Monday, July 23, 2012

Chronicle 010: PvP


In the Season 3 Episode 20 of Rho Pi Gamma, they talk about Player vs. Player conflict. In most games when a conflict arises between two player characters the Gm, and probably the players, will call for a time out before the in-game conflict results in attacks from the opposing characters. You'll find PvP in many MMOs, but when it comes to the gaming table, often times PvP is discouraged.

It breaks down the group's cohesion and can possibly bring about the end of that particular game. Unless it's a one shot game, PvP has not shown it's ugly head in any game I've been in. However there was one instance in which I was the receiving end of one such encounter.

It was during a one-shot game of Gundam. There was no real system for the players, the GM was the only one rolling the dice. Whether the rolls actually meant anything is still a mystery, so I guess you could have called this a free-from game. Anyway. The game had been cooperative up until what was ultimately the finale of the episode.  Our group was going to assault a flag ship, and my character was going to kamikaze the bridge, in hopes of bringing a swift end to the battle. Everything was going as planned until I maneuver my ship for it's final run.

Suddenly my friend, Brandon, says "I shoot at his ship."  I was shocked, to say the least. Never before had this occurred in any game. An ally was actually going to kill me before I could kill "the villain". So the GM rolls his dice and I explode in a brilliant ball of fire. No way was I going to let that stand. So I spent a "fate point" to ask for a redo. The GM granted it. Brandon did his action again. Dice were rolled, and I died again. Needless to say I was a little pissed.

At that point in my gaming career I had never thought someone would pull the PvP card. Every game I'd been in, up to that point, had been PvE (player vs environment). Yet the dice and been rolled, and my character was dead. Granted he was going to die anyway, but it was supposed to be in a much more glorious way.

From what I remember, Brandon had claimed that his character's view on what my character was going to attempt was cowardly? Or somehow against some moral code? Something like that. And I guess that's all well and good, but it still came as a shock to me; and still does to this day.  Why would anyone want to kill their fellow gamer's character?

As Howard said in the Rho Pi podcast, he, the character, had no other choice. You play a character a certain way. And you need to play that role the entire game, otherwise you loose the essence of "roleplaying". Playing the beliefs you've established for a given character is what makes roleplaying so much fun. To step into a different mind set and act against those who oppose those beliefs.

Other times you may have to invoke PvP to defend yourself. Should another pc want to put you in harms way, that would likely kill your character, you may choose to defend yourself. Again, taking Howard's example, another pc was going to feed Howard to the wolves, and instead Howard defended himself, thus killing the other pc.

Is it right? Sure. As long as it's justified. I have come to grips with what happened to me (as shocking as it was). Do I feel like Brandon should have acted differently, yes. But games don't get remembered for the "typical" ending. They get remembered for "epic" events such as this. However, fare warning should have been given to every player if the GM is going to allow PvP.

I've never had to deal with this as a GM, but should it ever arise, I would certainly allow it. But first I would give everyone fare warning that if a death occurs, for all parties involved to show true sportsmanship when the final die are cast and the results are given.

All I can really say to end this is, take caution when PvP arises. you don't want the in-game actions to adversely effect the out-of-game actions. For the sake of roleplaying if a PvP occurs, be sure that no hard feelings are kept. Gaming is supposed to be fun. And if FUN is ruined, then what's the purpose of gaming. Talk with your players or GM and make sure everyone walks away with a positive experience.

Until next time . . .
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chronicle 009: What Makes a Character Finale


Yes! We're here! It is time to wrap up our conversation on "What Makes a Character". I want to apologize that this process took so long, but, as I stated before, there's more to a character than just a set of stats on a piece of paper. If you're anything like me when it comes to gaming, each character is a machination of who I am -- to an extent. I try to find something about me that will keep me connected to the character. 

So where are we? (If you haven't been following along so far, this is the Cliff Notes version):

Vigo, 1st Level, Human, Fighter
Vigo's name came from the villain in Ghostbusters 2.
We took Human because the race receives a bonus Feat and Skill Points at 1st level.
Fighters are generally the easiest the play for first time gamers.

