Biblyon the Great

This zine is dedicated to articles about the fantasy role-playing game Gods & Monsters, and other random musings.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

The Dream of Poor Bazin

Jerry Stratton

What if the Three Musketeers were journalists in Washington, DC? What if journalists were swashbuckling, swaggering, hard-drinking warriors of truth? Find out in Jerry Stratton’s The Dream of Poor Bazin.

Extended character creation

Jerry Stratton, January 6, 2007

This new character creation system does not require players to know, before the adventure starts, everything about their character. They’ll have a basic idea, including some initial skills and equipment, but can also use mojo to purchase additional equipment and capabilities later, as if the characters had it all along.

Initial resources

Players must choose their initial resources before the adventure begins.

Fields and skills

Each character begins the game with Native Culture at +2, one native language (such as Anglish, Frankish, Elvish, etc.) and one native etiquette (such as Courtly Etiquette, Backwoods Etiquette, Merchant Etiquette, etc.) as skills.

Each character begins with Intelligence as a major contributor, and wisdom and charisma as minor contributors, additional fields. These fields must be chosen from their archetypal list or from the general list. Players may choose one field from another archetype’s list and treat that one field as if it were archetypal for the rest of the game.

The Fields start at +1. The player must choose one Skill within that Field.

Weapon skills

Each character begins the game with the Fighting Art field. Warriors begin the game with Fighting Art at +1; other archetypes begin the game with Fighting Art at 0. If the character has a high strength or agility, they begin the game with weapon skills equal to their strength as a minor contributor and their agility as a minor contributor.

A weapon skill is a weapon that the character is familiar with, such as long sword, quarterstaff, bow, or crossbow. Throughout the game, Warriors may add any weapon skill to their Fighting Art field, Thieves may add any basic or simple weapon, and other archetypes may add any simple weapon.

When fighting opponents, your character will get their Fighting field bonus as long as they are using a weapon they’re skilled with.

Money

Characters begin the game with a number of monetary units equal to their Archetypal ability. A warrior with strength 15 would begin the game with 15 monetary units.

Players may have their characters keep this initial money or spend it to have acquired starting equipment. They may also “have spent it” in the adventure during their first level: at any point during the character’s first level, if the player wants their character to have already acquired an item, they can spend some of this starting money and have the item. Either the money was spent back when it was most reasonable to have spent it, or the character always had the item, perhaps as an inheritance or gift.

As long as it makes sense for them to now have it, it can be assumed that they’ve been carrying it all along.

Spirits

Prophets gain the prophet spirit type automatically.

Monks

Monks have one Psychic Field at +0. They have three special mojo, modified by Charisma as a major contributor, that they can use for bonuses, skills, and techniques within that field.

Thief skills

Thieves begin with three Thief fields from the list of Thief restricted fields, each with a +1 and one initial skill.

Additional resources using first level mojo

Players can increase the above starting resources using mojo. Starting characters have 10 mojo, modified by their archetypal ability as a major contributor.

Mojo are resource points within the game. Characters may use their mojo for any purpose listed in the rest of the rules, such as affecting archetypal die rolls. But first level characters can also use their mojo for things that non-starting characters can’t, and in some cases can use it for things that non-starting characters can but at a lower mojo cost.

When a first level character’s player uses mojo to “gain” something, it is assumed that the character always had the resource in question; it only became relevant at the point the mojo was spent. If the course of play has made it impossible to assume this, then the resource cannot be acquired in this manner.

Money

Beginning characters can trade mojo for equipment: each mojo is worth up to 15 monetary units of equipment. They can trade directly for monetary units at the rate of 10 monetary units per mojo.

Fields and skills

Players can trade two mojo for one archetypal or general field at +1; this includes one initial skill within that field. They can use mojo to gain extra skills within a field or to increase a field bonus: one mojo gives one additional skill or one field bonus.

Weapon skills

Each additional weapon skill within their Fighting Art field costs one mojo. Remember that each archetype except for Warriors are limited to either Basic or Simple weapon skills.

Spells

Sorcerors must use their beginning mojo to purchase first-level spells. Each first-level spell costs one mojo.

On paying mojo for a spell, the player may choose to have their sorceror have already memorized that spell, if the memorization slots are available for that day.

Spirits

Prophets must acquire other types of spirits beyond the prophet type before reaching their next level. There is no way to acquire spirit types after their first level. One spirit type costs 1 mojo, except for war and healing, which cost 2 mojo each. The prophet may acquire up to 4 mojo worth of spirit types (beyond the prophet type).

On paying mojo for a spirit type, the player may choose to have their prophet have already called one spirit of that type, if the calling points are available for that day.

Monks

Monks may acquire additional Psychic Fields, Skills, Bonuses, and Techniques. Fields, Skills, and Field improvements cost as normal. Psychic Techniques cost 1 mojo during the character’s first level if the Technique applies to one Skill, and 2 mojo if the Technique applies to all skills within a Field.

As an example, let’s look at a first level Monk with a Charisma of 15 who wants Corporeal Art. With an archetypal ability of 15, the character starts with 12 mojo.

  1. The player chooses Corporeal Art as their free Field.
  2. With a Charisma of 15, the character gets five bonuses or skills within that field (3+2). The player chooses the skills Healing, Morphinesis, and Self-Control, and a bonus of 2 to the field.
  3. The player uses 1 mojo to add the Harden Skin technique to Morphinesis.
  4. The player uses 1 mojo to add the Stun Opponent technique to Self-Control.
  5. During the game, the player uses 3 mojo to add an additional +3 to Corporeal Art, bringing it to +5.

