Friday, June 29, 2018

RPG Character Library: Dungeon ADVENTURE! 2!

Quite a while ago, I began participating in an experiment during a very dry period in my creative life. The experiment was as follows: Go through the RPGs you own and make characters for each one.

This proved to be an interesting process, as it got me to painstakingly go through many of the systems that I owned. Making some of these characters revealed hidden gems, while others made me want to set things on fire. Because I am only an infrequent blogger at best (partly because "easily distracted" partly because "the writing style of my blog posts makes it seem like I have neurological processing issues") the grand majority of this blog is taken up with character portraits for games I will likely never run or play.

Early on in the process, I made characters for my trunked (to use an author term) game, Dungeon ADVENTURE! Inspired by Joe, of Monkeyden Games, I made a character with the earliest version of the rules I could find, and the same (or similar) character made using the latest iteration of the rules to that date. You can re-read the thrilling saga here.

Looking over the many, many iterations of rules for Dungeon ADVENTURE!, in preparation for making that post, caused a long dormant machine in the back of my brain to come chugging back to life. I realized that I had lost sight of the original appeal of the game--that being that it was streamlined, straightforward, and easy to make characters for. I also realized that there was nothing stopping me from going back through all the different versions of the rules, picking out the bits that actually worked, and cobbling them together into a new, better version of the game.

Which I did!

Earlier this year, I had Joe Blomquist design me a nice cover (featuring art by John Forish and Josh McGaw), formatted my Word document, inserted a bunch of appropriate clip art images, and published the current version of Dungeon ADVENTURE! thanks to the fine folks (and machines) at Lulu. Shortly thereafter, I was inspired to write more for the game, first a module, then a setting guide. If I can keep up this pace, I will have quite the line of products soon.

I'll probably be talking a lot more about the ins and outs of the Dungeon ADVENTURE! game, as well as details of its rapidly growing campaign world, in future updates. For right now, I though I'd circle back around to the beginning and make a character using the current version of the game.

Making a Character

The game has six stats, most of which should be familiar to people experienced with role-playing games. The stats, as well as what they do, are as follows.

Strength: How strong you are. Determines the types of armor and weapons you can use.
Agility: How dexterous you are. Determines the types of weapons you can use.
Mind: How smart you are. Important for wielding the eldritch powers of Sorcery.
Combat: How well you attack and evade in combat. Dump stat for the thinky characters.
Charisma: How likable you are and how commanding your presence is.
Health: How hardy you are. Double this stat to determine your Life Points (HP).

All stats are determined by a random roll of 2d6. Roll six times and place the results where you want them. I get the following results: 4, 7, 3, 8, 3, 10. Sub-par, but I feel like I can work with them. I also wonder if maybe there ought to be a new rule where players can roll 3d6 for each stat and drop the lowest.

No, no, Geoff. The game is already published. Move along, move along.

Next up, I have to determine my character's Kindred and his Class. I have decided to make this character as similar as I can to the characters that I made with the earlier versions of Dungeon ADVENTURE!, so, to that end, I decide that my character is a human sorcerer.

Each Kindred species gets bonuses to two stats and bonuses to three skills. Humans, being the most diverse, get +1 Combat, +1 to another stat, and +1 in any three skills of their choice. I put the other stat bonus in my Mind, because the Mind stat is of paramount importance to a sorcerer.

Each Class starts with some benefits, a +1 bonus to three skills, and a special ability at first level. As characters rise in level, they will gain access to additional abilities. My character gains a scene spell slot (I'll explain this in a minute), access to a school of Sorcery, and gains +1 Life Point at 3rd level and every other level thereafter. He also gets +1 to the Resist Magic, Lore (Any One), and Sorcery (Any One) skills. A sorcerer's first level ability is the gift of The Sight, which allows me to detect magic on people and objects if I make a successful Mind roll.

The next thing I must do is pick skills. I start out with the skills provided by my Kindred and Class, and also get 5 skill points to buy skills. Skills have multiple ranks, and each rank in a skill costs one skill point. I could dump all five of my points into one skill, split them evenly between five skills, or spend them however I want. Certain skills have (Any One) listed in their description, which means I have to specialize, so I also do that now. I decide that my character can cast Aquamancy spells, and that he knows the lore of Sorcery itself.

We're moving right along! The last thing I have to do before character creation is complete is buy equipment. I get (2d6+6)x10 gold to buy my starting equipment. I roll and get 120 gold, which is a nice cache of coin. I note that my character is agile but weak, which limits his weapon choices severely. I also note that heavy armor will not only impede my ability to pass Agility rolls, but it will also hamper my spell casting ability. I decide to go with the lightest possible armor, affording me nominal protection, a buckler, a sling, and a bit of basic equipment, which leaves me with 56 gold.

I could end it here, but before I do, I want to take a moment to discuss how magic works in Dungeon ADVENTURE! Is that self-aggrandizing? Yes! But so is the rest of this post. So...


The game has no spell lists. You are allowed to do just about anything--a) that you like b) within reason--with any of the spell schools you know. My character knows Aquamancy, so he can perform just about any sort of magic that he wants, so long as it involves water or ice.

He has a few limits to his powers, however. He can't do damage/restore Life Points with any spell more than 1d6 + half his skill rank. He also cannot buff or debuff stats, skills, or armor any more than half his skill rank. For my character, that means he gets 1d6+2 and + or -2 respectively.

He also has to determine the range of the spell when he casts it. He can target himself or one other person within 50' x his rank (200') at no penalty. He can attempt to cast a spell with a 10' radius AOE centered on himself at a -2 to his casting roll, or he may cast a ranged spell that has a 10' radius of effect at a -4 to his casting roll.

Lastly, and most importantly, he is limited to the number of spells that he can cast at a time. Spells have two duration in Dungeon ADVENTURE!: Instantaneous and Scene. Instantaneous spells take effect and then dissipate, having accomplished their effect. Scene spells remain in effect for the duration of the scene (or if the target breaks line of sight with the caster, goes out of the caster's range, or if the caster is rendered unconscious).

My character has one scene spell slot, which means that he can have one Scene spell active at a time, though he can also cast one Instantaneous spell each round. If he tries to cast a new Scene spell, the first one immediately stops working. Worry not, though, because my character will gain additional scene spell slots as he rises in level.

The Completed Character

With all that being said, here's my character, ready for adventures in dungeons, or elsewhere!

Navino the Blue, a Level 1 Human Sorcerer
Awareness 2
Lore (Sorcery) 1
Resist Magic 1
Sorcery (Aquamancy) 4
Stealth 2
Survival (Coastal) 1
Life Points
Benefits and Abilities
One Scene Spell Slot
The Sight (detect magic on a Mind roll)
Magic Notes
Damage and Healing: 1d6+2
Modify Stats/Skills/AP: 2
Range 200’

Leather Armor 1 AP 20 gold
Buckler +1 Combat 10 gold
Sling (150’ +1 DB) 5 gold
Bullets (20) 2 gold
Basic Adventurer’s Kit 12 gold
Writing Kit 8 gold
Parchment (5) 1 gold
Bedroll 6 gold

56 gold remaining.