Characters in Ehdrigohr come from many different walks of life. People from every corner of the lands, from richest nobles, to the most destitute of vagrants, are called by the Weaver and Spinner to change the world. Taking part in this only requires you come to the table with a character concept. There are 8 steps to character creation in Ehdrigohr. The first 2, which, revolve around the big concept of your character I’m showing here in truncated form. The other steps revolve around creating your character’s “Winter Count” so that everyone in the group contributes to the game’s history and you have interesting, meaningful aspects that really define what makes your character special.
The basic system that drives the game is derived from the FATE system. More about it can be found at FATE RPG.
STEP 1: Choose Character Aspect
Every character is an assemblage of culture, quirks, personality, and history. The thing that ties all these together is a special aspect called your “Character Aspect”. If you’ve played other role-playing games (either table-top or as a video-game) you’re probably familiar with the idea of a character class. In such games you’d start by choosing to be a wizard, fighter, or swashbuckler, or some other predefined restrictions that determines you role in the general play of the game. In Ehdrigohr, the Character Aspect serves a similar purpose but is more open ended. Its provides you with a filter to push ideas for your character through. It is not, however, meant to be restrictive in terms of what you are or not allowed to do in the game. It is meant to be restrictive in of your overall meaning to the current story. You might be a “Sweet Tongued Rogue” or a “Fearless Hunter of the Sunder” or whatever else you can come up with that fits the general flavor of the game world. Each of those concepts suggests something about what the character can do and is likely to do and will be of great assistance in helping you choose traits and advantages as you refine the character and bring it to life.
To assist in this progress I have provided a list of common concepts that set the right feel for Ehdrigohr. These are just here to get you started. The list is by no means exhaustive, and is a shorter than what is in the book, but does represent concepts that add flavor and have meaning within the context of the world. Choose an aspect from the list below of your liking, or take inspiration from these and create a new one of your choosing, and then move on to the next step. Note that some of the skills listed in the starter concepts make some concepts so close that they might seem to be effectively the same thing, this is what makes aspects so powerful as they provide the narrative boost that makes the difference.
If you’re looking to just jump in and play quickly, start with one of the concepts below and their suggested aspects, followed by a culture. Then and choose your highest trait and set its powerlevel to “Grand” and go. When using the listed skills remember that Apprentice skills give you a +1 to a roll, Expert gives you a +2, and Master is a +3. Aspects and tricks can further modify results and effort, and your traits will control how you interpret the result.
If you want to personalized (highly recommended for the best experience) then pick a concept and follow the rest of the steps to select abilities, advantages, skills, and other stuff. Even better would be to invent your own concept and use that build a character and make your mark on the world.
Character selection/creation should be a group process to achieve the best balance. A number of the concepts listed below are effectively “bad guys” and you should check with your group before selecting one of them. It’s one thing to bring a little dynamism to the group, it’s another thing to cause outright strife. If your group is hoping to create a game centered around all good guys then you might not fit in well. You should also double check with the Game Master. If characters are too different in ideology and goals it can be an awful lot of work for the GM to balance everyone and give all characters a chance to be center stage.
[PLEASE NOTE: The concept listed below represent are not representative of the final rules. They just suggest how things will be coming together on a character sheet. As we move through beta’s these concepts will get even more refined. ]
Bandit of the Ways:
Thieves and cutthroats of the lowest orders, they’ve come to realize that the best way to get what they want is to take it from those weaker than they. These vermin mostly stalk the trade paths called the Proven Ways, preying on those seeking “safe” routes between the known towns and villages during, and after, the day-lit hours.
- Character Aspect: Infamous Bandit of the Ways
- Other Aspect: “Give me what I want and I might let you live!”
- Master Skill (Riding), Expert Skills (Shadowing, Stealth, Knife Fighting), Apprentice Skills (Mounted Fighting, Waylay, Acute Hearing, Tracking, Intimidation)
- Tricks: Free Runner, Sniper, Alertness, Scary
They create the goods that others buy and sell. Most craftsmen self identify through a particular skill set (blacksmiths, potters, carpenters, etc.)
- Character Aspect: Hardworking Blacksmith
- Other Aspect: “Put your back into it!”
