Alloy: Character Creation basics 1
The Alloy System supports starting characters at one of four tiers: journeymen, adventurers, paragons or legends. Characters are constructed via a combination of choice and spending character points to flesh out capabilities. Legends get the most points and have no limitations except for those imposed by the Game Master. Conversely, journeymen have the least points and the lowest skill caps prior to play. I am tailoring this article series to journeymen characters.
Journeymen characters are constructed using 120 character points. They are also limited in that they may only have a total of two skills at rank 3 at character generation.
Creating a Character
Making a character for an Alloy campaign requires a very simple process, but as the player is allotted points to purchase skill ranks, traits and even attribute ranks, there may be times when it makes sense to skip backwards and make changes. The steps outlined below are the ones designed for the most ease.
Pick a Background
Each character has a background, which represents where he or she comes from. It does not include occupational training, but it does represent skills and traits the character has in common with all adolescents and young adults of his people. For characters of non-human origin, this includes all of the traits and skills common to their race. Some backgrounds include more traditional background training. In these cases there will be multiple backgrounds and the players will need to pick one.
Human backgrounds have attribute adjustments, which is to say they directly increase the rank of the listed attribute by the listed amount during character creation. This permanent modification is applied after the character pays for attributes, but before determining if he or she meets the requirements for traits.
Nonhuman backgrounds often have modifiers instead. Modifiers do alter figured characteristics, but they do not help you qualify for traits. They are a cumulative modifier to the die pool rolled for each affected attribute. It is possible that a background would possess both adjustments and modifiers. Adjustments represent growth due to a lifetime of activities which express as an aptitude for that attribute. Modifiers represent physiological differences from the human norm.
Regardless of the background template you choose, note down the cost and deduct it from the pool of character points.
Players can choose to play one of the listed backgrounds below, or they can tweak one of them to fit their needs, or create their own. Speak to your game master about a custom background. She may or may not allow entirely new races to be added to the game. As far as the math that makes up the template, attribute adjustments cost 5 points each, while attribute modifiers only cost 3 points each. The rest of it is traits, including the Core Skill trait which may be chosen up to 3 times.
Adjustment: +1 to Strength or Resolve
Core Skills: Fitness or Weapons, Notice, Survival
Recommended Traits: Faith, Lore: Farming
Cost: 14 points
Humans adapt to lives on the edge of wilderness by focusing on survival and less on education and social pursuits. Those who grow up in such an area must be self-reliant, resilient and possess either muscles from long years of labor, or the resolve not to give in even in the face of a winter with less than adequate supplies, surprise sickness and encounters with wild creatures and less than friendly neighbors.
Adjustment: +1 to Agility or Intellect
Core Skills: Insight or Fitness or Business, Negotiation: Bargaining
Recommended Traits: Contacts, Lore
Cost: 11 points
Humans can thrive in large settlements, but they become much more focused on academics, business deals or simply reading others to discern truth. The standard urbanite of medieval times would seek apprenticeship in a trade and pursue that trade until they died. With the ability to trade specialized skill for money, which in turn could be exchanged for clothes, food and shelter, city inhabitants are much more dependent upon one another to survive. They are also more prone to flights of fancy, and to seek patronage from the wealthy, or wealthy groups, to pursue such professions that do not traditionally result in a daily wage.
Modifiers: +1 Strength, -1 Agility
Core Traits: Birthright (Yellow), Craftsman (category reflects family trade), Resilience 1
Core Skills: Build/Repair, Weapons: Axes
Recommended Skills: Fitness, Survival, Tactics
Cost: 15 points
Dwarves are stout and hardy humanoids which tend to sport beards found in mountains or underground. Naturally drawn to mines for their riches and security from the outside world, Dwarves delve underground and consequently after generations of development in such places have gained a supernatural affinity for the element of Earth. Few dwarves develop this affinity beyond its use in unconsciously feeling out differences in stone structures, or finding their way through dark caves. Dwarves have lifespans measurable by hundreds of years, rather than decades, but the oldest known dwarves still pass on before reaching a fourth century in age.
Modifiers: +1 Agility, +1 Perception
Core Traits: Birthright (White), Light Sleeper, Swift 1
Core Skills: Acrobatics, Marksmanship: Bows
Recommended Traits: Uncanny Hearing
Recommended Skills: Notice, Stealth, Survival
Cost: 22 points
Elves are lithe humanoids with small frames who have graceful stances and sport pointed ears. Even the toughest elf looks positively thin next to a human of the same profession, but their limbs are just as capable of delivering hard blows, and many elves have histories as frontline warriors. They tend to live within wooded homelands, sequestered away from the outside world. This is because they have lifespans measured in untold hundreds of years. The lore of the worlds differs, some say elves are immortal, others that they exist perfect and beautiful until one day they wither and fade away. All that is known is that elves are often much older than they appear, and this life experience translates into wisdom, frightening acumen or force of arms. All elves are bonded to the Light element, but relatively few of them study it deeply.
Modifiers: +1 Agility
Core Traits: Light Sleeper, Nimble 1 or Swift 1
Core Skills: Marksmanship: Bows or Weapons: Dueling Weapons, Notice
Recommended Traits: Birthright (White), Lore (Academia), Uncanny Hearing
Recommended Skills: Healing, Research, Stealth, Survival
Cost: 16 points
Half-elves are half-human as much as they are elven, and share traits of both races. One thing they tend to have is a vastly extended lifespan, reaching to 2 to 4 centuries depending on several factors. The assumption is that this is a character raised by elves, although a human raised half-elf might acquire a taste for archery or fencing and find he or she has talent with either weapon type.
Modifiers: +1 Agility
Core Traits: Intuition 1, Small Size (-1D Speed, +1D combat adjustment, -1 Damage to Large or bigger targets)
Core Skills: Fitness, Stealth
Recommended Skills: Insight, Survival, Thievery
Cost: 16 points
Halflings are little people, roughly the size of a human child in stature. They are somewhat circumspect and careful because of their small size, but they are not truly shy, nor frail as they may appear to be upon first encountering one. Many halflings feel a call to adventure, referred to as wanderlust, while others of the diminutive humanoids remain near their hearth and the comforts of home. They will defend those they care about with reckless zeal, but often will abandon goods and homes if they are not holed up in them avoiding invaders. Halflings are good at appropriating things which are lying around, and often those who steal from them often find themselves robbed blind before too long.
Modifiers: +1 Strength, -1 Intellect
Core Traits: Berserker, Night Vision, Unpleasant
Core Skills: Notice, Survival, Weapons: Axes
Recommended Skills: Persuasion
Cost: 16 points
Half-orcs are the unfortunate sons or daughters of raids by orcs on nearby human populations. Raised by their human mothers or tossed out on the streets, half-orcs still have hard lives. They express a natural inclination to the utilization of axes and other heavy weapons. Something about the sound and feeling of a solid hit calms the rage that often percolates underneath their civilized veneer. Half-orcs live as long as humans, although few live as common citizens. The path of the hunter or the warrior is favored by them because their natural gifts are a boon there, thus few half-orcs seek more civilized climes upon attaining adulthood. Those that do, often do so to fulfill an obsession, such as attaining standing in an organization, becoming a servant of their god, or achieving vengeance on whoever slighted, or worse killed, their mother.