The Kickstarter campaign launches soon (March 12th!), so I’d like to show you how easy it is to make a character for Shadow of the Demon Lord. We’ll make a starting character, an individual that does not yet belong to a group and thus has no level. Let’s get started.
First, let’s grab the character sheet.
The character sheet concentrates all your numbers in the middle so you’re always looking in the same place when you need to make a roll or when the GM makes a roll against your character. You can use the outer circles to make notes about what your character owns, talents gained, spells learned, and other bits. You can put this information wherever you want.
I start by determining my character’s professions. Professions were named “skills” in earlier drafts of the game, but I changed the name since these bits are descriptive rather than mechanical. They tell you something about your character. I could choose my starting professions or make them up. I like rolling dice, so let’s do that. First, I roll a d6 and find the result on the profession background table. I’ll do this twice. I rolled a 3 and a 5, giving me a common background and wilderness background.
For the common professions, I roll a d20 and find the result on the Common Professions table. A 17 tells me I can be a painter, poet, sculptor, or writer. The “*” next to this entry means my character knows how to read and write one language I know. I think I’ll choose writer.
For my wilderness profession, a 3 gives me charcoal burner or woodcutter. Interesting. I’m going to drop my writer profession and take whittler instead (it’s like a sculptor). I’ll take charcoal burner as my other profession. I note the results on my character sheet and now I’m ready to choose my Ancestry.
Your ancestry tells you about your people and from where you came. I like playing humans, generally, so I’ll choose the Human ancestry. Looking at the entry, I find out some information about humans in the world followed by a short table to help me come up with a story for my human character. I’m going to roll. I get a 4. I like the idea of the militia and note this on my sheet.
The Human entry also tells me my character’s starting numbers, skills, and talents. I just need to record this information on my sheet in the spaces provided. I can increase one attribute by 1 point by decreasing another attribute. I think I’ll boost Strength by 1 and drop Willpower by 1. After all, my character saw some action and I think he was probably scarred by his experiences. For my Natural Talent, I’m going to increase Intellect by 1. Once I record all the numbers, I can fill in the modifiers for the attributes by simply subtracting 10 from my scores.
A starting character gets a weapon, some gear, and a choice of one special item. I’m going to take a staff and, for my special item, a healer’s kit. I record all this on my character sheet.
I also get a random interesting thing. First, I roll a d6 to find the table and then roll a d20 to determine the thing. I rolled a 6 and a 19. The 6 indicates Table 6 and the 19 gives me the result of “a demanding spouse.” I’ll put this on my sheet as well.
Building your Story
My character is almost ready to play. The final part of the character creation chapter presents guidance and tables to help bring the character to life.
Name: I call my character Hugh. I always liked Hugh the Hand from the Deathgate Cycle.
Age: I roll 3d6 and consult the Age table. I rolled a 9, so it seems Hugh is all grown up.
Appearance: I roll 3d6 and consult the Appearance table. I rolled an 11. That tells me Hugh is average looking.
Build: Again, I roll 3d6 and consult the Build table. A 7 tells me Hugh is a bit skinny.
Background Element: This entry tells me what makes my character exceptional (or not). First, I roll a d6 to see if I had a setback or a windfall. A 2 gives me a setback. I roll a d20 to see what form the setback takes. A 16 tells me I witnessed a crime.
Personality: There’s lots of information about how to build a personality, but I just want to jump in and play. I can roll 3d6 to determine my personality randomly. A 4 tells me that my character is something of a misanthrope. That fits given his career choice of charcoal burner. It’s not the most social of occupations. And the demanding spouse might sharpen my character’s disdain for others.
Having recorded this information on my sheet, I’m ready to play! That’s it. It’s that simple. Here’s Hugh’s character sheet.