Sunday, November 12, 2017

Getting ideas from Birth Augurs

One of the elements that my original table liked most about DCC RPG is the Birth Augur (they were also fans of Warhammer Fantasy’s Doomings, which are familiar). We liked to give wide interpretations to a PC’s Birth Augur. If a PC rolled the augur “The Bull”, for example, then we would like to picture that character as a brute, not only in physical strength but also on his approach to everything. That could either mean that the PC believed that a forceful approach was the best, or simply a character that was blunt and direct.

Here are examples using the Birth Augurs from DCC Core Book. With “Positive” examples I tried to consider situations where a positive or neutral Luck modifier would work; for “Negative” examples I thinking on PCs with negative Luck.
- Harsh winter: (Positive) Either a “Winter is coming!” background (a grim and fatalist PC) or a PC that comes from war-ravaged or brutal homelands (Cimmeria, Mordor, Frozen North etc). (Negative) This is a PC that is probably traumatized by combat, maybe crippled or cursed (by a winter deity? A Crom-like god?). Perhaps - may the gods help us - you’re a pacifist!
- The Bull: (Positive) a violent PC that solves all his problems through battle. (Negative) You suck in melee combat. If you by the bull aspect, but inverted, then this PC might be a mutant or pariah, too weak to fight, who is seeking a cure for his debility (maybe through a Patron or arcane magic).
- Fortunate date: (Positive) the talented archer (Bard, the Dragonslayer-wannabe), sniper (an assassin?), blessed by some god of the hunt or maybe a daredevil spellslinger. If you go for the name of the Augur, then this is that irritable fellow that seems to always get the best girl, the best spot, and also the one that always leaves a battle without a single drop of blood on his mail. (Negative) No one trusts you with a bow or even a crossbow. Maybe your PC hates archers (and elves?). Going by an inverted Fortunate Date, maybe your PC was born on the day of some terrible catastrophe (like a battle that killed thousands). Most people know this and avoid you like the plague.
- Raised by wolves: (Positive) You was orphaned while crossing a jungle and was raised by beasts (not original enough, but what if you’re dwarf? This happened at my table and made me create a “Beastmaster” class). The bonus to unarmed attacks suggests that your PC learned to live by himself, without much, so maybe the orphan background is the best (or maybe you trained with Shaolin monks). (Negative) You can’t get yourself to do dirty works. Maybe you’re a pampered third or fourth son of a noble housed. Without any inheritance, you were forced to the perilous path of dungeon delver.
- Conceived on horseback: (Positive) You’re the true Mongol (or Dothraki, or Rohirrim etc) rider! You could came from a culture that worship horses (Warrior, Elf or Cleric), or maybe you started your career stealing horses (Thief, Halfling), or you could be that one apprentice who learned magic with a unicorn (Elf or Wizard? Obviously a virgin). (Negative) The perfect Augur for dwarves - you hate horses and they HATE you back (every horse on the world has Favored Enemy: You). Perhaps you actually was a horse shapechanged to humanoid (or a humanoid cursed by a nemesis to be donkey for 7 years… now it is revenge time!).
- Born on the battlefield: (Positive) The obvious one here is that you literally could have been born in a battlefield (your mom is probably a bit mad, I guess). This Augur can also represent a certain degree of bloodlust or even psychopathy on your “heroic” PC. (Negative) If you’re playing a wizard or halfling then please try a character who can’t stand the mere sight of blood. If you’re a Warrior or Dwarf, then I guess that you enjoy a good challenge. In that case, try to play a pacifist. You won’t kill most enemies (but you do love to use lots of Mighty Deed of Arms).
- Path of the bear: (Positive) The “bear” part is the secret. You can be a Beorn-like character: big, furred and cranky. This is actually the type of Augur that I enjoy most for non-Warrior (non-Dwarf) PCs - imagine an ogre-like brute who studied wizardcraft, or a really cranky and foul-mouthed halfling. Maybe your PC has a bear’s appetite or enjoys the company of animals. You probably break things by accident, a lot. Collateral damage is your surname! (Negative) OK, you punch like a pixie (if you’re an Elf or Halfling that’s perfect). Let’s think on the opposite of a bear - maybe a fox, a rat or anything small and cowardly. You’re the kind of PC that hates when the battles gets close. You like to stay away (far far away), duly protected by a cover. If you’re a Warrior then you’re (obviously) an archer.
- Hawkeye: (Positive) Play Green Arrow or Hawkeye. Really. Both are awesome PCs in terms of personality and charisma (and if your Personality is high, then you’re a natural candidate for the role). This is the adventurer that always note that one small detail that can save the party. You’re probably perceptive and keen-eyed. (Negative) Play a Mr. Magoo PC! And use glasses. And complain about goblin blood falling on your glasses every time.
- Pack hunter: (Positive) This is a really bizarre Augur for me, at least mechanically. You’re basically good with “peasant” weapons. This could mean that you never forget your lowly origins. You may be a big fuckinh hero now, but your dream is still to retire to a good and nice farm, to plant cabbages or turnips (if you can bore the hell out of your party by talking about turnips and cabbages you should deserve a +1 Luck point). Or we could go by the name - you’re a pack creature. You work better when in a team and you’re everyone’s second best friend. (Negative) You’re a lone wolf in a adventure party - which basically means you’re a diva or a hypocrite. Roleplay Wolverine/Logan; complain a lot about how everyone around hinders you (especially while been healed by the Cleric). If you go by the mechanical aspect, then your PC was probably a highborn fallen on harder times (or a bastard). You still keep your noble perks - you enjoy fine food, clothes and weapons. You would NEVER touch “dishonorable” weapons like a pitchfork or knife. [Variant Pack Hunter: actually, given the name of this Augur, I believe it would be nice if you gained your luck bonus on attack and damage rolls if you followed another PC’s action. For example, if a Warrior attacked a goblin, you would gain the Luck bonus by attacked that same goblin with your next action. If you have a negative Luck modifier, you have to be “original” every round or suffer a penalty to attack and damage rolls - yes, you really hate battles against only one adversary]

If like this approach I’ll post the other Birth Augurs later.

See ya!