The Joy of a new character.

Starting with a blank character sheet is for me one of the best bits of Role-playing. I’ve played a few games with pre-gens but I always prefer games where I can make my own character. Recently I’ve done that For Game Of Thrones and I’ll be using that character (Garrick Snow) as my example.

I always try to have an idea of the sort of character I want to create before I start, and Garrick was designed to be a close combat bruiser who can also act as a unit leader if we (when we…) get involved in war. More importantly he was intended to be the Bastard Son of the Houses Lord, who should have been legitimate if not for the Machinations of his Grandfather, and a very early birth which carried off the lords first… well not wife but intended wife. The idea behind the character is that during Robert Baratheon’s rebellion he actually took a blow from Rheagar that was meant for Robert, and as he was very near death Robert asked if there was anything he could do, and Garrick asked for his legitimacy, which Robert granted him on the basis that he didn’t expect him to survive. However he did survive and since then has been waiting for the King to get round to actually doing the paper work for it. Which means of course his house is in a difficult position as he is both the heir and not the heir, luckily Garrick for all his flaws is loyal to his family if he doesn’t end up the heir he’ll serve the family.

Which has led to his penchant for drinking and spending his evenings with ladies of negotiable affection. He’s also inept with ranged weapons, healing, and riding horses. He doesn’t need healing, as he himself has taken seven blows from the greatest warriors in the Seven Kingdoms and survived all of them. Marksmanship, he doesn’t strike me as the sort of guy who fights his enemies at range, more up close. Finally, the idea of a mighty warrior in the Seven Kingdoms who rides to war in a Wagon just amuses me.

I also had in mind that he’d use bludgeoning weapons, no flouncy sword moves here, he’s about the crushing and mangling. Similarly he’s not a Ser, I saw Garrick as being very much a follower of the Old Gods, with no time for the Seven.

So to begin with I grabbed my character sheet and ordered the skills on it in terms of skills he needed, skills that would be nice, and skills that were not him. Endurance went top of the list, a man who has taken blows from both Rheagar and The Mountain and survived needs endurance coming out of his ears. Similarly Healing, Riding, and Marksmanship dropped to the bottom of the list. Fighting and Warfare moved up the list as did Status, although normally Heir would be status 5 in the game (out of 7 or so) I dropped him to 3 to show his odd situation. He’s important in the family, but not at the moment as important as the current “real” heir. Deception went up a little as well, although it’s not his main focus being able to lie seems important in a Game of Thrones game. Another thing that went up was Athletics as it determines the damage done by weapons. I also reduced two of my dump stats to 1 (everything starts at two in G.O.T) giving me more points for other things, and at the same time building in the flaws I’d already decided on.

In the Song of Ice and Fire system you get skills but you also have what are known as specialities. Sadly I didn’t have many points left for these, so pretty much had to just select the parts that he was iconically good at: Being Tough, Fighting with Blunt weapons, Being Strong, and finally Telling Soldiers what to do. Garrick has taken seven blows from the seven greatest warriors in the seven kingdoms, he needed to be tough, but he’s also a drinker so his endurance gained both a speciality in resilience and stamina meaning he recovers well from wounds and drink equally. Bludgeons also gained a bonus, swords are very much a noble weapon and Garrick for all his odd situation is not at the moment a noble. Choosing a blunt weapon is a definite choice for Garrick, Knights fight with swords, Nobles fight with swords, Garrick fights with blunt shattering implements because it drives home his rejection of the usual forms in the Seven Kingdoms. Finally he’s pretty strong so strength gained a bonus, and command also gained one too. He can perform feats of strength and he’s a capable unit commander, but again he has never controlled the entirety of the Houses forces because he is not their leader.

The final part of creating a GOT character is to choose drawbacks and qualities. As an Adult character Garrick has to have at least one drawback but I chose to have two so I could take another Quality without using up all of my destiny points. The Drawbacks pretty much wrote themselves, he’s a Bastard so Bastard Born was a must, I also took Marked as the blow from the Mountain taken during a tournament left a very obvious scar from the left of his chin across his neck and chest to the right. For qualities however the decisions were a bit more difficult. Blood of the First Men was obvious, it improves Endurance checks, increases hit points, and we are likely to be from the North. The second two were designed to make him better at what he does, Bludgeon Fighter and Armour Mastery. Garrick is tough not stupid so he does wear armour, the bludgeon fighter however is another of those abilities that filters into his world view. With Bludgeon fighter 1 he effectively smashes people’s armour away crushing it and wrecking its defensive abilities. Again this relates to his position, it gives him a way to strip the Knights and Nobles of their protection, they may have better armour than him but they don’t get to keep it.

Final step is to buy equipment, this bit is simpler because you’ll need to buy things appropriate to the character. As he’s designed to be able to take part in the Grand Melee events of any tournaments we run across, he needs a suit of armour, but half or full plate is too Knight/Noble. Instead (and because I love the look of it) I went with a suit of Scale mail and a large shield although he won’t be using the shield as a weapon. For weapons I took four, a dagger because everyone needs to eat, a hand axe as an offhand weapon, a mace for use in tournaments, and finally for fights where he actually intends to kill his opponent, a Morning star. In the Game of Thrones rule set the Morning star is an unbelievably deadly weapon, tearing armour off people with ease and ensuring that if they are taken out they are definitely dead.

There were other things, such as his wagon, and clothing but at this part Garrick was pretty much finished. He has a method of fighting which very much a function of who he is, and although he might spend his time whoring and drinking, he is also ready to take command of the house if he needed. Now I just have to wait to play him!

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