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 Post subject: Meditation on Character Building (making Mechanics work)
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 4:51 am 
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Location: Portland OR
This is a meditation/essay about how the different parts of character creation in the Legends of Arcanis game interact to realize a character concept. I know I personally built three characters before I found a PC build that both matched what was in my head and was truly mechanically "successful". After I shared this essay with Pedro he made the suggestion I put it up somewhere where people would see it. I wasn't sure at first how I wanted to break it down. Hopefully this will work.

Most people on the boards will have already figured out (long since?) most of what I have to say. But there are hopefully new people joining all the time. And maybe you’ll see something in here that you’ve missed. Or maybe you’ll be able to point out something I’ve missed!

The following Posts address: The Mechanics that Define You, The Golden Rule, Archetypes, Other Choices, Advancement, Common Builds and PC Limitations

If someone comes up with a good addition I’ll be happy to edit the appropriate section(s).

EDITED 5/9/14: Archangel points out that there is synergy going back and forth between mechanics and concept. I heartily agree. Consider: As a concept you know you want to be a young Expert Milendesian with ties to King's Court. Squire looks like a good conceptual fit. You discover they get Advanced Armor Training! This informs your decision to take the talent Heirloom: Armor. Whose armor have you inherited? This one mechanical decision now provokes a small evolution of your concept ...

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


Last edited by val Holryn on Fri May 09, 2014 4:03 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meditation on Character Building (making Mechanics work)
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 4:52 am 
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1)The mechanics that define you

I don’t know how you design characters, but often I have some idea of what the character is before I start looking at mechanics such as... “I want to play a guy called Thrak who always is in the middle of a scrum trying to make tossed salad out of the bad guys…or I want to play some kind of fire wizard who solves problems with his “flamethrower.” Then I look for mechanics to support my concept. (It should go without saying, but if you don't have a cool concept then no matter how cool your mechanics are, your PC is probably going to feel flat).

Arcanis is more flexible than many other systems which will make such an approach easy.
Whatever your initial approach on the mechanical side you will need to figure out your ability scores, your skills and your talents. Your ability scores are a step by themselves. You still go through several more steps. But each of these steps really only gives you skills and sometimes talents. Finally at the end you’ll deal with a few derived scores and your gear.

Character design is thus organic and holistic. Again your character’s mechanics will largely be determined by the skills you invest in and the talents you take.

Examples of skills include Melee (Balanced), for whenever you want to swing a sword at someone’s head. Athletics and Persuasion help you overcome physical or social obstacles. Knowledge (History) or Perception might be used to glean clues about what has or is happening.

Talents tend to modify skills or create new options for you. Anyone can swing a sword to do damage [aka the basic attack]…but any other cool effects are the domain of talents. An example of a talent is Martial Technique: Sweeping Strike which allows you to make a melee attack against 2 adjacent targets instead of just 1. Talents also grant spell casting ability, buffing, animal companions…and other things.

Because your character is mechanically defined by their skills and talents it means there are multiple ways to achieve similar concepts out the gate. This is because there are five steps at creation that grant skills (and four of the five grant talents.) It often doesn't matter in which step you pick up the talent "Awesome Swordsman." Pick and choose wisely to support your concept.

Let’s say for example you want to play to play some kind of Holy Warrior or champion of a Church.

In D&D you are probably playing some variation of the Cleric or Paladin class. Not totally done, but bang! … those are the big choices. But in Arcanis you won’t have a class. You will instead have one of four archetypes, and a background. Together they cover a similar function. Because the Arcanis system is holistic you can easily design a Holy Champion from 3 of the 4 archetypes (the divine, expert and martial archetypes)…and/or by choosing the Initiate of the Gods or Templar Backgrounds. By tweaking a few choices from “column A” and then compensating with choices from “column B” you can more or less get to the same place in terms of skills and talents at character creation.

But those different choices in archetype will lead to different evolutions as the character advances. At creation the “Holy Champions” could all look remarkably similar. The Holy Champion’s abilities and emphasis would diverge though as you level up. Perhaps sadly, this means you need to have some idea of where your character will evolve to at character creation.
For example our martial Holy champion would be effective in combat through melee and would rock at physical based skills like athletics. But a divine holy champion would depend more on spell casting in combat and would have better social skills. A divine champion could also have a wider choice in backgrounds. An expert holy champion would not specialize as deeply in combat maneuvers or advanced spell casting but could do both reasonably well and could choose to be good at any set of skills.

