Sunday, October 12, 2014

Introducing: Valeria (aka the shameless rip-off of Lagertha...)

"Valeria is now a shield maiden without a shield wall, and a Viking without  a boat.

Part of the original warband tasked with bringing Thorryn Kai to 'justice', Valeria was impressed with his fighting prowess, as well as the prospect of Cyrin's 'Crusade' eventually bringing about the true Ragnarok, a war to end all wars, where each warrior's mettle would finally be tested.

Weighing the prospect of playing a guiding role in the last war, or being expected to hang-up her swords and begin presenting the Crusader with grandchildren, she quickly betrayed the warband and joined Thorryn."

Valeria is one of a cast of PCs whose group is devoted to bringing about the birth/rebirth of the Unborn God and bring about 'Bad Things' (TM).

Let us see how she is mechanically defined in a few, primarily d20 based ,systems.

5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons

I am going to assume at least a passing familiarity with d20:

-Each Character has five attributes.
-These attributes give bonuses/penalties to attacks/damage/skill checks
- Hitpoints are an abstraction of health/fatigue and typically cause no penalty to the PC until the point they are depleted.

Now we follow the steps in the Player's Handbook:

1. Choose a Race: Valeria is Human. Not only is this consistent with the typical view of a Viking, but Humans are the only race that can get a feat at level 1 (This would be in lieu of some attribute and skill bonuses, it is the player's choice.)

So being Human gives Valeria a +1 to two attributes, one skill proficiency of her choice, and one feat. We will get back to this later, but the feat we will choose is 'Shield Master'.

2. Choose a Class: Valeria is a Fighter. Classes in D&D start broadly, and then specialties are chosen at 3rd level, which looking at the experience table arrives pretty quickly before advancement rapidly slows.

The Fighter class give Valeria Hit Dice of 1d10 per level, Hit Points at first level of 10 + CON modifier, all Armor proficiencies as well as Simple and Martial weapons. No tool proficiencies are included, and Saving Throws are Strength and Constitution.

From the available skills, Valeria will choose Perception and Insight.

We now get to choose a fighting style. Since Valeria is a Shield Maiden, and would have spent her time in shields walls, it makes sense that her style is Protection.

Protection basically means that if any creature within 5 feet of you attacks someone else, you can use your Reaction to impose a disadvantage on the attack... As long as you have a shield.

Fighters also have 'Second Wind' which allows them to use a bonus action to recover some hit-points a number of times equal to their level between Rests.

3. Ability Scores: I think most folks tend to do this first, but so be it.

There are three methods presented:

Random: Which actually looks to yield better potential numbers on average, and is presented as the first and preferred option.

Array: Use a pregenerated array, which is what we will do for comparison sake.

Customization: Point buy.

Using the array option, we give the following attributes to Valeria:

STR:13 DEX: 15 CON: 14 INT: 8 WIS: 12 CHA: 10

Given that we chose to take the race option including a feat, we only get to bump up two attributes, in this case
Strength and Dexterity by 1 each.

STR:14 DEX: 16 CON: 14 INT: 8 WIS: 12 CHA: 10

4. Describe Your Character: This is where alignment, background and ideals, bonds and flaws are chosen.

Alignment: Valeria believes in a cosmic order, and understands that the weak need not apply when it comes to succeeding in that order. Valeria is Lawful Evil.

Background: This is a new feature in 5th edition and gives your character a bit of 'backstory' as well as some hard skill proficiencies and a 'soft' feature.

Of the backgrounds presented, we will go with Sailor, specifically the Pirate variant for Viking flavor. This gives Valeria Skill Proficiencies in Athletics and Perception (oops we already got that from being Fighter, so let's 'retcon' the Fighter selection to be Intimidation and Insight)

She will also get Tool Proficiencies with Navigator tools, and vehicles(water) as well as a belaying pin, 50 feet of silk rope, a lucky charm a set of common clothes and a puch with 10GP.

The Feature of a Pirate is 'Bad Reputation' which basically means wherever you people tend to be afraid of you due to your reputation and can get away with minor infractions in civilized areas as folks are afraid to report you.

Personality Trait/Ideal/Bond and Flaw. For these I am going to roll on the background table and let the dice decide.

Personality: (6) I never pass up a friendly wager.
Ideal: (5) People: I'm committed to my crewmates, not an ideal.
Bond: (3) I'll always remember my first ship.
Flaw:(1) I follow orders, even if I think they are wrong.

This yields a second retcon: alignment. What these seem to present is a personality strongly devoted to Law, but little else.

Let us make this Valeria Lawful Neutral.

5. Choose Equipment: Yay! Shopping!

This is largely defined in the class package, so we will make the following choices:

(b) Leather armor, longbow and twenty arrows
(a) a martial weapon (shortsword, it is a 'finesse' weapon) and shield
(b) two handaxes
(b) an explorer's pack

Next post we will put all this together into an actual character sheet... 

Assuming I didn't make any horrible mistakes.

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