Advanced Character Creation
If you’re playing in a long campaign, or have already selected a character concept that isn’t covered by the standard races or classes, you may wish to put a little more effort into your character than is involved in following the Quick Start Guide. Legend offers a great many character options that don't appear in the default races and classes. If you want to learn to use these options, look no further.
First, though, let's look briefly at character concepts. It’s perfectly all right to flesh out your character with a cool feat you just stumbled across or a couple of items you wanted to try, but it's usually helpful to start character generation with a pretty good idea of what you want your character to do. Some suggestions follow.
The first step in developing a character concept is thinking of a tag line. This can be a description of your character’s profession ("Interstellar Smuggler" or perhaps "Undersized Burglar") or social position ("Long-lost King of a Great City"). Other tag lines that have worked pretty well in the past include "'Wizzard' on the Run," "Bearer of Stormbringer," "Cheerleader Who Kills Vampires," and "Wizard Private Eye."
Once you have a tag line that you expect to hold your interest for the duration of a Legend campaign, start asking yourself a few questions about your character. Usually, your tag line will give you some sense of your character's race and possibly a few clues to answering these questions.
- "What does my character want?" This probably won’t get you much mechanically, but knowing your character’s greatest motivations might give you a clue of how your character goes about getting them. A character that is admittedly just in it for the money is going to make different life choices from a character that is out to do the right thing and help the helpless. Even if the answer doesn't help you at all in picking abilities for your character, it'll pay off in a big way in getting plot hooks for your GM and helping you make decisions in-character.
- "What does my character fear?" This question is pretty good for building a backstory, but it also offers some really rich options for mechanical choices. For example, someone who fears harm coming to his or her friends might focus on learning to protect them, perhaps with the paladin's Virtue track.
- "How does my character resolve conflicts?" Any good story is centered on a basic conflict, and RPGs tend to include a few dozen extra conflicts for good measure. If your character doesn't end up in fights, chances are you'll find social confrontations, environmental hazards, or similarly threatening situations. Ability tracks in Legend offer a broad range of abilities for solving or ending confrontations, and your answers to this question might point you to the right ones.
- "How does my character make a living?" Most RPG characters aren't conventionally employed, especially if your game world is a medieval fantasy setting where wage labor doesn't exist. Still, your character probably has some things that he or she is good at – maybe even extremely good at. RPG characters tend to be skilled in at least a few useful areas, such as arcane knowledge, investigative and social skills, or physical speed and agility. Your answers here will tell you a great deal about your character's skill selection.
- "What special tricks does my character keep handy?" This question will help you select feats, particularly [Iconic] feats. It may also help you select a specialized track, such as several of the rogue tracks.
Usually, you'll have some idea of your character's race by now. If not, you can find the default races in Races, as well as a number of addtional races. If your group is using supplemental material as well, you may have even more options.
For the most part, picking a race is purely a matter of taste, as most races can fit a wide range of character archetypes. Some races, however, represent unusual creatures, such as powerful undead creatures, intelligent constructs, or even dragons. In cases where your race includes dramatic, scaling abilities (such as the undead powers of a lich), your race will have a track associated with it. All members of that race have the associated track, and you will have to incorporate that track in your track selection.
Class and Track Selection
Selecting your class and associated tracks is the single most critical part of character generation, mechanically speaking. If you already have a default class picked out, then you can move on. However, you may want to customize your class at the very least, and choosing a race with an associated track makes this section obligatory.
The classes each contain three "tracks" – progressions of abilities that define much of your character's mechanical role. Each class also has a set of statistics, such as the number of hit points per level that it grants and the saving throw and attack bonus progressions it offers (you can find this information in the class descriptions, or compiled in this table). There are three options for customizing your character's tracks: a racial track, multiclassing, and Full Buy-In.
