After you have selected a race, you may want to fill in the details of your
character. You are not required to do so, but there are many situations in which
this information is vital or useful to role-playing.
The sex and name of your character are up to you. Your character can be of the
same sex as yourself or of the opposite sex.
Some people feel it is important to know whether their character is right- or
left-handed. Actually, this has no bearing on the play of the game, since all
characters are assumed to be reasonably competent with either hand (that doesn't
mean everyone is trained to fight with two weapons). It is easiest to say that
your character has the same handedness as you. This will result in the normal
ratio of right- to left-handed people.
On occasion it may be useful to know your character's height and weight. The
best way to determine height and weight is to choose the appropriate numbers,
subject to your DM's approval. If you want a short, pudgy human fighter, you can
select an appropriate height and weight. Otherwise, heights and weights can be
generated randomly using Table 10. Take the appropriate base score and add the dire roll modifier. As with all
tables, this can create some ridiculous results (one of the problems with
randomness) and, at the same time, cannot account for the full variety of mankind
(or demihumankind). The table only reproduces a fairly average range for each
race. Heights and weights for demihuman races not listed on the table must be
decided by your DM.
The tallest man on record stood 8 feet 11.1 inches, while the tallest woman
was 8 feet 1.25 inches. The shortest man was only 26.5 inches tall and the
shortest woman bettered this at only 24 inches in height. While the lightest humans
are also among the shortest, the heaviest man weighed an estimated 1,400 pounds
and stood only 6 feet 1 inch. The heaviest woman is thought to have weighed 880
pounds. Obviously, these figures indicate that there is a great deal of
variety possible for player characters.
Players may also want to know their characters' starting ages. Human
characters can start at any age that is agreeable to both the player and the DM.
However, all beginning adventurers are assumed to be at least 16 years old, since they
must grow physically, emotionally, and in practical experience before they are
ready to undertake the rigors of an adventuring life. Table 11 can be used to give a starting age (add the variable die roll to the base
starting age to get the character's starting age) and the possible life span of a
character, assuming a quiet and peaceful life. Humans are also included on this
list in case you want to determine their ages randomly. The maximum age for a
character should be secretly determined and recorded by the DM. Player
characters may have an idea of how long they expect to live, but do not know their true
allotted life span.
As a character ages, his ability scores are affected. Upon reaching one-half
of his base maximum age (45 for a human), the character loses 1 point of
Strength (or half of his exceptional Strength rating) and 1 point of Constitution, but
gains 1 point each of Intelligence and Wisdom. At two-thirds of his base
maximum age (60 for a human), the character loses 2 more points of Strength (or all
his exceptional Strength and 1 point more), 2 points of Dexterity, and 1 more
point of Constitution, but he gains 1 point of Wisdom. Upon reaching the base
maximum age, the character loses 1 more point from each of Strength, Dexterity,
and Constitution, while gaining 1 more point in both Intelligence and Wisdom.
All aging adjustments are cumulative. See Table 12 for a summary of these effects.
Although many people have claimed to live to great ages, the oldest human of
verifiable age was 113 years old in 1988 and is still alive!
There may be times when a magical device or spell adds years to or subtracts
years from a player character's life. This magical aging can have two different
effects. Some magical aging physically affects the character. For example, a haste spell ages those it affects by one year. This aging is added directly to the
player character's current age. He physically acquires the appearance of
himself one year older (a few more wrinkles, etc.). Characters who increase in age
from magical effects do not gain the benefits of increased Wisdom and
Intelligence--these are a function of the passage of game time--but the character does
suffer the physical losses to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution associated
with aging. These are breakdowns of the body's systems. Physical age can also be
removed in the same manner. Some potions give years back to the character. In
this case, the physical appearance of the character is restored. The character
can regain lost vigor (Str, Dex, and Con) as his body is renewed but he does not
lose any of the benefits of aging (Wis and Int).
Magical aging can also work to increase or decrease the life span of the
character. In such a case, the actual age of hte character is unaffected. All
adjustments are made by the DM to the character's maximum age (which only the DM
knows). For example, a human finds a magical fountain that bestows great longevity
(10 to 60 years more). The DM has already determined the human will naturally
live to 103 years (base 90 + 2d20, in this case 13). The water of the fountain
bestows 40 more years so that, unless the character meets a violent end, he will
live to 143 years. He still suffers the effects of aging at the usual ages
(45, 60, and 90 years, respectively), but the period in which he would be
considered a venerable elder of his people is extended for 40 years.
There are a number of other personal characteristics your character has--hair
and eye color, body shape, voice, noticeable features, and general personality.
There are no tables for these things, nor should there be. Your job, as a
player, is to add these details, thereby creating the type of character you want.
You probably know some from the start (do you want to play a towering, robust
warrior, or a slim, unassuming swordsman?); others, especially your character's
personality, will grow and take form as you play. Remember, you are an actor and
your character is your role!
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