Journey to Ki Khanga™: Creating Your Sword and Soul Roleplaying Game Characters, Part 3

In the last two posts, we have worked on our Ki Khanga™ Characters. In this post, we complete our characters.

Milton Davis and I have decided to do a contest in celebration of Ki Khanga’s release in 2015: send in your completed character with their back-story. The top five characters will be included among the Ki Khanga pre-made characters in the rulebook and the best one will be illustrated by a popular artist. You will also receive credit in the rulebook if your character is included and your character will forever become part of the Ki Khanga Universe!

If you would like to know more about the world of Ki Khanga in order to flesh out your character, I suggest you read the Anthology.

Now, let’s put the finishing touches on our character as Milton does so with his character, Kofi:

Remember, using the 150 points of Aṣe allotted to him, Milton built Kofi’s Abilities, Calculated Abilities, Skills and Talents and now has 2 points of Aṣe left to finish building his character.

Milton’s breathing finally returns to normal. “I’ll never run that far again,” he vows. He then takes another sip of coffee. It is still hot; still delicious. Milton smiles at the cup and then takes a quick peek at the TRAIT COST CHART once more:

TRAIT                        COST IN AṢE

Ability                         2 per rank

Skill                            1 per rank

Talent                          1 per Talent or Talent rank

Effect                          (base Effect cost + modifiers) x rank + flat modifiers

Defense                       2 per rank

Fighting                      10 per addl. Rank

Health                         10 per addl. Rank

Will                             10 per addl. Rank

Wealth                       10 per addl. Rank.

Milton looks at the formula for the cost of Effects and calls Balogun for clarity.

“Hey, Balogun,” Milton says.

“Hello, Milton,” Balogun replies.

“I called to…”

“To ask me to clarify the formula for the cost of Effects,” Balogun says, finishing Milton’s sentence.

“How did you…”

“I knew years ago, when I first shook your hand in Starbucks,” Balogun replies.

“But how…”

“I’ve been playing roleplaying games for three decades,” Balogun answers. “I am roleplaying games; roleplaying games are me. There is no question about roleplaying games I do not hear; no confusion, elation, triumph or failure involving roleplaying games I do not feel. Every die thrown; every character made…I am there.”

“I thought so,” Milton says.

“The formula simply means that each Effect has a cost attached to it,” Balogun says. If you modify the power in any way, it increases the cost of the Effect. The cost also increases per rank you decide to start with. For example, if we take the Change SkinEffect, the base cost is 3 points of Aṣe / rank. You can transform into an ordinary animal, or a duplicate of another person (or humanoid) with this Effect. You choose which type – animal or human – when you purchase Change Skin.  Change Skin can be purchased twice – once to transform into animals; once to mimic humans. If you can only transform into one specific type of animal, or only mimic a specific person, the cost is reduced to 2 points of Aṣe /rank.”

“I see,” Milton says.

“So, if the character Thelma has Change Skin and can only mimic her uncle Nate,” Balogun continues. “The base cost of the Effect is 2 per rank. She doesn’t use any modifiers and takes one rank in Change Skin, which costs her two points of Aṣe.”

“Got it,” Milton replies. “So…”

“Yes, we can meet next Tuesday to go over the character,” Balogun replies. “You’re welcome. Peace!”

Balogun hangs up. Milton sips a bit more coffee and reads the descriptions for Effects:

EFFECTS

Effects are extraordinary abilities possessed by characters, creatures and even weapons and items.  They can be magical, psionic, divine, biological, or technological, as described below (you choose the Source).

SOURCE

Biological: Comes from your own physiology, drawing power from the function of your organs or stores of personal aṣe. An octopus’ ink, neurotoxin and color / texture changes are biologically generated Effects. For checks, the base is END. ♥

Divine: Comes from a higher being or spirit. Divine power is usually available only to those with an allegiance to that divinity. The base is PRE. ♠

Magical: Comes from manipulation of mystic forces (some call “universal aṣe”). This includes the casting of spells and use of potions, scrolls and many items. The base is WIS. ♥

Psionic: Comes from the psyche of the wielder. The power of your mind. These include the classic mental powers of Telepathy and Mind Control, but can include any of the effects. The base is WIS. ♥

Technological: Comes from technological devices and specialized equipment.  The technology may come from an advanced society, an alien race, etc., which is to be described at your character’s creation. The base is INT. ♦

Effects are broken down as follows:

Name: Name of the Effect.  With the GM’s permission, you can change the name to something that sounds cooler, more intimidating, or more fitting for your style of play.

Cost: The cost of the power – per rank – in Aṣe.

Time: The amount of time it takes to cast or activate the Effect. An Effect with a Time of “1 Turn” can be used on your turn to act in a round, just like any other Action. Effects with a Time of “1 Round”, means the Effect happens on your turn in the following round and you can do nothing but perform that Effect.

Duration: How long the Effect lasts. “Sustained” means the Effect lasts as long as you concentrate on it (see ‘Concentration’ Skill); “Instantaneous” Effects happen and then end in the same Action it was used. Some outcomes are, however, permanent. For example, Heal is Instantaneous, but the healing it causes is permanent. “1 Round (or 2, 3, 5, etc.)” means the Effect last 1 round per rank. So, if you had Animal Tongue 5, which has a duration of 1 Round, the Effect, once activated, would last 5 rounds (or until you decided to cancel it).

Description: What the Effect does and how it works.

ANIMAL TONGUE – Cost: 1/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 1 Round. You can communicate with ordinary animals.

BANISH – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 1 Round; Duration: Permanent, unless dispelled. You can cause a spirit or otherworldly entity to return to its plane of origin.

BEWITCH – Cost: 1/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 1 Round. You can cause people to feel friendly about you and trust you enough to perform minor favors for you.

BEFUDDLE – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 2 Rounds. You can cause a target to be confused and unable to perform any action.

BLESS – Cost: 1/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 3 Rounds. You may temporarily increase a target’s Health, Will, Attack Total, or Defense Total.

BOLT – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 2 Turns; Duration: Instantaneous. You cast a bolt of energy that does damage. The range of your Bolt is 10’/rank.

BREEZE – Cost: 1/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 1 Round. You can cause a light breeze to blow.

CHANGE SKIN – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 1 Round; Duration: 3 Rounds. You can transform into an ordinary animal, or a duplicate of another person (or humanoid).

CHILL – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 1 Round. You can lower temperature in a 10’ radius around you per rank, causing those in the area to shiver and their breath to be visible (reveals invisible or hidden characters).

DARKSIGHT – Cost: 1/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 1 Round. You can see in total darkness as if it was daylight.

DECIPHER – Cost: 1/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 1 Round. You can understand languages and encrypted codes.

DEFLECT – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 2 Rounds. You can create a force-field that repels a number of damage per attack equal to a drawn card’s value.

The force-field forms a 360° dome around you, extending 1” from you. For an additional +1/rank cost, the field can extend out to a 2’ radius per rank and can protect anyone who can fit into this dome.

DISENCHANT – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: Instantaneous. Disenchant negates Effects of equal or lower rank if successful.

DRAGON’S KISS – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 2 Turns; Duration: Instantaneous. Conjure either a 3’ wide wave of flame with a range of 50’, or three fireballs, which can be hurled up to 30’ at separate targets.