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


Last edited by val Holryn on Tue May 06, 2014 5:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meditation on Character Building (making Mechanics work)
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 4:52 am 
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Location: Portland OR
2) The Golden Rule in Combat

Because Arcanis character creation is so open, it is important to keep a core benchmark in mind. To be effective in combat the game more or less expects you to have a +3 attack bonus at creation and to advance the relevant skill by 3 ranks per tier as a baseline.

Arcanis has a core mechanic that rolls multiple dice to determine contested outcomes. This creates a bell curve of probability. There is a huge advantage for getting a point or three ahead of it. There is a huge penalty to fall below it. This is very different from D&D where each +/- 1 equals a flat 5% change in probability.

Over each tier of play you will advance your character 10 times from the choices on page 237 of the A:RPG. Many advancement options are open to everyone, the rest are provided by your archetype. Any character can increase any attack skill (such as melee: balanced or arcanum: cants) by +2 over a tier. The four archetypes allow different skills to gain an additional +1. Thus it is difficult to maintain the baseline for combat effectiveness unless your archetype gives you an additional +1 advancement to your primary attack skill.

As an example the arcane archetype doesn’t really help you swing a sword and that truth is increasingly obvious as you advance through tiers. On the other hand it does let you advance your Arcanum skill by another +1 allowing your spell casting to keep pace with the expected benchmark.

Obviously at creation you will need to do at least a little thinking about how your concept will advance and how it will continue to stay at or above the baseline at higher tiers.

A look inside the cover of the Arcanis Bestiary shows that at Teir 5 you might be fighting something with defenses around 35 frequently. If at Tier 5 you have a Prowess that grants a d12 (or an average roll of 17.5) and you have a straight 18 ranks in your fighting skill and no other bonuses then, on average you are going to hit a defense of 35.5 half the time. But because of the bell curve a few points up or down results in frequent hits or misses.

If you start with 2 ranks at creation and advance a skill 2 ranks per tier you end up with 12 ranks. 12 ranks by comparison only hits a 29.5 half the time, so effectively a Tier V monster with a 35 defense is laughing at your attacks. On the other hand if you take every opportunity to increase your melee accuracy it looks like you could get to the point where (including talents and buffing spells) you were hitting a defense of 48.5 half the time ... which has got to be overkill.

Paths and talents can compensate to a certain degree for lower ranks & limited advancement... or make you deadly accurate in combat. Weapon Mastery (I) grants +1 to hit (that combines with other talents like Wolf Pack Tactics). Warrior Mage & Warrior Priest (and Sword and Spell) all increase fighting abilities (ranks) in exchange for a limited spell selection.

It’s also not hard to find 5 total combinations of Paths that grant +2 ranks to casting skills or +3 ranks to fighting skills. At an extreme a psion interested in marksmanship could combine 3 Levels of Altherian Trigger Mage with 2 levels of Sword Sage for a whopping total of +3 skill ranks to Marksmanship and +2 ranks to Arcanum (Meditation).

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


Last edited by val Holryn on Tue May 06, 2014 5:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meditation on Character Building (making Mechanics work)
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 4:52 am 
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Location: Portland OR
3) Further Meditations on Archetype

The closest thing to a class you will have in Arcanis is your character archetype. There are four archetypes: Arcane, Divine, Expert and Martial. There are other ways to get ranks in skills or talents, but there are no other ways to gain unique advancement options except through your archetype.

The other important thing your archetype grants you in addition to advancement options is access to restricted talents.

The normally restricted talents that archetypes grant you access to includes: Advanced Armor Training (martial), Arcane Spell Casting (arcane), and Divine Spell Casting (divine). It also lets you ignore other requirements those talents. That’s cool for you when you want to take Tier 1 Martial Technique (usually Sweeping Strike, martial), Leadership (martial), and Prestidigitation (skill).

I have the following thoughts on each archetype:

ARCANE: If you eventually want to play something like a traditional “archmage” then this is the archetype for you! You can make effective spell casters out of the other archetypes (including martial) but this archetype automatically allows you to raise your Arcanum skill an extra time per tier (in line with maintaining +3 per tier). It also makes it easier over time to advance your knowledge skills (which include healing, larceny, seamanship and wilderness lore in addition to more traditional sage skills) and to develop lots of arcane talents. These arcane talents allow you to modify/improve your castings. You probably won't know more spells than other casters, but it might seem like it since your arcane adaptations make each spell a lot more flexible. Other Archetypes just won’t have as many arcane adaptations even if they eventually spellcast. However this Archetype does not help your physical fighting skills. In my opinion that’s potentially a problem. Because all spells inflict strain on the caster it is hard to cast spell after spell without hurting yourself or loosing actions. You will sometimes be forced to cast a spell and then do something else while the strain drains. Only then casting your next spell. If you want that “something else” to be a mundane attack, then over time those attacks will become increasingly futile.

