Adventures In Random Roleplay: Grimm Edition Part 2 — Gather Round Children, Gather Round

Welcome back, dice fondlers! This week, we return to the Grimm Lands. Never fear (or maybe, fear even harder?) because as we head back into that nightmarish fairy tale world, we’ll be bringing along some friends. The catch? Well, they’re a little on the young side and I don’t know how much help they’ll be against the terrors we’ll be facing. With that said, let’s talk character creation.

5 Character Creation Steps

Grimm character creation flows in five steps. First, we discuss physical features. Second, choose a character Archetype, like Bully or Popular Kid. Third, you customize your starting traits and choose talents. Steps four and five roll into each other pretty cleanly. In step four, you flesh out your personal details, while in five you come up with just how you ended up in the Grimm Lands to begin with.

Now, plainly speaking, the reason the first step is about discussing physical features is because, as a kid in Grimm, this has already been determined for you. That is to say, we aren’t talking about you being relatively short or tall for a kid, or being relatively overweight or underweight. We are talking about three specific traits: Shape, Stature, and Speed.

Shape

When we talk about shape, kids are “person-shaped.” That may seem ridiculous, seeing as even 100 ft. tall giants are “person-shaped”, but the general concept is that kids have two legs, two arms, two ears, two eyes, a nose, a mouth, et al. Spells or strange paraphernalia in the Grimm Lands may alter one of those features without fully changing the character’s “Shape.” Others, like a curse of Lycanthropy, can absolutely alter a character’s Shape, changing how they’re allowed to interact with the world.

Stature

Grimm operates on relativity. So, kid characters are kid-sized, the smallest of the three Average Sizes. The other two are adult-sized and moose-sized. Smaller than kids are the Small Sizes: mouse-sized, cat-sized, and dog-sized. Meanwhile, in the Large Sizes, you have elephant-sized, whale-sized, and dinosaur-sized. Anything much smaller than a mouse probably can’t affect us much, while anything larger than a dinosaur is so big as to not conform to scales anymore. It’s just flipping huge.

Speed

Finally, kids have a Speed of average. It literally puts them right in the middle between really slow, slow, fast, and really fast. Again, relatively. Einstein would be proud.

Now that study hall is over… Seriously though, I give the physical features as much space to explain itself as I do because it’s important to get a feel for exactly where limitations are for characters— particularly in a horror game. That isn’t to say we don’t get to make any choices. Heck no, it’s time to decide our Archetype.

Determine Archetype

We have seven archetypes to choose from: Bully, Jock, Dreamer, Nerd, Normal Kid, Outcast Kid, and Popular Kid. Archetypes set our character’s starting Traits, as well as give us a Specialty, a Flaw, and our first Archetype ability.

For example, the Bully’s Flaw is that during a formidable if fight, once they start taking damage, they have to make Pluck tests to keep from cowering in fear and become the bullied themselves. Conversely, their first Archetype ability lets them intimidate any being smart enough to understand body language that is a lower Grade, has a lower Muscle trait, or that is smaller in Stature with an opposed test. This intimidation gives the Bully a bonus equal to however many dice they win their intimidation by… so long as they win.

Traits

We’ll move quickly on to Traits, so we can address a term I just introduced. That term is Grade. Traits and Personal levels are measured in Grades, just like kids are. The ratings range with 1st Grade as the lowest, and 12th Grade as the highest. Unrated Traits are called Kindergarten. Also, while Traits can’t be graded higher than 12, if your dice test gets successes higher than a Grade 12 result, that’s called University.

Further, each Trait is broken into one of three categories: Core, Playground, and Study. Each one costs a different amount to raise in Grade as your characters gain experience. Your Core traits are Cool, Pluck, Imagination, Luck, and Muscle. Your Playground Traits are Hide, Seek, Scamper, Scrap, and Throw. Finally, our Study Traits are 4-H, Book Learning, Boy Scouts, Country Club, Gaming, Home Ec, Industrial Arts, and Juvie. As you can tell, the Playground and Study Traits give us the opportunity to really diversify what sort of Traits our kids might be skilled with.

Also, each new character chooses one Talent. Talents function like Feats in D&D. They are unique and often are a great way to color your character’s background in. For example, characters taking the Spoiled Talent (and at higher grades, Spoiled Brat and Spoiled Rotten) find themselves gaining bonuses once they’ve failed a test, even to the point where previously detrimental “Tantrums” become opportunities for the right player to harness. Think hard about what kind of person your kid is. Choosing traits can really put that final needed twist on your characters to get ahead.

Personal Details

Now, we finally come to the last two portions of character creation— and these are some of the most fun! First, figure out all the little details to flesh out your character. Sure, you’re a Dreamer with the Art Student Talent, but what does that really mean? When you tell us your name is Autumn Fairchild and you’ve been attending the Loxsburg School for Creatively Gifted Children and your favorite color is “that color orange that drinking pumpkin spice frappes feels like,” we’ve got a pretty great idea of just who you are.

Trapped in a Nightmare?

The question then becomes how you ended up in the Grimm Lands. Were you called by the Lands themselves? Did a friend of yours become lost, perhaps devoured by the Big Bad Wolf, and you’ve come to save them?

Finally, depending on your narrator, you’ll want to give an idea of what you had on your person when you crossed worlds. Was it your favorite vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack? Or something else? These things are good to have in mind as you begin your tale.

With that, my lovelies, we’re going to call it an article. I hope this has given you some insight into how the character creation system functions in Grimm. Next week, we’ll talk action, drama, and dice mechanics in the Grimm Lands. See you there! In meantime, remember to…

STAY RANDOM!!!

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Written by: Jason A. Clark

Writer, Salesman, Cartographer of The Weird Realms In My Head

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