Character Creation Guide

Character Creation Guide

I am providing this guide so that you can create your characters prior to coming to the first session. Use the rules and information in the Player’s Handbook 3.5 unless something on this page contradicts it. If you do not have access to the PHB, you can find most of the information you need on the d20 SRD. The official 3.5 character sheet can be found on the Wizards of the Coast website, but feel free to use a character sheet from another source if you like.

Abilities

You will use the “point buy” variant for generating ability scores. Since this will be a high-powered campaign, you will start with a pool of 32 points. All of your ability scores start at 8 and cannot go lower than this. You may use your points to buy higher scores. One point will buy a unit increase in ability score up to 14. It costs two points to increase an ability score from 14 to 15 or from 15 to 16. It costs three points to increase an ability score from 16 to 17 or from 17 to 18. You cannot increase a starting ability score beyond 18. Remember that you buy your ability scores before applying racial adjustments. If you are playing an elf, for example, you could buy an 18 Dexterity and have a Dexterity of 20 after racial adjustments.

The following table summarizes the total point cost of increasing an ability score to a given level.

Ability Score Point Cost Ability Score Point Cost
9 1 14 6
10 2 15 8
11 3 16 10
12 4 17 13
13 5 18 16

Races

All of the common races from the PHB are available to play with a few minor changes as listed below. A number of minor races are also available with permission from me: I don’t want the entire party to be minor races, mainly because most of them come with a level adjustment. There are a few races that are restricted to NPCs only, no exceptions.

Common Races

Dwarves

The dwarves call themselves the haurdir, meaning “stalwart kings of order.” There are two overclans of dwarves which have slightly different game statistics.

The Stonelost dwarves are the descendants of those who fled Dwarvenhearth during the rise of Ghul. Rather than reclaim their city, said to be the greatest of all dwarven cities, the leaders of the Stonelost left it sealed even after Ghul’s defeat. Stonelost dwarves are standard dwarves from the PHB.

The Grailwarden dwarves are the guardians of the White Grail. Their cities lie far to the east of Ptolus in the mountains of the Prustan Peninsula. Grailwarden dwarves have always been more interested in the advancement of science and technology than in war. Grailwarden dwarves are standard dwarves with the following adjustments: they receive no combat bonuses against orcs, goblinoids, or giants, instead gaining +2 racial bonuses on Profession (engineer), Craft (machines), Knowledge (machines), and Craft (alchemy) skill checks.

Elves

The elves still call themselves the aduel deaistorm, the “seven races of chaos,” even though the Elder Elves are gone and the halflings and gnomes no longer consider themselves elves. The most common type of elf in human society are the Shoal elves. Proficient sailors, the dark-haired Shoal are common in the Sea Kingdoms. They are not fond of the cold, but they still maintain a presence in the Moonsilver Forest north of Ptolus. Shoal elves are standard elves from the PHB with the following adjustments: they gain a +2 racial bonus on Profession (sailor) skill checks, their favored class is sorcerer, and they require 8 hours of sleep like any other race.

Gnomes

Gnomes are the rarest of the common races, more often found in the company of elves than humans. They are known as the loresong faen by some because of their natural talent with both music and magic. They are standard gnomes from the PHB.

Half-Elves

It is rare for a human and elf to mate, but it does happen on occasion. Half-elves are always half Shoal elf, and are standard half-elves from the PHB.

Half-Orcs

Even more rare than half-elves, half-orcs are usually half Ornu-Nom orc. They are standard half-orcs from the PHB.

Halflings

The name halfling is peculiar to human society. Elsewhere, they are known as the quickling faen. They often live in nomadic tribes that caravan across the plains. They are standard halflings from the PHB.

Humans

The youngest of the common races, humans are by far the most numerous. They are standard humans from the PHB.

Minor Races

Please clear it with me before playing any of these races. If I approve the use of one of these races, I will provide you with the game statistics to create your character.

Aram

Often called by their dwarvish name, centaur, the aram are a boisterous and arrogant people who get along well with their humanoid neighbors. They have a +2 level adjustment.

Cherubim Elves

These winged elves are most common in the mountains of Cherubar. They do not like the company of other races and rarely leave their homeland. They have a +2 level adjustment.

Harrow Elves

The ancestors of these elves were changed by Ghul, cursed with deformities and strange magical powers. They are not necessarily evil, but they do tend in that direction. They have a +1 level adjustment.

Litorians

Feline humanoids with lion-like manes, litorians live in small tribes of hunters scattered across the plains. They speak of the Wars of Fire in ancient times that drove many of them from their original homes in the Plains of Panish. They have a +1 level adjustment.

