Let's make a character for..... Lejendary Adventure

AsenRG

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Ok now the whole point of an RPG is to enable sociopathic players to wander a fantasy world and kill wantonly. To do that we need combat stats. Let's go figure those out.
Is that a quote from the book:tongue:?

And me as well, but we are only 2 data points on a self selected group who enjoy game design.
Point taken...or is it a "zero, point X" taken:grin:?

Ask people you know, see how long it takes. They likely will resort to there phone.
No, they actually resort to asking me to calculate it for them and say it's faster...:evil:
But agreed.

I used to think that this stuff was easy for most (I believe FGU thought the same) until such games got to the table. Even when a player could do such math readily, they oft asked why? Why the fiddly math to a percentage point (or here even fractions)?
Well, yes. Even I ask that:gunslinger:!
I mean, 2d6 systems can't even calculate different percent numbers...and they still work just fine.
Now, I can see the point of being exact to the percentile point, for those rare cases where you roll 63 and whether you've got 63 or 62 matters...but unless we're playing a d1000 system, what's the damn point in calculating fractions of a percent? Approximation is a legal operation even in maths, I've been told!

Then even it was all said and done the error rate was non-zero, requiring checking (ugg). One could say live with the errors no big deal, but if that’s the case why track things to a percentile?

So overall my experience is in theory and when the motivated GM uses such systems it seems fine, until you got 4 players at the table trying it, then it’s far slower than you imagined.
My experience is the opposite. In such cases, everything goes as fast as I can process it, which is, luckily, quite fast.
Or at least it's much faster than waiting most of my players to calculate their own combat pools in a dicepool system where such numbers change round to round, when I've got enough time to brew tea while running a combat:coffee:!
 

Bunch

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Let's continue with.....Damage! Or as itsi referred to in LA, Harm. HarmsH pretty simple. Look at the weapons harm Range and roll a die. But there's modifiers.
+1 point of harm for each point of Precision over 100
+1 point of harm for each point of weapon ability score over 100
+1 point of harm for each 10 points of Physique ability score
+1 point of harm for each point of Extraordinary bonus.

Harm is reduced by armor or natural damage reduction. Armor is interesting. It has a Max damage absorbtion per attack as well as a Max damage absorbable. Armor can be repaired but if it goes to zero you have to buy new stuff.
 

xanther

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.....

Harm is reduced by armor or natural damage reduction. Armor is interesting. It has a Max damage absorbtion per attack as well as a Max damage absorbable. Armor can be repaired but if it goes to zero you have to buy new stuff.
What! Now I know this wasn't written by Gary. :smile: He railed against such approaches (armor reduces damage) at every opportunity it seemed in the Dragon. Next you'll be telling me there is some sort of spell point system.

Ooooh the allure of armor taking damage. I was under that spell for a while (think '82, then '89-'90), tracking the damage was so much fun (not) for the minor benefit, but the players did get very creative about how to bring along extra armor. Found it to work better for shields as an option.
 

AsenRG

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What! Now I know this wasn't written by Gary. :smile: He railed against such approaches (armor reduces damage) at every opportunity it seemed in the Dragon. Next you'll be telling me there is some sort of spell point system.
Wasn't this the system he made to be As Different From D&D As Possible after a lawsuit from T$R...sorry, by TSR:tongue:?
Or maybe he had made it to be more in line with his buddy's Dave Arneson's ideas? It seems Arneson was very much in favor of such ideas, as evidenced by some character sheets from his games, which are almost RQ/Traveller-like, and by his Adventures in Fantasy system...and by the fact that his Blackmoor manuscript had hit locations (which seldom go well without armour-as-damage-reduction).
Just food for thought.
Also, I can very easily make you a system for armour taking damage which won't involve any bookkeping. Players are still going to hate it, though. Well, some players would, at least:shade:.
Write your "touch" AC+your level (or LVL/2), and your "full" AC. When the GM announces the hit, compare to the touch+level. If it misses, go ahead. If it's more than the "full" AC, also go ahead and roll damage.
If it's between the two, you can either roll damage, or you can avoid it. But then you roll a die, according to a table with weapon types and armour types, and if you roll badly, your armour loses 1 AC.
Much simpler, right? Nothing to track unless the armour is actually damaged - then you only have to track "by how much", which is a single number.
And as an additional bonus, you can make it that you can add your level (maybe lvl/2) to your armour class when unarmoured. So experienced adventurers would still want a heavy suit of armour, but wouldn't bother if nothing good is available...making it more suitable for an S&S game, because the characters would be better-protected even without armour.
I might actually have to write it as an OSR game with this premise, now that I think about it:devil:!
 

xanther

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Wasn't this the system he made to be As Different From D&D As Possible after a lawsuit from T$R...sorry, by TSR:tongue:?
Or maybe he had made it to be more in line with his buddy's Dave Arneson's ideas? It seems Arneson was very much in favor of such ideas, as evidenced by some character sheets from his games, which are almost RQ/Traveller-like, and by his Adventures in Fantasy system...and by the fact that his Blackmoor manuscript had hit locations (which seldom go well without armour-as-damage-reduction).
Just food for thought.
Oh I get all that. We tried using the Blackmoor hit location system for a while in our OD&D game, more trouble that it was worth. It's just the disconnect where Gary sings the praises of LA, it being a game that incorporates so many rule mechanics he called unworkable and inferior to D&D when he was running the show at TSR. It's also not like his version of these mechanics were much different than what had come before.

Also, I can very easily make you a system for armour taking damage which won't involve any bookkeping.
Now that I'd like to see, unless it is more a saving throw and its an all or nothing thing. Don't need yet another layer of rolls in combat. So far I've only see track armor "HP" or armor makes a "save" to avoid being useless. The worse, to me, is armor makes a "save" or suffers "HP" damage.

Oops missed expanding the spoiler before I wrote that...

Write your "touch" AC+your level (or LVL/2), and your "full" AC. When the GM announces the hit, compare to the touch+level. If it misses, go ahead. If it's more than the "full" AC, also go ahead and roll damage.
If it's between the two, you can either roll damage, or you can avoid it. But then you roll a die, according to a table with weapon types and armour types, and if you roll badly, your armour loses 1 AC.
Much simpler, right? Nothing to track unless the armour is actually damaged - then you only have to track "by how much", which is a single number.
It's certainly simpler than armor having "HP" as you decrease the AC value directly. I like that.

