Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 24: Crypts & Things

And here we are at Day 24 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge. Today I am using Crypts & Things: The Chronicles of Zarth from D101 Games. I had picked this book up at a game swap held at SaltCON Spring for a decent price. I figured that it would be a good entry in the challenge, plus another blog series that I hope to release soon.

This hardbound book has 149 pages and was written by Newt Newport. This is a first printing book that was released in 2012. A one page character sheet is found in the back of the book. The character creation steps start on page 8.

Being a retro-clone I’m not surprised to find that we roll 3d6 down the line. I like this because I don’t know what type of character this will turn out until then. Well the highest is Intelligence and Charisma. So he’s a good looking magic user (which I found out is called the magician). I wrote down the different bonuses from the attributes. A high wisdom and high charisma can earn you an XP bonus of 5% each. Then you get an extra 5% for the prime attribute of your character. So you could end up with +15%. There wasn’t any rules written about moving attribute points around. But I’ll let the scores stand as they are.

OK so Magician it is. As it turns out the spells are broken down into White, Grey and Black magic. White is like the clerics, grey is standard stuff and black is harmful magic. There was some very interesting magic rules about using grey and black magic (it hurts you to use it in the form of HP and savings throws needed, ouch). Because of my high INT I get an extra 1st level spell during character creation. You write down three 1st level spells and one 2nd level spell in your spell book. Then if you want more, you have to find them or pay another magician to help you write it down. I like this idea. Magicians can use leather armor without losing any spell casting ability (nice) and can use standard weapons as long as they are not two-handed (other than the staff) but they have a -1 to damage if they use them. This helps match the Gandalf using a sword as well as his spells.

Next comes the Generating Life Events chart. Roll a D20 three times and check the numbers on page 19. Some gave me some bonuses to certain savings throws. But the one that really made me raise my eyebrow was the “I was a slave at a royal court” which increased the character’s charisma by +2. So now it’s a 17 so he’s a really good looking magician.

Last step was to roll for gold (standard 3d6x10) and buy some equipment. I did so and then filled in the blanks that I may have had on the sheet. This included a name (hey random name generator) which came up with Azor. After scanning the character sheet I realized that I probably should have put down Azor the Charming or Azor the Handsome. Oh well, here is the scan.


This is a D20 OGL clone with some interesting twists. Combining the cleric and magic user together into one class and then having a payment system (usually in lost HP) was an interesting idea, but not one that I think I’d go with if I was running a game. I think I’d have the cost for grey magic on a roll of 1 out of 20 and dark magic on a higher scale (1-2? 1-3? I’d have to test). I can just see a magician rolling a repair spell (a grey spell) and then suddenly dying because it took his hit points. In the middle of a massive battle and you need the magician to strike with the spell that may bring the big bad guy down? Sorry, he doesn’t have enough hit points to cast the spell and survive. The rules did state that magic was rare and dangerous, but I don’t know about that dangerous.

I liked the Life Events chart. I’d probably expand the idea to more than twenty entries. But it did make for some interesting twists (and possible back story) for the character. I also liked that there was a choice of ascending or descending armor classes.

There is a remastered version of this game. I wonder how that book compares to this one?

Additional Notes:

Because of my schedules today, I ended up taking the book with me and creating the character away from my computer. I think it added to this being one of my less stressful character creations. I’d usually type down my thoughts while I was creating the character. With this entry, I had to note them down in my head for later. Which could have been a bad thing considering all of the items rolling around in there. I may have to try this same technique with tomorrow’s entry.

Coming Up Next:

Cyberpunk Red

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