The character has used five mojo, leaving seven mojo for other things.

Thieves

Thieves may acquire additional thief fields and skills, or improve existing fields, in the same manner as other fields and skills.

New players in an existing game

Sometimes, new players will begin the game with characters higher than first level. Give them ten plus twice level mojo points to start with, modified by their archetypal ability as a major contributor. For the duration of their “first” level (even if their first level is level 2, level 3, etc.) they can use the discounted costs.

Spells cost one mojo per spell level for such characters.

Example: Charlotte Kordé

Let’s redo John Greeley’s Charlotte Kordé example from the Gods & Monsters rulebook.

Fields and skills

Charlotte has Native Culture at +2. Her Native Language is Anglish and her Etiquette is Crosspoint Etiquette.

She begins play with 1 (Intelligence) plus 1 (Wisdom) plus 2 (Charisma), or 4 additional Fields. John chooses:

  • Engineering Science +1, Design
  • Personality Art +1, Demagoguery
  • Performance Art +1, Acting
  • Natural Science +1, Animal Lore

She takes Engineering Science as her non-archetypal choice.

Weapon skills

As a Monk, Charlotte begins the game with Fighting Art +0. With a 9 Strength and an 8 Agility, she doesn’t start with any Fighting Art skills.

Money

Charlotte starts the game with 17 monetary units, because her Archetypal ability (Charisma) is 17. In Highland, the monetary units are shillings, so she starts the game with 17 shillings.

Psychic Fields

Charlotte, as a Monk, has one Psychic Field and six (3, plus 3 for her Charisma) Skills or bonuses in that Field.

She chooses Telepathic Art as her Field. Using her six points, she gets Illusion as one skill (1), and a bonus of 5 for the Field (5).

All Fields

She now has the Fields:

  • Native Culture +2: Anglish, Crosspoint Etiquette
  • Engineering Science +1: Design
  • Personality Art +1: Demagoguery
  • Performance Art +1: Acting
  • Natural Science +1: Animal Lore
  • Fighting Art +0
  • Telepathic Art +5: Illusion

She has 13 mojo: 10, plus 3 for her Charisma.

John uses one mojo to acquire Read/Write in Native Culture for Charlotte, and one mojo to acquire Frankish in Native Culture.

John chooses to spend one mojo to gain Dagger as a Fighting Art skill. Charlotte spends the two shillings necessary to have acquired a dagger. He also decides that she wears cloth armor while adventuring. She pays the three shillings necessary to have purchased this.

John chooses to spend two mojo to acquire the Psychic field Psychokinetic Craft at +1 with Telekinesis skill. He then uses 2 more mojo to bring it to +3.

During the game, they run across a still-working clock, and John decides to add clockworks to Charlotte’s Engineering field. This costs 1 mojo.

John also decides, while they are wandering the old Astronomers religious stronghold, that he would like her to have some knowledge about Christianity. This costs one point and goes into her Native Culture field.

When using her Illusion skill, John bids three of his last four mojo to ensure that the roll succeeds. He only needed two points to make the roll, so he spends two mojo on this. That gives Charlotte 100 experience points. Two mojo also is enough to increase Telepathic Art by +2, bringing her Telepathic Art to +7.

Final Stuff

Just before she reaches second level, Charlotte has two mojo left. John chooses to use one of Charlotte’s remaining two mojo to gain the mediation skill in Personality Art. He chooses to use the other mojo point to gain the sling skill in Fighting Art.

Charlotte reaches second level with no mojo, 12 shillings, 100 extra experience points, and the following Fields and Skills:

  • Native Culture +2: Anglish, Christianity, Crosspoint Etiquette, Frankish, Read/Write
  • Engineering Science +1: Clockworks, Design
  • Personality Art +1: Demagoguery, Mediation
  • Performance Art +1: Acting
  • Natural Science +1: Animal Lore
  • Fighting Art +0: Dagger, Sling
  • Telepathic Art +7: Illusion
  • Psychokinetic Craft +3: Telekinesis

We know that she owns:

  • a dagger
  • some cloth armor

Increasing Fields while using mojo

For skills and fields, if a mojo use to affect a roll is enough to bring the character to a new bonus, the character is at the new bonus.

For example, Charlotte has Performance Art at +1. She needs to spend five mojo to increase Performance Art to +2. She rolls to Act like a noblewoman and command two guards. This is a Charisma roll, so it is archetypal for her. She rolls 18. The Adventure Guide tells her that fails, and she bids six mojo to succeed. If she needs to spend 4 or less to succeed, she succeeds. If she needs to spend five or six to succeed, she succeeds and her Political Science increases to +2. If she needs to spend seven or more to succeed, she fails (and doesn’t spend the mojo).

Also, in the previous section, John used two mojo during Charlotte’s first level to affect a Telepathic Art roll; this was enough to increase her Telepathic Art from +5 to +6, and from +6 to +7, since at first level she only needs one mojo to gain a field bonus.

If a player chooses to gain a new Field, a new bonus within a Field, or a new Skill within a Field while performing an archetypal action requiring that skill, the player will gain the mojo spent as a bonus on that roll. (This does not apply to Practical Mojo.)

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