But overall, not very simple as you have two AC (I assume this is because armor doesn't itself lower damage), you may need to make an extra roll that requires a table look-up that requires someone to cross reference two pieces of information: weapon type v armor type, for the armor to make it's saving throw. Sounds like the old AD&D weapon v AC table.

Simpler would be a player can declare they are letting the armor take all the damage at the expense of it losing 1 AC or more. I'd place a cap on how much damage in a single round armor could take; but something easy to calculate like a straight x2 AC, x5 AC or the like.
If you want to account for weapons types designed to penetrate armor I'd give them a fictitious increased damage versus the "let the armor take the damage" option that is only used when the player declares that option. No extra rolls, no table look-ups.

Of course, to live everyone will take such an option, including NPCs.
 

AsenRG

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Oh I get all that. We tried using the Blackmoor hit location system for a while in our OD&D game, more trouble that it was worth. It's just the disconnect where Gary sings the praises of LA, it being a game that incorporates so many rule mechanics he called unworkable and inferior to D&D when he was running the show at TSR. It's also not like his version of these mechanics were much different than what had come before.
One would almost think that he was dumping on the alternative games, right:grin:? I mean, it almost makes sense for someone at the helm of TSR to do that...if the other game is too similar, you can sue them. If it's different, you've already proclaimed it inferior because of that!
But who would stoop to that? Certainly not Gary Gygax, right:tongue:?

Now that I'd like to see, unless it is more a saving throw and its an all or nothing thing. Don't need yet another layer of rolls in combat. So far I've only see track armor "HP" or armor makes a "save" to avoid being useless. The worse, to me, is armor makes a "save" or suffers "HP" damage.

Oops missed expanding the spoiler before I wrote that...


It's certainly simpler than armor having "HP" as you decrease the AC value directly. I like that.
Yeah, I'm doing it to avoid the "all or nothing" option:smile:.

But overall, not very simple as you have two AC (I assume this is because armor doesn't itself lower damage), you may need to make an extra roll that requires a table look-up that requires someone to cross reference two pieces of information: weapon type v armor type, for the armor to make it's saving throw. Sounds like the old AD&D weapon v AC table.
Actually, it's got two goals. If I was just making a save, I'd have made it a player decision with fixed DR, as you say. That's what I started with, but I decided against the "decision" element, because when I've been hit outside of the armour, and let me tell you, it never was a choice I would have made:wink:!
And I also decided to use it to make higher-level PCs gradually less reliant on armour:wink:. Hence, two ACs compared to one attack roll.
Of course, it is more complicated! Additional options seldom make stuff less complicated... the point is not to overburden it.
Also, I like Weapon vs Armour mechanics (Classic Traveller is my favourite iteration of Armour-as-Damage-Protection system, at least in principle though I don't always like the numbers - and in the OSR, I like Spellcraft and Swordplay). So it's not a layer of complexity that I'd want to avoid.
In the end, it's an armour save mechanic the way I'd like to use it. Other people, like you, might find a simpler variant better for their goals.
 

Bunch

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Ok a little more updates.

I completely skipped over Orders. Orders are a bit like a class or maybe a runelord from the original Runequest. You have to meet certain requirements for each level/rank in the order. Obtaining those ranks gives bonuses.

There's a 'no order' order as well.

Honestly the system seems fine so far. You pick a race, pick stats that guarantee you can fit into an order, pick some abilities and get some stuff. My largest complaint has been dealing with starting wealth and the associated tables.

I feel like any area I'm currently confused about is probably covered in the full rules. My copy is essentially a Basic style boxed set. The whole thing suffers from Troll Lord's general editing issues and pretty poor production quality.
 

Bunch

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No RPGs fit that description!
Oh I'm not much of a sticker when it comes to things like this. The paper and print feel low quality and some of the pages are printed at a slight but noticable angle.
 

Lunamancer

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I apologize for the lateness of my reply. I do periodic google searches for Lejendary Adventure, and I usually catch these posts 6-24 months after the fact.

Since I'm new here, just a few things about me. I was one of the more avid fans of LA back in the day. I am responsible for a small amount of material that showed up in LA publications, but not a lot. For the most part, I avoided writing material because I saw myself just as a guy who plays the game. To this day, my Lejendary Adventure group is still actively playing on a weekly basis.

A few comments on what's been posted here so far:

- Character creation is relatively simple, but the real intent was for the process to be fun. It's what hooked me into the game. I created my first Avatar in 1997 while the game was still in beta, and it took me about a half hour to create my first Avatar. That's without having an actual book and just scrolling through a manuscript with no layout at all. As a more experienced player, I'd say it takes less than 10 minutes for me to create an Avatar. Though that's still too slow for my tastes sometimes, so I've created some homebrew tools for highly lethal campaigns for players to get a new Avatar into play in under 5 minutes. It can and often does come up with stat sets that you really can't get using the official system. And for D&D, particularly the newer versions, and a lot of other RPGs, that's usually problem. It's perfectly fine in LA.

- I've been reading the reviews for 20 years now. Criticisms of the terminology of the game are over-exaggerated. Officially, the term "character" is perfectly kosher. It's "Avatar Character" often abbreviated as "AC" or "Avatar" or "Character." The term "character" is literally in the glossary of the main book. "Lejend Master" is likewise officially interchangeable with "Game Master." The thing is, the people who play Lejendary Adventure got to using the terms "Avatar" and "LM" as the preferred terms, completely organically. And it's not surprising. In Gary Gygax's "Dangerous Journeys" fans came to use the term JM/Journey Master, but this term does not appear in the core book at all. Only GM/Game Master is used.

Other terms the game uses are "activations" or "powers" rather than "spells." I've used the term "power" in hardcore AD&D 1st Ed communities without ever explaining what I meant by the term. Nobody ever questioned it. Everyone knew what it meant, and it never seemed awkward. In that case, it's the most natural term possible. Especially since unlike 1E, in LA magic uses the exact same system and mechanics as psionics (which Gary terms psychogenics, as he feels the term psionics implies technological enhancements to mind powers). His use of the terms Grade, Rank, and Order is actually a throwback to a passage in the 1E PHB explaining how the term "Level" has four different meanings in the game, which has confused some people (Huh? I need to be 7th level to cast a 4th level spell?)

