viernes, 15 de enero de 2021

Creating a duck character for RuneQuest Glorantha

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This is a guest-post by Ernesto Orellana, author of Yozarian's Bandit Ducks in which he follows the character creation process in RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha to create an additional playing character for his all-Durulz scenario. To create the 7th member of Yozarian's gang, he also checked pages 31-32 of the Glorantha Bestiary, which describe this proud species and include the details to create duck characters. Let's go step by step through the process:

Original art by Andrey Fetisov for the RuneQuest Glorantha Bestiary

Step 1: Homeland

Like most other Durulz (that's how Gloranthan ducks call themselves), this new character was born in a small corner of the Kingdom of Sartar. As I note down the 3 starting passions for Sartarite characters, I decide to change Loyalty (tribe) to Loyalty (Durulz), as the ducks in the Bestiary are described as having this passion.

Duck Point lies on the south-western edge of the Kingdom of Sartar, between the Upland Marsh and Beast Valley

Step 2: Family History

Here the rulebook recommends choosing one grandparent and one parent who had the most influence on the character. I choose the grandfather on the PC's father's side and the PC's mother. I decide to roll for their occupations, and so the grandfather was a merchant (15 roll) and the mother a farmer (9 roll).

By following the family history sequence of events, I get the following background history:

- Her parents were born in 1582. Her grandfather did not participate in the Battle of Grizzly Peak, and nothing relevant happened to him between 1597 and 1603. He just kept traveling, buying and selling his wares around Sartar, often by boat.

- In 1604, the player character was born and her grandfather was killed by Telmori. The PC acquires the passion Hate (Telmori). I guess she grew up listening to lots of tales about how her grandpa was brutally killed by the murderous shapechanging wolves.

Damn those wolves! - Art by Stefano Gaudiano for A-Sharp's videogame King of Dragon Pass

- Nothing of note happened between 1605 and 1607.

- For the year 1608 I decide to come up with an event: when the PC was but 4 years old, her father disappeared without a trace one day and no one in the family ever mentioned him again. I now roll to know how many siblings the PC's parents have. The result is her father does not have any siblings, but her mother has 3: two of them male (Broyan and Farnan) and one female (Beneva). Of these, aunt Beneva got married and died, but I decide she didn't have any ducklings; Broyan died without having got married or having any children, and Farnan got married and is still alive.

- In 1619 and 1620 nothing relevant happened.

- In 1621 her mother and grandparents tragically starved to death during the first year of the Great Winter, making sure others were fed. According to previous rolls, her aunt Beneva and her uncle Broyan also starved to death at this time. As the PC was left alone, I guess she went to live with her uncle Farnan and her cousin Yanioth. Therefore, I add +20% to the Love (family) passion.

- In 1622 the PC almost starved to death as well during the second year of the terrible Great Winter. She survived by stealing food from her clan, so I subtract -20% from her passion Loyalty (clan). In order to create more drama, I decide the PC was found guilty of stealing and so her uncle Farnan, ashamed, kicked her out of his house. After that, the PC dearly missed her cousin.

- In 1623 the PC was helped by priests of the temple she would be later initiated into. Because of that, she has the Loyalty (temple) passion. I still need to choose the particular cult the PC will follow, but I already have in mind Engizi so the PC can bring a bit more variety to the gang.

- In 1624 the PC was attacked and sorely wounded by trolls. She acquired the passion Hate (Trolls) and a scar on her left leg. I roll 1D6 to determine the number of siblings and oh my, she is an only child.

- Finally, in 1625 she witnessed the Dragonrise, and since then, she is obviously quite afraid of dragons and has the Fear (dragons) passion. Who can blame her, when the dragon was the size of a mountain?

Step 3: Rune affinities

I get to the part where I need to choose the PC's runes, starting with the elemental runes. The Bestiary specifies that Durulz have the Air rune as their main rune, so I assign 60% to it, plus 10% for being from Sartar. The PC's second and third elemental runes are Water, which will become handy if she is to be an initiate of Engizi, and Earth, so she also has a bit of a worldly and pragmatic attitude.

As for the Power/Form runes, adventuring ducks usually start with the Death rune at 75% or higher, so I choose the Death rune and the Movement rune (also handy for an initiate of Engizi) at 75%.

Lastly, I distribute 50% extra points among the Air, Earth, and Water runes. I haven't raised any rune past 80% so the PC can't be forced to act in the way her runes dictate (not yet at least!).

Step 4: Characteristics

After rolling for all of them, the total sum is under 92 points, so I assign 3 extra points between INT and CHA. I also get some extra points from the primary and secondary runes that I add to STR and DEX. All in all, these are the characteristics: 

STR: 5 + 4 + 1 (dice roll) + 2 (Air rune) = 12
CON: 3 + 5 + 6 (dice roll) = 14
SIZ: 3 + 2 (dice roll) = 5
DEX: 1 + 6 + 6 (dice roll) + 1 (Water rune) = 14
INT: 2 + 3 + 6 (dice roll) + 2 (extra points) = 13
POW: 2 + 3 + 5 (dice roll) = 10
CHA: 5 + 2 + 5 (dice roll) + 1 (extra point) = 13

As I have decided the final values for characteristics, I can now work out the attributes, such as her 13 Hit Points and 10 Magic Points, and skill category modifiers. When working out these modifiers, don't forget that the Manipulation category modifier also counts as the Weapons category skill modifier.

