The Guild Companion Rating System

Copyright Tim Dugger 1999

There are many different gaming systems on the market, and the one thing that almost every one of them has in common is the inherent incompatibility of easy conversion to another gaming system. In order for a gaming magazine, print or electronic, to develop characters for use by more than a single game, they must adopt one of two different stances and goals:

The first method, is by far the most difficult. It requires people fluent in each gaming system, to be able to correctly convert a given character into as many different systems as possible. This leads to a massive overuse of space and resources, one that most magazines cannot readily afford.

The second method is to create a generic system of rating a character, by giving him generalized scores in one or more of several areas. These generalized ratings allows the given character to be developed according to the rules of whatever system is required, to the point needed to bring his abilities in line with the description.

Ability Classification

There are three major ability groupings by which a given character can be rated. Each of these major groups is then broken down into a number of categories, and can even be broken down once again into specific skills/spells/etc., if needed. The major groups and categories are listed in the chart below, followed by a brief description of each.

Combat

Magic

Skills

Category

Abbr.

Category

Abbr.

Category

Abbr.

Artillery

CART

Alteration

MALT

Artistic

SART

Bashing

CBSH

Control

MCON

Communication

SCOM

Blades

CBLD

Elemental

MELM

Interaction

SINT

Energy

CERG

Enchantment

MENC

Knowledge

SKNO

FireArms

CGUN

Healing

MHEA

Mental

SMEN

Flexible

CFLX

Nature

MNAT

Perception

SPER

Missile

CMSL

Personal

MPER

Physical

SPHY

Thrown

CTHR

Protections

MPRO

Survival

SSUR

Two-Handed

CTHD

Scrying

MSCR

Underworld

SUND

Unarmed

CUNA

Transportational

MTRN

Vocational

SVOC

Combat

Artillery - This group covers artillery type weapons. In a fantasy setting this would include ballista and catapults while a modern setting might include a Howitzer, and futuristic settings might include a laser cannon or explosive missile weaponry.

Bashing - This group includes any hand held weapon used to injure an opponent. Clubs, tire irons, brass knuckles, maces, and morningstars are all part of this group, though by no means are these the only weapons here.

Blades - This group includes such things as knives, dirks, daggers, short and long swords, falchions, cutlasses and any other weapon which uses a bladed edge.

Energy - This group is mostly futuristic in nature, and includes laser pistols, sonic weapons, and any other hand-held energy based weaponry.

FireArms - The group contains all chemical reaction powered weaponry from the first blunderbuss to the most advanced assault weapon, including pistols, shotguns, and rifles of all sorts.

Flexible - This group is a class of unique weapons, ranging from simple whips and flails up to and including nunchaku and multi-sectional staves.

Missile - This group covers slingshots, crossbows, and the various normal types of bows as well. It also covers blowgun weapons as well as any other manually powered distance projectile weapon.

Thrown - Daggers, shuriken, darts, boomerangs or any other thrown projectiles fall into this group.

Two-Handed - Exceptionally large swords, staves, war hammers, and any other weapon that requires two hands to use in close combat belong to this group. This also includes pole arm weapons such as pikes or glaives.

Unarmed - This combat category includes boxing, wrestling, and any of the various martial arts styles. It also includes makeshift weapons such as a cooking pan and general brawling.

Magic

Alteration - This type of magic uses spells to change the parameters of other spells or to make changes in already existing matter.

Control - This group specializes in magic that summons and controls persons, creatures, or other-planar beings. It also includes spells that can beguile or charm others to do your bidding. Undead creatures fall into this category.

Elemental - Spells which create, summon, or control the various elements. They are very useful as attack spells.

Enchantment - Spells of this type are used in the creation of magical items or places. They can be extremely short term or permanent in nature.

Healing - Spells which heal damage and restore health belong in this category, as do those rare spells which can bring the dead back to life.

Nature - This category includes any spell that involves plants, animals, or the weather. All are considered part of nature and belong here.

Personal - This category of spells includes all spells that enhance or change the functions of the caster's own body.

Protections - Any spell that protects the caster or others from a specific source or danger will find its way into this category.

Scrying - Scrying is the act of looking into the past, present, or future. It also includes looking at other locations and may even include senses other than sight.

