E6 Character Creation Guidelines

So you've been invited to participate in a game taking place in the World of Madius campaign setting. If your DM is Viktor, the following page will give you all the information you need to create a character that will thrive in this wonderous world. If you haven't already, have a look at the basics of Madius page, as it will give you a better frame of reference about this world (some things are very different from a more standard campaign setting).

These guildlines should be used when playing an E6 game. If you would like to read more about the E6 ruleset, a pdf can be found here.

The Specifics

Here are the mechanical character building rules:

  • All new characters come in at level 1. This includes character re-rolls.
  • Abilities are determined using 32 point buy. Because you will end up with only a single ability score boost at level 4 it is recommended that you leave a single ability score odd otherwise it will practically be wasted.
  • Characters will gain half their hit dice +1 hp per level, in addition to their constitution modifier, instead of rolling.
  • Retroactive skill points are gain from increased intelligence.
  • All material available, though I reserve the right to disallow material at my discretion. This will be done well beforehand, and not mid-game, after it has been selected. For this reason, I will tend to be highly involved in the character creation process, or at least do a full check of characters at level-up to veto any un-approved material before a session occurs. To prevent losing your selected abilities mid-session, don't leave level-ups to halfway through sessions. I will usually give players the entire week between sessions to level-up, try not to leave it late.
  • I am open to any race/template combo, but be aware that all characters will be starting at ECL1, so if you have a race with a higher start than ECL1, you must use either existing savage progressions, or accept any homebrew savage progression I create. I reserve the right to disallow any material I deem unfitting for either the setting, or the game I intend to run. Acquired templates must be earned in game.
  • My optional LA/gestalt rule will be available as an option for sideways advancement once attaining level 6 at a rate of 1 level in exchange for a feat. Gestalting will only be available once, and once you have gained 6 levels in two classes, you will be limited to feats only, so choose wisely.
  • The following classes will not be available for players: Druid, Cleric, Wizard, Sorcerer, Archivist, Favoured Soul, Psion, Erudite, Wilder, Artificer. If you have an idea in mind that you feel would be best represented by one of these classes, speak to me and we will try and work out a character that you will be satisfied with.
  • The following classes may, at the player's discretion, use their pathfinder variants (for determining class skills check the 3.5 version): Ranger, Fighter, Barbarian, Monk, Rogue, Paladin.
  • Fractional Saves and Bab will be in effect for those who are multiclassing/gestalting.
  • No flaws or traits.
  • Starting gold will be rolled
  • Retraining will not be allowed, feats will come in at a steady rate once you attain level 6, and there will be little to no room for prestige classes, so there will be little to no reason to need retraining.
  • Check the homebrew section for variants/changes that may apply to your character.
  • No more than 20 gold may be leftover after character creation. Any coinage beyond this that is not spent on gear is considered forfeit.

If players wish to aim for acquired templates, they should contact me beforehand about them and we can work something out for your player, although players can expect to work hard for those kinds of templates. I may also opt to throw templates onto players involuntarily, and players can either embrace them and enjoy them, or take it as part of their character’s story to rid themselves of these templates (I’m talking things like lycanthropy, vampirism, things like that, that some may like, and others may not. Those are just two very cliche examples though, many other kinds of templates may be seen over the course of a player’s career).

Please keep character goofiness to a minimum, I don’t run those kinds of campaigns, and poor tactical decision making will be taken advantage of by enemies. You’re adventurers, not the three stooges.

So, you want to start making your character?

If you would like to start creating characters, you are free to do so within the constraints written above.
There are three main tidbits of information I’d like to know beforehand about your characters:
The mechanics: how will this character run from a pure dice and numbers standpoint?
Your character’s personality, motivations and goals: this extends beyond simply your alignment, tell me what your character is like to be around, why he or she acts the way they do, what your character is trying to achieve with their life. These don’t need to be overly elaborate, or if you want to simply roll with it once the game starts and determine your character’s personality through play, that’s perfectly fine as well, although every little detail helps to create a more vibrant and invigorating world. This will also help me give you a set of paragons that your character is likely to be aware of, and at your discretion, that your character will revere.
A little bit of backstory: How did your character end up where he is? Are you an outcast from another city/region, and looking to start anew? Is your character a local? Are you a thief from the slums, stealing food every day to survive? The details like names of cities, or noble houses can be neglected here since you don’t have access to much information about the world, come up with something simple but interesting. More is not necessarily better though, try not to include outrageous feats in your backstory, remember your character is level 1, with 0 experience. He hasn’t performed incredible heists of wealthy merchants, he hasn’t negotiated a merger between two feuding noble houses. The events of your backstory can, and are encouraged, to be significant, at least to your character, but not necessarily something that the bards will sing about.