Assarai

Most people know the assarai as lizardfolk or lizardmen. Their legends say that the Cold Desert was once a vast swamp in which they lived, but most of them are to be found farther south these days. They tend to keep to themselves. They have a +1 level adjustment.

Other Races

Any playable race not specifically prohibited in the next section could count as a minor race. Just bring the character concept to me, and we’ll see if it works in the Ptolus setting.

NPC-Only Races

Aasimars, dark elves, minotaurs, orcs, tieflings, goblins, and ratmen are not available as player races. Except for aasimars, these races are barely tolerated, if at all, by the common races. Dark elves and ratmen are especially hated: the Vast Codex makes it illegal for dark elves to reside in or visit imperial lands under pain of death, and the Church of Lothian has a standing bounty on the tails of ratmen. Aasimars and tieflings, able to pass for human much of the time, are more common in Ptolus than the other NPC races, but they tend to keep to the company of other outsiders.

Classes

All of the PHB classes are available to play. Classes from other sources should be fine, as well, but check with me first. Below are some pointers to put your class in context in the Ptolus setting.

Barbarian

The vast majority of barbarians are human. A human barbarian might have been part of the Eastern Horde that sacked Tarsis and decided to stay behind when the horde returned across the Gray Mountains. Elves and dwarves are never barbarians (exceptions would need to have truly remarkable backstories).

Bard

The only institutions more numerous in Ptolus than taverns are temples, and every tavern has a place for a wandering minstrel or storyteller. Bards who prefer to use their talents for combat might consider aiming for membership in the Knights of the Chord.

If you decide to play a bard, let me know if you would be interested in playing a variant that has its own song magic spell list.

Cleric

Clerics of most gods are well-respected, but clerics of Lothian have actual authority. Of course, that comes with its share of bureaucratic responsibilities. See the list of gods later in this guide if you want to play a cleric (or if you just want your character to be devout).

Druid

Most of Palastan used to be under the protection of an ancient order of druids known as the Circle of Green. There is very little organization among druids anymore; they tend to keep to themselves.

Fighter

There are many options for fighters in Ptolus. Adventurer, mercenary, gladiator, or knight, a fighter will never lack for work. There is even a warriors’ guild, the Order of Iron Might.

Monk

The monastic tradition originated far to the south, but monks can now be found throughout the empire. Most orders of monks are attached to the temple of a god, but many are dedicated to a philosophical ideal.

Paladin

There are paladins associated with several different religions, including that of Lothian. Many paladins go on to join an order of knighthood, but this is not necessary to be the champion of one’s deity.

Ranger

Human rangers in Ptolus are usually associated with the Viridian Lords. There are also many elf rangers, most of whom hail from the Moonsilver Forest.

Rogue

Rogues are very common in Ptolus. While not all of them are thieves, the ones who are might be very interested in joining the Longfingers Guild.

Sorcerer

Sorcery is much older than wizardry, and those with magic in their blood are respected, sometimes feared. Many sorcerers hope to eventually join the Inverted Pyramid.

Wizard

Wizards take a scholarly, scientific approach to magic. They attempt to learn its rules and bend them to their will. This is not to say that wizards are limited to the laboratory, however. Military battlecaster and City Watch investigator are just two more active career paths for a wizard. Although dwarves are not typically inclined toward magic in other settings, the Grailwarden dwarves often pursue wizardry. Many wizards hope to eventually join the Inverted Pyramid.

Magic

There are thousands of different magical traditions in the Ptolus setting. If you play a spellcasting class, make up your own names and descriptions for your spells. Don’t change the mechanics of how the spell works, but make it your own. Also, know that any spell that has to do with other planes of existence probably works very differently in Ptolus than is described in the PHB. Some of them don’t work at all.

There is a new type of summoned creature in the Ptolus setting: blessed children. The opposite of undead, blessed children are the spirits of those not yet born.

Equipment

Starting Equipment

You will begin with the average starting gold for your class as listed in the PHB with which to buy starting equipment. This limits the value of your equipment, but it does not mean that the equipment must be new. Some of your starting equipment may be heirlooms or found items at your discretion, but these items still must be “purchased” from your starting gold. If you don’t have access to the PHB, starting gold is as follows:

Monk 12 gp, 5 sp
Druid 50 gp
Sorcerer, Wizard 75 gp
Barbarian, Bard 100 gp
Cleric, Rogue 125 gp
Fighter, Paladin, Ranger 150 gp

Note that you get one artisan’s, entertainer’s, explorer’s, monk’s, peasant’s, scholar’s, or traveler’s outfit that does not count against your starting gold.

