Step 1. Character Race

Character creation is the first step in a long and hopefully fascinating journey into the realm of fantasy. The player AND the character aren’t likely to be very well prepared for the many challenges and adventures ahead of them if that first step is glossed over or taken too quickly. The character creation process provides the foundation of the players’ expectations of what the fantasy adventuring experience entails.

Character generation in Realms of Myth stresses developing PC’s in great detail. The more that is known about the PC when first bringing him into play, the faster his personality develops and he gains a life and identity of his own. The character generation process determines a wide spectrum of vital information about the PC. It measures him by means of a set of physical and psychological characteristics, provides him with a few special abilities, and even hints at quirks and foibles that may be inherent in those abilities.

The character must have a social and family background, for this influences his early attitudes and the must be related to the knowledge and skills he ends up with, for they must somehow be the result of those attitudes and background. Every character must have a place in the gameworld, a place he calls “home”, along with a community of people he knows and who know him, unless he has been defined specifically not to have one. This carries a certain importance in character generation. No matter how far a character ventures out into the world, a “home base” to return to is essential, a place where he can breathe easy, rest and recoup with his old friends and neighbors. These are the ones the ones he knows and can trust and count on in times of trouble. The more complete the description of the character and all his abilities and knowledge, the easier the GM’s task in integrating him into the gameworld, and the easier the player’s task in developing his character during play.

By the time he is complete, the RoM character emerges as a person with depth and dimension, with a past defined in broad but useful strokes to which greater detail can be added over time, with a present full of prospects that the GM can use as fuel for writing the adventures that he is drawn into, and also a future that can already be focused on meaningful goals that can be further tweaked as the game continues on.

Standing to gain so generous a leg up on getting into the roleplaying that is the ultimate focus of this game, the player must be patient through character generation. Yes, it takes time and a measure of thought, but it is always an adventure in and of itself, and never the same for any two characters. It is a tool that can be used to explore the possibilities surrounding the character, to prepare him for the adventurous life that lies before him.

Unfortunately, unlike other players making up their individual PC’s to play exclusively, the GM must get used to running through the character generation process over and again, as his role in the game includes designing and defining a great number of NPC’s to be played for the players’ benefit as his game progresses. Unlike a player spending points or rolling dice, however, when the GM settles down to generate his NPC’s many of the facets determined here by players are most likely already to have been decided, according to his needs, dictated by the adventure for which they are being created, all of which shortens the process for him significantly, and most of his needs for generating NPC’s can be met by the information provided in “NPC’s & NPC Generation”. Only a small part of it is actually to be taken from the process provided here for PC Generation.

 

A Word about Character Names

Although a name is not necessary to generate a character and is not really required for a character until he is actually brought into play, the name chosen for a character makes an impression on those he meets and says something to the other players about the character, even if only on a gut level. Having a character name, even if only in part, going into the character generation process may actually help guide the player’s hand from time to time as he goes through it. Many of the names chosen for roleplaying characters embody the essence of the character, exemplifying who and what he is, or they can be made amusing by the use of irony in contrast, as in the naming of Robin Hood’s rather large associate “Little” John.

The same standards and approach discussed for PC names should be observed by the GM when determining the name of a NPC, as well.

Family names, or “surnames”, while in common general usage among the people of the period of the game (particularly in towns), will be hit-or-miss in regards to the source from which they are taken, whether origins or trade or parents’ names. Many surnames were taken from the trade practiced (“Tailor”, “Smith”, “Walker”, “Tinker”, “Tiler” (Tyler), “Cooper”, etc.) and would change with the trade practiced from one generation to the next, or would simply be made up of the father’s name with the suffix “-son” attached. One of the most common identifiers attached to a name as a form of “surname” was the village or town of origins, but generally only when a person has travelled out of the district in which he and his family are known, to distinguish him from those of the same name who are local. The player can always go to the GM to get a list of place names for the area he plans the first adventure to take place in to put to this use.

