced one, he or she will be expected to behave in a certain way towards peasants. Your character doesn’t have to be a douchebag but democracy-loving hippie flower child nobles really aren’t appropriate to the setting. Sorry in advance if that’s what you were hoping to play.Notes on religion:

While not everyone in Platinum Falls is religious, there aren’t any people that would outright deny the existence of the gods. Those who did would quickly become pariahs, shunned by those hoping to avoid the gods’ inevitable wrath. The gods aren’t concerned with good or evil: Instead, each deity rules over a particular portfolio. There are also minor household gods that some families worship. There are those that claim to have contact with the divine and to derive magic power from that contact- the truthfulness of these statements is always difficult to determine. The common man has no contact with the divine.Notes on the system:

[spoiler]For those unfamiliar with White Wolf’s Storytelling System, it uses 10-sided dice. Each die rolled has a 30% chance of success (8s, 9s and 10s are successes), with a 10% chance of critical success (10s are a success plus a reroll). Stats are typically measured on a scale of 0 to 5, with those stats being used to determine how many dice are rolled. For example, if I need to throw something to you I’d add my Dexterity (say, 2) and my Athletics skill (say, 1) together for a total of 3 dice. Now let’s say that it’s windy, imposing a -1 die penalty. So I’ve got a total of 2 dice. I roll both and score a 4 and an 8. That’s a single success, meaning my aim is true and I throw the object to you successfully. Skill specialties give characters a single bonus die to related rolls. So if I had the skill specialty Athletics: Throwing, I’d have rolled a total of 3 dice rather than 2 in my example.

The mechanics aren’t too important. For the most part you can simply describe to me what you’re attempting to do and I’ll use the mechanics to guage your success. The next post will have a simplified character creation process for you to follow.[/spoiler]In summary:
[ul][li]SoA is a play-by-post RPG campaign about to begin on the SDMB.[/li][li]The story focuses on the trials of the people living in the last great city, Platinum Falls.[/li]Due to magic’s relative rarity, only two members of the starting party can be spellcasters.[/ul]

Character creation rules:

Before we begin: Please don’t post your characters statistics in this thread. PM them to me instead. Feel free to use this thread to discuss the characters themselves.

1.) Determine your character’s race

[spoiler]There are five playable races available in SoA: Human, Dwarf, Elf, Half-elf and Halfling. Choice of race for your character is not merely a matter of numbers- a character’s race, in-part, determines his or her place in the world. That being said, there are statistical differences between the races, a brief explanation of which follows below:

Humans
Advantages: Can purchase skill specialties for 2xp
Bonus Language: Any
Humans are the dominant race in Platinum Falls. They are short-lived by dwarven and elven standards but have continued to frustrate the elder races with their ingenuity and ambition.

Dwarves
Advantages: +1 Stamina; +1 Health; Darkvision
Disadvantages: -1 Size; -1 Speed
Bonus Language: Dwarven
Dwarves are a stout and hardy folk native to the underground realms of Arcady. Once the possessors of a great empire they are a diminished people in modern times. The last surviving delve of the dwarves exists beneath Platinum Falls and it is there that most dwarves live.

Elves
Advantages: +1 Willpower; Darkvision
Bonus Language: Elven
Elves are an ancient, haughty people and the least populous of the races of Platinum Falls. History is littered with the exploits of powerful elven nations but like the dwarves their strength has nearly completely faded over recent centuries.

Half-elves
Advantages: Can purchase skill specialties of chosen skill group for 2xp; Low-light Vision
Bonus Language: Elven
Half-elves are a rare breed. Most humans and elves alike would say they lack exactly what makes their respective races great and they are, in general, despised within both cultures.