The only completely foreign terms the game frequently references are Action Blocks/ABs (which is what you use for general movement and exploration) and Action Block Counts/ABC's (which is what you use for combat rounds). Given how absurd the claims of TSR's lawsuit over Dangerous Journeys were, it's hard not to conclude that Gary just had to arbitrarily rename things. But that is definitely not the whole story. The terms Gary used were really well thought-out. For instance, he didn't use the term "Ilf" because he was afraid of using "Elf." He actually DOES use elf in the game, and has a couple of types of them: Thicket Elves and Grotto Elves. They are lumped in under the heading of "Wylf" as a playable race in the game. Ilf is something different. Similar, but different. He has a whole hierarchy of "fair alfar" races.

-The quality of the printed products is said to be on par with the 80s. And I say, no, it's actually worse than 80's style. Nowadays, we're overly complacent with our spell-checkers and copy & paste, and this has been the source of many errors in LA. It's also the source of errors in many RPGs in the late 90s all the way up today. The standards of published RPGs have actually declined, not improved since the 80's. Pretty pictures and glossy covers serve to blow a lot of smoke, but I'd kill to have the 80's quality standards back.

One thing I have to point out, though, not because it's an excuse but because it's something that is lost in hindsight, at the time the LA products were being published, there was a lot of excitement among fans who were impatient. The demand for the next supplement to come out sooner rather than later surpassed the demand for every last thing to be perfect. I don't think anyone would have preferred to wait an additional month or two for additional stringent proof-reads. It's a real-world constraint. Perfect is not better than good enough.

- In addition to a weekly Lejendary Adventure game, I also still have an active AD&D 1E group. I love how LA not only has "critical hits" but several different flavors of critical hits. One type has you bypass armor (it's an armor absorb system). Another type has you do bonus harm. And a third type has you do maximum harm and bypass armor. That said, I have no desire to put any kind of critical hits into AD&D. In AD&D, the baseline characters--0th levels--usually die in one hit as it is. And this is appropriate given the one-minute combat rounds it uses. The point is, if I don't have to either strictly love or hate crits across the board regardless of the RPG, then neither did Gary. You just have to figure out whatever feels just right for your campaign, and that's pretty much the end of the mystery there.

- Example of Combat. I actually think it's easier to get a feel for the game, especially combat, by skipping the main book and going straight to the monster book. So here's a Knight vs a Giant

First a look at the stat blocks:
Knight
Health: 70, Precision: 50, Speed: 12 (9 adjusted)
Attack: Short Pole-Arm (4-20 +16 harm)
Defense: Full Steel Plate Armor and Standard Shield (20 total Armor Protection)

Giant
Health: 110, Precision: 65, Speed: 6 (18 moving)
Attacks: Spiked Great Club (8-20 +14 harm)
Defense: Size and Hide Garments (8 Armor Protection)

The game offers 3 different initiative systems, depending upon the level of detail you want. I'll use the mid-level detail here, which is each side rolls d10 + Speed BR. Since this deals with physical reaction time, the knight will use his adjusted Speed of 9, this figuring in the burden of his armor, and the Giant will use his attacking Speed of 6 (rather than the 18 that serves as basis for his movement rate).

The knight approaches slowly and cautiously as being careless might give an advantage to the giant who has a greater reach. Combat begins. First ABC:

Knight rolls 6, +9 for Speed = 15, Giant rolls 7, +6 for Speed = 13. Knight goes first.
Knight rolls 52 on percentile dice. He needs to roll Precision or under. So he missed by 2.
Giant rolls 67 on percentile. He also needs to roll Precision or under, so he also misses by 2.

Next ABC. Knight rolls 8+9 = 17, Giant rolls 3+6 = 9. Knight goes first again.
Knight rolls 80 on percentile dice, missing by 30.
The giant rolls 52 on percentile. He hits, and rolls d20 for harm. He rolls 9 +14 = 23 harm.
The knight armor and shield resist 20 points of that, reducing harm to 3. The knight's health falls to 67.

Third ABC. Knight rolls 6+9 = 15, Giant rolls 4+6 = 10. Knight goes first.
The knight rolls 53, missing by 3 points.
The giant rolls 25 and hits. Then on d20 rolls 14 +14 = 28.
Less the knights armor reduces harm to 8, and the knight is now down to 59 Health.

Fourth ABC, the knight's initiative is 10, the giant's is 8.
This time the knight rolls 30 and hits. The harm die rolls 19 +16 = 35.
The giants size and garments effectively reduce the blow to 27, and the giant now has 83 Health.
The giant's counterattack his as well, he rolls 6 for harm, but this is bumped to 8 because of the minimum weapon harm of 8. Adding his strength in, the total is 22 harm. The knight's armor absorbs 20 points again and the knight is down to 57 Health.


This gives you an idea of the basics.

If for monsters and stock non-Avatar character types, Precision is used to determine if they score a hit or not. But for characters with Avatar level of detail, it's mainly going to be the Weapons Ability that determines hit. Other Abilities may apply bonuses. The knight's full stats probably look something like this:

Health: 70, Precision 45, Speed 12
Chivalry 70 (+14% to hit, +14 harm bonus)
Weapons 36
Hunt 27
Physique 28 (+2 harm bonus)
Scrutiny 10

Hit probability: 36 (weapons) + 14 (chivalry) = 50
Harm bonus: 14 (chivalry) + 2 (physique) = +16

Note, you wouldn't actually convert back and forth between the two formats. The simplified format from the monster book is just to get you to the bottom line without a lot of additional information and is mainly intended for stock non-player characters.


The game also has minor rules and an overall tone that encourages combat to be run in a less mechanical, more fast and loose type of way. So continuing on through the next action block (ABCs 5-8):

For initiative, the knight gets a 19, the giant gets a 7. Because the difference is greater than 10, the LM rules the knight will get a free second attack against the giant (this is not an actual rule in the game, but it's the sort of adjudication LMs are encouraged to make).
The knight rolls a 21 to hit, and a 3 for harm. Minimum harm on the weapon is 4, so it will count as 4, plus the knight's bonus of 16 means the giant is hit for 20 harm. Less the giant's armor protection, the giant suffers 12 harm and is now down to 71 health.
The knight rolls a 22 to hit on the free attack and a 10 for harm, totaling another 26 harm, less 8, is 18, so the giant is now down to 53 Health.
The giant's counter attack is slow but powerful, hitting with a 54, for 13+14=27 harm. The knights armor and shield absorb all but 7 points, but the blow is so forceful the LM rules that the knight must check Physique or else have the shield ripped away from him. (Again, this is not a rule, but the LM adjudicated to balance out the knight's earlier advantage). The knight rolls 35, not quite good enough. So now the Knight's effective armor protection is only 12, but his adjusted Speed is now 10 instead of 9. And remaining Health for the Knight is 50.