Strength 16 (+3); Dexterity 12 (+1); Constitution 14 (+2)
Intelligence 10 (+0); Wisdom 11 (+0); Charisma 13 (+1)
Our hero's stats derive from the Standard Array which can be found in most d20 games. Since we were wanting to make a melee fighter Strength (bonuses "to hit" and "to damage") and Constitution (bonuses "to Hit Points" and "Fortitude Save") were our Primary Abilities. Charisma was chosen as a third main ability as we wanted a character to lead with an iron fist.
Bluff (+3); Climb (+3); Craft (+3); Handle Animal (+4); Intimidate (+6); Jump (+3); Listen (+2); Ride (+4): Spot (+2) and Swim (+3)
The Fighter starts with very few skill choices: Climb, Craft, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Jump, Ride & Swim. With his generally good bonuses  from his Ability Scores, we distributed Vigo's skill points evenly to show that he balances his time between being a farmhand and a "leader" in his village. With some choice Feats, we also picked up some needed bonuses to three new skills: Bluff, Listen and Spot, which can be supported by his background. 

Weapon Focus, Persuasive and Alertness
Weapon Focus was chosen to show Vigo's brutality on the battlefield. Persuasive and Alertness were chosen to support his background has a farmhand and "leader".
So now we just need some Gear, and then we'll be done!
We'll start with Armor choice and then move onto Weapons. Weapons are listed first in the book, but Armor is pricey object, and may require the most out of our meager budget.We have 150 gold to spend on equipment. This is the average amount, so we'll take it! 
What's great for the fighter is they have access to ALL armor and shields, so we're given lots of choices. We could spend a good bit of our gold here, by taking a Chain Shirt at 100 gp. This is a good piece of armor, giving us a +4 to our Armor Class (what opponents need to roll to hit). But that would limit what weapons we could choose. So instead we could choose Scale Mail. It provides the same defensive bonus (+4) at half the cost (50 gold), but invokes a penalty to our movement (-10 ft). But I don't see Vigo having access to anything that well made, although he could have taken the armor off a dead man I suppose, and had it mended. Studded Leather or Hide, both give a +3 to AC, are good options too as they are cheaper in price. However, Vigo wants to look immaculate in battle, and Scale Mail, though cumbersome, will provide the "look" he's wanting.
Knowing that battle can be dangerous we know that Armor is critical, and with only a +1 to Dexterity, and a +4 from the Scale Mail we can see that we need further protection. So buying a shield would be a valuable purchase. The Heavy Wooden Shield would round out our AC well, with a +2 bonus, bringing our grand total to +7, for a total of 17. Not too shabby for a first level fighter. And the extra protection only cost us 7 gold. That leaves us with 93 gold left to use on weapons and additional gear.

Fighters need to have an array of weapons to combat any type of foe. So this means at least having a ranged weapon and a melee weapon. As we've determined, Vigo is a melee fighter, so his choice of a ranged weapon can, be cheap (easily discarded) and possibly double as a back-up melee weapon. His main weapon, could be a two-handed weapon or one-handed weapon. We have chosen to carry a shield, so a one-handed weapon would be a good first weapon. However, we could carry an additional weapon if necessary.

The Longsword and Battleaxe are the typical choices for most fighters, though some may choose the Warhammer or Flail as well. But Vigo is going a slightly different route, He's going to take the Trident. It does the same amount of damage as the previously mentioned weapons, but it's the only one in the group that can also be thrown. Also, since Vigo is a farmhand, when not defending the village versus invaders, the Trident (aka Pitch fork) could have been the first weapon Vigo grabbed when he was younger. Refining it, Vigo turned the awkward Pitchfork into a Trident and started throwing at short ranged targets. But he knew a good weapon when he saw it, and his axe made a great weapon in the heat of battle. And so he keeps a battleaxe on his hip at all times. The cost of these weapons takes 25 gold out of our pocket.

Every adventurer needs gear. Items that will help them survive in the wilds when hunting down an orc tribe. Or when seeking the mighty red dragon that stole the princess from the lord's keep. Heroes need gear to get them through the daily grind of travel. And Vigo knows a little about traveling and always keeps the following items ready to go: Backpack, Bedroll, Block and Tackle, Winter Blanket, Fish Hook, 5 days of Rations, 2 Torches, Waterskin, Whetstone, Pitons, 50 ft of Hempen Rope, Grappling Hook, Hammer, and Flint and Steel. In total 16 gold. Leaving us with 52 gold. 
Needing an extra set of hands on the farm to heard the animals, Vigo bought a guard dog (25 gold) to help him in his daily tasks. The dog also proved useful in battle when things got really rough. And with just 27 gold left Vigo purchased a set of Artisan tools to aid him in his craft.

