Welcome back to Splatter-Elf week on Rule of the Dice! What is "Splatter-Elf," you ask? Well, you can check out yesterday's post or Philip Overby's treatise on the sub-genre of Grimdark, but here's the short version: It's a dark fantasy role-playing game where blood is spilled by the bucketful (technically, at least ten bucketfuls). To survive in a world like this, you're going to need a mean sonaffabitch-type of character, so let's figure out how to make them, shall we?
|Official Groteskia World Map by Philip Overby.|
Player characters in Splatter-Elf are created much the same as most fantasy style RPGs. The big thing to remember is the tone and personality these characters are meant to portray. Characters in Splatter-Elf are tough. They chew nails, take names, kick asses and sever heads. Love and mercy are foreign concepts in Groteskia. Warriors in the land of Grimmer Grimdark give no quarter and ask for less than an eigth. They expect no peace or prosperity in their lives – the best they can hope for is to die with their boots on, a sword in their hand and the enemy’s blood splattered on their face.
Keep all of this in mind when generating your character!
|Art by UltimaFatalis|
Splatter-Elf uses the same attributes as most fantasy role-playing games: Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma. They represent and measure the same things that you should be familiar with. The only real difference is that they are generated by a roll of 2d6, so their range is a little smaller. To create your character, roll 2d6 for each of the attributes, in order. If you’re a pussy, you may swap one set of attributes to tweak your stats to something you would find more “appealing.” Enjoy it now because it’s the last time you’ll find anything appealing in Groteskia.
Based on your score, you will add modifiers to other stats and die rolls throughout the game:
Alignment represents a character's moral viewpoint and moral outlook.The world of Splatter-Elf however is not about the battle between good and evil or law and chaos. It’s a battle about who has the bigger sword and stabs the other guy faster. Choose an alignment that fits with the way you think your character will act and behave. It will give you a guideline to determine how your character reacts when faced with choices and situations.
The Disciplined character has a personal code of honor (or at least a code of conduct) that dictates their actions. This does not mean they are good-spirited or law-abiding in any way – even thieves are honourable sometimes. It just means they have certain rules to which they hold themselves. Perhaps you will not kill an unarmed foe (though that doesn’t mean they won’t attack, beat-up or torture them). Maybe you won’t harm a child (at least not physically – that doesn’t mean you won’t kidnap or otherwise use them). Maybe you always keep your word… as long as you think the person you made the promise to is worthy of your respect.
A Selfish character’s actions are even more predictable than a disciplined one. You always do whatever’s best for one person: yourself. You will keep your word and protect others as long as it’s in your best interest. If someone or something better comes along, you will switch allegiances faster than you gut a beggar that looks at you sideways. You won’t go out of your way to hurt or kill others – unless there’s something in it for you, or they wronged you in some way.
A Reprehensible character is erratic, unpredictable and usually violent. You harm others not because you have to or they deserve it, but because you enjoy hurting people. You cannot be trusted to keep your word and will steal, cheat and destroy without a second thought, sometimes for pleasure and sometimes just because you’re bored. In other worlds you would be the monster hunted by the heroes. In Groteskia you’re just another dude.
|Art by Butteredbap|
Choose a character class that looks interesting to you based on their abilities and your play style. They will be described in further details through the week, but a short description of each is below.
Bloodlust BerserkerBarbarian raiders from the North East (The Baronies of Bloodbathy and Centaur Tongue), Bloodlust Berserkers rush into combat fearlessly. The move quickly on the battlefield and strike hard. They become stronger the longer a battle goes on, though once they enter their bloodlust rage they cannot stop fighting until every enemy is dead at their feet. Beserkers will be discussed in full detail later today.
Detritus DwarfFilthy, ugly and misshapen, the “dump dwarves” live in the refuse piles of Groteskia, building strongholds and temples out of other races' garbage. The can turn trash into useful tools of all kinds, can make weapons out of anything, and their time living in waste has made them tough and highly resilient to poison and disease.
Hematic ThaumaturgeAlso known as blood mages, thaumaturges fuel their dark magic by drawing the life force from the blood of other intelligent creatures. They are feared and loathed as vile cultists by everyone else in Groteskia, but their magical skills are unparalleled.
