Character Creation in Cymru breaks down into two sections: Concept and Crunch. Of the two, Concept is mechanically simpler, yet infinitely more complex, incorporating all of your ideas for who the character is, how they should act and react, how they feel about important issues, what matters to them; in short, how you play them as something more than a big cluster of numbers.
Crunch is the mechanical side of the operation, where you generatr the cluster of numbers that underpins the character. Character Crunch follows a simple process:
There are six core abilities in Cymru: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma. Each takes a value, typically for PCs between 3 and 18; the higher the Ability score, the better your character is at doing things relating to that Ability.
There are literally dozens of ways to generate your base Abilities, covered in dozens of d20 and OGL supplements, including all of the original D&D editions. The important thing is that you end up with a score between 3 and 18 for each Ability, and to this end you could roll 3d6, or 4d6 and lose the lowest die, or 2d6+6, or divvy up 72 or 78 or 84 points between the Abilities, or just write down six highish numbers and claim you generated them randomly.
Some methods - especially the last - lead to higher results than others. If the GM wants you to use them, it's probably because he wants a fairly powerful game, with lots of tricky challenges and action. If he uses methods which lead to lower scores, he probably wants a game with more mundane challenges, but which won't be a walkover. That, or he hates you and wants you to suffer, in which case a change of GM may be in order.
Each of the six Abilities is used in different circumstances. The actual Ability score is rarely used, instead a derived bonus is used (see Table 1.1) to modify your roll. Primarily, this bonus is used for any Skill roll where the Ability in question is the key Ability for the Skill, or any roll based on the Ability itself. For example, Swimming and Climbing use Strength, as does trying to break down a door.
Strength (STR): Physical brawn. Sheer muscle power combined with skilled application lead to a high Strength score. In addition to appropriate Skill and Ability tests, your Strength bonus is applied to:
Dexterity (Dex): Dexterity combines elements of physical agility and flexibility, hand-eye co-ordination, reflex speed and balance. In addition to appropriate Skill and Ability tests, your Dexterity bonus is applied to:
Constitution (Con): Constitution measures the character's general state of health, resilience and fitness. In addition to appropriate Skill and Ability tests, your Constitution bonus is applied to:
In addition, your character's Wound Points total is equal to their Constitution.
Intelligence (Int): Intelligence is a measure of the character's ability to think, covering deduction, analysis, learning and reasoning. In addition to appropriate Skill and Ability tests, your Intelligence bonus is applied to:
Wisdom (Wis): Wisdom applies to less ordered cognition: intuition and perception. It is also a measure of common sense, experience and willpower. In addition to appropriate Skill and Ability tests, your Wisdom bonus is applied to:
Unlike a fantasy setting, Cymru only has a single race: An unexceptional, bipedal mammalian race, who call themselves humans. This is not to say that all humans are identical however. The folk of Cymru are a varied lot, and those who live in the hills are not much like those who live in the valleys, although probably more so than they would like to admit. Background gives a Cymru character a few minor modifiers before beginning play, and adds a little flavour to his past.
Background determines what kind of start a character had in life; what kind of place they came from. The other major influence handed down to a character is their sex; are they a man or a woman.
Cymru has a fairly enlightened attitude to gender. After the Burning, there were few enough people to work the farms and the mills, and so the idea that there was 'men's work' and 'women's work' fell out of use. There was work, and if someone could do the job then everyone was better off if they were doing it. In the years since, any tendency to view women as weaker than men, and either less entitled of in need of protection has been curtailed by the prominence of leaders such as those descendents of Donn the Evercrafty, Arianrhod and Modron.
Pregnant women are a different matter. Children are very important in Cymru, and it is considered improper for an expectant mother to risk the life of her child by overworking or going into battle. Once the child is born, it is a mother's first duty to wean the babe, and the father's to protect and provide for his family. Both parents of growing children are expected by society to work to give those children a good start in life. While a mother continues to have a duty to the child's well-being, she would be ill-thought-of if she did not pull her weight once the child was old enough not to need full-time attention. Older children are often crèched and looked after by the elderly, allowing both parents to work a full day.
Consequently, most of the same opportunities are open to female characters as to male.
Characters from an Artisan background hail from the middle classes. They are the children of masons, blacksmiths, wainwrights or other artisans, less specialised than the Order of Engineers, but none the less skilled for that. They have grown up with the ins and outs of trade and craft, and usually display a sense of professionalism and responsibility that breeds trust, if not necessarily affection, in others. Usually dependable sorts, they take pride in their work, as much as in the finished product, and value learning and experience.
The Borderers are those hardy souls who eek out a meagre existence in the land around Pwyll's Dyke. They have little time in their lives for small-talk and triviality, and tend to be emotionally very intense. Hardy and resourceful, they are considered somewhat touched by the other folk of Cymru, and the exacerbate this reputation with their taciturn manners and outlandish garb, favouring dark cloaks and tunics which blend with the land. They usually prefer to avoid unfamiliar eyes and crowded rooms, and in many small ways behave in a manner considered 'odd' by most. It is difficult to win their trust, but once this is done they make solid friends.
Despite the best efforts of the Engineers, the King's sheriffs and the local reeves, there is a thriving criminal class in most of Cymru's large cities. Major rackets are run in a highly professional fashion, while petty thieves and burglars eek out a living as best they are able. Criminals tend to form small groups or gangs of close friends, and be distrustful of all outsiders; of other criminals as much as of law-abiding folks or enforcers. They are usually used to living on their wits, and to looking out for their own interests, but they are also tight-lipped and loyal in a pinch, as the criminal culture does not reward those who sing for the magistrate.
