John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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Atlantis: The Second Age Character Creation - Nadaria of Cimmeria, Revised

Some time ago, I posted up one of my earliest attempts at character creation for the new Atlantis: The Second Age sword-&-sorcery fantasy rpg that was to be published towards the end of 2013. That character can be found here. However, that early version of the Khepera edition of the game was a far cry in some ways from how the game has turned out. And now that Atlantis: The Second Age is actually out (slowly making its way to those who kickstarted the new rulebook, I thought I would post up the revised version of the detailed example of character creation for the game. So, here is Nadaria Revised, somewhat altered to better reflect my understanding of the game system mechanics and the character creation process.

Game: Atlantis: The Second Age Roleplaying Game
Publisher: Khepera Publishing
Degree of Familiarity: Much more familiar than I was when I first created this character. :) I've run both the original Atlantean Trilogy RPG published back in 1985 or so from Bard Games, and the Atlantis: The Second Age RPG published in 2005 by Morrigan Press. Haven't run it in a few years, but I'm familiar with it, and just doing the best I can. That said, I've run a few sessions using the current game, but not this final version of it.
Books Required: Atlantis: The Second Age (Khepera)

Please note that this post is extremely long, as I've gone into the game mechanics a bit in terms of character creation, and have provided background on the character and the choices. Hence the majority of this post is behind the cut. That said, there is some of the game mechanics and descriptions of game world elements that I've skimped on in this write-up, so if you want to know more, just drop me a line in the Comments.

For those who don't know, Atlantis: The Second Age is a sword & sorcery roleplaying game set in the Antediluvian world filled with savage warriors, powerful magics, and cosmic horrors. It's a Sword & Sorcery fantasy roleplaying game in the vein of the old Tor and DAW books, owing a lot to Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Michael Moorcock, and Fritz Leiber. Anyway, here's the character creation process. Bear in mind that this material is quite long, due to the way the background section is written up.

Step 1a: Come up with a Character Concept for the player character that you want to play.
The first step that I always include in my games is to have the player come up with a Character Concept for the character they want to play. This is basically a one- or two-sentence bit that gives you all the essentials about what the character in question is.

Given that the game is Sword & Sorcery, I decide right off the bat to stick with the conventions of the genre for this character. After looking at a basic map of the Antediluvian world, and checking out some of the material on the Races and Cultures (see below) available for the game, I decide to create a female character, whom I'll call Nadaria. She's a human Cimmerian warrior, but I will leave some of the details about her until the Life Path section (see below).

Step 1b: Choose a Race.
The first step in Character Creation is to choose a Race for the character. From this, one gets one's basic Attributes as well as some racial abilities. The basic races for the Atlantis: The Second Age RPG include the Ahl-at-Rab (a species of saurian), the Andaman (the beast races, of which there are seven), the Atlanteans (duh!), the Humans, the Jinn (not saying anything else about them here), the Lemurian (the ancient Ape-Man species), and the Nethermen (not saying more here).

I decide that I will make the character female, and that she will be a Human.

The basic Attributes used in the Atlantis: The Second Age RPG are Intelligence (INT), Perception (PER), Will (WIL), Charisma (CHA), Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Constitution (CON), Speed (SPD), Combat Rating (CR), and Magic Rating (MR). Only two of these require additional explanation. CR is a measure of a character's natural ability in combat situations, and serves as the Attribute for most combat-related activities. MR is the basic Attribute pertaining to the inner power of the character to manipulate the universe, and is used as the Attribute for most most magic-related activities.

I decide that I want Nadaria to be a somewhat charismatic, female warrior. All of the Attributes for Humans begin at +0, but as a Human, I receive 5 points to put into my Attributes due to the Inheritors of the Earth Racial ability. This also add two more points into the Attributes if I take the equivalent penalty in other Attributes. Finally, I gain another 2 points as Humans are favoured by the gods. So that gives me potentially a +9 and -2 to my Attributes for the character.

I start with my basic 5 points of Attributes. I assign these as follows: +1 into STR, DEX, CON, SPD, and WIL. I then can add two more points to my Attributes if I reduce them by two points as well. I decide to reduce INT to -1, adding a point to CR, and reduce the character's CHA by 1, and increase my CR again by +1. I take the final two points and add 1 to STR and the second one to DEX.

This gives me a final set as follows: INT -1, PER +0, WIL +1, CHA -1, MR +0, STR +2, DEX +2, CON +1, SPD +1, and CR +2

Thus, Nadaria is slightly less intelligent and charismatic than the average, but she is strong, quick, and a good fighter.

Along with the Inheritors of the Earth Racial ability, I also note the two others that she receives as a Human, Zeal and Tyche.

Step 2: Choose a Culture for the character.
The player chooses a Culture for the player character next. This gives you an idea of where the character comes from, what part of the world they are from, and will determine their base Skills and possibly their outlook on life. Because there are Cultures for most of the Antediluvian world (with some exceptions), the list of these is just too long to include here.

