Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Reviews - Iron Kingdoms RPG (Character Creation)

So, since I got Iron Kingdoms  last week, I've been delving farther and farther into it, I just completed the first character for it, An Iosan Cutthroat Mage Hunter. 

Character creation is simple, no dice, nothing random about it. It consists of 5 steps.

1. Choose Character's Race.
2. Choose an Archetype
3. Choose 2 careers
4. Increase Stats
5. Finishing Touches

Step 1: Race
Race affects everything, from maximum stats, access to archetype, access to specific careers, and each race has additional characteristics. For example, only an Iosan may become a Mage Hunter, while a Dwarf gains a connection to his clan, and the load bearing ability, while Ogrun have huge stature allowing them to wield two handed weapons in 1 hand at a -2 penalty, but an Ogrun using a pair of Caspian Battleblades or Mauls is just so cool.  Race is basically the most important choice.

Having already decided that Kae Im'dee was going to be a Mage Hunter, this left me with no real choice as far as race selection. Iosan's believe that human arcanists are responsible for the loss of the majority of their gods due to the effect of their magics. Mage Hunter is an Iosan only Career. Kae was Iosan. Cool thing about Iosans is that they actually get to select an extra ability from their careers. I noted down the starting values for an Iosan:
PHY:5 (spd:6, str:4)
AGL:3 (prw:4, poi:4)
INT:4 (arc:-, per:3)
Two languages Shyr, and another
Additional ability (Parry ability from Mage Hunter is what I ended up choosing.)

Step 2: Archetypes
Four archetypes consist of Gifted, Mighty, Skilled and Intellectual. Each archetype has its own list of specific feats, most of which are only available via the archetype. Gifted is a required choice for six of the careers, the magical careers, Arcane Mechanik, Arcanist, Gun Mage, Priest, Sorcerer, and Warcaster. Some careers are only available as a starting career, The Aristocrat, Iron Fang*, Sorcerer, Stormblade*, Trencher*, and Warcaster (*these additionally are restricted in their additional career choices.)

For Kae, I decided on the Mighty archetype, because I chose the Vendetta ability, allowing her to increase her chances of getting in an killing her intended prey, as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Step 3: Careers
You choose two careers, each career determines what Starting abilities and skills, spells and assets you receive.

Making a Mage Hunter NPC, I decided to make her deadly, and combined Cutthroat with Mage Hunter. Cutthroat giving her the starting abilities of Anatomical Precision, Backstab & Prowl, plus the following skills Hand Weapon, Thrown Weapon, Intimidation, Sneak, and Streetwise. This combined with Arcane Assassin and Iron Will abilities, and Hand Weapon, Crossbow, Climbing, Jumping, Sneak and Tracking. I need to figure out if the two skill 1 skills stack to become a skill 2 or are lost. (Edit, after more extensive reading, yes, overlapping starting skills start at level 2, this makes her a brutal mage hunter, able to sneak in and engage those pesky human mages with nasty efficiency.)

Step 4: Increase Stats
Each character gains 3 ability increases for their stating character. Then fill out the Life Spiral (a nifty little way to track damage, more on this in the combat review.

For Kae I chose Phy, Spd & Poi as I want her to be able to hit and run, while surviving a bit of damage. 

Step 5: Finishing Touches
For my Cutthroat Mage Hunter, she received 150gold crowns (75 from cutthroat and 75 from mage hunter), but no actual gear, giving me the freedom to pick and choose gear. She ended up with a Repeating Crossbow (50 bolts and 2 spare magazines), Assassin's Blade, Kopis, Armored Coat, and a spyglass, plus some military rations, and a healing salve. Leaving her with 48 gc to grease palms and locate those ruinous human arcanists... Finalize the character sheet, by referencing the abilities, filling out skills, weapons, armor, defense armor and initiative values

The character creation experience was easy, required little page turning in reality and the lack of rolls means you don't have to worry when someone makes  a character at home...there's no way to cheat except with math and that's easily solved with a calculator. There's even a sidebar for experienced players being allowed to tweak the existing careers, to get something a little different. Perhaps your Pirate was the ship's surgeon, remove intimidate and substitute medic. Perhaps starting with a few extra XP to begin with (this is good for great backstories), since the game uses minor increases every few XP gained, it's not like creating a 2nd level character, more like a 1.25 level character.

Thoroughly enjoyable experience. Epic! Now if I can figure out how to work Aspects into the game....