Character Creation Guide

Welcome to the Character Creation Guide. Here you will find everything you need to make a character for The Heroes of Altamira campaign. Before you do anything else, it is highly recommended that you download the Crystal Keep Base, Schools, and Sorcery Handbooks from our Forum under The "Heroes" of Altamira section. While they are unofficial and have some house rules, they are still the most comprehensive list of the character creation rules. You should keep in mind that they also have skills, knacks, and advantages that are unavailable to Heroes of Altamira characters. A simple rule is, if the item comes from the Cathay, Crescent Empire, Die Kreuzritter, Islands of Gold, Rilasciare, or Sophia's Daughters sourcebooks, it cannot be used. We will, eventually, edit them to bring them more in line with HoA rules.

Next, you should decide whether you will be using one of the pre-generated templates* or if you will build a character from scratch. If you use a template, continue reading. If you will be doing it yourself, move to Designing Your Own Character below.

*Ok, Truth now. Character creation for any RPG can be a pain. The learning curve is pretty steep at the beginning and some folks feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they must process at the get-go. This is especially problematic when you sit down to make your character in a living campaign for a game you've never played before. So, if that's how you're feeling, there's a third option. At the bottom of the Templates page is a section called Pre-Made Characters. These are character sheets that are complete. No calculations necessary. Just pick the one you like and you're done. As an added bonus, the combat rolls and important numbers have already been calculated for you. Best of all, you can play this through your first couple of adventures and if you find you want to change to something else, you can. Just use the rules described below. And you can even use the XP and contacts you gained from the first two adventures.

Using a Template

STEP 1-Chose a template.

Go to the Templates page. There you will find over 40 templates with at least 5 per nation. Each has been built with 105 HP (Giving you an extra 5HP more than creating the character yourself). Pick the one you like and would have fun playing. Remember that you will be playing this character throughout the campaign, so choose carefully. Note that the links to each mention they are Swordsman, Mage, or Other. Swordsmen are what the genre is all about, but can become cliché. Mages are a great twist on the swashbuckling genre, but can require a familiarity with the rules beyond basic knowledge. "Other" characters are unique and give the opportunity for great role-playing, but may not be as flashy as Swordsmen, or Mages. Remember which your character is, as that will be relevant in STEP 2. Feel free to print out the Template if you desire.

STEP 2-Get an official Character Sheet.

At the bottom of the Templates page you will find a section entitled Character Sheets. These are marked as "Swordsman," "Mage," and "Other." Print out the one related to your charcter (in truth any will do, but each have been changed slightly to accomodate different aspects of the character). Copy the Template (including Traits, Advantages, Skills, Knacks, Equipment, Weapons, and Reputation) onto your character sheet.

STEP 3 (OPTIONAL)-If you decided on a Swordsman.

Each of the Swordsman Templates comes with a sword school. If you like it, continue on to STEP 4. If not, you may pick another school from the same nation as your character (A list of all the swordsman Schools by nationality can be found in the Schools Handbook, p. 2-3). Ideally, all that will need to be changed is the name of the school and the knacks. However, some adjustments may be necessary. Refer to the specific swordsman schools for more details.

STEP 4-Arcana.

All the templates have been created with a Hubris. If you are comfortable with this, you may either stick with the one written down or pick another from the Arcana List (PG, p. 118 or Base Handbook, p. 8). If you want to get rid of your Hubris or have a Virtue instead, see Step 6 below.

STEP 5-Everything else.

Finish fleshing out the character sheet. Give your character a name. You can use the naming conventions in the Nation book appropriate to your character's nationality (if you have access to it). Write down Your Name, your character's Nationality, Memberships in various guilds or secret societies, your character's Passive Defense (see PG, p.107, 186 or Base Handbook, p. 42 for details) and Active Defense (calculated as Wits + Defense Knack, Keep Wits), and anything else you want to add (hair/eye color, height, weight, mannerisms, etc.)

STEP 6-Personalize Your Character.

Once you've finished transfering the template, it's time to personalize your character. There are two steps to this, Spending Hero Points and Spending Experience Points.

First, you get an additional 30 HP to spend as you see fit. Traits cost 8HP per pip (to a max of 3, or 4 if the Trait Bonus is applied, see Base Handbook, p. 2). New Skills cost 2HP (though certain advantages can make it cheaper, see Base Handbook, p. 9), while Knacks cost 1HP per pip (to a max of 3). Advanced Knacks cost 3HP per pip (to a max of 3). Additional Advantages may be purchased for their listed cost (see Base Handbook, p. 9-19). You may also purchase Backgrounds. They cost 1-3 HP but will require some work on your part. See the Forum for details. Finally if you are not comfortable with having a Hubris, you may buy it off at the cost of 10HP, after which you may purchase a Virtue for a cost of 10HP (a total cost of 20HP, Virtues are listed in the Base Handbook, p. 8). Sorcerous Knacks may be purchased with HP as though they were Advanced Knacks (3HP per pip, to a max of 3). It is also possible to buy more knacks, depending on the Sorcery (refer to the appropriate entry in the Sorcery Handbook).

Second, since we have begun retiring events, we want you, the new players, to be able to keep up, so we're going to award you a portion of the experience you would have earned from those adventures. Specifically you get 4XP per retired event (Currently we've retired 8, so 32XP). Spending XP is different than HP. Traits cost 5x the pip you want to buy (so taking a Trait from a 3 to a 4 costs 20xp). New Skills cost 10XP. Knacks cost 2x the pip you want to buy (so taking a Knack from a 3 to a 4 costs 8XP). Advanced and Sorcerous Knacks now cost the same as Basic Knacks. Advantages and Backgrounds cannot be purchased. In most cases the new max for Traits and Knacks is 5 (though some Advantages and Swordschools can adjust that).

Designing Your Own Character

STEP 1-Decide Character Type.

First, decide whether you would like to play a Swordsman, a Mage, or Other. Swordsmen are what the genre is all about, but can become cliché. Magery is a great twist on the swashbuckling genre, but it can require a familiarity with the rules beyond basic knowledge. "Other" characters are unique and give the opportunity for great role-playing, but may not be as flashy as Swordsmen or Mages. Once you've decided choose the appropriate character sheet. All three types (Swordsman, Mage, and Other) are on the Template page under Character Sheets.

STEP 2-Spend Your Points.

Players who go this route do so because they have experience in the game and know what they want to play beforehand. Building a Heroes of Altamira Character is a two-step process. First, build a Character on 130HP. Expenditure is at Player's discretion, with the following provisos.

Second, once your HP are spent, add 4XP per retired event (currently 8 are retired that's 32XP). This is to keep you competative with players who've been playing since the beginning. Expenditure is at Player's discretion, with the proviso that you cannot buy new Advantages or Backgrounds.

STEP 3-Everything else

Finish fleshing out the character sheet. Give your character a name (you can use the naming conventions in the Nation book appropriate to your character's nationality), write down Your Name, your character's Nationality, Memberships in various guilds or secret societies, your character's Passive and Active Defenses along with their numbers, and anything else you want to add (hair/eye color, height, weight, mannerisms, etc.)