Nefarious CutthroatThieves kill for money. Assassins kill for the art. Cutthroats kill because they can. The lowest of guttertrash, cutthroats are the dregs of society that even other criminals loath to deal with, but keep around because they need their skills. Cutthroats know how to stab people and really make it hurt, able to inflict crippling wounds that can take an opponent out of battle quickly and painfully.
Splatter-ElfSplatter-elves are the dark fae-like creatures that stalk the woods, killing those who cross them and taking mercenary jobs at their whim. They serve no one but themselves, and through their long lives have mastered many skills, able to act as warriors, thieves and blood mages as the situation calls. Splatter-elves were described in full detail in yesterday's post.
UffSort of a cross between hobbits and gnomes, these diminutive, aggressive bastards are complete assholes. They love to drink, fight and swear and will brawl at the drop of a hat. They are quick, dirty scrappers that are highly skilled at fighting foes larger than themselves (which is pretty much everyone) and are masters at low blows (which are actually high blows for them).
Other Bonuses and Statistics
Fill in your character’s other stats as detailed in your class description for your level.
Hit points is how much damage you can take before keeling over. Starting at level 2, you may add your Consititution modifier to your hit points gained each level.
Attack bonus is your bonus to hit opponents in combat. You add your Strength modifier to hand-to-hand attacks, and your Dexterity modifier to ranged attacks.
Armor Class (AC) is your defense used to avoid getting hit by weapon attacks. You add your Dexterity bonus to your AC.
Fortitude (Fort) is your defense against physical attacks that can’t be dodged, like poisons, gases, crushing and infections. You add either your Strength or Constitution modifier to your Fort defense, whichever is higher.
Reflex (Ref) is your defense against physical attacks that can be dodged, such as area of effect attacks, explosions, falling and certain magical rays and beams. You add either your Dexterity or Intelligence modifier to your Ref defense, whichever is higher.
Willpower (Will) is your defense against attacks that target your mind and psyche, such as enchantments, illusions and charm spells. You add either your Wisdom or Charisma modifier to your Will defense, whichever is higher.
Blood points is the amount of magical energy you have to cast sanguine sorcery (not all characters have this ability). At first level, you gain bonus points equal to your Wisdom modifier (if you have a negative modifier, you cannot cast blood magic). You do not gain additional blood points due to high Wisdom as your progress in level.
Skill points are assigned as you choose to various talents and abilities of your character (see below).
|Art by thatDMan|
Each character begins with a set number of skill points and a list of skills they are allowed to put those points into. It's up to the player if they want to put all their points in one skill or spread them over several skills.
The maximum number of points a player can put into any skill is their current level +3 (so a character starting at level 1 can put no more than 4 points in any skill).
Skills are used when your character needs to accomplish something that doesn't involved bashing an opponent on the head. Often, skills will help you get closer to an opponent so you can bash their head, or help you come up with new and more efficient ways to bash heads. Sometimes the game master will tell you to make this roll, other times you may suggest it try it in order to accomplish something if you think it's approval the to the situation.
To successfully perform a skill, roll d12. If you roll is equal to your score in that skill or less, you succeed. If you roll higher than your score, you fail (you may or may not be able to try again based on the situation and the game master’s discretion). A roll of 12 always fails.
(You can put more than 11 points in your skill. On rare occasions you may receive a penalty to your skill, so a having a 13 knocked down to an 11 is better than having an 11 knocked down to a 9.)
There are 12 base skills in the game. More may be introduced later, but these twelve cover a wide range of tasks you may wish to attempt. Each skill has an Attribute associated with it (Strength, Intelligence, etc). If you have a modifier from your attribute, make sure to add it to your skill score. Note that this bonus does not affect the number of skill points you add based on level; the modifier is added (or subtracted) after the skill points are assigned.
If you have no points assigned to a skill, the game master is free to not allow you to even attempt an action which would normally require it.
Acuity (Wis) is the ability to notice and find things quickly. Listening for sounds, spotting an ambush, searching for secret doors all fall under the category of tasks that can be performed using the Acuity skill.
Beast Mastery (Wis) is the ability to train animals and bend them to your will. Anyone can ride a horse, but breaking in a wild horse, soothing a wild animal or knowing the best way to catch a snake requires a Beast Mastery roll.
Bush Whacker (Wis) is the ability to survive and thrive in the wilderness. Tracking animals (or people), hunting, skinning hides, setting snares and building fires and shelter all fall under things you can accomplish with the Bush Whacker skill.