As described above, racial tracks model the abilities of certain powerful creatures, such as dragons, vampires, and angels. These are creatures whose powers are at least partly a facet of their nature; some dragons breathe fire and others rely on clawing your face off, but all of them are flying reptilian creatures who can take a lot of punishment, live a long time, and collect anything valuable they can get their claws on. These are sufficiently iconic and important to justify attaching them automatically to anything calling itself a dragon (unless you’re a Chinese dragon, in which case you would choose a different track).
Since racial tracks are a fundamental aspect of how your character interacts with the world, they include a full set of class statistics, including hit points, saving throw and attack bonus progressions, and key ability modifiers. If you have a racial track, choose any class, then two tracks from that class. Treat this combination of tracks and class statistics as your character’s class. Your two chosen tracks retain their progressions from the chosen class, and your racial track gains the progression not used by either of the other tracks. You can multiclass from that class just as if you had a standard class, except that you can't trade out your racial track.
As explained above, tracks are the building blocks of characters. So if you want to create a "hybrid" character like the ranger/rogue of times past, you simply trade a track of "ranger" abilities you feel are less important for a track of "rogue" abilities. You can always trade one such track for free, and you can trade another track out with the Guild Initiation feat (more on that in a moment).
When you multiclass, you select a single track from either another class or from one of the many additional tracks available (excluding racial tracks) and replace one of your default tracks with it. You gain the features of your new track at the same levels you would have gained the features of the track that was replaced. You cannot gain any track more than once. Some tracks are part of the same overall track, and therefore you cannot have more than one of them for any reason. For example, the three options for the rogue's Offensive Track are mutually exclusive, as with the rogue's Defensive Track options, the ranger’s Daggers and Bolts options, the barbarian's Path of War options, and the Sage's Wrath options.
When finding a multiclassing track, note that some tracks represent different ways of doing the same thing and therefore aren't meant to work well together. For example, the Rage, Assassin, and Discipline of the Serpent tracks are all meant to provide characters with a way to do a great deal of damage while fighting, but each models a different style of fighting (a barbarian's berserk destruction, a hit man's surprise attacks from the shadows, and a martial artist's fast and precise striking combinations). In general, if you see that one track's features are tagged as not stacking with another track's features, avoid combining them.
Some tracks are associated with a particular ability score and function based on that ability. For example, spellcasting tracks are associated with a particular mental ability, while the effectiveness of the Demo Man track will depend on the character's Intelligence. The Multiclass Flexibility feat allows you to adapt the DCs of a single track's features to be based on a different ability (with certain limitations) in order to make that track work better for your character. In some cases, you should simply consider whether your character is best off with a track that doesn't fit with the key abilities you had in mind, or whether it makes more sense for your character to pursue the same basic goal in a different way.
Legend classes are typically built to have one track that is largely offensive in nature, one that offers some defense or utility, and one that can be either offensive or defensive but tends to make the class somewhat unique in its playstyle and archetype. When deciding which original track to replace, it's often wise to consider the kind of role that your new track will play. It's not necessarily "wrong" to end up with three offensively-oriented tracks, but it does mean that your character will be focused almost exclusively on offense and will largely lack defensive abilities. If you think you may be in this situation, take a moment to consider whether your character concept supports such a hell-for-leather approach to combat and confrontation. If so, go for it! If not, you may be trying to do one thing several different ways, and you might want to reconsider your track choices.
As mentioned above, you can multiclass once for free at character creation. This simply represents having somewhat different abilities from a normal character with this class. There is one other way to multiclass, but it isn't free. The Guild Initiation feat models a character who is particularly committed to an organization, ideal, or patron, and at some point goes through a process of fundamental change. At the level your character takes this feat, your character loses a track and gains a new track, rewriting the previously acquired features of the sacrificed track with the features of the new track. This process can be used to even gain the features of a racial track, but grants only the track features and does not change overall class statistics or racial traits.
The Full Buy-In option involves sacrificing the vast majority of your character's item progression in exchange for gaining a fourth track. This track can be any multiclassing-eligible track or a racial track, but offers only track abilities and never rewrites class statistics. The revised schedule for item progression, along with the levels at which you gain track features from the fourth track, can be found here.