ELDER’S REPRIMAND – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 1 Round; Duration: 3 Rounds. You place a curse on your target.

ERASE MEMORY – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: Permanent. You can remove a specific memory from a target if successful.

FEAR – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 2 Rounds. You cause your target to become frightened.

FLAME – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: Instantaneous. You can create a large flame that can consume objects, such as a chair or a pile of wood.

FLASH – Cost: 1/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: Instantaneous. You can cause a blinding flash that causes the Blind Condition.

FLIGHT – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 1 Round; Duration: 3 Rounds. You or your target can fly at your running speed x rank. You can carry whatever your STR allows.

FREEZE – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 2 Turns; Duration: Instantaneous. You can freeze a human-sized creature or object inside a chunk of ice.

FROST – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 2 Rounds. You can cover a target with a layer of frost.

HEAL – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 1 Round; Duration: Instantaneous. You can reduce the Condition of others by one step per rank. You can heal one person/round per 2 ranks of Heal (round down). Thus, at Heal 7, you can heal up to 3 people per round. At a +1/rank cost, you can also Heal yourself.

IGNITE – Cost: 1/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: Instantaneous. You can create a small spark of heat that can light candles, fuses, or parchment.

ILLUSION – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 2 Turn; Duration: 3 Rounds. You can create convincing illusions with appropriate sound effects.

INSUBSTANTIAL – Cost: Special (see below); Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 1 Sustained. You can assume one of four Effects, each with a flat cost. For checks, each is considered to be 5 ranks.

  • Fluid/Rubbery (5 Aṣe): You can become a fluid mass, or a stretchable, rubbery form. You can flow through any sort of opening, under doors, and so on. You can automatically flow out of any restraint that is not watertight. You can exert normal STR and you can still push or carry objects. You may attempt to catch a falling person or object, cushioning the fall with your flexible form. This reduces falling damage by your Health + Defenses + a played card from your Hand.
  • Gaseous Particles (10 Aṣe): You can become a cloud of gas or fine particles (including a swarm of tiny insects). You have no effective STR in gaseous form, but you have immunity to physical damage. Energy and area attacks damage you normally. You can flow through any opening that isn’t airtight.
  • Energy (15 Ase): You can become coherent energy. You have no effective STR, but you are immune to physical damage. Energy attacks – other than the energy constituting your form (to which you are immune) – damage you normally. You can pass through solid objects permeable to your type of energy, but energy resistant barriers, such as force-fields, block your movement.
  • Incorporeal (20 Aṣe): You can become an incorporeal phantom. You can pass through solid matter at your normal speed and you are immune to physical and energy damage. Sensory Effects and those that target Will still work on you. You must also choose one other reasonably common Effect that works on you while you are incorporeal. You have no effective STR and cannot affect the physical world. Your sensory Effects work normally. Unless you have immunity to suffocation, you must hold your breath while passing through a solid object and you can suffocate. If you revert to solid form while inside a solid object, you suffer damage equal to the object’s Health, minus your END. If not Incapacitated (or worse), you are immediately ejected from the object into the nearest open space. If you are Incapacitated, you are trapped inside the object and your Condition worsens to Dying on the following round.

INVISIBILITY – Cost: 2 or 4/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: Sustained. You can vanish from sight at will, gaining total visual concealment, although other senses can still detect you. This costs 2/rank if you are only invisible to normal vision; 4/rank if you are invisible to all visual senses, including infrared and ultraviolet.

LEVITATE – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 2 Rounds. You – or a human-sized creature or object – can rise and float in the air.

LIGHT – Cost: 1/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 2 Rounds. You can create a light that illuminates an area within a 15’ radius / rank.

LOCK / OPEN – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 2 Rounds. You can seal an object, making it magically locked, or unlock a locked object.

POSTCOGNITION – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 1 Round; Duration: 1 Instantaneous. You can see visions of the past. You pick up on past information in an area or from a subject.

PRECOGNITION – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 1 Round; Duration: 1 Instantaneous. You can perceive possible futures. If circumstances change, the vision may not come to pass.

PRODIGIOUS LUCK – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 1 Round; Duration: 1 Round. When attempting Actions, including combat, draw extra cards and add them to your Hand.

PUSH / PULL – Cost: 1/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 1 Round. You can move objects up, down, toward you and away for you without physically touching them. The maximum weight you can move is 1 lb./rank.

READ MINDS – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 1 Round; Duration: Sustained. You can read another character’s mind by making a check against the target’s Will.

SAFE FALL – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: Instantaneous. As long as you are capable of Action, you can fall – without harm – a distance equal to your Safe Fall rank x 20’. If there is a handhold for you to grab – or if you have the Wall-Crawl Effect – you can stop your fall with a DEX check.

SHIELD – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 1 Round. You can create a barrier of force that protects against frontal attacks of any type. Shield absorbs 2 points of damage per rank (works like a normal shield). Shield cannot be used to protect others.

SHOCK – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: Instantaneous. You can deal electrical damage by touch, or by channeling the electricity through a conduit.

SLEEP – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 2 Rounds. You can cause your target to suffer the Asleep Condition.

STUN – Cost: 1/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 2 Rounds. You can cause your target to suffer the Stunned Condition.

SUMMON ANIMAL – Cost: 1/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 1 Round. You can summon an ordinary animal of your choosing to your area. The animal can be your steed whether it ordinarily is or not. The size of the animal depends on your Summon Animal rank:

1 – 3: Tiny (mouse, rat, bat, squirrel, hummingbird, house cat, pigeon)

4 – 5: Small (average-sized dog, monkey, rooster, average goat, owl, wild cat, chimpanzee)

6 – 7: Medium (baboon, large dog, wolf, condor, cheetah, hyena)

8 – 9: Large (gorilla, horse, lion, crocodile)

10 – 11: Huge (elephant, great white shark)

12+: Immense (blue whale)

TELEPATHY – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: Sustained. You can communicate over a distance using a mental transmission. Communication is instantaneous with any subject within your range. Your range is equal to your Telepathy rank x 1 mile.

TELEPORT – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 2 Turns; Duration: Instantaneous. You disappear from one location and reappear in another instantaneously. You can teleport a distance up to your Teleport rank x 500’.

THUNDERCLAP – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 2 Rounds. You can emit or summon a powerful, concussive sound that causes your target to suffer Deaf and Dazed Conditions. For an additional cost per rank of +1, you can affect an area equal to a 10’ radius / rank.

TRANSFORM – Cost: 2 – 5/rank; Time: 1 Round; Duration: Sustained. You can change objects into other object, altering their shape or material compositions. What you can transform affects cost per rank as follows:

2/rank: Transform one thing or substance into another thing or substance, such as metal into wood, iron into glass, or broken objects into repaired ones.

3/rank: Transform a broad group of things into a single result, such as any metal into gold; or a single thing into a broad group, such as gold into any metal.

4/rank: Transform a broad group into a broad group, such as all metals into all liquids.

5/rank: Transform any material into anything else.

Transform only affects inanimate objects. You cannot Transform animate (living) beings.

WALL-CRAWL – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 1 Round. You can climb walls and ceilings at your normal walking speed with no chance of falling.

WALL OF FORCE – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 1 Round; Duration: 3 Rounds. You can create a wall of force that repels all projectiles and cannot be passed physically (not even by incorporeal creatures). For an additional cost per rank of +2, you can create an invisible wall that can be seen through from either side.