DIVINE: If you want to play a character who is a devout follower of a deity and whose faith provides lots of divine protections from evil in addition to solid casting abilities then this is the archetype for you! This archetype provides a skill rank in your Arcanum (Cants) skill and in a combat skill and allows you to raise your Arcanum (Cants) skill an extra time per tier (in line with maintaining +3 per tier). It also makes it easy over time to advance your “social interaction” skills which could make you the party’s face. Divine provides easy access to a combination of talents that modify/improve your spell casting ability…but not quite as many as the arcane archetype. Further some devout talents give you cool defensive powers of a “paladin-y” nature. In my opinion this archetype makes some of the most initially powerful PCs, especially when combined with the Initiate background. However like the arcane archetype it does not grant extra advancement options in fighting skills leaving you with the dilemma of what to do while under strain.

EXPERT: If you want to play something that fights and casts with equal facility or has a really powerful pet then this might be the archetype for you. This might also be the archetype for you if you if you really want to have a lot of talents with the “Skill” descriptor (such as Political Maneuvering or Leadership) that generally make you more effective out of combat. This archetype does not start out granting any ranks in Arcanum or fighting skills which requires you to think carefully about races and backgrounds to meet the combat baseline. However there is a work around in the Adaptable talent which most Expert spell caster will want to take. Expert allows you to advance a small number of any types of skills an extra time allowing you (uniquely) to advance different/multiple types of casting or attacking abilities (in line with maintaining +3 per tier). This archetype also works well for someone who is satisfied by “only” being competent in combat but also wants to excel in a unique subgroup of skills – though please note that other archetypes also advance skills in certain (defined) areas (arcane=knowledge skills, divine=social skills, martial=physical skills) so being a skill monkey is not solely the purview of this archetype. While your skill advancement is the most flexible in the game, you will often feel pinched in talents since, as a rule, skill talents do not directly add to the core of your build (the two exceptions being Leadership and Loyal Companion).

MARTIAL: If you want to play something that is heavily armored and has a bewildering array of combat maneuvers beyond “simply” swinging a weapon then this is the archetype for you. This might also be the archetype for you if you want to completely ignore the bulk penalty for light armor in a skirmisher or archery type of role. This archetype gives out the most weapon and armor proficiencies at character creation, a skill rank to 3 different combat skills and the ability to advance combat skills an extra rank per tier (in line with maintaining +3 per tier). In my opinion this is also the most flexible archetype to accommodate concepts that otherwise might not be combat capable … such as “odd” background choices. If you really want to play a character that started out as a farmer, beggar or a vagabond then this might be the best archetype for you. The martial archetype is also the most generous archetype in granting talents that help your core function (in addition to pick any 2 combat talents you will also have the option to pick any 2 martial techniques).

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


Last edited by val Holryn on Tue May 06, 2014 5:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meditation on Character Building (making Mechanics work)
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 4:53 am 
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4) A Further Meditation on Other Choices

In addition to archetypes, at creation you will also pick a race, a background, and a nationality. Combined with your elective skills and any flaw you choose to take, these choices mechanically define your character. Certain backgrounds and races are sufficiently advantageous or unique to merit mention. They either open up unique opportunities or they provide terrific synergy.

RACES: Some races provide a skill rank to attack skills. They are: Kio, Ghost Scale Ss’ressen, some Dwarves (Nol Dappan & Tir Betoqi), the marokene flavor of Elorii, Humans, and Vals. Other races do not: Dark Kin, some Dwarves (Solanus Mor & Encali), most Elorii, Gnomes and other Ss’ressen.

Humans and Vals can put their extra rank in a spell casting skill. They are the only races that can do so. The other races that grant a skill rank to a fighting skill have to put it in a physical combat skill. Kio have to put their rank into Melee (balanced).

While having an extra rank in a combat skill has obvious advantages, it also interacts strongly with the Expert archetype. RACES that do not gain a rank in a combat skill generally do not combine well with the Expert archetype which also does not grant ranks in combat skills. As a result it is difficult (but not impossible) to make a dark-kin expert who has 3 ranks in an attack skill. See the Talent Adaptable and the note on the Pirate Isles background.

