Tales of the Nereid's Kiss
All characters in this campaign are human. The major players in the Caribbean in the 1660’s were the English, French, and Spanish. You could also choose to have your character be Dutch, American (still a British colonist at this time), a native Indian, or perhaps even a former African slave. If none of these choices appeals to you, you may choose any other nationality, as long as it makes sense for the campaign and is pre-approved by the GM.
As a human character, you will be able to choose 1 free Edge. Your character must meet all requirements, however.
Characters are defined by attributes and skills, collectively called “Traits.” Both work in exactly the same way. Attributes and skills are ranked by die types, from a d4 to d12, with d6 being the average for adult humans.
Every character starts with a d4 in each attribute, and has five points with which to raise any or all of them. Raising a d4 to a d6, for example, costs 1 point. Feel free to spend these points however you wish to define your character, however, I cap all starting characters at a maximum attribute rating of d8 in any category.
- Agility is your hero’s nimbleness, quickness, and dexterity.
- Smarts is a measure of how well your character knows the world and culture, how well the hero thinks on his feet, and his mental agility.
- Spirit is the spiritual side of your character. This reflects your hero’s inner wisdom and willpower. Spirit is very important as it helps your character recover from being rattled or injured.
- Strength is raw physical power and your character’s overall general fitness. Strength is also used to figure out your hero’s damage in hand-to-hand combat.
- Vigor represents endurance, resistance to disease, poison, or toxins. It also determines how much pain and physical damage your character can shake off.
Skills are learned abilities such as fighting, professional know-how, scientific knowledge, shooting, and so on. Skills are broadly defined and cover all related aspects. For example, shooting covers all types of handguns, ship weapons, and other ranged weapons.
You have 15 points to distribute among your skills. Each die type costs 1 point as long as the skill is equal to or less than the linked attribute. If you exceed the attribute, the cost becomes 2 points per die type. All skills must be purchased separately. No skill may exceed a d8 at the time of character creation.
- Pace is how fast your character moves in a standard combat round. You walk at 6" in a round and can move at an additional 1d6" if they run. Edges and Hindrances can modify this number. Each 1" of table top movement represents 2 yards in the “real world.”
- Parry is equal to 2 plus half your hero’s Fighting (just 2 if a character does not have the Fighting skill), plus any bonuses for certain weapons. This is the number an opponent needs to roll in order to hit your hero in hand-to-hand combat. Like other derived stats, Parry can be modified by Edges and Hindrances.
- Charisma is a measure of your character’s appearance, manner, and general likability. It is zero unless you have Edges or Hindrances that modify it. Charisma is added to Persuasion and Streetwise rolls, and is used by the GM to figure out how the nonplayer characters react to your hero.
- Toughness is your character’s damage threshold. Anything over this causes your hero to be rattled or worse. Toughness is 2 plus half your hero’s Vigor, plus Armor (use the armor worn on his torso), plus any Hindrances or Edges that modify Toughness.
Your character begins play with a number of languages equal to half his Smarts die. Your hero must use up one language buying his native tongue. Any permanent increase in your Smarts during play also gains your character additional languages.
List all of your known languages. You are able to speak, read, and write each of these languages (no roll needed to communicate). Illiterate heroes (those who take the Illiterate Hindrance) can still speak multiple languages, but they can’t read or write any of them.
Common languages in the Spanish Main are as follows: Aztec, Caribbean Indian, Creole (divided into Dutch, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish), Dutch, English, French, Greek, Latin, Mayan, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Edges and Hindrances
Characters can take special abilities (Edges) by balancing them out with character flaws (Hindrances).
You can choose one Major Hindrance and up to two Minor Hindrances for your hero. A Major Hindrance is worth 2 points, and a Minor Hindrance is worth 1 point.
For 2 points you can:
- Raise an attribute by one die type.
- Choose an Edge
For 1 point you can:
- Gain another skill point.
- Gain an additional 500 pieces of eight
Fame plays an important part in this game. All characters have a Fame number, which reflects a hero’s class as well as his or her standing within society. To begin, your character has a Fame of zero, which can be modified with Edges and Hindrances, and by a hero’s actions during the game.
A positive Fame score indicates the hero is becoming well-known or respected in society and his situation in life is improving. A negative score shows he is regarded as something of a rogue or ruffian. If he stoops too low, he will be reviled instead of respected.
Unless you’ve chosen Edges or Hindrances that change this, the standard starting amount of starting coin is 500 pieces of eight.
A character can carry five times the hero’s Strength die in pounds without incurring any penalties. This is called the “Load Limit.” The clothes that your hero is currently wearing does not count against encumbrance.
Carrying too much weight inflicts a -1 penalty for every additional multiple of your character’s Load Limit. The penalty applies to all Agility and Strength rolls. It also affects any skills linked to either of those attributes.
Characters cannot regularly carry weight that inflicts a penalty of more than -3. They may be able to lift greater weights (up to -4 penalty) for a few short steps at the GM’s discretion, however.
Create a history or background for your character. Ask yourself why your character is where she is, how she got there, and what her goals are. You just want a basic idea of what your character is all about. To begin with, this background does not have to be very detailed. As the game goes on, the GM will ask you to answer questions about your character. These questions not only help you create a fully fleshed out character, but also help the GM to create a game that is, hopefully, enjoyable for all players.