Songs by the Hearth
This page is meant to guide you through the creation of your character, and introduce you to the world of Illia. You will find guidelines for creating a background, selecting your race and class, and setting up your character to start the game.
Step 1 – Background
Your characters background can be as short as a paragraph or several pages long, but you should have one at the very least. When creating back-story for your character you can use this map of Illia and this list of countries to help place your character in the world. You may notice that there is little more than a general overview on the different nations; this is so you have plenty of room to make your backstories fit within the game world.
The scope of your backstory should be fairly narrow; your character hasn’t had much of a chance to explore or adventure. The most exciting thing to happen might be a trip to the nearest large city. That said, if you have an idea you really want to use feel free to discuss it with me and I’m sure we can work something out.
Here are some specific questions you can ask yourself when making your character:
- What are this character’s physical qualities (age, appearance, clothing, build)?
- What are my character’s core beliefs or general alignment?
- What are my character’s goals?
- Where did my character grow up?
- What social class is my character part of?
- Who are some of the people closest to my character?
- does my character have more of a type A or type B personality?
- What does my character fear? What does my character like?
- Does my character have any quirks?
- What secrets does my character have?
- What state is your character currently in (running from the law, hiding, recovering, etc)?
- Does my character have any enemies?
- Why might my character join with a seemingly random group of individuals?
You don’t have to answer all in great detail, but at least think about them. The most important questions to answer are the last three, and I would say they are about as close to mandatory as it gets. Those three questions govern why your character is part of this game and may be included in future adventures.
You are not a peasant. You should have power
But balance is more interesting.
Background is good, but plot hooks are better.
Dramatic roleplaying isn’t the same as emo bullcrap.
Characters are people, and they should grow.
But they still make mistakes.
Focus on what your character can offer the group.
Remember that you are part of a team.
Step 2 – The Crunch
Perhaps the most important choice for your character is the class and race. For a run down of the different races as they fit into this world, check out this page that contains the most common races. The following breakdown is a list of races by commonness:
Common (found all over the land): Human, Dragonborn, Dwarf, Halfling, Shifter
Uncommon (found in only 1 or 2 nations): Tiefling, Eladrin, Half-Elf,
Rare (never seen by 90% of Illia’s population): Gnome, Warforged, Half-Orc
Not Playable (Not a player choice): Drow, Elf, Thri-Kreen, Hengeyoki, Shadar-Kai, Monster races
Languages are also slightly different. The most important change is that “Elven” as a language doesn’t really exist, as elves are not playable. Instead, there is a “Fey” language that is used by eladrin and other fey creatures with varying dialects.
In general, there are more languages one can learn. In general, most races have their own language. For example, “Draconic” allows one to speak the language of dragonborn. Kobolds and lizardfolk speak similar languages, but they are not the same. For a list of all specific languages, check out this page.
There are also other languages that are not available to starting characters, but might be picked up with a feat or feature: Draconian, Nerathan, Turathi, Sylvan, Sign language, Abyssal, and Deep Speech.
All classes are available to choose from, though I would recommend using the Essentials line of classes. My goal is for combats to be quicker than they normally are in 4e games, and having simpler choices in battle will work towards that goal. However if you prefer original classes that is fine too. Whatever is most fun.
Be aware that classes can be tied to occupation or position in the game world, but can also be re-flavored or re-fluffed to suit your need. That said, I would prefer if your chosen class was at least somewhat represented by your character. For example, if you choose to play a blackguard I would expect your character to be suitably devious and borderline evil. If you pick a divine class to play I expect your character to follow a religion, whether it is one of the ones I’ve defined or one you’ve made up.
For this game we will be using the inherent bonuses rules variants. This replaces the bonuses one gets from magic items with a static bonus to defenses, attack, and damage.
- Gain a cumulative +1 bonus to attack and damage at levels 2, 7, 12, 17, 22, and 27.
- Gain a cumulative +1 bonus to AC, Reflex, Fortitude, and Will at levels 4, 9, 14, 19, 24, and 29.
This setting uses the silver standard for its currency, though the most common coin is the copper. Gold coins are exceedingly rare. For reference, an average farmer might make 1 gold in a year, or 25 copper per day on average. A well-off merchant might make 5 to 10 gold in a year, or 2 silver per day on average.
You can create your character using the standard 100gp to buy items you’ll need, but after you’ve purchased your starting gear you should convert whatever gold you have remaining to silver, and that will be your starting money, representing everything your character’s life savings.
If you are feeling particularly creative, feel free to convert your remaining currency to an equal amount of trade-able goods (furs, herbs, food, books, natural resources, etc). Bartering goods is sometimes more useful than using coins.
Lastly, take a look at the house rules page to see what rules have been changed or added.