Building Character(s) with Kiss My Axe

I’m only waiting on the print file for Kiss My Axe to be updated on RPG Now/Drive-Thru RPG and then it will be available for sale. Until it is, here is a sneak peek at building a character in KMA. The following is from the book itself, with the character building example interspersed with the description of the rules for building a character. This should give you an idea of characters in KMA.

Heroic Character Creation

Not all characters in the game are heroes, but all PCs are. These steps are for creating Player Characters or other heroic characters. Later, in Heroes, Regulars and Minions, there is a similar list of steps for regular and minion characters.

A Character is made up of Aspects, Prowess, Traits and Other Qualities. Each of these is divided further into ten Qualities that help to define a hero. Aspects include Concept, Faculty and Seafaring. A characters Prowess is measured in Fighting, Style and Protection. Traits are defined as Physique, Charisma and Cunning. Lastly characters may have Other Qualities that help to make them distinctive.

At character creation each of these Qualities has a default starting Rank. To help customize your character, you receive a total of six Ranks to spend on increasing your character’s Qualities.

What follows is a summary of the steps you could take when building a heroic character. Each point is discussed in more depth later in the text.

1. Create a Concept. This Quality relates to what the player intends the character to represent. The Concept has a default Rank of Good. This Rank can be advanced using the six Ranks available at character creation, but this is not mandatory. See Aspects.

2. Create a Faculty. This Quality represents a character’s secondary aptitude, is not necessarily linked to the character’s Concept, and is usually a skill or talent. The Faculty has a default Rank of Good. This rank can be advanced by spending Ranks at character creation. See Aspects.

3. Give Seafaring a Rank. Seafaring is a common Aspect for all Vikings. If you are creating a character who is not a Viking, replace Seafaring with a skill or talent linked to the character’s culture. Seafaring (or cultural skill) has a default Rank of Good. This rank can be advanced at character creation. See Aspects.

4. Rank Prowess. Prowess is divided into Fighting, Style and Protection. Fighting begins at Good. Style and Protection begin at Average. Each of these can be advanced at character creation. See Prowess.

5. Rank Traits. The Traits Physique, Charisma, and Cunning all begin at Average. These ranks can be advanced at character creation. See Traits.

6. Create Other Qualities. If the player has not spent all six Ranks provided at character creation, the player can use the remaining ranks to create and advance Qualities. A Quality is a short descriptor of some attribute of the character. A new Quality begins with the rank of Good, but may be advanced by spending more ranks. It is linked to a Trait. See Qualities. Remember, the player has six Ranks total to use at character creation to advance Aspects, Traits, Prowess and other Qualities.

7. Create Pivots. This is a goal or other character quirk that helps to define the character. Completing a Pivot provides Fortune Points for a character. The character may have up to three Pivots. Ranks are not used to create Pivots. See Pivots.

For our heroic character—basically, a Player Character—let’s have Helfdan Tokesson. I envision Helfdan as a poet-warrior who has many a dalliance as he trades and raids across Europe. For his concept, I’m going with Skald. This starts at Good. I’m going to spend one of the six free Ranks available at character creation to increase the concept to Great. I now have five free Ranks I can spend.

Helfdan happens to be very perceptive. He can read people very, very well. I’m giving him a faculty of Insight. This is at Good. I’m going to use one of the five free Ranks remaining to increase his faculty to Great.

Helfdan is damn sure a Viking, so he gets Seafaring at Good.

Helfdan gets Fighting at Good. I have four Ranks left, but I have plans for those Ranks, so I’m not going to spend any and I’ll leave Fighting at Good.

For Style, I’m going to spend one of the four remaining free Ranks to give Helfdan a Style. I imagine him as a pretty flamboyant fighter, using everything around him in the fight, and being very kinetic. As such, I’m calling the Style “Swashbuckling.” The term did not exist in the Viking Age, but for everyone playing the game, it should engender images of Captain Blood, the Three Musketeers, and Scaramouche. This leaves me with three free Ranks.

While Helfdan could get Protection, it doesn’t really fit with my character conception, so I’m not going to spend any of his three remaining Ranks here.

I’m going to spend two of the remaining three free Ranks for Helfdan and increase his Wit to Good and his Charisma to Good.

I have one free Rank left for Helfdan, and I’m going use it to create a Quality. I’m calling this one “Charming Rogue,” and linking it to Charisma. I only have one Rank, so I’m leaving it at Good. I am also going to assign Helfdan a Weakness (see Weakness below) which gives me another Rank to work with. I’m going to create a Quality called “I Know a Little . . .” at Good, and it refers to the common ‘I know a little French/German/Dutch/etc.’ so that Helfdan can usually understand parts of the conversations going on in foreign languages. Given that it is about languages, I’m linking it to Wit.

Helfdan has no Ranks with which to purchase an Item. Plus, it does not readily fit with the character concept.

And you know that I have to give Helfdan the Weakness “Loves the Ladies” at Basic, because it fits so well into my image of him. Taking this Weakness provides another Rank that can be spent at character creation. If you recall, I spent that rank creating the Quality “I Know a Little . . .” at Good.

While Helfdan may gain Fame later through the game, he has none now.

Helfdan’s Pivots will be “Talk My Way Into It,” “Buckling the Swash,” and “Saga of Greatness.”

For “Talk My Way Into It,” the Pivot will be “Words can be as effective as weapons. Luck is gained when the character gains an advantage or victory against a clearly superior opponent through words.” “Buckling the Swash” will be “What’s the point of a fight if you can’t have a little fun? Luck is gained when the character fights in an unorthodox, cinematic and amusing fashion against an opponent that clearly outclasses the character.” Finally, “Saga of Greatness” will be “When I declaim the glory of another, I bring glory to myself. Luck is gained when the character gains an ally or subverts an enemy through the use of saga or verse regarding the heroism of some third party.” That last one is going to be tough.

Helfdan Tokesson
Concept: Skald, Great               Fighting: Good
Faculty: Insight, Great              Style: Swashbuckling, Good
Seafaring: Good                         Protection:
Phy:     Wit: Good     Cha: Good
Charming Rogue (Cha, Good); I Know A Little . . . (Wit, Good); Loves the Ladies (Basic)

Pivot: Talk My Way Into It: Words can be as eff ective as weapons. Luck is gained when the character gains an advantage or victory against a clearly superior opponent through words.

Buckling the Swash: What’s the point of a fight if you can’t have a little fun? Luck is gained when the character fights in an unorthodox, cinematic and amusing fashion against an opponent that clearly outclasses the character.

Saga of Greatness: When I declaim the glory of another, I bring glory to myself. Luck is gained when the character gains an ally or subverts an enemy through the use of saga or verse regarding the heroism of some third party.

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