Ss’ressen (and some Dark-kin) have natural AR. This gives them the benefits of light or medium armor without worrying about bulk, perhaps making one aspect of the martial archetype (through advanced armor training) less useful to them.

BACKGROUNDS: Some backgrounds provide restricted talents, or provide access to them. Currently they are: Former Gladiator (Blood and Sand), Former Legionnaire (Strength of the Coryani Heart), Former Royal Marine (the Royal Marine talent), Initiate of the Gods (access to Divine Spell Casting), Shaman Initiate (access to Arcane Spell Casting: shamanism), Squire (Advanced Armor Training w/ Milandesian armors), and Templar (access to Divine Spell Casting). And from Codex of Heroes: Crusader (allows you to become a citizen of Milandir), Keeper of Traditions (access to Arcane Spell Casting: shamanism), Seeker of the Fallen (access to the Archaeologist Path without being associated with the Emerald Society), Undisciplined Psion (gives you emotionally empowered)

Those of the above backgrounds that grant access to spell casting are especially good combinations with people playing the expert archetype who want to become casters.

Character concepts that combine physical fighting with casting are also helped by those backgrounds that provide a skill rank to both a combat skill and a casting skill: Awakened Scion & Undisciplined Psion (Val only), Elder Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Elorii only, arcanum: thaumaturgy, any one combat skill), and Initiate of the Gods (Any race, Arcanum: cants, any one combat skill).

Elorii characters can start off with a raft of Weapon Mastery talents in all elorii weapons by combining the martial archetype with either Laerestri or Soldier of Retribution.
Finally the Exile/Expatriate background has the most flexibility in choosing combat and non-combat skills to create synergy with your other choices.

NATIONALITY: Nationality is usually very important to your PCs identity, but usually has a minimal impact on your character from a mechanical standpoint unless you are interested in some of the Paths that have a nationality requirement.

The one exception is for that characters interested in unarmed combat. Unarmed combat is listed as one of the national skills for the Pirate Isles. If for some reason you were committed to playing a Dark-kin Expert, then basing him out of the Pirate Isles with a background that also granted melee (unarmed) would get you to the “magic” 3 ranks at creation without costing you a talent..

ELECTIVE CHOICES
Finally you get a batch of skill points (and talents) to choose on your own. There are no restrictions on choosing skills, and this is the only step where you can “double down” to take 2 ranks in a skill you don’t yet have but want (perception doesn’t turn up much in backgrounds and might be a good candidate).

When choosing talents pay special attention to anything labeled “foundation.” This is probably the last chance you have take those talents unless you find a path that grants them.

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


Last edited by val Holryn on Tue May 06, 2014 5:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meditation on Character Building (making Mechanics work)
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 4:53 am 
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5) Advancing Your PC

Each tier opens up new levels of talents and spells. There are 10 advancements in each tier. Like character creation advancement is a holistic process. Page 273 of the Arcanis Rule Book has the tables of advancement options. Some consensus has emerged online about what options ought to be taken in each tier.

From the core advancement table a general consensus seems to have been reached that at some point each tier you should:
• Select a Path
• Gain 1 rank in a number of skills equal to 3+your passive Logic value
• +2 to all defenses
• Choose any 2 talents you meet the requirements of
• Add 1 rank to all skills that you already have ranks in
From the archetype advancement tables a consensus seems to have been reached that you should:
• Take the option that gives you ranks in a set of skills that includes the archetype’s attack skill (for example the arcane archetype grants a rank in Arcanum: x, Deceit and Stealth while the expert archetype grants a rank in any (3+your passive logic value) in skills)
• Take the option that grants two specific types of talents (for example the divine archetype grants two devout talents, one of which can be Divine Spell Casting, while the martial archetype grants 2 Combat Talents)

That only leaves 3 “slots” to choose from the other options.

There is little apparent consensus about what order to take the advancements in. The one exception is that you will want to take advancements that grant new skills (including Paths) before advancing all trained skills a rank.

PATHS: Paths grant ranks in skills and talents. Talents given to you through Paths ignore prerequisites (like archetypes). As a result Paths become an important tool in advancement and in opening up new roads of advancement. Want to be a sorcerer but hate the arcane archetype? Your only other option is to take the Apprenticed Arcanist path. Paths also help define how others identify or “label” your PC. Paths like inquisitor, centurion or knight errant are strong statements about your PCs identity.

