interpreting starting wealth/CHR using birth tables(B/X, any Classic)

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combatmedicreturns
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interpreting starting wealth/CHR using birth tables(B/X, any Classic)

Post by combatmedicreturns » Sun May 13, 2018 12:46 am

BIRTH/BACKGROUND TABLES for Basic D&D
Use the money/gear roll (the 3D6 part of 3D6X10) to determine social rank.
The alternate method is to use Charisma ability score.

(A player is free to come up with something not listed on the tables, of course.)


Fighting-men
3 outlaw
4—5 guardsman’s son
6—8 yeomanry
9—12 gentry
13—15 knight’s son
16—17 petty nobility
18 exiled prince or soi-disant royalty

Thieves
3 slave
4—5 harlot’s child or runaway villein
6—8 hireling
9—12 jongleur or smuggler
13—15 guildsman
16—17 corrupt merchant house
18 bandit lord


Clerics
3 parish ward
4—5 monastic tenant or priest’s bastard
6—8 clerk or sexton
9—12 gentry or bishop’s “nephew”
13—15 crusader family
16—17 hereditary benefice
18 Curia-connected


Magic-Users
3 witch’s brat
4—5 mad sorcerer’s lackey
6—8 scrivener or charm-seller
9—12 bookseller/antiquary
13—15 alchemist’s heir
16—17 gentleman-magician
18 enchanted nobility
Last edited by combatmedicreturns on Sun May 13, 2018 4:25 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: interpreting starting wealth/CHR using birth tables(B/X, any Classic)

Post by combatmedicreturns » Sun May 13, 2018 4:03 am

edited first post

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Havard
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Re: interpreting starting wealth/CHR using birth tables(B/X, any Classic)

Post by Havard » Sun May 13, 2018 11:54 am

Welcome back Combatmedic!

I like this. Some of the Gazetteers also have rules for tetermining status, but this is quite elegant. Does this mean that nobles always have a higher CHA than low ranking characters though?

-Havard

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Re: interpreting starting wealth/CHR using birth tables(B/X, any Classic)

Post by Khedrac » Sun May 13, 2018 2:05 pm

I like the idea, but I don't see why the parent has to be of a similar class to the child. One of the traditional routes for children of nobles in English history (and common in a lot of fantasy) is for the 2nd or 3rd son to go to the clergy. Equally, quite a bit of the Mystara product line links thief skills with nobility/diplomats - but your tables don't go near the nobility in socail ranks for thieves.

I would think about combining the tables with a list of possibilities at each level to be chosen from or randomly selected.
"If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it might just be a crow".

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Re: interpreting starting wealth/CHR using birth tables(B/X, any Classic)

Post by stebehil » Sun May 13, 2018 2:48 pm

I like the basic idea very much, but I´m with Khedrac here. I think an abstraction of each level with a few examples each would suffice.
Say, 3 is slave/menial laborer/outcast/outlaw, and 18 is some sort of royality/de-facto ruler/head of guild/clergy/syndicate/filthy rich merchant.
I would not tie it to CHA, as this would mean that PCs with high CHA would invariably be kids of someone important, which does not feel right. (you might even argue that kids of important people sometimes tend to be arrogant, spoiled brats because of their families importance...)

Comparing that to the GAZ1 table (p. 7), as Havard pointed these tables out, there are economical "classes" of a sort given on a random d100 roll, independent from the actual amount the character has. If you want to use Combatmedics idea with that, the 3d6 wealth roll should factored into a mod for the d100 roll, say, 3 is -30, 4-5 is -20, 6-8 is -10, 9-12 no mod, 13-15 +10, 16-17 +20 and 18 +30. This would give the poor sods with a 3 a "comfortable" level at most, and those with an 18 struggling at least, which still leaves enough room for some weird results and their interpretation. I am not sure if this should also be included in the roll to determine the ethnic background of the family, or if this should be modified by the unmodified first roll.

