10 steps for "Vanished Lands: A New Dawn"
1. Think of a concept.
You should think of a character that would be fun to play, that would make sense in the eastern “Vanished Lands,” and that would mesh well with party/campaign themes. Discuss with our fellow role-players.
2. Roll basic attributes.
Roll 4d6 six times, dropping the lowest, and re-rolling ones. The Game Master should witness all rolls. Arrange them however you like, and note adjustments. (Add 1 to any one stat every four levels.)
- Strength (to damage for hand-to-hand, Fighter prime requisite; x10 = max. load)
- Dexterity (bonus to hit, Armor Class, initiative, Reflex save; prime for Thieves)
- Constitution (bonus to Hit Dice, Fortitude save)
- Intelligence (bonus = no. of bonus languages besides native and Shengtese [eastern human common], prime for Magic Users)
- Wisdom (bonus to Willpower save; prime for Clerics)
- Charisma (bonus to reaction, followers; Bard, Sorcerer prime)
- Note racial adjustments to attributes and base movement:
- Humans, Spirit Folk: 40 ft./round
- Beast-kin: 50
- Hill folk: 30
- Note physical description: Height, weight, complexion, age, etc.
- Note likely homeland, nationality, and languages.
4. Pick an alignment.
This follows the traditional Law vs. Chaos and Good vs. Evil axes, and remember that this affects class choice below. I recommend avoiding Chaotic Evil P.C.s. You should also pick a patron deity or philosophy.
- Hit Points, which are modified by Con. First level is at maximum.
- Base Attack Bonus (no THAC0); Dex modifies to-hit rolls.
- Saving Throws, which will either be by level (as “Vistel’s Circus” uses), or + 1 for every three levels to a single ability check (Dex/Ref-Rog, Con/Fort-Ftr, Int/Will-Wiz, Wis/Will-Clr; preferred by the telecom team).
- Base Honor score (see also aspects, below)
6. Pick racial/class abilities.
Each P.C. starts with four and gets a new one (from either list) every three levels. Feats from other D20/Open Game License sourcebooks may also be allowed. Combat rules, including critical hits and fumbles, are listed elsewhere on this site.
7. Pick proficiencies/skills.
Note that attribute bonuses apply. The two methods under consideration are as follows:
- P.C.s start with two at + 3 and add one every three levels. Class-related skills are at + 5. (The current face-to-face and telecom groups lean toward this.)
- P.C.s start with four points to spend (1 rank = 1 point), with four more points every level. Class-related skills get a + 3.
Proficiencies (by ability, specialties, class):
- Acrobatics (Dex; includes escape artist, fly, tightrope, tumble; Rog)
- Animal Handling (Wis; incl. ride; Dru, Rng)
- Appraisal (Int; assess value; Rog)
- Athletics (Str; climb, fly, jump; Ftr)
- Concentration (Wis; to think/cast under stress; Clr, Wiz)
- Craft (Dex/Int; specialize, incl. alchemy, armory, cooking, create magic item, herbalism, poisons, weaponsmith)
- Deception (Cha; incl. bluff, disguise; Rog)
- Disable Device (Dex; incl. pick locks, remove traps/wards; Rog)
- Endurance (Con/Fort; incl. run, swim; Ftr)
- Gaming (Int; card, gambling, strategy; Rog)
- Intimidation (Str/Cha; Ftr)
Knowledge (Int, by specialty):
- Arcana (magic, spellcraft, unnatural creatures; Brd, Wiz)
- Architecture (incl. dungeons, engineering, siege engines)
- Etiquette (heraldry, tea ceremony; Brd, Sam)
- Geography (by region; Brb, Rng)
- History (by region, incl. law, lore; Brd)
- Linguistics (1 pt. per language beyond native, common (Shengtese), and Int bonus; plus decipher script, forgery; Brd, Wiz)
- Nature (biology, wildlife; Dru, Rng)
- Planes (Outsiders; Clr, Wiz)
- Religion (and Wis; incl. Undead, ceremonies; Clr)
- Tactics/Strategy (warfare, Ftr)
- Leadership (Cha; total follower levels = Cha + Leadership ranks, but followers must be at least two levels lower than P.C.)