WEATHERCRAFT – Cost: 5/rank; Time: 1 Round; Duration: 3 Rounds. Summon and create thunderstorms, heat waves, powerful winds and so on. You affect an area equal to Weathercraft rank x 1500’ radius.

Cold: You can lower the temperature in an area, creating up to extreme cold. Those in the area must make a Health check against your Weathercraft Total  -2 for uncomfortable cold (a cold winter day); Weathercraft Total for intense cold (arctic conditions); or Weathercraft Total  +2 for extreme cold (an arctic winter storm). A Fumble = Dying; Failure = Incapacitated; Partial Success = Exhausted; Full Success = Fatigued; High Success = Suffer no Condition. Every 3 rounds, the condition worsens by one level until removed from the cold.

Heat: You can raise the temperature in an area, creating up to extreme heat. Those in the area must make a Health check against your Weathercraft Total  -2 for uncomfortable heat (a hot summer day); Weathercraft Total for intense cold (a blazing desert); or Weathercraft Total  +2 for extreme cold (the edge of a volcano). A Fumble = Dying; Failure = Incapacitated; Partial Success = Exhausted; Full Success = Fatigued; High Success = Suffer no Condition. Every 3 rounds, the condition worsens by one level until removed from the heat.

Impede Movement: You can impede movement through the area with high winds, icy or wet surfaces, and so on. Reduce speed by up to ¼.

Reduce Visibility: You create a dense fog that causes any Action requiring sight to suffer a -5 penalty.

You can use one aspect of the weather at a time. You can use more than one aspect at a time (e.g. Cold, Impede Movement and Reduce Visibility all happen at once; victims suffer all the effects) for a cost per rank increase of +1.

WIND – Cost: 2/rank; Time: 1 Turn; Duration: 2 Rounds. You can cause strong gusts of wind to blow through an area, stirring up dust clouds and loose debris and doing damage.

WRATH OF ṢANGO – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 1 Round; Duration: Instantaneous. You can hurl bolts of electricity. These bolts ignore all armor. If the target is wearing metal armor, he suffers the Dying Condition. Otherwise, the target is Incapacitated. The range of Wrath is 100’.

ZOMBIFICATION – Cost: 3/rank; Time: 1 Round; Duration: Permanent. You can control the minds of others. The Effect lasts until you relinquish control.

Milton chooses the Stun Effect, which costs 1 point of Aṣe per rank. He purchases two ranks, so he has no more points of Aṣe left.

Milton decides that the Effect is Technological – Kofi’s throwing clubs.

Finishing Touches

Now, Milton completes the design of his character. To do this, he must include some important information:

Name

Ki KhangaSince Ki-Khanga™: The Sword & Soul RPG is set in a mythical Afrika, names are very important to the people. In fact, your surname is so important in many cultures that it is said before your given name, thus Oyabode (given, or first name) Ojetade (surname) would be called Ojetade Oyabode.

Most people on the continent of Ki-Khanga consider your name and / or your title to represent your mission, your power and your challenge. Your name tells people your personal story.

For example, in Oyo – the renowned warrior Balogun Oyayemi Adetutu’s name can be translated as: Balogun (“War Chief”) Oyayemi (“Oya befits me”) Adetutu (“The crown is cool”). This name / title combination tells people that their beloved warrior bears the rank of General, or War Chief (Balogun); he is a priest of the goddess Oya, or is to become one (Oyayemi); and that he is destined to rule and his rule will be one of peace and tranquility (Adetutu).

So, put some thought into the name you choose for your character.

Milton has already chosen the name Kofi for his character.

Age

Ki KhangaHow old is your character? Most adventuring characters are typically between the ages of 20 and 40, but some are younger, as many cultures send teenagers on adventures as part of their passage into adulthood. Characters can also be much older than forty. It is up to you and the concept you have for your character.

Milton decides that the veteran constable, Kofi is 52 years old.

Appearance

What does your hero look like? Consider the character’s ethnicity, country of origin, gender and other factors when determining what he or she looks like.  Determine height; weight; build; eye color; hair color, texture, length and style; and skin tone and texture. Also determine what the clothing, weapons and equipment you purchased for your character look like.

Milton determines that Kofi’s country of origin is Asanteman, but he is now a resident of Sati Baa. He is 6’2” tall; weighs 211 pounds; and has a muscular, well-defined build. Kfi’s eyes are brown and his hair is kinky, cut short and is salt-and-pepper colored. His skin is dark brown and leathery.

Motivation

Your motivation is what drives you to be who you are; what keeps you going in the face of adversity. When you play out your character’s motivation, the GM rewards you a point of Aṣe.

Choose one Motivation for your character.

  • Acceptance: You feel that you are different from others and work hard to gain the trust and acceptance of them.
  • Doing Good: You believe in doing the right thing and have a strong moral center.
  • Greed: You seek only to make a profit from your adventuring and hire out your skills and talents to the highest bidder. You may do good deeds, but you figure why not make a living doing so?
  • Justice: You have a need to see the innocent protected and the guilty punished. You may walk a thin line between seeking justice and seeking vengeance.
  • Patriotism: You are devoted to the beliefs and morals of your home (or adopted) nation or culture. Perhaps you are the honored champion of your people, but it is the service – not the accolades – that matter to you.
  • Recognition: You want recognition and /or attention and what better way to get it than doing daring deeds and fighting epic battles?
  • Responsibility: You feel that it is your duty to use your talents and skills for good. Most likely, you are trying to live up to the teaching of a mentor or the ideals of a predecessor who inspired you.
  • Thrills: You live for the rush that is brought by overcoming obstacles, winning challenges and surviving danger.

Milton chooses Responsibility as Kofi’s Motivation.

Complications

Complications are the personal challenges that your character faces. They can affect how others treat you and how you interact with your environment. Complications can also provide interesting subplots and plot twists to adventures.

You must choose one Complication, but may choose as many as you wish, as long as the Griot allows it.

  • Addiction: You have a powerful need – physical, psychological, or spiritual – that you will go out of your way to satisfy. If you are unable to satisfy your addiction, you may suffer other Complications.
  • Disability: You are blind, deaf, mute, or paraplegic. You may have extraordinary traits that counter the disability, but it will still affect you from time to time.
  • Enemy: You have an enemy or enemies that are trying to do you harm. Enemies may abduct loved ones, sabotage your missions and attack you and so on.
  • Fame: You are a public figure, known throughout a country, a region, or even the entire continent.
  • Honor: You have a strong personal code that you live and act by. This becomes a complication when you face a moral dilemma, or must go against the majority.
  • Intolerance: You strongly dislike something and actively oppose the thing you dislike, regardless of the consequences.
  • Obsession: You are possessed with a particular person or thing and pursue it to the exclusion of all else.
  • Phobia: You are irrationally afraid of something. When confronted with it, it causes you to hesitate, flee or act irrationally.
  • Quirk: You have certain likes, dislikes, hobbies, or habits that are your “signature”.
  • Relationship: An important person, or people, in your life get involved in – or interfere with – your affairs in troublesome ways.
  • Reputation: You have a bad reputation – deserved or not – that affects the way others treat you.
  • Responsibility: You have family obligations, professional duties, or other demands on your time and attention.
  • Rivalry: You are in fierce competition with a person or group and try to outdo your rival(s) at every opportunity.
  • Secret: You have something potentially damaging or embarrassing that you are hiding from the world. Something, or someone, may one day threaten to reveal it.
  • Scorn: You are part of a group, suffer certain circumstances, or have a certain appearance that provokes others to react toward you with distrust and prejudice.
  • Temper: Certain things send you into a rage. When you lose your temper, you lash out at whatever provoked you.

