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Interpreting starting wealth/CHR using birth tablesby combatmedic
BIRTH/BACKGROUND TABLES for Basic D&D
Use the money/gear roll (the 3D6 part of 3D6X10) to determine social rank.
The alternate method is to use Charisma ability score.
(A player is free to come up with something not listed on the tables, of course.)
3 outlaw 4—5 guardsman’s son 6—8 yeomanry 9—12 gentry 13—15 knight’s son 16—17 petty nobility 18 exiled prince or soi-disant royalty
3 slave 4—5 harlot’s child or runaway villein 6—8 hireling 9—12 jongleur or smuggler 13—15 guildsman 16—17 corrupt merchant house 18 bandit lord
3 parish ward 4—5 monastic tenant or priest’s bastard 6—8 clerk or sexton 9—12 gentry or bishop’s “nephew” 13—15 crusader family 16—17 hereditary benefice 18 Curia-connected
3 witch’s brat 4—5 mad sorcerer’s lackey 6—8 scrivener or charm-seller 9—12 bookseller/antiquary 13—15 alchemist’s heir 16—17 gentleman-magician 18 enchanted nobility
It's starting wealth or CHR.
You can roll a 5 CHR and a 17 starting wealth (17 X 10) and if you are a fighting-man, that might mean guardsman's son or it might mean petty nobility.
By no means, then, are nobles always charismatic.
You can get rich but ugly and surly nobles with this subsystem.
What it doesn't yield are lowborn characters who are both charismatic and wealthy (in terms of starting wealth for equipment at first level, anyway--family wealth could be another matter). And that's by design.
Nor does it yield highborn characters who are both poor in starting gear and lacking in grace and social standing.
Yeah, my early draft looked more like the fighting-men table. I decided to switch it up a bit. But you will note that this is an optional system. Just as the first post says, players can alter the result or make something up. Or add 'petty nobility'' to the chart alongside crusader.
The system adds no mechanics, really.
You are going to roll money and CHR no matter what. What these tables do is interpret those numbers.
Thieves: I personally don't go with a lot of nobles who are also thieves (as in the class). This is a style difference from Mystaran sources, yes.
But "bandit" lord might well be a sneakier version of Robin Hood.
Corrupt merchant house could mean something like the upper levels of the Veiled Society.
I definitely want to push back against certain implicit egalitarian ideas. The random roll system of D&D already produces inequality. But I'm interpreting the numbers on light of a game millieu.
Basic assumptions include a hierarchical pseudo-medieval society.
How likely is it that your fighter who starts play with a sword, shield, coat of mail,has got all his teeth, and who commands respect from others and has an easy time recruiting men to join his adventures is a serf's son?
Not damned likely.
Are there exceptions? Sure.
Does this mean that nobles always have a higher CHA than low ranking characters though?
It means that if you, the player:
1: roll really well for starting wealth
2: roll really well for CHR
The tables indicate you are highborn/well-connected.
If you roll both high CHR and a lot of starting money, then you won't come from the lower orders, as per the tables. A player who wanted to make an exception could exercise that option, natch.
Note that starting wealth for a PC isn't necessarily the same as family wealth.Most of it will get turned into gear, after all.
Let's say a player lucked out and rolled 16 for both.
160 starting gold. Nice.
He's a fighting-man.
Okay, petty nobility.
Is the family rich? Probably. But they could be house and land poor.
The manor's heavily mortgaged. The roof leaks.
And our PC is the fourth son.
Here's a sword, armor, pony, etc Go have adventures and get treasure, kid. And if you save a princess from a dragon, ask if she's married.
Huuuuuge tracts of land!
Or maybe his family has lost much of its ancestral lands to monsters, but still holds a famous name that commands respect.