Halflings
Advantages: +1 Dexterity; Can purchase skill specialties for 2xp; Low-light Vision
Disadvantages: -1 Size; -1 Strength
Bonus Language: Any
Sharp and precise, Halflings were once an independent, nomadic people but in recent times they have attached themselves to human society and assimilated. The two races still tend to view one another with some suspicion but despite that they usually get along rather well (compared to the other races at least).[/spoiler]In summary:
[ul][li]Choose a playable race for your character: Human, dwarf, elf, half-elf or halfling.[/li][li]Note that race’s stat adjustments.[/ul][/li]
2.) Determining your character’s attributes

[spoiler]All characters have nine attributes organized into three groups. The groups and their attributes are:

Mental
Intelligence, Wits, Resolve

Physical
Strength, Dexterity, Stamina

Social
Presence, Manipulation, Composure

As stated in the “Notes on the system” section of the previous post, stats are measured on a scale of 0 to 5 (you start with a free point in each of these attributes, however). An attribute score of 1 represents a deficiency (for example: A character with a Strength of 1 would be weak), a score of 2 is average, 3 is above average, 4 is exceptional and 5 is the human peak (humans can’t go beyond an attribute score of 5, but other races might, depending on their racial adjustments- a score of 6 is superhuman).

1.) Prioritize the three attribute groups
Sort the three attribute groups (Mental, Physical and Social) in order from most important to least important. For example, my character Bob the Cook will prioritize Mental, then Social, and Physical is last.

2.) Determine base scores
Your character will have one free point in each of his attributes (Intelligence, Strength, Presence, etc). If your character has any attribute adjustments due to race (for example, dwarf characters get +1 Stamina) apply them now.

3.) Allocate attribute points
Before we continue, keep in mind this note: The fifth point allocated to any attribute costs TWO points. What’s important to remember in regards to this is that if your character has racial attribute adjustments this might change what “the fifth point allocated to any attribute” means. For example, a human would have to spend five points to get a Stamina of 5 (a free point, three to bring it to 4 and finally two to bring it to 5), whereas a dwarf would only have to spend three to get it to 5 (a free point, an extra point of Stamina for being a dwarf and finally three to bring it to 5) but could spend five to have a Stamina of 6. If this is confusing, don’t worry about it, just send me a PM and I’ll help you out.

Now allocate five points among your most important group. You cannot have an attribute score of 0, so if you have a starting attribute score with no points in it (for example, because of a Halfling’s -1 Strength adjustment) you must spend at least one point to raise that score to 1. So, continuing our example of Bob the Cook, I could put two points into Intelligence for a total of 3, two points into Wits for a total of 3 and one point into Resolve for a total of 2. Or I could spend all five points to increase one of those attributes to 5 and leave the others at 1 (not recommended).

Next allocate four points among your second most important group. As before, you cannot have any attributes with a score of 0. For Bob the Cook I’ll put two points into Composure for a score of 3 and one point into both Presence and Manipulation for a score of 2 in each.

Finally allocate three points among your least important group. For Bob the Cook I’ll put a single point into Strength, Dexterity and Stamina for a score of 2 for each.

Brief attribute descriptions:

Intelligence: Your character’s raw cognitive capacity. Your character’s ability to remember, comprehend and learn information. A character with a high intelligence is intelligent in an analytical sense, whereas a character with a low intelligence is not.

Wits: Your character’s ability to perceive and react quickly (or not), mentally. It, along with Dexterity, contributes towards your character’s ability to evade attacks (Defense is determined by the lowest of these two scores). A character with a high Wits is quick-witted and perceptive, a character with a low Wits is slow and absent-minded.

Resolve: Your character’s focus, determination and ability to resist coercion. It, along with Composure, contributes towards your character’s total Willpower score. Willpower measures both your character’s short-term mental resistance and his ability to squeeze out extra effort (your character can use Willpower to occasionally provide bonuses when performing actions). A character with a high Resolve is determined and focused, a character with a low Resolve is weak-willed.

Strength: Your character’s physical power and ability to lift and move objects and to strike people and things to deal damage. It, along with Dexterity, determines how quickly your character can move. A character with a high Strength is strong, a character with a low Strength is weak.

Dexterity: Your character’s hand-eye coordination, finesse and ability to react quickly (or not), physically. It, along with Strength, determines how quickly your character can move. It, along with Wits, contributes towards your character’s ability to evade attacks (Defense is determined by the lowest of these two scores). A character with a high Dexterity is graceful and quick, a character with a low Dexterity is clumsy and slow.

Stamina: Your character’s toughness and resilience and the key contributing factor to his Health score. A character with a high Stamina is tough and resistant to illness, a character with a low Stamina is fragile and sickly.

