Famous fantasy NPCs

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torus
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Famous fantasy NPCs

Post by torus » Sun May 06, 2012 12:10 am

Just for fun, I decided to try and stat up some famous fantasy characters using the AFF rules. Here are two examples. I've tried not to make them superhuman, and I haven't bothered specifying languages or equipment.

Conan
SKILL 11
STAMINA 18
LUCK 8
MAGIC 0
Talents: Strongarm, Combat Reactions
Special Skills: Axes 2, Strength 2, Swords 2, Brawling 2, Climb 1, Ride 1, Mountain Lore 1, Awareness 1, Sneaking 1, Hunting 1
Social Class 0

Aragorn
SKILL 11
STAMINA 14
LUCK 9
MAGIC 0
Talents: Survivor
Special Skills: Swords 3, Mounted Combat 1, Ride 1, Dodge 1, Awareness 1, World Lore 3, Etiquette 2, Healing 1, Hunting 1, Leadership 3, Secret Signs (Ranger), Tracking 2
Social Class 10

Perhaps you have different interpretations or ideas for other characters - I'd be interested to hear.

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Post by Bysshe » Sun May 06, 2012 4:42 am

They seem a little bit low to me. For instance, I'd give Aragorn at least max skill. IIRC, one of the various LOTR RPGs (I think there have been, what, three official ones by now?) statted him a few levels above max for PCs, like level 27 vs. level 20 or something like that.

My brother, friends and I used to mull over the stats of various famous characters. In fact, when Star Wars Episode III came out, there was this big Vanity Fair article about it in which George Lucas stated that before his battle with Obi-Wan, Anakin had the potential to be twice as powerful as the Emperor, but after becoming Darth Vader, he was only about 80% as powerful due to his injuries. In the same article, he stated that on a scale of 1-10, a Jedi like Obi-Wan could only get to about an 8 without resorting to the dark side. My brother extrapolated from this information and announced, "I have stats for the Emperor" (ignoring, of course, the d20 Star Wars game that already existed, as well as the 1980s version).

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Post by torus » Sun May 06, 2012 1:16 pm

Yeah I guess it's not obvious to me what the scaling should be for high-powered PCs/NPCs. After all, if you consider with his Sword skill of 3, as I've statted him Aragorn is already more effective in combat than pretty much anything in OOTP bar an adult dragon. My impression of Aragorn is that he is a very good fighter but not invincible.

For PCs/NPCs I'm inclined to increase Special skills rather than base SKILL, or else it seems to me the task resolution system breaks down. In fact, perhaps the correct way to give major NPCs more importance/power is to increase LUCK. I'm inclined to stat Aragorn as SKILL 11, STAMINA 14, LUCK 12.

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Post by torus » Sun May 06, 2012 11:36 pm

Also I messed up with Conan; should give him skill 3 in Axes, Swords, Strength and Brawling.

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Post by Bysshe » Mon May 07, 2012 6:31 am

torus wrote:Yeah I guess it's not obvious to me what the scaling should be for high-powered PCs/NPCs. After all, if you consider with his Sword skill of 3, as I've statted him Aragorn is already more effective in combat than pretty much anything in OOTP bar an adult dragon. My impression of Aragorn is that he is a very good fighter but not invincible.

For PCs/NPCs I'm inclined to increase Special skills rather than base SKILL, or else it seems to me the task resolution system breaks down. In fact, perhaps the correct way to give major NPCs more importance/power is to increase LUCK. I'm inclined to stat Aragorn as SKILL 11, STAMINA 14, LUCK 12.
That's a workable solution if you want to stick with the default stat caps. Perhaps I'm more influenced by my disregard for caps (as we discussed in another thread) and preference for scaling to infinity and beyond.

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Post by torus » Mon May 07, 2012 1:30 pm

This is quite good fun so here's another - comments welcome!

Elric of Melnibone
SKILL 10
STAMINA 12
LUCK 12
MAGIC 7
Talents: Combat Reactions, Learned
Special Skills: Armour 2, Swords 3, Ride 2, Awareness 2, Etiquette 3, Leadership 2, Magic-Sorcery 4, Magic Lore 3, Second Sight 1
Social Class 10
Equipment:
Melnibonean armour, +1 to armour roll.
Stormbringer, demon-bound sword, gives +2 to Attack Strength, and each time an opponent is killed, restores an amount of STAMINA to wielder up to half opponent's Initial STAMINA.

