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Best way to handle giving every PC an arcane background?

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  • Best way to handle giving every PC an arcane background?

    I've had a few ideas for settings that involve all of the PCs starting with a free arcane background (and probably a free d6 in the arcane skill too). One question that keeps popping up for me though is how many freebies should be given to support the AB as the characters advance?

    Assuming all the players are bought into the premise and actually want to play characters with ABs, I just wonder whether it would be better to hand out certain edges related to the ABs for free as they progress. Since all the characters have ABs and presumably all the players will want to improve that dimension of their character then giving at least the Power Points edge at each new rank and maybe some free advances of the arcane skill or such would allow the players to focus on other edges and skills to give their characters some character would be good?

    Or would it be best to just give the free AB and starting skill and let the players have total freedom in how they build out their characters? Could it depend on the nature of the setting as well? For example, in a Harry Potter style magic school setting having regular free advances in the AB side of the character seems like it would fit. On the other hand a mythical Greek style setting where the AB represents their nature that makes the PCs heroes rather than mere mortals would seem more appropriate to give the players free reign.

  • #2
    You're giving out AB: X and <arcane skill> d6 as a Setting Rule? That's all you need to do. If the players want their PCs to get better, they'll spend the build resources to do so. Otherwise, they'll just sit on the setting default. This is just like a RuneQuest character never improving their spellcasting or a Dark Sun character never investing in the psionicist class.


    • ValhallaGH
      ValhallaGH commented
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  • #3
    I have done it as Paladin2019 recommends. It works.


    • #4
      Agree with paladin2019, just give the AB and starting skill and let players customize their build from there. Some might go "pure mage," others may want a "spellsword" concept or arcane archer, and yet others may chose to be a "reluctant mage," never growing their inate powers.

      If you do decide to give freebies each Rank or whatever, just beware of the power growth (no pun intended). You'll need to scale threats more quickly than usual.


      • #5
        Thank you all for the responses. If I ever run a game like this I'll just leave it at the free AB and skill die. Allowing the players to decide the progression of their characters makes the most sense now.