Chapter Two: Rule of Character (p.1)

The character is the persona that the player will guide through the adventure in the realm of Archaea. The player will interact with other players "pretending" to be their own character. Creating a character will take some time, but it is time well spent.

The Elder of the Realm should set up a time before the beginning of each event to help new players start the game. A new player orientation allows the Elder to introduce the game system, the game world, how to make a character, and basic game mechanics such as the hit system. Veteran players should be encouraged to help newcomers with understanding the rules and making a character.

In the game of Archaea, the character is defined in eight ways:

1) by his or her name,
2) by his or her history,
3) by his or her discipline,
4) by his or her organizational affiliations,
5) by his or her skills and abilities,
6) by his or her Experience,
7) by his or her costume and equipment,
8) and, most of all, through role-playing.

Character Name

One place to start when building a new character is the creation of a fitting name. Many role-players have said that coming up with a name for a character is the most difficult part of the character creation process.

A character's name may reflect the character's personality or history. Choose a name that also reflects the style and fantasy of Archaea. Avoid using names that are obviously taken from film, television, or literature. See Chapter Seven for more information about the Realm.

Character History

The first step to creating a character is to come up with a concept and a history. What kind of character do you want to play? A fighter? A healer? A pickpocket? A knight? A bard? An assassin? A mage? A scholar? What kind of weapon would the character likely use? What kind of clothing would the character wear? Would the character use armor or a shield?

Once the general concept of the character is decided, then a character history can be woven. The player should read Chapter Seven on the Realm of Archaea to get a better sense of what kind of world his or her character lives in. Where and when was the character born? Does the character live in the city or in the wilderness? What city does the character live in or near?

The character history should answer many different questions: What were the significant events in the character's life? Does the character have any family? Does the character have any friends? Enemies? Loves? What are the character's political views? Does the character support the current Crown?

More things to consider: What are the likes and dislikes of the character? What are the character's fears? Superstitions? What makes the character angry? Or happy? What are the character's goals in life?

Other things to think about: What are the character's views on fighting? What does the character think about warriors? Mages? Healers? Thieves? Knights? What organizations would the character join or avoid? What provinces or groups of people would the character care for or dislike?

All of the questions above are guidelines to help the player develop a three-dimensional personality. The more detailed the character, the more "real" the playing of the character will be adding to the overall success of the game.

The character's history will help determine (or may be determined by) the character's discipline, affiliations, skills, and abilities.

Players are encouraged to type up the character history and submit it to the Elder of the Realm to be used as additional material in the development of adventures. The Elder can take certain aspects of the character history and incorporate those items into an adventure. The Elder of the Realm may choose to award players with submitted character histories with bonus Experience Points. Lastly, if the player intends for the character to join an organization, a character history is a vital part of the petition process to enter a in-game group.

Character Discipline

Character disciplines determine what kind of background and training the character possesses. Disciplines represent the general area of knowledge and expertise in which the character has been educated or has gained experienced. The character's discipline should be chosen the reflect the history of the character.

There are three character disciplines: Rule of Arms, Rule of Skill, and Rule of Knowledge. For example, if a character trained to be a soldier, he or she would be disciplined in the Rule of Arms. If a character grew up on the streets as a pickpocket, he or she would fall under Rule of Skill. If the character studied in a house of healers, he or she would be of the discipline Rule of Knowledge.

Players must decide which discipline the character follows. Disciplines determine what kinds of skills and abilities the character can gain, what type of weapons, armor, and shields the character can use, and what magical abilities the character can access. Use the following descriptions of each Rule to decide upon the character's discipline; see the Chapters on skills, combat, magic, and misticism for more details on the restrictions for each area.

The player should find the best discipline that best fits his or her character. However, the discipline simply defines a direction, a concentration. The player can build his or her character to go beyond the generalization. Later, the player will be able to customize his or her character by buying additional skills and abilities. Cookie-cutter character types such as the fighter, the thief, and the mage are not the intentions of the disciplines. Players are encouraged to develop outward from the discipline. The possibilities are innumerable with the use of imagination.

Rule of Arms

Those disciplined in the Rule of Arms are the warriors, the soldiers, the knights, and any others who have studied the art of fighting, combat, and strategy. Characters that choose this discipline make their way of life living by the sword, by the strength in their bodies, and by their skill at arms.

Those of this discipline acquire skills and abilities slowly but combat-oriented tactics and maneuvers are open to the Rule of Arms.

Characters of Rule of Arms have no restrictions on the type of weapon, armor, or shield they use.

Characters of this discipline do not begin the game with the ability to wield or understand magic or misticism but may gain such power with great cost and difficulty.

