Core Rules: Characters

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Character Sheet

An Echelon character sheet for spreadsheet programs can be downloaded here.

Enter your information and rolls into the white areas. The grey areas will update their numbers and labels automatically; such as totalling up the weight of your things or the total number of days training.

The sheet is protected to prevent accidental overwriting of the formulas and labels. There is no protection password - if the sheet needs editing for your specific needs, you are both encouraged and legally allowed to do so, as well as share your changes.

You'll need either Microsoft Office 2007 or later, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, or any spreadsheet package that can read .ods files.

Character Creation

Important note before you start:
All rounding in Echelon is done upwards. e.g. 4.2 is rounded to 5.

  1. Choose Race
  2. Generate Stats
  3. Choose Talents
  4. Generate Social Class
  5. Gather Starting Equipment
  6. Create Back Story

When creating your character, you will have 60 points to spend on stats and talents, and 5000 days to spend on skills, knowledge and weapons training.

Playable Races

In the world, there are 6 'sapient' races - ones that have transcended from animals and formed societies.

Choose one of the following races (or use the d100 result on the left if generating randomly). These 6 are:

 NameRacial bonuses
00-15ElvesNatural affinity: +1 when casting, defending against and damage for nature magic
Positive Talents: Low light vision, catfall, steady hands
Negative Talents: Die easy [death], dulled sense [taste] and [smell]
16-31HumanAqua affinity: +1 when casting, defending against and damage for water/ice magic
Positive Talents: Sense of direction, gregarious, indominable will
Negative Talents: Inflexible
32-47DwarvesLunar affinity: +1 when casting, defending against and damage for darkness magic
Positive Talents: Low light vision, iron skull, sure footed
Negative Talents: Dulled sense [taste] and [smell]
48-63FeySolar affinity: +1 to when casting, defending against and damage for light magic
Positive Talents: Low light vision, flexible, pathetic
Negative Talents: Clueless
64-79OrcsOccult affinity: +1 to when casting, defending against and damage for arcane magic
Positive talents: Sea legs, sure footed
Negative talents: None
80-95TrollFlame affinity: +1 to when casting, defending against and damage for fire magic
Negative Talents: Combat reflex, iron body, ultrasonic hearing
Negative Talents: Unsteady hands
96-99reroll, or choose one.

Each race has a number of racial talents. Characters can buy the opposing talent for any racial talent - the effects will cancel out. For example, a troll character may take the steady hands talent, and this will cancel out their racial unsteady hands talent.

If choosing a character of mixed racial heritage, then freely choose one (but not both) of their parent race's bonuses. [this is a simple feature that will be extrapolated further in a later version. Added 0.1

To read more about each race, have a look at Setting: Races.

Stats

In Echelon, your character's basic capabilities are defined with their stats,on a scale between 0 to 25.

For a charcter of mixed racial heritage, you can take either one or the other parents' racial stats, but not both. This doesn't have to match with your character's racial bonuses. [this is a simple feature that will be extrapolated further in a later version. Added 0.1]

  • STR - Strength
    How strong they are.
  • TGH - Toughness
    How resilient to damage they are.
  • PSE - Poise
    How much physical stability and balance they have.
  • AGI - Agility
    How quick on their feet they are.
  • REA - Reaction
    How quick they are to respond to something happening.
  • PER - Perception
    How mindful or the area around them they are.
  • INT - Intelligence
    How capable at problem solving they are, but doesn't cover how much they know.
  • WIL - Will
    How resilient they are to mental damage and persuasion.
  • LDR - Leadership
    How well they can command others.
  • CAM - Camaraderie
    How able they are socialise.
  • PTC - Potency
    How magically capable they are.

Two other important numbers that characters need to keep track of are health and mana; two vital resources that are available to the character. These are called counters, and are not 'stats' as such, as nothing tests against them:

  • Health
    Keeps track of how much damage a character has taken, and can take before succumbing. Their ability to stay conscious and not become dead.
  • Mana
    Keeps track of how much 'force of life' a character has for casting magic spells and powerful abilities.

For any race, skill stats represent the character's practice and innate level of ability: 10 is passable, 12 is skilled, 14 would be very good, 16 would be olympic level.

