Monday, November 20, 2023

CtEA Pregens: Merchants and Theives

One of the wonderful things about Gurps is the way it supports non-combat play. Ein Arris is rather combat-centric, but even so, there is room for a non-combat character. These characters aren't focused on winning the big fights, but on avoiding them, and on maximizing the advantage the party can show up to the fight with. They are all still capable combatants: in a lot of games I've run they'd be considered front line soldiers. Other characters have face, desert, and stealth skills, but these characters specifically excel at them.

Cinch is a Burgler who's hit it big and is on the run. He's got a massive gem worth $50,000 at least: The Heart of Kirit. Only problem is, the Gem is too large and too famous to fence, at least in Lantara. He's hoping to beat the news of his theft across the desert, fence or ransom the Heart of Kirit, and then live off the resulting investments. Cinch is a top notch sneak with good face skills, and his raw stats let him be useful in the desert with just a few points. He's a not a great combatant, but he does add another sword or bow to the team.

GCS Sheet    PDF Sheet    Blog Sheet

Ditty is a charming conwoman from Kedhris, living off her sharp wits, quick tongue, and nimble fingers. Ditty loves to take the proud and overbearing down a peg, especially if it makes her money in the process. While she has no qualms about stealing from or embarrassing others, she does have a soft spot for the unfortunate. Ditty is skilled thief, a terrific talker, and at home in the desert. She's not a bad with the sword, but she's not great either, and if she must fight would prefer to find  some sort of edge.  

GCS Sheet    PDF Sheet    Blog Sheet 

Girth is a Kedhris merchant currently down on his luck: a trading venture of his went wrong, and now he actually owes money. His contacts in the guild see promise though, and he hopes he can get another trading venture off. For now, he'll take jobs where he can get them. Girth has been back and forth across the desert many times and speaks both Lantrian and Shandassan. He's a skilled trader and negotiator who can get people across the desert. He's learned both the sword and the bow for self-defense, though he doesn't exactly consider himself a warrior. 

GCS Sheet    PDF Sheet    Blog Sheet 

Weave is a happy-go-lucky agent, fixer, and merchant. He could theoretically be making a lot of money running his own trading outfit, but where would the fun in that be? He's making enough getting the merchants of Kedris to pay him to solve their problems, seeing the world and living the life while he's at it. He's always got a smile on his face, a tune on his lips, and a new friend at his side. Weave is a skilled negotiator who lives by his quick tongue. He's picked up a desert skills quickly, though he's more of a quick learner than a dedicated student. Weave is competent at both the sword and the bow.

GCS Sheet    PDF Sheet    Blog Sheet 

 These characters were a bit easier for me to flesh out and differentiate than the more combat-oriented ones. This could be because there were only four of them, rather than eleven, or it could be because I just get this sort of character better. I had lots of fun building them. 

Girth is a member of the Merchant's Guild, which gives lots and lots of small bonuses throughout the adventure. The Adventure suggests having at least one party member be a member of the Guild or of White Sword. Ultimately, I think this is an "Adventure Tax", akin to requiring one member of your party to spend a bunch of points on rank that they won't use because their "command" is a bunch of Player characters. The Adventure tries hard to make the Merchant's Guild worth it at least.

The group I've worried the most about being able to get through the adventure would be one where everyone is one of these characters. On the other hand, I'd expect such a group to try some wildly unexpected stuff: you've got a bunch of sneaks and manipulators, so the adventure could turn out very unpredictable! On the other hand, I'd expect most parties want one character to be from this group.

The pictures are from again. 

I hope you find these characters useful!

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

CtAE Pregens: Archers

When looking at making characters for caravan to Ein Arris, I went looking for ways to get an edge on its deadly opponents, Fighters I, II, and III. I came up with a couple of options, but one of the strongest was ranged combat. Only one of them carries a bow, and none of them carry shields. This means archery is a good way to beat them. Archers are also Iconic RPG characters, and a memorable type of warrior. While most of the pregens carry bows, these three excel at using them. 

Manila is a world-class markswoman with a lot of determination and a touch of social skills. She can make the most difficult shots of the three. 

GCS sheet    PDF sheet    Blog Sheet

Jute is a quick-fire archer with a generous heart haunted by deaths he's seen. He's the best in close combat of the three, and the fastest shot.

GCS sheet    PDF sheet    Blog Sheet

Keffiyah is a crafty desert expert and tribesman who is out to see and experience the world. He is an expert at scouting, riding, and at shooting from concealment.

GCS sheet    PDF sheet    Blog Sheet

If you have access to Gurps: Martial Arts, all of these characters are good enough to use "Quick Shooting" (p 119), though Keffiyah will struggle a little. This can go a long way to making these characters feel awesome, though they don't need to use it.

Keffiyah is one of my two "Desert Tribesmen" characters. These people are only mentioned in passing in the original adventure. 

Don't feel obligated to stick with the names. I have a quirky little scheme for the names, but by all means, go ahead and rename the characters. Or change a feature of the sheet or two, or even go so far as to use Jute's disadvantages and Manila's skills and advantages to make a grumpy sharp shooter instead of a grumpy quick-shooter.

These characters were among the first characters I came up with for this set, especially Jute and Manila. Keffiyah was the hardest to build, as I had real trouble figuring out who he really was. I have 12 more characters coming, organized into three groups: Skirmishers, Heavies, and Agents.

Characters' pictures were generated using Its a fairly old character generator that specializes in RPG themes and has branched into general AI art generation. (I have much uglier pictures from the same site for all these characters)

I hope you find them useful. Mostly, next time someone wants to run Ein Arris quickly, I hope they can skip character creation and just get their players playing!

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Lessons from making Caravan to Ein Arris Pregens

Gurps has a free adventure named Caravan to Ein Arris. Its pretty well known (by people who've heard of Gurps), probably because it is the official free gurps adventure. You can get fan made stuff, of varying degrees of quality (though I have to call out 1 shot adventures as having both lots of stuff and a high production quality), and there are a few adventures you can buy, but Ein Arris is the most famous.

"Caravan" lacks pregens. Which is a shame, because gurps sheets are hard. And when you ask people for pregens, they kind of shuffle around and give suggestions but don't ever have actual sheets for you. I've tried a few times to make sheets for Ein Arris, but I've never really finished it before. I've finally sat down, and I'm 80% of the way done with 15 characters. And I've come to some discoveries about Ein Arris in the process.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Highlun and the Labyrinth

I was asked if the Labyrinth of Psi-wars is present on Highlun, with the suggestion that Skairos could function as "Fairies in the Mist". I had totally not thought of that as a possibility, and I was struck by two thoughts: 

  • The Labyrinth and its monsters are a fantastic flavor fit for Highlun
  • Highlun is not about the Labyrinth