OpenQuest character generation is a seven-step process and, at each step, the player makes decisions about what their character is like at the beginning of the game, when the character is just starting on their adventuring career.
A character concept is a one-sentence summing up of what the character is all about.
Step 1: Determine Concept
In one sentence, sum up what your character is all about. Use the guidelines above to give yourself ideas. Ask the other players what their character concepts are to make sure the group has an exciting selection of characters.
Check with your Referee that your character concept fits in with the type of game that the group is going to be playing.
The characteristics are:
Strength (STR): A character’s capability with brute force, strength affects the amount of damage they deal, how much they can lift and so on.
Constitution (CON): A measure of the character’s health, constitution affects how much damage they can sustain in combat, as well as general resistance to disease and other illnesses.
Dexterity (DEX): Dexterity is the character’s agility, coordination and speed of reactions. This ability aids a character in many physical actions, including combat.
Size (SIZ): Size is an indication of the character’s mass and, like strength and constitution, affects the amount of damage a character can deal, and how well they can absorb damage.
Intelligence (INT): A character’s ability to think around problems, analyse information and memorise instructions.
Power (POW): Power is a measure of the character’s life force, the strength of their willpower, and a measure of how much magic power they have. It is a beneficial characteristic for those interested in becoming accomplished spellcasters.
Charisma (CHA): This quantifies a character’s attractiveness and leadership qualities.
Step 2: Generate Characteristics
Using the Points Method
Each characteristic starts with a value of 8. You have thirty points to distribute to increase them. The maximum value of a characteristic during character generation is 18. You may also lower a characteristic to gain extra points. For example, reduce STR from 8 to 6 to gain 2 points. Note that INT and SIZ cannot be decreased below 8. Other characteristics have a minimum value of 3, although such a low value would indicate that the character has a severe disadvantage in this area.
Random Generation of Characteristics (Optional)
If you prefer a more traditional method of rolling dice to create characteristics, follow this process.
Attributes are a set of secondary scores that define the character’s potential to do and take physical damage, how quickly they move, and the amount of magical energy available to the character. The character’s characteristic scores determine the value of their attributes.
Damage Modifier (DM): The Damage Modifier applies whenever the character uses a melee or thrown weapon. It’s calculated by adding the character’s Strength and Size together and referring to the table below. The modifier gets more significant when the sum of Strength and Size are higher –bigger, stronger, characters deal out more damage than smaller, weaker, characters.
|Total of STR and SIZ||Damage Modifier|
|Every additional + 15||+1D6|
*If after you have taken away the rolled damage modifier and the damage is under 0, increase it to 1.
Hit points (HP): These determine how much damage the character can sustain before reaching unconsciousness or death.
Magic points (MP): A measure of the character’s magical energy. Used to activate any spells the character knows.
Movement rate (MR): This is the amount in metres that a character can move in a five-second Combat Round.
Step 3: Determine Attributes
To work out your character’s damage modifier, add Strength and Size together and look at the Damage Modifier table.
Hit points equal Size plus Constitution divided by 2, rounded up.
The character’s starting magic points will be equal to the character’s POW.
Human characters have a Movement rate of 15 metres.
Skills are things that the character can do. They represent particular areas of expertise. In-game, the percentage value of the skill is rolled against, using a D100, to work out if a character completes a task in the game. A roll equal to or less than the skill percentage indicates a success.
Ethelred has a Dodge of 52%, which means that in combat he has to roll 52 or under on D100 to avoid the incoming blows of his opponent.
What do the Numbers Mean?
The following table translates the skill percentage into a ‘real world’ description of the level of expertise.
|0-25%||Novice||No experience with the skill and is relying on raw talent and beginner’s luck.|
|26-50%||Apprentice||This level of expertise represents someone actively learning the skill.|
|51-75%||Veteran||The character is competent with the basic uses of the skill, which they use in everyday life.|
|76-99%||Expert||This character is a local expert at the skill, who can perform it under most conditions with ease and elegance.|
|100%||Master||They are acknowledged as best at that skill, and regularly perform the impossible in challenging conditions.|
100% is the upper limit for skills, either through improvement or by being modified before a skill roll. Characters with skills at 100% are Masters/Mistresses of their skills, and always succeed. Roll the dice to see if they get critical results. Masters never fumble their skill tests.
