Obscuritus.ca A nerd making a nerdy blog

Tiered First Characters

Thinking about zero to hero systems, especailly D&D, but all of them. One thing I really dislike is how much of character creation happens up front, and then just... stops. I am very frustrated with the Storyteller System and Shadowrun 5e for example, where you spend a huge number of points on your character at the begining, and then slowly add new features incredibly slowly. If you want to buy things outside your core functionality, those are usually pretty easy, but adding to your core functionality is usually slow. I mostly understand why these systems work like that, but I also bristle under those systems. I want both. And obviously, systems with more discrete levels also cause problems because I really dislike how most of those systems don't have any breadth allowances. So therefore I want to build out a system that tries to do both, while explicitly doing neither.

Starting with the concept of classes: I want them. I often reject them, but for this concept I wanna start with classes. Everyone should get one. Secondly, I want characters to change tiers, and therefore be able to raise the floor on their secondary things, and give them a chance to get bonuses in things that they don't change. Finally - I want levelling up (changing tier) to be a big deal. Probably as big a deal as character creation. Let's let people change their characters once they know them. So, let's make up some tiers.

Starting Tiers:

  1. Vagrant
  2. Explorer
  3. Homesteader

In this example, all of the characters are explicitly the same of these three tiers. Vagrants are not attached to places, and therefore are the people coming to town, finding something, and then changing it. Homesteaders are the opposite. They are attached to a local town, and then their town is invaded by something (whether that's orcs or a murderer or a faery who struck a deal with their ancestors). Explorers are not in civilization, they are out in the frontier, finding new or lost things.

Vagrants raise tier when they find a place they belong, or when they become rich enough to be accepted when they enter a new place.

Explorers raise tier when they find something they drives them back to civilization, or drives them into the deeper Wilds.

Homesteaders raise their tier when they must leave their home, or when they have a quiet season.

Secondary Tiers

Vagrants Grow Into:

Vagrants grow into:

  1. Gentry

Explorers Grow Into:

  1. Relic Hunters 2.

Homesteaders Grow Into:

  1. Gentry 3.

Teritary Tiers

Quatrinary Tiers


Warrior - the Warrior is a person who fights with weapons. Generally that means that they are the most common form of adventurer. They don't really have any real powers. Distribute 3 points to Attributes, 3 points to Gear.

Mage - The Mage is a spellcaster, generally this means they have a relationship with a familiar who teaches them magic. Many mages have fetches or demons that provide their familiar, but rarer ones may have relics or even rarer, spellbooks, in order to learn their magic. Distrubute 2 points to gear, 2 points to Gear, and 2 points to magic.

Adventuer - The Adventurer is a tinkerer and dabbler, they have several skills and tend to dabble in them, but they generally are jacks of all trades. Distribute 3 points to Attributes, 2 points to Gear, and 1 point to magic.

Gadgeteer - the Gadgeteer is a builder and tinkerer. They tend to have several strange items, and many major items. Distribute 2 points to Attribute, 3 points to gear, and 1 point to Magic.

The Stuff

Attributes all start at 1, and every class gets 2 attribute points.