Stat Bonuses

A stat bonus is a number applied to other things that might not necessarily involve that stat directly - for example, close combat weapons often add your strength bonus. A stat bonus is the stat in question divided by 4 (rounded up, as usual). It is a good idea to note down stat bonuses on your character's sheet.

e.g., a strength of 10 has a strength bonus of 3: 10 / 4 = 2.5, rounded up to 3. If the character had a strength of 13, they would have a strength bonus of 4.

Stat Generation

To generate a character's stats, you spend some (or all) of your starting 60 points: 1 point in a stat costs 1 point from that pool of 60. Talents are also purchased for characters from this pool of points. You can also purchase additional health and mana, labelled 'counters' below.

Each stat has a starting number of points already, and your character's race determines this. During character creation, you can raise a stat by 8 points from its starting number. For example, if the character is a fey, you would start with 6 strength, and can buy up to a maximum of 14. Conversely, a fey would start with 9 agility, with a maximum 17 available.

The table below lists both a potential character's starting stats, listed by race.

Starting Stats, by Race:

 
Elves
Dwarves
Fey
Humans
Orcs
Trolls
Power
      
Str - Strength676778
Tgh - Toughness686878
Dexterity
      
Agi - Agility869678
Pse - Poise778777
Rea - Reaction777778
Mental
      
Per - Perception778677
Int - Intelligence877876
Wil - Will897776
Interaction
      
Ldr - Leadership776777
Cam - Camaraderie767876
Magic
      
Ptc - Potency777777
Counters
      
Health778776
Mana776778

Health and Mana

Before you begin play but after you have allocated all your stat generation points, health and mana each have a stat bonus applied to them. For health, add the character's toughness bonus, and for mana, add the character's intelligence bonus.

Benchmarks

Here are some rough (non-inclusive) ideas as to what each of the stats mean:

StatPhysical ExampleCombat ExampleIntelligence ExampleAcademic Knowledge ExampleCommon Knowledge Example
1-5BabyScared childDrooling imbecile Hermit
6-10Child, unfit adultFrightened civilian   
11-15Fit adultCompetent squire   
16-20Athletic powerhouseSeasoned soldier   
21-25ParagonLegendary combattant   
26+Unstoppable, Godlike, and other Unreal Tournament derived adjectives

Other Important Numbers

Damage

You need to be aware of your character's knockback threshold, injury threshold and conciosness threshold. These are used in combat.

The knockback threshold is the character's strength x 3. This number is used to determine if they get knocked flying by an attack. If the damage done in one hit, before deductions for armour, but after any other modifiers, is above the target's knockback threshold - they are knocked back d3 yards and must make a balance test or fall prone.

The shock threshold is the character's starting health x 4. If an attack does more damage than this threshold, then they must pass a constitution test or fall unconcious from the force of the hit. A character will be instantly placed at 0 fatigue, and all fatigue gained from failing this test is temporary.

The consciousness threshold is the character's starting health x 10. If the total amount of damage that they have taken exceeds this threshold, then they will fall unconcious, and their fatigue level will instantly be reduced to 0, all fatigue being temporary. They will simply have taken too much damage to stay concious any longer.

Movement

Characters have a movement rate derived from their stats.

There are differing speeds of movement: Walking, Jogging, and Sprinting. For each movement type, characters can move up to this distance in yards per combat round, although encumberance will negatively impact how fast a character can move. Round all values up to the nearest whole number. A character is not obliged to move their maximum distance if they do not need to.

SpeedMovement distance per action
Walk(Tgh + Agi) / 3 yards
Jog(Tgh + Agi) / 2 yards
Sprint(Str + Agi) yards

Walking is not a demanding exercise until many hours of continual walking have passed. A character can walk for as many hours as their (Tgh + Agi) / 4. After this length of time, for each half-hour that is spent walking, the character needs to succeed on a Physical Exertion Long test or take a level of temporary fatigue.

Walking will generally not impose any penalties to combined actions, for example walking whilst reading a map.

Jogging differs from walking in that a person's feet will leave the ground during part of their gait. It covers an intermediate speed between flat out and sauntering.

