'Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,' the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. 'Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.'

-Robert E. Howard
Beyond The Black River

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Friday, February 18, 2022

Forbidden Lands: Character Creation


I wanted to put together a character creation walkthrough to help people build their Forbidden Lands Characters.  The process is pretty straightforward, but as with all things, there are always questions about how things are actually done.  In general the process involves 12 steps, but I am going to add a step 0.

Step 0: Get an idea of your character

It is always helpful to have an idea of the kind of character you want to play.  A muscular barbarian with a long sword?  A swift forest scout? A wrinkly old wizard with a grey beard? 

Of course there are times going the random route and having a character appear in your mind is fun as well.  The basic Forbidden Lands book doesn't have a life path system, but the Legends and Adventurers book does allow for a random life path creation system.


Step 1: Who are your people, pick your Kin.

Pretty basic decision here, have a look through the book and choose your race.  Elf? Wolfkin? Human?

Each of the carious Kin will have a few things to take note of.

  • Key Attribute
  • Kin Talent
  • Typical Professions
  • Typical Names

Step 2: What do you do, pick your profession:

Your kin has some typical professions that are the most common for your people, but you can pick any you want.  Choose one that best fits your character concept.  Like Kin your profession will give you a few things to take note of.
  • Key Attributes
  • Skills
  • Typical Nicknames
Your profession is also going to give you some more information about your character.  Three of them will influence your role play of the character and the people they interact with.  These are dealt with later in the character creation process in more detail.  You are free to make up your own, or choose from the samples.
  • Pride - Step 7 of character creation
  • Dark Secret - Step 8 of character creation
  • Relationships - Step 9 of character creation
The final thing your profession will give you is your basic gear, starting gold and resources

Step 3:  How long have you been around, how old are you.

You can pick one of three categories here, the actual number is less important.  Although there is a table that can give you an idea of this.
  •  Young
  • Adult
  • Old
Age will determine how many starting attribute and skill points you begin with.

Step 4: How strong and smart are you, what are your attributes.

You have four attributes to assign points to.  Each attribute must have at least a score of 2 in it.  The maximum you can place into a score is 4.  

If you have an attribute defined as a key attribute from your kin or profession it can be elevated to a 5.  

If you are of adult age and have 14 attribute points, you place 2 points into each of the 4 attributes leaving you with 6 points to elevate your scores.  

Step 5: What do you know how to do, what are your skills.

Like attributes your age determines how many skill points you have.  Unlike attributes these all start at 0.  You can still make attempts to use them, you just gain no extra dice.  

Any of the skills listed under your profession can have up to 3 points assigned, while the others can have a maximum of 1 point placed into them.

Step 6: Why are you a beautiful and unique snowflake, choose your talents.

You start with a number of talents.
  • Kin Talent
  • A profession talent of your choice (detailed in the Talents section)
  • A number of general talents, which is again dictated by your age.
Talents all have 3 ranks of ability in them, and you normally start with a rank of 1 in any talent you posses.  You can however choose to give up a general talent to gain a rank 2 in another.  This includes professional talents.  You can use one of your general talents to achieve rank 2 in a magic talent, for example.

Step 7: PRIDE!

You have had a look at this, and perhaps chosen what your pride is, this section in the rules details how it is used mechanically

Step 8: What lies in your closet, the dark secret.

Again this is looked at previously, this section simply details how it works within the game

Step 9: Who are you to me, who am I to the, relationships matter.

Simply a quick short sentence about how you feel about the other members of the party to help guide interactions and role play

Step 10: It is a harsh world and you are a tool using kin, get your gear!

You had some gear listed under your profession, you start with that.  If presented with a choice you are required to choose basic items.  Nothing rare, nothing magical.

You are assumed to have a knapsack and waterkin.

You can use your starting coins to buy additional gear before the game starts.

Step 11: What do you look like, choose your appearance.

Pretty straightforward here.  Choose how you look. 

Step 12: What do they call you, choose your name?

Pick a name.  There are samples provided for each kin, and nicknames for each profession.  Choose one of these or make up your own. 

Final thoughts.

With that you should have a character ready to go.  I haven't dug deeply into talents, as each talent and its abilities gained with ranks are individual, but with the main book and this you should be able to create a basic character fairly easily.

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