Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Character Generation #3 - Levels, XP & Classes

Explore has two complimentary systems for generating characters - classes or skill points. Technically Classes are no more than pre-selected sets of complimentary skills, but they represent typical professions in the world Characters might come from, are a good starting point for new Characters as it roots them in the world, and makes creating a character quicker. It also provides an easy way of generating NPCs, and for this purpose you might create more classes. Finally they illustrate the various options you have when creating a bespoke set of skills.

At any point you can switch from the class system to a custom set of skill advancements without any penalty for sub-optimal choices in character creation.

Levels and Experience Points (XP)

Each character starts off at Level 1 with 80 experience points (XP). You gain XP through playing the game, and each time your XP doubles your level increases.

Whether you are class or skill based, each level increase improves certain bonuses.


Classes for Humans

Choose a class for your character from the list below. This gives the skill ranks your character will have at first level. For each level you gain every skill given increases by one rank.
Note that skills given in brackets are skills you do not train specifically for but gain as a byproduct of the other skills. You gain Parry from physical skills, Perception from practical skills, and Arcane from spells.

Non Magic Using Classes

Athletics: 3
Melee: 2
Unarmed, Thrown: 1
(Parry: 4)
Warriors concentrate entirely upon martial skills, and rely more on brute force than subtlety. Typically they would throw an axe in the first round of combat, then close to fight with swords, relying upon their fists when they are disarmed or in the extremely unlikely event they become involved in a brawl. Warriors may be either Soldiers, Guards, or freelance Mercenaries.

Bow: 3
Athletics: 2
Melee, Unarmed: 1
(Parry: 4)
Archers spend most of their time training with a longbow. They train hard to improve their strength so they can shoot an arrow a long way from a heavy longbow, but pride themselves primarily on their accuracy, as what does it matter how deadly your arrow is if it misses? Archers also train with sword and their fists so as to be prepared when their foes get a little too close for comfort. Archers are often recruited into Armies at time of war, or work as Guards for Castles and other fortified dwellings, but often find themselves having to work in other capacities when work is short during times of peace. 

Ranger: 2
Melee, Bow, Unarmed, Athletics, Healer, Scout: 1
(Parry, Perception: 3)
Rangers are members of an ancient order - warriors who patrol the wilds (ranging), often alone or in small groups. They are employed by Rulers to patrol the edges of the wild and to keep the peace in the borderlands, but pride themselves on their neutrality in war. Their primary skill - ranging  - covers wilderness skills such as tracking, survival, riding; but their job is much more than that. They can scout (sneaking / hiding) and being self sufficient means they have some skill in healing. They can handle themselves in a melee, but in the wilds the bow comes in useful more often for hunting and ambushes. 

Scout, Thief: 2
Melee, Unarmed, Acrobatics, Athletics: 1
(Parry, Perception: 3)
Rogues are not members of any recognised profession, it is more a "calling" for urban dwellers looking to better themselves. Scouting (sneaking and hiding) along with Athletics (to scale a wall) or Acrobatics (to vault over it) provide an opportunity to use good plain old-fashioned thievery (picking locks and pockets). Growing up in the slums they also know how to handle themselves in a fight. Some Rogues pride themselves on their ancient and noble art and form Thieves' Guilds which have a complex and strict code of behaviour. Others try and become respectable, taking employment from wealthy benefactors who have certain jobs that need doing, and who can pull strings to get their employees out of jail.


Elementalists specialise in the powers of the four elements: Air, Earth, Fire and Water. Some classes specialise in the element counterpart to Fire - Ice. The names of the five disciplines are misleading - the powers relate to Gases, Liquids, Solids, Heat and Cold - but the old names have stubbornly remained due to traditionalists who prefer the more "mystical" ancient terms.

Air: 3
Earth, Fire, Water, Melee: 1
(Arcane: 3, Parry: 1)
Aeromancers study all the elements, but concentrate on Air spells. Like all Elementalists they use their magic for practical ends, and find that knowing how to use a sword can come in handy.

Earth: 3
Fire, Water, Air: 1
(Arcane: 3, Parry: 1)
Like Aeromancers, Geomancers study all the elements, but concentrate themselves on Earth spells. They too know learn how to handle a sword.

Fire: 3
Melee, Athletics: 2
(Arcane, Parry: 3)
In contrast Pyromancers have no time for any element other then Fire, whose power they combine with martial training to become deadly magical warriors. They typically enter combat with a burning "fire blade".

Ice: 3
Melee, Athletics: 2
(Arcane, Parry: 3)
Kryomancers are a dissenting offshoot of Pyromancers, concentrating on the opposing power of cold not heat. Their trademark is the "ice blade". They are looked down upon by the older school of Pyromancy and overlooked by other schools of magic, and this lack of respect dents their pride.

Water: 3
Air, Earth, Ice, Melee:1
(Arcane: 3, Parry: 1)
Hydromancers study widely on the elements, concentrating on Water spells, but notable study Ice instead of Fire due to the destructive power of Fire on Water. They too learn some practical melee skills.