So here's Vigo in his final glory:
Vigo, 1st Level, Human, Fighter
Ability Scores
Strength 16 (+3); Dexterity 12 (+1); Constitution 14 (+2)
Intelligence 10 (+0); Wisdom 11 (+0); Charisma 13 (+1)
Bluff (+3); Climb (+3); Craft (+3); Handle Animal (+4); Intimidate (+6); Jump (+3); Listen (+2); Ride (+4): Spot (+2) and Swim (+3)
Weapon Focus: Trident, Persuasive and Alertness
Base Attack Bonus
Melee: +4(+5) = +3 Str, +1 Class, (+1 for the Trident focus)
(Battleaxe [1d8+3 dmg, Crit x3],  or Trident [1d8+3 dmg, Crit x2])
Range: +2 = +1 Dex, +1 Class 
(Trident [1d8+3, Crit x2, Range 10 ft.])

Armor Class
AC 17 = Base 10, +4 Scale Mail, +2 Shield, +1 Dex

Saving Throws
Fortitude: +4 = +2 Con, +2 Class
Reflex = +1 = +1 Dex, +0 Class
Will +0 = +0 Wis, +0 Class

And that's it. In a nutshell we have completed our character.  Vigo is now complete. His background as a farmhand and self-proclaimed village leader helped us shape the skills and feats we took. And his name's reference provides us with a possible personality, which is reflected in his skills.

I hope you enjoyed this lengthy journey through What Makes a Character. If you have any questions, or need help with your next character idea, please feel free to ask me for assistance.

Until next time . . .

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chronicle 008: What Makes a Character Pt 4


This week we were going to wrap up our series on "What Makes a Character", but then I realized the Feat selection process is daunting enough. So we'll talk about Feats today, and then wrap things up next week.

Feats are special abilities that your character possesses, improving traits they already have, or granting them new capabilities.

Before we get to the Feats, lets do a quick review of what we've learned so far:
  • In Part I we looked at "What's in a Name". A name needs to have meaning. Whether your character concept is derived from the name, or the name is chosen by what/who your character is, it should have some importance. Anyone can be called Bob or Larry, but Attila or Constantine have certain connotations, and further define your character.
  • Part II explored Character Background. What motivates your character to go out and be a "hero". Though not always vital to the game, at least knowing a little about your character's past will help you role play them in-game. 
  • Finally, Part III explored several areas, Race, Ability Scores, Class and Skills. Though each could have been explored in their own post, they each tie into one another, and each help further define your character. Race defines your external appearance, while also providing racial bonuses. Ability scores determine your mental and physical equities. Class is the job or role you will play in the group. And Skills show what you're good at, like knowledge of biology or crafting a sword.
So where does that put us?

As I stated in Part III, the character we're going to create is a Human Fighter. Why? Because for first time players, this is the most straight forward race and class to have. Humans provide the fewest, yet some of the best features: bonus feat at 1st level, four extra skill points at 1st level and a bonus skill point at every level thereafter. Fighters are great because they have the highest attack ratings, and rely solely on Feats to improve their effectiveness.

We've already chosen a name for the character, Vigo. Which derives from the villain in Ghostbusters II, Vigo -- the painting that is possessed by the evil spirit of it's namesake. Though this character we're creating is not evil himself, he is brutal in combat. The other part we've determined is the character's background. Vigo is a farmhand and amateur craftsman, who is apart of a village's local militia; as well, he has appointed himself a leader of the village. His ability scores are:
Strength 16 (+3); Dexterity 12 (+1); Constitution 14 (+2)
Intelligence 10 (+0); Wisdom 11 (+0); Charisma 13 (+1)
His scores reflect that he's strong in physical strength, and could probably take a punch or two and keep ticking.
While his skills are the standard set that a fighter has, they are balanced to reflect his time as a farmhand and "leader":
Climb (+3); Craft (+3); Handle Animal (+4); Intimidate (+4); Jump (+3); Ride (+4) and Swim (+3)

As for feats we have a large list to pull from. So, how many do we get to pick at 1st level? Well, we get one for just being a 1st level character. A second one comes from being Human. And a third one comes for picking the Fighter as our class. However, the one given to us for being a Fighter is restricted to a list, determined by the class.  [Before choosing any feat though, it would be best to consult your GM to see what kind of game they're running, so that you can tailor your character accordingly.]