Rule of Skill

The Rule of Skill applies to those people who depend on dexterity, ingenuity, opportunity, luck, and self-made fortune. The Rule of Skill fosters a mentality of the ends that justifies the means, of living by wit and whim, of living by the turn of the wrist and the string of a harp. Those of Rule of Skill are the rogues, the thieves, the spies, the assassins, the bards, the rangers, and those whose past is full of shadows, whose present is lived to the fullest, and whose future is filled with opportunities to be taken.

Those of this discipline have a wide choice of skills and abilities to choose from ranging from combat maneuvers to streetwise skills to scholarly studies.

Characters of this discipline may use any weapon except for chain-weapons and Mortal or greater weapons. They may wear any armor except for Chain, Banded/Splint, Plate, or equivalent armor. They may use only Target and Small shields.

Characters of the Rule of Skill do not begin the game with the ability to wield magic or misticism, but may gain the power to cast with experience and training.

Rule of Knowledge

Those of the Rule of Knowledge spend their lives gathering information for knowledge is power. The Rule of Knowledge promises power over the elements, over the forces of nature, and over the mysteries of the land, the Realm, and the Mists. Those of Rule of Knowledge are the sages, the spellcasters, the mages, the mistics, and the healers.

Those of Rule of Knowledge gain scholarly skills easily but acquire anything else with difficulty.

Characters of the Rule of Knowledge may only use Light weapons but may not use chain-weapons, spears, missile weapons (except for the throwing hammer or throwing axe). They may wear only Leather or equivalent armor. They may not use any shields.

Characters of this discipline begin the game with the ability to cast magic. See Chapter Five for details on magic and starting spells. Furthermore, characters of Rule of Knowledge gain in and understand the mistical arts far easier and faster than those of other disciplines.

Character Organizations

A player may choose to have his or her character become part of an Organization of the Realm. In Chapter Seven, different character organizations are described. A character must petition to join as well as meet certain skill and ability prerequisites before becoming a member of the group. Chapter Seven details the procedure for joining an organization and the gained benefits and responsibilities for becoming part of the group.

For example, a character of the Rule of Arms may choose to become part of the Knights of the Banner or become part of a mercenary group. A healer may join the House of Healers or druidic Circle. A rogue may join the Masquerade or the Silver Guild. A mistic may join the Sisterhood of Sin'inari. And a mage may join the Academy or the generalist Decavi.

By becoming a member of a guild or house or order or council, the character gains certain perks and resources. On the other hand, the character must also answer the needs of the organization and live by the rules and precepts of the group.

Character Appearance and Costume

Finally, the player must decide on a suitable costume for the character. In live-action role-playing, appearance can add an important dimension to a character. Costume allows the player to feel like the character and encourages players to stay in character-looking the part often leads to becoming the part.

The simplest costume can be created with very little money and a little bit of effort. An investment in a character's appearance is a worthwhile endeavor. A tunic of at least crotch length, a pair of simple unmarked pants, and medieval looking boots makes a complete costume. Durable and washable fabrics are recommended for garb.

Knee-to-ankle leggings should be worn in absence of knee-high boots. The addition of a hood, mantle, cloak or cape, jewelry, belt, and other accessories help add design and flavor to a costume.

Avoid anachronisms such as jeans, zippers, t-shirts, and sneakers. Avoid wearing non-game symbols such as crosses, pentacles, and other icons.

Also avoid using pieces of costume that may be confused with certain spell effects (see Chapter Five for details). For example, the second level Earth spell Armor is represented by a brown headband; thus, players are asked that their costume not include a brown headband.

In essence, costumes must have an archaic or medieval appearance and feel. Period patterns for authentic garb may be acquired but is not necessary. At the beginning of an event, all costumes must be inspected and approved at check-in by an Elder. Costume requirements will be waived for first-time players, but generally, a player may not participate without an appropriate costume.

The Character Sheet

Included here is a copy of the Archaea character sheet in PDF format (requires Acrobat Reader 5.0). The sheet is used to make a record of the player-character's skills, abilities, magic, Experience, and other important information. A copy of the character sheet should be kept by both the Elder of the Realm and the player. The official record of the character is kept by the Elder, but both sheets should be updated regularly.

On the front side, the top of the sheet is for the character's name, the player's name, the character's discipline, and the Experience earned and spent thus far. The rest of the sheet is dedicated to character's skills and abilities. The cost multiplier of each skill or ability is listed in parentheses beside each skill name. If there is only one number in the parenthesis, the multiplier is the same for all characters. Otherwise, the cost multiplier for a skill or ability is listed in the order: (Rule of Arms/Rule of Skill/Rule of Knowledge).

When the character gains a skill, fill in the square box to the left of the skill name. Use pencil. Then, fill in the levels the character has bought in the skill or ability.

On the reverse side, the sheet is dedicated to magic. If the character is skilled in spell casting, record his or her levels in each of the arche. Finally, the right hand side of the sheet is for other character notes and information.

See Chapter Three and Chapter Five for details on how the character gains in skill and magic.

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