The creator of BareBones Fantasy Role-Playing Game sent me a complementary PDF copy of the system after I had done some favors for him. I wasn’t expecting anything in return but he wanted to give me something for my kindness. So I promised that I’d use the game in the 2023 Character Creation Challenge so that others might find out about this system. As with the other reviews where I have some sort of connection with the people involved, I’ll let my mini-review be free of any influence.
This system was released by DwD Studios. This is the same company that also released quite a few other games that I’ve used in past challenges. These include FrontierSpace, Covert Ops and White Lies. In fact, Covert Ops and FrontierSpace used the BareBones system that was started with the game I’m using today. So this should be a quick an simple build.
BareBones Fantasy uses D10s and is a percentile based system. The book is 84 pages long. The character sheet is a single page. The character creation steps start on page 5. There are four attributes which are Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Logic (LOG) and Willpower (WIL). I’ve been instructed to roll 5D10 and add 30 to the roll for each one. I get to select which score goes to which attribute so I can decide what type of character I want to play. There are racial modifiers as well with each of the races being the standard four (Elf, Dwarf, Halfling and Human). I think I’m going to make Traxxis an Elf spellcaster. I rolled my attributes and wrote them down along with the elven abilities.
Next there are nine skills. I’m instructed to pick one skill as my primary and one as my secondary. They get +20 and +10 respectively in the P/S column on the sheet. All other skills get a +0. I, of course, made the primary skill spellcaster and added the level 1 there. I wanted to make my secondary skill the scholar, but I wouldn’t be able to use the points since I have to have at least one level in the skill to use it. So I’ll make the secondary Warrior (ranged) so I can use a bow. Something I figured most elves would know. You then calculate the scores that don’t require a level.
There are positive descriptors and negative descriptors about each character. I was instructed to select one for each type. These are a word or a phrase. For the beneficial I came up with “Quick Reader”. I’m following the typical elf stereotype that we’ve seen in various fantasy movies because I selected “Irritated with Dwarves”. He doesn’t hate them, he’s just not fond of them.
Step six has me selecting a moral code for the character. This is a behavioral trait that is used as the alignment in BareBones Fantasy. There are five aspects with each item in a set opposite of each other. I select one of the two items and then decide if this character is somewhat, very or totally that aspect. I’m starting to recall this from FrontierSpace (I kept the page up where I made that character to compare).
The next step was to select equipment and find out Traxxis’ starting money. I was instructed to select and six items from an equipment page (that does not exceed 100gp in value) and to roll 2D10 for my starting gold. There were some Strength minimums for certain armor and equipment. This made sense, but affected some of the items that I was going to select. I was happy to see that there was a “survival pack” that contained most items common to adventurers out in the wild.
The last step is to calculate the final details. This includes Body Points, Initiative, Damage Reduction (how well does your armor protect you) and other items. I wrote these down. There was no space on the sheet for the brief background but Traxxis was told by his father to make his fortune out in the world before he was allowed to settle down in the family forest. It was his way of making his children self-sufficient, so Traxxis vowed not to return until he could find several spells that were lost to the lands.
I realized that somehow I had skipped over the spell section. I went back and read the description for the Spellcaster skill and wrote down the spells listed for my character. Since spellcaster is my primary skill, Traxxis gets to pick two spells besides the ones automatically given to him (high wizardry, low wizardry, wizard eye and wizard hand). Since it won’t be on the scan, I selected Protection and Offensive Strike.
I liked how the character sheet had notes for each of the skills. I also liked how the moral code made more sense than just Neutral or Chaotic Good. Not only could I see this being good in the roleplay aspect but in the homebrewing aspect as well. I ended up getting lost in the GMs section when I should have been scanning the character sheet. I could see myself playing this game, especially with my love of D100 percentile systems.
I probably should have saved this system for one of my busy days. The character creation process was pretty quick and easy even with me accidentally skipping my spell selection.
I had someone reach out to me wanting to know if they could still start the challenge. The answer is a definite yes! Remember this is for fun. If you want to play catch up or just go into February, you can do so.
One of the things I found out about the RPG Pub message boards is that they had also participated in the Character Creation Challenge in 2021 and 2022. I had a blast going through the older entries. Saw a few that I had done and saw some new systems as well. This was the point of having this challenge. Giving people the chance to make a character for a game that they might not be currently playing and introducing some of these games to others.
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