Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Building Character...

I've talked a bit about Alron, I figure I should go into why he's my favorite character. This is the second iteration of Alron, I mean. The first iteration was pretty good, but I don't remember enough about him to really go into it.

Partly, it's mechanics. Partly, it's what he'd gone through and survived.

By mechanics, I'm talking about his stats and what his class can do. When I rolled the character up, I used the old method, which is to use 3 six-sided dice, roll them, and add up the three to get a total between 3 and 18. That was your value for that particular stat. Starting sometime after that, people started using 4 six-sided dice, discarding the lowest die, and adding up the three remaining. This gives a slightly better chance at getting higher rolls. However, I used the old school method. Steve handed me a six-sided die and I proceeded to roll it three times for each stat.

First roll was for Strength... 6! 6! 6!! A total of 18 on the first roll!!! Wow! Steve and I were boggling at that. Holy Crap!!

Second roll, Intelligence... 6... 5... 4... damn! 15! That's really good!

Third roll, Wisdom... 5... 5... 4. 14! Impressive!

Fourth roll, Dexterity... 6... 5... 5... WOW! 16! He's really beating the odds here!

Fifth roll, Constitution... 6... 6... 5... What the hell?! How was I doing this?! 17 Constitution!

Sixth, and last, roll, Charisma... 6!... 3... 3... okay, 12, that's not bad... but I got greedy at this point, I recall... Alron was supposed to be the leader of the group, so I wanted a higher Charisma for him. I asked Steve if I could re-roll and he agreed, but I would have to keep the second roll, no matter what the value turned out to be.

Reroll... 6!... 2... 1... ah, damn! Burned! I got a 9 total. I should have stuck with the 12! Crap! Oh well. I figured it out in my head that he's more the "common sense" kind of leader. He's not the inspiring type.

Now, Steve had said that he was going to give each character an 18 in their primary stat at the start of the game, so that we were special, but Alron already had 18 in his Strength, by the roll, so since I was going to make him an Archer/Ranger, he gave me the 18 in Dexterity instead.

Also, in 1st edition AD&D, there was something called Exceptional Strength. It was only for Fighter characters (Paladins and Rangers included), and it was a "percentile die" roll... roll 2 ten-sided dice, designating one as the 10's, and one as the 1's. My roll... 76. Not bad at all.

So, his stats became:

Strength 18/76
Intelligence 15
Wisdom 14
Dexterity 18
Constitution 17
Charisma 9

That's pretty damn good for rolling 3d6. I don't think I've ever rolled up as good a character, even using more "modern" die-rolling methods.

Each of these stats gave particular bonuses.

- 18/76 Strength gave me +2 on his attack rolls, and +4 on his damage rolls for melee attacks.
- 15 intelligence gave me a couple of more languages, but Steve didn't start us off with any, so they were just ones that he could learn later. He learned Elvish, eventually.
- 14 Wisdom actually didn't give him anything. The bonuses started at 15.
- 18 Dexterity gave him a +3 reaction bonus against being surprised, a +3 to hit with his ranged attacks, and -4 to his armor class*
- 17 Constitution gave him +3 hit points per level, and excellent chances to survive system shocks and resurrection.
- 9 Charisma... gave him nothing. He could have a maximum of 4 henchmen. That's it.

*These days, armor class goes up, and after adding all your bonuses to your d20 attack roll, you just have to roll equal to, or greater than, your opponent's armor class in order to hit them. In those days, armor class went down. The better your armor, the lower your armor class. I dunno why they did it that way; there were tables that dealt with the statistics. So, a -4 to AC then is equivalent to a +4 AC bonus now. Pretty damned good.

Now, this "Archer"/Ranger is a bit different than the standard rules. The Archer was a class written up for Dragon Magazine, and it was supposed to be for Non-Player Characters only, but Steve thought it was pretty cool, so he let me play it. It gave Alron bonuses to hit and damage with a bow, based on his level and the range at which my target was at. It also let him make his own bows and arrows, including what the article called "a bow with greater pull". This would allow him to use his strength bonuses with the bow, in addition to any other bonuses he had. Basically, it made him very good with a bow.

His basic Ranger class gave him bonuses to damage against "Giant-class" creatures, +1 bonus per level. "Giant-class" creatures include orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, gnolls, ogres, trolls, and giants. He was 6th level when I stopped playing him. So, any attack against one of these creatures dealt 6 extra hit points damage. That was devastating in some cases.

Steve still has the drawing of Alron that a friend had done for me, and even though I'd found the miniature we used for him on ebay a couple of years ago, I can't find it. I can't even find a picture online of it. Boo.

This miniature, a plastic one for the new edition D&D game, seems to have been sculpted as an homage to the one I'm looking for though, so I'll leave you with that one... for now...

Next post, I'll tell you what he went through...