AVARICE is a story-telling game of Dwarven hubris. It launches for digital distribution via DriveThruRPG on Tuesday May 7 – next week!
This week, we preview the character sheet used in Avarice and break it down for you. This is an oftentimes silly game which many players choose to also make a drinking game. As such, we knew that the design of the character sheet needed to be clear and to the point. There couldn’t be a lot of fiddly rules and there couldn’t be a lot of rules references. Thus, we limited the design to half the size of a Letter sized sheet of paper. The character sheet represents an entire Clan of Dwarves and is more a statement on culture than any individual preferences or abilities.
We start out with the Fortress section. Here, the Game Master leaves their mark and plants the seeds of their game intent by selecting the Fortress Type and naming the Fortress. The Fortress Type will determine a few of the starting embark resources and Events, setting the theme of the game early. As with just about everything, players and GMs are free to just roll randomly here and see where the dice take them. The Fortress name is chosen by the Game Master here as well. This is a tough one to come up with on the fly, so it’s suggested that the Game Master think a bit on the Fortress name before coming to the game. A few suggestive words put into the name can have a subconscious echo effect on how the players get inspired and build their own creative outputs. For example, a Fortress name like BronzeTitan the Keep of Ancients might plant the creative seed in the players’ mind to think of cyclopean stone, gigantic enemies, and decrepit ruins of lost civilizations.
The next section is Skills. Each Clan rolls 7d12, assigning ranks in skills that match the number rolled. A skill can only start at Rank 2, so any extras are placed in other skills of the player’s choice. After that, the player selects three additional skill ranks, to be placed anywhere they wish, so long as no skill starts above Rank 2.
The skills are described in detail in the Avarice document. They are purposefully vague so that there is lots of overlap and room for interpretation and creativity. They are also purposefully lopsided, some skills are just demonstrably worse than others, depending on the initial embark setup. The game can’t ever be won, so you probably shouldn’t get too hung up on optimizing your character.
Each Clan has Favorites. They arer fascinated by and regard in the highest form a particular stone / ore / refined metal, a type of gem, a type of animal, and worships a god covering a sphere of influence like war or agriculture. Where possible, the Clan should use these inclinations to inform how they decorate and design their living and work spaces. This has no in-game effect but is used to help players bring their Clans to life in their descriptions. Each category is determined randomly by consulting d100 lists of randomized descriptors.
Each player must choose a Specialty for their Clan, or roll randomly. This represents the Clan leader’s exalted position within the greater community of the Fortress and comes with a unique special ability. No two Clans may have the same Specialty.
Each Specialty grants the acting Clan Benefit when making a skill check within the described areas of expertise. A Clan that Helps another Clan in a skill check within the described areas of expertise grants that Clan Benefit as well, in addition to the bonus die from Help. The areas of expertise are purposefully broad and can cover a lot of topics.