As described in yesterday’s post, Wintertree has a set of RPG rules. Unlike every other company’s rule set, though, this one isn’t intended to be actually playable; instead, it’s a framework for TableMaster tables to refer to, so that the user can more easily modify those tables for the actual game system he or she is running.
Today’s post is about the character stats and how those work, to the extent that anything in TGR works at all, plus the basic races and classes.
There are 8 stats, broken down into 4 physical and 4 mental. Two of the physical — Strength and Stamina — are roughly analogous to two of the mental — Intelligence and Will. The stats are:
Strength – your basic physical brawn.
Stamina – endurance, physical fortitude, etc.
Agility – bodily agility, reflexes, and athletic ability.
Dexterity – manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination.
Intelligence – smarts, and mental strength.
Will – stubbornness, basically mental stamina.
Alertness – chance to notice things that matter.
Personality – charm, charisma, ability to get along.
The stats are generated by a roll of 3d6+2, or <3d6+2> in TBL. This gives a range of 5-20 for each stat, making it easy to convert to percentage-based systems as well.
As a rough idea of how the stats would be used: If a character is climbing a cliff, Strength would determine if he could haul himself up in the first place, Stamina would determine how long he could continue doing so, and Agility would determine whether he would fall off in the process. If he had to get something out of his backpack while clinging to a ledge, Dexterity would determine if he dropped it or not. Intelligence would determine if he could cast a lightning bolt spell at his pursuers, Will how many times he could do that, a check of Alertness would be used to see if he notices a possible cave entrance as he climbs, and Personality to talk the resident hermit into hiding him instead of turning him over to those pursuers.
Again, it’s all very rough. There are no details for how any of this works, and there won’t be. That’s for your actual game system to determine. The TGR statistics are just there so you have something consistent to convert to your system.
For instance, if your game’s stats are on a 1-100 basis, multiply the TGR stats by 5. If you have a single physical stat that combines Strength and Stamina, average the TGR stats. If you use a 3-18 system, subtract 2. You get the picture. Look at the cliff climbing example and decide what stats or skills (or a combination) in your game system would be used to determine the success of the various actions, and you’ll be able to apply anything specified in a TableMaster table accordingly.
Then there’s the matter of races. This is something generally tied directly to game worlds: Elves, yes or no? How about hobbits under whatever name? Which ones can hybridize with which other ones? If there are orcs, are they playable characters or just monsters?
I had to go with something, so, as I have been for TableMaster tables for years, I settled on roughly what I used for a long-running D&D campaign many years ago. Thus, the races of TGR are:
Humans – Your basic humans. They come in numerous regional varieties, body styles, skin colors, etc., but they all fit the basic “human” archetype.
Elves – Ancient. Magical. Perilous. And, yeah, rather snobbish when they associate with humans. Tall, slender, pointy ears, the usual stereotype. Dark Elves are shorter, have charcoal skin and white hair instead of pale skin and other colors of hair, along with a mean streak and a thing for spiders.
Dwarves – Short, wide, tough. Fond of gold, fighting, drinking, keeping elaborate historical records, and creating intricate mechanisms and beautiful things. Prefer axes and hammers. Really, really hate elves, for historical reasons that they won’t talk about.
Orcs – Not green (no thanks, GW). Large, extremely strong and tough, not too bright, though the occasional individual can surprise you. Barbarian cultures, generally on the fringes of human civilizations.
Lizardmen – I made them a playable race in my old campaign. I like reptiles. Lizardmen are large, strong, smarter than they look, but rather clumsy (it’s the tails) and very difficult to make armor for.
Finally, we have classes. This is probably the most variable of TGR sections, because the classes are most likely to be whatever seems suitable for the table. Of course, a lot of game systems don’t have classes at all; for those skill-based systems, consider the TGR classes to be essentially archetypes, and take, say, “warrior” as “package with a lot of combat skills”, etc.
The TGR classes are:
Warrior – the one who hits you with a sword
Mage – the one who hits you with a spell
Cleric – the one who heals the guy you hit
Rogue – the one who picks your pocket
There are also occasionally:
Bard – a magically-enhanced performer
Hedge-Wizard – an untrained “peasant mage”
Scout – an expert in a specific environment
This is actually somewhat different from my old campaign, where there were no clerics; priests were just specialized mages. But many fantasy game systems have some form of “cleric” that serves as a healer, so it’s in TGR for compatibility.
The D&D ranger would be a type of scout: someone who’s part warrior, part rogue, a bit of mage, and an expert in a particular wilderness environment. A scout could be from any environment, however — including underground — where an individual operates independently for long periods of time and is focused on observation, monitoring, and sometimes combat with small groups.
Note that the “mage” class covers pretty much every sort of magic-using character (aside from the religious ones) from every game system. Some break them down by how they acquire their spells, some by what the effects of those spells are, etc., but TGR is nothing if not generic: if it uses spells, it’s a mage.
TGR’s bards have probably been influenced more than anything by the Bardic characters of Mercedes Lackey’s “Valdemar” books: performers able to influence, and even control, an audience. They have something of the medieval troubadour or player in them, as well, and can live down to the roguish expectations of those people, who were always seen a bit suspiciously by settled, ordinary members of society.
There are, of course, innumerable other types of characters that are referred to in TableMaster tables. Most of them do not really rise to the category of a character class, though; if they had a class, it would be “ordinary person,” whether they’re a merchant or a king.
Tomorrow, the monsters of TGR.