Custom Rules

Due to the no magic, low level nature of these games, I will be using some optional rules from Unearthed Arcana, with some personal modifications added on.

Vitality/Wound points

The vitality/wound points system changes the way hit points and damage is handled.

In place of hit points, players recieve an equal number of vitality points, which measure a character/s ability to turn a direct hit into a graze or glancing bow with no serious consequences. For most intents and purposes, vitality points act as hit points normally do in a standard dungeons and dragons game, with the exception that they recover at a rate of 1 per character level per hour, instead of per day. A character has a number of wound points equal to their constitution score.

When a character's vitality points are reduced to 0, they instead begin to take wound damage. Unlike vitality damage, taking wound damage represents a major blow dealt to a character. After taking wound damage, even a single point, a character becomes fatigued, taking a -2 penalty to strength and dexterity, and can no longer run or charge, until he rests for 8 hours, or until the wound damage is recovered, whichever comes first. Additional damage does not stack to make a character exhausted. Additionally, each time a character takes wound damage, he must make a fortitude save (DC equal to 5 + the number of wound damage taken) or be stunned for 1d4 rounds. A friendly character may take a standard action to help a character recover, ending the stunned condition.

When a character's wound points reach 0, treat the character as disabled as if reaching 0 hit points. A character reduced below 0 wound points falls unconscious and begins dying. Dying characters follow the normal rules, with one exception. To make up for the extra buffer of wound points, a dying character is harder to stabilize (since by normal rules they should already be dead). The heal check DC to stabilize a dying character increases by 1 for every hit point they are in negative. Characters reduced to a number of negative hit points equal to their constitution modifier die.

Nonlethal damage applied to a character with vitality points still remaining deals reduces vitality damage as normal, however, any time nonlethal damage would be dealt to a character's wound points (such as when a character has no remaining vitality points, or in the event a nonlethal critical hit is scored) they must make a fortitude save (DC 5 + the amount of nonlethal damage dealt in excess of their vitality points) or become staggered for 1d4 rounds. This condition can be removed by a friendly character in the same way a character stunned from taking wound damage can be assisted. Track lethal and nonlethal wound damage separately, when a character's nonlethal wound damage equals their current wound points, they become staggered, only able to take a partial action each round, and if the nonlethal wound damage exceeds their current wound points, they immediately fall unconscious. Nonlethal damage dealt in excess of a character's maximum wound points plus their constitution score is converted into lethal damage, applying directly to the target's wound points.

Falling Damage

Falling damage, unlike most other forms of damage, is applied directly to wound points, making falling long distances particularly more deadly. Methods used to convert fall damage to nonlethal damage, such as using a jump check to deliberately jump down, instead convert the appropriate amount of fall damage to vitality damage. This means that being kicked out of a second floor window (a 20 ft. fall) could very potentially be lethal, and an awkward, if still deliberate jump down from a third floor window (a 30 ft. fall) may be equally as dangerous to all but the most skilled of atheletes.

Critical hits

Critical hits in this system are decidedly more deadly than critical hits in normal games. Instead of dealing additional damage as they do normally, critical hits instead deal damage directly to wound points, meaning that even a high level character may be disabled from a single, lucky blow. Any additional damage that would normally not be multiplied on a critical hit are rolled normally, dealing their extra damage to vitality points, with 1 damage from each extra damage dice rolled being instead dealt to wound points. For example a rogue dealing an extra 3d6 sneak attack damage would, on a critial, roll his sneak attack dice subtract 3 (one for each damage dice), dealing the resulting damage to vitality points, with the subtracted 3 damage being dealt to wound points instead. Additional flat damage that is not normally multiplied by a critical hit (such as the additional damage added by martial maneuvers) is instead simply dealt to vitality points.

