Roll Your Own

Character Creation in Chimera Basic

Sagacious Greg MacKenzie recommended that, since I didn’t have room in the Basic rules to include a character creation example, I post one on this blog. On one level, this is an instructional exercise, designed to illustrate how you go about creating your own PC in Chimera Basic.

On another level, it’s a good example of how fast you can do it, even if you’re a newbie to the system. I’m following the precise steps outlined on page 5 of Chimera Basic (CB). I’m using only what’s included in that volume, and if you want to follow along, grab a Chimera character sheet for yourself. To make things interesting, I’ve included the timestamp for each step in brackets. [1]

1. Start with Vision and Social Status

I’m suggesting something simple for this first go-round—an archetypical “Thewed Barbarian” fits the bill, but with a twist. Instead of a Conan-like dude, I’m gonna do Conan’s mom.[2]

Mother of Conan

Conans Mom

Now, since I’m doing this sans GM, my assumption is that this chick is a steppes wife who’s bored with her lot in clan life and wants to get a taste of the real world. This requires coin, and perforce, adventuring (because there’s no way she’s gonna get a real job).

So: barbarian girl, muscled yet inviting, with just enough sense to keep her from getting stranded on the wrong side of civilisation. Not exactly Red Sonia, but a chick from the sticks, with a bit of savvy and a mean left hook.

I roll for Social Station: “2: Low,” which means she’s not even close to well off and starts with 10% normal starting cash. Already, I can see that filling her purse will be a prime motivation all through her career. [05/28/11 16:19]

2. Select Race

Human, natch. But which kind?

I check out Races (CB/6) and go with Steppe Nomad. This gives me the following base stats:

AdCost: 4     MR: 12”±1d6     WL: 2     IM: +1
Perks: Mounted Assault, Quick Draw

I could have gone with a more Conan-like race (i.e., Cold Mountainous Woodsmen), but this was expedient and I have no GM to guide me. As a concession, I’ll forgo the Horse Warrior Sperk. [05/28/11 16:22]

3. Select Class

This barbarian girl has to be a Veteran (CB/7), and being a muscled steppes fighter, I figure she gets the Buttress, En Garde, and Mighty Blow Sperks. Stacking the Veteran on top of the Steppes Nomad racial type looks like this:

AdCost: 14     MR: 12”±1d6     WL: 6     IM: +1
Abilities: Athletics, Fight, Shoot
Perks: Mounted Assault, Quick Draw
Special Perks
* Buttress: Double the DF of armour worn (melee only)
* En Garde: Increase Parry by Fight AR (melee only)
* Mighty Blow: Upgrade the damage of melee weapons by 1 die

Clearly, she can hold her own in a stand-up fight, and the Sperks let me capitalise on the Conan-vibe: light armour but good defence and the ability to pound the crap out of pesky foes. On the downside, each of the three Sperks increases my Advancement Cost by +1, so this Veteran kit is expensive, at a total of 10 points. [05/28/11 16:24]

4. Update Abilities

I get 4 Improvement Points (IP) straight away. Per the Character Advancement guidelines (CB/9), I spend them as follows:

  • Improve a class Ability: In this case, Athletics and Fight, and I’ll raise each from their starting values of AR +1 to AR +2 (1 IP each)
  • Acquire a non-class Ability: I choose Sneak, which starts at AR +0 (1 IP)
  • Acquire a new Perk: Just to seal the melee deal, how about Batter, which gives her +1 to all Damage rolls with melee weapons (1 IP)

That’s 4 points. But looking over the Perks, it occurs to me that giving her Insulation would make sense—barbarian’s don’t like magic. Unfortunately, I’m out of Improvement Points, so I have to resort to Plan B: according to page 5, I can get another IP if I start a class Ability at AR +0. Since I definitely see this character as more of a hand-to-hand fighter, I reduce Shoot +1 to Shoot +0 in exchange for:

  • Acquire a new Perk: Insulation, which provides a +1 bonus to all Resistance rolls against powers

That’s a lot of ground to cover, but the character is starting to take real shape. [05/28/11 16:28]

5. Purchase Equipment

I roll 1d6 x $100 and end up with $600, which is a good thing since my character’s low station (#1, above) gives her only 10% of this amount—I’m starting with only $60. Oh, actually, that’s 60 Cheneys, which is what I decide money is called in this campaign.

