Creating a Character

Creating a character for Dark Dungeons is a relatively straightforward process. You will need a pencil and paper, and some dice.

Creating a Character, Step by Step

Step 1) Name and concept

The first thing to do is to decide what sort of character you want to play. Do you want to be a brave warrior or a stealthy rogue? Do you want to be male or female? Do you want to be dour and sullen or happy-go-lucky? Are you a paragon of virtue or a conniving schemer?

It’s important to decide what sort of character you want to play before picking up any dice, but also important to be flexible in such a concept and to talk to the GM first. If the GM is starting a game with first level characters (which is the usual way to start a game) then deciding you want to play an experienced swashbuckling pirate captain who is an expert fencer isn’t going to work. You would be better deciding you want to play someone who aspires to be a swashbuckling pirate captain but is just starting out on their adventuring career. Similarly, if your GM has decided that the campaign will take place in a world where humans are the only race, it’s no good deciding that you want to play an elf.

Example: Marcie decides that she’d like to play a carefree young tearaway who is bored with travelling on merchant caravans with her parents and wants to set off on a life of adventure instead. She sees the character—who she names Black Leaf—as possibly being magical (maybe an elf) but definitely being someone who is tall and slender, light on their feet, and highly mobile rather than being weighed down with armour.

Step 2) Roll ability scores

Write down each of the six abilities in order (Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma) on a piece of scratch paper, and roll 3d6 for each one in order, noting down the result. These are your basic scores in each of the abilities.

If none of your rolls are above 9, or if two or more of your rolls are 6 or less, then re-roll all six rolls.

Example: Marcie rolls 3d6 six times in order and gets:

Str: 10
Int: 8
Wis: 12
Dex: 14
Con: 9
Cha: 11
She is pleased with the high dexterity, which fits well with her concept, but realises that with an intelligence of only 8 she’s going to have to abandon thoughts of Black Leaf using magic.

Step 3) Choose a class, and adjust ability scores

Once you have your basic ability scores, you will be able to see your character’s basic strengths and weak- nesses. Now you must choose which class your character will have. You may have already decided this as part of your character’s concept, or you may have changed your mind after seeing that your basic ability scores are par- ticularly suitable (or unsuitable) for particular classes.

When you choose your class, you are able to adjust your basic ability scores somewhat to fit.

Each class has a particular ability score or scores that can be enhanced, to a maximum value of 18, and a list of ability scores that can be sacrificed to pay for this enhancement.

When choosing that class, you are free to increase the score of the abilities that may be enhanced at the cost of de- creasing one or more of the sacrifice abilities a total of two points per point of increase taken.

The sacrificed points may be split be- tween the sacrifice abilities as you see fit, providing that you don’t decrease any of them below a score of 9. If more than one ability can be enhanced, they are enhanced independently of each other, not together.

When choosing a class, please note that some classes have minimum required scores in some abilities. These require- ments must be met after any enhancing and sacrificing of ability scores has taken place.

If you had your heart set on playing a specific class, and your ability rolls are such that even adjusting your ability scores by the above method won’t make your character suitable for that class, your Game Master may give you permission to swap one of your other scores for one of the scores that your intended class can enhance before you start the adjustment.

Table 4-1: Class Ability Requirements

Class Abilities Experience Bonus
Can Be Enhanced Can Be Sacrificed Minimum Required
Cleric Wisdom Strength, Intelligence Wisdom 9Wis 13-15 = +5%, Wis 16+ = +10%
Dwarf Strength Intelligence, Wisdom Constitution 9Str 13-15 = +5%, Str 16+ = +10%
Elf Strength, Intelligence Wisdom Intelligence 9Str 13+ or Int 13+ = +5%, Str 13+ and Int 13+ = +10%
Fighter Strength Intelligence, Wisdom Strength 9Str 13-15 = +5%, Str 16+ = +10%
Halfling Strength, Dexterity Intelligence, Wisdom Dexterity 9 Constitution 9Str 13+ or Dex 13+ = +5% Str 13+ and Dex 13+ = +10%
Magic-User Intelligence Strength, Wisdom Intelligence 9Int 13-15 = +5%, Int 16+ = +10%
Mystic Strength, Dexterity Intelligence, Wisdom Wisdom 13, Dexterity 13Str 13-15 = +5% Str 16+ = +10%
Thief Dexterity Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom Dexterity 9Dex 13-15 = +5% Dex 16+ = +10%

Finally, each class can give the character a bonus (or sometimes a penalty) to earned experience if they have high enough scores in one or more abilities.

This will be explained further in Chapter 11: Gaining Experience.

Example: Marcie has given up on the idea of Black Leaf using magic, and has decided she should be a slippery and lithe character adept at getting out of (and into) trouble. In terms of character classes, either thief, mystic or halfling would fit. She dismisses the idea of being a halfling since she imagines Black Leaf as being tall and willowy; and decides that she just wouldn’t be the disciplined type so mystic is out too. She makes Black Leaf a thief.

Looking at table 4-1, she sees that by choosing thief she can raise her dexterity by sacrificing strength, intelligence or wisdom. She can’t sacrifice intelligence because it is already below 9, so she decides to sacrifice as much strength and wisdom as she can. By lowering her strength by 1 point and her wisdom by 3 points (the maximum she can, since that puts both scores on 9) she has sacrificed a total of 4 points and can therefore raise her dexterity by two points—to 16. She does this, happy in the knowledge that as a thief Black Leaf’s great dexterity score will give her a +10% bonus to earned experience.

Black Leaf now has the following ability scores:

Str: 9

Int: 8

Wis: 9

Dex: 16

Con: 9

Cha: 11

Step 4) Fill in class details

Now that you know what class your character is, you can fill in your character sheet with the abilities that your character gets from that class. Details of these abilities are given in the description of each class.