Initiative, the knight rolls 1+10 = 11, and the giant rolls 6+6 = 12. The giant goes first this time.
As the giant's crushing blow comes down on the knight, the knight opts to dive to avoid the attack (this IS in the rules). Since the knight lost initiative, the probability is equal to the knight's own adjusted Speed BR (10), with a 10% bonus for every point of Speed he is faster than his opponent, or +40% for a total of 50% likely to avoid the giant's blow. The knight rolls a 36, so he dives, avoiding the giant's blow and placing him right by his shield. The knight must now make a Precision check to get to a half-prone position within the same ABC. He rolls a 98 and fails. He is prone and will have to use his next turn getting back up to his feet.

Initiative, the knight rolls 10+9 = 19 (he's got his shield back) and the giant rolls 2+6 = 8. The knight goes first, but has to spend his turn getting back to his feet. Meanwhile the giant strikes again. 43 on the to hit, 12+14 = 26 harm. The knight takes another 6 harm, down to 44 Health.

Initiative is 16 vs 8 in favor of the knight again.
The knight rolls 04. This is less than one-tenth the number he needed to hit, so this is a special hit that will bypass armor. Then the knight's harm roll is a natural 20. This means an extra d10 bonus harm on top of everything else. All told the knight scores 43 harm on the giant, ignoring armor. This drops the giant down to 10 health.
The giant returns with a beefy blow of his own, rolling a 57 to hit and 19 harm (+14 = 33). The knight is struck down to 31 Health. This is also the sixth hit his shield has taken in this battle, absorbing a total of 48 harm. It's more than half destroyed at this point.

And so ends the second Action Block. Again, it's a taste of the feel of LA combat, and it's without really spending much time examining what the Abilities do. Obviously, Avatars in combat will sometimes have other interesting options that can vary the flow of things even more. Luck Ability gives a free dodge probability every ABC. Minstrelsy can mitigate harm if the Avatar focuses on fancy footwork, which does take a little away from the Avatar's hit probability. Unarmed Combat and Swashbuckling do a similar thing only without any penalty but only work if the Avatar has 0 armor penalty. Swashbuckling also gives bonuses to parrying. The game does have parrying rules which are excellent that I have not included in my example. Combat doesn't always take this long considering average humans only have 20 Health.
 

Bunch

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@Lunamancer Thanks for the combat example!

I would be interested in you looking at my character generation example and giving corrections for where I got it wrong. Overall I thought the essentials set had descent character generation instructions. In the full rules do they have the same large number of roles for starting wealth? It seemed like the most complicated part of chargen.

I'm going to disagree on terminology not being an issue. If Gary had to do it to get around TSR lawsuits I get it but it's a pain and annoying. Almost No one's first RPG is this game. We all know D&D terminology. If you use it it speeds understanding up. If you don't it slows it down. If you're slowing it down it better be for a good reason and to me it didn't come across that way.
 

Lunamancer

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@Lunamancer Thanks for the combat example!

I would be interested in you looking at my character generation example and giving corrections for where I got it wrong. Overall I thought the essentials set had descent character generation instructions. In the full rules do they have the same large number of roles for starting wealth? It seemed like the most complicated part of chargen.
Most of it looks good. Just a few things jumped out at me.

For a kobold the mins and Max for each stat are:
Health 40-70
Precision 20-50
Speed 10-14
I'm going with 50,40,10.
50/40/10 is a great spread by the way, especially when you're still learning the system. I'm also partial to 48/40/12.

Now each race gets a certain dice addition to each stat. For K's it's 2d6+2,1d12+2,1d4 half points +2. My rolls are 7,9,4.5 for new stats of 57,49,14.5
I'm not sure how to get 4.5 out of d4 half points, plus 2. I'm guessing it's just an oversight error. It seems you understand it correctly, that the d4 are half points, but the +2 is full points. In the original LR4AP this wasn't as clear as it could have been.

Mandatory abilities:
Stealth at 90% of precision
Commerce at 80% of health
Evaluation at 70% of health
I get to choose two more. One at 100% of ability and one at 60% of ability. Oh I'm picking swashbuckling at 100% and Stealing at 60%

So when you pick an ability they add to one or more of your base ratings. Swashbuckling adds to 1 to health and precision and .25 to speed.
Stealing adds +2 to precision.

Ok current stats Health 58, Precision 52, Speed 14.75
So far so good here. One thing I would say--and just to be clear, you are not wrong here at all--is that there were three Abilities officially added to the game after publication of LR4AP. OF the three, I believe only Swashbuckling made it into essentials. The reason I bring it up is, the Excluded/Restricted lists were written before this ability was added to the game. It's not clear to me if the intent in Essentials was to allow it to be chosen freely, or if it was just a failure to update. So each LM is going to have to decide for themselves. Swashbuckling does seem fitting for a Kobold though, so no problems here.

At this point base ratings are fixed I think. Now I can figure my skills.
Swashbuckling is 100% of (and this is oddly complicated compared to other abilities.) the sum of the three base ratings where speed is multiplied by four to bring it up and then divide the sum by three. So that's (58+52+(4*14.75))/3= Swashbuckling 56.33
Stealth 46.8
Commerce 46.4
Evaluation 40
Stealing 31.2
One thing that may be helpful to keep in mind, all Speed-based Abilities use Speed x4 as their basis. So Swashbuckling is essentially looking to take an average of the 3 base ratings, with the understanding Speed is always multiplied by 4 for purposes of initial Ability scores. I don't recall if Unarmed Combat was included in Essentials or not, but that Ability also uses an average of the three.