- Master Skill (Handiwork), Expert Skill (Labor, Handiwork Lore, Bartering), Apprentice Skills (Handiwork, Artistic Composition – Handiwork, Language, Hammer Fighting, Teaching)
- Tricks: Choose 4 expertises
Warrior of the Society of Crows:
Fervent seekers of evil. They stand against the machinations of the Sorrows and wander the lands seeking the breachers and other foul things that would bring corruption and suffering to the people. Though there are different factions they are, as a whole, present in most cultures throughout the world. They are one of the oldest of the orderbound societies.
- Character Aspect: Tireless Crow Warrior
- Other Aspect: Training since childhood
- Master Skill (Spear Fighting), Expert Skills (Knife Fighting, Tracking, Pain Tolerence), Apprentice Skills (Wind, Body, Survival, Tactics and Strategy, Shiver Lore, Gymnastics)
- Tricks: Wind, Body
Having mastered the mysteries of one of the elements Earth, Fire, Air, or Water) the Elementalist find myriad uses for their talents. Most find some sort of utilitarian work as craftsmen of one sort or another while the more militarily minded may find work on nearly any battle field or as henchmen for the rich and powerful.
- Character Aspect: Village Water Witch
- Other Aspect: “The waters call out to me”
- Master Skill (Chosen Element), Expert Skills (Chosen Element Lore, Concentration,Artistic Composition), Apprentice Skills (Elemental Philosophy, Lore – Mysterious Ways, Literacy – Chosen Language, Elemental Fighting, Navigation and Orienteering)
- Tricks: Element, Elemental Resistance
They have learned the skills for making the land give up its bounty. They are the foundation of most settled communities.
- Character Aspect: Wise Farmer
- Other Aspect: “Nobody should have to be hungry”
- Master Skill (Labor), Expert Skills (Farming Handiwork, Bartering, Staff Fighting), (Hurling, Lifting, Survival, Animal handling, Animal Training)
- Tricks: Burly, Old Hand, Nose for Trouble, Family Man
These people have honed their martial skill to such a point where others seek them out for protection. They sell their services to caravansaries and guilds who are willing to pay a premium price.
- Character Concept: Stalwart Guard
- Other Aspect: “I’ll keep an eye out. . .”
- Master Skill (Fighting Style), Expert Skills (Fighting Style 2, Acute Vision, Pain Tolerance) Apprentice Skills (Acute Hearing, Wherewithal, Survival, Tactics and Strategy, Medicine)
- Tricks: Never Give up, Reversals, Eye For Crime, Grace under Fire
Few understand the power of the earth’s harvest like these people. Very much sought after, they are healers extraordinaire. Their knowledge of the power of the herbs and minerals seems almost magical. Most towns have at least one, and in smaller settlements they often double as the local wise-person. They often revere the mourning dove as their guide.
- Character Concept: Village Herbalist
- Other Aspect: “This should make you better.”
- Master Skill (Medicine), Expert Skills (Lore – Herbalism, Research, Counseling), Apprentice Skills (Concentration, Dowsing, Magnetism, Staff Fighting, Literacy)
- Tricks: Good in a Pinch, Don’t Sass Me, Survivalist, I always keep one of these!
These privileged few are only found in the bigger settlements and cities. They dwell at the top of the social ladder in these places and often hold power over land or people due to bloodlines or traditions.
- Character Concept: Self Serving Noble
- Other Aspect: Voice of Authority
- Master Skill (Leadership), Expert Skills (Magnetism, Diplomacy, Bureaucracy), Apprentice Skills (Deception, Debate, Carousing, Riding, Literacy)
- Tricks: Well Known, Connected, First Impressionist, Shrewd
These fighters have taken their martial prowess to the next level by mixing them with the mysterious ways. They are capable of astounding feats of might and their tales are the bread and butter of tellers the world over. Like Guardsman, Orderbound belong to like-minded groups who practice and teach particular martial arts and philosophies. Intense rivalries often erupt between different groups of orderbound. Unlike guardsmen most orderbound don’t arbitrarily sell their services, though there are orderbound groups who specialize in guarding particular types of targets.