Milton decides to pick Fame and Responsibility as Kofi’s Complications.

Now Milton must choose Kofi’s weapons and equipment. Kofi has 6 ranks of Wealth. Milton multiplies Kofi’s Wealth rank by 5 to determine how many Equipment Points (EP) Kofi has. Thus, Kofi has an EP of 30 (6 X 5).

Milton purchases his weapons first. He checks the charts and finds throwing clubs, which cost 1 point of EP each. Milton purchases 10 of them. He has 20 EP left.

MELEE WEAPONS*

ITEM PARTIAL     FULL     HIGH     COST     Special

Unarmed Strike, BA-AV Str 0                 1              2             n/a            n/a

Unarmed Strike, GF-HG Str 1                 2              3             n/a            n/a

Unarmed Strike, EX-BE Str                       2                 3              4             n/a               n/a

Dagger                                                                    1                 2              3               1             n/a

Punching Dagger                                        1                 2              3               1               n/a

Arm Knife                                                   1                 2              3               3               n/a

Tortoise Shell Knife                                   1                 2              3               6            +2 Protection

Wrist Knife                                                 1                 2              3               3               n/a

Knobkerrie                                                  1                 2              3               2              see below

Club                                                            1                 2              3               1               n/a

Quarterstaff                                                 1                 2              3               1               n/a

Shortspear                                                   1                 2              3               2               n/a

Leafspear                                                    3                 4              5               8               n/a

Longspear                                                   3                 4              5               3               n/a

Greatspear                                                   4                 5              6               5               n/a

Trident                                                                    4                 5              6               8             n/a

Hand Axe                                                    1                 2              3               3               n/a

Battle Axe                                                   3                 4              5               6               n/a

Great Axe                                                   5                 6              7               8               n/a

Warhammer                                                3                 4              5               7               n/a

Shortsword                                                  2                 3              4               6               n/a

Broadsword                                                 4                 5              6               6               n/a

Longsword                                                  3                 4              5               6               n/a

Scimitar                                                      2                 3              4               8               n/a

*Your STR is added to the damage you do with melee weapons.

RANGED WEAPONS

ITEM COST             Range

Bola*                                                            1                        10’

Net                                                               9                        10’

Whip*                                                          3                        15’

Blowgun (needle)                                     1                         15’

Dart*                                                           1                         20’

Sling (bullet)                                             1                         50’

Throwing Club*                                        1                        20’

Returning Club*                                       3                        20’

Throwing Blade*                                      3                        15’

Throwing Spear*                                      2                        30’

Javelin*                                                      2                        30’

Light Crossbow (bolts)                           9                         80’

Heavy Crossbow (bolts)                         16                       110’

Shortbow                                                   7                         60’

Composite Shortbow                              11                        70’

Longbow                                                   16                        100’

Composite Longbow                              21                         110’

Greatbow                                                 31                          100’

Composite Greatbow                            40                          110’

*Your STR is added to the damage you do with thrown weapons.

Milton now checks the Armor Chart and chooses a suit of Studded Leather, which costs 3 EP. Milton now has 17 EP.

ARMOR

All armor has a Protection Rank, which is subtracted from the damage an attack does. Armor also has an Agility penalty that reduces AGL – and all Actions associated with it – by the listed number. This penalty only applies when the armor is worn and/or the shield is wielded. Finally, the cost – in Equipment Points – is given.

Light Armor Protection      AGL        Cost

Beaded                                               +2                    —               2

Chain Shirt (iron)                            +4                    —               10

Leather                                              +2                    —               2

Padded                                              +1                     —               1

Studded Leather                             +3                     —               3

Woven Cord                                    +1                      —               1

Medium Armor

Hide                                               +3                 -1            2

Iron Mantle                                    +5                 -3           15

Wooden Plate                                +4                 -2            8

Shields

Buckler, Wooden                           +1                 —            1

Buckler, Iron                                  +2                —            2

Small, Leather                               +1                 —             1

Small, Wooden                              +1                 —             1

Small, Iron                                     +2                 —             2

Large, Leather                               +2                 —            2

Large, Wooden                              +2                 —            2

Large, Iron                                     +3                 —           3

Leather Body                                 +3                 -1            3

Milton  peruses the clothing and decides to purchase two Explorer’s Outfits, which costs 4 EP each, leaving Milton with 9 EP. He decides to hang on to the 9 EP for spending in Sati Baa and on any adventures he may embark upon.

CLOTHING

Artisan’s Outfit – Cultural standard; plus a cloth or leather apron for carrying tools. Low quality material. (Cost: 2 Equipment Points)

Citizen’s Outfit – Cultural standard; no decorations. Low quality material.  (1E.P.)

Courtier’s Outfit – Cultural standard; tailored to fit and in the latest fashions. High quality material. Usually embroidered or ornamental. (5 E.P.)

Entertainer’s Outfit – Cultural standard; designed for maximum mobility. Moderate quality material, dyed in bright patterns. Often decorated with small bells, streamers, or trinkets. (3 E.P.)

Explorer’s Outfit – Cultural standard; Many pockets; comes with a hat or a simple headdress. Sturdy, high quality material. (4 E.P.)

Noble’s Outfit – Cultural standard; tailored to fit and in the latest fashions. High quality material. Usually embroidered or ornamented with beads or cowry shells. (6 E.P.)

Priest’s Outfit – Cultural standard; tailored to fit and in the latest fashions. High quality material; may be dyed or embroidered. Ornamented with fetishes, culturally appropriate decorations and – often – non-magical masks. (4 E.P.)

Royal Outfit – Cultural standard; tailored to fit; heavily covered with embroidery, precious metals, gems, cowry shells and/or beads. Superb quality material. (9 E.P.)

Scholar’s Outfit – Cultural standard; emphasis on comfort. High quality material. Occassionally embroidered. (3 E.P.)

Traveler’s Outfit – Cultural standard; emphasis on comfort and durability. Moderate quality material. Usually dyed, but rarely embroidered or ornamented. (3 E.P.)

STEEDS & RELATED GEAR

Item Cost

Barding, Huge                                     x8

Barding, Large                                    x4

Barding, Medium                               x2

Bit and Bridle, Huge                            2

Bit and Bridle, Large                            1

Camel, Riding or Pack                         5

Cart                                                       2

Donkey or Mule                                    1

Elephant, Labor                                    15

Horse, Light                                          8

Saddle, Huge, Military                         4

Saddle, Huge, Pack                               1

Saddle, Huge, Riding                           2

Saddle, Large, Pack                              1

Saddle, Large, Military                        2

Saddle, Large, Riding                           1

War Camel                                           10

War Elephant                                        40

Warhorse, Light                                    15

Milton is now done with his creation of Kofi. He now sits down to write the old constable’s back-story, which I recommend you do, too. Have fun!