Additionally if the critical hit confirms and also rolled in the weapon's critical threat range, the critical damage (excluding damage from extra damage dice) is doubled.

For example, a warrior with 18 strength is wielding a +1 flaming longsword rolls a 19 on his attack roll, a potential critical hit. If he confirms the critical hit, he deals 1d8+5 wound damage to his target, along with 1d6 fire vitality damage, the first point of damage being instead applied as wound damage. If his confirm roll also rolled a 19 or a 20, he would have a second confirmation roll, and if he confirmed the third attack roll, he would instead deal 2d8+10 wound damage to his target, along with 1d6 fire vitality damage, with the first point being, as normal, applied to wound damage.

Class Defense Bonus

Armor Proficiency
Level None Light Medium Heavy
1 +2 +3 +4 +6
2 +2 +3 +4 +6
3 +3 +4 +5 +7
4 +3 +4 +5 +7
5 +3 +4 +5 +7
6 +4 +5 +6 +8

Since I don't expect people to be walking around in armor at all times, I will be using a class defense bonus. The bonus does not stack with any armor bonus you have. It also applies to touch AC, unlike an armor bonus, but does not apply any time your character would be denied dexterity to AC. Unlike a dodge bonus, this bonus represents experience in battle and predicting strikes, and as such, characters with uncanny dodge do not retain this bonus while flat footed or against invisible (or hidden) opponents.

When multiclassing/gestalting, use the highest bonus based on your class armor proficiency, for example a 2nd level barbarian would have a +4 bonus. If that barbarian then gained a level in fighter, his bonus would become +7, as a third level character with heavy armor proficiency.

Gaining armor proficiency using a feat does not change your class derived defense bonus, only proficiencies gained from classes work to determine your defense bonus.

Armor Damage Conversion

To supplement the above rule, and to make armor still a worthy option when necessary or expecting combat, armor will reduce any vitality damage by an amount equal to half it's armor bonus, as long as the attack was not against the victim's touch AC. Attacks that deal wound damage instead have their damage reduced to nonlethal damage; against sources of nonlethal damage, the armor instead negates an amount of nonlethal damage equal to it's armor bonus. Any damage that is not normally affected by damage reduction (such as attacks involving energy damage, like fire and cold) is not reduced in this way.

No Magic Items

Level Bonus
1 +1 resistance bonus to saves
2 +1 to one attuned weapon and armor
3 +1 deflection bonus to AC
4 +2 to a single mental ability score
5 +2 to a single physical ability score
6 +1 natural armor, +2 resistance bonus to saves, +1 to a second weapon and to a shield or second set of armor

Since magical items will be practically nonexistant in this game, players will instead gain some inherent bonuses to make up for this. NPCs with levels in NPC classes will gain bonuses one level later.

Armor and weapon attunement: Beginning at second level players may attune to a single masterwork weapon and piece of masterwork armor (or shield), which can be changed once per day, in a process taking 8 hours of practise and use with the item. Attuning grants a weapon a +1 enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls, and grants armor/shields a +1 enhancement bonus to AC. At 6th level, players may attune to a second weapon and a second piece of armor/shield. This allows players with two weapon fighting to attune to both of their weapons, or for characters to attune to their secondary weapons, like a bow or crossbow for melee characters, or a sword for ranged characters, and also allows a character to attune to a lighter set of armor or a shield in addition to their main set of armor.

Staggered Leveling

Due to the nature of e6 only spanning 6 levels this game will add granularity to the leveling system by using a staggered leveling system, leveling up over 4 stages. At 25%, 50% and 75% players may choose to increase their base attack bonus, saves, or gain half of their hit points for their next level. If their bab or saves (or both) do not increase for their next level, they gain no bonus at 25% (and 50% in the case that neither increase in the coming level). Additionally, at 50% they gain half of their skill points for the coming level. Upon gaining their full level, they gain class features, the remaining half of their hit points and skill points, and any other benefits of leveling up (such as ability score increases or feats as applicable).