Sobriquets are often used to distinguish father and son who bear the same name, especially “the Elder” and “the Younger”, or between siblings with the same name, but any appellation might be used to distinguish one from another who has no sobriquet at all in the same family, or who has a different sobriquet. The practice of naming more than one child after the father is often followed by parents trying to insure that at least one child survives to carry the father’s or mother’s name on, to give it again to the next generation. These sobriquets also tend to be very descriptive or convey an impression.

Sobriquets such as “Longshanks” like the sample character, Bictric; “Ill-rede” (bad counsel); “Dragon-” or “Dwarf-” or “Elf-Friend”; “Even Handed”; “Foe Cleaver”; “Arm Strong” or “Strong Bow”; “the Bloody”; “the Swift”; “the Just”; “the Red” (-haired, or “Rufus”); “the Unready”; “the Fair”; “the Gold” (-haired); “the Good”; “the Insouciant”; “Wind Rider” or “Lightning Rider”; “of the Long Sand”; “the Lucky” or “the Hapless”; “the Bastard”, or the like. The adoption of surnames for general use was a means to aid in identification of citizens on the tax rolls, and an acknowledgement here of the practice followed in the period of the game.

It will not be uncommon, either to see a name bearing both surname and sobriquet, in an effort to assure that there will be no confusion over identity.

Naming can be key in establishing the medieval-fantasy flavor of the identity of the character, so the player should be as free and creative as he likes in coming up with a name. BUT the player should keep in mind that “Destrier Strongbow” is not a very appropriate name for a quiet, scholarly Wizard or delicate Courtier who quakes at the thought of physical violence or the possibility of being hurt, unless the character’s father was a great Warrior of renown who had originally pinned great hopes of his son following in his footsteps, and the player wants to disarm those meeting him and get them laughing at him when they find out his name, leading them into underestimating him. Then it becomes a useful joke. Perhaps the character is a prideful coward, and when he gains the strength in skill and knowledge that comes with advancing in his trade he will be a force with which to be reckoned and his name will no longer be a joke.

A character can always be set up to fulfill the promise of a name this way, in ways never imagined by his parents and siblings, or even his fellow adventurers. Of course, for the simple respect of his fellow Warriors, a huge strapping lad who wades into rank upon rank of foes with gusto who is named Wendel Milquetoaste by his parents would probably give himself a more appropriate professional name at the end of his apprenticeship, or amend his given name by trading the surname for a sobriquet like “Deathstalker” or “Doomslayer” as a sop to his pride.

The following roster of names is provided for the players’ reference because truth is always stranger than fiction, and there are some really great and strange actual period names included. The more common and popular of these will be readily available. Some are hold-overs from the Anglo-Saxon period and others are French imports brought by the Norman conquerors. The player should keep in mind the fact that England was a melting pot, historically, with Celtic roots, the influence of Roman-brought Latin scholarship, Anglo-Saxon remnants, and Norman French traditions. While the names included reflect these varied heritages, they are NOT divided according to their cultural heritage. These can be discerned fairly readily in most instances, though.

 

Period Men’s Names

Aethel(h)ard, Aethelstan, Aidan

Aimar, Aethelward, Aethelwold

Aethulwulf, Adalbert, Alastair

Albert, Aethelbeorht, Aldred

Ealdred, Alan, Aleyn (Alain)

Aldwyn, Aelfrede (Alfred), Algar

Alger, Aelfgar, Alured

Alwin, Alvar, Aelfhere

Alvin, Alwine, Aldwine

Aelfwine, Aethelwine, Alexander

Alix, Ambrosius, Angus

Andrew, Ansculf, Anthony

Archibald, Arcenbaldus, Arlebaldus

Arlaund, Arley, Arnold

Artur, Artor, Arcturus

Arthur, Aubrey, Aulay

Austen, Austin, Austyn

Osten, Ostin, Augustin(e)

Aylmer, Aethelmaer, Baldwin

Bartholomew, Barnabas, Basil

Bede, Bedivere, Bennet

Benedict, Bertram, Berwyn

Bern(h)ard, Bevis, Bictric

Blair, Blei, Bors

Brandon, Brian, Burton

Canute, Cerdic, Charibert

Charles, Chad (Cead), Ceadd(a)