We'll pick the restricted feat first. Looking back on our background, we see that Vigo is known for his brutality on the field of combat. The list of Fighter feats offers Power Attack. This feat allows our fighter to trade his attack bonus (his chance to hit) for additional damage. When comparing it to his background, the feat fits well. Vigo may not be an effective fighter at times, hitting fewer times then others, but he can occasionally take down a man in a single blow.

His two other feats are not restricted, as long as he meets the prerequisites (usually defined by a minimal Ability Score, Base Attack Bonus or other Feat). Before we go forward with those, let's look at what Feats the Fighter is given at 1st level, these are feats that every fighter is given for just being a fighter. Simple Weapon Proficiency, Martial Weapon Proficiency, All Armor (light, medium and heavy) and Shields (including tower shields). These will come into effect when we look at what equipment Vigo will have, and tells us that we do not have to waste any feats to get armor or most weapons.

There are several feats that we could take with our two slots. So let's see what's out there:
  • Any feat that gives a +2 bonus to two Skills would be helpful, especially if we wanted to improve what skills we already have, or to gain bonuses to ones we may need. This list includes, Acrobatic, Alertness, Animal Affinity, Athletic, Negotiator, and Persuasive (more on what they do in a moment).
  • Along that same line, Skill Focus adds a +3 to one skill.
  • Feats that help with our Saving Throws (which are rolls we make to avoid certain types of damage -- falling rocks, a wizard's spell, poison, etc.) -- which are Great Fortitude, Iron Will, and Lightning Reflexes.
  • Consider taking feats that are not from the Fighter's limited list. As we have 10 more opportunities to pick up feats from that list. Whereas we only have 6 chances to pick up feats that will help add flavor to our character. But picking up more combat oriented feats is not out of the question.
Our Skill list (Climb; Craft; Handle Animal; Intimidate; Jump; Ride and Swim) is limited, but we can improve the skill bonuses we have on them by selecting a feat or two. Our background can once again help us a choose a feat. Vigo is an amateur craftsman and farmhand. Craft would be a decent skill to increase, but Vigo is an amateur, and we'll want to focus more on our other skills first, so we'll skip increasing our Craft skill. So that leaves Vigo's experience as a farmhand -- giving us options to take Alertness (+2 to Listen & Spot, as farmhands need to keep track of their herd), Animal Affinity (+2 to Handle Animal & Ride, to help the farmhand in maintaining a horse or pet), or Athletic (+2 to Climb & Swim, perhaps Vigo likes to swim or rock climb). Vigo is also a self-elected village leader, so Negotiator (+2 to Diplomacy & Sense Motive) or Persuasive (+2 to Bluff & Intimidate) would be helpful.

It's really a toss up as to which skill(s) to increase. We could increase the scores in two skills, or select the Skill Focus feat and get a +3 to one skill. Which I think the latter is a good direction to go in. Vigo's self-appointment to village leader was done through his use of Intimidation. He's okay with the people skills, but the lack in Diplomacy is made up in his Intimidation. Therefore, one of our two feats will go to Skill Focus (Intimidation). This raises our Intimidation score from +4 to +7! "Iron Fist" Vigo has a nice sound to it, doesn't it?! It also doesn't hurt that we can use Intimidate in combat.

This leaves us with one more feat to spend. As mentioned above, we could use this last feat to increase a Saving Throw by +2, of which are: Reflex, Fortitude, or Will. As a Fighter Vigo gets a +2 bonus to his Reflex Saving Throw, for a total of +3 (+2 for the bonus and +1 for his Dexterity). His Fortitude and Will get no bonuses, so he gets is base Ability Score in each, Fortitude (Constitution ) is a +2, and Will (Wisdom) is a +0. So he could take Lightning Reflexes for Reflex, or Great Fortitude for Fortitude, or Iron Will for Will. But Vigo has never had to face many dangers outside the village, so we will not be taking any of these feats. Again, all this is for flavor.

