Character Creation

Chet Erez’s d20 Index Files

Every good DM eventually decides to tweak the rules of the game. On this page you, my players, will find those rule tweaks I’ve decided to use. From modifications to character creation to how I think certain rules should work. If you need any clarification, then please send me a message.
In several of the below sections I mention the use of the book Unearthed Arcana. Many people do not have this book, and since I require people to do their own research I can and will provide a copy of the book on request.

Starting Level

As a rule all campaigns begin at level 1. This can be changed at the beginning of a new campaign if the starting players provide character histories for their characters in a written format. Emails, or Facebook messages being the preferred format. The greater the detail, the higher the starting level will be. This is also averaged.

Example: Doyle provides a detailed 6 page history of his character, and so does Laurell and Jesus. But Chewbaca only provides 1 page of history. The average number of pages will be 4 (rounded down) so the starting level of the campaign will be 4th. Apparently the wookie did not win.

Dice Rolling

During character creation, I feel none of the standard dice rolling methods help to capture the kind of characters I want to see in my games. I run a harsh game, which can be very difficult for characters with average stats to survive. I don’t pull punches, usually, but I also feel that a low score or two helps to balance a character. My rule for rolling stats in my games helps to create higher scores, but leaves room for a crappy score.

Roll 4d6 (4 traditional 6-sided dice) six times. You may reroll 1’s and 2’s one time only. After these re-rolls you drop the lowest number rolled, and add up the three remaining rolls to get your score. After doing this 6 times, you end up with a set of numbers to be applied to your character’s six abilities.

Strength – Physical force
Dexterity – Physical agility
Constitution – Physical toughness or health
Intelligence – Raw intellect and thinking abilities.
Wisdom – Common sense, spirituality, and awareness.
Charisma – Strength of personality

Example: Doyle rolls 4d6, and comes up with 1, 4, 5, and 2. He keeps the 4 and 5, and rerolls the 1 and 2. The new rolls come up 1 and 4. So he ends up with a final set of rolls of 1, 4, 4, and 5. Doyle cannot reroll the 1 again so he drops it and his final score rolled is 13. (4+4+5=13).

Example: Doyle goes to roll his next stat, 4d6, and this time he rolls 1, 2, 2, and 4. Again, he rerolls the 1’s and 2’s. This time the dice gods frown on Doyle and he rolls 1, 2, and 1; giving him a set of rolls of 1, 2, 1, and 4. Dropping the lowest, a 1, Doyle’s final score is 7 (1+2+4=7) Doyle has been screwed by the Dice gods.


Many of the classes from the Player’s Handbooks 1&2, as well as the Complete series fit into the setting of the city of Ilyssa’s Landing, but there are some classes that fit especially well, or are associated with certain organizations and groups in the city. Also, the rules from the book Unearthed Arcana are also allowed, and add flavor to each of these classes and some times also give you a slight edge over the standard class as a reward for being willing to do some research.

As a general rule, most “Asian” flavored classes will NOT be allowed. Because the part of the world that would have provided the basis for these classes to exist has been cut off by the presence of the Plague Queen. The only exception to this is that the Samurai class as presented in the book Complete Warrior. It is acceptable only for characters associated with the Order of the Blade

For more information about how some of the classes fit in Ilyssa’s Landing, go to Allowed Classes


As a port city, Ilyssa’s Landing often finds itself playing host to a wide range of races, many of whom take up residence in the city. There are some races which are more common and native to Landing and its surrounding territory then others. Allowed Races gives a general guideline as to the races that can be chosen from in play, but the Natives of Landing

As a general rule the core Player’s Handbook races are allowed, as are the Natives of Landing.

Hit Points

All classes and races begin with, and receive, maximum hit points at every level. Don’t ask why.

Common Sense

All characters begin with a free bonus feat. This feat is called “Common Sense”.

