All of the following text is Open Gaming Content.
Everyone has certain basic abilities: how strong, fast, smart, and clever they are. These ability scores influence almost everything your character does. Stronger characters can lift greater weights, more dexterous characters have better balance, tougher characters can soak up more damage, and so forth.
Characters have six abilities: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution are called physical abilities, whereas Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma are mental abilities. Each above-average ability score provides a bonus on certain die rolls, while below average abilities apply a penalty to some die rolls.
Ability scores have a numerical value, expressed as a penalty or bonus, from -5 (abysmal or disabled) to +5 or more (legendary, practically superhuman), with an average of +0. When ability scores are noted in this book, the score follows the ability's name, for example: Strength +2, Dexterity -1, and so forth.
You have 6 points to divide among your hero's abilities, which all start at 0, neither a bonus nor a penalty. This means you can have +1 in all six abilities; +3 in one ability, 0 in two others, and +1 in the remaining three; or any combination adding up to 6. The only limitation is you cannot put more than 5 points in a single ability score. (Scores can only go higher than +5 as a result of level advancement and a few other factors.)
Ability Scores = 6 points divided between six abilities.
If you choose to have a negative value in an ability, you gain bonus points to assign to your other ability scores. For example, if you give your hero Strength -1, you have 1 more point to assign to another ability (such as Intelligence). If your hero has Strength -2, you have 2 bonus points, and so on. Heroes cannot have abilities lower than -5, and abilities lower than -2 aren't recommended unless the hero is seriously deficient in that ability. Even with bonus points, you cannot put more than 5 points in a single ability score.
Your ability score is added to or subtracted from die rolls when you do something related to that ability. For example, your Strength score affects the amount of melee damage you do, your Intelligence score affects your Knowledge skills, and so forth. Sometimes your score is used to calculate another value, such as when you use your Dexterity score to help determine how good you are at avoiding harm using your reflexes (your Reflex saving throw).
Given here are descriptions of the six abilities and how they affect your character.
Strength measures sheer muscle power and the ability to apply it. Your Strength score applies to the following:
Dexterity is a measure of coordination, agility, and manual dexterity. Your Dexterity score applies to the following:
Constitution is a measure of endurance, health, and overall physical toughness. Constitution is important because it affects your hero's ability to resist damage. Your Constitution score applies to the following:
Intelligence is a measure of reasoning, memory, and quick thinking. Your Intelligence score applies to the following:
While Intelligence measures reasoning, Wisdom is a measure of awareness, common sense, intuition, and strength of will. Your Wisdom score applies to the following:
Charisma is a measure of persuasiveness, force of personality, leadership ability, and attractiveness (not necessarily physical). Your Charisma score applies to the following:
Over the course of play, your hero's ability scores may change for the following reasons:
Whenever an ability score changes, all traits associated with the ability change as well. For example, if you increase your Dexterity, your attack bonus, Dexterity-based skills and Reflex saving throw modifier also increase. Likewise, if your Dexterity bonus decreases, your attack bonus, Dexterity-based skills and Reflex saving throws suffer.
There is no limit to how high an ability score can be raised, but there is a limit on how low it can drop. If one of your hero's ability scores drops below -5 for any reason, the score is debilitated. Your hero suffers serious effects, depending on the ability. Debilitated Strength or Dexterity means the hero is helpless and unable to move. Debilitated Constitution means the hero is dying (and suffers a -5 on checks to avoid death). Debilitated Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma means the hero is unconscious and incapable of waking until the score is restored to at least -5.
Some things in the True SRD actually lack a basic ability (having no score in it at all, which is not the same as having a debilitated ability). The effect of lacking a particular ability is as follows:
Inanimate objects have no abilities other than their Toughness score. Animate but nonliving beings, like undead, have Strength and Dexterity. They might have Wisdom and Charisma, if they are aware of their environment and capable of interaction. They might have Intelligence, if they are capable of thought, but they never have Constitution, since they are not alive.
Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma are a bit more difficult to quantify than the physical abilities of Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution. They also have a more dramatic affect on your character's personality and behavior.
Intelligence: A character with a high Intelligence score tends to be knowledgeable, clever, and prone to using big words. A character with a high Intelligence but a low Wisdom may be smart but absent-minded or easily distracted. A character with a high Intelligence and low Charisma may be knowledgeable but something of a know-it-all or lacking in social skills. Characters with high Intelligence and low Wisdom and Charisma tend to be social misfits. A character with a low Intelligence may be slow, poorly educated, or just not very cerebral.
