Trudvang Chronicles was voted the most anticipated roleplaying game in 2017 and we here at Yawning Portal have been taking a good look at it (see Part I and Part II). Now it’s time to take a look at the character creation and adventuring.
Trudvang Chronicles looks awesome and it’s easy to see why many roleplayers wait eagerly for the game to be published. The setting is great, a mixture of Nordic and Celtic mythology, and the system seems to be simple and modern enough for most beginners yet complex and OSR enough for the veteran roleplayers.
But what is probably most interesting for most players is what kind of character they can play, what are the abilities, classes or how easy is it to shape it to one’s liking, i.e. what’s the character creation and leveling like. After all, this is what determines what your PC can do and what it can’t do.
In Trudvang Chronicles character creation is divided into 8 different steps. First of all you need to name your character. To be honest, this is usually something that I usually end with since finding a suitable name, one that fits this or that character the most, often takes me way longer than it probably should.
Every character receives from the game master a number of Creation points that the player can spend on traits, skills, disciplines and specialities (see Part II). The number of these points can differ, e.g. beginning characters receive 300 Creation points, while veteran characters can get as much as 700 Creation points
In the second step you decide your character’s affiliations, i.e. race and culture. Here things get interesting: In Trudvang race has almost no systematic effect! There are no ability bonuses, no special traits like low-light vision etc. You choose race and culture, and based on that you choose a mother tongue. You also get some knowledge skills related to your culture and language for free. Finally, race determines your starting body points along with Strength and Constitution.
I think this is a really nice touch! Basically, race and culture is a storytelling device, much like gender and sexuality. There is nothing system-wise that awards racial stereotypes. I don’t know how many high-con battleaxe wielding dwarves or dual-wielding high-dex drows I’ve seen at my gaming table, but in Trudvang you only have your Creation Points to build that kind of character, there are no systematic bonuses that push you in that direction.
In the third step you decide your character’s traits. You need to buy positive traits but if you decide that your character has negative traits, you can get some of the Creation points back, e.g. if you decide that your character has +4 in Strength it costs 60 points, but by deciding that it has -2 in Charisma you get 30 points back.
In the fourth step you choose an archetype for your character (see below). Archetypes are in way sort of classes (yet not like in D&D) and they actually have only minor systematic effect. There are no lengthy table showing either spell-progression or special abilities. So, you fit a certain archetype but it doesn’t define who you are or what you can do in a major way.
In the fifth step you use what you have left of your creation points to buy skills, specialities and disciplines. This is probably the single most important part of the character creation, even more important than buying traits. How you spend your creation points will determine your combat prowess or your ability to shape Vitner, e.g. if you spend points on skills, disciplines and specialities in the Fighting skill group your combat capacity will increase, i.e. you get more combat points. The same goes for Faith and Vitner, i.e. points spent on Faith adds to the number of Divinity Points a character has and points spent on Vitner adds to the number of Vitner points a character has.
To put it bluntly, if you wish to make sure that your character is able to do the things you want it to, you need to spend your creation points wisely and I think that for power-players it’s easy to find ways to make sure that even beginning characters can be quite hard-hitting one-trick ponies!
In the sixth step you note down all your secondary traits, e.g. age, heigth, Raud points (which are much like Destiny points in FFG Star Wars RPG) and body points. In the seventh step you decide your character’s background and personality. Finally, you add equipment to the character with the help of your gamemaster.
Creating a character for Trudvang is fairly simple, as long as you know what skills, disciplines and specialities you are aiming for. I think that for those who haven’t tried Trudvang Chronicles or are new to roleplaying they would need the help of either the gamemaster or a veteran roleplayer.
In Trudvang Chronicles there are seven different archetypes, but these aren’t your regular D&D classes, with their own set of special abilities and/or spell-progression tables. The archetypes in Trudvang aren’t as rigid and defining as that.
The archetypes are: bard, dimwalker, dweller, ranger, rogue, vitner weaver and warrior. Each of these archetypes has two core skills, in which they get 50 bonus creation points.
The archetype only matters in the beginning, experience and future choices can change a person and take it into a whole different direction than seemed obvious to begin with.
An open ended character creation
Trudvang Chronicles offers a great open ended character creation system, where you have space to shape your character after your own head. There are few, if any, restricting rules and nothing that awards one choice over other.
The way I see it, the players have full freedom to explore whatever kind of character that they want. There aren’t any “builds” that are better than others, though of course power-players will find a way to make sure that they get everything out of their creation points.
I think that for players who wish to have all this flexibility, Trudvang Chronicles will be a good choice. For those who are more into predetermined classes, they will probably feel this game lacking. I on the other hand like it, for I love to have the freedom to create whatever kind of character I like, without having to worry about the prerequisite for some prestige class 7 levels from now.
Stay tuned for Part IV: Trudvang Chronicles – Adventuring