Firearms

Of all of the technologies available in Ptolus, the one most likely to interest you is firearms. Rare and expensive, firearms can only be legally carried by those who have an official license. In addition, firearms are considered exotic weapons, so you’ll need to take a feat to make full use of one.

Additional Goods and Services

This price list is in addition to that found in the PHB.

Messenger 1 sp
Carriage ride 1 sp
Bath 1 cp
Shave/haircut 1 cp
Massage 2 cp
Rent Varies by district/size (5 sp to 50 gp or more per month)
Buying a house Varies by district/size (500 gp to 50,000 gp)
Furnishings for one room Varies by quality (15 gp to 800 gp or more)
Taxidermy Varies by size of specimen (10 gp to 500 gp)
Tailor Varies by quality (5 gp to 50 gp)
Taxes 3 gp or 9% of assessed wealth per year
Leather coat 200 gp
Burial Varies by quality/size of plot (1 sp to 5,000 gp)

A leather coat provides a +4 armor bonus, allows a +6 maximum Dexterity modifier, imposes a -2 armor check penalty and a 10% arcane spell failure chance, and weighs 20 lbs.

Gods

There are a huge number of gods in the Ptolus setting. I will list some of the most commonly known here, but let me know if you have an idea for some other deity that your character could worship.

Church of Lothian

Lothian Lawgiver and Daykeeper LG Good, Law, Protection, Sun

Other Commonly Worshipped Gods

Ahaar Lord of the Air CG Air, Good, Protection
Asche God of Cities N Civilization, Knowledge, Protection
unnamed The Ebon Hand CE Chaos, Evil, Trickery
unnamed The Fifty-Three Gods of Chance CN Chaos, Luck, Trickery
Gaen Goddess of Light LG Good, Law, Light
Inurath Mistress of War CN Fire, Strength, War
unnamed The Iron God LN Earth, Fire, Technology
Kharos God of Magic N Knowledge, Magic
Melann Goddess of Farming NG Animal, Good, Plants
Mirresh Goddess of Laughter NG Good, Protection, Trickery
Navashtrom God of Strength and Harmony NG Good, Protection, Strength
Niveral God of Secrets N Fire, Future, Knowledge
unnamed The Old Man LN Knowlege, Law, Trickery
Ollom God of the Keg CN Chaos, Civilization, Water
Tardeshou Goddess of Truth LG Good, Knowledge, Law
Teun Mother of All Machines LN Civilization, Law, Technology
unnamed Watcher of the Skies N Air, Future, Knowledge
Ynchabolos God of Numbers LN Knowledge, Law

Elven Pantheon

Celestan Lord of the Silver Moon NG Earth, Good, Protection
Myliesha Mistress of the Wind’s Path CG Air, Good, Travel
Phoeboul God of Dreams CN Chaos, Knowledge, Sleep
Sylvanae The Woodland Shaper N Animal, Magic, Plants
Taeshandra God of Travel NG Good, Plants, Travel

Dwarven Pantheon

Herkan Goddess of the Stones CG Good, Earth, Healing
Mocharum God of Dwarves LG Civilization, Good, Law
Morachon God of the Forge LN Earth, Fire, Law
Unnom Lord of Caverns N Earth, Protection

Languages

Abyssal The language of the Hells, spoken by demons and many monsters.
Aquan The elemental language of water.
Auran The elemental language of air.
Celestial The language of the Heavens.
Charad An ancient language of unknown origin, no longer spoken.
Imperial Common The common trade language of the empire.
Draconic The ancient language of dragons and magic, also spoken by several reptilian races.
Dwarvish The language of the dwarves, virtually unchanged throughout history.
Elvish The language of the elves, sounds almost like singing to humans when spoken correctly.
Dark Elvish The language of the dark elves.
Elder Elvish The original language of the elves, no longer spoken.
Giant The language of giants and ogres.
Gnomish The language of gnomes.
Goblin The language of goblinoids.
Halfling The language of halflings.
Ignan The elemental language of fire.
Litorian The language of litorians, very difficult for other races to learn.
Old Prustan The extinct predecessor language to Imperial Common.
Orcish The language of orcs.
Palastani The ancestral language of the humans of Palastan, coming back into common usage.
Nallish The language of human barbarians.
Rattish The language of ratmen and wererats.
Sylvan The language of the fae.
Terran The elemental language of earth.
Undercommon The original language of the dark elves, still spoken by many monsters.
Uraqi The language of the humans of Uraq, also spoken by many humans of the Sea Kingdoms.
Westron An ancient human language, no longer spoken.

Character Creation Guide

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