Crap I was supposed to add two points each to health to commerce and evaluation and two to precision for stealth. I don't want to recalculate.
Actually, you did it right. No bonus is given for Mandatory Abilities. It's already figured into the die additions, Kobold is one of the odd balls, but if you look at most races, you'll notice the number added to the random die additions correlates with what the initial bonus would be for their mandatory abilities. Notice the dwarf, for example, has 3 Health-based Mandatory Abilities, and lo and behold, their dice additions to BRs are 3d6+6 for Health, 1d10(+0) for Precision, and 1d3 halfs (+0) for Speed.

Oh oops I need to add one more abilities at 10% and since I haven't picked a weapon ability so far I believe I'm required to do that now. I should have added another 2 points to precision before calculation.
So Weapons is at 5.2%.
You are correct that the bonus Ability must be weapons if you don't already have that Ability. But the bonus Ability begins at a score of 10, regardless of Base Ratings. It also does not add to initial Base Ratings, nor does it provide any equipment picks.

Speaking of equipment picks, there was an error regarding equipment picks for non-human Avatars in LR4AP and I'm not sure it was ever made accurate in Essentials. It almost doesn't matter. The error lingered for so long, I think everyone may just have their own way of doing it. My understanding of how it's supposed to be, based on my conversations with Gary Gygax

I'm going to disagree on terminology not being an issue.
Well, not so fast. I didn't say terminology is not an issue. I said the problems were exaggerated. Specifically, I mean some of the criticisms are factually incorrect. LR4AP has a glossary right at the beginning of the book. Right in the glossary you'll see this entry: "Character: A character is the imaginary person appearing in the game. A character is also known as an Avatar in this game. Characters may be run by players of by the LM."

I don't recall if that glossary made it to Essentials. But the game actually does use the term character.

If Gary had to do it to get around TSR lawsuits I get it but it's a pain and annoying. Almost No one's first RPG is this game. We all know D&D terminology. If you use it it speeds understanding up. If you don't it slows it down.
This argument falls a bit flat when you start talking specifics. For instance, the first time I played an RPG that wasn't D&D, it was WEG Star Wars which has a Game Master. I got it right away. It didn't slow me down at all. Neither did the term Keeper when I played CoC, or Storyteller when I played V:tM. And actually before any of that, I played the Hero Quest board game which has a Zargon.

As I pointed out, when Gary wrote Dangerous Journeys, the core books only used the term "Game Master." The emergence of "Journeys Master" came from the fans of the game. That's kind of the irony of this argument, which basically amounts to "Following convention makes things easier." Well, convention seems to be to come up with a fitting if not fanciful name for the game master.

Which gets me back to Avatar vs Character. Again, officially, the game does use the term Character. You get the choice of calling it an Avatar Character, AC, Avatar, or Character. You should use whatever makes you feel the most comfortable. But when fans of the game gravitate towards using Avatar as their preferred term. I can only speculate why. For me, I happen to think the term is spot-on fitting. For one of the guys in my game group, he likes it because it makes it clear which RPG he's talking about. Originally, LA was being developed for a computer game. In that world, Avatar is a very familiar term. Whatever the reasons, I'm not sure what you'd want to do about that. Wouldn't forcing "character" itself be going against the grain in this instance?

If you're slowing it down it better be for a good reason and to me it didn't come across that way.
I don't believe Essentials includes the Necrourgy Ability of the Psychogenics Ability. But just like Theurgy has special powers termed "Rites", Necrourgy has ones termed "Spells"--so that takes Spells off the table. And besides, Power again is one of those terms that doesn't slow down anybody. It's a more natural term for what it is. People grasp it without any explanation at all. And it's a more suitable term if you want to talk about Powers of Psychogenics. Rather than having a separate system like AD&D has for psionics, LA streamlines things with a consistent system and a consistent language. It may just be that the game is far broader in scope than what Essentials puts forth.[/quote]
 

Bunch

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Most of it looks good. Just a few things jumped out at me.



50/40/10 is a great spread by the way, especially when you're still learning the system. I'm also partial to 48/40/12.



I'm not sure how to get 4.5 out of d4 half points, plus 2. I'm guessing it's just an oversight error. It seems you understand it correctly, that the d4 are half points, but the +2 is full points. In the original LR4AP this wasn't as clear as it could have been.



So far so good here. One thing I would say--and just to be clear, you are not wrong here at all--is that there were three Abilities officially added to the game after publication of LR4AP. OF the three, I believe only Swashbuckling made it into essentials. The reason I bring it up is, the Excluded/Restricted lists were written before this ability was added to the game. It's not clear to me if the intent in Essentials was to allow it to be chosen freely, or if it was just a failure to update. So each LM is going to have to decide for themselves. Swashbuckling does seem fitting for a Kobold though, so no problems here.



One thing that may be helpful to keep in mind, all Speed-based Abilities use Speed x4 as their basis. So Swashbuckling is essentially looking to take an average of the 3 base ratings, with the understanding Speed is always multiplied by 4 for purposes of initial Ability scores. I don't recall if Unarmed Combat was included in Essentials or not, but that Ability also uses an average of the three.



Actually, you did it right. No bonus is given for Mandatory Abilities. It's already figured into the die additions, Kobold is one of the odd balls, but if you look at most races, you'll notice the number added to the random die additions correlates with what the initial bonus would be for their mandatory abilities. Notice the dwarf, for example, has 3 Health-based Mandatory Abilities, and lo and behold, their dice additions to BRs are 3d6+6 for Health, 1d10(+0) for Precision, and 1d3 halfs (+0) for Speed.



You are correct that the bonus Ability must be weapons if you don't already have that Ability. But the bonus Ability begins at a score of 10, regardless of Base Ratings. It also does not add to initial Base Ratings, nor does it provide any equipment picks.

Speaking of equipment picks, there was an error regarding equipment picks for non-human Avatars in LR4AP and I'm not sure it was ever made accurate in Essentials. It almost doesn't matter. The error lingered for so long, I think everyone may just have their own way of doing it. My understanding of how it's supposed to be, based on my conversations with Gary Gygax



Well, not so fast. I didn't say terminology is not an issue. I said the problems were exaggerated. Specifically, I mean some of the criticisms are factually incorrect. LR4AP has a glossary right at the beginning of the book. Right in the glossary you'll see this entry: "Character: A character is the imaginary person appearing in the game. A character is also known as an Avatar in this game. Characters may be run by players of by the LM."

I don't recall if that glossary made it to Essentials. But the game actually does use the term character.