Transportational - Spells from this category deal with the movement of people and materials from place to place, whether it is by teleportation, or by creating constructs out of magical energy.

Skills

Artistic - This skill group includes any skill that can be considered artistic in nature, from singing to sculpting, music and dance. Telling tales and other forms of entertainment are also included.

Communication - Skills involving the sharing of ideas with others are found in this category. Anything from lip reading to operating a faster than light communication network can be included. Of course, you cannot ignore skill in speaking and writing other languages.

Interaction - How well do you get along with others? This category can be used for skills where your character determines how well he can mingle with royalty, or purchase items in the bazaar, or even how to properly bribe the dock master on the space station, so you can smuggle in those illegal goods.

Knowledge - This category is for those skills pertaining to what the character knows. Does he know the history of his nation, or the lore of ancient artifacts, or even the religious doctrine of an alien culture?

Mental - The mind is a powerful tool, capable of amazing feats. This group of skills covers things like meditating, manipulating one's own body to produce specified reactions, like increasing one's own adrenal flow to grant one great strength or speed for a short time, or dampening pain and shock to act normally. You could drive yourself into a berserk rage, or recall something you learned a long time ago, bringing it to life in your memory. It could even include skills relating to manipulating magical energy or psionic powers.

Perception - A character could use skills in this category to increase his awareness of the world around him. From finding hidden doors, to tracking a person or creature through the wilderness. He could use skills in this area to increase his normal sensitivity to things happening right around him, or to perceiving things normally hidden, such as magic or psionics.

Physical - This category specializes in skills relating to what the body can do. It includes things such as learning how to properly wear armor, to climbing a tree or mountain, to performing intricate gymnastics exercises or running long distances without tiring. The range of skills available in this category is large, as there are all sorts of things one could teach oneself to do. This category would also contain such things as special attacks that do not fit elsewhere, like how to disarm a foe.

Survival - Where to find food, how to make a shelter? These and other skills that pertain to surviving in a hostile environment, which includes just about everything. In a futuristic setting, this could include the operation of a spacesuit as well.

Underworld - Every society has its dark side, its underworld where thieves, and worse dwell, and thrive. Skills from this category would include the specialized skills one would need in order to operate and survive in such criminal company. A person does not have to be a thief to learn some of these skills, since a hunter in the woods and a thief in the night are both learning the same thing, but with different applications of the skill in mind.

Vocational - This may well be the broadest of all the different categories so far. This category includes any skill relating to a given job or profession for your character which is not covered under another skill category, from basket weaving to computer programming.

Rating Classifications

Now that we have divided the different possible abilities of a character into categories, we will need a way to rate these categories effectively. To do this, we will use a numerical scale with descriptive equivalents. The easiest numerical scale would be one that ranges from 1 to 100, so that is what we will use.

While this system uses a scale from 1 to 100, not every system does, so as the GM, you will have to make a few judgement calls as to what an equivalent rating in your chosen gaming system would be.

The following chart has two columns. The first is the Rating column. This gives the descriptive term for the rating. The second column, Percentage, gives a numerical equivalent to use in comparing the rating with other systems.

Also, while you could provide either a descriptive rating, or just supply a percentage number, you should stay with the descriptive text, as it is easier to understand at a glance and the percentage ratings are mainly for a GM to use when converting the character to his system of choice.

Rating

Percentage

Very Poor

1-10%

Poor

11-30%

Average

31-50%

Fair

51-60%

Good

61-70%

Very Good

71-80%

Exceptional

81-90%

Legendary

91-96%

God-like

98-100%

It is very important to remember that it is not necessary to supply a rating in every possible category.

Other Information

Along with the above information, it is also important to include several other pieces of information in your character description. None of this information is game related, but it does need to be included to help round out the character.

Of course the first bit of information needed would be the character's name. You will also want to include his race, height, weight, age, hair and eye color, personality, and his personal history.

The chart below shows one of the most optimum layouts for such information.

 

Name:

Race:

Age:

Sex:

Height:

Weight:

Hair:

Eyes:

Personality:
Abilities:
History:

Examples

The last section of this article is devoted to giving examples of this system in use. I have supplied 3 characters, each of which is different from the others to show how this system can be used properly.

