Monday, February 8, 2010

Stories instead of Skills

In my last session recap I mentioned using a special table to establish characters pasts. The idea was partially inspired by Warhammer's professions table and partly by reading a similar thing here. However, unlike Akrasia, I decided not to add any specific descriptions and make the whole thing as open to interpretation as possible. The reason for this is very simple, I decided to use character past as a guideline for ruling what skills the PCs posses.

Instead of including another elaborate system of rolling for stuff, I decided that it's way better to just roll once and gain some character depth along with the information about the skills they acquired before becoming adventurers.

For example, in my game there is a cleric of Skaghe who used to be a jester on a court of some northern lord. Not only is this funny, but also grants her some knowledge and abilities other characters don't have.

Perhaps she's able to juggle extremely well, or perhaps when the need comes, she might remember something about the heraldry of northern noble families?

In other words, anytime the player of the jester cleric feels her background can aid her, she can try and play that to her advantage. I might ask for some kind of a story from the characters past (that the player will have to improvise) to justify such use of this rule, or I might just say no.

Finally, here's the aforementioned table:

Character Background Table:

1-2 Slave
3-4 Tax collector
5-6 Acolyte
7-8 Bandit
9-10 Farmer
11-12 Armorer
13-14 Whore
15-16 Circus artist
17-18 Healer
19-20 Squire
21-22 Fisherman
23-24 Gladiator
25-26 Messenger
27-28 Candle maker
29-30 Miner
31-32 Jester
33-34 Bartender
35-36 Medium
37-38 Gravedigger
39-40 Card Shark
41-42 Hunter
43-44 Bounty hunter
45-46 Artisan
47-48 Wagon Driver
49-50 Sailor
51-52 Rat catcher
53-54 Nun
55-56 Potter
57-58 Mercenary
59-60 Thief
61-62 Barbarian
63-64 Noble
65-66 Cultist
67-68 Scribe
69-70 Bodyguard
71-72 Forester
73-74 Servant
75-76 Scout
77-78 Minstrel
79-80 Guard
81-82 Grave robber
83-84 Ferry man
85-86 Tanner
87-88 Blacksmith
89-90 Beggar
91-92 Bastard
93-94 Smuggler
95-96 Torturer
97-98 Wizards apprentice
99-00 Roll twice


  1. With your permission, I will yoink this.

    Very nice. :)

  2. This is a good idea.

    In the beginning, I wanted to do something like it--have players choose a past (and associated skills), like in Spirit of the Century's "aspect system" but that was too much choosing and making stuff up for my players.

    Randomly assigning them a past seems like a pretty good substitute.