Iron Kingdoms RPG – Character Creation


Today we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the character creation process in the new Iron Kingdoms Roleplaying Game.

Character Building 101
Creating a character starts with choosing one of seven available races: Human, Dwarf, Gobber, Iosan, Nyss, Ogrun, or Trollblood.  Each race consists of a base stat block, a list of available Archetypes to that race, and a unique rule or two specific to that race.  Archetypes come next, with four available choices: Gifted, Intellectual, Mighty, and Skilled.  Each Archetype comes with a flat bonus to any character who takes it in addition to a selection of other bonuses supporting that Archetype.  Once an Archetype is chosen, the player chooses two of the 28 available careers that will help best represent a character’s concept.  Careers represent a character’s profession and come with some base abilities, weapon options, occupational skills, assets, and social/professional connections.  After careers are chosen, you can make three stat increases to bring your character’s race, Archetype, and careers together.  You finish off by purchasing your equipment based on the available assets from your chosen careers.

To take you through the process of creating a character, I’d like to start with a simple concept: a gun mage wetwork agent for the Cygnaran Reconnassaince Service, the intelligence branch of the Cygnaran military.

Race – 

For race, I’ll go with Human since I’m dealing with Cygnar specifically.  Trollkin might fit the bill here, but I really want more of a sneaky, agile-type character.  For languages, my native would obviously be Cygnaran, but for a second language, I want to go with something that would represent my character’s past.  Perhaps my character spent some time in Llael during the Khadoran invasion and was stuck behind enemy lines for awhile.  When the rest of his unit was cut down, he joined up with the Resistance for a short time before he could escape south, making Llaelese an appropriate choice.  Humans also get the Exceptional Potential rule, which reflects their adaptability and talent, granting a +1 bonus to either Physique, Agility, or Intellect.  Since I’m going with a sneaky gun mage character, I’ll take the bonus in Agility.  This puts my base stat line at:

PHY (Physique)  5 – SPD (Speed) 6 – STR (Strength) 4
AGL (Agility) 4 – PRW (Prowess) 4 – POI (Poise) 4
INT (Intellect) 3 – ARC (Arcane) * – PER (Perception) 3

Archetype – 

Next comes choosing my Archetype.  Since I would like to play a Gun Mage, I need to take the Gifted Archetype in order to be able to use magic, so I’ll go with that, making my ARC stat 3, which is what I’ll use for casting spells and doing other magic-type things.  I also get a choice of several benefits associated with my Archetype.  There are a lot of cool options here, but most of them are geared toward spell slinging, but since my guns will be doing the talking I’ll go with the Additional Study benefit, which gives me access to an extra spell that I’ll choose later on during character creation.

Careers – 

Next, I need to choose my two careers.  My first career will obviously be Gun Mage.  Choosing Gun Mage immediately nets me two unique abilities: Craft Rune Shot, which allows my character to manufacture the specialized ammunition for magelock weapons, and Fast Reload, which grants my character an additional quick action that he can use to reload his pistol.  I also get to choose between Pistol 1 and Rifle 1 for starting military skills.  Since I want a character who will be doing his work occasionally at close quarters, I’ll go with Pistol 1.  I additionally start with a point in Detection and Intimidation as well as the spells Rune Shot: Accuracy (boosts the attack roll), Rune Shot: Brutal (boosts the damage roll), and Rune Shot: Thunderbolt (pushes the target d3″ and knocks it down on a critical hit).  Looking through the spell list of other Rune Shots, I came across Rune Shot: Silencer,  which makes the next ranged attack I make completely silent and gives no sign of firing, additionally causing the target to go silent if they try to scream or fall.  This immediately jumped out at me as perfect for my character, so I’ll grab that as well using the Additional Study benefit that I mentioned earlier.    This leaves my starting Assets, which I’ll discuss later.

For my second career, I have a few options that would support my gun mage assassin.  The most obvious is Cutthroat, which would give my character Prowl for general sneakiness, Backstab for damage bursts on targets that I can get behind, and Anatomical Precision for those targets that are hard to crack, but the available Military Skills don’t support using a Pistol, so my RAT value would suffer during earlier levels.  However, I do have access to Rune Shot: Accuracy, which would make up for that, keeping Cutthroat a solid option.  Bounty Hunter might work, as it does support Pistol use as well as bringing the Binding ability for helping to restrain a target, and Take Down for allowing me to take a hostage alive in melee instead of killing it outright.  However, I’m more interested in taking names than prisoners, so I’m not sure that’s for me.  The Spy career looks pretty interesting as well.  It starts with the ability Battle Plan: Shadow, which grants Prowl to characters following my characters orders, Cover Identity, which helps with Disguise while granting an additional occupational skill from my characters alias, and an additional Language.  Since my character will have spent some time fighting the Khadorans, it only makes sense for me to speak their language as well, particularly if my character’s forte is in their demise.  This feels about right to me, especially since the Pistol skill is also supported.