Paths that are especially good mechanically grant access to restricted talents, grant talents you otherwise wouldn’t qualify for, advance key skills you want to maximize, add new skills you want, and/or grant talents you would otherwise have taken anyway.

A few paths stand out as having unique options:

Bowman (offers a way to pick up another Heirloom), Grandmaster (signature move allows you to use a weapon trick with your chosen weapon from another weapon), Knight Errant (grants any combat talent), Master of the Hounds (bonded companion), Sarishian Binder (access to the Binding Tradition of spells), Ulfian Ranger (offers a way to get another heirloom and a bonded companion) and Yhing Hir Horse Lord (bonded companion).

Apprentice Arcanist, Initiate Itinerate, and Spontaneously Awakened Scion all open up the ability to take various spell casting talents and grant a rank in the Arcanum skill.

The two levels of Assassin grants the talent Murderous Precision each time.

The two levels of Centurion grant the talent Leadership each time. Ditto for Knight Commander/Lord Marshal.

Bard and Elementalist each offer unique and restricted adaptations to spells.
Pit Fighter and Myrmidon each provide a skill rank to a combat skill.

The two levels of Order of St. Armon, Talon of the Hawk and Sword Sage each provide a rank to a combat skill and an Arcanum skill over the two Tiers.

Altherian Trigger Mage grants 2 ranks in Markmanship and one rank in Arcanum over 3 Tiers.

TALENTS: Some Talents improve over Tiers and are disproportionately more powerful than other talents. All the various Bloodlines (elorii and val), Spell Casting, Fighting Styles, Hawkeye, Leadership, Loyal Companion, Murderous Precision, and Weapon Mastery talents have bigger mechanical impact IMO than something like Judge of Character. They are worth looking at and building around.

EDITED 5/9: Harlequin has suggested on average that you will want to use the "improve two Attributes by +1" at least once every tier. I generally agree. But there is a lot less consensus about if it actually needs to happen every tier, or if you should double down and do this twice in a tier. I would note that "5s" and "8s" make natural break points.

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


Last edited by val Holryn on Fri May 09, 2014 3:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meditation on Character Building (making Mechanics work)
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 4:53 am 
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6) Further Meditation on Common Builds& Character Limitations

ARCHER/PISTOLEER: Kills foes from afar with a weapon. Go martial or expert. Choose a good background that supports ranged combat and look for talents that speed up or get rid of the time lost to reloading. Also look at Weapon Mastery and Hawkeye. As yet there is no Fighting Style for ranged combatants.
BOOM MAGE: Blows things up from afar. Pick a magic tradition that gives you access to elemental bolt. This can work with Eldritch, Elder, Primal or some forms of Divine. Max out your Arcanum and be sure to take the talents Adaptation: Delay Strain and Spell Affinity early. Vals and humans can put an extra skill point into casting at creation and possibly are (mechanically) the best casters.
DUAL CASTER: Uses magic from two traditions…often divine and psionic. Unless you are content using “utility” spells from one source then you must use the expert archetype to execute this build. Look for Paths that absorb some of the burden of acquiring the spell casting talents for both traditions because you are going to be starved for talents. Val is a prerequisite for this build since psionics is the only form of magic that plays nice with others.
FACE: The guy or gal who does the talking. Go divine or expert archetype for the skill support. Look at talents like Political Maneuvering.
GISH 1: Fights and casts with equal facility. Start with either Divine or (especially) the Expert Archetype. Divine is easier to realize at creation but requires a heavy investment of racial, talent and Path support to remain mechanically functional. Expert starts slower but requires little racial, talent and Path support down the road to execute the build. Sweeping Strike + Mental Scream = attacking multiple melee foes every time your clock comes up.
GISH 2: If you are content with a smaller repertoire of spells you can use at combat grade then Sword & Spell and its various derivatives are another option to fight and cast.
HEALER: Why am I not popular anymore? Most parties in most mods will not need a dedicated healer. This is because you effectively heal up to full for free after any kind of short rest. The talent Leadership gives good healing abilities. Die Hard grants some self-healing. The spell Diminish Fatigue also heals in combat.
HOLY CHAMPION: Aren’t you a paladin? Build using the divine, expert or martial archetypes. You want to gain access to devout talents so the backgrounds Initiate itinerant and templar backgrounds are worth serious consideration, especially if you are not of the divine archetype. Templar opens up the talent Smite Infidel.
SCOUT/ASSASSIN: The guy or gal who relies on stealth to sneak around and stab someone where it hurts. Go martial or expert for the skill support. Look at the talents Waylay and Murderous Precision. The Former Scout background is currently superior mechanically than anything else to support this concept at creation.
TANK: A heavily armored character that is hard to seriously hurt. Start with the Martial Archetype for Advanced Armor Training. Divine or Expert Archetypes can also work with either the Ss’ressen race (or even an armored Dar-Kin) or the Squire or Former Royal Marine backgrounds. Think hard about using the Heirloom talent to get a heavy suit of armor.
TWO-WEAPON FIGHTER: Kills one foe up close. Go martial. Get Two Weapon Fighting, Martial Technique: Spinning Strike and combine with the Balanced Blades stance to get your attack penalties down to -1/-1 when you have a light weapon in your off hand. Good synergy with Huge. Expert also plays well with melee attacks but is often starved for talents and has a harder time with heavy armor.