Ugh. Even leather armour is too expensive—what moron created these tables?

I’ll have to go with hide armour, which is only 50C, but 2 Encumbrance. That leaves me with 10C—just enough for a battle axe. My reserves are depleted (not even enough money for supplies), so I can already tell that my first goal is to get more Cheneys. How else to get on with drinking games amongst the soft, urban men-folk? [05/28/11 16:33]

6. Update Character Stats

Based on the above, I fill in the following on my character sheet:

Cmpalla character sheet

C'mpalla character sheet

  • Experience Level: 1, because this is a new character
  • Movement Rate: Base 12” ± 1d6, adjusted by -3 Encumbrance for 9” ± 1d6
  • Wound Limit: 2 for race plus 4 for Veteran is WL 6
  • Defence: Hide armour is DF 1, but the Buttress Sperk doubles it to DF 2; Parry is also +2 because of her En Garde Sperk
  • Resistance: +1 for 1st-level, and I record adjustments for Athlethics +2 and the Insulation Perk
  • Initiative Modifier: +1 for my Quick Draw Perk
  • Advancement Cost: 4 for race plus 10 for my tricked-out Veteran for a total of AdCost 14; she’s going to have to earn advancement bonuses to increase her chances of improvement

All these details are shown in the character sheet at right (click to enbiggen). [05/28/11 16:38]

7. Finishing Touches

Aside from knowing my PC is a poor barbarian, I don’t have much background. So I roll on the Boons & Baggage table (CB/8). The 2d12 result is “23,” which is astoundingly high. Not that I’m complaining: that result tells me that my character “has the favourable attentions of a powerful (but unidentified) patron.”

Before I figure out what this means, I name my character C’mpalla and decide she’s of Neutral alignment (because, really, I don’t want to play a Chaotic PC and Lawful is right out).

Now, about this patron business. If I had a GM, I’d try to parley that into getting a commission to earn some CASH. But since I don’t, I’ll make it up myself: C’mpalla somehow gets noticed by a Cav Duppor, a rich but indolent sorcerer in the City State of Vynkar, where the first adventure takes place (perhaps she’s noticed for the wrong reasons, but I’ll think that through later). Through an intermediary (because Cav wishes to remain anonymous), C’mpalla is offered 500 Cheneys to retrieve the Purple Ruby from the ruins of Moko-Chaaka in the Weeping Plains.

Naturally, C’mpalla agrees, but only after shrewdly requesting a “signing bonus” of 150 Cheneys—enough to buy a survival pack, a short bow, a load of arrows, and still have 6 Cheneys left over. Maybe a flagon and a bit of fun before heading out at first light... [05/28/11 16:44; Total time: 25 minutes]

Final Words

Actually, I’m kinda excited to play C’mpalla. First off, I’ve not played many female characters, and to be honest, I have no idea where this is leading. So here’s where I branch out:

1) I created a character in under 30 Earth minutes. The only reason it took that long is because I was writing down all this stuff for you people. Yes, as the author of Chimera Basic, my familiarity with the game saved me some time, but after some reading, you’ll be creating PCs with all sorts of rapidity.

2) This is an opportunity for solo play. Since my group is scattered across the country and littered with spawn, kids and time zones prevent me from getting the band together, even online. Maybe a read through Mythic will inspire me to track this character through some action. If nothing else, it will take me through Chimera’s paces from the other side of the GM screen...

3) I already like the place names I dashed out for this example. Maybe there’s an actual campaign here. I have no idea what it’s about, where stuff is, or the kind of things exist. But hey, that’s the whole point of Chimera. Simple rules, unlimited options, yeah?

Thoughts, feedback, and questions welcome.


  1. And to be fair, this time includes me filling in the character sheet, so you’re seeing a full and accurate real-time chronology of me reading, following instructions, and writing things down. I mean, you’d need a cesium clock to get more precise.
  2. And by "do," I mean "create." Because after re-reading that, it sounds a bit dirty.
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