 

Name:

R'zol the Falcon

Race:

Human

Age:

27

Sex:

Male

Height:

5' 9"

Weight:

165

Hair:

Blonde

Eyes:

Blue

Personality: Cryptic, Introverted, Sullen

Abilities:

Very Poor with CBLD, CMSL

Poor with a Dagger

Average with SMEN, SPER, SSUR

Fair with SCOM, SINT, MHEA, MPRO

Good with MSCR

History:

R'zol is the son of a tribe of the Traveling Folk, his parents killed in a fire when he was still an infant. The rest of the tribe raised him in a communal effort.

Although he was taught the basics of weapon use, he never seemed to catch onto it very well. Instead he showed a knack for reading the omens, and for spells that the wise women were able to use.

Even though it was rare, the village elders decided to teach him the spell craft of the women - how to look into the future or the past, and to see far away things.

During a visit to a larger city, R'zol caught the attention of a local Seer. The old Seer took an instant liking to R’zol and it was soon arranged for him to work for the Seer, and learn even more than he could from the wise women. R’zol would then teach the women the new magics in return for the training he had received from them.

After finishing his training, R'zol sought out his tribe only to learn that they had been wiped out in a bandit raid. He soon joined with a couple of other survivors in an effort to track the bandits down and exact vengeance. The new threesome is still in the wilderness trying to find them.

In this example, R'zol has a wide variety of skills and even spells available to him. Each GM who reads the character description will have a slightly different picture of him in their minds, and when it comes time to introduce him into their game, it gives them a few options as well.

They could take the character description, including the character's history and develop the character from scratch using the above information as a guide on how to implement him for the current game system being used.

The second option applies if the GM does not want to fully develop the character, and he may not want to unless the character is a major NPC. By using the template as is, the GM has a good idea of where the character's general skill levels lie in several areas, and as the character makes more and more appearances, the GM can detail exactly which skills the character has by adding annotations when needed.

The final 2 examples also show the various possibilities of potential characters.

 

Name:

Forell Hammerforge

Race:

Dwarf

Age:

89

Sex:

Male

Height:

4' 10"

Weight:

257

Hair:

Brown

Eyes:

Black

Personality: Gruff (but secretly caring), Cantankerous, Stubborn

Abilities:

Very Good in all Combat Skills

Good with MENC

Very Good with SVOC

History:

Forell is your typical Dwarf, having grown up in the rough mountains, his people in constant war with the nearby Orc tribes.

Being a traditional son of a traditional family was all Forell was interested in until the fateful day when he was wounded and separated from the rest of his clan. Wandering in a delirium, he stumbled into an ancient cave for shelter, and was transported through a mysterious portal secreted within.

He awoke to find himself in a city that had never heard of his homeland, or even of his people. He has realized that he may be forever lost to his clan.

Forell now spends his time looking for a way home, and for other portals, like the one that transported him. He is determined to destroy such magics so they do not cause grief to others such as that he feels for not being able to return to his home.

Name:

Chang Tzu

Race:

Veniri

Age:

34

Sex:

Male

Height:

4' 8"

Weight:

110

Hair:

Black

Eyes:

Amber

Personality: Aloof, Quiet, Reserved

Abilities:

Exceptional with CUNA

Good with SKNO, SPER, SSUR

Very Good with SMEN, SPHY

History:

Chang Tzu is a member of the arboreal Veniri, the reclusive race of tree dwellers from the ancient forests of Galdar. His people rarely travel outside the forest of massive trees, preferring to remain within, guarding it and the forest dwellers from the ravenous packs of Velitor who hunt anything that moves within the forest.

As soon as he came of age, he joined the ranks of the Rachi, the forest guardians. He spent many years learning to move, fight, and be in tune with his three aspects of Mind, Body, and Spirit.

Once he was trained, he spent the next few years assigned to guarding the edges of the forest, warding it from unwary travelers and protecting the few merchants from the wandering Velitor raiders.

Tzu has recently been called before the Elder Triad and given a mission for which he must leave the forest in search of an artifact stolen many years ago.

He left, his heart sad, and embarked upon this journey and while he still does not know the location of the artifact, he now knows the name of the bandit king who stole it so many years ago and seeks his old lairs.