- Martial Arts (Dex; 1 maneuver — such as Iajutsu/fast draw — per rank, Monk gets + 1 rank to spend per level; see Oriental Adventures for styles/feats, prerequisites)
- Medicine (Int; heal; Clr)
- Perception (Wis; passive; Rng, Sam)
- Perform (Cha; by artistic medium, includes calligraphy (Wis), dance, musician, painter; Brd, Sam)
- Persuasion (Cha; diplomacy, bargaining; Brd, Clr)
- Profession (Wis; nonadventuring, such as farmer, merchant, etc.)
- Resolve (Wis; strong will; Brb, Clr, Ken, Wiz)
- Search (Int; hear noise, active notice; Rng, Rog)
- Sense Motive (Wis; vs. Deception; Clr)
- Sleight of Hand (Dex; holdout; Rog, Wiz)
- Stealth (Dex; incl. hide in shadow, move silently, shadowing; Rog, Rng)
- Streetwise (Cha; gather info; Rog)
- Survival (Wis; incl. camping and tracking, by terrain, incl. dungeons; Brb, Rng)
- Vehicle (Dex; by type — boat, chariot, dirigible, etc.)
Or, by ability:
- Str: Athletics, Intimidation
- Dex: Acrobatics, Craft, Disable Device, Martial Arts, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Vehicle
- Con: Endurance
- Int: Appraisal, Craft, Gaming, Knowledge (all), Medicine, Search
- Wis: Animal Handling, Concentration, Medicine, Perception, Profession, Resolve, Sense Motive, Survival
- Cha: Deception, Intimidation, Leadership, Perform, Persuasion, Streetwise
Favored class (includes subclasses):
- Clr: Animal Handling (Dru), Concentration, Knowledge (Nature-Dru, Planes, Religion), Martial Arts (Monk), Medicine, Persuasion, Resolve, Sense Motive
- Ftr: Animal Handling (Rng), Athletics, Endurance, Intimidation, Knowledge (Etiquette-Sam, Geography-Brb/Rng, Nature-Rng, Tactics/Strategy), Perception (Rng, Sam), Perform (Sam), Resolve (Brb, Ken), Search (Rng), Stealth (Rng), Survival (Brb, Rng)
- Rog: Acrobatics, Appraisal, Deception, Disable Device, Gaming, Knowledge (Etiquette, History, Linguistics-Brd), Perform (Brd), Persuasion (Brd), Search, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Streetwise
- Wiz: Concentration, Knowledge (Arcana, Linguistics, Planes), Perform (calligraphy), Resolve, Sleight of Hand
- Martial arts: In addition to the base Martial Arts skill, P.C.s can choose maneuvers that make up a style. The AD&D1 Oriental Adventures is preferred, but other sourcebooks may be relevant (see bibliography below).
- Pick spells: If relevant to class (include citations; see also bibliography below).
8. Write a brief bio.
Just a few sentences or paragraphs should do for a back story.
- What mannerisms or sayings do you use? Also, find a portrait image that we can use on Obsidian Portal.
- What are your P.C.’s non-adventuring hobbies and interests?
- Why is your character adventuring, and why would he or she travel with a party?
- What short- and longer-term goals do you have? The next phase of P.C. creation should help.
Define your background aspects: Yes, this is borrowed from FATE (Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment). These can be “tagged” by spending a Fate point for a 1d6 bonus or a reroll. P.C.s start with a refresh of 3 Fate points, plus one every three levels. Each time the G.M. “compels” an aspect, you get an additional Fate point for the session.
- Guest star
- Motivation (We might put honor here rather than AD&D1 OA ’s numerical tracking.)