Calisthenics (Strength) is your ability to do physical activities. If you want to climb a high wall, swim across a river, jump a chasm, you can make a calisthenics roll to attempt it.
Carnality (Charisma) is the Art of Seduction. You can make a Carnality roll to convince someone to go to bed with you, and you make another roll to see how well you perform once you get there.
Guile (Charisma) is the ability to get other people to do what you want, usually by trickery. This includes conning, bluffing, fast-talking, disguise, oration and intimidation.
History (Intelligence) is the ability to know about lost civilizations, old wars, famous scholars and kings and so on. This does not mean you can simply remember random facts, but you can use the history skill to study old texts, architecture and so onto recognize their meaning, and if you have access to a library you can attempt to look up particular bits of information.
Mettle (Constitution) is the ability to fight through pain and fatigue. To survive extreme weather or temperature, keep concentration when struck during spell casting, or to make a final desperate attack when struck with a mortal blow takes Mettle.
Occult (Intelligence) is the ability to recognize and learn things which Man Is Not Meant To Know. Learning new spells, recognizing arcane runes and figuring out how magical devices work require an Occult roll.
Sawbones (Int) is the ability to fix wounds and cure some diseases and poisons. Using the skill does not simply or immediately restore lost hit points – it can be used to stop major bleeding, to set broken bones, and to treat poisons and diseases. A successful Sawbones roll in conjunction with rest will heal a character faster than simply rest alone.
Skullduggery (Dexterity) is the ability to perform the basic tricks of thievery. If you want to hide in the shadows, sneak up on someone from behind, pick a pocket or tail someone without being seen, make a Skullduggery rolls. Note this does not include using or bypassing mechanical devices like locks or traps – that falls under Tinker.
Tinker (Dexterity) is the ability to build, repair or modify mechanical devices. To set or disarm a track, pick a log, fix or repair a firearm or build a catapult requires a Tinker roll. The amount of time required to perform these roles varies tremendously and will be adjudicated by the game master. Certain complicated devices – such as a siege engine – may take multiple Tinker rolls to complete.
Character Class: Bloodlust Berserker
|Art by Butteredbap|
From the far northern wastelands come a tribe of brutish, uncivilized barbarians who are rumoured to drink the blood of their foes and mate with woolly mammoths. Their greatest warriors, their champions, are trained their entire lives for war and raised on strange potions and drugs to unlock untold abilities that normal mortals are not meant to possess.
Bloodlust berserkers enter battle with unparalleled, unstoppable rage, turning themselves into killing machines of flesh and blood. Once they fully commit themselves to the blinding hatred and blood fury of the battlefield, they cannot stop fighting until either they or all of their foes have been defeated.
Attribute Modifiers: Strength +1
Movement Rate: 35’ (7 squares)
Weapons Allowed: Any, but they prefer melee weapons as they cannot use ranged weapons with their raging bloodlust ability.
Armor Allowed: None, but they may use shields.
Skills Allowed at First Level: Calisthenics (STR), Mettle (CON), Bushwhacker (WIS), Beast Mastery (WIS)
Raging Bloodlust: When berserkers enter battle, they begin to feel overwhelmed with feelings of unbridled rage. This rage grows stronger every round, as does their combat abilities.
In game terms, beginning with the first round in which the berserker enters melee combat with a foe, he gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls as well as a +1 bonus to damage. Each round after that, the bonuses increase by +1, until maxing out at the berserker’s level (thus a 6th level berserker will max out at +6 to attack and damage). A first level character obviously then maxes out on the first round.
Once the berserker has reached maximum rage, however, he cannot stop fighting until all enemies are destroyed, or until he dies or is knocked unconscious. He cannot be calmed or soothed by any normal means.
Slaughtering Charge: A berserker can make a special charge attack. If he uses two move actions (which normally pre-empts an attack action), as long as he moves more than his base movement rate but less than double his base (so usually between 7 and 14 squares) in the direction of an enemy, he may then make an attack as normal and immediately enters maximum rage, with full combat bonuses and all the drawbacks associated with it.
Regeneration: Starting at 3rd level, when a berserker reaches maximum rage, his metabolism is working at such supernatural levels that he actually begins healing wounds at an unnatural rate. He regains 1 hit point every round, which increases by 1 every 3 levels.
Tomorrow: Combat Rules and the Nefarious Cutthroat!