So, what are we going to get with this second feat? We could get any number of feats, but we can narrow it down to three choices. 1) Improved Initiative, +4 to initiative check (this check determines order during combat, the higher the score the better) -- right now our Initiative is only a +1 (from our Dexterity modifier). 2) Cleave, extra melee attack after dropping target -- Vigo is vicious in melee, so potentially getting an extra attack in a single round would be good. 3) Weapon Focus (choose a weapon), +1 bonus to attack rolls with chosen weapon -- our total melee attack bonus right now is +4 (+3 from our Strength modifier and +1 for being a Fighter), this would give us a +5.

Vigo doesn't mind being slow, because he's big and can take a hit, so we'll leave Improved Initiative for later, possibly a future Fighter feat. Cleave is a good choice versus low hit point enemies, but has little use against high hit point enemies. Weapon Focus is good, especially since Vigo can take points away from his attack bonus, with Power Attack, to deal more damage. With the potentially limited use of Cleave, we'll take Weapon Focus for our second feat.

So we've taken Power Attack for our Fighter feat to get bonus damage. Skill Focus for our 1st level feat, to improve our Intimidation.  And Weapon Focus, for our Human feat, to help balance out the reduction from Power Attack. Any number of feats could have been chosen for Vigo. In a combat heavy game we could have chosen only feats that gave us bonuses in combat, like Improved Initiative and Cleave. On the flip side, in a role-play heavy game, we could have chosen Negotiator and Persuasive to increase our Charisma based skills -- giving us larger bonuses to our Fighter's skills and cross-class skills.

Instead, we took feats that played off of our background. There's so many alternatives we could have taken too. Especially if we wanted to maintain the illusion that Vigo is not really an adventurer yet. In which Power Attack would instead be Weapon Focus, to show that Vigo means business on the battlefield. Then we would have changed Skill Focus (Intimidation) to Persuasive; this still gives us a bonus to Intimidation, but also gives a needed bonus to the Bluff skill (which can be used in combat too). The third choice for a feat would have fallen to Alertness to provide coveted bonuses to Listen and Spot; as a farm hand these are important skills, but also help prevent surprise attacks in combat situations.

On second thought, let's have Vigo go this direction instead. It makes more sense for him to take Weapon Focus, Persuasive and Alertness as Vigo is looking for more to life than just the village. He's taken the safe road so far, and it will only take one little quest to put him on the road to adventure.

- - - -

Next time on Dice Harder: What Makes a Character Pt 5 - Gear and Finalizing the character

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Chronicle 007: What Makes a Character Pt 3


When it comes to making a character who they are is largely affected by these four parts: Class, Race, Ability Scores and Skills. Class is the role you play or what "job" function you fill. Race is pretty simple, are you Human or some other creature (Elf, Wookie, to name a few). Ability Scores cover your physical and mental equities. And Skills define what tasks you excel in, and which need further training. While not all game systems have each of these parts, the main ones that I partake in do. So in order to discuss these parts further, this post will explore each of these parts, as we go through the actual creation of a character. And in so doing, we'll discover what drives a player to make certain choices, as I continue my series on: What Makes a Character.

I already have a concept in mind: it is the most basic build that is highly suggested for the beginning player, and that is the Human Fighter. This is the easiest build and requires little, to no, adjustments. For the character's name I have chosen Vigo. The name was pulled from "Ghostbusters II", in which the villain's name was Vigo ("Vigo the Butch", "Vigo the Carpathian", etc.; I'm sure you've seen the movie).  While this character won't be a villain, he does have a reputation for violence on the battlefield. His background covers very little of his past, but it does show that he is, when not fighting a war, or saving the village, an amateur craftsman and general farmhand. [Click on the links for more information on Character Name or Background.]