Wisdom: High Wisdom characters are aware, sensible, and confident in themselves and their abilities. High Wisdom, low Intelligence characters are simple-minded but capable of surprising insights. High Wisdom, low Charisma characters are quietly confident and tend to work behind the scenes. Low Wisdom characters are indecisive, absent-minded, impulsive, or just gullible.
Charisma: Characters with high Charisma are outgoing, forceful, and often attractive. High Charisma, low Intelligence characters either manage to seem to know what they're talking about, or they attract people who find them endearing and want to help them. Characters with high Charisma and low Wisdom aren't very good at choosing their friends wisely. Low Charisma characters may be cold, aloof, rude, awkward, or simply plain and nondescript.
Heroes in True SRD games come in different types and from many walks of life. Your hero's role is the part he or she plays in the game. A role is like a character's part in a story; stories have different sorts of heroes, from brave and skilled warriors to cunning diplomats to wise wielders of the supernatural arts. The role you choose for your hero affects the other choices you make, including your hero's skills and feats. Still, roles in the True SRD are broad enough to allow plenty of freedom of choice in creating your hero.
There are three roles in the True SRD, in addition to heroes with mixed, or multiple, roles. The roles are:
Adept: Someone with a keen intellect and usually a talent for the supernatural powers.
Expert: Someone experienced in a wide range of skills.
Warrior: Someone with unmatched skill at arms and training in many forms of combat.
Mixed-Role Heroes: Heroes start out with only one role at 1st level; however, as your hero advances in level, you may choose levels in other roles, creating a mixed-role hero. This mixing of roles gives a hero a wider range of abilities at the cost of slowing advancement in any one role.
For example, a 1st-level warrior attaining 2nd level might choose to take the 1st level in adept instead of a 2nd level in warrior. The hero is now a 1st-level warrior/1st-level adept, but still a 2nd-level character. The character's combat abilities are less than those of a 2nd-level warrior, but the character now has the abilities of a 1st-level adept. Guidelines for creating mixed-role heroes can be found at the end of this chapter.
Heroes improve in experience and power by advancing in level. This represents the progress of a hero's career during a long series, from novice to seasoned expert. As heroes advance in level, they gain additional bonuses and access to more skills and feats, improving and expanding their capabilities. After 1st level, heroes also get the opportunity to begin mixing roles to further expand their options and capabilities.
Certain benefits are based on a hero's overall level, regardless of role. The Level-Dependent Benefits table summarizes these. See each role description for the benefits specific to each.
Skill Rank: This lists the rank a hero has in any known skill. The rank is equal to the hero's level + 3. This is also the hero's rank in any known supernatural powers. see Chapter 2: Skills and Chapter 4: Supernatural Powers for details.
Ability Increase: Upon gaining any level divisible by six (6th, 12th, and 18th), heroes can increase an ability score by 1. You choose which ability you want to improve, and the improvement is permanent. You can increase the same ability more than once or a different one each time. You can increase an ability score above +5 in this way.
Conviction: Heroes start out with 3 points of Conviction at 1st level and gain a point of Conviction every two levels thereafter (3rd, 5th, and so on). The number indicated at each level is a hero's maximum Conviction points at that level. see Conviction for details.
Feats: Your hero gets a certain number of starting feats at 1st level (determined by role), plus an additional feat for each level beyond 1st. You choose feats from among those available to your hero's role(s).
The following sections describe the three roles in detail. Each provides an overall view of the role, the role's traits in game terms, and examples of different types of heroes who fit that particular role.
The role's traits are organized as follows:
Abilities: What ability scores are most important to the role and why? While you can certainly choose your hero's abilities as you wish, you might want to keep these important abilities in mind, if you want your hero to be effective in the chosen role.
Skills: The number of skills you choose for a hero of that role at 1st level. You apply your hero's Intelligence modifier to this number, but it cannot be lower than 1, no matter how low a hero's Intelligence might be.
Feats: The feats a hero starts with at 1st level. Each role allows you to choose some or all of these feats from lists of feats available to characters of that role.
Each role has a table indicating the role's other game abilities, all based on level:
Combat: A role's base combat bonus measures skill in all forms of combat. It is used as the basis for a hero's attack rolls in fights, modified by Dexterity. It is also used as the basis for a hero's Defense score, which is the Difficulty to strike that hero in combat. It is modified by the hero's Dexterity for dodging attacks, and Strength for parrying them.