- Character Concept: Member of the Order of Silver Spears
- Other Aspect: “Our Silver Spear style is unmatched!”
- Master Skill (Spear Fighting), Expert Skills (Lore – Martial World, Pain Tolerance, Unarmed Fighting), Apprentice Skills (Attunement, Element or Nature, Survival, Concentration, Labor)
- Tricks: Element or Nature, Grace under Fire
These wandering healers and mystics tend to live on the outskirts of civilization. They are touched by the cycles of life and particularly are in tune with the processes of death. Often called Browncloaks due to the mottled brown cloaks they wear in homage to the mourning dove who they revere as a spirit guide, they are generally invited into towns and villages in during births and funerals to lay their blessings and ease the pain of all involved. More importantly they are seen on battlefields when many are expected to die. As the sun comes down, the opposing forces will call truce and retreat to let the Peacegivers “calm” the dead and recover the wounded lest dark and terrible thing possess the bodies. In most civilized areas Peacegivers are considered wakan and are thereby mostly untouchable. Still no one likes them to linger for there is an oddness, and a sadness, to them that unsettles common folk.
- Character Concept: Traveling Undertaker
- Other Aspect: “Face life, and death, with grace and dignity.”
- Master Skill (Life), Expert Skills (Spirit, Counseling, Medicine), Apprentice Skills (Attunement, Diplomacy, Fighting – Unarmed, Philosopy – Red Road, Concentration)
- Tricks: Life, Spirit
A global organization of lorekeepers who seek to orchestrate the reunion of the tribes of man and to prepare us for the next age. Servants of the Thunder Brothers and sworn to the path of the Jay, they maintain information among the network of crows and ravens who police the world against the unnatural.
- Character Concept: Nosy Jay Cloak
- Other Aspect: A Wink and a Smile
- Master Skill (Performance), Expert Skill(Water, Water Lore, Diplomacy), Apprentice Skill(Carousing, Teaching, Deception, Fighting – Knife, Interrogation)
- Tricks: Scene of the Crime, Artist, Striking Looks, Con Man
Long standing settlements of size are most likely to have armies filled with soldiers trained to fight whatever they are pointed at. Many small battles and wars have been fought between the people over the years for territory and ideas. All have been fought with rank and file soldiers.
- Character Concept: Grizzled Veteran
- Other Aspect: Career Soldier
- Master Skill (Pain Tolerence), Expert Skills (Fighting – Sword, Labor, Tactics and Strategy), Apprentice Skills (Animal Handling, Fighting – Knife, brawling, medicine, investigation)
- Tricks: Just a Flesh Wound, Read the Room, Grace under Fire, That all you got?
A wandering warrior mystic who has eschewed the bindings of the life of an orderbound. Their paths and reasons are their own. These wandering holy warriors can also be the most vile of villains if they give in to the ways of the sorrows.
- Character Concept: Wandering Fighter
- Other Aspect: “Secrets Maneuvers”
- Master Skill (Fighting – Choice), Expert Skills (Fighting Choice, Defensive Stances, Concentration), Apprentice Skills (Survival, Literacy, Language – choice, Pain Tolerance, Bartering, Magnetism)
- Tricks: Follow Through Attack, Defensive Strike, lightfoot, Chrysanthemum Strike
Related to the Way Walkers the Tellers wander from settlement to settlement bringing news of the world as well as tales of the ancient days. In some regions entire festivals center around their arrival, and in others they are banned for their stories bring hope and unrest to a cowed populace. Tellers follow many different traditions and most can be discerned by the elaborate cloaks they wear. The Jay Cloaks are among the most notable for their fabulous cloaks of bold blues.
- Character Concept: Travelling Storyteller
- Other Aspect: Behold the Master Entertainer!
- Master Skill (Performer – Storytelling), Expert Skill (Lore – Ancient History, Literacy, Acting), Apprentice Skills (Survival, Jibe, Counseling, Deception, Diplomacy)
- Tricks: Precise Memory, Linguist, Old Tongue, Polyglot
Living in the safety of the civilized areas, the thief’s trade revolves around taking from others sometimes out of greed, sometimes for the challenge.
