The World of Novi

CHARACTER CREATION IN THE WORLD OF NOVI

© Lowell R. Matthews 1999

Greetings yet again, Rolemaster aficionados! Now that we've seen the World of Novi from afar, let us look at its people, and more closely at those few special individuals with the capacity to become heroes—or heroes' nemeses. The following articles from The Encyclopedia of Novi provide supporting information about the sapient races and peoples of Novi, including the details necessary for creation of a character to adventure within the World of Novi:

Maybe the best way to describe character creation is to actually do it, one step at a time. The author's character sheets are written in QuattroPro 5 "*.wb1" format, but these can be easily transported to more recent versions of QuattroPro and other popular spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel. (Anyone interested in obtaining the character spreadsheet or its supporting materials, please contact the author directly at LRMatthews@hotmail.com.)

Profession:

We begin with a blank character sheet, in this case, making a new copy of the spreadsheet. Now we must choose the two most fundamental aspects of the new character: Race and Profession. Characters created for one of the more typical beginning sites, the City-State of Alvaron, located on the southern coast of central Almir in the Eastern Hemisphere, can choose almost all of the Prime Races and virtually any profession. Since this is a first character, let us keep things simple and opt for a Rogue (the Non-Spell-Using generalist) of the dominant Human race, the Almareni. We copy the relevant information—prime requisites (ST/AG), skills costs, level bonuses (at the bottom of the sheet), spell lists (none)—from the Rogue template onto the appropriate areas of the character sheet and save it.

Race:

Now we have a still relatively blank Rogue character sheet, and it's time to put in the information for the Almareni race. From Part I we learn that Almareni like all other Novani (Humans) can choose either one skill for a special +25 bonus or three skills for special +10 bonuses, representing natural talents or hobbies. Then we note the race description: "Almareni generally have Almirans' Caucasian features, light to medium complexions, and the full range of Caucasian hair and eye colors. Males average 5'10" tall and tend to medium builds." Let's make John of Firstfork (a village about seven miles north of Alvaron) a little short, 5'9", and nondescript with medium brown hair and eyes. Moving to the statistics tables in Part II, we see that Almareni get +5 bonuses to CO, SD, ST, and PR. They have 10 Soul Departure rounds, a Recovery multiplier of 0.8 (healing faster than normal), 2 Language points (meaning 20 ranks each spoken and written), a d10 for hits, a racial maximum of 135 hits from dice and level bonuses, and 5 Background Options or 500 Selectable BGO points. In Novi, languages are more closely associated with races than with nations, as described in Languages.

Stats

:The next step is assigning the character stat values. Because the World of Novi has a reasonably high population, and individuals selected to become player characters or important non-player characters tend to come from the cream of society, the original Rolemastermethod of rolling stat temporary and potential values has been abandoned in favor of a purchase system based on stat bonus points. The author generally runs campaigns based on 120 stat bonus points (90/+10 in nine stats plus 95/+15 in the two prime requisites), but referees desiring a less powerful group could choose a lower total, perhaps 90, 75, or 65 (75/+5 in nine stats plus 90/+10 in the two prime requisites). Note that the point total must be distributed over eleven stats—the ten main stats plus AP. The author uses the smoothed stat distribution chart from the Rolemaster Companion (I), which is already programmed into the spreadsheet. Let's look at the following stats for John of Firstfork:

Stat Temp Pot Dev Norm Race Total
Constitution 95 95 9.0 15 5 20
Agility* 97 97 9.4 19 0 19
Self-Discipline 85 85 8.0 8 5 13
Memory 90 90 8.4 10 0 10
Reasoning 90 90 8.4 10 0 10
Strength* 97 97 -- 19 5 24
Quickness 97 97 -- 19 0 19
Presence 75 75 -- 5 5 10
Empathy 75 75 -- 5 0 5
Intuition 75 75 -- 5 0 5
Appeal 75 75 -- 5 0 5
43 120 140

This set of stats makes John a well-rounded individual, with very good but not incredible (i.e. 100+) strengths and no glaring weaknesses. Note that the stats so purchased are both potentials and temporaries. Should the referee or player have appropriate reasons, either could lower the temporaries to account for such factors as youth, late development, or temporarily substandard physical health. These stats might still be modified by Background Options.

Background Options

:And Background Options are probably the next important item for us to consider. The author uses the Selectable Background Options system detailed in the Rolemaster Companion IV, in which John's 5 BGO’s become 500 S-BGO points, with the addition of a new special "Gifts" table. Because the "Gifts," "Skill at Arms," and "Skill at Magic" tables contain the most powerful special abilities, characters may purchase only one ability each from them; however, since many of the Gifts are duplicates of S/A or S/M abilities, they can be used as exceptions. There are no purchase limits on the other tables, but stat increases from the "Set Options" table cannot raise a stat higher than 102. Let's make John special and give him an expensive Gift: #66, 225 points, "Quick Concentration: Character's exceptional ability to quickly concentrate and focus on matters enables him to prepare actions (i.e., spells, bow attacks, etc.) one round quicker than normal." That could help him in many different ways; he has 275 points left. Now let's look for an appropriate Skill at Magic: #39, 75 points, "Destiny Sense: Character knows the direction which will lead to a desired objective"—always useful for an adventurer; he has 200 points left. Now let's make him lucky from this Skill at Arms: #23, 100 points, "Lucky III (Adjustment): Any die roll directly concerning the character may be modified by either +5 or –5 at his discretion." That leaves 100 points to spend on a money roll to gain more starting money than the usual 50 silver pieces; a good roll gives him another 200 SP. Since none of these BGO's affects stat bonuses, that portion doesn't change.

Skill Development

:And now it's time to develop skills. Since the publication of the expanded skills list in the Rolemaster Companion II the author has used a 20% bonus system. Every character gains 120% of the normal development point allocation. The first 100%, the "primary" DP's (43 for John), may be used to develop any skill, while the extra 20%, the "secondary" DP's (9 for John), may only be used to develop secondary skills. Therefore, if all of his development stat temporaries match their potentials, John will have a total of 43 + 9 = 52 DP's per level. In addition to the 20% bonus DP's, the author has created a system of twelve Free Skill Ranks for Starting Characters based on the environment in which the character spent his childhood. The Skills Rules describe how some of the skills listed in the RC2 apply specifically to the World of Novi.
Once the twelve free ranks have been assigned, it is time to develop the character's skills in the standard Rolemaster fashion, once for childhood (level 0) and once for apprenticeship (level 1). Once that's done, all we have to do is make John's initial purchases from his stash of 250 SP, and he'll be ready to head out on an adventure.