Save Bonuses: Roles have three save bonuses, measuring the ability to avoid certain kinds of harm when they make saving throws. The bonuses are improvements to Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saves. Toughness saving throws do not improve by level, although some feats improve them.
Reputation: Every hero has a reputation score based on role and level. see Reputation for details.
|Level||Skill Rank||Ability Increase||Conviction||Feats|
* Starting feats are based on role.
Intellectual, scholar, mystic, the adept specializes in the sciences and arts of the mind. Adepts are known and respected for their knowledge and insight. They're particularly known for their skill with the supernatural.
Adepts fill many roles in the True SRD. Their supernatural powers range from subtle visions and insight into the psyche to overt manipulations of the physical world. Depending on the manifestation of the supernatural in the setting (see Chapter 4), adepts may be widely known and respected (or feared) for their powers, or operate entirely behind the scenes.
Adepts have the following traits:
Abilities: Mental abilities are usually more important to adepts than physical ones. In particular, adepts tend to require strong Wisdom and Charisma scores, since many of their powers depend on will and force of personality. Intelligence is nearly as important, given the adept's emphasis on scholarship. Adepts also find a healthy Constitution helpful, especially if they plan to exercise their arts in the field rather than in the comfort of a college or hermitage.
Skills: Choose 2 + Intelligence score (minimum of 1).
Feats: Choose 4 from General and Supernatural.
Experts range from diplomats and nobles to traveling bards and storytellers, from merchants with an eye for profit to cunning thieves with an eye for an easy mark. Some experts choose to focus on the ability to handle any social situation, while others emphasize physical skills allowing them to avoid unwanted entanglements, including with the law.
Adventuring experts tend to combine a measure of physical and social skill. They have to be able to endure long journeys yet be ready to negotiate with various parties when they reach the journey's end. Experts essentially handle everything adepts and warriors do not.
Experts have the following traits:
Abilities: Agility is the name of the game for experts, both physical agility (represented by Dexterity) and social agility (represented by Charisma), with a bit of mental agility (represented by Intelligence) thrown in for good measure. Nimble experts are often trained in skills like Acrobatics and Ride, while the personable and charming ones focus on interaction skills like Bluff and Diplomacy. Wisdom is useful to experts in avoiding danger, from traps to deception, and keen Intelligence can help an expert go far (and pick up a few extra useful skills).
Saving Throws: Experts vary in their Fortitude, Reflex, and Will save bonuses. Choose two of these three to be good saves and one to be normal, consulting the appropriate column on the table. For example, your expert's Fortitude save might be normal, while her Reflex and Will saves are good. At 1st level, her base Fortitude save bonus would be +0, while her base Reflex and Wills saves would be +2.
Skills: Choose 6 + Intelligence score (minimum of 1).
Feats: Armor Training (light), and choose 3 others from Expert or General.
|Level||Combat||Good Saves||Normal Save||Reputation|
Flashing blades, clashing shields, and the roar of combat are the life of the warrior. For some it is the safety of their homeland and their loved ones. For others it is religious zeal, wealth, or the simple joy of battle. Warriors include trained and disciplined soldiers, heroic knights, grizzled hunters, savage mercenaries, and daring swashbucklers. Although they don't command the mysterious powers of adepts or the influence of experts, warriors have courage and skill at arms, and for them, it's enough.
Warriors have the following traits:
Abilities: Warriors prize physical abilities over mental ones. Strength is important in striking a powerful blow. Dexterity allows warriors to evade attacks and gives them accuracy with ranged weapons. Constitution may be warriors' most important quality, granting them the endurance to sustain long marches and to fight on when others fall due to injury or fatigue.
Skills: Choose 2 + Intelligence score (minimum of 1).
Feats: Armor Training (light & heavy), Weapon Training, and choose 2 others from General or Martial.
The Narrator will tell you when your hero advances in level. When this happens, do the following:
Heroes may acquire other roles as they progress in level, becoming mixed role heroes. The traits from a hero's different roles combine, so a mixed role hero has versatility at the expense of focus.
As a general rule, the traits of a mixed-role hero are the sum of the traits of each of the hero's roles, as follows:
Level: Total level is a character's total number of levels in all roles. For example, a hero who is a 2nd-level warrior and 1st-level adept has a total level of 3rd. Total level is used to determine a hero's benefits on the Level-Dependent Benefits table.