You have in front of you a character sheet and a book, in this case I'll be using D&D v. 3.5. The very first chapter is Ability Scores. There are a bunch of charts that define what these Ability Scores mean, and if your score is high enough you can incur additional bonuses. For D&D your Abilities are grouped into six major categories:
  • Strength: This is your brute force ability; which influences melee attack rolls, damage rolls, and certain skill rolls. If you want a character like He-Man or the Hulk, this is the ability you want a high score in.
  • Dexterity: This is the agility ability (hey, I can rhyme!); which influences ranged attack rolls, your Armor Class, and certain skills. If you want someone like Jackie Chan, this would need to be a primary stat.
  • Constitution: This determines how sturdy you are; basically, can you take a hit and keep going. Hit Points, your health, and the Concentration skill (your grace under pressure) are based on Constitution. 
  • Intelligence: This determines your book knowledge, as in, how many languages you know and how well versed in your skills you are. Einstein and Tony Stark would have high Intelligence scores.
  • Wisdom: This ability covers your senses, which covers skills like, Listen, Spot, and Sense Motive. 
  • Charisma: Personality and sexual magnetism are covered in this ability, affecting skills like Diplomacy and Intimidation. Some U.S. Presidents would have a high Charisma score.
So in general, these abilities set the stage for who your character is going to be. But how is this determined? I talked about 'scores', but what exactly are scores? In essence a score is the base measurement of how well you do in a give task (lifting weights, bandaging a wound, etc.). In D&D this is represented by a number from 1 to 45+, which are assigned a modifier (a number you add to a d20 roll); heroic Humans, have a base score of 8, 9 or 10 in each of the six abilities.

When character creation begins these base scores can be changed in one of three ways. The easiest method is to use the "Standard Array", which is 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10. This method provides positive modifiers to at least four abilities. And allows us to move forward with character creation the quickest. And since I know I want to create a Fighter, a melee combatant specifically, I know I will want a high score in at least Strength and Constitution.

Looking at the Ability Scores chart in the D&D Player's Handbook, we can see that each of these six scores provide a positive modifier. The 16 gets a +3; 14, +2; 13 and 12, +1; while 11 and 10 get a no bonus. These modifiers will later help us determine the placement of these scores in our abilities.

In many games there will be a variety of races to choose from. In Star Wars we see Humans, Wookiees, Droids, etc.. And in D&D we have Humans, Elves, Dwarves and so forth. Each race is unique and carries with it the possibility of an ability adjustment and additional racial traits. For this purpose we're specifically going to look at the Human race, as they are the dominate, and probably most favored race in gaming.

In D&D Humans have no ability adjustment. This means that the scores above will remain the same at character creation. However, should we have chosen to make a Dwarf Fighter, we would have had to adjust our scores in two abilities: Constitution and Charisma. While we haven't placed these scores yet, a Dwarf would have received a +2 bonus on his Constitution Score and a -2 penalty to his Charisma Score. Dwarves are sturdy creatures, but not always the friendliest. But we're not playing a Dwarf, so our scores will remain the same: 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10.

Human's have racial traits, which provide bonuses during character creation. They receive the following: An extra Feat (discussed in a future post) at first level; and four extra skill points at first level, plus one additional skill point at every level thereafter. The additional skill points will help us out, as more skill points could mean higher skill rolls or more skills. Humans have additional racial traits in D&D but they will be ignored in this instance.

Since we have chosen to make a Fighter in D&D we can skip all the other available classes in the book. There are however many more classes available, like Cleric, Wizard or Barbarian. In other settings the names of these classes may change, but their role is likely similar. A fighter may be a soldier in a modern day game, while a cleric may be called a priest instead. Each class has a set of abilities that define their station in life. In our case, the Fighter is known to be centered on melee attacks, so a high Strength score would be good to have. Constitution would also need to be a high score as the Fighter needs to be able to take lots of damage. Their third score could be in Dexterity, to show their prowess with a ranged weapon, and to give them a higher defensive score.

But Vigo is not a dexterous person, though he is strong and stout. So we will assign the 16 to his Strength and the 14 to his Constitution. This leaves us with the 13, 12, 11 and 10 to distribute amongst Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma. Looking at what these abilities do we have a choice of what we want this character to become. Since Vigo is a fighter we probably should have at least a +1 modifier in his Dexterity, to help with ranged attacks and any skills the fighter may have. So we'll put the 12 there. Vigo isn't the brightest or the smartest person in the village, that's why he's a fighter, so we will put the 10 and 11 into his Intelligence and Wisdom abilities. Which leaves the 13 to be placed in Charisma, which will be great for a man who sees himself as a leader of his village.

