Creating a Character

Creating a character for Heathen’s Heartbreaker is fast and simple. You’ll need a sheet of paper, a pencil, and some regular six-sided dice. Just read down through this chapter, following the instructions marked with the printer’s fists (☞). Dice rolls are given a simple notation: a d6 represents a six-sided die, and Xd6 represents X such dice rolled and added together.

Ability Scores

Roll 3d6 six times, assigning the numbers in order to the following ability scores:

Might (M): muscle and the ability to apply it. Might primarily relates to hand-to-hand combat, adding its modifier to damage and when attempting feats of strength.

Kenning (K): observation, reason and memory. The Kenning modifier applies to the roll to know languages and to the arts of the Wizard. You play the character’s intelligence and cleverness, whereas Kenning represents their in-game knowledge and senses.

Faith (F): courage, faith, and intuition. The Faith modifier applies to rolls to the arts of the Cleric such as the roll banish horrors. You decide if the character chooses valour or cowardice, generosity or greed, whereas Faith represents their ability to call on supernatural aid in times of need and temptation.

Nimbleness (N): coordination and reflexes. The Nimbleness modifier applies to defense and rolls to perform feats of athletics.

Health (H): general fitness and endurance. The Health modifier applies to hit points per Hit Die and rolls to perform feats of endurance.

Wyrd (W): the brightness of a character’s thread in the tapestry of fate, leadership and force of personality. The Wyrd  modifier applies to reaction rolls to influence NPCs, the number of henchmen or vassals allowed in the character’s retinue, and the loyalty of those under the character’s command. You play the character’s social skills, whereas Wyrd represents intangible fate that binds people to them.

 Record the appropriate modifier for each ability score:

Score

1-2

3-5

6-8

9-12

13-15

16-18

19+

Modifier

-3

-2

-1

+0

+1

+2

+3

Rating

Terrible

Poor

Fair

Average

Good

Great

Amazing

Heritage

All player characters are assumed to be basically human, but some may have strange origins.

 Select and record the character’s heritage, adjusted ability scores, and special ability.

Common Folk (CF): derided as mutts by some, the common bulk of mankind may nonetheless have much to be proud of in their ancestry, as they grow hardy even on famine food and tend to thrive in adversity that weeds out those that think themselves better. Common humans tend to shades of brown in their hair, eyes, and skin, and often live to a ripe old age, many having natural lifespans of 100 years or so.

Changeling (CH): some human children are thought to be stolen away by the faeries or otherwise touched by them. While most of these children die shortly thereafter, a fair number live to reach adulthood, and of those some live hundreds of years, although even such long-lived examples tend to be somewhat frail and sickly.. Changelings are always marked by a physical oddity, such as an unnatural pallor, odd coloration of the hair, eyes, or blood, or some other strange feature, and have an general feeling of uncanniness about them. Changelings tend to have very short or very long lifespans, some withering away in their fourth decade and some seemingly youthful at 200.

Giantkin (GK): in some families, particularly among the northmen, still runs the blood of the ancient giants, and a few of their children are born with a touch of the power and stature of that race. These children grow tall and strong, but such a physique can be a strain on the mortal heart, and very few live past their eightieth winter. Giantkin tend to be fair of eye and hair, and their arterial blood is often an unusually bright red.

Highborn (HB): the old aristocracy of the lost empires in their decadence seeded themselves amongst the common people hither and yon, and many noble families claim descent from them to this day, some with more evidence than others. The recessive traits of the highborn still manifest in inbred noble houses and once in a while suddenly emerge in lowly places, the result of chance dalliance or ancient royal heritage. Most highborn have violet eyes, dark hair, and bluish blood, and they tend to be fairer than most. Pure-blooded highborn may reach old age in good health, but most fail by their eighties.

Wanderers (WA): the fall of empires due to war and disaster left many without a land to call home, doomed to wander the world. Refugees and rejects, the travelling people are looked down upon wherever they go. Some say they are cursed and will be punished by the gods if they settle in one place; others simply use this as an excuse to chase them out of town. Still, they scrabble by, plying trades passed down through generations and living by hard-won wisdom.. Wanderers have coloration similar to Common Men, and their elders generally reach their eighties.