Role level is a hero's level in a particular role. For a hero whose levels are all in the same role, total level and role level are the same thing. Role level is used to determine the hero's benefits from each particular role.
Combat: Add the combat bonuses for each role together to get the hero's total combat bonus.
Saving Throws: The hero's save bonuses equal the save bonuses for the hero's first role, plus the save bonuses for each additional role, minus 2. For example a 1st-level adept (Will save bonus +2), who adds a level of warrior, does not gain any save bonuses (since the 1st level of warrior has no save bonuses greater than +2). If the character adds another level of warrior upon becoming 3rd level, he gets a +1 Fortitude save bonus (the warrior's +3 bonus for 2nd-level, minus 2).
Reputation: The hero's reputation bonus equals the reputation bonus for the hero's first role, plus the reputation bonuses for each additional role.
Skills: If you have levels in adept or warrior and add a level in expert, you gain two additional known skills. Otherwise, you gain no additional skills for adding a new role. You do this only when you gain your 1st level in expert.
Feats: A mixed-role hero gains one feat per level like everyone else. The role acquired at each level determines the feat list you choose from. For example, if you add a level of adept to your hero, you choose the hero's feat for that level from the adept's list of available feats (General and Supernatural).
This section helps you round out your hero. Here you pick your hero's name, age, and other details. You'll choose a virtue and a vice for your hero. This section also explains how heroes can go that extra mile when they need to pull out all the stops in order to succeed, using extra effort and the strength of their Conviction.
A lot of details go into making your hero more than just a collection of numbers, things like name, gender, age, appearance, and so forth help to define who he or she is. Take a moment, if you haven't already, to consider the following things about your True SRD character.
What is your character's name? You can give your hero any name you like, based on a real-world name, one from fiction, or a name entirely of your own creation. Appropriate names depend on the kind of character and the type of story you're telling, so consult with your group and your Narrator.
Is your hero male or female? There's no requirement to play a character of the same gender as you. In fact, you may find it interesting to play a hero of a different gender, to experience a little of what life is like from another perspective.
How old is your character? Heroes tend to range from their teens to middle age, but some heroes are older, depending on a hero's background, possibly much older.
Consider the effects of age on the hero. A teenager on her first adventure away from home isn't likely to have the same views as a mature adult. A hero's age may influence the choice of certain traits. Older characters are likely to have lower physical ability scores, for example, while younger characters may have fewer Craft and Knowledge skills (having had less time to train in them).
What does your hero look like? Consider things like the character's race, sex, and other factors in appearance. Is the character short or tall? What about hair and eye color? Does the hero have any distinguishing marks or unique features?
CHARISMA VS. APPEARANCE
Although Charisma can be a measure of attractiveness, it isn't necessarily a reflection of a character's physical appearance. Charisma is much more about personality, affability, and similar traits, rather than looks. A high Charisma hero might be physically attractive, but could also be fairly plain looking, but with a forceful and magnetic personality. Likewise, a low or average Charisma character might be good-looking, even striking, but with a bland or unpleasant personality. You're free to make up the details as best suits your character in the game, with the Narrator's help and guidance.
How would you describe your hero's personality? While heroes tend to share a desire to use their powers for good and uphold the law, they show a diverse range of attitudes. One hero may be dedicated to the ideals of truth, justice, and equality, while another is willing to break the rules in order to ensure things get done. Some heroes are forthright and cheerful while others are grim and unrelenting. Consider your hero's attitudes and personality traits, particularly in light of the hero's nature.
All intelligent creatures make moral choices, to live according to their better nature or to give in to immoral impulses. Many walk a difficult line between the two. Each character in a True SRD game has a particular nature, which is made up of a virtue and a vice.
During character creation, select a virtue and a vice to decide your character's nature. A list of examples is given below, but you can make up your own virtues and vices with the Narrator's permission. The key is to give your hero one good quality (virtue) and one bad quality (vice).
Virtues: Courageous, Free-Spirited, Bold, Generous, Gregarious, Hopeful, Daring, Thoughtful, Compassionate, Industrious, Honest, Fair, Kind, Determined.
Vices: Cowardly, Hidebound, Fearful, Miserly, Cynical, Impulsive, Selfish, Lazy, Capricious, Petty, Arrogant, Stubborn, Manipulative, Insensitive.
Generally speaking, a person's nature is fixed. Virtue and vice are deepseated facets of the character's personality; some might say the halves of the soul. So changing one's true nature is difficult.