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Post by Bronn » Tue May 08, 2012 6:45 am

Great thread! Really highlights the flexibility of the system.

If I were to stat these characters I'd reduce their Skill and increase special skills. Adding bespoke talents for iconic NPCs would be fun, too.

E.g.

Anaemic

You are cursed by a terrible affliction of the blood. For each day you do not receive magical or medicinal treatment you lose 2 Stamina, regardless of how rested or well fed you are. Your condition is not without benefits, though. Weakness of form grants strength of spirit; if you are a Sorceror you may choose a number of spells equal to your Magic characteristic that no longer require components. If you are a wizard you treat your Magic characteristic as 2 points higher for the purpose of casting spells.

(Obviously Stormbringer offsets the negative effects - one soul per day for relief from Stamina loss with up to three days' 'stored')

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Post by torus » Tue May 08, 2012 10:08 am

Bronn wrote:If I were to stat these characters I'd reduce their Skill and increase special skills.
I agree. Skill represents an individual's natural ability at the kind of tasks which heroes typically encounter. This doesn't mean mundane everyday tasks like tying shoelaces, it means the things a Director might require a Skill test for, e.g. leaping across a chasm, balancing on a ledge, fixing a wagon.

Thinking about the probabilities implied, a human with Skill 5 has a 40% chance of success at something like this for which they have never trained, which seems reasonable for an average person. A Hero with Skill 7 has almost 60% chance. Skill 9 gives over 80%.

I would say individuals with Skill 2-3 are like young children; Skill 4-5 are typical human adults; Skill 6-7 are very able individuals (e.g. most Heroes); Skill 8-9 are extremely gifted, like Olympic athletes or brilliant scholars; Skill 10-11 are unbelievably awesome, with over 90% prior probability of success before any further mods or bonuses.

I think character skill advancement should primarily be via Special Skills, and increasing initial SKILL beyond 7 or 8 should be very hard - harder than currently in the AFF rules.

Thus I'm inclined to knock Conan down to Skill 10, Aragorn and Elric to Skill 9, and then increase several of their their Special skills by 1 further point. Luck can be 12 or perhaps even higher, representing these individuals' particularly significant role in the fate of the world.

For example, something like

Conan
SKILL 10 , STAMINA 18 , LUCK 12 , MAGIC 0
Talents: Strongarm, Combat Reactions
Special Skills: Axes 4, Strength 3, Swords 4, Brawling 4, Climb 2, Ride 2, Mountain Lore 4, Awareness 2, Sneaking 2, Hunting 2, Swim 1, Jump 2, Dodge 2
Social Class 0

Bronn wrote: Adding bespoke talents for iconic NPCs would be fun, too.

E.g.

Anaemic

You are cursed by a terrible affliction of the blood. For each day you do not receive magical or medicinal treatment you lose 2 Stamina, regardless of how rested or well fed you are. Your condition is not without benefits, though. Weakness of form grants strength of spirit; if you are a Sorceror you may choose a number of spells equal to your Magic characteristic that no longer require components. If you are a wizard you treat your Magic characteristic as 2 points higher for the purpose of casting spells.

(Obviously Stormbringer offsets the negative effects - one soul per day for relief from Stamina loss with up to three days' 'stored')
That's great - I had forgotten about that aspect of Elric's condition.

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Post by Bronn » Wed May 09, 2012 8:45 am

torus wrote:
I agree. Skill represents an individual's natural ability at the kind of tasks which heroes typically encounter. This doesn't mean mundane everyday tasks like tying shoelaces, it means the things a Director might require a Skill test for, e.g. leaping across a chasm, balancing on a ledge, fixing a wagon.

Thinking about the probabilities implied, a human with Skill 5 has a 40% chance of success at something like this for which they have never trained, which seems reasonable for an average person. A Hero with Skill 7 has almost 60% chance. Skill 9 gives over 80%.

I would say individuals with Skill 2-3 are like young children; Skill 4-5 are typical human adults; Skill 6-7 are very able individuals (e.g. most Heroes); Skill 8-9 are extremely gifted, like Olympic athletes or brilliant scholars; Skill 10-11 are unbelievably awesome, with over 90% prior probability of success before any further mods or bonuses.
Great analysis -- and very much in line with my own views.