- Character Concept: Roguish Thrill Seeker
- Other Aspect: Daredevil
- Master Skill (Waylay), Expert Skill (Stealth, Rope Use, Escape), Apprentice Skills (Contortionist, Gymnastics, Fighting – knife, Defensive Stances, Intimidation, Jibe)
- Advantage: Sticky Fingers, Child of the spider, Pick Pocket, Scary
They make their living selling goods made by others, themselves, or some combinations there of. In bigger settlements they may belong to a guild or a bloodline which sits high in the social order. In most settlements however Traders are just another source of goods. They may have a trade specialty by which they’re defined (furrier, grocer, livestock, etc).
- Character Concept: Savvy Mercant
- Other Aspect: Hard Sell
- Master Skill (Bartering), Expert Skills (Administration, Diplomacy, Bureaucracy), Apprentice Skills (Fast Talk, Animal Handling, Tactics and Strategy, Mathmatics, Literacy)
- Tricks: Money Talks, Read the Room, Linguistics, Good Investment
Possessed of equal parts male and female power, two spirits are often referred to as forwards/backwards people. Their nature gives them a holy or mysterious status in most settlements and a social place as a “go-between” and advisor. In general it is noted that only the two-spirited are able to call upon the widest range of mysteries. Often seen as a little mad due to the conflict of the spirits within them, two spirits are often holy clowns that can get away with things socially that others cannot.
- Character Concept: Charming Mystic
- Other Aspect: Two-Spirited
- Master Skill (Diplomacy), Expert Skills (Fighting – Staff, Magnetism, Juggling), Apprentice Skills(Literacy, Medicine, Language, Counseling, Bureaucracy)
- Tricks: Wink and a Smile (Men), Wink and a Smile (Women), Wild-Talent (+1 to affinity ability rolls when trying to weave different abilities together), Touched
The people have found a talent with one or more of the Essences, mysterious powers that defy and warp reality. Often living far from civilization, they strive to understand the workings of What Moves.
- Character Concept: Untrained Savant
- Other Aspect: “Sometimes it just works”
- Master Skill (Attunement), Expert Skills (Concentration, Dowsing, Counseling), Apprentice Skills (Essence – Choice, Handiwork, Medicine, Labor, Survival)
- Tricks: Essence – Choice, Knack – Essence technique
Holy men and women, who travel far from the Proven Ways looking for lost secrets in hopes of bringing the people back into balance with the world. It is said they hear the whispers of the Iktom in their dreams and are drawn to those dark places where they lie in hopes of learning their secrets. Some call them mad others call them saints.
- Character Concept: Hunter of Evil
- Other Aspect: Has seen the terrors first hand
- Master Skill (Survival), Expert Skills (Navigation/Orienteering, Attunement, Resolve), (Mystery – Choice, Lore – Breachers, Literacy, Fighting – Weapon, Literacy, Pain Tolerance)
- Advantage: Geographys and the Ways, Mystery- Choice
Warriors who specialize in traveling the ways and guarding those who would risk it. They often hire out as guides, but spend most of their times weeding out bandits and finding lost caravans and travelers.
- Other Concept: Bounty Hunter
- Specialty Aspect: “You ain’t done nothing but piss me off”
- Master Skill (Tracking), Expert Skills (Fighting – Weapon of Choice, Pain Tolerance, Resolve), (Survival, Bartering, Diplomacy, Stealth, Shadowing/Stalking)
- Tricks: Bloodhound, Child of the Spider, Scary, Linguist
STEP 2: CHOOSE CULTURE Aspect
Ehdrigohr, unlike many fantasy settings, is not a land filled with strange races. There are no elves haunting its forests, nor any dwarves in mountain roots. The people of Ehdrigohr are all human. They are, however, humans that all have very distinct cultures.
The definite presence of magic, as well as very hostile environments in some places, along with the barrier brought on by the terrors that roam the night, have forced each of the peoples, or Tribes of Myndil (called that because it was the Spirit Song Myndil that is said to have been their creator) to develop abilities and traditions that often set them apart from each other. It has not, however, always been this way.