Limitations

You can do almost anything, but you can’t do everything.

You already know that in theory, but have you thought about that specifically with talents? One major limitation in builds is talents. You’ll get two of your choice and almost certainly 2 more that are somewhat limited by Archetype per tier. If you are investing in Leadership, or Spell Casting (etc etc) take a moment to make sure you will have enough talents available to advance them. They can go fast. Obviously you can’t advance everything. If you want to be good in melee then Weapon Mastery is still the best thing out there, along with Murderous Precision, Smite Infidel and the Fighting Styles. Spell Casting is simpler because very few chains augment Spell casting the same way the above talents make you tougher in combat.

For skills you want to do something really well in combat. And out of combat, even if you aren’t a pro, there are several “themes” that repeat often enough that you’ll want to think about how you’ll contribute.

INVESTIGATION: What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Perception is the king skill here to advance the plot but you might also like Empathy, Heal (for impromptu autopsies), Knowledge (?) or Streetwise to turn up/catch clues.
PHYSICAL EXERTION: Do you have ranks in Athletics? Athletics can come up a lot. Swimming? Digging out of a collapsed mine? Jumping? Climbing? Athletic checks. Other skills that might be useful are Acrobatics, Mettle, Ride (situational) & Seamanship (situational).
SOCIAL ENCOUNTERS: Do you have ranks in Persuasion? Negotiations and interviewing NPCs happens all the time in Arcanis. Deceit, Empathy, Etiquette and Intimidate (situational) also contribute.
WILDERNESS/EXPLORATION: You’ll spend a lot of time traveling in the boondocks and dungeons of the known world. Wilderness Lore is often useful to avoid perils. Larceny, Mettle, Perception, & Tracking can also help get you from the Intro to the Main Event.

EDITED 5/9/14: Nierite has correctly pointed out that the Arcane Archetype is perfectly capable of being *very* sneaky since they get automatically get the skills deceit and stealth whenever they raise Arcanum:X as their archetype skill option. As such the Arcane Archetype is a pretty good choice for a player who is interested in playing a SCOUT/ASSASSIN

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


Last edited by val Holryn on Fri May 09, 2014 3:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meditation on Character Building (making Mechanics work)
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 9:34 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:03 pm
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Location: Mahwah, NJ
Great essays, Eric! An excellent read. I am going to provide to some of the new players in my area.

_________________
Joe Cirillo
Legends of Arcanis Assistant Campaign Director


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 Post subject: Re: Meditation on Character Building (making Mechanics work)
PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 9:20 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:44 pm
Posts: 145
Location: Cajun Country
Nice write up. I would add that you can use the implications of the mechanics to further flesh out your character as well. For example You know you will want to go down a certain path for the mechanics to meet your vision. Now look at the path requirements and any groups associated with it, how does being part of those groups or what kind of person takes those talents impacts who your character is. I do this repeatedly during character creation rotating between finding mechanics to fit my idea and using those mechanics to build their personality and evolve them. This itterative process often leads me to characters that aren't just generic "holy warrior of x" but far more realistic people and they often have become something different than my original idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Meditation on Character Building (making Mechanics work)
PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 10:22 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:47 am
Posts: 2436
Location: Central Alberta
1 point of contention on 'basic' build paradigms: For Assassins, few things work better than an Arcane Archetype. Sure, Experts allow you to build to the social character, but Arcane already grant Stealth and Deceit, and many skills (such as Psionics) allow for very effective sneaking.

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Legends of Arcanis Campaign Staff
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Haakon Marcus val'Virdan, Divine Holy Judge of Nier
Ruma val'Vasik, Martial Crusader and Master of the Spear
Jorma Osterman, Arcane Coryani Battlemage


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