A character can jog for as many minutes as their Tgh + Agi. After this length of time, for each minute or combat turn (whilst in combat) that the character spends jogging, they need to succeed on a Physical Exertion Long test or take a level of temporary fatigue.

Sprinting is running as fast as the character is physically able. It requires a great deal of strength and will rapidly exhaust them. However sprinting is a good way to rapidly cover short distances. A fit character will be able to sprint perhaps 40 to 50 yards per combat round.

A character can sprint for as many turns in combat as their (Str + Agi) / 8.  This is usually good for around 2 combat rounds (6 to 12 seconds) before they will start to succumb to cramps and exhaustion. After this length of time, for each combat turn spent sprinting the character needs to succeed on a Physical Exertion Short test or take a level of temporary fatigue.

Tip: Note these down on your character sheet!

Interventions

Interventions are points that a player can spend to save their character from a particularly grizzly situation (or a non-grizzly situation if they so wish). All characters start with a solitary intervention. They might be able to accrue more through the use of talents. For example, cats could well have 9 interventions.

An intervention can be used for anything that requires a roll, and lets you reroll that single roll. For example, if the player so wished, they could use an intervention to pass a crucial test. It's up to the GM and the player to decide narratively how the character will ultimately survive if it's an avoid-death intervention. Interventions can never be epic successes.

Interventions can only be spent once a game. Once it's been spent, then it cannot be used again that session.

A spent intervention will normally be available again at the start of the next gaming session, but a GM may wish to forego this in some circumstances - for example, if a particularly arduous combat stretches over more than one session.

Character Abilities

Talents and Skills

Talents are what set apart the characters from the rabble. You can buy talents using the same pool of 60 points for purchasing stats during character creation.

Core Rules: Talents

As a guide to start with, you get 5000 days to spend on skills, trade skills and weaponry training.

Core Rules: Skills

Core Rules: Trade Skills

Gear: Weapons

Social Class and Money

Before a character can hope to obtain equipment, they must first have the resources to do so. Generating the social class of the character will determine how pampered they are (or aren't), and how much money they have (or have not). Money in the world or Echelon is measured using this system of coinage:

  • 100 Copper Pennies = 1 Silver Shilling
  • 100 Silver Shillings = 1 Gold Crown
  • 10 Gold Crowns = 1 Platinum Sovereign.

Copper Pennies and Silver Shillings is the most common units of currency that you're likely to encounter and deal with individually. Silver Shillings are relatively small coins with a typical purity between 795 and 825, often alloyed with copper. Gold Crowns are usually minted at 18 carat. Platinum Sovereigns are normally very high 990 to 995 purity.

Although there are (currently) no costs or restrictions for social classes or wealth coded in these rules, it would be sensible to work with the GM and other players when creating your character, so that the narrative of why they are all adventuring together makes sense.

[this is a simple feature that will be extrapolated further in a later version. Added 0.2]

Setting: Social Class

Setting: Money

Gather Starting Equipment

Characters may use their initial wealth to purchase starting equipment. All characters, regardless of their social class and standing, get the first 2 shillings of their equipment for free. This represents things that they could have acquired independently of their monetary situation.

Gear: Weapons

Gear: Equipment

Character Back Story

Age

RaceYouthYoung AdultOld AdultVenerableMaximum AgeOldest RecordedTypical Lifespan
Elves10-1819-100101-150151+90+10d1020280
Human10-1617-5051-7075+60+7d1010555
Dwarves12-1819-7071-9091+60+10d1012375
Fey8-1415-6566-9091+60+8d1010160
Orcs9-1516-5051-7071+60+7d1011455
Troll8-1415-5051-7071+60+7d109955

A typical lifespan is a median average, which includes mostly peasants and working class individuals who are often living and working in the elements and dangerous occupations, as well as generally being more exposed to disease and illness.

Presently, age has no ingame effect other than character flavour. GMs may wish to reduce the amount of starting days available and give lower maximum stat caps to younger characters, typically under the age of 25.

Optional: If a character begins play as venerable already, or a campaign lasts long enough that death of old age is a factor, the GM is encouraged to roll a maximum age for each character in secret. Once they reach this age, they will simply die in their sleep as their body quietly stops working.