Valley farmers are the heart of Cymru's prosperity, and range from simple tenants working a few fields, to petty lordlings managing a web of estates. The farming life breeds a respect for honest toil, and a dislike of idleness, and farmers are often seen as somewhat curmudgeonly by outsiders. They also tend to be long-suffering sorts, and even those restless enough to leave the farm and seek adventure are often diligent and patient by the standards of their travelling companions.
Herders are of two sorts: Cowherds and shepherds. The former share the valleys with the farmers, and are usually employed by farm owners to look after the herds. The latter live in the hills, and view the valley folk as soft. Either way, herders are usually easygoing and pleasant characters, but capable enough once roused, and often more alert than they seem. Those who leave their homes to travel are often in search of excitement, having grown weary of endless days watching for wolves and wild cats. They are usually affable and open, and make friends easily, although the valley folk tend to view them as simple.
Merchant families are among the most affluent of the professional classes. They raise their children to be crafty and suspicious of strangers, and to value money and the service it can buy. This is not to say that those of the merchant class are all penny-pinching misers, but many are so used to haggling with other merchants that they have difficulty accepting others at face value. They are typically cautious and thoughtful individuals, and do well in areas which reward long-term planning. Frequently, merchants are also good - if over-critical - judges of character.
The miners and other folk of the mountain foothills are hardy and insular. They spend their lives in search of slate, ore and coal, breaking their hands on the hard rock to wrest these vital resources from the earth, and they feel that no-one else - save perhaps the Engineers - appreciates their efforts. Miners tend to look out for their own, and only their own. Many have serious entitlement issues, while others - especially those living away from their own communities - suffer from persecution complexes. Within their own towns and villages however, they have a tremendous community spirit, which sees them through the harsh conditions of the mountain winter.
The nobility of Cymru are a mobile lot, being shuffled across the Kingdom by royal land grants and edicts, and mixing in the courts enough that they are much alike, regardless of democracy. Living lives of diplomacy and bureaucracy, they tend to be detail-minded, and even more suspicious than merchants; after all, a merchant who misjudges loses money, a noble loses a child or the livelihood of his people. Nobles tend to be witty and charming, and just a little bit devious, and often find it hard to relate to the lower classes, whose concerns are so very different to their own.
The children of members of the Three Orders are among the most privileged in all of Cymru. While they may have fewer luxuries than nobles or wealthy professionals, they have access to the best educations available. They grow up imbued with the values of the Orders, which leaves the with a strong sense of duty and morality, and a bearing that commands respect. Most are studious, and slightly serious, although a few rebel against their upbringing by behaving in as frivolous a manner as possible. They are often a little uneasy dealing with those outside their parents' Order.
Those born outside the law are the unfortunates of society. Often condemned by the sins of the father - or mother - their upbringing lacks the moral structure which is so important to Cymric society, and this makes it hard for them to deal with others. Some are untrusting, with others their trust is simply hard-won. They are often reticent to give or accept oaths, and this often places them at a disadvantage, as well as marking them out from the crowd. Many do however espouse a code of honour among outlaws, based on mutual advantage, especially those raised among brigand bands or the Loyal Outlaws.
Fishermen and boatmen are a small but important part of society. While the fastest means of travel in Cymru is by rail, and the cheapest is by road, the rivers are a happy medium, and a source of food besides. Riverfolk tend to be a little nomadic, and are often considered strange and untrustworthy by the home-loving settled folk. They usually hold to an idiosyncratic code however, and when they make a friend they display incredible loyalty. Moreover, they are loyal to each other, and recognise a deep bond of kinship with other riverfolk. They are usually independent by nature, and often a little cocky.
Roads, rail and rivers all have one thing in common: They end at the sea. Sailors keep open the trade routes to Erin, Cymru's principle foreign market, and a few hardy souls even dare the seas to Scota and Bretagne. Sailors are an odd bunch, and seem odder to the people of Cymru for the foreign ways and phrases that they pick up, and bring back to Cymru along with their foreign spouses. Very few of the sailor folk are willing to leave the seas to explore the inlands of Cymru, but a few do, and are invariably looked at with suspicion. Most revel in the stir they cause, and do their damnedest to at least appear to live up to every degenerate stereotype.
Tradesmen are the lowest rung of the middle classes. The bakers, the butchers and the stallholders; tanners, candle makers and tailors; grooms, innkeepers and animal handlers. They do not have the highly specialised and valuable skills of the artisans, nor the wealth and status of the merchants, but they are a vital part of society nonetheless. They are usually stalwart folk, but often sharper than they look, and most know at least a handful of tricks to pad the prices of their wares. Within a given community there will usually be a tight-knit tradesmen's guild, an organisation which exists to provide mutual protection from thieves and organised rackets - although in some cases the guild may be a racket in all but name - and to ensure that traders give each other a fair price, and do not undercut each other with the public.
A small number of people choose to live a life on the road. Such individuals usually travel in family groups, or clans, and between them know a number of minor trades such as cartering and butchery, and a smattering of ironmongery and smithing. They also trade in small goods such as jewellery, and many are accused of stealing their wares elsewhere on their travels. Long years of antipathy have led to such preconceptions existing on both sides, and vagabonds often have little respect for the intelligence of sedentary folk, and few qualms about playing elaborate confidence tricks on them. Those of vagabond stock tend to display similar traits to those of the criminal classes - quick wits, self-reliance, and hard-earned but rock-solid loyalty.
Awen and Wound points: A character's beginning Awen points are determined by Class. At the first level, the character receives the maximum number of Awen points available (the maximum roll of the die), plus his Constitutions and Wisdom bonuses.
The character's Wound points total is equal to his Constitution score.