Adventures of the Dread Sea
Great heroes are more than a collection of statistics and numbers, but in a game system this is certainly where they begin. Grab a character sheet and get started!
For help “jump starting” the concept for your character check out the Archetypes page.
A great variety of humans people the land around the Dread Sea. While humans are the dominant (and only playable) race, they come from a great variety of cultures: the Ivory Savannah Tribes, the Cairn Lords, the Imperials, the Jademen, the Northlanders, the Tricarnians, and the Valk. It is recommended that selection of a race be made in conjunction with the reading of the background entry of the culture, as it will certainly be useful for characterization to understand the region from which the character hails.
Characters are defined by attributes and skills, collectively called “Traits,” and both work in exactly the same way. Attributes and skills are ranked by die types, from a d4 to a d12, with d6 being the average for adult humans.
Every character starts with a d4 in each attribute, and has 5 points with which to raise them. Raising a d4 to a d6, for example, costs 1 point. You’re free to spend these points however you want with one exception: no attribute may be raised above a d12. A word of caution: see how skills are tied to attributes below.
- Agility is your hero’s nimbleness, quickness, and dexterity. Agility is tied to your hero’s ability to fight.
- Smarts is a measure of how well your character knows his world and culture, how well he thinks on his feet, and mental agility.
- Spirit reflects inner wisdom and willpower. Spirit is very important as it helps your character recover from being Shaken.
- Strength is raw physical power and general fitness. Strength is also used to generate your warrior’s damage in hand-to-hand combat.
- Vigor represents endurance, resistance to disease, poison, or toxins, and how much pain and physical damage a hero can shake off.
Skills are learned abilities such as shooting, fighting, specific knowledge, professional aptitudes, and so on. These are very general descriptions which cover all related aspects. Shooting, for example, covers bows, crossbows, and other ranged weapons.
You have 15 skill points to distribute among your skills. Each die type costs 1 point (which gains a d4 in that skill) as long as the skill is equal to or less than the attribute it’s linked to (listed beside the skill in parentheses). If you exceed the attribute, the cost becomes 2 points per die type.
As with attributes, no skill may be increased above d12.
Example: Fighting is linked to Agility. A character with a d8 Agility can buy Fighting for one point per die type to d8. Buying a d10 costs 2 points, and a d12 costs another 2 points.
Your character sheet contains a few other statistics you need to fill in, described below.
- Charisma is a measure of your character’s appearance, manner, and general likability. It’s 0 unless you have Edges or Hindrances that modify it. Charisma is added to Persuasion and Streetwise rolls, and is used by the GM to figure out how nonplayer characters react to your hero.
- Pace is how fast your character moves in a standard combat round. Humans walk 6” in a round and can move an additional 1d6” if they run. Write “6” on your character sheet beside the word Pace. In the Savage Worlds Core Rules on the table-top (or map)—every inch there represents 2 yards in the “real world.” For our purposes (coming over from D20) each inch will equal 5 feet. Since this is just under 2 yards, it will have no real game effect.
- Parry is equal to 2 plus half your character’s Fighting (2 if a character does not have Fighting), plus any bonuses for shields or certain weapons. This is the Target Number (TN) to hit your hero in hand-to-hand combat. For stats such as d12+1, add half the fixed modifier, rounded down. For instance, a Fighting skill of d12+1 grants a Parry of 8 (2+half of d12), whereas a d12+2 gives a Parry of 9 (2+half of d12+2).
- Toughness is your hero’s damage threshold. Anything over this causes him to be rattled or worse. Toughness is 2 plus half your hero’s Vigor, plus Armor. Use the armor worn on his torso, as this number will only change if an enemy specifically attacks (with a penalty) a lesser armored area. Vigor over a d12 is calculated just like Parry.
3. Edges & Hindrances
Great heroes are far more than a collection of skills and attributes. It’s their unique gifts, special powers, and tragic flaws that truly make them interesting characters.
Characters can take Edges by balancing them out with Hindrances. You’ll find a complete list of Edges and Hindrances on pp 28-42 of the Savage Worlds Core Book. New, as well as restricted and modified Edges and Hindrances are described in the wiki or in the Beasts & Barbarians Core Book.
You can take one Major Hindrance and two Minor Hindrances. A Major Hindrance gains you 2 points, and a Minor Hindrance is worth 1 point.
For 2 points you can:
• Raise an attribute one die type, or
• Choose an Edge
For 1 point you can:
• Gain another skill point, or
• Gain additional money equal to your starting funds (if you start with $500, you gain an additional $500)
Next you need to purchase equipment. The common currency of the Dread Sea Dominions is the
Syranthian Moon. A Moon is equal to $1, so you can pick items from the Savage Worlds Core Rules (chapter 2) without any need to do mathematical conversions. In Beasts & Barbariansyour hero begins with 500 moons.
After the equipment has been purchased, all the unused money goes into the characters’Savings. During the creation phase, the players can ignore the Rare feature, as long as they justify strange items with their background. Gear specific to the Dread Seas Dominions can be found in chapter 4 of the Beasts & BarbariansCore Book.
5. Background Details
Finish your character by filling in any history or background you care to. Ask yourself why your hero is where she is and what her goals are. Or you can just start playing and fill in these details as they become important.
You might also want to talk to the other players. Maybe your characters know each other right from the start. Or you might collectively decide to optimize your group a bit and ensure you’ve got a good assortment of skills and abilities.
This may sound like something you would find on a job application, but in this case coming up with at least three references will help you better round out your character. These references do not have to be family members, friends or even people who like your character they are just three individuals that your character has had dealings with in the past prior to the current campaign. The details on the three can be as brief or as detailed as you want.
“Anteus? He’s a killer! I saw him fight four men in the Coliseum a year ago in Gis. He tore through them as if they were made of papyrus and he did it bare handed! I saw him crush one gladiator’s windpipe with his boot heel.” – Jamaal, the wine merchant
“The kindest man I’ve ever met. My daughter was pregnant and having a bad time of it. Anteus lived in the room down the hall from us. When I couldn’t find work and we were about to be kicked out, Anteus paid our rent and when the time game for my daughter to give birth he helped deliver the baby! Can you believe it? I know of his reputation in the arena, but to me the man is a saint” – Sofia, the washer woman
“He’s the gladiator that travels with the Tricarnian woman eh? She’s a looker that one. But don’t let him hear you say a word about her. He’s the jealous type, y’know. Last week some young bravo whistled at her and made a remark. Anteus charged him like a bull and smashed his teeth in. That’s one poor fool that won’t be whistling again anytime soon.” – Arik, the Barber.