Clarence, Clement, Clovis, Colin

Conrad, Constantine, Crispin(ius)

Darryl, Donald, Dunstan

Edmund, Edwin, Eadwine

Elmvi, Emeric, Ethel(h)ard

Ethelbert (-beorht), Ethelstan, Ethelward

Ethelwold, Ethelwulf, Eubolo

Eudo, Eudes, Eustace

Finn, Felix, Frederick

Gafiot, Galahad, Gaheris

Gareth, Gaston, Gawain(e)

Giric, Geoffrey, George

Gerard, Gerhard, Gerald

Gervaise (Jarvis), Geraint, Gilber(t)

Godwin, Greash, Guillot

Guala, Harduin, Harvey

Haymo, Hamelin, Henry

Hengest, Hereward, Horsa

Hugh, Harold, Harry

Honorius, Humphrey, Hubert

Humbert, Idhel, Irwin

Ivanhoe, Isambert, Jack

Jacob, James, Jasper

John, Julius, Kenneth

Kenric, Kendric, Kerrick

Cynric, La(u)ocelot, Lamorak

Lawrence, Lewes, Lewis (Louis)

Lovis, Leofric, Levric, Lionel

Logan, Lucien, Malcolm

Matthew, Michael, Milton

Morgan, Morcant, Murdoch

Morton, Nathan, Nicholas

Noel, Ogier, Oliver

Odin, Olvinus, Ulwinus

Osbern, Osbert, Oswiu

Offa, Osric, Orlando

Owen, Pandulph, Pelayo

Peregrine (-inus), Peryn, Percival(e)

Peter, Piers, Philip

Picot, Ranulph, Ralph

Rory, Raymond, Reginald

Richard, Robert, Robin

Roger, Roland, Roderick

Rede (Reed), Reinhold, Reynold

Seymor, Saebert, Siward

Simon, Sheldon, Sherman

Stephen, Tasso, Thaddeus

Theobald, Theodore(-ic), Theodosius

Thomas, Todd, Tristan

Vergil, Vortigern, Walter

Waswic, Wat, Wigstan

Wayne, Wilhelm, William

 

Period Women’s Names

Adelicia, Aiglentine, Ada

Adeliz(a), Adelina, Agnes

Alys, Alis (Alice), Alais

Aelis, Alicia, Aldgith

Aldreda, Alida, Alina

Althea, Annes, Annys (Annis)

Amabel, Amanda, Amy (Ami)

Amice, Amisia, Anabel(-la)

Annora, Arabella, Araminta

Ariel, Arnburga, Auda

Aurelia, Aurora, Averil

Aver(h)ilda, Barbara(-y), Basilia(-ie)

Beatris(-ice, -ix), Belle, Berengaria

Blancheflor, Briana, Bridget

Bryony, Catherine, Kate

Katherine, Cecily, Céciles

Celestine, Clementine, Clare (Clair)

Clarissa, Clot(h)ilda, Chita

Charlotte, Darla, Daisy

Daphne, Delphine, Drusilla

Dulcine(-a), Dorothea, E(a)dith

E(a)thelbalda, Ethel, Ever(h)ild(a)

Everhildis, Eleanor, Elizabeth

(E)Liz(a), Emma, Bess(ie)

Beth, Lisbeth, Lisa (Liza)

Eade, Emma, Emmota

Erembourc, Eremine(-a), Emmeline(-a)

Ermingard, Etheldreda, Evageline

Ferne, Fiona, Flora

Florabel, Georgina, Githa

Gretchen, Gwenburga, Gwendolyn

Gwenhwyfar (Jennifer), Guibourc, Heather

Hellisent, Helen, Helga

Hermengart, Hestia, Hildegard

Honor(i)a, Iris, Isabel(la)

Isabeau, IdaIsmay

Isolde, Ingoberg, Jacquette

Jeanette, Joan, Julia

Juliette, Juliana, Karensa(-za)