If the Narrator allows, you may change your hero's virtue or vice at the cost of a point of Conviction, which cannot be regained until the hero gains a new level. You can never eliminate either nature, as everyone must have both a virtue and a vice, and changing each one takes Conviction, so changing both requires two Conviction points.
At the Narrator's discretion, certain major events in a character's life can lead to a change in nature (either virtue or vice or both), but these events are largely beyond the players' control. The Narrator shouldn't allow changes in nature to happen lightly; they're pivotal events in an individual's life.
Whether it's luck, talent, or sheer determination, heroes have something setting them apart from everyone else, allowing them to perform amazing deeds under the most difficult circumstances. In the True SRD, that something is Conviction. Spending a Conviction point can make the difference between success and failure.
Characters have Conviction based on their level (see Level-Dependent Benefits). As heroes improve in level, their maximum Conviction increases.
Unless otherwise noted, spending a Conviction point is a reaction, taking no time, and can be done at any time. You may spend only one Conviction point per round. You can spend Conviction for any of the following:
Heroes regain expended Conviction points in a few ways:
First, heroes regain one point of Conviction each day. The player chooses a time appropriate for the hero, such as in the morning, at midday, at sunset, or at midnight.
Second, heroes regain Conviction by acting in accordance with their nature. When a hero does something successful in accordance with one of his natures that affirms his conviction, he regains a point of Conviction.
The Narrator decides when an action is appropriate for the hero's natures and awards the Conviction point if the hero is successful.
Note that heroes can follow either of their natures, virtue or vice, to regain Conviction, and the Narrator may occasionally use this to put temptation in a hero's path. A good hero with a vice of Greed might have the opportunity to steal, for example, and regain Conviction. If the hero steals to further his goal, he gets a point of Conviction, but also has to deal with the consequences of his actions. Likewise, an otherwise amoral character who shows an unusual kindness or streak of honor may be following her virtue to regain Conviction. Which nature a character chooses to follow most often tends to indicate what kind of person he or she is.
Third, the Narrator can choose to award the heroes a point of Conviction for a particularly impressive success or achievement in the adventure that renews confidence and faith. Overcoming a difficult challenge or solving a complex puzzle might give the heroes a burst of inspiration in the form of renewed Conviction. The Narrator chooses when to do this, but it should only happen once or twice in an adventure, and may not occur at all in some adventures.
Reputation is used to determine whether a Narrator character recognizes a hero. Those who recognize the hero are more likely to help the hero, provided the hero has a positive reputation. A high Reputation bonus also makes it difficult for heroes to hide their identities and go unnoticed.
Most of the time, the Narrator decides when a hero's reputation is relevant to a scene. The Narrator makes a Reputation check for a Narrator character that might be influenced in some fashion due to the hero's fame or infamy.
Whether reputation has a positive or negative connotation depends on the point of view of the person who recognizes the hero.
When a character has a positive opinion of a hero's reputation, the hero is considered famous. Fame, when recognized, provides a bonus to certain interaction skill checks.
When a character has a negative opinion of a hero's reputation, the hero is considered infamous. Also, at the Narrator's option, a hero might be considered infamous in certain situations due to events that have transpired in the past. Infamy, when recognized, provides a penalty to certain interaction skill checks.
Whenever the Narrator decides a character's reputation is a factor in a scene, make a Reputation check (Difficulty 25) for the Narrator character involved. A Reputation check is d20 + the hero's Reputation bonus + the Narrator character's Intelligence. (Some Knowledge skill modifiers might apply instead of the Intelligence score, if the hero would be well known in the field covered by a Knowledge skill.) Modifiers to the Reputation check depend on the hero and the Narrator character in question, as shown in the table. Note that if the Narrator character has no possible way of recognizing a hero, then the Reputation check isn't necessary (or even possible).
If the Reputation check succeeds, the Narrator character recognizes the hero. This provides a +4 bonus or a -4 penalty on checks involving interaction skills for the duration of the scene.
The Narrator must decide that a character's fame or infamy can come into play in a given situation to make a Reputation check necessary. A character that doesn't know, or know of, the hero can't be influenced by the hero's reputation.
|Situation||Reputation Check Modifier|
|The hero is famous, known far and wide with either a positive or negative connotation||+10|
|Narrator character is part of the hero's professional or social circle||+5|
|The hero has some small amount of fame or notoriety||+2|