Once your character is complete, if you desire to enter it into the Ki Khanga Character Contest, please email the character, with their back-story, to chroniclesofharriet@gmail.com.

Journey to Ki Khanga™: Creating Your Sword and Soul Roleplaying Game Characters, Part 2

In our last post, Milton (actually my evil twin)  was busy creating his character, Kofi, a veteran Constable in the merchant riverine city of Sati Baa.

Using the 150 points of Aṣe allotted to him, Milton built Kofi’s Abilities and Calculated Abilities and now has 46 points of Aṣe left to finish building his character.

Milton dunks his Danish in his coffee and then yanks the now soggy pastry from the cup of java and takes a bite. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, savoring the sweet gummy taste of the soaked Danish. “Heaven,” he whispers, and then he takes another peek at the TRAIT COST Chart:

TRAIT                         COST IN AṢE

Ability                         2 per rank

Skill                             1 per rank

Talent                          1 per Talent or Talent rank

Effect                          (base Effect cost + modifiers) x rank + flat modifiers

Defense                       2 per rank

Fighting                       10 per addl. Rank

Health                         10 per addl. Rank

Will                             10 per addl. Rank

Wealth                        10 per addl. Rank.

“Skills are next, huh?” Milton says. “Cool, let’s do this.” He thinks about Kofi, a skilled and highly experienced law enforcer in a town that is all about commerce. After a few moments of contemplation, Milton reads the Skills descriptions:

Skills

  1. Skills are learned abilities – a combination of training and natural affinity.
  2. Each skill is linked to an Ability and to that Ability’s applicable Suit.
  3. Each skill has a rank that indicates how many cards you draw to accomplish the task AND the points you add to your played card.

For example, Kofi wants to eavesdrop on a pair of sailors who are fifty feet away (a tough task, Difficulty Rating (DR) 7, plus the GM’s played card – a five of Diamonds, which raises DR to 8). Milton uses Kofi’s Listen skill, which has a rank of 3 and is linked to his Wisdom, which has a rank of 10. He draws 3 cards. He adds Kofi’s Listen and Wisdom ranks to the value of the played card (a 6 of Diamonds) for a total of 19 and compares it to the DR. In this case, Kofi easily overhears the sailors’ conversation.

  • Untrained: If you do not possess a skill, you are considered untrained. You can still attempt the skill, but you would only use the Ability linked to the appropriate skill. If the skill is designated as “Trained Only”, however, you cannot use the skill if you are not trained in it. To attempt to use a “Trained Only” skill untrained results in an automatic Fumble. Fumbles are discussed in detail in the Ki Khanga™ Sword and Soul Roleplaying Game.

Milton chooses from the list of skills below. Detailed descriptions are given in the Ki Khanga™ Sword and Soul Roleplaying Game. Here, we have included the Ability each Skill is linked to, the card Suit it is linked to and whether the Skill is ‘Trained Only,’ or not.

Each Skill costs 1 point of Aṣe per rank.

ACROBATICS [AGL; Trained Only; ♣]

ANIMAL EMPATHY [PRE; ♠]

APPRAISE [INT; ♦]

BALANCE [AGL; ♣]

BLUFF [PRE; ♠]

CLIMB [STR; ♣]

CONCENTRATION [END; ♥]

CRAFT [INT; Trained Only; ♦]: Craft is actually a number of separate skills that are purchased and built individually. Some of the crafts include: Alchemy; Armor smithing; Basket Weaving; Book-Binding; Bow-Making; Blacksmithing; Calligraphy; Carpentry; Cobbling; Gem Cutting; Leather Working; Locksmithing; Painting; Pottery; Sculpting; Shipmaking; Stonemasonry; Trap-Making; Weaponsmithing; Weaving and Woodcarving.

DECIPHER SCRIPT [INT; Trained Only; ♦]

DIPLOMACY [PRE; ♠]

DISABLE DEVICE [INT; Trained Only; ♦]

DISGUISE [PRE; ♠]

ESCAPE ARTIST [DEX; ♦]

FORGERY [INT; ♦]

GATHER INFORMATION [PRE; ♠]

HANDLE ANIMAL [PRE; Trained Only; ♠]

HEAL [WIS; ♥]

HIDE [AGL; ♣]

INTIMIDATE [PRE; ♠]

JUMP [STR; ♣]

KNOWLEDGE [INT; ♦]: This skill encompasses a number of unrelated skills. Knowledge represents a study of some body of lore. Typical fields of study include: Arcana (ancient mysteries, magic traditions, arcane symbols, magical creatures); Architecture & Engineering (edifices, dams, bridges, roads, fortifications); Art & Literature (artists, ballads, plays); Folklore (legends & myths, superstitions, cultural / racial lore, folk remedies); Creature Lore (habits, habitat, strengths, weaknesses); Geography (lands, terrain, climate, people, customs); History (royalty, wars, migrations, notable events, catastrophes); Local Lore (local customs, personalities, laws, traditions, creatures);Nature (flora, fauna, fractals, weather, climate, natural cycles); Peerage (bloodlines & genealogies, heraldry, factions, duties); Religion (deities, history, traditions, holy symbols, shrines); Warcraft (tactics, strategies, leaders, siegecraft, military history).

LISTEN [WIS; ♥]

MOVE SILENTLY [AGL; ♣]

PERFORM [PRE; ♠]

PICK LOCK [DEX; Trained Only; ♦]

PROFESSION [WIS; Trained Only; ♥]

RIDE [AGL; ♣]

SEARCH [INT; ♦]

SENSE MOTIVE [WIS; ♥]

SLEIGHT OF HAND [DEX; Trained Only; ♦]

SPEAK LANGUAGE [INT; Trained Only; ♦]: Though Kikhanga (the “Common” Tongue) is a nearly universal trade language; most people speak their native tongue as well. You begin the game fluent in Kikhanga and the native language of your people. For every rank in this skill, you gain fluency in another language.

SPOT [WIS; ♥]

SURVIVAL [WIS; ♥]

SWIM [STR; ♣]

TAUNT [PRE; ♠]

USE MAGIC DEVICE [PRE; Trained Only; ♠]

USE ROPE [DEX; ♦]

Milton chooses the following skills and gives them the listed ranks: Bluff: 2; Climb: 1; Concentration: 2; Diplomacy: 3; Disable Device: 1; Gather Information: 4; Intimidate: 3; Knowledge – Creature Lore: 1, Geography: 1, Local Lore: 2; Listen: 3; Move Silently: 1; Ride: 1; Search: 3; Sense Motive: 3; Speak Languages – Ki Khanga (common)Twi / Asanteman (native)Kiswala; Spot: 2; Swim: 1; Taunt: 2.

The total cost of these skills is 37 points of Aṣe. Milton now has 9 points of Aṣe left.

Talents

  1. Talents are the extraordinary traits we all possess that are more than skills, but not quite on the same level of power as Effects (see Effects in Part 3).
  2. Talents often enhance skills we already possess and sometimes give us access to abilities most people do not have.
  3. Like Abilities and Skills, Talents are bought with – and advanced by – Aṣe. Also, like Abilities and Skills, Talents are rated in ranks. Most are 1 rank (the rank required to purchase the Talent), however, some Talents can be purchased multiple times to increase outcomes, or to add new outcomes. Some Talents are linked to Suits and some are not, as they apply to Skills of more than one Suit.