This is what we have so far:
Strength 16 (+3 modifier) 
Dexterity 12 (+1 modifier) 
Constitution 14 (+2 modifier) 
Intelligence 10 (no modifier) 
Wisdom 11 (no modifier) 
Charisma 13 (+1 modifier)

These scores now effect everything else that sets the Fighter apart from any other class.This includes Hit Points, their Attack Bonus, Saving Throws, Feat choices, and Skills/Skill Points. Skills and Skill Points will be discussed below, while the other aspects will be brought in at the end of this series to wrap things up.

Since we chose to put a score of 10 into Intelligence our Fighter will start with very few skill points to distribute amongst his limited skill set. So what are skill points? Skill points are a number we add our ability modifier, which is then added to the d20 roll when we make a skill check. The number of skill points we get are determined by our class. In this case, our fighter starts off with (2 + Intelligence modifier) x 4. So if we do our math correctly this is what we'll get: (2 + 0) x 4 = 8. Our Intelligence modifier is 0 as stated above, which means we add nothing to the 2. That 2 is then multiplied by 4 to get a total of 8. The amount of skill points we receive at character creation could have been different if we had chosen to make a more intelligent fighter. Had we decided to have the 16 in Intelligence then we could have had 20 skill points at character creation. However, let us not forget that we are Human after all, and that means we get 4 additional character points at first level.

Instead, we have 12 points, rather than 8, to distribute amongst the following skills. In parenthesis we're putting what ability the skill is linked to. Abilities are abbreviated by using the first three letters of that ability, so Strength is STR. Here is the Fighter's skill list: 
Climb (Str); Craft (Int)*; Handle Animal (Cha); Intimidate (Cha); Jump (Str); Ride (Dex); and Swim (Str).
* = Choose Specialty

As you can see, we actually chose pretty well in the placement of our ability scores, as many of our skills will be receiving an ability score bonus, in addition to any skill points we place in them. Before we put any skills points into our skills, let's see what they would look like with just our Ability modifiers in place:
Climb (+3); Craft (+0); Handle Animal (+1); Intimidate (+1); Jump (+3); Ride (+1) and Swim (+3)

Since we are trying to go for a flavorful character here, we know that, because of his background, Vigo needs to have some skill in Craft and Handle Animal. After all, he's an amateur craftsman and farmhand -- we may want to consider putting skill points into Ride too. Swim, Climb and Jump look like they have decent scores in them already, at +3. And Intimidate could use a boost, especially since Vigo is a self-proclaimed town leader.

There is a limit to how many points you can put into each skill, this is called a Skill Cap, and for first level characters that number is 4. Which means that if we so choose, we could put maximize three skills and move forward. But we have four skills that we want to make better: Craft, Handle Animal, Intimidate and Ride. This means that with 12 skill points we could put three points into each skill, which sounds like a great idea! So here is what our skills would look like after the point distribution:
Climb (+3); Craft (+3); Handle Animal (+4); Intimidate (+4); Jump (+3); Ride (+4) and Swim (+3)

Things can get more complicated with skills, as you are permitted to buy skill ranks in skills that do not belong to your class. These are called Cross-Class Skills. But in order to buy a rank in those skills you must spend twice as many points; and are only permitted to have half as many ranks in those skills. So we could have put a point in Spot and a point in Search, as they are skills needed by a farmhand, but it would have cost us 4 of our 12 skill points to do so. Too expensive for someone of low Intelligence.

So let's review our character so far.
Vigo the Human Fighter
Strength 16 (+3); Dexterity 12 (+1); Constitution 14 (+2)
Intelligence 10 (+0); Wisdom 11 (+0); Charisma 13 (+1)

Skills: Climb (+3); Craft (+3); Handle Animal (+4); Intimidate (+4); Jump (+3); Ride (+4) and Swim (+3)

He chose the Human race and the Fighter class to keep things simple, and built his skills around what natural skills he already possessed.

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Next time on Dice Harder: What Makes a Character Pt 4 - Feats, Gear and Finalizing the character

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