- How do I go about creating a character? -
- What are the characteristics? And what's an appropriate level? -
- How many Special Abilities should I take? -
- What sort of equipment should my character carry? -
- How do I go about creating a character? -
There are as many different ways of creating characters as there are players, but there are three essential elements that are needed to use a character in the game - these are, in no particular order, a profile, background and a model.
The profile comprises the characters stats, his equipment list and any special abilities he might have. Most novice players create the profile for their first character(s) using the sample statlines in the back of the rulebook, however many veteran players have concluded that these stats are a little too high to make for a fun game and prefer to work from the descriptions of each stat at the front of the rulebook. Using slightly lower stats shouldn't be looked at as implying that players should use wimpy characters - instead the idea is to increase the amount of tension in the game. For example, a character with Ballistic Skill 95 is unlikely to ever miss, so there's little tension whenever he takes a shot as it's an almost foregone conclusion that he will hit.
Some players like to randomly generate their character's profile, reasoning that if they rolled Weapon Skill 86 then it must be 'fair', however many veterans would argue that just because a value was rolled randomly, it doesn't mean it is appropriate for the character. That's not to say there's no place for random character generators, but if you do decide to create your characters in this way it is well worth comparing the generated profile to your concept of the character to ensure they match. For example, if you envisioned your character as being good with a sword, but a poor shot and the randomly generated profile instead gave him a low Weapon Skill but a high Ballistic Skill, then feel free to swap the values around, or to just choose new ones.
For most people, the most important thing about the stats is that they are appropriate for the character - to know whether stats are appropriate, most people will look at the character's background to get some idea of who the character is and what they are capable of.
Some good advice on creating profiles can be found later in this article or in this thread .
A character's background usually tells their story up to the point where they start appearing in games. It can be written in many forms, such as a biographical statement, a piece of fiction, or an Arbites report on their activities. It's purpose is to describe a characters motivations and explain why they are involved in the shadowy battle for the Emperor's soul. When posting your first character it can be tempting to skimp on this section, but without it people are unable to advise you if your character's profile is appropriate - for example, it is impossible to say whether Weapon Skill 75 is right for your character without knowing something about what level of training he has had and his combat experience.
Writing background can be difficult if you are not well versed in the 40k universe, however veteran players will be only too happy to help you come up with a great story for your character. If you do not feel confident to write a detailed background for your character, the best thing to do would be to post a set of bullet points about your character concept including as much detail as you can. In this case, it is probably not worth worrying about the characters stats until you have fleshed out their background some more - at this stage it would be enough to say that your character is 'good with a sword' and worry about the exact Weapon Skill value that 'good with a sword' equates to at a later date.
There is no set length for written background; some people like to write thousands of words, others manage with less than a hundred - however if you are asking people to review your character then you probably need at least 200 words in order to be able to include enough detail for people to know whether the profile fits the background.
Some helpful suggestions about things you might want to include in your character background can be found here .
Without a model, a character cannot take part in the game, and while no one expects you to have built a model before you post your character it is worth at least thinking about what model you are going to use. Often it will be helpful to post this imformation at the same time as your character's profile and background as it will help others visualise your character. The model you choose will also help refine your character's background and profile - for example, Inquisitor is almost always played using WYSIWYG principles, so the model you choose will impact the equipment list in the character's profile.
If you need advice on how to represent your character in model form, then you could post a few bullet points on how you want them to look and you'll probably be inundated with suggestions for models. Alternatively, this thread includes a list of manufacturers of 54mm models suitable for Inquisitor.
- What do the various characteristics represent? And what's an appropriate level for my character? -
Below are expanded descriptions of the stats based on the descriptions of each characteristic given of page 23 of the rulebook (p15 of the LRB), and some indication of what sort of person, or how much training, it would take to reach each level.
An ordinary citizen would have a WS around the 30 mark. A regular soldier would have enough training to bring their WS up to around 50, while a hardened veteran might have about WS 65 to 70. A swordsman who has spend his whole life training might have WS 80 or more but having dedicated his life to this one aspect is unlikely to have high BS or mental stats. Only assassins and the like will have a higher WS.
Most ordinary humans would have a BS of between 30 and 40. A trained soldier might have 50 to 60, a veteran might have a BS of about 70, and someone who has trained extensively might have BS as high as 80. Only the a character who has undergone and inordinate amount of training (like a Vindicare) is going to have a BS much higher. Again, anyone who has trained to a high level with firearms is unlikely to have dedicated as much time training in hand-to-hand combat or to improving their mind.
A regular citizen might have a strength of around 30 to 40. A fit human such as a soldier would be strength 50. Only those who do extensive weights training and the like are likely to have a strength over about 65 to 70.
A normal human might have a toughness of around 40. While a very fit and healthy human might have a toughness of around 50 to 60. Only a substantial amount of strength training and body-hardening exercises are likely to raise a characters toughness much higher than 70.
