OK, here goes (a note to my fellow “BtW experiment” bloggers: I hope you don’t mind that I pulled some intro content from some of your BtW blog posts. I’ve been uber-busy with my new job, so I needed a bit of help in getting this post together. Apologies for taking so long to get around to this):
Rob Barrett over at the Vargold: The Wolf Time blog asked for volunteers to roll up characters for the really cool Beyond the Wall andOther Adventures (BtW) RPG by Flatland Games. If you haven't heard of BtW, go check it out right now, I say! Oh wait, maybe check it out AFTER you read this blog post...
Now, BtW is what I suppose could be called a "neoclone" or a "second generation retroclone." It was created with the premise that it can be used to simulate the adventures of Young Adult fantasy such as the Prydain Chronicles, The Earthsea Cycle, etc. I loved the premise of the game, and the previews I saw, so I went and bought the hardcover/PDF bundle from RPGNow.
Back to Rob Barrett's request for volunteers. BtW has a unique cooperative character creation process that includes setting creation: as the players generate their fantasy heroes, they simultaneously build and populate the heroes' home village. Rob said he “thought it would be interesting to go through this process publicly, and…asked for some partners-in-crime over at the Google+ OSR community.”
Our premise is that the participants' blogs are actually players sitting at a table and going through Beyond the Wall character creation. Each blog is "seated" to the right of another blog, so the character it creates will take part in another character's backstory, per the BtW character creation process. In addition, the locations and NPCs generated by the process will be combined into a single village map and NPC key.
BtW gives you “playbooks” that establish a character’s class, and includes tables that one uses to generate your stats, background/life events, etc.
Here's the list of participants, blogs, and playbook choices in the order in which they're seated at the virtual table:
- Rob Barrett of Vargold: The Wolf-Time is creating a Dwarven Adventurer.
- Anthony Simeone (me) of Once More Unto the Breach is creating a Young Woodsman.
- Mike Lizardi of Fear No Darkness is creating a Halfling Outrider.
This post will go through the initial die rolls in my selected playbook, the Young Woodsman character archetype. Then the other players will comment on each other's posts. Later posts will flesh out the characters, village, and NPCs. In particular, Pearce Shea’s character creation affects mine, and my creation process will affect Mike Lizardi’s character in some way.
So, with all that introductory stuff out of the way, here’s my Young Woodsman:
The playbook intro text says “it takes a brave soul to wander the woods. You go where few in your village would dare, and, moreover, you feel at home in those places. You are agile and insightful. Your Dexterity and Wisdom begin at 10, and all of your other ability scores begin at 8.”
Next, there’s a table that establishes what my childhood was like. I roll a d12 and come up with…5. Which means my father was the local smith and taught me both the hammer and the bellows. This gives me +2 STR, +1 DEX, +1 CHA, and the Smithing skill. In addition, there's a map symbol on this table, which means I get to add a location to our group's home village. I guess this means that my character adds a smithy to the village!
Next, I roll on the “how did you distinguish yourself as a child” table (d8). I roll an 8: everyone has something to teach, and you learned a little from them all. This gives a +1 DEX, +1 INT, and +1 WIS.
The next table states that the other player characters were my best friends, and asks who else in the village befriended me growing up. I roll d8 and get a 4: the village elders taught me the ancient game of chess. This gives me +2 INT and +1 DEX. Also, there's a hand symbol on this table, which I believe means that the "village elders" become NPCs...I think.
OK, next is some text that tells me “the woods called to you, and you spend most of your time away from the village now. You become a level 1 Rogue (the other two classes in the game are Warrior and Mage). You gain the class abilities Fortune’s Favor and Highly Skilled, and the skill Survival. The tables below will give you all your bonus skills from your class abilities.”
So, the next table asks “what sort of woodsman are you?” I roll d6 and get 5, which means I am a “tireless tracker,” and this gives me +3 CON and the Tracking skill.
Next table asks “what is your hidden talent?” Roll d6 and…1, “a soulful voice.” +2 CHA and Singing skill. There's a map symbol on this table...but the table doesn't give any pointers on how results pan out into a new village location...unless I'm missing something. I think I remember the rules saying the roll result doesn't necessarily have to be connected to a new village location...
The table after that asks how I make myself useful to the village. This table states that the player to my right (in this case, Mike Lizardi) often helps my character. So, I roll d6 and get 4: “sometimes armies from the south move on distant roads. Unseen, you watch them when they do. I get +2 DEX and the Stealth skill. Mike’s character “stayed with you last summer, watching just such a movement of troops, and gains +1 DEX.”
OK, one more table, this one asking “what did you find in the woods that no one knows about?” Roll d6 and…2: a deep cave complex with many entrances hidden in a vine-covered stretch of rocky riverside. I get +2 INT and my own “little cave”! This table also indicates NPC creation, but gives no real input as to the nature of said NPC. Since this is out in the woods beyond the village, I guess this could be some sort of hermit...or something more sinister?
So, my young woodsman who became a rogue has the following:
(UPDATE: my INT was 13 at the end of my creation process, but during Pearce Shea's creation process, I received an additional +1 to INT!)
Skills: Smithing, Tracking, Stealth, Singing
His own little cave!
That’s it for now. The next step is for me to read my fellow participant’s posts and start collaborating with them on the nature of our home village, the NPCs therein, etc! I hope you continue to read about our little experiment on our blogs, and check out Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures for yourself.