Jackals: Bronze Age Fantasy Roleplaying is the upcoming new addition to the Osprey Roleplaying line from author John-Matthew DeFoggiOn the blog today, J-M will be looking at character creation in the game.

Hello, again. J-M here, talking about Jackals: Bronze Age Fantasy Roleplaying. Today, we delve into Jackal character creation.

Chapter 3 of Jackals: Bronze Age Fantasy Roleplaying covers character creation. The first—and arguably most important—decision is choosing your character’s culture. Every player character in Jackals is human, so there are no differences in attributes or physical traits. Instead, your choice of culture orients your character by providing specific skills, traits, and ritualist paths. There are four main cultures in the Zaharets (at this point):

  • The Luathi – Analogous to the Hebrews’ pre-Saul unification or the Ugaritic/Canaanite peoples
  • The Gerwa – Analogous to the Middle Kingdom Egyptians
  • The Melkoni – Analogous to Mycenaean Greeks
  • The Trauj – Analogous to the desert tribes of the Arabian peninsula

Choosing a culture grants your character bonuses to several skills, a choice of cultural virtues and traits, and access to special gear and magic. Once you choose a culture, you must choose a cultural virtue. Each culture prides itself on three main virtues. For example, the Luathi—due to their history—cling to The Bonds of Friendship, The Fires of Freedom, and Seeking Knowledge. Jackals can use their virtues during a game to improve a test result, as they dig deep into their heritage.

Artwork by John McCambridge

Once you choose a virtue, you must decide whether your character is a ritualist or not. Each culture has two paths to magical power. If you want to have access to a ritualist path, you must give up some of the attribute points non-ritualist characters enjoy. Next, you spend your character’s attribute points to increase their five (or six, for a ritualist) attributes:

  • Strength—Defines how physically strong your character is and how well they apply this strength.
  • Deftness—Defines how agile and skilled your character is, and covers both hand–eye and total body coordination.
  • Vitality—Defines how resilient your character is.
  • Courage—Defines your character’s bravery and mental resolve.
  • Wisdom—Defines your character’s mental resolve, intellect, and resourcefulness. Wisdom factors into many skills, as well as spell casting.
  • Devotion [DEV]—this attribute defines your character’s connection to the spiritual world.

Each attribute begins at 9, and you have 17 points to spend between them. How you choose to spend these points influences a variety of character aspects—from skill points to wounds to damage bonuses. From here, you calculate your character’s skill points by category and then spend them to increase a skill’s percentage from its base. The main skill categories are: Common/General, Defensive, Martial, Knowledge, Urban, and Magical. Your available skill points are based on your character’s attributes. For example, the higher your character’s Deftness, Courage, and Vitality, the more points they have to spend for Defensive skills.

Once you finish selecting the skills you want to improve, you choose traits for your character. Traits represent special training, auspices, or other factors that make your character better at the specific use of a skill. A ritualist chooses 2 traits—one from the general list and one from their cultural list—while non-ritualist characters choose 2 from each list.

To wrap up character creation, you may answer a few questions about your Jackal to start with a bit more experience, and you select your character’s gear. Congratulations! Your Jackal is ready to explore the War Road. In our next article, we’ll cover the highlights of the Clash System—the core of the Jackals game experience.

Note: You can record all of the above information about your character on a custom Jackals character sheet you can download from the Gaming Resources page.

Excited to explore the land of the Zaharets? Order your copy of Jackals: Bronze Age Fantasy Roleplaying today!