This argument falls a bit flat when you start talking specifics. For instance, the first time I played an RPG that wasn't D&D, it was WEG Star Wars which has a Game Master. I got it right away. It didn't slow me down at all. Neither did the term Keeper when I played CoC, or Storyteller when I played V:tM. And actually before any of that, I played the Hero Quest board game which has a Zargon.

As I pointed out, when Gary wrote Dangerous Journeys, the core books only used the term "Game Master." The emergence of "Journeys Master" came from the fans of the game. That's kind of the irony of this argument, which basically amounts to "Following convention makes things easier." Well, convention seems to be to come up with a fitting if not fanciful name for the game master.

Which gets me back to Avatar vs Character. Again, officially, the game does use the term Character. You get the choice of calling it an Avatar Character, AC, Avatar, or Character. You should use whatever makes you feel the most comfortable. But when fans of the game gravitate towards using Avatar as their preferred term. I can only speculate why. For me, I happen to think the term is spot-on fitting. For one of the guys in my game group, he likes it because it makes it clear which RPG he's talking about. Originally, LA was being developed for a computer game. In that world, Avatar is a very familiar term. Whatever the reasons, I'm not sure what you'd want to do about that. Wouldn't forcing "character" itself be going against the grain in this instance?



I don't believe Essentials includes the Necrourgy Ability of the Psychogenics Ability. But just like Theurgy has special powers termed "Rites", Necrourgy has ones termed "Spells"--so that takes Spells off the table. And besides, Power again is one of those terms that doesn't slow down anybody. It's a more natural term for what it is. People grasp it without any explanation at all. And it's a more suitable term if you want to talk about Powers of Psychogenics. Rather than having a separate system like AD&D has for psionics, LA streamlines things with a consistent system and a consistent language. It may just be that the game is far broader in scope than what Essentials puts forth.
[/QUOTE]
I don't really care what they call the GM or avatar vs Character. I'm talking things like ABC for rounds.
 

T. Foster

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I bought the first few LA books as they were released back around the turn of the century but never played it. I remember the art, editing, and graphic design all being very bad, and the writing oddly unclear and opaque to the point it almost seemed like things were being deliberately obscured to keep readers from getting a solid grasp on how the game actually worked or what the setting was like. The adventures and setting books that followed didn't really help - the former were all very generic and bland, the latter was full of boringly mundane almanac-style detail that (at least to me) wasn't inspiring in the least.

As one of the half-dozen or so people who actually genuinely liked Dangerous Journeys and felt it was a genuine next-step evolution of where AD&D was headed under Gary (Unearthed Arcana, etc.), LA seemed like a big step sort of half-backwards and half-sideways, like Gary was hedging his bets and not committing too strongly lest he get burned again, that he was being intentionally vague and inoffensive so as not to paint himself as a target again. Maybe with better production values and more developmental editing it wouldn't have seemed that way, but as is I always felt an air of sadness and resignation in LA. I never believed that Gary really believed in it.
 

Lunamancer

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I don't really care what they call the GM or avatar vs Character. I'm talking things like ABC for rounds.
My point exactly. It's specifically the term ABC that is troubling. And maybe AEPs. And maybe ASP, though in truth I don't know anyone even uses that one. It's certainly not necessary. Notice the pattern, though? It's alphabet soup, and I can't stand that stuff either. Although I do like AP because then you can call it Armor Protection or Armor Points. Either way, the term is clear, and that's one I've never seen anyone struggle with. So by my count, I'm still on one hand with fingers to spare. That's why I say criticisms of the game are greatly exaggerated.
 

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In terms of the terminology--I don't think Gary was deliberately trying to obscure terms for legal purposes, but rather that he wanted to keep reinventing himself. He came from an era when everybody just designed new war games and you didn't always use the same terminology, so I think he didn't want to settle for using older or even common terminology. That was just his style. I think the bigger problem he had was that he didn't really seem to study other games from other competitors. That I think left him sometimes at a competitive disadvantage sometimes. Other people learned from what he did and went their own paths, but he in turn didn't learn as much from them. Good creators stay relevant and popular through this osmosis. He reinvented himself but only within himself--he rarely took the influences of his peers as time passed.

Part of the issue with the terminology comes from the fact that this game was originally a proposal for a computer game. That's why we have terms that better fit. Action Block and Action Block Count were designed around a computer turn or real time model that could be adapted. Avatar for PC makes sense when you think about it in that context. And the stats were designed around abstract stuff that fits the game characters but doesn't define the personalities--health/precision/speed deal with purely game level stuff. An intellect score was added later but that was more of an add-on.
 

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So perhaps the most important piece of info...where to get this and what versions/supplements are recommended?
 

JRT

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It's been out of print for about 10 years now, so the best bet is go to game shops and see if they have old or discontinued game systems.
 
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Lunamancer

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I bought the first few LA books as they were released back around the turn of the century but never played it. I remember the art, editing, and graphic design all being very bad, and the writing oddly unclear and opaque to the point it almost seemed like things were being deliberately obscured to keep readers from getting a solid grasp on how the game actually worked or what the setting was like. The adventures and setting books that followed didn't really help - the former were all very generic and bland, the latter was full of boringly mundane almanac-style detail that (at least to me) wasn't inspiring in the least.

As one of the half-dozen or so people who actually genuinely liked Dangerous Journeys and felt it was a genuine next-step evolution of where AD&D was headed under Gary (Unearthed Arcana, etc.), LA seemed like a big step sort of half-backwards and half-sideways, like Gary was hedging his bets and not committing too strongly lest he get burned again, that he was being intentionally vague and inoffensive so as not to paint himself as a target again. Maybe with better production values and more developmental editing it wouldn't have seemed that way, but as is I always felt an air of sadness and resignation in LA. I never believed that Gary really believed in it.
I have a great appreciation for Dangerous Journeys to be sure. Mythus Magick is just about the most impressive thing I've seen in all of RPGdom. And it's not just the 1400+ castings it have. Sure, that number alone is impressive. But when I go back and read through the book, each one of the 1400 is quite good and inspiring. The stuff really triggers my mind's eye. And you're right that it certainly feels like exactly the trajectory AD&D was on before Gary got the boot.

The problem I had with Dangerous Journeys is that Mythus Prime didn't have enough detail. And Advanced Mythus was bogged down in details. It's kind of a double-edged sword. You've got limited bandwidth on one hand, but on the other hand, it's details that make for a rich experience.