Looking at the map of the world (and technically discussing the matter with the GM, but that doesn't apply here), I decide that in typical Sword & Sorcery style, she's going to be from the harsh lands of the north. I choose Cimmeria, as it has the Conan-like vibe I want with the character and the game system. :)

Being from Cimmeria, I start with the following Skills: Athletics +2, Instinct (Initiative) +2, Lore (Survival: Alpine) +2, Resolve +2, Speak (Hyperborean) +10, and Weapon (Melee) +2.

I have to take a specialty for the Instinct Skill, and choose the Initiative specialization.

As a Cimmerian, I also receive a bonus to my CR of +1, raising it to +3.

Step 3: Choose a Profession.
The player next chooses the Profession for the character, that is, what she does for a living. There are four general Professions (Slayer, Taker, Shaper, and Teacher), and the player is encouraged to choose one of the sub-Professions contained therein.

For Nadaria, I'm obviously going to choose Slayer. However, within the Slayers profession, I have to choose from Scout, Soldier, Warrior, or Brigand/Pirate. I don't see Nadaria as a professional Soldier, nor do I see her sneaky as a Scout. That leaves me with the Warrior and Brigand. Brigands are criminals, and while she might end up being a criminal as the game proceeds, that's not my choice of character occupation for now. Thus, by default, Nadaria will be a Warrior.

As a Warrior, Nadaria adds a bonus +1 to CR, bringing that up to +4.

She receives the following Skills due to her Profession: Athletics +3, Evade +8, Instinct (Initiative) +4, Parry +4, Profession (Warrior) +10, Speak (Atlantean) +3, Unarmed Fighting +7, Weapon (Melee) +4, and Weapon (Thrown) +10.

Again, I will take the Initiative specialisation of the Instinct Skill. The two Weapon Skills are "Player's Choice", so I went ahead and chose them here. :)

In addition, the Warrior Profession gives the character the Bonus Talent of Cleave.

She begins with a Wealth Rating (WR) of +1, and her Starting Gear consists of: Medium full suit of armour, two weapons of choice, Traveller's Gear, and a horse. I'll come back to the Starting Gear later.

Step 4: Determine the character's Life Paths.
The player determines the character's Life Paths. This provides the player a good idea where the character has been, what she has seen and done in her lifetime before the start of the game. The Life Paths are broken up into quite a few separate sections, and rather than list them all here, I'll just go through what the characters gains from them in total.

First, we start with What Comes Before - the character's Upbringing, Childhood Encounter, and Family Status.

I first determine that Nadaria grew up a Savage. Then, randomly rolling on the charts for these, I determine that Nadaria is the daughter of a slaver; that as a child she saw a village completely overrun by the undead who slaughtered everyone; and her family is feared because of some great power.

From these, Nadaria gains +2 to Unarmed Fighting, +3 to Instinct (these are basic to her Upbringing), and +1 to Influence (for the purpose of intimidation).

The player then decides how many Life Path choices that she will make for the character.

Given that I've set her up as a Conan-esque character here, I'm going to take three options on the Life Paths, and I will choose the Warrior path each time.

I roll for the Paths as follows, and come up with the following events in Nadaria's life and the abilities added to the character as noted.

Life Path 1: Warrior. +1 Weapon (Ranged). Battle: Nadaria fought pirates in the Saharan Sea; +1 to STR or CON (I decide to apply this to CON.) This period of her life adds 3 years to her age.

Path 2: Warrior. +1 Weapon (Ranged). Enemy: An ex-lover who believes Nadaria ruined their life and now wants her dead; No abilities gained. This period of her life ages Nadaria another 3 years.

Path 3: Warrior. +1 Weapon (Ranged). Warrior Special Event: Nadaria killed an Atlantean champion; +2 to Renown, +1 Weapon (Melee). This period of her life ages Nadaria another 3 years.

For each of the Paths taken, I received a +1 to Weapon (Player's choice). I stuck these into Ranged combat to round out the character a bit more.

Step 5: Spend the Customisation Points for the character.
Once the player finishes determining the player character's Life Paths, the player receives 30 points to spend on Customisation of the character. These points can be spent to modify the Attributes (at a cost of 5 per point), Skills (at a cost of 1 per point), and Talents (at a cost of 5 or 10 per Talent, depending).

Looking at various charts and tables, I decide how to spend the 30 Customisation Points on Nadaria.

I begin by spending 15 points to increase my Attributes and Talents as follows: +2 to CHA, giving me a CHA of +1, and I choose the Hardiness Talent. This leaves me with 15 Customisation points.

Finally, I spend the final 15 points on Skills: Animal Handling +1, Athletics +1, Influence +4, Lore (Hesperia) +2, Parry +2, Weapon (Melee) +3, and Weapon (Ranged) +2.

Step 5a: Determine the character's Age.