Culture is important because it colors your character’s perception and experience of the world around her. There are other advantages that key off certain cultural aspects. What follows is a short list of the cultures. Read the Culture section in this book to get more info about your particular culture and any effects it may have on the game and the story.
Choose an Aspect from the list of cultural aspects, or work with the GM to create an original one that is appropriate to the culture and your character’s life experience.
Since the coming of “The Still” the Barata have become a society of thinkers and philosophers. They seek to understand the place the peoples have in the turning of the Great Hoop. It is said a new philosophy or religion is born every day in the streets and halls of Baratan towns, and in the cave of every hermit or mystic. Few groups are as concerned with the wakan within, and how we are to use it, as the Barata.
The so called “Tribes of the Striding Wolf” the Batu are aggressive nomads who call the steppe-lands of the eastern Shil, home. Fiercely passionate they throw themselves at danger and live a life defined around overcoming obstacles. One of their life goals is to create moments that live on in song for such songs give us strength in the night.
To the south, live the Beyduun. Much of their lands were devastated with magical seepage during the battle with the last of the Woe before the Still. Most have learned to survive the rigors of this desert wasteland, some have been terribly effected by sickness and mutation, while others have turned away from the wakan, looking toward craft, clockwork, and medicine to ease the suffering of their peoples and tame the land. Many bear a resentment of the other tribes because it is believed the Beyduun that they suffered the greatest the last awakening of the Woe, fought the hardest, and haven’t had any restitution for what they lost.
The Chi’an are the people who have built one of the greatest nations in Ehdrigohr. They have lifted their communities off of the ground by building on the backs of the great tortoises that cluster near the western shores. The largest of these beasts has a shell that is said to be nearly a mile across. The cities grow vertically off the backs of clusters of these animals which grow more static as they grow in age. Having established rigid hierarchies while doing this, the result is that there is a great divide between those who must live close to the earth and toil and tend to the tortoises, and those who live among the clouds. Politics are complicated and vicious as nobles constantly maneuver to control what is known as the Wu Towns.
Masters of the green, the Ge’al have built their society around the process of recovering much of the green that was devastated before The Still. Their cities are built in and among the great forests and rolling hills of the east. Incredibly skilled woodsmen and foresters, the Ge’al defend their lands fiercely. They are said to be masters of earth and fire and blood.
In island chains, in the fierce waters of the eastern ocean dwell the Mic’talan. The volcanic islands of the area are unstable and so they’ve built settlements by developing huge floating cities that are anchored by the great beasts of the waters, similar to the Wu Towns. There is great infighting among the various clans of the Mic’talan as they strive to subjugate and enslave each other, for a fundamental component of keeping the floating cities running are slaves and sacrifices and proof of power over others.
In the frozen wastes of the far north dwell the Urali. Constantly at war with the environment and the terrors that lie hidden in the ice, the Urali are pragmatic but joyful people. They grow when they can, and will trade with other groups to the south. However during their long winter months they are prone to engaging in raiding activities on other tribes and even against each other. Only the strong survive is a mantra spoke often among the Urali. Weakness is considered a sin among these people as they have become masters of the body and of fire.
The masters of the great badlands called the Shil, the Wiitjasa are mostly nomadic nations that have an incredible oral tradition and one of the most thorough understanding of the times before. It is said the Wiitjasa guard the remnants of forgotten kingdoms and ancient empires that centered in the Shil. It is said the Society of Crows originates among them, but more importantly, they seem to hear from the spirits more often than any other people. Others consider them partly mad at best, the Wiitjasa hear the words of change on the wind, and stay in motion to stay agile and stay adaptable.
As the Ge’al tend to the green of the east, so to do the Zul tend to nature among the shattered lands of the west. Living in a broken land of canyons and cliffs rising miles into the air and overgrown with rainforests, the D’Zul live a relatively vertical lifestyle as they build their communities into the sides of the cliff faces, construct bridges and swings. This also forces them to live an agile life that enables members of various communities to communicate and trade. Like the Wiitjasa in the central Shil, the D’Zul lands are filled with ancient ruins and lost places. There is much badness in the deep shadows and hidden caves.
That’s it for now. More can be found in the Ehdrigohr: Rol-Playing Game and in future posts.