When assigning the base skill values, I add the Sartar modifiers, except for Boat, Climb, Fast Talk, Ride, Sing, and Swim, since for these the base values for Durulz apply. At this point, I also decide to modify the cultural weapons by others more suitable for the small-sized Durulz: medium shield instead of big shield, small shield instead of medium shield, and shortsword replacing broadsword. Since Durulz usually have half the size of humans, I rule their small shields work just like medium shields do for humans, that is, they cover two of their body locations, not just the shield arm.

Step 5: Occupation

Since the PC is going to be part of Yozarian's gang, I choose the Bandit occupation straight away. However, I don't choose any of the recommended cults, and I instead make the PC an initiate of the river god Engizi. After all, the PC still belongs to the same cultural religion as the rest of the party.

As far as passions go, I assign +10% to the Love (family) passion. I also choose to substitute Loyalty (clan) 40% by Loyalty (gang) at 50%, partly because there is no more space for passions on the sheet, but also because the PC had to abandon her clan due to her being caught stealing.

Step 6: Cult

Of all the Spirit Magic spells that Engizi has to offer, I choose Shimmer-3 and Heal-2. Shimmer will help the PC avoid attacks, as it imposes up to -15% to your enemies, and Heal is always very useful, as it can save your butt. As for Rune magic, I kept to the 3 initial Rune points, and I chose the following Rune spells: Fireshield, Dismiss Water Elemental (Small), and Breathe Air/Water. These Rune spells are not as impressive as the spells from other cults, but they can be handy in some situations. Besides, I also have access to all common Rune spells such as Heal Wounds.

Step 7: Personal Skill Bonuses

I add +25% to Sling, Tradetalk, Move Silently, and Search; and then +10% to Small Shield, Shortsword, Survival, Listen, and Scan.

Step 8: Other information

I decide to create two versions of the same PC, one female called Ferenasa, and the other male called Saga, so players can choose which to play. I wrap up the background by adding an event that affected all Durulz in Sartar (the awful Duck Hunt) and a couple extra details. For example, after rolling on the Family Heirlooms table, I get a gold serpent armband with a Spirit magic spell matrix in it, and I choose the spell Befuddle, as it is a useful spell for bandits to rob lone travelers or to cover a hasty retreat. As for the initial equipment, I guess the cuirboilli cuirass bandits get is actually made of quilted heavy leather, so it covers 3 points as described. I guess the quilted skirt is a quilted leather skirt (two layers) so it covers 2 points. I note down all the other normal equipment, and I roll 1D100 for the booty. I get 90L, so I spend 80L to buy a composite helm, cuirboilli vambraces and cuirboilli greaves for extra protection. 

Putting it all together, here's the character's background:

You were born in Duck Point in 1604. You grew up listening to the tale of how your grandfather Andrin, a prosperous merchant, was brutally assaulted and killed by trolls during a trip.

Your father disappeared when you were only 4. No one in your family talked about him after that, so you don't even know his name.

In 1613, after the rebellion started by Kallyr Starbrow failed, ducks were blamed as scapegoats and a Duck Hunt began. This forced you and all your neighbors to flee the city en masse. What survived of your clan found refuge in a corner of Beast Valley until it was deemed safe to return to Duck Point.

In 1621, your mother and a big part of your family tragically starved to death during the Great Winter. You were left with your uncle Farnan, but you didn't get on well at all. He often treated you unfairly for no apparent reason. Only your cousin Yanioth treated you like a true friend and kin. The only item you inherited from your mother was a magic bracelet that contains a spell that can befuddle your opponents. Your uncle was angry that you refused to sell the bracelet to buy food, and you had to conceal it in order to keep it.

The next year you barely survived by stealing food from others in your clan. They found out and your uncle kicked you out even before your clan banished you. You were forced to leave and beg in order to survive. Only some priests from the temple to Engizi helped you in secret, as you had impressed them during your initiation into the cult years before. Soon though, you learned how to eke out a living by assaulting unprotected travelers.

Lately, you met a veteran bandit called Yozarian and his gang, and even though you haven't yet become close to any of them, you feel safe and good among them. You really don't want to be left alone again.

Despite your shaggy look and your ugly scar across your leg, your mysterious stare makes you quite attractive to the opposite sex. The Water and Air runes define your character: passionate, violent, proud, mutable, unpredictable, and capricious. From time to time, though, the influence of the Earth rune makes you prudent and pragmatic.
Saga/Ferenasa is no longer accepted by his village - Art by Michelle Lockamy for 13th Age Glorantha

Only for the GM: 

If you plan to offer Saga/Ferenasa as a PC when running the scenario in Yozarian's Bandit Ducks:

Saga/Ferenasa is the player character the least connected to the rest of the gang and Yozarian. This could cause, on occasion, the player to take a course of action that goes against or in spite of the rest of the party. However, I have come up with a secret that could fix that:



I hope you have enjoyed reading the creation process of this player character created by Ernesto. If you have any doubts, corrections, or suggestions, don't hesitate to leave a comment. Finally, you can download this pregenerated player character's sheet by clicking on the following links below. Will s/he survive the adventure in Yozarian's Bandit Ducks? Let's find out!

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