Strength and Toughness are related, both being in part down to muscle. As a general rule there is unlikely to be a gap of more than about 15 between a characters S & T characteristics, but there will be exceptions - for example, a very fat man might have a high toughness but a much lower strength.
Most normal humans will have an initiative in the range 30 to 40. Training, such as that undergone by a soldier, might raise this to around 50 to 60. Exceptional individuals might reach 70 to 75, but it would take years of extensive training to raise ones initiative above 80.
An ordinary citizen is fairly weak willed with a willpower around the 35 mark, while a tough veteran might have a willpower around 50 to 60. Exceptional individuals might have WP in the 70 to 80 range. For psykers, a WP of 60 is fairly average for a Sanctioned Psyker, a particularly powerful or well trained psyker might have WP 75 and exceptionally focused psykers such as those recruited into the Inquisition might have WP 80 or more. Anyone who has reached this sort of level of psychic mastery is likely to have neglected their physical form and so will probably have fairly low physical stats.
An ordinary citizen with a simple job as a labourer or low-level technician might have a sagacity of around 30. One who is well educated (say to degree or masters level) might have an Sg of 50 to 60. Highly educated characters such as Tech Adepts, Military Commanders and the like might have a Sg of 80 or more but these people will be extremely few and far between. Again anyone spending enough time on their studies to reach this level is unlikely to have high physical stats. Of course Sagacity doesn't just cover book-learning - it's possible to have an intelligent but uneducated character with quite a high Sg characteristic. This is probably best covered by the GM applying appropriate bonuses & penalties to Sg related tests based on the character taking that test.
Most ordinary citizens will duck for cover at the first sign of trouble and will have Nv around 20. A trained soldier might have a Nv characteristic around 40 to 50 and a veteran around 50 to 60. Only those characters the most exceptionally brave (or foolish) characters are likely to have a Nv over 75.
Most citizens would have a Ld around 30, while trained soldiers would have an Ld of around 60. Officers might have a Ld around 70 and only the best leaders, (generals, Inquisitors and the like) would have a Ld over 80.
Unlike some of the other characteristics, Leadership isn't something that can really be learned - training can only enhance a characters innate ability. Therefore leadership ability is something a character will either have or not have - it's possible to find someone who has never had the chance to demonstrate his leadership ability, but under the right circumstances might be a more than competent leader.
- My character is an Inquisitor/Magos/Rogue Trader/Guardsman etc, how many Special Abilities should he have? -
Skills and Special Abilities should not be chosen simply for the benefit they bring, but should be used sparingly in keeping with the characters background. A few carefully chosen skills and/or abilities can work wonders in distinguishing one character from another. Of course not all characters need to have any skills or abilities - some can be adequately represented by their stats alone, so it's impossible to say how many skills a character should] have - generally a good rule of thumb is that 0-4 is a reasonable number for most characters.
A character shouldn't just be given a load of shooting skills just because he's supposed to be a fantastic shot. A high BS represents someone who's a great shot; the shooting skills are there to differentiate between different types of good marksmen.
For example, you might have two Guardsmen with almost identical stats and equipment, but by giving them different skills you can really emphasise the different strengths of each one. One might be a trained sharpshooter who prefers to sit in cover lining up the perfect shot in an attempt to take out his target in one shot so maybe Deadeye Shot would be appropriate for him. The other might have been a light trooper trained to move rapidly and shoot on the move so might have the Hipshooting ability. When used in this way, Special Abilities can really emphasis the talents of a character.
- Acrobatic & Catfall - these are really only suitable for especially lithe and agile characters - usually ones who have an above average Initiative.
- Dodge - this skill doesn't necessarily have to only be given to characters with a high Initiative - slower characters may still try to dodge incoming fire - they're just less likely to succeed.
- Lightning Reflexes - there are three versions of this skill in existence, but all represent characters who can think on their feet and rapidly assess a situation and come up with the best course of action. It should only be given to characters who embody these traits - not necessarily ones with high Initiative as that characteristic represents more than just a characters ability to think on their feet. That said, it would be extremely unlikely for a character with a poor Initiative to possess this skill.
- Deadeye Shot - this skill is really only appropriate for real firearms experts with a great deal of natural skill enhanced by a lot of training.
- Fast Draw - this skill takes a great deal of time to learn but isn't necessarily dependant on having a high BS. Anyone can learn to rapidly draw and fire a pistol, although only skilled gunfighters are likely to bother.
- Gunfighter - this is a skill that can usually only be gained through practice, therefore is usually associated with characters with an above average BS. Of course some characters may train in this skill because they think it makes them look cool wielding two guns at once. They might end up able to use a gun in each hand without degrading their ability to hit something, it just so happens that they couldn't hit anything anyway. A character who is ambidextrous won't necessarily have this skill (and vice-versa).
