Creating Your Fighters Part 2

Character Design

When it comes to writing up Fighter sheets for your favourite miniatures or new creations, I’ve found that the best place to start isn’t even on the sheet – first decide their backgrounds. This doesn’t need to be extensive, or even that involved; a sentence, or a few words will suffice. Even a random thought about the miniature can send you in the right direction, and my two new miniatures (see Part 1) provide great examples.

For instance, it occured to me while painting my Hew-man knight, that she reminded me of the character Brienne of Tarth from George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, as portrayed in Game of Thrones by Gwendoline Christie.

Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth. Copyright HBO

This suited her stature and I went with the idea, choosing blonde for her hair for this reason. I then drafted the following back story for her:

‘Gwendolynn LiBayrr, Knight without a King. Hailing from the patchwork of minor kingdoms that lie within Ostendere’s mountainous midlands, LiBayrr is a reticent character who, outside of the Pits, trains from dawn ’til dusk, and within fights as though possessed. What brings her so far from home, and what demons drive her on, she will not say; though there are whispers that her heraldry is that of a royal line, now slain to a man…’

If you’re familiar with Brienne’s story you should be able to spot enough references there, without being plagiaristic, to lay a fertile field of hints and questions for us to harvest later.

For my Trow model I went even simpler, using a keyword method to delve into her character. From her whip I’ve decided she is a Spellcrafter. The harpoon is Nautical and gives her the air of a Hunter. Her mask shows her to be Theatrical, and to seek to inspire Fear. Her lack of armour suggests that she is Nimble.

Which gives me: Spellcrafter; Nautical; Hunter; Theatrical; Fear; Nimble. Plenty to work with there.

Obviously my flash of look-a-like inspiration has provided a name for my knight already but for my Trow pirate I take a look in the Rulebook for naming conventions (see page 99 for Trow) and decide on Verzzakell Dreadcrest (her epithet playing on both her Nautical – crest, as in wave – and Fearful – as in dread – characteristics). With that done, let’s crunch some numbers.

Every Fighter in Fighting Pits of Baad Tibera is described by 5 Aspects, each relating to some facet of their character, either physically, mentally or otherwise. In short these are Body, which determines overall physical wellbeing, constitution and resilience; Mind, which covers mental agility, perception, and strategy; Passion, an abstract concept which covers the fire in one’s belly, their presence in the moment, and governs combat, agility and creativity; Charisma, which covers a Fighter’s attractiveness, not necessarily in a physical sense but their overall charm and likeability; and Will, which covers the steel in their belly, their grit and determination. These Aspects are rated from 1, about the level of an average person living their daily life, to 5 which is practically legendary. In order to rate the Fighter’s Aspects though we need to see how many Aspect Points (AP) you have to divide among them.

There are a number of ways to do this depending upon the type of game you’re playing but I decide, first, that both Fighters should have the same number of AP. This is because I have wildly different concepts in mind for them and would like to pit them against each other to see how they do. Matching the AP should provide a little balance therefore.

I decide to roll randomly for AP with the proviso that these two are a little better than starter Fighters; usually you’d roll D6 + 7 for AP of between 8 and 13 but I choose to add 9 to my roll. I roll a 5 (I’m using a D12 here because halving your result and rounding up allows you to use it as a D6 too, among other things. Handy!) which gives them both 14 AP – very respectable.

For Gwendolynn I split them as follows:

Body 3; Mind 2; Passion 4; Charisma 2; Will 3

At creation, Aspects can only be dialled to 4, so with Body I play to the scale of the mini and decide that she’s physically very capable. Her Mind and Charisma of 2, while not high by any standard, don’t illustrate a lack of wit or any unfriendliness, rather what I consider perhaps a focused lack of imagination – her back story hints at some past mistake, perhaps something she failed to foresee and prevent – and this feeds into her current, stand-offish demeanour. She is dour and unapproachable, not instantly likeable perhaps, but a solid ally once won over. Her Will also reflects that focus and single mindedness. Passion reigns here as she vents her fury in the arena.

After calculating her Move and Health values, based off Body and her Hew-man heritage, next I write her equipment down, simply noting what’s on the miniature. In Gwendolynn’s case she wears Heavy Armour with a Full Shield, and is armed with a Spear and Shortsword.

Fighters get Skill Points (SP) equal to their AP and skills can be used to lower a target number that needs to be rolled to achieve successes. Skills do various things but do tie in closely with Signatures, a Fighter’s special moves for which they become known in the Pit. Fighters start with 3 Signatures in their Repertoire.

For Gwendolynn I pick Shield Check first. Her armour and shield, coupled with the range of her spear suggest someone quite defensive, despite her physical presence. Shield Check plays to this while turning a defence into an attack. I choose Surgical Strike to show her weapons mastery and then finally Strangle to represent her barely controlled aggression simmering beneath it all.

To perform these Signatures reliably will need the skills Brace, Perceive and Wrestle respectively; also her shield and armour will potentially lead to exhaustion so I take Resilience too. I put any remaining points into her Spear and Shortsword skill. After calculating her Defences, Gwendolynn is ready to enter the Pit.

Copyright Kev Rooney 2021

Let’s take a quick look at Verzzakell:

Body 3; Mind 2; Passion 3; Charisma 3; Will 3

After a little playing around I settle on the above. I tie the keywords above into my vision of the character. A Nimble, Theatrical Fighter would have decent Body and Charisma Aspects and a Hunter would have strong Passion. A spellcrafter relies on Mind and Will, but Will foremost of the two; I feel that Verzzakell learned enough for her purposes, and then grew bored of study.

For Signatures I choose Trip, Wallspring and Precision Shot. Trip is a Whip specific Signature for opponent control and she has a heritage bonus to performing it; Wallspring is excellent for surprise attacks against Passive Defence; and Precision Shot will be excellent for her Harpoon and should take opponents off-guard when she hurls it at them.

She’ll need Sleight of Hand, Acrobatics and Perceive as skills, as well as proficiency with her weapons. She’ll also need Dodge as she’s unarmoured. Lastly Verzzakell will need to put SP into her spellcraft. 14 points is good but this is still stretching things quite thin. Hopefully those spell effects will give her an edge.

Copyright Kev Rooney 2021

After noting Whip, Spear (Harpoon) and Dagger as weapons, and calculating Defences, Verzzakell is ready to fight.
And that’s really all there is to it. I’ll post a play through of how Gwendolynn and Verzzakell face off against each other soon.

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