Ability Score Selection
By this time, you should know your Key Ability Modifiers and have a very good sense of any other abilities that your character would most value and emphasize. So, it shouldn't be difficult to assign your ability scores. This is, however, a fairly good time to discuss the different methods of generating ability scores in Legend. Your group will decide on one of the following methods, to be used for all player characters in your game (NPCs and monsters generally are designed based on the ability array).
The default ability scores in Legend are 16, 14, 14, 12, 10, and 10, assigned to whichever abilities you prefer. Legend's game math is based on this ability array, because it provides a predictable common basis for ability scores.
The array above reflects an exceptionally gifted creature, who is good at most things and is mediocre in only a couple spots. An array that would reflect a more normal (if still a bit above-average) creature might be 14, 12, 12, 10, 10, 8. We believe that most RPG characters are expected to be a bit larger than life, but some groups might want a grittier game in which the player characters are just normal people. Using a lower array like this one could help create such a game; of course, we must emphasize that this kind of decision should only be made by an entire group, not unilaterally.
Note that an increase or decrease in the default ability array will tend to make player characters inherently more or less powerful respectively compared to standard monsters and pre-generated NPCs of the same level, and that this shift in power will affect gameplay.
In this version of ability score generation, all scores start at 8. You have a pool of 26 points that you can apply to your scores as you wish, 2 points at a time. You cannot increase a single ability score above 18. Using point buy gives players some flexibility in choosing the ability scores that best suit their character. It is possible to achieve somewhat unusual results with this method, such as creatures with a couple of extremely high ability scores and several very low ability scores, so this method is best used in groups where all the players understand the game mechanics well enough to avoid serious mistakes in allocating ability scores.
Random Ability Generation
Roll 5d6 six times. Take the 3 highest dice from each five and add those three together (for example, if you rolled two 6s, a 4, a 3 and a 1, you would add 6+6+4 for a result of 16). Once you have six numbers, apply those to whichever abilities you wish. If you have odd numbers, you should spend 1 from one score and add it to another until you have even numbers for your ability scores. If you have only one odd number left, keep it.
This method is best reserved for one-shot games or games that aren't meant to be taken seriously, so that characters with truly awful scores can be killed off in an entertaining fashion.
Skill selection should be pretty easy at this point. If you have a strong character concept and know what ability scores you wish to prioritize, picking skills that correspond with those should be easy. Be sure to pick up any skills that you will need to use your track features effectively.
When selecting feats, always check for "feat trees" – series of two or three feats that each require the previous one – that you want. If you decide that you want a feat tree, make sure you have the feat slots you need to get it first, before you look for individual feats. Other than that, select feats that give your character something cool to do, offer a new application of a skill you already have, or make your character better at your main character goal.
[Iconic] feats are special feats that grant a particularly unique power. Your character can only have one, so you will generally want to pick one that really embodies your character concept. It's particularly important to avoid picking a feat that your character can't support, such as one with a DC based on an ability modifier your character hasn't invested in.
It’s hard to go wrong on items. In general, you should have a weapon or some other item that allows you to win fights, armor or some other item that helps you not be stabbed, and items that make you happy. Some of these don't even need to be magical; until you're a mid-level character, it actually isn't all that important to pick up magical protective gear because you get nearly as much Armor Class bonus from mundane equipment.
Polishing Your Character
Congratulations! You should have a reasonably competent character now, built on an enjoyable and interesting character concept. You're done now... right?
Wrong! Being the smart person you are, you've undoubtedly figured out all of this and built a character with a minimum of hassle and reworks. Now, while the other clowns at your gaming table are working out their character missteps and kinks, you have a chance to make your character really shine. This is where you start coming up with your character's backstory, expanding on the motivations you figured out back when you came up with your character concept to begin with. You can sketch your character, if you're artistically gifted. You can figure out how your character got to know all the other players' characters.
The bottom line is this guide tells you how to fill out your character sheet in a way that won't cause you any serious embarrassments. Once your character sheet is full, there's always more you can do to build your character.