Common Sense [Special]
Sometimes a group comes up with a plan that sounds good, and everyone thinks its a good idea. But one bright player looks over at the DM, and see’s on his face a look of “Oh, these people are going to suffer..” or a look of “WTF are these people thinking?!” At moments like that every player wishes they could ask the DM “Is this a good idea?” Well, this feat lets you do just that.
Prerequisite: Playing in one of Richard’s game, in a session in which Richard is the DM. (If for what ever reason another DM is running my game, they cannot use this Feat). The character must have a minimum Intelligence or Wisdom score of 10.
Benefit Once per character, per game session a player may make an Intelligence or Wisdom check (whichever is higher) with a DC of 10. This roll is unmodified by anything except the ability modifier of the Ability being rolled. On a successful roll the player may ask the DM one out of character question, the answer to which can be used in-game. The question must be one that can be easily answered with a Yes, No, or one or two sentence response.
Q: “Is this a good idea?”
A: “No.” (Usually)
Q: “Is there some important detail we’re forgetting?”
A: “Fire elementals are immune to the Fireball spell you’re counting on.”
Normal: In any adventuring game a player or player group needs to carefully pay attention to the DM for any clues that what you’re about to do is a stupid idea. (“Are you sure you want to do that?”) And have no surefire way of knowing if you should or should not go through with the idea.

Character Defects

Character Defects are traits taken by a player to add some flaw or penalty to a character in exchange for gaining points that can be spent on skill points, buying a new class skill, or a feat. Bonus points can be spent to buy 3 skill points for one bonus point, a new class skill for 3 bonus points, or a new feat for 3 bonus points for the first, and 6 points for the second and beyond. Characters are limited to 9 bonus points.


Games within the world of Ilyssa’s Landing tend to be heavy in the role-play and the political. To help represent this with a system to show characters where they stand in society, how they are seen, and what influence they have I’ve implemented three systems.

Social Status – Where in the social hierarchy do you stand? Commoner or noble?
Reputation – How are you seen by the people of the city?
Influence – Your ability to change policy, call on favors, or simply get things done.
Parliament – The Noble Houses of Ilyssa’s Landing
The Guilds – The important guilds of Ilyssa’s Landing
Churches in Ilyssa’s Landing – The churches of the city.

Massive Damage

If any single attack inflicts damage to your character equal to twice your Constitution score, you must make a Fortitude save, DC 15. Success indicates you remain standing and can keep fighting. Failure means you’re character looses consciousness due to shock. Your hit points remain the same, but you are now prone, and must make a Fortitude save every round to reawaken. Another player may help with this process. A simple Heal check (DC 10), any attack doing at least 1pt of non-lethal damage, or any level Cure spell will awaken the character.
But, if any character remains in this shocked condition for five rounds, your hit points drop to 0 as the severe shock of the attack begins causing organs to shut down, and you begin to bleed out.


Every character begins play with an Alignment, but also two alignment scores. An alignment score provides an easy and straight forward system for keeping track of if a character is in danger of loosing alignment based abilities, feats, etc. One score is for Ethics, and the other represents Morality. Usually the DM keeps track of these scores, but it is also recommended the Player keeps track as well. How else can you know if you’re about to loose your Paladin-ship this time?

Ethics Score Morality
Lawful 71-100 Good
Neutral 31-70 Neutral
Chaotic 1-30 Evil

Example: Chewbaca, having the alignment scores of 45/72 would be Neutral Good. But, having become bored while in the city decides to set fire to the local orphanage. This would be chaotic and evil act, and a severe one. So, he takes a -10 to both his scores. He is now 35/62. He remains Neutral ethically, but he’s now Neutral morally.

Doyle, meanwhile, is 71/71, or Lawful Good. He upholds his end of a deal with a demon, stealing an artifact from bank next to Chewbaca’s orphanage. Doyle receives 5 points of Ethics for his action, but looses 5 points from Morality. Now with a score of 76 and 67, changing his alignment to Lawful Neutral! He has lost his Paladin-ship! Again. This session.

Evil: As a rule no Evil characters will be allowed. The only exception is in cases of experienced roleplayers, I have personally seen play, intelligent characters. Evil is not an excuse to be a fool in game. Usually those who insist on playing evil end up just ruining the game play experience for everyone.

The World

The Districts

Character Creation

Cold as the Depths RichardDill