Wildlings (WL): beyond the boroughs and villages secured by Law and arms dwell hermits and freeholders that survive with only the most tenuous support from the society of their fellow men. Whether religious seekers or the self-chosen guardians of the borderlands, Wildlings form a people apart. Wildlings tend to the same build and coloration as common men, and might live just as long if not taken by injury.

Classes

Player characters belong to one of three Classes: Cleric, Warrior, or Wizard. Within each of these broad classes are a wide range of possible character types.

 Choose a class and record the starting title, hit dice (HD), and class features for Rank 1 (not 0).

Cleric

Clerics serve the Gods, their communities, and frequently themselves with the command of divine powers and moral authority bestowed by their ordinations as priests, often backed up by a stout mace.

Class abilities: banish horror, ceremony, clerical spells

Experience

Rank

Titles

Cleric/Cultist

HD (d6)

Spell Capacity

Max Spell Complexity

n/a

0

Acolyte/Neophyte

1-1

-

-

0

1

Deacon(ess)/Zealot

1

0

1

2,000

2

1+1

1

1

4,000

3

Priest(ess)/Practitioner

1+2

1

1

8,000

4

2

2

2

16,000

5

2+1

2

2

32,000

6

Elder/Beholder

2+2

3

3

64,000

7

3

3

3

120,000

8

3+1

4

4

240,000

9

High Priest(ess)/Adept

3+2

4

4

360,000

10

4

5

5

480,000

11

4+1

5

5

600,000

12

P(M)atriarch/Philosopher

4+2

6

6

Banish Horrors: while anyone can present a blessed symbol of their faith to try to hold evil at bay -- at least so long as their courage holds! -- the Cleric’s ordination grants the character a much more powerful form of this ability, able to drive away demons and the undead or even burn them to ash. See the combat chapter for details.

Ceremony: Clerics are ordained to perform certain rituals for the benefit of their companions and communities. Which ceremonies and their exact nature are dependant on the particular faith and hierarchy the Cleric belongs to, but in general they take at least a turn to perform, even in extremis. The exact effects are entirely up to the referee to adjudicate.

Clerical Spells: Clerics can perform certain miracles, starting with minor effects and progressing to more powerful and complex miracles. These spells are written down in holy books, which Clerics must consult each time they wish to refresh their collection of spells, a process requiring an hour of prayer and meditation. The maximum number of spells they may have ready at one time is equal to their Rank plus their Faith bonus, divided by two (rounded down). Clerics begin with a book that contains basic and well-known spells, but they may discover others in their adventures. In order to cast spells, Clerics must hold a blessed holy symbol and speak in a clear voice.

Warrior

Warriors make their way in the world with skill at arms and other disciplines available to those with the dedication to endure the necessary training, becoming leaders of men through glory and ability.

Class abilities: weapon skills, defense, disciplines

Experience

Rank

Titles

Warrior/Knight/Criminal

HD (d6)

Disciplines

n/a

0

Recruit/Squire/Runner

1-1

0

0

1

Grognard/Armiger/Associate

1+1

1

1,500

2

2

1

3,000

3

Warrior/Knight/Soldier

2+1

2

6,000

4

3

2

12,000

5

3+1

2

25,000

6

Hero(-ine)/Banneret/Captain

4

3

50,000

7

4+1

3

100,000

8

5

3

200,000

9

Warlord/Commander/Boss

5+1

4

300,000

10

6

4

400,000

11

6+1

4

500,000

12

Epic Hero/Grand Master/Godfather

7

5

Fighting Skill: Warriors gain hit dice, and therefore combat ability and hit points, more quickly than other classes.

Defense: Warriors gain a +1 bonus to their defense, due to their superior combat training.

Disciplines: Warriors , even at first level, are veterans of combat with substantial training or natural ability, and thus at least some skill in a particular martial discipline. The Warrior selects one such discipline at first level and an additional one at every level divisible by three. Disciplines are arranged in broad categories to provide guidance in creating a character with a particular focus or specialization. Certain other advanced or secret disciplines may be available in the campaign, but they are the exclusive domain of particular military orders, secret societies, etc. If you are not sure which discipline you should choose, Champion is suggested.

