The Jarnheim Campaign – Characters

Jarnheim characters should be of the driven, desperate, bold, and colorful type prevalent in pulp sword and sorcery novels. Genre archetypes should be used and exploited to the fullest. More often than not, pulp characters are opportunistic outsiders, shady types with few scruples, but usually with at least one redeeming quality. They might also be of the more traditional heroic type, but with definite character flaws. The key thing here is shades of grey instead of pitch black or purest white. The world in which they live is hard, unforgiving and dangerous. Things like war, famine, and disease are commonplace. What drives people to adventuring is often pure desperation.

Character generation is as per the standard LotFP rules, except demi-humans should be even rarer than the LotFP norm. Characters start out as ordinary people, who’ve recently started out on an adventuring career. As the characters are adults, they all have professions learned prior to adventuring. This profession is either chosen by the player, or rolled randomly on the secondary skills table on p. 21 of the Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion.

Regarding the character classes:

The Fighter and the Specialist are quite self-explanatory, and versatile enough to come from any kind of character background, although Specialists tend to lean towards more urbane backgrounds. Fighters are often former guardsmen, or militia in the service of a local lord. Either class might also have free company, scout, huntsman or outlaw -type backgrounds.

Clerics are devout fighting-men in the service of their chosen god or gods. Jarnheim Clerics mostly come in two varieties: The wandering holy men, who need no churches or temples for their faith, and the Templar Knights of the Faith of the White God, which is the most prevalent faith among the civilized people of Jarnheim.

The two most common types of Magic-Users in Jarnheim are the scholarly occultist, and the wild-eyed hedge wizard. The former might for instance be the atheist dilettante who dabbles with powers with whom no man should dabble, while the latter might be the wild-eyed worshipper of the raw forces of chaos from which the world and everything in it was formed.

Players should think of a reason why his character became an adventurer. Characters should also have goals and motivations, which can be as intricate or as loosely defined as the player wishes. One last detail: Characters should have one or more distinguishing features, which can be related to looks, style, mannerisms, opinions, idioms, knacks, habits, or anything the player can think of that helps the player bring the character to life during play.

Now all that remains is determining how the player characters met each other, why they decided to stick together, what the characters know about the area where the adventure starts, and what rumors, clues, and knowledge they have about possible adventuring locations.

I’m aiming at getting this thing rolling some time in 2011. All I need now are the players.

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