And this is where I see LA as being the logical follow-up to DJ. You can get a glimpse at the design philosophy of the two games by looking at the core stats. With Dangerous Journeys, it's the three traits, Mental, Physical, and Spiritual, correlating to Mind, Body, and Soul. What makes this great is, these traits can apply across not only humans but a wide range of non-human creatures, including unnatural and supernatural things like undead or demons. That's the starting point from which the rest of the game flows. It puts characters and creatures at the center of its universe.

The core stats in Lejendary Adventure are Health, Precision, and Speed. You're right when you say it's almost going side-ways. Each of the three Base Ratings are a cross section of the mental, the physical, and the spiritual. But it's not just an arbitrarily way of reorganizing game data just to be different.

Imagine you're doing a really simple, stripped down table-top wargame. Getting really minimalist about it, what you first need to know is, how do I get close enough to damage the enemy? Then it's what are my chances of inflicting damage? And finally, how many hits can one take before going down? Those three questions are answered directly by LA's core stats. Health, Precision, and Speed. That's the starting point in LA from which the rest of the game flows. It puts at the center of its universe, not the character or creature, but what the character is doing.

Three things about that. One is, that's why I think the term Avatar makes a lot of sense in LA. The game isn't designed so you can re-invent the wheel by building a character from nothing from the ground up in detail. Your character is going to be defined by what he does, or what he can do, and the choices he makes. And it's going to be a piece of yourself that provides the underlying spirit to the character.

Two, it also makes sense that Health, Precision, and Speed don't seem to be rated on the same scale. Although these stats are ultimately used for many purposes, most fundamentally, Speed is a rate at it should be rated on a scale that is practical if you decide to use minis on a tabletop. Precision is a probability, so it's generally going to fit on a percentile scale. And Health is a magnitude without any theoretical upper limit.

And third is, while it's probably unfair to judge most RPGs without first playing them, this is infinitely truer for Lejendary Adventure because that is the whole core essence behind how the game is designed--the design philosophy--is built around actually doing stuff, moreso than designing characters or designing a game world, or reading stats on a page. If you skip doing the one thing that the game is focused on, you're going to miss at least 80% of what's going on in the game.
 

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I never played LA with Gary, but everybody I know who did has said that the game played much better than it read. I always attributed that mostly to Gary’s strength as a GM - that he could probably make any rpg seem good -but I’m willing to grant maybe there’s more to it than that and LA really was optimized for play over reading, with rules that seem weird and counterintuitive on the page but work smoothly at the table (not totally unlike D&D itself).

I’m now a little sorry I sold off all my LA books a few years ago and would kind of like to take another look at it from that perspective. I also wonder if maybe it isn’t ripe for a new edition that actually helps it live up to its potential.
 

Lunamancer

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I never played LA with Gary, but everybody I know who did has said that the game played much better than it read. I always attributed that mostly to Gary’s strength as a GM - that he could probably make any rpg seem good -but I’m willing to grant maybe there’s more to it than that and LA really was optimized for play over reading, with rules that seem weird and counterintuitive on the page but work smoothly at the table (not totally unlike D&D itself).

I’m now a little sorry I sold off all my LA books a few years ago and would kind of like to take another look at it from that perspective. I also wonder if maybe it isn’t ripe for a new edition that actually helps it live up to its potential.
It's only taken me 20 years to figure out how to make the game sound as awesome as it actually is. :hehe:

There were problems with it to be sure. For instance, what I just explained to you, you won't find written or explained anywhere. I don't even know that anyone could have articulated it at the time. Maybe Gary could have but it didn't occur to him he'd ever have to--maybe he took his background in tabletop war games for granted. I usually don't use minis or battlemaps or anything like that, and I don't have Gary's background in table top war games, so it took me a while to get it. I knew I liked the game. I didn't always appreciate why some of the quirkier things had to be that way.

I'd love to write a second edition that makes use of my insight to better explain the game. We are actually at the 20 year anniversary of the original publish date of LR4AP. I think it might have actually been mid-September. Near as I can tell the date isn't documented anywhere, and I only have my memory to go on since I purchased an Author's Edition as soon as it became available. And so I thought this would be the perfect time for a Lejendary 2 0. I've already got a lot of stuff transcribed in text format from making notes of things over the years. But, as I said in my introduction, I'm just a guy who loves to play games. This would be a ton of work. And I'm not sure Mrs. Gygax would be pleased.

Sometimes I wonder if I published enough of my home-brewed aids for playing LA, if that would be enough information to enable people to play the game without having any of the books, and if that would be an effective way to keep the game alive.
 

Bunch

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It's only taken me 20 years to figure out how to make the game sound as awesome as it actually is. :hehe:

There were problems with it to be sure. For instance, what I just explained to you, you won't find written or explained anywhere. I don't even know that anyone could have articulated it at the time. Maybe Gary could have but it didn't occur to him he'd ever have to--maybe he took his background in tabletop war games for granted. I usually don't use minis or battlemaps or anything like that, and I don't have Gary's background in table top war games, so it took me a while to get it. I knew I liked the game. I didn't always appreciate why some of the quirkier things had to be that way.

I'd love to write a second edition that makes use of my insight to better explain the game. We are actually at the 20 year anniversary of the original publish date of LR4AP. I think it might have actually been mid-September. Near as I can tell the date isn't documented anywhere, and I only have my memory to go on since I purchased an Author's Edition as soon as it became available. And so I thought this would be the perfect time for a Lejendary 2 0. I've already got a lot of stuff transcribed in text format from making notes of things over the years. But, as I said in my introduction, I'm just a guy who loves to play games. This would be a ton of work. And I'm not sure Mrs. Gygax would be pleased.

Sometimes I wonder if I published enough of my home-brewed aids for playing LA, if that would be enough information to enable people to play the game without having any of the books, and if that would be an effective way to keep the game alive.
Write a retroclone.
 

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Rereading my copy of the game, and . . . Oof, what a hot mess. I'm left with two main thoughts. 1) Dave Arneson must have had way more to do with the core systems in OD&D than I ever would have guessed as a tween in the late eighties when I got indoctrinated into D&D and 2) Did Gygax secretly envy Steve Jackson's and Steve Perrin's skill-based games and wished he'd have gone that route all along?
 