Wizard

Wizards hoard esoteric and arcane knowledge, employing every secret they gather to twist the natural order to be more to their liking by the power of magic, gaining a command of the world and their fellow men that few others could even dream of approaching.

Class abilities: magic spells, dweomercraft, sixth sense

Experience

Rank

Titles

Wizard/Warlock

HD (d6)

Spell Capacity

Max Spell Complexity

n/a

0

Apprentice/Neophyte

1-1

0

1

0

1

Journeyman/Initiate

1

1

1

2,500

2

1+1

2

1

5,000

3

Magister/Occultist

1+2

3

2

10,000

4

2

4

2

20,000

5

2+1

5

2

40,000

6

Master/Invoker

2+2

6

3

80,000

7

3

7

3

160,000

8

3+1

8

3

300,000

9

Magus(a)/Adeptus(a)

3+2

9

4

450,000

10

4

10

4

600,000

11

4+1

11

4

750,000

12

Archmagus(a)/King(Queen)

4+2

12

5

Magic Spells: Wizards can cast magical spells, starting with minor magics and moving on to works of greater complexity. These spells are written in an arcane magical language in precious tomes, which the Wizard must consult in order to imprint their minds with the pattern of a spell, a process that takes about an hour an requires that the Wizard not be fatigued and have relative peace and quiet. The maximum total complexity of spells they may have ready at one time is equal to their Rank plus their Kenning modifier. Wizards begin play with a book that contains common spells, but they will wish to acquire others through adventure, research, and trade with other Wizards. Generally, in order to cast a spell a Wizard must be able to speak and gesticulate with at least one free hand.

Dweomercraft: Wizards can create magical scrolls and other enchanted items.

Sixth Sense: Wizards develop a feel for the currents of power in the world. They have a base 4-in-6 chance of noticing the presence of unusual unseen phenomena, such as ley lines or hauntings, although they must employ their spells to pinpoint the nature or source of any such effect.

Custom Classes

Solely at the referee’s option, a player may play a custom class that mixes features of the above classes. For instance, a player character Bard might be a Cleric that has the Warrior disciplines related to leadership instead of the ability to Banish Horrors, or a Paladin might be a Warrior that has the ability to Turn Undead as a Cleric of half their level instead of a first level discipline. Other class variants may simply change the specifics of the Wizard’s dweomercraft ability or the Cleric’s ceremonies, such as implied by the Warlock and Cultist rank listings.

Equipment

Starting Gear

Record the character’s basic equipment:

 Record additional equipment appropriate to the character’s class:

Choose 3 of the following items (Highborn may choose to take an extra item)):

Other equipment may be available for purchase at the beginning of play at the referee’s discretion.

Money

The base unit of currency is the silver penny (d), accompanied by the gold bezant (gb.) and copper farthing (f.), each of a similar weight (240 to the pound, about 21 grains or 1.36 grams, a little lighter than the American dime, counted as 1000 to the ½ stone), valued in a ratio of 1:10:40 (gold:silver:copper). Pennies are also often found cut into halves or quarters to make small change.

Gold and silver are also sometimes cast into marks (M), weighing about half a pound. The silver mark is by far the more common and is also used as a money of account, being defined as 120d.  

 Roll 2d6 (or 4d6 if Highborn). You start with this many silver pennies.

Armor

Armor improves a character’s defense score, making them less likely to take damage in combat. Because defense is added to an opponent’s roll, a lower score is better for the defender.

Almost all types of armor fall into one of five broad classes in terms of game effect:

Item

Defense

Weight

Notes & Examples

Helm

+1

½ st.

A metal helmet or padded coif

Shield

+2

1 st.

A large target, round, heater, or kite shield

Leather

+2

1 st.

lamellar, curbolli,  heavy furs, studded leather, etc.

Mail

+4

2 st.

hauberk, ring, birgandine, metal scale, etc.

Plate

+6

4 st.

splint, banded, plate & chain, etc.

Other armor is adjudicated on a case by case basis; for instance, a hoplite’s bronze panoply might protect as mail and weigh 3 st.