I think character skill advancement should primarily be via Special Skills, and increasing initial SKILL beyond 7 or 8 should be very hard - harder than currently in the AFF rules.
New Value x 50, perhaps?
Thus I'm inclined to knock Conan down to Skill 10, Aragorn and Elric to Skill 9, and then increase several of their their Special skills by 1 further point. Luck can be 12 or perhaps even higher, representing these individuals' particularly significant role in the fate of the world.

For example, something like

Conan
SKILL 10 , STAMINA 18 , LUCK 12 , MAGIC 0
Talents: Strongarm, Combat Reactions
Special Skills: Axes 4, Strength 3, Swords 4, Brawling 4, Climb 2, Ride 2, Mountain Lore 4, Awareness 2, Sneaking 2, Hunting 2, Swim 1, Jump 2, Dodge 2
Social Class 0
Looks good. I'd probably lower his Skill to 9 and raise the specials skills by a further point.

That's great - I had forgotten about that aspect of Elric's condition.
Glad you like it!

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Post by bottg » Wed May 09, 2012 9:05 am

Bronn wrote:
I think character skill advancement should primarily be via Special Skills, and increasing initial SKILL beyond 7 or 8 should be very hard - harder than currently in the AFF rules.
New Value x 50, perhaps?
Go for it!
When all of the xp figures were calculated, i tried to keep it so that SKILL or special skills could be increased, each with its own advantages. It does mean that a very experienced hero will be better at "base" tasks than a new hero, but that felt right to me.

However, the huge strength of this ruleset is the flexibility, and by changing the multiplier for advancement, you just change the dynamic somewhat, rather than the game balance.

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Post by torus » Wed May 09, 2012 9:59 am

parkusuk wrote:
Go for it!
When all of the xp figures were calculated, i tried to keep it so that SKILL or special skills could be increased, each with its own advantages. It does mean that a very experienced hero will be better at "base" tasks than a new hero, but that felt right to me.

However, the huge strength of this ruleset is the flexibility, and by changing the multiplier for advancement, you just change the dynamic somewhat, rather than the game balance.
Absolutely, I don't think it would break anything to put the emphasis on special skills than base skill.

Character advancement is one of those ongoing things in RPG design that people differ over. I agree it is fun to have a PC gradually improve, and I think by allowing the special skills rather than base SKILL to increase, one can do this without breaking the game. But one should still be careful with combat skills. A character with combined attack skill of 13 or more is going to have a serious effect on encounters - most monsters will hardly ever hit him/her.

I think the best games for PC advancement are probably d100 systems such as BRP and Rolemaster, and this is one are where AFF's simplicity (which is a big advantage generally) makes it more restricted.

Related to this thread, another addition I have in my game is an INT stat, which serves as the base skill for all Knowledge skills and intelligence-oriented tasks. Then plain SKILL represents everything else (i.e. primarily physical attributes). This was in response to players who wanted to create smart but less strong characters, and strong but dumb ones. I think this was also discussed a while back.
Last edited by torus on Thu May 10, 2012 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by bottg » Wed May 09, 2012 10:47 am

torus wrote: Related to this thread, another addition I have in my game is an INT stat, which serves as the base skill for all Knowledge skills and intelligence-oriented tasks. Then plain SKILL represents everything else (i.e. primarily physical attributes). This was in response to lyares who wanted to create smart but less strong characters, and strong but dumb ones. I think this was also discussed a while back.
It was, and was one reason why MAGIC can be used instead of SKILL for knowledge

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Post by torus » Thu May 10, 2012 10:56 am

parkusuk wrote: It was, and was one reason why MAGIC can be used instead of SKILL for knowledge
Yes I didn't explain myself well; that is essentially what I have done. I have gone just a little further, renaming MAGIC to INT and giving everyone an initial score of 3 (and reduced to 5 the number of points to spend increasing stats during character creation).

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Post by torus » Fri May 11, 2012 8:55 pm

Back on the thread topic, how about this one, once again from Middle-earth:

Bilbo Baggins
Race: Hobbit
SKILL 7, STAMINA 8, LUCK 12
Talents: Lucky
Special skills: Sneaking 3, Bargain 3, Con 2, Etiquette 2, World Lore 2
Social Class 5

I would also give him MAGIC 9 (representing intelligence and used as the base for Knowledge skills), but no magical special skills.

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