Forgotten Realms: Empire of Ashes
Attributes & Secondary Characteristics
The attribute levels given in the DF adventurer templates are solid minimums for the professions they represent. Individual characters are likely to exceed them, either by buying up weak stats to diversify, or pumping primary stats even higher – with GM approval, stats may exceed the “normal human maximums” given in the Basic Set. PCs shouldn’t have any below-average stats, and only the most specialized concepts will have any totally average ones.
Will and HT, as resistance stats, should both be at least 12. Also, many templates round Basic Speed down for extra points; I recommend the opposite, shooting for most characters to have Speed 6.00 or better, 7.00 for combat specialists.
In addition to the core advantages of a character’s template(s), all PCs should consider taking Combat Reflexes, and one or more levels of Enhanced Defenses – Dodge being the most useful.
Allies can be purchased normally, using the rules from DF5: Allies and DF9: Summoners as a basis for divine/magical servitors, beast companions, and magical familiars. Note that the templates presented in those books assume 250 point PCs, so allies in this campaign will be twice as powerful as shown, for the same point cost to the PC. However, they will also be a liability on certain missions, unless they have some way of hiding themselves (or are Summonable).
Social advantages, such as Wealth, Rank, Status, and Legal Enforcement Powers are generally irrelevant and unavailable – the PCs are rebels and outlaws, and any status they hold in Imperial society is a temporary cover, used for a single mission and then discarded as useless. Rank in the Resistance is a flexible and impermanent thing, taking a back seat to more practical concerns.
Any spell-casting ability (Magery, Power Investiture, etc) or supernatural power (Holiness, Bard Song, Druidic Talent, etc) that is easily detected by an Aura spell or similar effect is a veritable death sentence in lands controlled by the Empire or Prelacy. Any such trait can be made into a “secret” trait, detected only on a critical success, by taking a variation of the Secret Mage perk (Thaumatology: Magical Styles, pg. 30) – a single perk covers all traits of a single category (e.g. Magical or Holy). This is critical for the survival of clerics, holy warriors, wizards, and other supernatural characters. Chi Powers aren’t detected by Aura-like effects, even on a critical success, and so don’t require this perk.
All PCs should consider some form of Sense of Duty to the Resistance (-10), or at least to their Adventuring Companions (-5), to represent the bond of common cause. The party must be capable of working as an effective team – individual characters can be “lone wolves” to some degree, and even have in-character conflicts with party members and allied NPCs … but when the chips are down, they will need to work well together just to survive.
Severely crippling, overtly villainous, and/or downright psychotic disadvantages are allowed (in measured doses) – but they are likely to reduce the playability and survivability of a character, especially if they start getting on the GM’s or other players’ nerves. The PCs are heroes, or at least generally sympathetic anti-heroes, and heroism will be required of them to prevail.
Social disadvantages such as Enemy (Empire and/or Prelacy) and Secret (Resistance Member) are assumed, and so can’t be taken for bonus points; other enemies generally pale in comparison to those, and usually aren’t worth any points. Disads affecting Status or Wealth are similarly moot.
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