- Adventuring (to be gained at Level 5)
- Membership/leadership (Lvl. 10)
- Hero of (Lvl. 15)
9. Pick equipment.
See bibliography below. Starting equipment typically includes clothing, armor and weapons (note AC, range, damage), rations, and class-related tools. Each P.C. starts with 250 gold pieces.
Eastern currency equivalents:
- copper piece = fen
- silver piece = 2 yuan
- electrum piece = 1 tael
- gold piece = 2 tael
- platinum piece = ch’ien
Bibliography (in descending order of importance)
- Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game (D20 retro-clone)
- Core Rules (r75 in print, r78 in free PDF)
- supplements and conversions (see downloads and forums)
- Other retro-clones: Dungeon Crawl Classics; Adventurer, Conqueror, King; and Labyrinth Lord (PDFs):
- Black Streams — the Pacts of the Wise, the Yellow Bone Legion
- Classes of the Far East
- An Echo Resounding: Lordship and War in Untamed Lands
- Red Tide: Campaign Sourcebook and Sandbox Toolkit
- D20/Open Game License
- Arrows of Indra
- Avatar: the Last Airbender (two fan conversions, PDF only)
- Creatures of Rokugan (D&D3.0, PDF)
- Oriental Adventures (D&D3.0; PDF)
- “Oriental Dragonlance Adventures” (fan-written PDF)
- From Stone to Steel
- The Hidden Emperor (D&D3.0; “War Against the Darkness” campaign book)
- Jade Dragons & Hungry Ghosts: Monsters From the East
- Jade and Steel: Roleplaying in Mythic China (PDF)
- Legend of the Five Rings: Rokugan Campaign Setting (D&D3.0 OA; While the eastern “Vanished Lands” is neither the “Forgotten Realms’ Kara Tur” nor “Rokugan,” it does borrow heavily from both.)
- Legends of the Crane Glossary (PDF)
- Legends of the Samurai
- A Magical Society: Silk Road
- Magic of Rokugan (D&D3.0, PDF)
- Way of the Ninja (D&D3.0, PDF)
- Way of the Open Hand (D&D3.0, Shinsei Monks)
- Way of the Samurai (D&D3.0, PDF)
- Way of the Shugenja (D&D3.0, eastern Clerics)
- assorted adventure modules (D&D3.x)
- Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment (FATE)
Generic Universal Role-Playing System (GURPS)
- GURPS (4th Ed.) Basic Set, GURPS Lite
- GURPS (3rd Ed.) China
- GURPS (4th Ed.) Fantasy
- GURPS (3rd Ed.) Japan, Second Edition
- GURPS (4th Ed.) Martial Arts
Hero System Fifth Edition
- Ninja Hero
- The Ultimate Martial Artist
- Adventures in the Northern Wilderness
- Weapons and Assassins
- Weapons and Castles of the Orient
Sengoku: Chanbara Roleplaying in Feudal Japan (borrowed from Jason E.R.)
- Shinobi: Shadows of Nihon, plus Shiki adventure supplement
Storyteller: World of Darkness (borrowed from Rich C.G.)
- Dark Kingdom of Jade, Adventures — sourcebooks for Wraith: the Oblivion
- Hengeyokai: Shapeshifters of the East — a Sourcebook for Werewolf: the Apocalypse
- Kindred of the East — for Vampire: the Masquerade
- Basic Role-Playing (Chaosium/Cubicle 7)
- Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors
- Myth and Mankind: Chinese Myth — Land of the Dragon
- Myth and Mankind: Japanese Myth — Realm of the Rising Sun
- Osprey Elite Series 23: The Samurai
- Osprey Elite Series 35: Early Samurai, 200-1500 A.D.
- Numerous books on philosophy, religion, and swordsmanship
- Avatar: the Last Airbender (the animated TV series, not the live-action movie)
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
- Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
- Enter the Dragon
- House of the Flying Daggers
- Iron Monkey
- Kung-Fu Panda
- The Legend of Drunken Master
- Princess Mononoke
- Seven Samurai