Skills categorised for easy reference.
Resistances are skills that get the character out of harm’s way.
Combat skills measure the character’s skills in physical violence.
Knowledge skills measure the intellectual abilities of the character.
Practical skills measure the character’s ability to perform a variety of everyday and specialist tasks.
Magic skills cover either casting magic or knowledge of religious practices.
A note about skills with descriptors in brackets. Lore (Type), Religion (Other Religion) and Culture (Other) all have a descriptor in brackets after the main skill name
Step 4: Calculate Skills
For each skill, calculate the starting skill value, also known as the base score, from the calculation provided. Then write it down on the character sheet next to the skill.
During character generation, the player gets a pool of points to spend on each group of skills. Distribute points between the skills, with a limit of no more than 30 to be allocated to any one skill.
Resistances: Spend 50 points between the three skills.
Combat: Spend 50 points between the three skills.
Knowledge: Spend 50 points between the skills.
Practical: Spend 75 points between skills.
Magic: is special, refer to Generating a Character Step 5 below.
Step 5: Magic Spells
Look at the spells in the Personal Magic chapter and pick six points of magnitude worth. Also work out Personal Magic Casting Skill, which starts at POW X 3.
Each character typically starts with some money and the tools of their trade.
Step 6: Cash and Equipment
- Starting cash is 4D6 x 10 in silver pieces unless you are using the optional rules to abstract resources using the Wealth skill.
- Each character starts with one of the two arms and armour packages below:
- Leather armour, ranged weapon, close combat 2H weapon and dagger.
- Leather armour, a medium or small shield, ranged weapon, close combat 1H weapon and dagger.
- Also, each character starts with the following equipment:
- A backpack, rope, two weeks’ worth of travelling provisions, flint and tinder, and a waterskin.
Your Referee may allow you to buy additional equipment before the game starts from the character’s starting cash.
Finishing Off the Character
Age: Human characters start at any age between 18 and 28. To randomly determine this, roll 2D6 and add 16.
Fortune points: Every character starts with two fortune points.
Fortune points are what distinguishes the player character from the average stay at home type folk. They represent their good fortune and ability to escape life-threatening situations with ease.
Fortune points allow the player character to do any of the following in game.
- Re-roll any failed dice roll.
- Flip the existing dice result for a failed test so that the units are now the tens and the tens are now the units, so that it is a success.
- Avoid character death. Instead of dying, the character, if reduced to zero or fewer hit points, is merely unconscious. The character remains in such a state until the combat is over, at which point they awaken with one hit point.
- If the character uses Divine Magic, they can spend fortune points invoke their deity and regain a cast spell of their choosing.
Once spent, fortune points are gone. The Referee awards fortune at the end of the game session for moments of outstanding heroic play.
In an average Quest, each character should also receive two fortune points. Modify this total if the character has performed particularly poorly or heroically, giving a range of between zero and four fortune points to be awarded.
Background, Appearance and Personality
Even if you do not create a fully written-up background, it is worth making a mental note of what the character is like as a person and roughly what their background is previous to play, as well as visualising what they look like.
The Character’s Background
The background is useful not only to give the character history before the game starts but also as a way of noting all the intangible elements of the character’s personality. Ethelred’s story later in this chapter is an example of a background.
Writing down a background is optional and can be done either before or after character generation or can even emerge during play.
Motives are what drives the character’s actions. They are the character’s goals, both short and long-term.
Saga Motives are life motives and are only achievable throughout a linked set of adventures, commonly known as a ‘campaign’ or Saga as OpenQuest calls it.
Quest Motives are usually relevant to the adventure currently being played and are determined near the beginning of the session by the players.
At the end of character generation, choose one Saga Motive for your character and at the beginning of the adventure, choose a suitable Quest Motive.
Step 7: Finish Off the Character
Note down fortune points and age.
For humans, this is 18-28 (2D6+16) respectively for starter adventurers.
Fortune points start at 2.
Create a Saga Motive for the character
If you want to include a background narrative, then do this now.
Finally, if you haven’t done so already, write the character’s name on the character sheet.