Record the character’s starting Defense, equal to 9 minus all of the defense bonuses from their armor, their Nimbleness modifier, and an additional 1 for Warriors (lower is better), and any soak given by their armor.

Weapons

By default, all weapons do 1d6 damage. Two-handed melee weapons do +1 damage, while knives, cudgels, and improvised weapons do -1 damage (so a two-handed cudgel does the base 1d6 damage). Trained warbow archers and those using an arbelest or scorpio also do +1 damage. Characters that wield a one-handed weapon in each hand gain a +1 bonus to their defense and rolls to-hit. Characters that are unarmed take a -1 penalty to their defense and rolls to-hit and do -2 damage.

Item

Weight

Hands

Range (in)

Battle Axe

1 st.

2

-

Throwing Axe

½ st.

1

6 †

Pike or Polearm

1 st

2

-

Spear or Lance

½ st.

1 or 2

6 †

Dagger or Knife

**

1

6 †

Arming Sword

½ st.

1 or 2

-

Great Sword

1 st.

2

-

Mace or Warhammer

½ st.

1  or 2

6 †

Morningstar or Flail

1 st.

2

-

Club or Cudgel

½ st.

1

6 †

Quarterstaff

½ st.

2

-

Sling

1 st.*

1

12

Crossbow

1 st.*

2

18

Short bow

½ st.*

2

15

Long bow

½ st.*

2

21

Arbelest or Scorpio

2 st.*

2

24

War bow

½ st.*

2

24

* includes 20 rounds of ammunition

** count knives or daggers only if carrying large numbers; 20 throwing knives are 1 st.

† range when thrown

‡ multiply by 5 for range in feet; outdoors or in areas with high ceilings missiles may be                         fired at up to double range for a -2 penalty to-hit.

Note the weight, damage, and range for the character’s starting weapons.

Movement and Encumbrance

Each character has a base unencumbered movement of 6. This represents a move of 6 inches per round on an encounter map (a brisk 30 feet indoors),  or 120 feet per turn of careful exploration, or a overland marching speed of about 6 leagues (18 miles) across open country in a day. This is reduced by the amount of weight the character carries, which for convenience is figured in stone (st., about 12½ to 14 pounds). Further, Wizards that are encumbered by armor or heavy burdens have difficulty casting spells.

Encumbrance

Burden*

Move

/rnd

/turn

/day

Wizard  Spell Failure

Unencumbered

up to 4 st.

6

60 ft/yd

120 ft/yd

6 lea

none

Encumbered

up to 8 st.

4

45 ft/yd

90 ft/yd

4 lea

1 in 6

Overburdened

up to 16 st.

2

30 ft/yd

60 ft/yd

2 lea

3 in 6

        * Add 1 to the allowed burden if the character is Giantkin

Figure the character’s encumbrance (weight carried) thus:

In general, with the exception of arms and armor, which are artificially listed as somewhat overweight to represent the difficulty of bearing them, nothing amounting to less than ½ stone (about 6 -7 lb) is worth accounting for.

Note the character’s beginning encumbrance and movement. If your character is already encumbered, you may wish to trade some of your weapons or armor for other equipment, especially if playing a Wizard.

Retinue & Hirelings

Player characters may take various non-player characters into their service or hire them to perform various specialist work. In general, a character can maintain a personal retinue of no more retainers than their rank plus their Wyrd bonus, including apprentices, loyal servants, squires, henchmen, etc. This limit also applies to the number of assistants or other non-player characters a character may lead into dungeons at one time, even if they are not loyal followers.

Retainers must make morale checks in dangerous situations like combat and at the end of adventures (failure indicating that they leave the character’s service). These checks are modified by their employer’s Wyrd bonus.

Retainers

Apprentices, henchmen, squires, blood-brothers, and others bonded by close relationships will follow a character out of loyalty, but player-characters should expect to be responsible for their.upkeep as members of their household. Retainers do not normally check morale at the end of adventures unless they are mistreated, but apprentices, squires, and the like will expect training and eventually leave the character to develop their own careers. Retainers that accompany the character on adventures will generally expect some remuneration, such as a half-share of the proceeds. Within reason, characters may generally play their retainers in combat, but the referee has the final say on retainer behavior, and followers that are mistreated will abandon or turn on their employers.