Presence: The power of your character’s personality. Presence is more than just looks (the Striking Looks merit covers that more appropriately), it represents your character’s command over the attention of others. A character with a high Presence is assertive and, indeed, has a strong “presence,” a character with a low Presence is the opposite.

Manipulation: This measures your character’s charm and charisma. Where Presence determines how much attention your character commands, Manipulation determines how well your character can work with that attention. A character with a high Manipulation is charismatic and persuasive, a character with a low Manipulation is not.

Composure: Your character’s restraint, poise and social and emotional fortitude. It, along with Resolve, contributes towards your character’s total Willpower score. Willpower measures both your character’s short-term mental resistance and his ability to squeeze out extra effort (your character can use Willpower to occasionally provide bonuses when performing actions). A character with a high Composure is calm and composed, a character with a low composure is reactive and emotional.

Obviously what each stat means exactly for your character is up to you, but these are good guidelines to follow when determing your character’s attributes.[/spoiler]In summary:
[ul][li]Prioritize the three attribute groups: Mental, Physical and Social.[/li][li]With each attribute beginning with a free point, apply your character’s racial stat adjustments (if any).[/li][li]Allocate five points among your character’s most important attribute group.[/li][li]Allocate four points among your character’s second most important attribute group.[/li][li]Allocate three points among your character’s least most important attribute group.[/ul][/li]
3.) Determining your character’s skills

[spoiler]There are twenty-three skills (seven Mental skills, eight Physical skills and eight Social skills). Given the number of skills I won’t be including a Bob the Cook example or a detailed skill description here. If you have a question regarding skills feel free to ask, either in the thread or in a PM.

Mental (-3 unskilled)
Academics, Crafts, Investigation, Magic, Medicine, Politics, Warfare

Physical (-1 unskilled)
Archery*, Athletics, Brawl, Larceny, Ride, Stealth, Survival, Weaponry

Social** (-1 unskilled)
**Animal Ken, Empathy, Expression, Intimidation, Persuasion, Socialize, Streetwise, Subterfuge

  • When using a bow (not a crossbow), there is a -3 unskilled penalty rather than the usual -1 unskilled penalty for Physical skills.

Notice that next to each group is its unskilled penalty. This is the dice penalty a character receives when attempting to use a skill from that group with a score of 0.

As with attributes skills are measured on a scale of 0 to 5. A score of 0 represents an absolute lack of talent or experience with that skill, a score of 1 represents a basic understanding of the fundamentals of that skill, a score of 2 represents a working-level of understanding and talent, a score of 3 represents a professional-level of understanding and talent, a score of 4 represents expert-level understanding and talent and a score of 5 makes a character one of the best in the world.

Keep in mind when allocating skill points that a character must have a reason to have the scores that he does. It wouldn’t make sense for Bob the Cook from my earlier examples to have a Weaponry of 4, though he could get away with 1.

No characters will be allowed to start the game with a score of 5 in any skill.

Unspent points are lost. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing: Don’t look for a way to use unspent skill points if spending them wouldn’t make sense for the character.

1.) Prioritize the three skill groups
Just like you did with your character’s attribute groups, sort your character’s skill groups (Mental, Physical and Social) in order from most important to least important. You can prioritize them in a different order than you did for your character’s attribute groups if you’d like.

If you’re playing a Halfling choose which of the three skill groups you’ll receive discounted specialties in.

2.) Allocate skill points
Allocate eleven points among your most important skill group. Unlike attributes, you can have a score of 0 in skills.

Next allocate seven points among your second most important skill group.

Finally allocate four points among your least important skill group.

3.) Determine skill specialties
A skill specialty represents a character’s particular talent within a given skill. A skill specialty will grant a character a single bonus die to related rolls. Specialties can be anything you could possibly think of. As an example, possible specialties for the Athletics skill could be: Running, throwing, jumping, swimming, etc. Your character can certainly have several different specialties within the same skill but he can’t have multiple instances of the same specialty.

