The Harrow Character Generation: Attribute Generation Through Fortune-Telling


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Str 15: The Avalanche
Dex 10: The Hidden Truth
Con 13/14: The Mute Hag
Int 15: The Betrayal
Wis 14/13: The Bear
Cha 13: The Vision
I used the "Standard Campaign" method. With this setup I'd probably go for a magus or alchemist.

*When I got to the buying part, I had 4 tokens on both Con and Wis by the time I got to them. So Whichever is supposed to be bought first would be the 13 and the other the 14. In this case, I went with order of resolution ie starting clockwise from cha.

Nature: The Rakshasa
Spirit: The Crows
Body: The Locksmith
Mind: The Waxworks
Nurture: The Empty Throne

I'll work on putting these together as a reading and get back to this thread with it.


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On a side note, since there's 54 cards in the harrow deck I'd be interested to see a campaign start with 4 characters getting their spreads drawn from the same shuffle in a row, so that no player can have the same card. If there's a 5th character, use the last 10 cards and replace one random card in the spread with 1 random card from the other 44 shuffled back together.


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

Str 15: The Avalanche

Dex 10: The Hidden Truth
Con 13/14: The Mute Hag
Int 15: The Betrayal
Wis 14/13: The Bear
Cha 13: The Vision
I used the "Standard Campaign" method. With this setup I'd probably go for a magus or alchemist.

*When I got to the buying part, I had 4 tokens on both Con and Wis by the time I got to them. So Whichever is supposed to be bought first would be the 13 and the other the 14. In this case, I went with order of resolution ie starting clockwise from cha.

Nature: The Rakshasa
Spirit: The Crows
Body: The Locksmith
Mind: The Waxworks
Nurture: The Empty Throne

I'll work on putting these together as a reading and get back to this thread with it.

Wow, that's a whole lotta' Evil cards in that spread. And one of the only Good ones is "The Empty Throne" in your Nurture. That... tells a hell of a story right there. Looking forward to reading your reading ;)


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I got six Evil cards, four Neutral cards, and only two Good cards. It's reflected in the concept I produced. :P


Gulthor wrote:
Wow, that's a whole lotta' Evil cards in that spread. And one of the only Good ones is "The Empty Throne" in your Nurture. That... tells a hell of a story right there. Looking forward to reading your reading ;)

Ask and ye shall receive a boot to the head.

Forewarning, I'm gonna type this up basically as I think it going through the positions. Under the spoilers for length.

Spoiler:

Totals for alignments: 2 Good, 3 Neutral, 6 Evil; 5 Lawful, 4 Neutral, 2 Chaotic. This character is Lawful Evil, possibly edging on Neutral Evil
Totals for suits: 1 Str, 3 Dex, 1 Con, 3 Int, 1 Wis, 2 Cha. Int and Dex form the two biggest influences in her life. But, as Dex ends up her worst score, these are most likely negative influences.
Nature: The Rakshasa - Appropriately, we get the Lawful Evil Intelligence card in the nature slot. This character seeks to be the master of her domain, whatever she defines that as. It could be her own personal power, a location, organization, or even the world.

Spirit: The Crows - Violence and/or Theft of something precious to her shaped her outlook, and likely her desire for control.

Body: The Locksmith - This represents her use of spellbook/alchemy, seeing it as the key to unlocking her potential and thus mastering her self.

Mind: The Waxworks - A place where the body is restricted but the mind runs free. I sense some sort of early life of sickness or imprisonment that left her mind to wander and begin acting upon the curiosities of the arcane.

Nurture: The Empty Throne - A major loss. Relates back to The Crows. To me this says a recent loss of a mentor to violence.

Strength: Avalanche - Some sort of disaster that she could not avoid. Whatever it was, she found herself devoting her time to the physical. Perhaps as a way to ensure it never happened again, perhaps as a way to take her mind off the event.

Dexterity: The Hidden Truth - A secret being revealed to one's detriment. This left her somewhat clumsy, or slow to react. Combining this with the Waxworks and Avalanche I envision a youth being forced or sold to toil after being caught eavesdropping on something she was not meant to.

Constitution: The Mute Hag - Another card that points to secrets, and likely leads to toil as punishment.

Intelligence: The Betrayal - An interesting one that gives more shape to her past events. It seems she killed her mentor, or possibly master, for keeping secrets from her. She took that person's research for her own, vowing to learn everything and more.

Wisdom: The Bear - A powerful force that lashes out when others think they have it contained. Once again this points to The Betrayal and the Mute Hag, when she first figured out the lies being told to her.

Charisma: The Vision - Arcane knowledge, but also a brush with madness. Herein may be the reason for her act of violence. A life of servitude, with wandering mind and body made tough but slow from drudgery, leaves one entertaining dark fantasies and losing touch with reality. Until in one moment it all comes together.


Looking over all these, I am seeing a young girl living a life of toil under a cruel master; an arcane caster of some sort. But her mind was sharp, and prone to think, wander, and learn. After years of being fed promises of earning a higher station, or even apprenticeship, she began to doubt. She began to desire to be her own person. She earned the master's trust, secretly eavesdropping on any spellcasting or rituals she could. And when the time was right, she ended him and fled with whatever she could carry, including an eldritch tome. Did she feel guilt over what she had done? Horror? Pride? Indifference? I think the answer would be satisfaction, for the first time being the one in control over her life.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I got six Evil cards, four Neutral cards, and only two Good cards. It's reflected in the concept I produced. :P

Oh hey, I missed your spoiler.

Wowza, again, that's a whole lotta' evil.


Well, a three-way tie for highest number of tokens, so... 1d3 ⇒ 11d2 ⇒ 1

Str 13, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 11

Low-Power again, since I ran this reading for fun when I was tired and I didn't have the energy to sort around too many tokens.

Spoiler:
Nature: The Dance (LG; complicated framework that requires the cooperation of all to avoid collapse)
Spirit: The Tangled Briar (LE; a historical figure or object that greatly impacts the character)
Body: The Queen Mother (LE; "personification of knowledge, who is fond of the powerless, the underclass, and those who will show her obeisance")
Mind: The Juggler (CG; "destiny, deities, and those who play with the fates of others")
Nurture: The Winged Serpent (LG; "bridge of understanding between the towers of knowledge and judgement")
Wisdom: The Brass Dwarf (LN; stole from Charisma; "represents a creature invulnerable to a current threat")
Charisma: The Fiend (LE; stole from Strength and Int; "a devil who devours the masses of the innocent, and can represent the deaths of many in a disaster")
Constitution: The Courtesan (CN; stole from Strength; "political intrigue and the superficiality of social niceties")
Dexterity: The Hidden Truth (LG; gave only 1 to Wisdom; discovery of greater truth within)
Strength: The Rabbit Prince (CN; stole 2 from Wisdom; "represents the capriciousness of battle, and his broken sword indicates that defeat can come to anyone. The card sometimes represents younger members of royal or noble houses")
Intelligence: The Demon's Lantern (CE; stole from Charisma; "an impossible situation of traps, mind tricks, and sleight of hand")

Aaaand Paizo just ate my post when I was halfway done with the backstory. F##@ it. Someone else can interpret this however they like.

Community & Digital Content Director

Removed a post. Linking to illegal downloads of copyrighted material isn't OK.


What happens when you get anarchists in both nature and nurture?


Nurture wrote:
If the card referred back to is also a Traditionalist or Anarchist, it indicates a character that has taken control of their own destiny, and the player may select their character’s starting point.


Alrighty, went ahead and generated 5 characters off the same shuffle. Gonna leave each set under spoilers for length so anyone can come in and try to do a reading.

#1: Str 12, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 15
Law 2, Neutral 4, Chaos 5, Good 3, Neutral 4, Evil 4

Verdict: CN, go for a Wis or Cha SAD build:

Nature: The Vision
Spirit: The Uprising
Body: The Marriage
Mind: The Midwife
Nurture: The Desert
Str: The Juggler
Dex: The Demon's Lantern
Con: The Beating
Int: The Fiend
Wis: The Betrayal
Cha: The Peacock

#2: Str 10, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 15, Wis 15, Cha 8
Law 3, Neutral 6, Chaos 2, Good 5, Neutral 3, Evil 3
Verdict: NG Archer, Alchemist, or Dex Magus:

Nature: The Locksmith
Spirit: The Foreign Trader
Body: The Sickness
Mind: The Owl
Nurture: The Cricket
Str: The Paladin
Dex: The Lost
Con: The Trumpet
Int: The Survivor
Wis: The Mute Hag
Cha: The Big Sky

#3: Str 13, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 15, Wis 15, Cha 14
Law 3, Neutral 1, Chaos 6, Good 4, Neutral 4, Evil 3
Verdict: CG Cleric:

Nature: The Winged Serpent
Spirit: The Carnival
Body: The Keep
Mind: The Waxworks
Nurture: The Hidden Truth
Str: The Snakebite
Dex: The Bear
Con: The Inquisitor
Int: The Publican
Wis: The Cyclone
Cha: The Courtesan

#4: Str 15, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 14, Wis 8, Cha 14
Law 3, Neutral 4, Chaos 4, Good 2, Neutral 5, Evil 4
Verdict:CN Human or NN Dwarf Barbarian:

Nature: The Mountain Man
Spirit: The Unicorn
Body: The Forge
Mind: The Twin
Nurture: The Rabbit Prince
Str: The Theater
Dex: The Liar
Con: The Crows
Int: The Eclipse
Wis: The Queen Mother
Cha: The Idiot

Ringer: Str 13, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 16, Wis 13, Cha 14
Law 8, Neutral 2, Chaos 1, Good 4, Neutral 3, Evil 4
Verdict: LN Wizard:

Nature: The Tyrant
Spirit: The Tangled Briar
Body: The Joke
Mind: The Teamster
Nurture: The Wanderer
Str: The Rakshasa
Dex: The Marriage
Con: The Empty Throne
Int: The Avalanche
Wis: The Dance
Cha: The Brass Dwarf
*Dex was randomly chosen as the slot to fill in, The marriage was shuffled up from the rest of the readings


I appreciate you sharing these :)

Pretty neat!

I could see #1 as a good cleric, shaman, or oracle candidate.

#2 has a ton of great options as you pointed out.

#3 is pretty similar to #1 overall.

#4 has me looking at paladin or bloodrager - on the paladin side, an oradin looks particularly enticing (half-elf oradins can easily afford to tank their Wisdom between two favored Will classes, their +2 Will racial trait, and Divine Grace.)

#5 is very well-rounded and could fit a lot of roles, but that 16 Int definitely pushes a wizard.

So these were generated off of the "recommended default" 37 tokens for a randomized 25 point buy, and again just seem to demonstrate very nicely why I recommend this method for those accustomed to 20 point buy. *Perfectly* playable arrays, but not optimized and out of the player's hands.

A player given 20 points is going to generate a more optimized array for the character they have in mind, so that 5-point buffer strikes me as really important, particularly considering that a 15 is kind of the expected pre-racial high stat.

Glad you're enjoying it, Darigaaz - I hope the rest of your group is down for giving it a try in one of your campaigns.


I forgot to mention, with #4 I made the starting point Str since by that point there weren't any decent Str arrays. Good thing I did, several tokens got stolen from str along the way.

Owner - Gator Games & Hobby

Ooooh.... dotting


Dot.

Sounds like a really fun way to create a character!


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Thank you for all your hard work Gulthor. I have been having a lot of fun with this. One of my favorite things about Dungeons and Dragons has always been to watch my characters grow as the game takes on a life of its own.

I decided to use 20 points and make a character for Pathfinder Society.

Falster Heart of Daggers – LN Wizard:

Nature - NE tome "Idiot"

Falster is by nature a greedy man.

Spirit - NE crown "Betrayal"

He is selfish and at his core, not a good person.

Body - NG shield "Survivor"

Here we find has first redeeming quality, he is able to succeed when others would expect him to fail.

Mind - LN crown "Marriage"

Falster is cool, calm, and always in control.

Nurture - LE tome "Rakshasa"

He has mastered his mind and controls his emotions.

I interpret the above cards at the heart of the reading as representing the inner influences that shape a character – his personality. Conversely, the peripheral cards represent the outer influences that shaped the character – his history.

Intelligence 15 - NE star "Mute hag"

Look at that haunting face. A woman of ill intent, the leader of a dark cult, recognized Falster’s talents and took him under her wing.

Wisdom 12 - CE key "Demons lantern"

It was a trap! Falster suffered under the crone’s care as the cult tried to bend his will and use him to increase their own power.

Charisma 14 - CE tome "Snakebite"

Eventually it was revealed that he was being groomed by the cult as a powerful sacrifice to their dark gods.

Constitution 10 - CE star "Lost"

Falster survived but he emerged from those dark times empty and emotionless.

Dexterity 15 - NE hammer "Beating"

To this day he still feels ill at ease, and the memories haunt him mercilessly.

Strength 9 - LG hammer "Paladin"

Falster may be weak in body but he withstood a torment that would drive most men to madness.

I really have been having fun playing around with this system. I like how it eliminates dump scores, which are a personal pet peeve of mine and is something I always look for in ability score generation methods. However, I would like to make more specific characters using the system. Your suggestion to arrange the scores as you wish after a reading is a good solution and simple, but you do lose some of the connection between the cards and the scores that way.

Over the past week I have adapted your method so I can use it to generate more specific characters. As a result, a reading of the cards is more like an exciting game of solitaire where the player tries to guide the cards into giving them the character they want. The player is given an amount of control which they use to shore up some ability scores while trying to protect others from the felicitudes of the cards.

This adapted method gives the player some control over where the tokens are placed. However, paradoxically, it encourages them to follow the cards in order to gain more control.

Adapted Method:
First deal all eleven cards face down, they will be revealed in order as the reading progresses. Next place tokens on Nature, Spirit, and Nurture as normal. Then place the ability card tokens as normal except set 1 of the tokens to the side of each card. These 6 tokens are called the Lots and they have the potential to be freed from their particular ability to be placed as a player wishes at the end of the reading. As the reading progresses the player will have control over where the Spirit and Nurture tokens are placed but not the Nature tokens—a character’s Nature is out of their control.

To begin, flip over the Nature card and award the tokens there as normal. Next, reveal the Spirit card. The tokens there must be evenly divided among three Ability cards of the player's choice. Here is the player's first chance to free up some of the Lots. If their choice matches one of the abilities indicated by the Spirit card they can liberate the associated Lot token and set it aside to be placed as they wish at the end of the reading. the player can free up to 3 of the Lots this way.

Progressing as normal flip over the Body and Mind cards and distribute their tokens as indicated. The tokens on these cards originate from the character’s Nature so they are out of the character’s control. Next reveal the Nurture card. The tokens there can be placed as the player chooses on any of the Ability cards. However, if the player places all of the tokens on the ability indicated by a reading of the Nurture card then they can liberate any 3 remaining Lots of their choice and set them aside. At this time, any remaining Lots that were not liberated are placed on their associated Ability card.

Finally, reveal all of the Ability cards and progress with the reading as normal. Afterward, the player may place any freed Lots onto Ability cards as they wish then tally up the results.


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Lakesidefantasy wrote:

First deal all eleven cards face down, they will be revealed in order as the reading progresses. Next place tokens on Nature, Spirit, and Nurture as normal. Then place the ability card tokens as normal except set 1 of the tokens to the side of each card. These 6 tokens are called the Lots and they have the potential to be freed from their particular ability to be placed as a player wishes at the end of the reading. As the reading progresses the player will have control over where the Spirit and Nurture tokens are placed but not the Nature tokens—a character’s Nature is out of their control.

To begin, flip over the Nature card and award the tokens there as normal. Next, reveal the Spirit card. The tokens there must be evenly divided among three Ability cards of the player's choice. Here is the player's first chance to free up some of the Lots. If their choice matches one of the abilities indicated by the Spirit card they can liberate the associated Lot token and set it aside to be placed as they wish at the end of the reading. the player can free up to 3 of the Lots this way.
Progressing as normal flip over the Body and Mind cards and distribute their tokens as indicated. The tokens on these cards originate from the character’s Nature so they are out of the character’s control. Next reveal the Nurture card. The tokens there can be placed as the player chooses on any of the Ability cards. However, if the player places all of the tokens on the ability indicated by a reading of the Nurture card then they can liberate any 3 remaining Lots of their choice and set them aside. At this time, any remaining Lots that were not liberated are placed on their associated Ability card.
Finally, reveal all of the Ability cards and progress with the reading as normal. Afterward, the player may place any freed Lots onto Ability cards as they wish then tally up the results.

Wow! I love the alternate method you came up with, and I think it's perfectly in-flavor with the concept of this method (I like it significantly more than any of the alternate methods I listed, which were just copy/pasted from the original article.)

I particularly love how your variant has you revealing the cards one-by-one, which is more evocative of a Tarot reading. Needing to respond at each step while also fully focusing on that *one* card is really fantastic, and it creates this fascinating sense of trying to pull and play at the strings of fate - whether it's following the current or fighting against it.

With your permission, I'd love to include this in the document. It makes the three generic variants look like pale shadows in comparison.

Thank you for sharing this! I'm really looking forward to trying it out myself!


Dot.

This is relevant to my interests.


Thanks. I'm glad you like it. Please add it to the document.


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I went and ordered the deck. Merry Christmas to me!


Just got my deck tonight. I'll be taking a few runs at builds with it later. I'm hoping at least one works for the concept I wanted the deck for to begin with (Vigilante (Cabalist) 2/Magus (Card Caster, Hexcrafter) X.)

Grand Lodge

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I ran a couple of sets off using this method and found that I really like it. I'm not sure if I would get buy in from the guys I normally play with, but I will definitely have it as an option when we discuss character generation when I start my next campaign.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

#1: Str 16, Dex 13, Con 8, Int 16, Wis 11, Cha 13
Law 4, Neutral 4, Chaos 3, Good 5, Neutral 3, Evil 3

LG Half-Elf alchemist(ragechemist):

Nature: Winged Serpent
Spirit: Beating
Body: Marriage
Mind: Avalanche
Nurture: Paladin

Str: Mute Hag
Dex: Juggler
Con: Big SKy
Int: Mountain Man
Wis: Theater
Cha: Foreign Trader

This was a tough draw. The Big Sky on Constitution left it empty. Low con and Marriage in the body suggested a half-elf. The avalanche, a card of unthinking destruction, in the mind seems opposed by the Winged Serpent in Nature, but I think an alchemist can marry the two aspects.


KingOfAnything wrote:

#1: Str 16, Dex 13, Con 8, Int 16, Wis 11, Cha 13

Law 4, Neutral 4, Chaos 3, Good 5, Neutral 3, Evil 3

** spoiler omitted **

This was a tough draw. The Big Sky on Constitution left it empty. Low con and Marriage in the body suggested a half-elf. The avalanche, a card of unthinking destruction, in the mind seems opposed by the Winged Serpent in Nature, but I think an alchemist can marry the two aspects.

Wow, that's an enticing set, with the obvious setback of Con. I think Alchemist is a great choice, here. I'm thinking things like Lingering Spirit, Preserve Organs, Mummification, obviously using Greater Mutagen to boost Con, probably going Vivisectionist/Beastmorph - a flanker means that your reliance on your allies to get your extra damage in also means that you're not trying to go in on an enemy alone. Toughness and using FCB to get hit points up.

I'd go Lizardfolk if it was allowed: racial Con boost, natural armor bonus for a slight bump to defenses, and native natural attacks to free up Feral Mutagen to take more defensive discoveries instead (bit of a damage hit, but worth it, imo.)

Given the Winged Serpent as Nature, going Beastmorph to get wings as a lizard also seems very thematically appropriate :)


The more I think of this the more it reminds me of the character Generation from Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen and Person of the Lordly Caliber; which in my humble opinion is awesome.

Still haven't had a chance to try it yet, but thanks for the continued support!


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
On a side note, since there's 54 cards in the harrow deck I'd be interested to see a campaign start with 4 characters getting their spreads drawn from the same shuffle in a row, so that no player can have the same card. If there's a 5th character, use the last 10 cards and replace one random card in the spread with 1 random card from the other 44 shuffled back together.

I like this idea!

I have an idea for this - in the Harrow Handbook, there are a number of supposed "lost harrow cards" Including one of those could prove interesting.

Have you thought of stats for those cards Gulthor?

Lakesidefantasy had some really interesting twists on this - It reflects some of my notes I took while reading through and thinking about the 3DA version of this - the idea that while this is fun, a player may want a little more influence into this. I thought that a simple way to to that would be to use the normal point generation system, but start 3 stats at 7 and 3 stats at 8 (player's choice) then award the player the "extra 6 points to distribute as they wish at the end.


Good to see some free Harrow Chargen stuff out there for 2016. ;)


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Thanks! Glad you like it!

(Sorry for the slowdown on getting out the excel sheet and updating the article, everyone. Holidays and all. I may have a chance to take a crack at it tomorrow.)

Grand Lodge

So after doing around 20 or so tests with the 30 point build setup, I find that my only complaint with this system is that the points always end up pretty evenly spread out. I've seen a lot of stat spreads that end up being all 13 to 15 and with the occasional 10-16 spread.

To try to add more variety I retooled things to move points from the ability cards to the starting pools for Nature, Spirit and Nurture. So for the 30 point buy version I made it 2 points on each ability, 15 on Nature, 10 on spirit and 5 on nurture. I ran about 10 sets and I ended up getting results that tended to range from 9 to 17 (although 9s and 17s are still pretty rare) So far this suits me pretty well, and is likely to appeal to the people I play with a bit more.

I will probably try going all the way and putting all the tokens on Nature(21), Spirit(14) and Nurture(7) to see what sort of results I get, but that is more out of curiosity than any real desire to adjust things more.


dwayne germaine wrote:
So after doing around 20 or so tests with the 30 point build setup, I find that my only complaint with this system is that the points always end up pretty evenly spread out. I've seen a lot of stat spreads that end up being all 13 to 15 and with the occasional 10-16 spread.

I agree. I've drawn as many 20-point readings and they tend to have a couple of 15s and 11s--16s aren't rare but they're uncommon. When I first tried this method I got an 18 in strength.

I started allowing tokens to be taken and given even if the card had none, and tracking the negative result to get scores below 10. It helped a bit but I understand that's not everybody's cup of tea*.

I will try moving tokens from the outer cards to the inner cards.

*Now I'm inspired to develop a tea leaf reading character generation method.


I helped generate two characters just a few moments ago for an upcoming adventure path campaign involving amnesia, and these were their results!

1st character:
Str- 13
Dex- 14
Con- 13
Int- 14
Wis- 13
Cha- 14

They got mostly LN cards, and he is probably going to be a tiefling alchemist.

2nd character:
Str- 15
Dex- 15
Con- 13
Int- 13
Wis- 13
Cha- 13

They go very strongly CG cards, and he is unsure what he wants because with the right race choices, he can be just about any martial he wants, and can even be a functional divine caster (like a druid or cleric)

I have two more characters to help generate, so it'll be interesting to see what comes of this! Overall, I think it was way more entertaining than the standard generation method, so I am glad I have a campaign that suitably works with it.


Glad you enjoyed it! Our group is planning on using it for Strange Aeons due to the amnesia angle, too :)

Those arrays strike me as a bit odd, though - I'm seeing 24 points in one and 26 points in another, unless I'm missing something.

Spoiler:
Three 13's would be 9 points, three 14's would be 15 points, so 24 total; versus two 15's at 14 points plus four 13's for 12 points for 26 total.
They're also oddly average (which isn't a bad thing, and is bound to happen) compared to a lot of the arrays that I've seen and that others have shared.

Which method did you end up using?


dwayne germaine wrote:

So after doing around 20 or so tests with the 30 point build setup, I find that my only complaint with this system is that the points always end up pretty evenly spread out. I've seen a lot of stat spreads that end up being all 13 to 15 and with the occasional 10-16 spread.

To try to add more variety I retooled things to move points from the ability cards to the starting pools for Nature, Spirit and Nurture. So for the 30 point buy version I made it 2 points on each ability, 15 on Nature, 10 on spirit and 5 on nurture. I ran about 10 sets and I ended up getting results that tended to range from 9 to 17 (although 9s and 17s are still pretty rare) So far this suits me pretty well, and is likely to appeal to the people I play with a bit more.

I will probably try going all the way and putting all the tokens on Nature(21), Spirit(14) and Nurture(7) to see what sort of results I get, but that is more out of curiosity than any real desire to adjust things more.

I think one of the general strengths of the system, once you get used to it, is how easy it ends up being to customize (and I'm still in love with Lakeside's alternate method to allow the player a bit more control over the reading.)

I based my baseline "recommedations" largely just on what was in the original article, but I tried to provide a bit of variation in the alternate methods sidebar that would get people thinking.

I'm actually all for a setup where everything goes on to Nature, Spirit, and Nurture, and really allowing the cards to dictate the flow of the tokens.

Something I mean to do is to try doing various readings with the same spread, but changing where tokens start/how many points I use/whether I start abilities at 7 or 8, etc, and see what the final results end up looking like. They should be really similar, but I'm interested in which methods would create the biggest swings.

Unfortunately, work has been absolute chaos lately (been putting in a lot of long hours), and I haven't had the time to devote to this like I did when I originally put the article together, which is a bit of a source of frustration for me. I shouldn't complain about the OT, though, and I swear I'll get back to updating as soon as I have the time.


the Lorax wrote:

I have an idea for this - in the Harrow Handbook, there are a number of supposed "lost harrow cards" Including one of those could prove interesting.

Have you thought of stats for those cards Gulthor?

Oh, hey Lorax - I somehow missed this.

I definitely haven't given any thought to making stats for any additional Harrow cards; I was pretty focused on just the base set that I was aware of, particularly because I love the aspect of using the physical deck.

That said, per my "Under the Hood" breakdown, there are 6 missing sets of possible Spirit configurations that didn't make a third appearance (since 20 doesn't divide evenly into 54), so I suppose I'd assign those missing sets to the missing cards; you could even call them "The Missing", in-theme with The Traitors, Purists, etc.

Unfortunately, I accidentally tossed my notes that had the breakdowns with which six sets didn't get repeated a third time, so you'd have to go through the list and count up the various Spirit combinations to find out which six they were :/

Grand Lodge

Gulthor wrote:


I think one of the general strengths of the system, once you get used to it, is how easy it ends up being to customize (and I'm still in love with Lakeside's alternate method to allow the player a bit more control over the reading.)

Yeah, once I set my mind on adjusting how many tokens started where, it was really easy to figure out how many would be on each of the Nature/Spirit/Nurture cards.


This looks really neat! I'm going to have to try it at some point, and see what happens. I'll post again if I do.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hmmmmm, I may need to suggest this to my players for the Crimson Throne game I'm going to be running...


Okay! Got my cards at last, so lets make a character that I'll never play! I'm going to do this as the guide suggests.

Nature- The Sickness
Spirit- The Joke
Body- The Rabbit Prince
Mind- The Snakebite
Nurture-The Beating
STR- The Mountain Man
DEX- The Midwife
CON- The Queen Mother
INT- The Winged Serpent
WIS- The Wanderer
CHA- The Avalanch

So if I'm not mistaken...

STR-15
DEX-13
CON-11
INT-11
WIS-08
CHA-14

Brawny and personable. Sort of a village idiot as people can trick him, but he just might charm them right back.

This is pretty interesting, I like the concept a great deal.


finally sat down and knocked out a few turns. did them all under the heroic set, or whatever the higher point array way is called.

Spoiler:
Char 1:
Nature: Theatre (NG) Spirit: Keep (NG) Body/Mind: Fiend (LE)/Rabbit Prince (CN) Nuture: Uprising (CN)
Abilities:

start with CHA - CHA: Dance (LG), CON: Hidden Truth (LG), DEX: Queen Mother (LN), STR: The Beating (NE), INT: Foreign Trader (N), WIS: Eclipse (LE)

Alignment totals: 5 Lawful 2 Chaotic 4 Neutral; 4 Good 3 Evil 4 Neutral
Stat totals: STR 16 DEX 13 CON 13 INT 15 WIS 15 CHA 17
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------
Char 2:
Nature: Demons Lantern (CE) Spirit: Courtesan (CN) Body/Mind: Theatre (NG)/Hidden Truth (LG) Nurture: Vision (CN)
Abilities: Start with: WIS - WIS : Empty Throne (LG), CHA: Desert (CG), CON: Marriage (LN,) DEX: Cricket (NG), STR: Crows (NE), INT: Joke (CG)

Alignment totals: 5 Chaotic 3 Lawful 3 Neutral; 2 Evil 3 Neutral 6 Good
Stat totals: STR 16 DEX 15 CON 13 INT 16 WIS 16 CHA 14
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------
Char 3:
Nature: Big Sky (CG) Spirit: Theatre (NG) Body/Mind: Juggler (CG)/Mute Hag (NE) Nurture: Midwife (NG)
Abilities: Start with CHA - CHA: Owl (N), CON: Dance (LG), DEX: Queen Mother (LN), STR: Lost (CE), INT: Uprising (CN), WIS: Paladin (LG)

Alignment totals: 4 Chaotic 4 Neutral 3 Lawful; 6 Good 2 Evil 3 Neutral
Stat totals: STR 15 DEX 15 CON 14 INT 13 WIS 15 CHA 17
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------
Char 4:
Nature: Empty Throne (LG) Spirit: Keep (NG) Body/Mind: Fiend (LE)/Desert (CG) Nurture: Wanderer (NG)
Abilities: Start with INT - INT: Courtesan (CN), WIS: Survivor (NG), CHA: Idiot (NE), CON: Foreign Trader (N), DEX: Unicorn (CG), STR: Rabbit Prince (CN)

Alignment totals: 2 Lawful 5 Neutral 4 Chaotic; 6 Good 2 Evil 3 Neutral
Stat totals: STR 16 DEX 11 CON 15 INT 15 WIS 15 CHA 16

Not sure what direction to take any of them, but im pretty sure array 4 is almost demanding a Paladin.


Hey Gulthor. Is your schedule still super insane? I was wondering if you are still planning on adding that alternate method Lakesidefantasy wrote up?


So my group did this tonight (I ended up keeping an old character that was 18 point buy, as the harrow result that was closest to the build I wanted did me no good: 4 points of charisma--as a charisma caster--for 2 points of dex, 4 points of int, and 4 points in wis). Created some interesting results generally, though, and I will be utilizing the cards to flesh out the character's backstory more fully.

But I realized that I had a programming project that could make use of this, to a degree. I've got a game I'm working on that generates procedural quests for NPC heroes to go on adventures.

Only thing is, my NPCs only have four* stats, not six. Any suggestions on alterations I might make? At the moment I'd be tossing out two whole suits, but that still leaves the "take/give from 4/5-away" cards.

*STR, DEX, INT, CHA. HP is fixed at 100, and their only other resource (besides equipment, which is mostly optional) is time (quests have deadlines). There's no decision making involved in the system, it's just a series of raw ability checks to determine outcome of generic obstacles. "decypher a map" "explore a town" "hike a mountain path" and so on.


pulseoptional wrote:

finally sat down and knocked out a few turns. did them all under the heroic set, or whatever the higher point array way is called.

** spoiler omitted **...

Whoops; you forgot to buy your stats up to 10 first from 8, so they'd be quite a bit lower (it should be equivalent of 30 point buy, suitable for groups accustomed to using 25.)

Hey Bishop; sorry about that - I work in the steel industry, and it's always bonkers right at the beginning of the year. I really need to get on it, though.

In other news, though, I should actually be getting my deck sometime this week, so I've been looking forward to sharing some readings and results with everyone (at which point I'll *make* time to getting around to adding in lakeside's version if I haven't already.)


Draco18s wrote:

So my group did this tonight (I ended up keeping an old character that was 18 point buy, as the harrow result that was closest to the build I wanted did me no good: 4 points of charisma--as a charisma caster--for 2 points of dex, 4 points of int, and 4 points in wis). Created some interesting results generally, though, and I will be utilizing the cards to flesh out the character's backstory more fully.

But I realized that I had a programming project that could make use of this, to a degree. I've got a game I'm working on that generates procedural quests for NPC heroes to go on adventures.

Only thing is, my NPCs only have four* stats, not six. Any suggestions on alterations I might make? At the moment I'd be tossing out two whole suits, but that still leaves the "take/give from 4/5-away" cards.

*STR, DEX, INT, CHA. HP is fixed at 100, and their only other resource (besides equipment, which is mostly optional) is time (quests have deadlines). There's no decision making involved in the system, it's just a series of raw ability checks to determine outcome of generic obstacles. "decypher a map" "explore a town" "hike a mountain path" and so on.

Hmm. Let me percolate on this. Would you still want to use the Harrow or some other kind of deck?


Gulthor wrote:
Hmm. Let me percolate on this. Would you still want to use the Harrow or some other kind of deck?

Sure thing.

The harrow was interesting in that it can generate some other details as well--due to the fortune telling aspect--and a friend of mine mentioned that I could generate a little tidbit of personality or backstory relatively easily. Though at the moment I don't have anywhere to display something like that.

So not a deal-breaker if it ends up being something else.


This looks exciting, and I want to give it a spin. Thank you for all your work in updating the concept.

Except...

First, I'd like a "player flexibility" option to put the "left-over" tokens where you want them. I'm suggesting that the following paragraph be added at the end of the section headed "Totals," although the wording is klutzy. (I'd love improvements to the text.) And sure, I'll try this out for myself, whether you change your doc or not.

In my copy I wrote:
For greater player flexibility, set the remaining token aside. After purchasing all 6 ability scores, place all of the “left-over” tokens on ability cards of your choice and buy up those ability scores as much as possible. All tokens must be used in the end to buy ability scores; you may not place any “left-overs” on cards such that you cannot spend them.

Second, I'm not used to a 25-pt buy. Yes, a random distribution is less powerful, but... I don't think I can evaluate it properly with the higher array, even if I end up using it. So can you give us an option for a 32-token start, with every ability score starting at 8? (You give us only a 20-token start, with abilities at 10.) I'd like to generate a character with stats that make sense to me.

Third, as a minor tweak, it would be great if you included the chart for point-buy costs. Not all of us have it memorized! :) Plus, there's that adjustment for starting with stats of 8.

{Edit out of fear of The Knife:
Maybe you can't? Could a chart of numbers provided for player convenience be copy-righted? I'm deleting my version, and will post it separately.}

{Fourth, if you go to publication -- which you should, IMO -- you ought to check your punctuation, especially with parentheses. Sometimes (like now, when you've just got a phrase or clause), you want the punctuation on the outside of the parentheses. (Sometimes, like now, what's inside is its own sentence & gets its own period inside.) I hope you understand that I'm picking this nit only because of the great content that deserves a wider showcase. Thank you again for that!}


Draco18s wrote:

But I realized that I had a programming project that could make use of this, to a degree. I've got a game I'm working on that generates procedural quests for NPC heroes to go on adventures.

Only thing is, my NPCs only have four* stats, not six. Any suggestions on alterations I might make? At the moment I'd be tossing out two whole suits, but that still leaves the "take/give from 4/5-away" cards.

*STR, DEX, INT, CHA. HP is fixed at 100, and their only other resource (besides equipment, which is mostly optional) is time (quests have deadlines). There's no decision making involved in the system, it's just a series of raw ability checks to determine outcome of generic obstacles. "decypher a map" "explore a town" "hike a mountain path" and so on.

Can I ask what purpose your program will serve? I'm just curious.

Also, I'm betting it will help to know what kinds of things your stats influence.


My chart:
I formatted this version
of the point-buy chart
for this horrible interface.

Ability ... Points ..... Points
Score .. (8 Base) .. (10 Base)
8 .............. 0 ........... n/a
9 .............. 1 ........... n/a
10 ............ 2 ............ 0
11 ............ 3 ............ 1
12 ............ 4 ............ 2
13 ............ 5 ............ 3
14 ............ 7 ............ 5
15 ............ 9 ............ 7
16 ........... 12 .......... 10
17 ........... 15 .......... 13
18 ........... 19 .......... 17


bitter lily wrote:

Can I ask what purpose your program will serve? I'm just curious.

Also, I'm betting it will help to know what kinds of things your stats influence.

Stupid little flash game of the "progression" (aka Idle or Clicker) genre. Player tries to supply heroes with Stuff so the heroes can go out and complete their "quest." Quests being anything from "build a garden" to "slay a dragon" (depending on how far along the player is, so that they actually have a hope of giving the hero what he needs).

Quests are just a series of minor challenges--think Hand of Fate, if you've seen it (or, now that I think about it, the individual cards in the PACG)--where there's some obstacle to overcome, and there's half a dozen of them (and some add more: eg. exploring a dungeon leads to a locked chest). For the most part an obstacle is "does the hero have the item that makes this easy?" and sets the initial result (from crit-fail to crit-success) followed by some number of stat checks (roll 1d20, match or lower than the hero's stat) which nudges the result up a notch (sometimes down if failure, sometimes not; sometimes there's a second check only on success, or only on failure). If the hero survives to the end, the player gets a benefit.

As an example...

Spoiler:
I have a decypher a map challenge. If the hero has an item that grants them the INTELLIGENCE, it gets applied (in this particular case it doesn't actually affect the outcome, but as the challenge is used as a starting point for quests, it causes it to display in the UI during the "player gives equipment" phase). For the most part this'll be a potion, which gets consumed.

Based on the requirements the initial result is set, in this case, it's always mixed (successful, but with a downside). Then the hero's intelligence is tested: success moves the result to SUCCESS and int is tested again. A second success moves the result to CRIT_SUCCESS. If the first test was a failure, the result moves to FAIL and the hero's int is tested a second time. A second failure moves the result to CRIT_FAIL.

Then the result is used to determine the outcome: CRIT_FAIL the task is repeated. FAIL, the hero loses time (takes them twice as long before the next challenge is resolved; basically "lose a turn" but it's more granular than that: I can add or remove as little as 1 second, and a turn is 60). MIXED just means that the challenge is resolved (no particular upside or downside, a neutral result). SUCCESS removes 30 seconds from the time-to-next challenge. CRIT_SUCCESS leads them to a treasure chest.

So different challenges have different "requirements" (including "eh, that's close..." which isn't as good, but is better than nothing) as well as different amounts, e.g. fighting a dragon want both fire resistance and cold damage. Whereas traveling an open road doesn't need anything at all (and just has a random, neutral outcome).

Anyway, the heroes right now are just four random stats and was planning on coming back and fleshing it out some more so there wasn't the "good at everything guy" possibility. I was going to do a point buy system ("random to figure out how many points, subtract from total, random for next stat...last stat gets whatever's leftover). Then I got to fiddle with this system last night and went "this is really neat, this could do what I want pretty easily" and thought I'd see if there were any ideas on trimming it to four stats rather than six. I could do it myself, and will probably have to fiddle with things anyway, but ideas are helpful.

TL;DR
Generically speaking an obstacle has 0-2 requirements with 0-2 alternatives (generally fewer).
Not having a requirement sets the initial result to FAIL, any partials are a +1, all requirements is SUCCESS (eff. +2).
Then there's 1-4 attribute checks, passing is another +1, fail may or may not be a -1.
Cap the result [crit_fail,crit_success] and determine outcome.


Draco18s, interesting. Thanks for the explanation. Can the player decide to put off a quest to go search for the best equipment to tackle it?

In terms of the attribute checks, though, what kinds of checks get used for each stat? Does Intelligence serve as Knowledges? Perception? Analytical thinking? Curiosity? Mental discipline? Ability to build things? We'll see what Gulthor has to say, but I'd think it would help to know what "Int" means for your game when applying Harrowing suits.

Also, I see you have in essence a "Good," "Neutral," and "Evil" outcome built into the game, but no apparent equivalence to the Law/Chaos axis. Don't know if it matters...

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