Character creation in Western Shores

Design Guidelines

For those folk wanting to get into the guts of the mechanics in a system-up approach (rather than a character concept-down approach)

Everyman Skills

Everyman skills are default skills that cost nothing and start at the base level for every character. Every player's character has these.


I'll go through the various Hero genre/setting books and use as many character types as possible. Some tweaking is necessary to have them fit - and sum just won't fit at all.

I like the idea of three packages for each character. A package being a archetype of skills/powers/characteristics that define a particular stereotype. Character can have more than three - but the point is that packages do not alter the costs of skills/powers/characteristics. The more they use, the less points they'll have for customisation outside the packages.

But, on the other hand - packages save labour, and really flavour what a typical "one of these" is like (ie creating an average elf, or average inn keeper).

Three package types - Race, Culture and Profession. Extra packages would be Profession Specialists (ie a Dragonslayer Bounty Hunter), and anyone with more than one Cultural background, or Profession.

This means that an Elf, growing up in a Barbarian Culture as a Blacksmith is different from an Elf, growing up in a City as a Blacksmith. A different package (Barbarian, rather than City Dwelling Culture) means their initial starting characteristics, skills, talents, perks, powers and disadvantages will be different from each other.

There is a fourth category in Fantasy Hero - for Environment/Ancestry packages. It covers things like characters with a divine/infernal/elemental/magical parent, or ones with magical/unusual properties. But to have those as well, would be more superhero-ish than I like. The characters would have to have more starting points than a heroic level setting allows. I don't want half-fire elementals tossing fireballs around. Too unbalancing - and it would play havok with the ambient magic/ley lines of the area.

FH Professional packages

Here's a listing of FH Professional packages I'll be using. I'll put the Racial and Cultural up as I read them/determine changes needed (brackets denote further specialisations) :-

Contemplative Priest (Itinerant Priest, Monk, Village Priest), Crusading Priest (Demonhunter, Marshal, Warrior-Priest, Withfinder), Druid, Rogue, Bandit, Bard, Shaman, Assassin, Bounty Hunter (Dragonslayer), Archer, Barbarian (Desert, Forest, Sea, Horse Raider), Commander, Knight (Squire), Martial Artist*, Paladin, Ranger (Archer, Hunter, Monster Hunter, Commando, Wanderer), Wizard (Adept, Apprentice, School Taught*, Warrior-Mage), Alchemist, Witch, Craftsman (Artisan, Blacksmith, Cook, Healer, Innkeeper, Miner), Mariner, Merchant, Noble

* Restricted to certain nations/cultures only. In the case of Martial Artist, this is presumed to be "Unarmed Martial Artist", as just about everyone is an Armed Martial Artist.

Another note on professions - priests, wizards, witches and paladins include some form of magic ability in their packages. The other profession would need to be customised by the player to add the ability if wanted. There are no restrictions in Western Shores (but other FH settings may have them) as to who can cast magic. The sole criteria is that the character has enough points to pay for spells.

A general restriction on starting magic I've seen in other settings that I'll use is that no starting spell can have more than 60 active points.

One final really good point about the advantages of packages - players can just say I'd like to be this, this and this, and they don't have to worry about the points and mechanics behind it.


Brief note - some races suffer huge xenophobic reactions, and this will be pointed out to players if they contemplate them.

And now a much longer note explaining the reacions-


(and magic users in general) are hated by all major religions. They undermine the Gods. Well - the higher-ups believe they do, as they have half the truth. The basic religous person just thinks they have no soul, and shuns them wherever possible (except if they need magic and they know a guy, who knows a guy). Minor change to the racial package - they are immune to aging (rather than merely long lived). Also - Elves have 5 subraces. They have a unique adaptiveness such that their culture determines their subrace, because their beliefs are closely tied to magic. This also accounts for the ability of Half-Elves to consciously choose one race or the other.


Are viewed with suspicion. Because technically they are self replicating golems, and biological life forms have a subconscious perception of this. It does lead to interesting birth and death rituals for the Dwarfs, however - The Halls of their Fathers where statues of their ancestors are placed, is really a crypt full of Dwarfs whose life force has finally faded. BTW, a note on "Father" - possibly Dwarfs view themselves as male, and the entire world as female - they hew their descendants out of the rock of the mountain. Minor change to the racial package - reproduction as an optional power (can be bought at any time), counts as a "major transform - rock to dwarf, extra time, concentration, cummulative, one charge (non recoverable), independant". Because it's independant - once the power is used, it's lost. Which means they need more experience points to buy it again to have a second child.

Other manufactured races

Ogres, Trolls, Orcs and Goblins. Not only shunned, but actively hunted down and killed by just about everyone. Some damn fool Necromancer thought they would try mind controlling and altering captured Elves and turn them into useful slave labour. And, unfortunately - word of that particular spell got out. Grab one Elf, use their soul to power the creation of clones spawned from their body. You'll kill the Elf .. eventually .. but will have created a hundred Orcs, barring loose change in Goblins. Same spell - other vicious Necromancer with an aptitude in experimentation - Ogres and Trolls. Loyal, obedient, unsavory eating habits, and totally without morals. Technically Orcs and Goblins are as immortal as Elves, but their lifestyle gives them, in general, a life expectancy of 20 years. I'm not ruling them out as a PC race - they just better have a damn good backstory.


Treated quite gingerly by the folk of WS. Very much the same way a Human would treat a Klingon in Trek. Mainly because everyone thinks it would be a good idea not to annoy the Kartar Empire. Most Felines encountered will be runaway slaves, or those sent to get them back.


About the same as the Americans treat any Arabs. Which is unfortunate, because the Cold Blooded will be ones most likely to appear in the WS, and they are refugees from slavery. If they make it to the Dragon Folk in the north, they will be so traumatised by humans (and the Warm Blooded) that it insures that Dragon attitudes will always remain the same.

Dragon Folk

Treated with fear. Because, basically - they never are seen in the WS. Always staying in the frozen north. And they are just as cold blooded as Dragons and Lizardmen. How do they survive? Magic, of course!

Races from FH

So, here is a list of races from FH (Fantasy Hero book) that will be in the WS. The ones in brackets are sub-races. The ones with asterisks are (preferrably) NPC only. Again, I'll look at the other books when I can.

Cat-Folk, Centaur*, Dragon-Folk*, Dragons*, Dwarf (Mountain, Hill), Elf (Dark, Sea, Wood, High, Council), Gargoyle*, Giant*, Gnome, Goblin*, Halflings, Humans, Lizard-Folk, Ogre*, Orc*, Serpent-Folk*, Sprite, Troll*, Wolf-Folk*

In the case of Serpent-Folk and Wolf-Folk, they aren't on the continent of Western Shores.