Because she is Human, Nadaria begins as an Adult of 18 years of age, but due to her Life Paths adding 9 years to her age, she is 27 years old.

Step 5b: Determine the character's Hit Points, Renown, and Hero Points.

Nadaria has a starting Hit Points of 20, due to her Race (Human), and gains an additional number equal to her CON, thus having 22. Due to her Hardiness Talent, Nadaria adds 5 + (CON x 3) to her base Hit Points for race, for a total of 33 Hit Points.

Nadaria starts with a Renown of 2 (from one of her exploits).

The character starts with 5 + CHA Hero Points. This gives Nadaria 6 Hero Points to begin with. This also determines the number of points Nadaria has for her starting Atmans. (See below)

Her Wealth Rating was established as part of her Profession, and there have been no other modifiers to that. Therefore, Nadaria has a starting WR of +1.

Step 5c: Determine and assign the Atman ratings.
Atman is, to all intents and purposes, the character's self or being. How the character's elements are arranged and focused. No element is inherently bad or good, but too much of anything can twist a character into a Paragon of that element. The Atmans represent the character's personality, passions, ambitions, goals, and personal drives. The Elements that compose the character's Atman wax and wane as the character journey's through life. There are three Element pairs - Air/Earth, Fire/Water, and Empyrean/Void. The player assigns a number of points into the six Atman equal to the number of starting Hero Points the character has.

Nadaria has a total of 6 Hero Points, and thus can assign 6 points into the Atman elements. Looking over the definitions of each of the Elements of the Atman, I decide to assign them as follows: Earth 2, Fire 2, Water 1, and Empyrean 1. She is somewhat grounded, has a fiery passion for life, is somewhat compassionate, and has good aspirations for herself.

Step 5d: The player should finally also choose some Disadvantages for the character.
These Disadvantages should be chosen to make the character more interesting and less "perfect". The player should choose Disadvantages based on how she intends to play the character and on things she might find interesting. The character must have three (3) Disadvantages chosen among Relationships, Internal, and External Problems, and may split no more than five points among them in terms of severity.

Looking over the Disadvantages, I decide on the following:

Relationship 2: Scorned Lover: Her past lover, the Green Sorceress of Jaladan Isle, wants to see Nadaria dead.

Internal 1: Anger Issues: Nadaria is known to have a violent temper, and that makes people uneasy around her.

External 2: Heavily Scarred: Nadaria bears the scars of a slaver's whip in addition to wounds from many battles. These scars both attract and repel others.

There are a couple of other steps involved in creating the character, notably choosing the character's Fate, and getting the Weapons and Equipment sorted out and ready to go, but that pretty much covers Character Creation.

So here is what Nadaria of Cimmeria looks like in terms of her game stats write-up:

Nadaria of Cimmeria
Cimmerian Warrior

Race: Human
Gender: Female
Culture: Cimmeria (North Sea)
Age: 27

INT -1, PER +0, WIL +1, CHA +1, MR +0
STR +2, DEX +2, CON +2, SPD +1, CR +4

Hit Points: 33
Renown: 2
Hero Points: 6 (Earth 2, Fire 2, Water 1, Empyrean 1)
WR: +1

Animal Handling +1, Athletics +6, Evade +8, Influence +5, Instinct (Initiative) +9, Lore (Hesperia) +2, Lore (Survival: Alpine) +2, Parry +6, Profession (Warrior) +10, Resolve +2, Speak (Atlantean) +3, Speak (Hyperborean) +10, Unarmed Fighting +9, Weapon (Melee) +10, Weapon (Ranged) +5, Weapon (Thrown) +10

Racial Abilities:
Inheritor of the Earth, Zeal, Tyche

Cleave, Hardiness

Relationship 2: Scorned Lover: Her past lover, the Green Sorceress of Jaladan Isle, wants to see Nadaria dead.
Internal 1: Anger Issues: Nadaria is known to have a violent temper, and that makes people uneasy around her.
External 2: Heavily Scarred: Nadaria bears the scars of a slaver's whip in addition to wounds from many battles. These scars both attract and repel others.

Starting Gear:
Medium leather full suit of armour, two weapons of choice, and a horse. In a campaign, other gear and equipment would be chosen on a personal basis.

And there you have the character that I created and have now revised for the Atlantis: The Second Age Roleplaying Game. This character took me about 25 minutes, plus I would say another half-hour of leafing through the Races and world bits (a bit longer for the revisions, since I had to go over the game numbers). Character generation in Atlantis can definitely take a while, as there are some choices that need to be made in character creation that require information about the game world to be given to the player. If one has an idea of what one wants in the player character, the process can definitely take less time, but to be honest, this is a game system that is extremely fun to work with and gives an incredibly wide variation on characters.

Comments and feedback are welcome. :)
Tags: atlantis rpg, character creation, nadaria of cimmeria, personal, rpg, rpg hut

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