Monday, August 8, 2011

Building a Better Beorning: Chargen in The One Ring, Conclusion

Here's Botild's complete character write-up (now with the Beorning byname I forgot in Part One of the series):

Name: Botild Openhand

Culture: Beorning

Cultural Blessing: Furious

Background: Head of the Family

Calling: Wanderer

Basic Attributes: Body 6 (8), Heart 4 (7), Wits 4 (5)

Common Skills: Awe 3, Inspire 1, Persuade 0 (personality); Athletics 2, Travel 2, Stealth 1 (movement); Awareness 2, Insight 3, Search 1 (perception); Explore 2, Healing 2, Hunting 3 (survival); Song 0, Courtesy 1, Riddle 1 (custom); Craft 1, Battle 0, Lore 0 (vocation)

Weapon Skills: Great spear 2, Axe 1, Dagger 1

Endurance: 28 (Fatigue 14)
Hope: 12 (Shadow 0)

Damage: 6
Parry: 4
Armor: 2d+1 (2d from leather corslet, +1 from Reward)

Valour: 2 (Close-fitting Reward applied to her leather corslet)
Wisdom: 1

Specialities: Beast-lore, Mountaineer
Distinctive Features: Curious, Folk-lore*, Generous

Shadow Weakness: Wandering-madness

Equipment: Great spear, axe, dagger, leather corslet

Botild Openhand grew up on the eastern slopes of the Misty Mountains, tending her family's herds and wandering about the countryside.  Those carefree days ended at age ten when her mother died, forcing Botild into the role of lady of the house.  Four years later, fourteen-year-old Botild had to grow up once again when Beorn sent her father and older brother to help guard the passes over the Misty Mountains.  Botild was now in charge of the family holdings, but her generous nature helped them prosper and earned her the epithet of "Openhand" from her neighbors.  At age sixteen, Botild learned that her father had died in a skirmish with Orcs in the mountains.  Her brother returned home and took control of the estate.  He was grasping where his sister was generous; worse, he refused to find Botild a husband among the neighboring families, preferring a drudge at home to an ally abroad.  Botild initially did her best to do her sisterly duty, but a year of enduring her brother's casual cruelties proved to be too much even for her.  She left home with her father's spear in hand, determined to regain her childlike sense of wonder through exploration and adventure.  A year of wandering has done much to toughen her up, and she begins TA 2946 with a sense of hope for the future.

Overall I'm extremely pleased with TOR chargen.  Several people have complained online that the heroic cultures exert too powerful an influence over the process, that multiple characters from the same culture are essentially cookie-cutter copies of one another.  I'm not seeing that: there are certainly some points of contact between Botild and Beran of the Mountains, the pregen Beorning from the TOR rulebook (they both took the Head of the Family background; their base Attributes are thus the same, giving them identical Endurance and Hope as well as Damage and Parry; both have opted to prioritize Valor over Wisdom).  But the differences are clear: Beran made Body his most favored Attribute, followed by Wits whereas Botild put Heart first and then Body.  Their various Traits only overlap at Mountaineer; Beran is the grim warrior whose word is his bond, while Botild is a generous woman always on the lookout for the horizon.

What impressed me most was the way in which the sequence of the process generated backstory and hooks for play.  As I noted in an earlier post, I already had a strong image of Botild as an individual before I even began the customization process.  (This is more evidence against the idea that culture generates too much conformity in game.)  Customization only strengthened this view.  I'm actually disappointed to be planning on running a TOR campaign: I really want to play Botild Openhand now, especially when her company finds its way back to the Western Vales of Anduin and a confrontation with her skinflint brother becomes imminent . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment