Templates are optional collections of starting Characteristics, Skills, Traits, Abilities, Flaws, and Complications players can add to their characters to add flavor and specialize for particular roles. Each Template follows a theme based on the character's body type, mental state, natural habitat, career, or creature type, and most of them are cost neutral, meaning they won't consume any Character Points that players have to build with. However, some Templates will permanently change a character's minimum and maximum limits on their Characteristics, so players looking to add them should do so knowing these changes will have significant impact on their long-term development.
Template Rules Edit
Every template will modify the following on the player's character sheet:
- Base Characteristics: Characters add and subtract the values stated in this field to or from the starting values of their Base Characteristics. Unless stated otherwise, these modifications don't alter the character's maximum for any characteristic.
- Skills: Few templates hand out skills directly, but many will offer players suggestions for the types of Skills their character should take to follow the flavor of their template. Unless stated otherwise, added Skill Ranks count towards the player's maximum of 5 ranks in any particular skill, even if they don't cost the player any points.
- Traits: Environmental and Job templates often come extra Traits, balanced out with a Flaw to offset the Character Point cost. Traits gained through templates do not count against a player's allowed number of Traits in a campaign using the Fixed Point System.
- Abilities: Few starting templates give out any Abilities, but most will offer suggestions for which Abilities to take so players can follow the template's flavor.
- Flaws: Flaws are usually handed out to balance the cost of any Traits provided by the Template, and they do not count against the player's allowed number of Flaws in campaigns following a Fixed Point System.
- Complications: Complications are usually included with a template to balance out Skills or Abilities handed out by templates, and they do not count against the allowed number of Complication points in campaigns following a Fixed Point System.
Unless stated otherwise, all changes made by the template are permanent and irreversible, barring circumstances in the campaign where the character might be permanently altered by the Game Master. If a Game Master allows characters to take Templates, they should consider the following:
- If the templates a character wants to take have contradictory flavor, the Game Master can, and should, bar the player from taking both. For example, a person cannot be skinny and fat at the same time, and therefore they shouldn't be allowed to take both the Overweight and Skinny templates.
- Templates can stack with each other, but multiple Templates that alter a character's Base Characteristics and their maximum values can unbalance the game. Therefore, Game Masters should consider limiting players to only 2 templates to prevent players from breaking their campaign.
Body Templates alter a character's physical appearance and change their Base Characteristics according to what activities are logical for a person with these particular body types are likely to engage in.
- Athletic: The character is in great physical condition and light on their feet, but their conditioning comes at the cost of time they could spend sharpening their mind.
- Dwarf: The character is of unusually small stature, making them more agile at the cost of physical strength.
- Giant: The character is of unusually large stature, making them clumsy but physically imposing.
- Muscular: The character spends most of their time working out and maintaining muscle mass. They're much stronger than the average character, but all that time spent working out damages the character's intelligence.
- Overweight: The character spends so much time developing their mind and will as they neglect their physical well-being, gaining fat, losing agility, and damaging their cardio-vascular system in exchange for more time studying.
- Skinny: The character is underweight. Their lack of muscle mass hurts their physical strength, and they might be insecure about their image.
Players can potentially take 2 or more Body Templates, within the following guidelines:
- The Dwarf and Giant Templates cannot be mixed, but they can be taken along with any of the other Body Templates, since all they describe are changes in height.
- The Athletic and Muscular Templates exclude each other, but they can individually be combined with the Dwarf, Giant, Overweight, and Skinny Templates
- The Overweight and Skinny Templates cannot both be applied to the same character, but they can accompany any other template.
If the Game Master chooses, they can give or take away Body Templates based on physical conditioning, such as the Athletic and Muscular Templates, based on the actions characters take during their downtime. Characters starting as Overweight can shed their excess weight and become muscular, Skinny characters can put on some pounds to gain strength, and Athletic characters can lose their conditioning if they don't work out frequently.
Creatures are products of their environments, and evolution dictates that those most specialized to their habitats have the greatest odds of survival. Environmental Templates modify the character's stats and grant them mastery over their terrain, thought these adaptations come at the cost of other abiliteis and hav etheir own downsides.
Characters can adapt to the following environments:
- Arctic: The character is adapted to cold, icy, and snowy environments. These habitats include tundras, frozen oceans, and icy forests.
- Aquatic: The character is meant to survive in underwater environments like lakes, oceans, and rivers.
- Desert: The character can survive in deserts and similarly dry habitats.
- Forest: The character was raised in forests and can move through foliage with ease.
- Plains: The character mostly lives in grasslands such as prairies, savannas, and steppes.
- Mountains: The character grew up in hills and mountainous regions.
- Urban: The character thrives in cities with dense populations, tall buildings, and complex street formations.
Characters cannot have more than one Environmental Template.
Species Templates don't just modify a character's stats or adapt them to an environment; they transform the character from a human and turn them into a different type of creature. In a traditional tabletop game like D&D, these species might include dwarves, elves, halflings, and orcs, but the available species is going to depend entirely on the Game Master's setting.
Since what species of creatures present in the Game Master's setting is entirely dependent on campaign's flavor, the developer has instead provided the following archetypal creature types likely to be present in any given fantasy setting.
- Agile Species: The species is faster and more agile than a human.
- Charismatic Species: The species has an uncanny knack for getting along with other creatures.
- Dexterous Species: The species is better at manipulating objects than the average human.
- Inventive Species: The species is smarter than the average human.
- Stout Species: The species is hardier and more resistant to pain than a typical human.
- Strong Species: The species is much stronger than the average human.
- Wise Species: The species is more observant than normal humans.
One way Game Masters can build upon these generic Species Templates is by attaching Sub-Species Templates that represent different varieties of the same creatures. An example from D&D would be the wood elf, high elf, aquatic elf, and drow subtypes. If the Game Master wants to create some subtypes for their base creatures, the developer recommends that they consider the following:
- Species Templates should not cost any Character Points to adopt. Bonuses to Base Characters should be balanced with equal penalties to other Base Characteristics, Traits should come with Flaws, and Skill bonuses should be accompanied with Skill Penalties.
- Traits, Flaws, and Complications gained through Species Templates should not apply to the maximum number of each players can take if the Game Master is running a campaign following the Fixed Point System.
- Game Masters shouldn't just create fantasy races just to have them. These creatures are going to have very different societies and relationships with humans, and as such they're best used when built around a theme. Elves in Tolkien's Middle Earth aren't just there for the sake of the writer needing a race of immortal beings that keep track of history and provide exposition about ancient evils; they're an exploration of how stagnant life would be without death to compel humanity towards progress. Drow in the Forgotten Realms show how generations of oppression build up resentment in out-groups we see as less than human, and how that cycle of hatred can turn otherwise kind people into monsters. Describing how the campaign setting's human-like inhabitants clash with each other breeds unique leads for players to purse and invest in, while making everything "they're like humans, but stronger/faster" just ignores potential stories and makes the setting feel generic.