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Knights & Legends - Shadow Lords Campaign» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Session 0 - Character Creation rss

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Shardra The Castrator
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As the system is designed for 2-5 and optimized for 5 (4 characters and game master), we opted to create exactly four characters. This dovetails with the four races that are options: Human, Dwarf, Orcish, and Elvan. In case you are wondering, Orcish is like an Orc and Elvan is like an Elf. And all four races are exactly congruent with the stereotypical fantasy presentation. And every class also is exactly congruent with the stereotypical fantasy presentation.

Almost all of the character creation rules are found (only) in Knights & Legends which is functionally identical to Knights & Legends: The Complete Edition (though it says it revises/updates the prior product). There are some very minor trait things in NPC Compendium & PC Creation Aid but they have no game effect at all. In any case, Knights & Legends - Shadow Lords Campaign starts out by telling you to go to the core rules to make characters. Session 0.

In the game, Race controls access to Class. Class is not super important, though.

Shardra: Human, Female, Warrior
10 Points into STR, END, WIS, SPI (adds noted below)
+1 to every successful attack
Most things in the game are vague, contradictory, or just missing. One thing that is made very clear, very often, is females are inferior to males (across the board, females are only 93% as capable as males). I thus start with reduced base stats because I'm a weak and frail female: Health -3, Strength -2, Endurance -2.
Health: 52 + 3
Magic: 9
Strength: 10 + 5
Endurance: 8 + 2
Wisdom: 11
Spirit: 7
Speed: 5
Rules: "Humans strive for perfection in their every day lives. Their thirst for knowledge and power, makes then magnificent yet dangerous beings. As the years pass, the bigger becomes their war machines, and their lust to conquer the world."
Armor Type: None; Weapon Type Melee
Abilities: Chop of the Twenty Blades (5); Cyclone (5); Yielding Devil (5); Smash of the Glacier (5)

Mlle. P: Dwarf, Female, Warrior
10 Points into STR, END, WIS, SPI (adds noted below)
+1 to every successful attack
Female: Health -6, Strength -2, Endurance -3, Spirit -1
Health: 42 + 5
Magic: 7
Strength: 12 + 2
Endurance: 10 + 3
Wisdom: 7
Spirit: 9
Speed: 4
Rules: "Codex manuscripts mention of Dwarves as molds to today Humans."
Armor Type: Heavy; Weapon Type Melee
Abilities: Bloody Slam (2); Dance of the Moon (2); Roll of the Dragon (3); Yielding Devil (5)

Mlle. I: Orcish, Female, Ex-Slave (explains Orcish presence in human kingdom)
9 Points into STR, END, WIS, SPI (adds noted below)
+2 END
Female: Health -9, Strength -2, Endurance -3, Spirit -1
Health: 51
Magic: 7
Strength: 14 + 4
Endurance: 12 + 4 + 2
Wisdom: 8
Spirit: 6
Speed: 3 + 1
Rules: "Orcs often use brute force and powerful magic to resolve their matters, these vile creatures are humanoid beasts with a thirst for blood and violence." Sounds just like Mlle. I.
Armor Type: Light; Weapon Type Melee
Abilities: Assassin's Strike (3); Bloody Slam (2); Yielding Devil (5); Silent Thunder (3)

Mlle. J: Elvan, Female, Shaman
8 Points into STR, END, WIS, SPI (adds noted below)
+2 Magic Regen/Turn
Female: Health -5, Magic -3, Wisdom -2, Spirit -1
Health: 48
Magic: 9
Strength: 10
Endurance: 9
Wisdom: 8 + 4
Spirit: 7 + 2
Speed: 5 + 2
Rules: "Living off the earth, their hunts, and becoming one with nature, is what an Elf is about."
Armor Type: None; Weapon Type: Ranged
Spells: Angelus Ignis; Chant of Light; Frost; Hex of Health

Comments on the Attributes -

Health is a track of damage ("hit points")
Magic is a track of magical points ("mana")
Strength is added to every normal attack roll
Endurance is subtracted from every opponent's attack roll
Wisdom is added to every magic spell
Spirit is subtracted from every opponent's magic spell
Speed determines initiative order

Concluding Character Development -

The Armor Type and Weapon Type selections are (essentially) selections of proficiency (though there is no proficiency in the rules, nor penalties for using non-proficient armors nor bonuses for using any weapons or armors). You do not start with that type of armor or weapon. Nor, in fact, do you start with any equipment at all. And, no, you do not start with any money, either. By the rules, our characters are four stark naked women. But that doesn't really matter! Because armors (none, light, or heavy) offer no benefit at all, in any way, in any circumstance and weapons (none, melee, or ranged) offer no benefit at all, in any way, in any circumstance. Whether your character is stark naked or tanked in Heavy armor and Longsword makes no mechanical difference in the game.