[this is a simple feature that will be extrapolated further in a later version. Added 0.1]

Gender

Pick a gender - male or female.

Humans, dwarves, orcs and trolls are more patriarchal societies, whilst elves and fey are more matriachal.

[this is a simple feature that will be extrapolated further in a later version. Added 0.1]

Height and Weight

In these rules, distances are expressed in yards (m) and weight in kilograms (kg). For all purposes and intents in Echelon, 1 yard is exactly equal to 1 metre. This immeasurably simplifies mathematics whilst retaining the more archaic-sounding and user-friendly term yard.

The following table lists the average heights and weights for each race.

RaceAge:Youth

Young adult, old adult,
and venerable

ElvesF1.57 - 1.75m (5'2 - 5'9)
> 55 kg
1.70 - 1.85m (5'7 - 6'1)
45 - 70 kg
 M1.57 - 1.75m (5'2 - 5'9)
> 60 kg
1.78 - 1.93m (5'10 - 6'4)
55 - 85 kg
HumanF1.52 - 1.70m (5'0 - 5'7)
> 60 kg
1.57 - 1.75m (5'2 - 5'7)
45 - 70 kg
 M1.57 - 1.75m (5'0 - 5'7)
> 70 kg
1.70 - 1.88m (5'7 - 6'2)
70 - 95 kg
DwarvesF1.32 - 1.52m (4'4 - 5'0)
> 55 kg
1.32 - 1.52m (4'4 - 5'0)
45 - 65 kg
 M1.32 - 1.52m (4'4 - 5'0)
> 65 kg
1.35 - 1.55m (4'5 - 5'1)
50 - 75 kg
FeyF1.22 - 1.47m (4'0 - 4'10)
> 45 kg
1.35 - 1.57m (4'5 - 5'2)
30 - 45 kg
 M1.22 - 1.47m (4'0 - 4'10)
> 45 kg
1.40 - 1.65m (4'7 - 5'5)
40 - 55 kg
OrcsF1.52 - 1.73m (5'0 - 5'8)
> 65 kg
1.63 - 1.73m (5'4 - 5'8)
45 - 75 kg
 M1.52 - 1.73m (5'0 - 5'8)
> 65 kg
1.78 - 1.93m (5'10 - 6'4)
70 - 105 kg
TrollF1.52 - 1.83m (5'0 - 6'0)
> 70 kg
1.80 - 1.96m (5'11 - 6'5)
50 - 80 kg
 M1.52 - 1.83m (5'0 - 6'0)
> 70 kg
1.83 - 2.01m (6'0 - 6'7)
70 - 105 kg

Presently, height and weight have no ingame effect other than character flavour. Feel free to choose your character's height and weight. Above are rough averages for someone in good shape. Your GM might wish to have some ingame effects for those outside this norm (such as having 1 level less of fatigue if you're overweight, or having a bonus to escape tests if you're especially small, etc.)

[this is a simple feature that will be extrapolated further in a later version. Added 0.1]

Handedness

All characters are either left or right handed. Even the more dextrous ones will have a prefered hand. As such, choose a hand that is dominant. When using the other hand by itself to do something that requires fine dexterity and dextrousness - namely wielding weapons, tools and writing - it suffers a -4 penalty.

Name

Pick a name! Here are the following tendances:

Feel free to anglicise them if it makes sense for you.

Home Nation

Choose a nation from the list of home nations. Presently, this is only flavour to add to your character's backstory, but in a later version it's likely that some small benefits will be assigned to characters from different nations.

[this is a simple feature that will be extrapolated further in a later version. Added 0.1]

Languages Known

Most often, a character will generally only speak one language, chosen from the list of languages available for their country. Have a look at Setting: Languages to read more - they are all based on real-world equivalents. Those of noble birth often learn additional languages, and those near frontiers often know enough of a second language to get by.

If the group of players are from vastly different nations (as is likely if they are a collection of differing races), then it might be sensible to select a common language between them all.

[this is a simple feature that will be extrapolated further in a later version. Added 0.1]