Milton peruses the list of Talents below. He doesn’t have many points left, so he decides to pick only a few talents and save a few points to buy an Effect.

The Talents and the Skills they modify are listed below. The cost of each talent is 1 point of Aṣe or 1 point per rank in that Talent. A more detailed look at Talents is included in the Ki Khanga™ Sword and Soul Roleplaying Game rulebook:

AGILE: +2 on all Balance and Escape Artist checks.

ALERTNESS: +2 on all Listen and Spot checks.

ANIMAL AFFINITY: +2 on all Handle Animal and Ride checks.

ATHLETIC: +2 on all Climb and Swim checks.

AMBIDEXTERITY: You can use either hand with equal aptitude. ♦

BASH: You can make a bash attack with a shield. ♣

BEGGAR: +4 on Diplomacy checks when you are begging. ♠

BREW POTION: You can create potions, which carry spells within themselves. Prerequisite: Knowledge – Arcana 5; you must possess the Spell Effect you want to add to the potion. ♦

BRUTISH: You are strong and menacing-looking. Add your STR as well as your PRE to Intimidate.

COMBAT CASTING: + 4 to Concentration checks made to cast a spell or to maintain an Effect. ♥

COMBAT EXPERTISE: Take up to -5 from your Attack check and add the same rank number (5 or less) as a bonus to your Defense. Prerequisite: INT 6. ♦

COMBAT REFLEXES: You can take up to your AGL rank in attacks against Stunned and Unaware opponents (only one additional attack per opponent) (see Conditions). Prerequisite: AGL 6. ♣

CRAFT MAGIC ARMS & ARMOR: You can create and repair magic weapons, armor and shields. Prerequisite: Craft – Armorsmithing 6, Weaponsmithing 6; Knowledge – Arcana6.

CRAFT MAGIC ITEM: You can create a wide variety of magic items (other than armor and weapons). Prerequisite: Knowledge – Arcana 5; Use Magic Item 6. ♦

DECEITFUL: +2 on all Disguise and Forgery checks.

DEFLECT ARROWS: Once per round, when you would normally be hit by a ranged weapon, you may deflect it so that you take no damage. Prerequisite: DEX 6; Combat Expertise. ♦

DEFT HANDS: +2 on all Sleight of Hand and Use Rope checks.

DILIGENT: +2 on all Appraise and Decipher Script checks.

DODGE: During your Action, choose an opponent and receive +1 to Defense against attacks from him.

DUAL WIELD: You can make an additional attack with an “off-hand” weapon. Both attacks are executed using only one attack Action. ♣

CONSTITUTION: You receive a +4 on the following checks: Swim, to resist drowning; END to keep running, avoid damage from starvation or thirst and from hot or cold environments. ♥

FAR SHOT: When you use a projectile weapon, such as a bow, increase its range by x1½ . For thrown weapons, increase range by x2. Prerequisite: Point Blank (Talent). ♦

GREAT FORTITUDE: + 2 on END checks against poisons, disease and environmental hazards. ♥

HAND-TO HAND: +2 on all unarmed attack checks. ♣

IMPROVED DISARM: +4 on Attack checks to disarm your opponent. Prerequisite: INT 6; Combat Expertise. ♦

IMPROVED GRAPPLE: +4 on all Grapple checks, whether you initiated the grapple or not. Prerequisite: DEX 6; Hand-To-Hand. ♦

IMPROVED INITIATIVE: +4 on Initiative checks. ♣

INVESTIGATOR: +2 on all Gather Information checks.

IRON WILL: You receive +2 on all Will checks. ♥

MAGICAL APTITUDE: +2 on all Use Magic Item and Knowledge – Arcana checks.

MOUNTED ARCHERY: Using a ranged weapon while mounted does not increase the DR level for performing several Actions at once. Prerequisite: Ride 6; Mounted Combat.

MOUNTED COMBAT: Once per round, you can add your Ride rank to your steed’s Protection and Health when it is attacked. Prerequisite: Ride 1.

NEGOTIATOR: +2 on all Diplomacy and Sense Motive checks.

NIMBLE FINGERS: +2 on all Disable Device and pick Locks checks.

PERSUASIVE: +2 on all Bluff and Intimidate checks.

POINT BLANK: +1 to your Attack Total with ranged weapons at a distance of 30’ or less.

PRECISE SHOT: You can fire a ranged weapon into melee combat without imposing the standard -4 penalty to your Attack Total. Prerequisite: Point Blank. ♦

RAPID SHOT: Add another attack as if you were executing a combined effort (see Dual Wield). Prerequisite: DEX 6; Point Blank. ♦

RIDE-BY ATTACK: Charge and attack while mounted on your steed (which is standard) and then move again. Prerequisite: Mounted Combat; Ride 6. ♣

RUN: Move at 6x normal walking speed when running. ♣

SCRIBE SCROLL: Create a scroll of any spell that you know. Prerequisite: Craft Magic Item. ♦

SELF-SUFFICIENT: +2 on all Heal and Survival checks.

SKILL FOCUS: Choose a skill – you gain +3 on all checks involving that skill.

SPIRITED CHARGE: When you execute a mounted charge, you do double damage (triple if using a lance or a great spear). Prerequisite: Ride 6; Mounted Combat; Ride-By Attack. ♣

SPIRIT-STEP: Move up to ½ your total speed before and after your Attack check. ♣

STEALTHY: +2 on all Hide and Move Silently checks.

SUNDER: +4 on Attack checks on your opponent’s weapon or shield (as well as other objects) when your goal is to break the object. ♣

SWIFT: Your speed is increased by x1½. You can purchase this twice for x2 speed.

TOUGH: Draw a card: a red card = +2 Health; a black card = +1 Health; If you draw a ♥, add the +2 and draw again, adding the second draw also (if that is a ♥ too, add +2 and draw yet again, etc.). ♥

TRACK: You can follow the trails of creatures and characters across most types of terrain. Prerequisite: Survival 6.

TUMBLE: +2 on all Jump and Acrobatics checks.

TWO-WEAPON DEFENSE: When wielding a double weapon (like a quarterstaff), or two melee weapons (not including natural weapons, like claws, or unarmed strikes), you gain +2 Protection. Prerequisite: Dual Wield.

WEAPON PROFICIENCY: Each choosing of this talent adds one weapon you are skilled in the use of. You suffer a -4 to your Attack Total when you use a weapon you are not proficient with.

Ki KhangaMilton chooses the following Talents for Kofi: Alertness; Ambidexterity; Far Shot; Investigator; Precise Shot; Weapon Proficiency – Throwing Club,Club.

These Talents cost Milton 7 points of Aṣe. He has 2 points of Aṣe left.

The corners of Milton’s mouth curl up into a broad smile. “I have 2 points left,” he says, lifting his gaze toward the Heavens. “I can purchase an Effect!”

Milton leaps from his chair and jogs around his office once. He collapses into his chair, struggling for breath. He silently curses himself for getting overly excited and running too far, too fast.

While Milton catches his breath, let’s do the same and return in two days to add an Effect and to put the finishing touches on our character.

Journey to Ki Khanga™: Creating Your Sword and Soul Roleplaying Game Characters, Part 1

For the past two years, author and publisher, Milton Davis (me!) and author and filmmaker, Balogun Ojetade have worked diligently at the creation of Ki Khanga™, the Sword and Soul tabletop roleplaying game.