Hirelings

The characters will often want to hire assistants and men-at-arms to accompany them on adventures or to do specialized work such as amour-making, alchemy, or research.. Usually, these characters are 0-level “normal men”, but sometimes hirelings with class abilities will be available. Hiring retainers is handled in-character through advertising, searching, negotiation, etc. Hirelings work for money, generally either a fixed fee, a share of the proceeds of the adventure (often a half share of treasure), or some combination thereof. Skilled or well-equipped hirelings are likely to demand more consideration and may require up-front payment.

 Highborn characters may start with a Rank 0 retainer, either a personal servant or bodyguard as the player desires; consult the referee for details. Other hirelings may be available for recruitment at the start of the adventure at the referee’s option.

Alignment

Intelligent characters and monsters have a particular moral outlook on humanity’s place in the universe, broadly codified into one of three “alignments” of belief:

If your character...

...then write down:

...is willing to make a stand for the existence of the universe and the presence of human civilization in it...

Lawful

...is against human civilization or the universe in general...

Chaotic

...doesn’t want to get involved...

Neutral

Record your character’s alignment. Beginning players should chose to be Lawful or Neutral. Secretly inform the referee if you have chosen the Chaotic alignment.

Languages

All characters begin with the ability to speak the common language of men in their starting region and an ability to read and write it adjudicated by their Kenning score. In addition, each class begins with an additional language:

As other languages are encountered in the game, each character has a base 1-in-6 chance of knowing it with enough fluency to get by, modified by their Kenning bonus and the relative obscurity of the tongue.

Record the character’s starting languages: the Common Tongue and one based on their class.

Description

Choose or roll for the character’s build and coloration (roll 1d6 for each of build, eyes, hair, and skin):

Common Humans, Wandering Folk and Wildlings:

Feminine Names: Alis, Astrigis, Bene, Diane, Enide, Elizabeth, Gloris, Igraine, Tanree, Violette.

Masculine Names: Arthur, Briant, Edward, Gareth, Guy, Hewgon, Jordans, Miles, Perin, Semond

Roll

(1d6)

Build

(M/F)

Height (M/F)

Weight (M/F)

Eye Color

Hair

Color

Skin

Color

1

Small/Petite

5′6′′/5′3′′

12 st./9 st.

blue

dirty blond

fair

2

Slim/Svelte

5′9′′/5′6′′

13 st./10 st.

amber

l. brown

ruddy

3

Average

6′0′′/5′9′′

14 st./11 st.

l. brown

chestnut

tan

4

Stout/Curvy

6′0′′/5′9′′

15 st./12 st.

brown

brown

brownish

5

Tall

6′3′′/6′0′′

16 st./12 st.

d. brown

dark brown

brown

6

Outsize

6′3′′/6′0′′

17 st./13 st.

black

black

dark

Changelings:

Feminine Names: Alfrun, Disa, Elaine, Langlif, Mæb, Nymue, Runa, Spana, Una, Viviane

Masculine Names: Aggi, Alfgeirr, Alfvin, Brisi, Emrys, Niall, Skælingr, Taile, Tassi, Ultan

Roll

(1d6)

Build

(M/F)

Height (M/F)

Weight (M/F)

Eye Color

Hair

Color

Skin

Color

1

Small/Petite

5′0′′/4′9′′

9 st./8 st.

amber

white

bluish

2

Slim/Svelte

5′3′′/5′0′′

10 st./9 st.

violet

silver

pale

3

Average

5′6′′/5′3′′

11 st./10 st.

green

blond

pallid

4

Stout/Curvy

5′6′′/5′3′′

12 st./11 st.

azure

gold

tanned

5

Tall

5′9′′/5′6′′

12 st./11 st.

red

red

greyish

6

Outsize

5′9′/5′6′′

13 st./12 st.

black

black

pallorous

Giantkin:

Feminine Names: Astrid, Brynhild, Folka, Geira, Helga, Inga, Kata, Lif, Ragna, Svana