Kimbra, Leonora, Lea

Leda, (O)Livia, Laurel(ea)

Louvaine, Louvenia, Lyla

Lyrabel, Mabel, Magota, Maggie

Margaret, Margery, Marjory

Marie, Mary, Mat(h)ilda(-is)

Maud(e), Maurine, Millicent

Morgaine, Morganna, Morgause

Or(i)abelOttilie(-is), Pansy

Philomena, Plaisance, Plectrude

Rose, Ros(a)lynn, Rosamund(a)

Scarlet, Sidony(-ie), Sigrid

Sophia, Tamsin, Tansy

Theodora, Theodosia, Tyne

Ursula, Valeria, Viola

Violet, Wanda, Winifred

Wilhelmina, Willamina, Ydain

Yvain, Ygraine

 

Step 1. Character Race

Character Concept

In the World of Olde of Realms of Myth humans are NOT alone! The choice of race is placed first because it is the base on which the player builds his character persona for the game. Racial attitudes shape the basic personality of the character. His point of view is affected by the perspective of a span of years that may be much longer than human, and the perspective of an average height that is likely to be just as different from human (unless of course he IS human). Race defines general opinions, favored environment influences of special knowledge and abilities on lifestyle and attitudes towards the natural world at large, and general cultural slant regarding the other races.

As the game goes on, the player’s sense of his character persona grows, but it is here with the race that characterization actually begins.

The player need actually only read the descriptions of those races that sound interesting and choose the one that best suits him. Generally speaking, the player should take care not to choose a race for his character that is too far removed from the flights of fancy with which he identifies so he will better enjoy playing it. This is very important due to the fact that the player will most commonly be portraying the character during every game, time after time. Not all races are suitable for all players. There is no accounting for taste, as they say. If the player discovers he just doesn’t mesh well with the character he has created, he should pass him around and see if there is another player who would enjoy playing him sometime. It takes alot of work to create a character. It is a shame to simply throw one away. It is so much better if it can end up in the hands of someone who can eventually enjoy portraying it to its full potential.

The races provided for the player to choose between comprise the standard fantasy races commonly found in medieval-style fantasy literature: humansdwarfselfs and half-elfs. While a wider variety of sometimes VERY inventive and even eccentric races indigenous to the official world or gaming environment attached to a given game system is common to many medieval fantasy RPG’s, this list is kept simpler in this instance to better suit the nature of a “basic” set of rules. This is to aid in acclimatizing the players, GM included, to the nuances of more truly “medieval” roleplaying and the historic folk traditions for which this game was designed and written as a showcase.

The descriptions of the races, including all benefits, allowances or special conditions, or penalties, have been removed to the back of the book, to Appendix A. As they are needed for referencing character racial benefits, penalties and abilities during play they really do not belong solely to character generation. Located in the back of the book as they are, they cannot impede the flow of the character generation process.

For the benefit of novice and experienced players alike, the score ranges and the average scores for each of the races in all the primary attributes used to define the characters are recapped and presented on table 1-1. Definitions of the abbreviations can be found in the Index of Abbreviations, previously. This allows the player and GM both to compare and contrast the native abilities and capabilities of the various races to evaluate them more easily in making a choice amongst them.

1-1. Minimum – Maximum Scores, by Race

Race

AGL

BTY

CND

STA

STR

Dwarfs

2 – 20

3 – 25

4 – 30

12 – 18

4 – 30

Elfs

5 – 35

13 – 35

3 – 25

15 – 20

2 – 20

HalfElfs

4 – 30

10 – 30

3 – 25

16 – 22

3 – 25

Humans

3 – 25

3 – 25

3 – 25

18 – 22

3 – 25

 

Race

AWA

CHM

SPT

HRT

Dwarfs

3 – 25

3 – 25

4 – 30

3 – 25

Elfs

3 – 25

3 – 25

5 – 35

3 – 25

HalfElfs

3 – 25

3 – 25

4 – 30

3 – 25

Humans

3 – 25

3 – 25

3 – 25

5 – 35

 

 

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