What is a tabletop roleplaying game, you ask?

A roleplaying – or role-playing – game, also called an RPG, is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting or through a process of decision-making and character development.

Actions taken within the games succeed or fail according to a system of rules and guidelines.

There are several types of roleplaying games. The original form is the tabletoproleplaying game.

Sword and Soul RPGA tabletop RPG is conducted through discussion, whereas in live action roleplaying games, or LARPs, players physically perform their characters’ actions. In both of these forms, a game-master (GM), which we call a Griot in the Ki Khanga™ Sword and Soul RPG, decides on the rules and setting to be used and acts as storyteller and referee, while each of the other players plays the role of a single character.

Ki Khanga ™, like most great tabletop roleplaying games, is a form of interactive and collaborative storytelling. Events, characters, and narrative structure give a sense of a narrative experience.

Interactivity is the crucial difference between roleplaying games and traditional fiction – a player in a roleplaying game makes choices that affect the story. Such roleplaying games have their origins in an old Afrikan tradition of storytelling games in which a group of friends collaborate to create and tell a story.

Sword and Soul RPGParticipants in a role-playing game will generate their own unique characters or play pre-made ones and as they play, they create an ongoing plot. A consistent system of rules and a more or less realistic campaign setting in games aids suspension of disbelief. The level of realism in games ranges from just enough internal consistency to set up a believable story or credible challenge up to full-blown simulations of real-world processes and activities.

In Ki Khanga™, the Griot describes the game world and its inhabitants. The other players describe the intended actions of their characters, and the Griot describes the outcomes of attempted actions and interactions. Some outcomes are determined by the game system, and some are chosen by the Griot.

A standard concept in RPGs is the player character – or PC – which is a character in the fictional world of the game whose actions the player controls. Typically each player controls a separate player character, each of whom acts as a protagonist in the story.

In contrast to player characters, non-player characters, or NPCs, are controlled by the Griot. NPCs make up the population of the fictional setting and can act as antagonists, bystanders or allies of the player characters.

Ki Khanga Play 1We will now examine the basic character creation process in Ki Khanga™ to make your own player character.

Let’s join Milton Davis as he creates his very first Ki Khanga™ character:

Milton sits down with a steaming hazelnut latte…not the fancy type you buy at a coffeehouse; the kind you buy at your local gas station. Milton says cheap latte knockoffs help him understand roleplaying games. If you need to go grab a cup, too, dear reader, go ahead, we’ll wait…

Back?  Now, grab a pen, a calculator (there is a calculator app in your phone in case you don’t own such lo-tech antiques as a calculator) and a few sheets of paper. Got ‘em? Okay, let’s get to it!

Basics

  1. Your character is built from Aṣe [ah-SHEH] – points used to build and advance him or her.
  2. Aṣe is an overall measure of power and effectiveness. Each character starts with 120 points of Aṣe. The Griot (GM) may decide to give more or less points, but starting at over 200 Aṣe could unbalance your game as 200+ Aṣe is considered demi-god level.

Milton asks Balogun, the Griot, how many points of Aṣe he is allowed to build his character with.

Balogun answers, his voice like rolling thunder in mountain air: “All characters in thisCampaign (story arc) will start with 150 points of Aṣe to build their character with.”

Milton decides he is going to create Kofi, a Constable in the merchant city of Sati Baa. Kofi is a gruff, experienced law enforcer who is an expert with a throwing club and good at deduction. Milton must first purchase Kofi’s Traits out of his 150 points:

Trait Costs

  1. Traits are the attributes that make up your character.
  2. Abilities, Skills, Talents, Effects, Defense, Wealth, Health, Will and Fighting are all Traits that define your character and affects how successful or unsuccessful he or she is.
  3. Each level of a Trait is called its rank, thus Str 5 means your character has 5 ranks of Strength.
  4. Each Trait costs points of Aṣe as described in the chart below:

TRAIT                         COST IN AṢE

Ability                         2 per rank

Skill                             1 per rank

Talent                          1 per Talent or Talent rank

Effect                          (base Effect cost + modifiers) x rank + flat modifiers

Defense                       2 per rank

Fighting                       10 per addl. Rank

Health                         10 per addl. Rank

Will                             10 per addl. Rank

Wealth                        10 per addl. Rank.

First, Milton must calculate each rank Kofi possesses in the 7 basic Abilities. He checks the above chart and sees that each Ability costs 2 points of Aṣe per rank.

Abilities

  1. We all have certain basic abilities – how strong, attractive, coordinated, charismatic and smart we are.
  2. There are seven basic abilities: StrengthEnduranceDexterityAgilityIntellect;Wisdom; and Presence.
  3. There are also four calculated abilities that are a combination of basic abilities:FightingHealthWill; and Wealth.
  • Strength (STR): Measures muscle power; damage dealt unarmed and with most melee (close combat) weapons; how far you can jump; the amount of weight you can lift, carry and throw; and is a factor in calculating your Health. STR is linked to theClubs ♣ Suit.
  • Endurance (END): Measures fitness, stamina and overall resilience; resistance to poison, disease, drowning and similar threats; and is a factor in calculating your Health. END is linked to the Hearts ♥ Suit.
  • Dexterity (DEX): Measures hand-eye coordination, precision and reflexes. Dexterity is a factor in calculating your Fighting and is applied to Ranged Combat checks. DEX is linked to the Diamonds ♦ Suit.
  • Agility (AGL): Measures balance, grace, speed and overall physical coordination. Agility is a factor in calculating your Fighting. AGL is linked to the Clubs ♣ Suit.
  • Intellect (INT): Measures how well your character learns and reasons. Intellect is a factor in calculating your Fighting and Wealth. INT is linked to the Diamonds ♦ Suit.
  • Wisdom (WIS): Measures common sense, perception and intuition. Wisdom is a factor in calculating your Will and Fighting. WIS is linked to the Hearts ♥ Suit.
  • Presence (PRE): Measures force of personality, persuasiveness, leadership ability and physical attractiveness. Presence is a factor in calculating your Will and Wealth. PRE is linked to the Spades ♠ Suit.

ABILITY VALUES

1 – 3: Below Average (BA)

4 – 5: Average (AV)

6 – 7: Gifted (GF)

8 – 9: Highly Gifted (HG)

10 – 11: Exceptional (EX)

12+: Best Ever (BE)

Milton decides although Kofi is an older man, he is still an active Constable in the elite Constabulary of Sati Baa, so his Strength and Endurance should be above average. He checks the ABILITY VALUES Chart and decides Kofi has somewhat above average Strength, so he gives him a rank of 6, which costs him 12 points of Aṣe. This puts his Strength, or STR, in the Gifted (GF) category.

Milton decides Kofi will also have Gifted level Endurance (END), but it will be greater than his Strength, so he gives him an END of 7, which costs Milton 14 points of Aṣe.

The third Ability Milton gives Kofi is Dexterity (DEX). Milton determines that, as a master with throwing clubs, Kofi must have a high Dexterity. He feels that Kofi’s dexterity is Exceptional. He looks at the ABILITIES VALUE chart again. He gives Kofi a 10 Dexterity, which costs him 20 points of Aṣe.

