Here we have a few more basic package deals for low fantasy characters – with no (well, perhaps a few) esoteric orders, mysterious goals, or secret agendas. Instead, these are simple roles that you might find in any hamlet.
Next up in this series, a few sample characters to use them.
Margins are thin in medieval times. Penalties for even petty theft are harsh, since it will often mean that the victim and his or her family go hungry for a time.
Stray or orphaned children have few ways to earn their way. Unless some generous relative takes them in, or (by some marvelous stroke of good fortune) someone with spare resources takes pity on them, and takes them on as servants or apprentices and pays with food and shelter, they must earn their own ways.
There are little odd jobs such as running messages, but it is a fortunate day indeed when those provide enough to eat well. Still, a street brat who survives will learn to turn his or her hands to a multitude of tasks – and will probably be one lucky fellow.
Street Brats get Luck with +2 bonus uses, Specialized and Corrupted/only for skill rerolls (3 CP), Fortune/Evasion Variant, Specialized/the user must be un- or lightly armored and encumbered, must be free to move, and must have space to dodge in (3 CP), Spell Resistance, Specialized and Corrupted/only works against divination magic directed at determining the truth of the user’s statements (2 CP), +3 Specialities in Bluff/Denying Things, Sleight of Hand/Swiping Small Items, Knowledge/Local/Home Town, and Perform/Acting Innocent (4 CP).
Once again, there are a couple of special-permission items in this package deal – but it should provide a good basis for rogue and thief-types.
Religion is a serious matter. In d20, where the gods grant healing and powers to their faithful, the roots of the local faiths will dig deeply indeed. There will be few times when the gods will not be involved in daily life. Many youngsters are deeply impressed by the gods and the powers of their priests – often enough so to dedicate themselves to particular gods, to study their lore, and to serve in their shrines and temples.
They may or may not go on to become priests themselves, but such faith has it’s own rewards.
Initiates get +2 skill points to spend on Knowledge/Religion (2 CP) with a +3 Speciality in their own faith and god (1 CP), Occult Ritual, Specialized in the rituals of their particular faith (3 CP), has memorized (Int Mod +3) Minor Rituals (1 CP), one Major Ritual (1 CP), and the primary sacred tome (or collection of scrolls) of their religion (1 CP), and enjoy a Minor Privilege (minor clerical legal privileges and a standing welcome in relevant shrines and temples, 3 CP).
Initiates have a good foundation for scholarship, a career in the faith, or a career as a ritual mage – even if they never learn any actual spellcasting.
Cultists are simply people who follow small, suppressed, religions – minor gods, nature cults, or (for that matter) demons or gibbering lovecraftian horrors.
Now, in d20, that’s bloody weird. People join odd cults because they believe that they offer special benefits that they can’t get elsewhere. In most d20 universes, the usual faiths and paths of magic are a lot less trouble, and – quite demonstrably – offer a reliable set of pretty much the same benefits.
Ergo, the Cultist simply gets some stuff easily.
A Cultist gets to pick one field of rune magic related to his or her deity – perhaps Infernal Flame, or Fertility, or Plants. They then get: 2d6 Mana (Specialized and Corrupted, only usable for the chosen field of Rune Magic, detectable by other priests as a reserve of “unholy” power, 4 CP), Rite of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses (Specialized and Corrupted, only to restore the Mana Reserve for the chosen field, requires a brief and obvious ritual in honor of the cultists god, 3 CP), Skill Emphasis in the Rune Mastery and Rune Casting skills for his or her chosen field, Corrupted/the user is regarded as a social outcast and troublemaker (4 CP), and a +3 Speciality in Knowledge/Religion/The Secrets of the Cult (1 CP).
Cultists are strong spellcasters in their particular field, but suffer a great deal of persecution and social ostracism. They can make a major contribution to a low-level party if their deity happens to grant a useful field, such as healing. Of course, they’ll also make trouble for the party everywhere they go.