Wizards specialise in the powers of the four energies: Light, Sound, Force, Electricity.

Traditionally there were two different disciplines - Lightning, and Amber (the study of static electricity that built up when amber is rubbed against wool). Neither was a successful branch of magic until a breakthrough was made and both disciplines combined into a single modern discipline - Electricity. The Lightning Mages joined together with the Amber Mages and lost their name, but in return were allowed to name the new joint discipline, and chose "Electricity" (after the old name Electrum for amber, confusingly also used to mean an alloy of gold and silver of the same colour).

Light, Sound: 3
(Arcane: 4)
Illusionists study deeply in deceptive wizardry, through which they hope to bring about the ends they desire without ever having to engage in any physical confrontations.

Force, Electricity: 3
(Arcane: 4)
Mages study deeply in offensive wizardry. They have powerful spells, but their lack of fighting ability can put them in a tight spot, so they often band together with (or employ) warriors for protection.

Amber Mage
Electricity: 3
Melee, Athletics: 2
(Arcance, Parry: 3)
Amber Mages believe that Electricity is the most powerful and pure of the Wizarding arts, and combined with Martial prowess they should become more powerful than the Pyromancers. Their trademark is the crackling Lightning Sword, an impressive sight (and sound). Note that they take no more notice of the Kryomancers than the Pyromancers do!


Enchanters specialise in the organic powers of nature: Plant Control, Animal Control, Mind Control, Body Control.

Plant Control, Animal Control: 3
(Arcane: 4)
Druids are an ancient order of Enchanters who are at one with the wild side of nature. They often form close bonds with animals who accompany them on quests to keep the balance of nature.

Mind Control: 3
Animal Control: 2
Melee, Athletics: 1
(Arcane:3, Parry: 2)
Psychics probe into or manipulate the minds of others, and they take more than a passing interest in the closely related but subtly different minds of animals. They are mistrusted and usually hide their true calling. It has proved necessary for Psychics to learn how to handle themselves in a fight in case their art causes offence.

Body Control, Healer: 3
(Arcane: 3, Perception: 3)
Healers combine both the mystical and practical arts to mend the body. They are useful after a fight, but rarely during it.


Sorcerers specialise in the occult powers: Divination, Undead, Summoning, Time & Space.

Divination: 3
Undead, Summoning, Time & Space, Mind Control: 1
Oracles call upon mystical powers to see future possibilities. They study all the mystical arts as this complete knowledge allows them to expand their studies into the realm of Enchantment and learn Mind Control as an alternate way of viewing or shaping the future (though they keep these studies under wraps).

Undead: 3
Athletics: 2
Melee, Thrown: 1
(Arcane: 3, Parry: 3)
Exorcists devote their lives to tracking down and eliminating spectral forces of evil. They do not shy from a fight, but know that the touch of the Undead can be deadly so arm themselves with missiles to throw at corporeal manifestations (and train hard to improve their range) but also melee.

Summoning: 3
Bow, Athletics: 2
(Arcane: 3, Parry: 3)
Conjurers prefer to get their summoned servants to do their dirty work for them. In a battle situation they are likely to stand at the back and shoot over their conjurations at the enemy.

Time & Space: 3
Divination, Undead: 2
(Arcane: 4)
The Aetherius are a mysterious secretive folk who practice powerful magicks that can bend reality. They have an interest in the arts of Divination and the Undead, but view Summoning as a mis-use of power.

Classes for Elves

Elves can be any non magic-using class - Warriors, Archers, Rangers or Rogues - though they perform a different role in society. Typically most Elves work for the good of the realm, and all four of these classes do. They are typically encountered outside of Elven lands when on a mission for the realm (often in a group), and that is the sole purpose of Elven Rangers and Rogues. These missions are often open-ended and vague in purpose, and may be no more than to improve relationships with a distant land, but there is often an ulterior motive such as to monitor activities of a hostile force in that land (for example, the Elves are dispatched to monitor the activities of a baron in a city because the Elves fear he is under the influence of Orcs)

Elven Magic User
Any one spell list: 3
Melee, Bow, Athletics, Acrobatics: 1
(Arcane: 3, Parry: 3)
Elves who wield magic do not form the cliques that humans do - there is a single magic order which typically combines purity of one magical discipline with general military training. Elven Magic Users often accompany non-Magic users in their missions, but pretend to be Archers.

Classes for Dwarves

Dwarves who leave their homes are generally mercenary Warriors who have lost their ancestral home (but plan of regaining it at some point, naturally). Dwarven adventurers can also be Magic Users:

Dwarven Magic User
Ice OR Fire OR Electricity OR Summoning: 3
Athletics: 2
Melee, Thrown: 1
(Arcane: 3, Parry: 3)
Dwarven interest in Magic is very utilitarian - they are only interested in Magic they can clearly see the use of - which generally limits them to variants of the martial spell casters - Pyromancers, Kryomancers, Amber Mages, and Conjurers. (Exorcists are too sanctimonious for Dwarves).

Note as always there is an accompanying FAQ page for this section of the rules.

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