The unequipped character -

Even if we had money (nobody starts with money), our options for purchase would be quite limited: weapon (14 types are enumerated); armor (8 types are enumerated); linen outfit (a "piece of clothing"); magic potion (17 types can be purchased), magic book (not for sale), empty flask, or box of chocolates. Really. Save the magic potions and books, none of these have any game effect.

Sample potion: "Fiery God's Brew; K$30; An elixir capable of bringing back consciousness, impotent after 3 turns." Does that mean you have to use it within 3 turns of purchase? Or that the recipient will lose consciousness again after 3 turns? Or are we to understand that consciousness really means being alive again (temporarily)? Who knows? Doesn't matter - it's expensive and will never be purchased.

Looking forward to character development -

The character sheet seems to indicate that there is some type of "level up" ability in the game. But there is no mention or hint of this in the rules. Characters are created and thereafter static; there is no mechanism to "improve" characters unless the Game Master decides to include the "Support Class" feature, which is suggested for implementation either at initial character creation or as a later reward. This feature lets a character select an additional Class (Musician, Illusionist, Martial Artist, Acrobat, or Beastmaster) and gain 1 or 2 additional Attribute Points and one additional Trait (which is like an Ability).

The character sheet also provides bubble tick offs for the various Attributes suggesting they might increase or decrease during play. Yet again, this is nowhere addressed in the rules.

What can characters actually do?

The actual game mechanics entirely are constrained to combat. There are no rules for doing anything at all, except for combat. Even combat is - at best - vaguely defined. The rules suggest that combat happens in "turns" but that is not explained. Presumably in a given turn every combatant gets to take one attack, use one Ability, or cast one spell (this is not actually stated in the rules; I'm making an assumption). The rules do support a single (advanced/optional) combat maneuver - making a targeted strike at a specific body part (Arm, Rib, or Leg); if successful (a flat 50% rate) the target takes a -1 penalty (Strength, Endurance, or Speed, respectively) for the remainder of that combat. Losing Speed during combat is insignificant (initiative order is determined before the first turn and thereafter doesn't change).

Mechanically, every attack hits and every spell hits, no matter what. They may not always do damage. But they always hit. This process is pretty simple and seems like it will play fast.

There is no discussion of what happens when a character runs out of Health. One assumes the character falls over? There is no mechanic for regaining lost Health or expended Magic (though some Classes are noted as regenerating Magic Points). Per the rules, the only way to actually regain Health is by receiving the effects of healing magic.

Other quandaries -

Do characters need food? How far can they travel? What is a turn? Must they sleep? How long does a spell last? Is it possible to make ranged (bow) attacks? Can I run away from combat? Is there religion? Are there politics? Can I talk instead of fight? Does it matter that I am naked? Can every character attack - and be attacked by - every bad guy? You'll have to use your imagination to answer these questions and, really, every other question that might come up at the table (except for how to roll a hit). Because the rules, "over two years in the making" and even though "a carefully crafted masterpiece", don't offer any help.
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Brian M
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How much geekgold do I need to tip to cover the therapy sessions for having to endure trying to play this?
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Shardra The Castrator
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We approached it much like we approach "bad movie night", picking a deliberately horrible movie so we can make fun of it. Do you know the term Schadenfreude? It's like that, with much laughter.
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Shardra wrote:
We approached it much like we approach "bad movie night", picking a deliberately horrible movie so we can make fun of it.


That sounds amazing. If you ever find yourself in the midwestern US, I've got a few games you may enjoy.
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Shardra The Castrator
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Thank you for the invitation. I am unlikely to visit the USA. It would cost more than I make in a year
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