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Re: interpreting starting wealth/CHR using birth tables(B/X, any Classic)

Post by combatmedicreturns » Sun May 13, 2018 3:34 pm

It's starting wealth or CHR.

So:

You can roll a 5 CHR and a 17 starting wealth (17 X 10) and if you are a fighting-man, that might mean guardsman's son or it might mean petty nobility.

By no means, then, are nobles always charismatic.

You can get rich but ugly and surly nobles with this subsystem.

What it doesn't yield are lowborn characters who are both charismatic and wealthy (in terms of starting wealth for equipment at first level, anyway--family wealth could be another matter). And that's by design.

Nor does it yield highborn characters who are both poor in starting gear and lacking in grace and social standing.


RE clerics

Yeah, my early draft looked more like the fighting-men table. I decided to switch it up a bit. But you will note that this is an optional system. Just as the first post says, players can alter the result or make something up. Or add 'petty nobility'' to the chart alongside crusader.
EDIT : 'hereditary benefice' can easily be nobility.

The system adds no mechanics, really.
You are going to roll money and CHR no matter what. What these tables do is interpret those numbers.

Thieves: I don't go with a lot of nobles who are also thieves (as in the class). This is a style difference from Mystaran sources, yes.
But "bandit" lord might well be a sneakier version of Robin Hood.
Corrupt merchant house could mean something like the upper levels of the Veiled Society.

EDIT
I was not going for equality. I want thieves to typically be of a lower social order than, say, clerics or fighting men. A thief with similar starting wealth may simply be successful in thievery and questionable business practices. Or his wealth is highly concentrated. Maybe no family wealth/lands, but he's well equipped personally.
High CHR may include contacts and skill at running bluffs and a general streetwise ability. That is, just the sort of stuff a thief would use to make a good impression (reaction bonus) and recruit/retain followers and hirelings,

I should add that I'm perhaps not going to use RC/GAZ general skills in this set-up. I think I can do a lot with simply background+ class+ ability scores (read broadly).

We'll see.


I definitely want to push back against certain implicit egalitarian ideas. The random roll system of D&D already produces inequality. But I'm interpreting the numbers on light of a game millieu.
Basic assumptions include a hierarchical pseudo-medieval society.

How likely is it that your fighter who starts play with a sword, shield, coat of mail,has got all his teeth, and who commands respect from others and has an easy time recruiting men to join his adventures is a serf's son?
Not damned likely.

Are there exceptions? Sure.
Last edited by combatmedicreturns on Mon May 14, 2018 4:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: interpreting starting wealth/CHR using birth tables(B/X, any Classic)

Post by combatmedicreturns » Sun May 13, 2018 4:08 pm

Havard wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 11:54 am
Welcome back Combatmedic!

I like this. Some of the Gazetteers also have rules for tetermining status, but this is quite elegant. Does this mean that nobles always have a higher CHA than low ranking characters though?

-Havard
Again, no.

It means that if you, the player:

1: roll really well for starting wealth

or

2: roll really well for CHR

The tables indicate you are highborn/well-connected.

If you roll both high CHR and a lot of starting money, then you won't come from the lower orders, as per the tables. A player who wanted to make an exception could exercise that option, natch.


Note that starting wealth for a PC isn't necessarily the same as family wealth.Most of it will get turned into gear, after all.


Let's say a player lucked out and rolled 16 for both.

160 starting gold. Nice.

16 CHR

He's a fighting-man.

Okay, petty nobility.

Is the family rich? Probably. But they could be house and land poor.
The manor's heavily mortgaged. The roof leaks.
And our PC is the fourth son.
Here's a sword, armor, pony, etc Go have adventures and get treasure, kid. And if you save a princess from a dragon, ask if she's married.
Huuuuuge tracts of land!

Or maybe his family has lost much of its ancestral lands to monsters, but still holds a famous name that commands respect.

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