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Mystara 3E - Chapter 1: Characters, Character Descriptionby Roger LV Girtman II
In addition to the guidelines given in the Player's Handbook, you need to take into account some other considerations when creating a character for the MYSTARA campaign settings.
The Immortals of MYSTARA are deeply enmeshed in the functioning of the world's magical ecology and the lives of mortals. Most Mystaran characters nearly always have an Immortal patron.
The selection of an Immortal patron does not mean that your character only worships or make prayers and offerings to one deity. MYSTARA is a polytheistic world, not a monotheistic world. At appropriate moments, characters might worship or pay homage to nearly all the Immortals, even some they could not choose as patrons. For example, lawful good sailors would never think of choosing Protius, the uncaringly chaotic Immortal of the oceans, as their patron, but it would be hard to find a sailor who had not sacrificed to the Old Man of the Sea before at least one journey, or made promises to him during at least one storm. Likewise, an evil follower of Loki, a patron of thieves, might make a donation to the temple of Tyche, patron of luck, before a big heist, even though Tyche is a good Immortal.
WHY CHOOSE A PATRON IMMORTAL?
Choosing a patron Immortal provides you with contacts in the world, particularly if you are known to serve your patron's causes. A character with Vanya as his patron is more likely to get assistance—timely healing, a place of refuge, access to divinations and other spells—from the church of Vanya in times of need. A bard whose patron is Korotiku might have a better chance at convincing a group of Korotiku-worshipping bandits to talk peacefully instead of fighting.
At the same time, a philosopher who follows a code of ethics based on alignment instead of any particular Immortal might gain the friendship of a temple whose patron's portfolio overlaps with the philosopher's alignment. Likewise, that same philosopher might earn the enmity of the same temple for infringing on the temple's religious "territory" without the blessing of their patron.
CHOOSING A PATRON
Having a patron Immortal implies some true personal attachment to that Immortal. Given this relationship, it is practically unheard of for a character to have a patron with a radically different alignment than his own. For example, it is essentially impossible for a chaotic good ranger to feel a close personal connection with Thanatos, the lawful evil patron of death and destruction.
When choosing a patron if you are a divine spellcaster, you follow the "one-step" rule described in the Alignment subsection of the Cleric section of Chapter 3: Classes in the Player's Handbook. Your alignment may be up to one "step" away from your patron's. For example, a lawful good paladin can choose Ixion (a neutral good Immortal) as his patron, but could not choose Odin (a chaotic good Immortal).
You may have more than one Immortal patron, such as a pantheon of Immortals; however you must choose one as your primary patron, from whom you receive your divine powers. It is possible to change your patron, but doing so is not a decision to be made lightly or quickly. If you are a divine spellcaster, this process is described in the Changing Patrons section of Chapter 5: Philosophies & Patrons.
In general, characters choose a patron which is preferred by their home, as provided by Table 1-2: Favoured Patrons by Nation. Characters may choose patrons not favoured by their home region, but this practice is generally frowned upon. Responses the character with a foreign patron might receive can range from mere curiosity to being treated as outcast and pariah, or thought of as an aberration.
Most characters in MYSTARA campaign settings use the normal height and weight values given in Chapter 6: Description of the Player's Handbook. Lithe hutaakans use the height entries of a human with the weight multiplier of an elf. Rakastas and Lupins grow to roughly the same height range as humans. However, the sleek rakastas are generally lighter than humans, subtracting 10+d10 pounds from the actual weight, while the more stout lupins add 10+d10 pounds.
MYSTARA is vast. Among humans alone, its inhabitants bear literally thousands upon thousands of names. Some folk have no surnames, others have a common clan name, and others have a "son/daughter of" appellation.
Further, many an adventurer has taken on a descriptive, colourful name at the beginning of a career—from a simple nickname to a pseudonym adopted to conceal the character's identity. Whether adopted by a wizard or cleric upon completion of his apprenticeship or chosen by a thief to protect her family, an adventuring name adds an extra level of personality to the character.
This text was followed by a two full-page list of sample names from nearly all of the KW cultures. The list contained, for each culture, 5 each male, female, and surnames, and a brief 1-sentence description of naming customs where applicable. This list was derived from the 2e books, most notably Player's Survival Guide.