Masculine Names: Albrikt, Bjorn, Erik, Falki, Glaæggi, Hakon, Karl, Solmund, Vigi, Yngvarr

Roll

(1d6)

Build

(M/F)

Height (M/F)

Weight (M/F)

Eye Color

Hair

Color

Skin

Color

1

Small/Petite

6′0′′/5′9′′

16 st./14 st.

azure

red

fair

2

Slim/Svelte

6′3′′/6′0′′

18 st./16 st.

blue

red-gold

pale

3

Average

6′6′′/6′3′′

20 st./18 st.

dark blue

gold

freckled

4

Stout/Curvy

6′6′′/6′3′′

22 st./20 st.

grey

blond

ruddy

5

Tall

6′9′′/6′6′′

22 st./20 st.

green

silver

tanned

6

Outsize

6′9′′/6′6′′

24 st./22 st.

hazel

chestnut

greyish

Highborn:

Feminine Names: Aelia, Electra, Giada, Irene, Julia, Lucia, Maria, Sophia, Vela, Zoe

Masculine Names:  Aule, Cae, Gaius, Julius, Larth, Lucius, Marcus, Paulus, Tiberius, Xanthos

Roll

(1d6)

Build

(M/F)

Height (M/F)

Weight (M/F)

Eye Color

Hair

Color

Skin

Color

1

Small/Petite

5′6′′/5′6′′

11 st./10 st.

red

platinum

fair

2

Slim/Svelte

5′6′/5′9′′

12 st./11 st.

red-violet

gold

pale

3

Average

6′0′′/6′0′′

13 st./12 st.

pale violet

auburn

pallid

4

Stout/Curvy

6′0′′/6′0′′

14 st./13 st.

violet

chestnut

blue-veined

5

Tall

6′3′′/6′3′′

15 st./14 st.

deep violet

sable

warm

6

Outsize

6′3′′/6′3′′

16 st./15 st.

dark blue

black

tan

Age: You may choose an appropriate age or roll 1d6+15 to determine your starting age. Everyone counts their age from the first day of spring, usually expressed as “winters”. Depending on heritage, your character can expect a natural lifespan of between 50 and 200 winters.

 Hit Points: Roll 1d6, adding your Health modifier and +1 if you are a Warrior, and record this as your starting and maximum hit points, representing the amount of damage you can ward off before taking injury.

 Name: Write down a name for your character. Suggested names are listed under each Heritage section; you can roll 1d10 to pick a random name from the list if you are unable to choose.

Family: Write down one sentence about your character’s family or upbringing.

Career: Write down one sentence about why your character left home or started adventuring.

You’re done. Go play!

Experience & Advancement

Experience Points
Characters receive experience points (XP) according the following schedule:

1 XP for every silver penny worth of treasure recovered by or awarded for adventuring

1 XP for every silver penny frittered away on tithes, carousing, ostentation, training, etc.

100 XP per HD of foes slain or otherwise overcome, up to several times that for monsters with especially dangerous special abilities (note that this is a comparatively minor source of XP).

Gaining Rank

After accumulating the necessary experience points, characters require 1 week of downtime in a relatively safe location in order to progress to the next Rank. At this time the character’s Hit Dice increase, directly improving the character’s fighting ability, hit points, and Saving Throws. All Hit Dice are re-rolled at each level, but hit points never decrease as a result (keep the old value if it is higher). Spell-casting characters also immediately gain the ability to cast more and higher-complexity spells.

Earning Titles

Part of character advancement is the renown and social status that comes with the character’s growing wealth and ability. While class ranks are not a part of the world as recognized by characters in-game, class titles are, and society in general or the character’s superiors will come to give the character new recognition as each new tier of ability is reached or shortly thereafter, often with some ceremony or other official mark, unless the character is unusually unknown or infamous.

Training and Education

Characters will have to seek out opportunities for training and research in order to learn new spells and disciplines, which may be done during the week of downtime needed to level up at the referee’s option. Characters may also attempt to learn new trades, spells, or languages at any time; this simply requires time and the availability of a tutor or other leaning materials.