Characters start the game with three specialties. You can put them whereve you like across the three skill groups. Use specialties to help define your character- for example, Bob the Cook might have the skill specialty Crafts: Cooking.[/spoiler]In summary:
[ul][li]Prioritize the three skill groups: Mental, Physical and Social.[/li][li]Allocate eleven points among your character’s most important skill group.[/li][li]Allocate seven points among your character’s second most important skill group.[/li][li]Allocate four points among your character’s least important skill group.[/li][li]Choose three skill specialties for your character.[/ul][/li]
4.) Determining your character’s merits

[spoiler]Merits are features you can apply to your character and represent all the little details that can’t be covered by attributes and skills. Unlike attributes and skills they’re not directly used in rolls and they don’t have scores, though they do have ranks. Instead, merits are chosen to give your character certain advantages and help further define him.

You begin the game with ten points with which to purchase starting merits for your character. More can be purchased for your character during the course of the game by spending Experience Points (though keep in mind some merits can only be obtained at the start of the game).

This is a list of those merits currently available to your characters (more may become available as the game progresses). Costs are listed in parentheses. Note that some are ranges, such as “1-3”, while others are either/or, such as “2 or 4.”

Acute Senses (2): Your character has a keen sense. Select which sense when purchasing the merit. You can purchase this merit more than once, each time picking a new sense.
Ambidextrous (2): Your character is equally proficient with both hands.
Armor Proficiency (1-3): Your character can efficiently use light (1+), medium (2+) and/or heavy (3) armor.
Blitzer (2): Your character has a particular talent for making charge attacks.
Eidetic Memory (3): Your character has photographic memory.
Fast Reflexes (1 or 2): Your character can act with improved initiative.
Fighting Finesse (2): Your character prefers agility over power when attacking with melee weapons.
Fleet of Foot (1-3): Your character can move overland more quickly than normal.
Flyswatter (1): Your character is adept at attacking small creatures.
Giant (4) Humans only; Available at character creation only: Your character is at least 6’10 and weighs at least 250lbs.
Iron Stamina (2, 4 or 6): Your character can more easily shrug off the effects of fatigue and injury.
Iron Will (2): Your character is not easily touched by mind-affecting spells and abilities.
Language (1-3): Your character can speak another language. Available languages are Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Greenskin, Hin, Kobold, Lizardfolk, Shelesian (“Savage”) and Undercommon.
Longshot (2): Your character is adept at making ranged attacks from considerable distances.
Lumberjack (1): Your character is adept at attacking large creatures.
Mob-fighter (3): Your character can more easily fend off groups of attackers.
Natural Immunity (1): Your character is more resistant to disease.
Noble (4) Humans, dwarves and elves only; Available at character creation only: Your character is a minor member of the aristocracy.
Quick-draw (2): Your character can quickly arm himself.
Quick-healer (5): Your character recovers from injuries much faster than normal.
Quick-shot (3): Your character is adept at firing a bow repeatedly in quick succession.
Spellcaster (6) Available at character creation only: Your character has the ability to cast spells.
Striking Looks (2 or 4) Available at character creation only: Your character is particularly attractive.
Strong Back (1): Your character can lift and carry greater weights.
Strong Lungs (1): Your character can hold his breath for extended periods.
Toxin Resistance (1): Your character is more resistant to toxins.
Willful (4): Your character has a particularly powerful strength of will.
Wrecking Ball (1): Your character has a talent for damaging inanimate objects.[/spoiler]In summary:
[ul]Purchase ten points worth of merits for your character.[/ul]

So far I’ve got Mosier, Rubberneck and lunaticlucas as confirmed players occupying reserved spots. For everyone else we’ll use a first-come, first-served process.

The ideal party size is five or six members. If you’re interested in signing up please feel free to say so here along with whatever kind of character you’d be looking to play.

Hello everyone, I am Rubberneck. I will be playing Dur’dan Ironbeard, a dwarven noble. Can’t wait to get this going! :slight_smile:

I’m one of the reserved spots. I’ll be playing Karikhan, a giant Shelesian (barbarian) shaman who worships the spirits of nature and the earth. Karikhan literally translates to “Wild King” in Shelesian language. His skin is the dark sun-baked brown typical of Shelesian nomads, and his head is bald. The following is a short introduction for him.
*
“The spirits speak, and I listen. The land is alive. Life and the Elements with all their infinite power shout in their glorious Voice ‘I am! We are!’ We, you, they, and I are one. The Voice is all. It beckons. I cannot resist.”