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Given the subject of the original post, I'm going to outline the steps I go through to create an Avatar, and then I'll do one. My steps do not constitute any kind of house rules. It's just the way I've come to reorganize the process in my mind with the benefit of a lot of experience creating Avatars. I will also be noting along the way recommendations for new players. Neither I nor the LA game are responsible for any bikefall meme experiences that result from going against these recommendations.

Step 1 - Select Race. For new players, I recommend starting with a human Avatar.
Step 2 - Distribute 100 points among your Base Ratings. For new players, a 50/40/10 split is a good starting point, but you do want to max out speed if you plan on using any kind of magic or pscyhogenic abilities--so consider a 44/44/12 split in that case.
Step 3 - Add random die additions. Simple enough.
Step 4 - Select and rank Abilities, including the bonus "5th" ability making sure at least one of the Abilities is Weapons Ability. For new players, I recommend looking through the Orders and just selecting the required Abilities in order.
Step 5 - Adjust base ratings according to Ability selection. The bonus "5th" Ability does not add to Base Ratings. Neither do mandatory Abilities.
Step 6 - Calculate Ability scores. If Rustic is possessed, however, that one must be calculated first. Each 5 points of Rustic adds 1 to Health. This should be added to the Health Base Rating before other Ability scores are determined.
Step 7 - Apply any applicable Order or Unordered benefits.
Step 8 - Determine equipment picks. For humans, you get 9 picks according to your first ability, 7 according to the second, 5 per the 3rd, 3 per the 4th and 1 special pick. Non-humans choose between one of two methods: 9 according to first chosen ability, 7 according to the second, and 2 special picks OR 5 picks according to each Mandatory Ability, 3 according to each chosen, and 1 special. The first method is better if you're going to be using magic or psychogenics. Otherwise, I'd recommend the second option.
Step 9 - Pick equipment. There are a lot of basic "adventurer" supplies that only appear on the Low list, and Low list picks can get used up very quickly. Do not assume you will get to go shopping before the first adventure. I once munchkin'ed out a Mage with ridiculous number of Enchantment power picks, and he had to go 3 sessions before he could get shoes. The two pound sausage also comes highly recommended. Oh, and always determine the Special List pick first.
Step 10 - Flesh out character details. You should have a name, and maybe if you want to save the LM some headache look up your weapon and armor stats. Other than that, I'm not going to tell you you need to write out your personality or backstory. You should have some idea of why you do the crazy things adventurers wind up doing. Everything else is bonus.

A note on knacks & quirks. Exactly how these are handled is left up to the LM. Me personally, I require they be rolled randomly, so I determine these as early on in the process as possible so the player can create the Avatar with those in mind. Since the number of knacks and quirks an Avatar gets can vary by race, I place this immediately after Step 1. Call it Step 1a.

And that's it. If you're a new player following my recommendations, it should take less than a minute to get through Step 3. For Step 4, it should take about 5 minutes to get an idea of what each Order is. Don't get bogged down in reading all the Order benefits. If you're knew, you're not necessarily going to know what any of it means anyway. Steps 5-8 should take less than 5 minutes total. Step 9 is the lengthiest part. Then again, if I were to create an old school D&D character, the lengthiest part of that would be selecting starting equipment there, too. And Step 10 is open ended. It could be done in no time. Or it could take a while.
 

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So now I'll go through the process of creating an Avatar.

Step 1 - Race. Human
Step 2 - Assign points. 50/40/10
Step 3 - Random die additions. +11/+7/+.5
Step 4 - Select Abilities. Hunt, Weapons, Archery, Rustic, with Savagery as the 5th, per the Forester Order
Step 5 - Adjust base ratings according to selection. +2/+6/+0
Step 6 - Calculate Scores. My base ratings are as follows: Health 50+11+2 = 63, Precision 40+7+6 = 53, Speed 10+.5+0 = 10.5. Rustic (40% of Health) is 25, this adds 5 to Health immediately. So starting Base Ratings are H 68, P 53, S 10.5. Hunt (100% of Precision) 53, Weapons (80% of Precision) 42, Archery (60% of Precision) 31, Rustic 25, and Savagery 10
Step 7 - Apply Order Benefits. This Avatar qualifies for 9th Rank Forester. This adds 2 points to all four required Abilities plus 4 points to Savagery. Final Ability Scores are Hunt 55, Weapons 44, Archery 33, Rustic 27, Savagery 14
Step 8 - Determine equipment picks. Hunt uses low picks unless it is chosen as the 1st Ability, which in this case it is. Then it uses the Middle list. So that's 9 middle for Hunt, 7 military for Weapons, 5 low for Archery, 3 low for Rustic, and for the Special pick I roll a 0, no pick gained.
Steps 9 and 10 - Here's the Avatar I end up with.

Gunther the Backwoodsman (9th Rank Forester)

Health: 68, Precision: 53, Speed: 10 1/2 (10 adjusted)

Abilities
Hunt 55
Weapons 44
Archery 33
Rustic 27
Savagery 14

Weapons
Strong Bow* (68%/58%/48%, 3-20+4/3-20+4/3-16+4 penetration harm), range 150/300/900, speed 1
Battle Axe** (50%/7-20+1 penetration harm), range 3, speed 7
Long Spear** (45%/1-20+1 penetration harm), range 9, speed 5
Long Dagger** (55%/1-20+1 penetration harm), range 1, speed 3
* Hit Probability and Harm includes bonus from Archery and Savagery Abilities
** Hit Probability and Harm includes bonus from Savagery Ability


Armor
Half Leather Armor (6 AP, Speed Loss 1/2, 80 Health)

Equipment
half leather armor
battle axe
long spear
long dagger w/ sheath
strong bow
bow case
quiver
36 arrows
clothing, good suit (dark colors)
hat
cloak (light in color)
broad leather belt
high hard-soled boots
leather backpack
2 leather belt pouches
leather shoulder pound with sling
wound healing salve
burn healing salve
iron hook, treble/grapnel
30' ordinary line
wood torch, resin-soaked, 30 minute burn time
candle lantern
tinder box
beer, one quart jug
bread and cheese for one person for four days
salt, one pound cloth sack
poison antidote
stallion
armor repair tools kit
kettle drum and bugle
$2500 in coin of the realm
 
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