The Elsir Project
There are four type of characters:
To help players create characters for a variety of purposes, the definition and mechanics recommend for them are provides as follows.
Hero: These are the main characters. They have powerful personalities and wield power over others. A Typical Player character is usually a hero.
(proposal) Once a character is created at a certain level, it is bound by that level. If players wish to make the character higher or lower level after the creation then it is consider another character (with the same starting requirements as a new character) and should have a narrative reason for the change (i.e a later version of the character in time, a twin brother, a clone of the character, etc.). The character may advance in level, collect treasure, etc. The purpose of the restriction is allow more variety of characters and not using the same character for every adventure.
Companion: These are supporting character(s). They have support roles in the hero’s world, providing assistance to the hero. Typically a companion or monster stat creature is used for these characters. They may also be changed to Heroes status if the story calls for it. Companions do not earn experience for themselves but rather for the rest of the player’s heroes characters. They also may give away any magical items or treasure to other characters, provided they have a good narrative on why they cross paths.
Grunt: These are the mundane servants, men at arms, shopkeepers, etc in the game. Typically designed as minions, they do the menial tasks needed to support the Companions and heroes. A grunt can be upgraded to companion, which can be upgraded to a hero. See rules on companions.
Foe: The final character is a Foe, a person who is the rival of the hero(s) and his allies. Foes can be plotting villains, a horde of orcs, a powerful dragon, or a annoying bureaucrat. Foes typically use Monster or Minion stats. Any of the other characters can become a foe and a foe can be upgraded in status. Players will have a variety of foes available to use called a foe pool. They may re-skin, reuse, or bring back foes as they choose. For example, a player may have an orc barbarian they use for battle and later say he is a hobgoblin in later battle. Players should keep the “spirit” of the narrative regarding foes, especially if its a reoccurring villain or minion. (i.e. if the heroes chopped off the hands of the foe, the player should have a good narrative of how the foe comes back, either as an undead creature, clone, temporal echo, or fitted with artificial limbs).
Players are responsible for using the game mechanics to describe how their character(s) look, act and react in the game/story. The more important the characters, the more information should be recorded. The level of the characters can be any and players may utilize them however they wish provided they meet the guidelines on challenges. Players are responsible for designing their character within the confines of the mechanics. A players should only build a character he understands and can run. The Game Engineer and other players are not responsible for another players character, including calculating modifiers or explaining powers.
Players may wish to have characters ranging in various levels. If they do not have a character in the desire level of the Alpha Director they may use companion or grunt stats. They may even choose to play the “NPCs” of the game if they wish. However, at time the narrative may not allow for such variety and the player should consider playing a single being. Players should have at least a 5th level and 10th level character available to allow play in a variety of stories from 1st to 15th level. New player that join the game are allowed a one maximum level character equal to the highest level player character in the group, so they may participate.
Companions and Minions Rules: (Proposal) Companions and Grunts follow stat rules for companions and minion rules. Companions have 2 healing surges, monsters have 1, and minions have no healing surges. While Grunts and Companions are limited in power, they do gain the benefits of better defense and attack roles than their PC counter parts. They also provide an opportunity to create characters that are not of the normal variety like animals, dragons, angels, and demons.
Calculating a Grunt as a PC for challenges (Proposal) When a grunt is introduced into challenges, it is consider 1/4 of XP when determining challenges or 1/4 level. A Player may choose to play multiple grunts (minions).
Maximum Hero, Grunt, and Companion Levels (Proposal) Players may create any level character at or below his highest level character.
Maximum Foe Level(Proposal): Players may create a foe that is up to five level higher than his highest level character.
Exarch (Proposal): At times, a player may wants a character of great power or who wields power through forces such as an army or godly divine powers (i.e a King or God). Such a character may play a part in story but is not intended to be challenged (yet). Such a character should not be placed in a Deus ex machina role in the narrative but rather an interesting environmental force that challenges the characters in the story through other means, directly or indirectly. For example, Tiamat plays an important role in the Redhand Army but she is not a character who personally challenges the heroes. Instead, her agents do that work. However, the players may want to expand the story to include her and other gods political conflict and how it effects the mortal realm. In the player plays one of his characters who is beyond the average party level, he might consider designating an the character as an Exarc, i.e not expecting them to be interacting in the adventure but rather to aid the story.
Playing Multiple Characters
Players have the option of playing Multiple characters as need to tell the story. In each case, all characters in the story are play by some player. Occasionally, these other characters are temporary in nature, required for role-play but not in critical sub games such as combat or a skill challenge.
1) Once a player creates a character, they are his or hers to control unless they wish to give them up. In most cases, the temporary characters change hands frequently to move the story (and future stories) along.
2) The Alpha has the privilege of taking the role of grunts in the game that flesh out the story such as the local bartender or the blacksmith in town. For example, the party goes to meet the old thief Garrick because he is the only person to have escaped Iron Gorge Prison. Patrick plays Garrick and interacts with the other players, telling of his escape.
3) Ideally, when a player needs to interact with another character in the story, someone else runs that character. For example, if Jackie’s character Remial needs to speak to the High priest of Denovar, Patrick plays that character. If Patrick’s character Lady Shasta was to speak to the priest, someone else would take the role. (However if the High Priest was actually a character of Patrick’s, then Jackie would need permission to use the character or create a different character the players need to interact with, role-playing that the High priest was busy.)
4) It is recommended that players limit to the amount of players they can handle as to not upset the average level of the party. It becomes a very boring game if one player brings several heroes to the game and everyone waits for their combat turns or they dominate the whole game with their actions. Using multiple characters to garner some advantage over other players would be consider a breach of the social contract.
5) Players may choose to play a minion, which count as 1/4 level. They may run it as single characters or play as a group of minions to represent soldiers, men at arms, a pack of wolves, or a group of thugs.
Characters that die in an adventure as result of the mechanics stay dead (i.e. negative their bloody in hit points). Any character brought back alive outside of the mechanics is consider a new character (i.e. not by a Raise Dead ritual or similar game mechanic). Players have the right to kill their characters, heroically or tragically. Minions die as the result of losing their 1 hit point. Monsters and companions die when reduced to 0 hit points, even if they have healing surges.
During play, if a players character(s) die, they may bring in new characters through the story telling. However, it cannot be the same character. Even if the player creates a ghost of the character, it is consider a new character. If the old character manages to be brought back to life within the story session, they may continue with that character.
A player may find that the design of his character is flawed due to errors in calculation or violating the parameters of the game or mechanics. In that case, the Game Engineer will ask the character to be rejected, the Under the Chairperson, the players will vote on the ejection. If the result is a tie, the Referee will make the final decision. A player will then need to introduced a different character, still following the parameters setup by the Alpha Director (i.e. the level).