Monday, March 16, 2009

Arduin's Special Ability Charts and Athanor

Back around 1982, as I was reworking the campaign for my first game group as a DM, one of my players pulled out a copy of The Arduin Grimoire, Volume 1 and wanted to talk about incorporating some elements of the book. In the end, we only pulled in the Special Ability Charts and not the critical hit charts or new hit point system. At the time, it seemed pretty exciting and innovative as characters added some sort of special abilities that set them apart.

Looking through the books now, I find myself a bit astounded by the huge variation in special abilities. They include the incredibly powerful (your character is a young giant, half-vampire, half-efreet, immune to fear), completely baffling (your character is magic-competent, picks locks, disarms traps, and climbs walls but suffers the penalty (?) of a +8 bonus to charisma; +1 with crossbows, javelins and throwing darts, but -1 vs. cold; +5 charisma when lying, but -3 vs. undead), and some really flavorful entries (ex-seafarer, cannot be drowned in armor -- you automatically shed it; taste bad to monsters, they spit you out 95% of the time; chronic insomniac, -5 to charisma but 100% resistant to sleep spells). My favorite has always been the result that gives a character +3 to Int, Wis, and Charisma, but the character is a singing evangelist with all the abilities of both their original priestly class and the bard class as well as the restrictions that they cannot use weapons or armor except for staves and that they cannot keep more than 500gp treasure. Dave Hargrave had an interesting campaign.

Somewhere in the heart of those charts is something interesting that could make a good piece of the Athanor campaign. Just thinking about the possibilities, I whipped out a version of chart that could be used for Athanor, though I'm not at all sure I want to use it....

d% Special Ability
01-03 Airship training.
04-06 Alchemical training.
07-08 Assassin training. You gain a +1 when using poison or sneaking around.
09-11 Courtier training.
12-14 Criminal past.
15 Engineer Training. Can detect stone traps, shifting/slanting tunnels.
16-19 Grew up on the streets
20-22 Herbalist training. Able to detect and treat poisons.
23-24 Medical training.
25-28 Merchant training.
29-32 Military training.
33 Navigator training.
34-36 Outdoors Training. Can find water and shelter and track animals.
37-39 Religious training.
40-43 Scholarly Training.
44-48 Guild training
49-50 Social outcast
51 Affinity for technology.
52 Danger magnet.
53-54 Disowned scion of one of the Great Houses.
55-56 Escaped slave.
57 Falls in love easily.
58 Fearless. +1 saves vs. fear.
59 Glutton.
60-61 Good sense of direction.
62-63 Iron stomach. +1 saves vs. ingested poisons, eats strange foods.
64 Libertine.
65 Member of a cult or secret society.
66 Moralist.
67-68 Natural skill with animals.
69 Natural skill with magic. Memorize 1 (additional) MU 1st level spell.
70-71 Natural skills as a rider.
72 Pacifist.
73-74 Phobia.
75-77 Prodigy. Add +2 to a random ability score.
78 Resurrected in the clone tanks of Vog Mur with no memory of your past
and no clues. You have a terrible scar and a vaguely cadaverous appearance.
79 Sees twice as well in the dark as normal.
80-82 Excellent senses.
83-85 Skilled liar.
86 Taste bad to monsters, they will spit you out if you are swallowed.
87-89 Terrible liar, but others trust you.
90 Unlucky with technology.
91 Wants revenge for a parent's murder.
92 You are a Ghul.
93 Rudimentary ability to communicate with animals.
94-95 Lucky: +1 to saves.
96 Monster magnet
97-98 Roll twice
99-00 Roll 3 times