Step 6: Determine Sibling Rank
I’m going with a Knight. Perhaps, out of a sense of obligation to his Father’s wishes and desires, my character has chosen this path to enlarge his family’s estate. I expect my character frequently will regret this decision and feel the force of a priestly “Call” whenever he encounters Men of the Cloth. He probably abjures violence but is mercifully good at it whenever required to be.
I get to roll again. I roll 59. I’m the third child in my family; three siblings are younger than I am.
Step 7: Status in One’s Family
I roll again. 82. I am a Credit to the Family (the most likely result, 16-85%). 01-15% results in a Black Sheep and a resultant +5 PC points for the point-buy method. With this Status, however, the character is penalized in status points and starting funds. 86-100% results in Good Son/Daughter, and, though penalized with -5 PC points, the character is rewarded with double starting funds.
As a Credit to the Family, I enjoy regular starting funds and the full outfit of a knight.
At this point I start wondering about gender. Recognizing the patriarchal quality of the C&S milieu, I had—largely by default—been thinking of my character as male. But it would seem that players might choose to play a female—even while recognizing her lack of power historically. I haven’t noticed a table for randomly determining gender, though of course it would be easy to do with a 50/50 (as a GM, I frequently determine NPC gender in this way).
Step 8: The “Curse”
Since my character is Neutrally Aspected, I don’t need to roll on this table and I choose not to. The option is open to me, however, if, as the rules suggest, I want “to make things ‘interesting’.”
I can see the appeal of “spicing up” roleplaying (another way that the rules puts the attraction to Curses) in this way. Looking at the d100 table now, I see compelling effects such as “flames glowing blue in one’s presence” or “plants withering at one’s touch.” But I’m resolved to keep my character inviolate—at least for now.
Step 9: Special Talents and Abilities
It could be that these are as cool as Curses are. Let’s see if I get one or more.
I roll a 12. That means I roll for one (this result is the next likeliest eventuality next to none). Less likely rolls allow me to roll twice or thrice or (on a roll of 100) select “any special Ability I desire for the character.” I don’t see the rules stating any numerical limit to this last possibility.
I roll 47 for my Special Ability. I have a Low Metabolic Rate. (I’m not sure what this means in game terms—even in “real” terms—but there is an upcoming chapter that might provide more details and the Internet for the latter.)
Any character with a Special Ability must also roll for a Flaw.
Step 10: Character Flaws, Deficiencies & Defects
Since my character has a Special Ability, there is a 40% chance that he also has a Flaw. I roll 80. Nope, I’m Flawless.
Step 11: Personal Fears
One isn’t mandatory. I can elect to have a Phobia for my character either by rolling or choosing. I decide to do neither.
Step 12: Determine Character Size
For a Height of a Historic Human Male (sizes are based on genders and “power ratings”) I roll 2d10+57. I get 67 total (the average is 58). For Build I roll 1d10+1. I get 4 (average Build is 6). If I had had significantly higher Agility or Constitution scores, this number would have been modified negatively or positively, respectively.
My character’s Weight is determined by adding 5 pounds for every inch over 40 to a base starting weight of 10. That gives me 145. I’m a lightweight! No, wait, it’s worse than that. My Build of 4 is characterized as an Average Build on the low end, so I reduce my total Weight by 5%. So now (rounding up the fraction, per the rules) my total Weight is 137. A part of me, knowing that average human builds have increased since the Middle Ages, wonders if this is intentionally “historical.”
Step 13: Determine Character Body Points
This foregoing isn’t just “fluff.” A character’s Build helps calculate the character’s Body Points. My 5% reduction results in a column just below another whose range begins with a Weight of 145. I start with 18 Body. I add this to my Constitution (12) and half (rounded down) of my Strength (9) for a total of 39. At this point in my exploration of this game, I have no idea if this is “good” or not.
A table shows me how many Body Points my character may recover per day (dependent on rest) as well as his ability to Resist Disease. The rules advise to make this calculation once and to record it on one’s character sheet.
When a character’s Body is reduced to negative values, he is not necessarily dead. One can sustain negative damage up to his CON and still remain alive, although deeply unconscious. When Body Points fall below a negative level equal to or lower than CON then death occurs.
I find the C&S relationship between Build and Body Points neat, intuitive and workable. Because of the lens with which (due to the nature of this blog) I am approaching this system, I inevitably compare it to the latest version of Rolemaster, which doesn’t appear to do much with its own concept of “build” outside of calculating Encumbrance thresholds and character Stride. I ask the community here to correct and/or clarify this or any other observations I’m about to make.
I’m beginning to suspect that C&S characters develop, incrementally, by discretely improving character Skills. It may be (as in systems such as Champions) that Attributes might likewise be available for advancement. In this latter case my forthcoming observations about realism and simulationism might be minimized.
A (more or less) static hit points score is the first hallmark of realism in a fantasy roleplaying game. Yes, a character should be able to develop her or his ability to absorb or resist pain and damage, but this aptitude should not be open-ended nor constant.
The D20 systems and their derivatives such as Rolemaster, for some time now, have explained that hit points are “abstract” values, representing a character’s ability to avoid and receive damage. Presumably, then, D20 and Rolemaster characters progressively improve at avoiding damage, but, say, 6 points of Bleeding damage always is going to be literal damage.
Mind you, at this point I’m not saying that C&S is a “better” game or more fun to play than Rolemaster nor its progenitor. What I am saying, though, is that C&S, so far, appears to be more “realistic,” and I admire the elegance displayed by making Build relevant to a character’s ability to take damage.