- Hipshooting - this is another skill that is only likely to have been developed with years of practice (although some people may just be naturally good at aiming while moving). The character need not be a really great shot, just one who has learnt to compensate for his own movement as he aims.
- Quickload - this skill is only likely to have been gained by years of practise with a given set of weapons and equipment - for example by a Guard Veteran who's carried a lasgun on countless battlefields or by a seasoned gunfighter who has used the same weapons for years. It's probably not appropriate for characters who change weapons fairly often and should never be used solely to avoid high reload times.
- Rock Steady Aim - this skill probably has more to do with a characters nerve and discipline than his skill at shooting. It is most fitting on characters with a great deal on combat experience and who have high Nv and/or Ld.
- Blademaster - represents a character with superb knife fighting skills not necessarily one with a general high skill in hand-to-hand combat. Of course, neither should this skill be given to someone with a particularly poor WS.
- Deflect Shot - this skill represents a character with extremely fast reflexes and a great degree of precision when wielding a blade. It is usually associated with characters with a substantially above average WS and I.
- Feint - this skill represents a character who has trained extensively in hand-to-hand combat and has become skilled at wrong-footing his opponent. It is usually associated with characters with a substantially above average WS.
- First Strike - similar to Gunfighter, this skill isn't necessarily dependant on having a high WS, but only a skilled warrior is likely to take the time to learn it.
- Furious Assault - this skill is appropriate for character who are more concerned with landing quick furious blows - they don't necessarily have to be the worlds best swordsman as it is concerned more with the manner in which they attack rather than their skill.
Other Skills and Abilities
- Handedness - around 90% of people are right-handed with the majority of the rest being left-handed. Truly ambidextrous people are extremely rare although apparently it can be learnt. The ambidextrous ability should only be used in very rare cases, not just as a matter of course to avoid penalties for being off-handed. For those who have trained extensively to use a gun in each hand the Gunfighter skill is more appropriate.
- Force of Will & Nerves of Steel - these should be reserved for characters either too stupid to know when to run, or on those characters whose free will has been taken away - for example arco-flagellants and servitors. Exceptionally brave individuals would be better represented with a high Nerve characteristic.
- Heroic - the character is a natural hero - he might not be a great swordsman or gunfighter, but when push comes to shove he'll get up and give it his best even in the face of overwhelming odds. As such, this skill isn't really dependant on characteristics, but should really be justified in the background.
- Leader - this skill should be given to those who have great natural leadership ability and are accustomed to command. Obviously it is associated with characters with a high Ld characteristic.
- Medic - to be given to characters who have had some medical training (they may well have a high Sg too) - this would usually be evident in their background.
- True Grit - this skill is usually associated with characters with a high Toughness, though a high Toughness is not sufficient in itself. The skill represents someone who can fight through pain that would cripple other people - an ability so extraordinary should really feature in the background for the character.
- Fearsome - this ability should really be used for characters who are very very scary. Although Quovandius has it, most people wouldn't consider being a bit ugly as sufficient justification for being Fearsome.
- What sort of equipment should my character carry? -
The first thing to say is try not to go too overboard on equipment. A basic weapon, a backup pistol and a close-combat weapon is usually plenty for most characters. In Inquisitor las weapons are good guns (not mere flash-lights!), stub/auto weapons and shotguns are great guns and bolt weapons are awesome and can dominate the game. Power weapons and bolt weapons are easily capable of taking someone out of the game in one hit, and with usually only 3-4 characters per side you don't want the game to be over too quickly. That's not to say you shouldn't use them, but one or two in a warband is plenty, they certainly shouldn't be as prevalent in Inquisitor as they are in 40k. Grenades in Inquisitor are weapons of mass destruction, but a couple of each character is fine - they're powerful but risky to use.
With armour, robes, flak & carapace are probably your best bet. Power armour may be common on the battlefields of the 41st millennium, but Inquisitor isn't generally set on the battlefield - it's about the secret wars behind the front-lines. You can hardly infiltrate an enemy cult, or sneak into a rival Inquisitor's HQ if you go round wearing power armour. The other good reason to avoid power armour is that it makes you almost immune to las and solid shot weapons, and being nigh on invincible doesn't make for the most fun game for your opponent.
At the end of the day, like stats, the equipment should be appropriate for the character. Don't just load up on the best of everything just because it'll make you all powerful in the game - that's really against the spirit of the game. Unfortunately it seems to happen all to often, people realise they can have any character they want and the power goes to their head and they design a power-armoured, boltgun & power-sword wielding psyker carrying everything but the kitchen sink.
+++ Everything you have been told is a lie: A Guide to Inquisitor +++
- An Overview Of Inquisitor
- Introducing The Conclave
- Creating Characters
- Designing Scenarios & Campaigns