The Spy career also gives me access to an intelligence network as a connection to use for roleplaying purposes, which is perfect, since I want my character to work for the Cygnaran Reconnaissance Service.  For the Spy’s occupational skills, I receive Command, Deception, Detection, Disguise, and Sneak.  As my character already receives the Detection skill from the Gun Mage Career, I actually get to start out with that skill at level 2 instead of 1, a nice side benefit.

Stat Increases – 

This now leaves me with my three stat increases to tie my character concept together.  Since I want to do some shooting, I definitely want to increase my POI, as it is the stat that governs my accuracy with ranged weapons, so I’ll put a point into that.  I also want my character to be quick so that I can extricate him from combat in a hurry if things get hairy, so I’ll put a point in SPD as well.  This leaves me one last point that I’ll add to AGL to increase my DEF value, give me an extra hit point for my Life Spiral, and make me better at any skills that might require feats of agility.  Now that this part is complete, I can have a look at my new stat block:

PHY (Physique)  5 – SPD (Speed) 7 – STR (Strength) 4
AGL (Agility) 5 – PRW (Prowess) 4 – POI (Poise) 5

INT (Intellect) 3 – ARC (Arcane) 3 – PER (Perception) 3

Equipment, Armor, Weapons – 

All that is left now is to check out my available equipment and starting gold and to pick up anything I might need.  The Gun Mage career starts me with a choice of a Magelock Rifle or Magelock Pistol.  Since I’ve clearly built my character to use a pistol, I’ll go with the latter.  I also receive an Ammo Bandolier for fast ammunition grabbing, a Rune Shot Casting Kit for making my own rounds, and 25 gold crowns for other purchases.  The Spy career simply comes with 100 gold crowns and Forged Identity Papers.  This means that I have 125 gc to spend on armor and other necessities.
I want keep my DEF value as high as possible, but I do want some decent protection since my character will often be close to the action, so I’ll buy light, Custom Battle Armor for 60 gc, which will increase my ARM stat by 6 at the cost of only a single point of DEF.  It’s expensive as light armor goes, but since I don’t need to buy a weapon, I can afford to splurge.  I’ll pick up a Scope for my Magelock Pistol to increase the RNG on it by an additional 3″, which I’m sure will help him to keep his distance.  With my last 40 gc, I’ll pick up a Great Coat and Goggles to help create the mystique of my character’s cover identity, a disaffected Llaelesse Bounty Hunter who will work for the highest bidder, which will allow me to pick up the Tracking skill as well.  Also, this is a steampunk game, so I’m going to want Goggles, right?  That will leave me with 10gc, which I will hold onto for supplies as I need them.

Sorting it All Out – 

Now that I have my armor and weapons sorted out, we can figure out my derived stats which will be used in combat.  With POI 5 and Pistol 2, my starting RAT value will be 7 with any attacks made with any Pistol, making me a pretty solid crack shot, especially with Rune Shot: Accuracy for boosting.  My DEF stat is determined by adding my SPD 7, AGL 5, and PER 3 stats and applying any modifiers from armor or other abilities/equipment, which will come out to 14 after the -1 penalty from my Custom Battle Armor, so my character will be pretty dodgy.  My ARM stat, which is a combination of armor modifiers and my PHY comes out to 11.  This is a little low, but I’m not counting on taking damage very often.  The total number of hit points in my Life Spiral (PHY+AGL+INT) comes out to 13, which isn’t too bad for a first level character, but my Willpower stat (PHY+INT) is a lowly 8, so I’ll need to be mindful of attacks or effects that might target that.  This leaves my Command Range at 4, which is derived by adding my INT to my Command Skill, giving me a 4″ range to affect allies with Battle Plan: Shadow.
So that’s the process.  There is a lot of crunch to be found here thanks to the robust career system and the hundreds of potential career combinations, not to mention that a character can have up to total of five careers over the course of their progression.  Once I hit 30 experience, I’ll probably end up picking up the Cutthroat career that I mentioned earlier to make my character a more competent assassin.
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