Milton continues with this process for the remaining four Abilities. He ends up with the following stats:

Strength: 6 (cost: 12 Aṣe)

Endurance: 7 (cost: 14 Aṣe)

Dexterity: 10 (cost: 20 Aṣe)

Agility: 5 (cost: 10 Aṣe)

Intellect: 8 (cost: 16 Aṣe)

Wisdom: 10 (cost: 20 Aṣe)

Presence: 6 (cost: 12 Aṣe)

Total Cost: 104

Milton now has 46 points left to complete his character. He now determines Calculated Abilities, which are determined by a combination of basic Abilities. The Calculated Ability’s rank can be increased by spending 10 points of Aṣe. It can also be lowered if the player chooses to do so. A lowered Calculated Ability adds 10 points of Aṣe to the player’s remaining Aṣe points.

Milton studies the Calculated Abilities and each one’s corresponding chart:

Calculated Abilities

Fighting (FIGHT): Measures your natural, raw ability to attack and defend in both Close and Ranged Combat. FIGHT is used to determine how many cards you draw at the beginning of combat. Your base FIGHT rank is calculated on the chart below:

(AGL + WIS)/2 (round up)

(DEX + INT)/2 (round up) BA   AV   GF   HG   EX   BE

BA 2       3       4       5       6       7

AV 3       4       5       6       7       7

GF 4       5       6       7       7       7

HG 5       6       7       7       7       8

EX 6       7       7     7       8       8

BE 7       7       7     8       8       8

Kofi has a DEX 10, AGL 5, INT 8 and WIS 10. Milton calculates the base scores from the chart: (10+ 8)/2 = (18)/2 = 9; (5 + 10)/2 = (15)/2 = 7.5, rounded up to 8.

Kofi’s first score, the average of his Dexterity and Intellect, is 9, which is Highly Gifted (HG). His second score, the average of his Agility and Wisdom, is 8, which is also Highly Gifted (HG). Checking the chart, HG and HG meet at the rank of 7.

Kofi’s fighting rank is 7, so in the game, Milton will draw seven cards at the beginning of each combat Kofi is engaged in.

FIGHT (and all other calculated Abilities) can be increased with Aṣe during character creation and as the game progresses.

Health (HLTH): Measures fortitude, ruggedness, metabolism and the ability to resist damage from attacks and from the environment. HLTH is the amount of physical damage you can take before suffering critical Conditions (see Conditions). Your character’s HLTH score is calculated on the chart below:

Strength (STR)

Endurance (END) BA   AV   GF   HG   EX   BE

BA 5       6       7       8       9     10

AV 6       7       8       9       10     10

GF 7       8       9       10     10     10

HG 8       9       10     10     10     11

EX 9       10     10     10     11     11

BE 10     10     10     11     11     12

Kofi has an END 7 (GF), and a STR of 6 (GF).

Checking the chart, GF and GF meet at the rank of 9, so Kofi’s Health is 9. Milton decides to increase Kofi’s health to 10 at the cost of 10 points of Aṣe.

Milton now has 36 points of Aṣe left to build his character.

Will (WILL): Measures mental stability, level-headedness, determination, self-awareness, self-confidence and willpower. WILL is used to resist mental and spiritual attacks and represents the amount of mental and spiritual damage you can take before suffering critical Conditions. Your WILL score is calculated on the chart below:

Wisdom (WIS)

Presence (PRE) BA   AV   GF   HG   EX   BE

BA 5       6       7       8       9     10

AV 6       7       8       9       10     10

GF 7       8       9       10     10     10

HG 8       9       10     10     10     11

EX 9       10     10     10     11     11

BE 10    10     10     11     11     12

Kofi has a PRE of 6 (GF), and a WIS of 10 (EX).

Checking the chart, GF and EX meet at the rank of 10, so Kofi’s Will is 10.

Wealth (WLTH): On the continent of Ki Khanga, currency comes in many forms – cowry shells, gold nuggets, pieces of ivory. To simplify things, money is expressed as Equipment Points (EP), which is related to your character’s Wealth rank. Wealth also represents your earnings at the end of each adventure. More EPs can be amassed through trade of goods and services, looting, etc. At character creation, you receive 5 EP per WLTH rank.

  1. For example, Yamil the Merchant has WLTH 8. He starts out with 40 Equipment Points (8 x 5). At the end of each adventure, Yamil is also awarded 40 EP.
  2. EP is used to buy equipment, weapons, clothing, other goods and services.
  3. Your Wealth is calculated on the chart below:

Presence (PRE)

Intellect (INT) BA   AV   GF   HG   EX   BE

BA 2       3       4       5       6       7

AV 3       4       5       6       7       7

GF 4       5      6       7       7       7

HG 5       6       7       7       7       8

EX 6       7       7       7       8       8

BE 7       7       7       8       8       8

Milton calculates Kofi’s final Calculated Ability. Kofi has a. INT of 8 (HG), and a PRE of 6 (GF).

Checking the chart, HG and GF meet at the rank of 7, so Kofi’s Wealth is 7. Milton decides to reduce Kofi’s WLTH to 6. He earns 10 points of Aṣe by reducing his WLTH by 1 rank. This earned Aṣe is added to Milton’s points for building his character.

Milton now has 46 points of Aṣe left to build his character.

Milton decides to take a break here and grab the cream cheese danish he hid among his collection of Sword and Soul novels and comic books. Go ahead and take a break, too. But be sure to join us in two days for Part 2, wherein we give Kofi his Skills and Talents.

The Keys by Balogun Ojetade

The Keys. Artwork by Chris Miller

Many years ago there was a series of books for young people called ‘you are the hero’ books. In these books the reader had the option of deciding what the hero would do. The decision would determine the outcome of the book. After a series of choices the reader could eventually come to the best ending by making the right choices.

I never read books like this growing up, but I know quite of few friends who did. Last year Balogun Ojetade changed that for me. The Keys is a unique and exciting ‘You Are the Hero’ novel by Balogun and it’s well worth the read.

The premise behind The Keys is vintage Ojetade, a mash up of history and culture that sets the stage. Hundreds of years ago the world was connected by teleporters in the form of pyramids. Ancient folks used these portals to travel and share commerce and culture. Unfortunately the pyramids had to be shut down to prevent the domination of nefarious people led by Henry the Navigator. Yes, you read that right: Henry the Navigator. The only way the pyramids can be reactivated is by descendants of the Oyo and Aztec empire,  people possessing the special qualities to be the ‘Keys.’

This is where you, the reader, enter the picture. You choose between two main characters, one young woman, one young man, each with special talents and abilities. After you choose your character you read along, making choices along the way that determine the outcome of the story. Now I kinda cheated a little. Because Balogun and I are friends I basically knew how the story would evolve. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying this wonderful book. I made the wrong choices deliberately to see what the outcome would be. And even though I knew how the story should flow I still manage to end up in some unexpected situations.

The Keys is written for a Young Adult audience (13 years and older) but its a great read for adults as well. The added bonus is the cover and interior illustration by Chris Miller which add flavor to a satisfying read. It makes a great present for the young reader in your life.

You can purchase The Keys at Balogun’s personal website, Roaring Lions productions (https://www.roaringlionsproductions.com/) as well as Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Keys-YOU-Are-Hero-Book/dp/0991407318/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417882335&sr=8-1&keywords=the+keys+balogun+ojetade)