Karikhan is a member of the “savage” culture of the Shelesian nomads. But even among his people, he is viewed with both awe and suspicion. His physical features and demeanor are intimidating, and make most people around him nervous.

Karikhan’s enormous body towers above even other Shelesians, at more than seven feet tall and 325 pounds. Without intending to, Karikan gives the impression of a mean brute. The little he speaks largely consists of references to the spirits of the wild, with deep urgently religious overtones.

The few who get to know him more deeply realize that Kharikan is not a violent man. He is patient, wise, and thoughtful. He is slow to anger and does not hold hate or grudges in his heart.

However, Kharikan does not trust quickly, or give his loyalty cheaply. For him, the bonds of trust are slowly woven and impossible to break.

Kharikan hears the Voice of the wild, and obeys it above all. For his devotion, he is granted a link to the power of the Voice, and acts as its instrument.*

lunatic is having some tech issues but he’ll be good to go soon.

Hello, I will be playing a half-elf mercenary named Arrow.

A brief discription of Arrow:

A shaggy-haired man of average height with barely-concealed pointed ears. Peeking through his quills of black hair is a set of yellow, glinting eyes.

I normally don’t like Play by Post, but the Dope has a great history for it, so I’d be willing to give it a whirl!

My only experience in RPG’s is D&D and a tiny bit of Champions, so bear with me, please?

I’d be interested in playing either a knight, or a knight’s herald. Probably a herald who lost his knight?

Sure, we’d be happy to have you! I recommend giving my last play-by-post game thread, RoT a browse so as to familiarize yourself with the style of games that I run.

As for your character, what do you mean by herald? “A herald who lost his knight” makes me think that you mean a squire (as in the apprentice of a knight).

The nature of the game lends itself towards characters with a more mercenary leaning. A knight (which would be a human, dwarf or elf with the Noble merit who’s received martial training and acts as a soldier either for his own house or for a lord he’s pledged service to) would be the easiest of the two concepts to fit with the group, though a squire could work.

I’m not sure if “herald” is the proper term. What I meant is, a knight can have a squire who is directly in line for Knighthood, right? I was thinking of a knight’s hireling, a companion who is a little less… “Virtuous” than the knight, but is still a good man, all in all. He doesn’t have noble blood, nor high upbringing, so becoming a knight is pretty much out of the question. But after his friend the knight is killed, he views it as his duty to live up to the standards the knight used to live up to.

Oh, so peasant scum. :slight_smile:

That concept could absolutely work. Noble families hire non-quality [del]human shields[/del] soldiers all the time to bolster their numbers so such a person wouldn’t even be terribly uncommon, though perhaps his concern with “duty” and “standards” would be (the nobility of Platinum Falls, despite their concern with “honor” and ceremony aren’t particularly noble at all by real-world standards - peasants are even worse, typically).

Feel free to take a look at the character creation rules in my second post upthread.

No idea what I’ll play yet but sure I’ll join.

Mosier, rubberneck and lunaticlucas all have just-about-finished characters. :slight_smile:

Grumble grumble. Don’t rush me or maybe I’ll take your idea and be a halfling masseuse like you suggested.

I’m ready too! And Autolycus, how does that work? Do you walk on the person’s back?

Jump rope.

Blah. I have a life, and Diablo3. But I’ll sacrifice some demon-slaying and get to it tonight.

My character is ready. Here is a brief backstory/summary.

It was said in his village that Hob Overhill must have had some Hin ancestry somewhere along the line, for he behaved most unlike the more provincial Arcadian halflings. He seemed to spend the majority of his childhood either getting into trouble, or wandering around the wilds surrounding his small village. He succumbed completely to his wanderlust and desire for adventure at a young age and journeyed off to the nearest city to join the thieves guild there. After years of hair-rising hijinxes, Hob has now settled down and resides in Platinum Falls. Mostly retired from thievery, he makes his living as a masseuse.*

Aside for a few finishing touches things are just about ready to go. Expect primers via PM soon.

Awesome, I sent in my completed stats today.