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Showing posts from 2017

Castle Whiterock—Chapter 3: The Skin of One's Teeth

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CharactersEmmeline Forthwrought, eccentric human wizard.Frevia Arden, self-sufficient human druid, with Roberta, snake animal companion.Imra Shadowmantle, disciplined elven rogue.Melanie Shadowmantle, aristocratic human fighter.  Hidden Tapestry Before leaving the watchtower, the party decided to check for any way further down. Imra uncovered a disguised trapdoor in the floor which led to a 180-foot shaft with an iron ladder descending. With glee, Melanie slid swiftly down the ladder, landing in an empty round chamber with a shallow alcove. She discovered a hidden latch in the alcove's far wall which allowed her to slide open a secret door.

The room beyond contained a large meeting table and chairs, long since ruined by time, and the tattered remains of a fine tapestry depicting the castle grounds. When the rest of the party arrived, Frevia cast a mending spell on the tapestry, and while she believed one more casting would fully restore it and allow them to see the ancient layou…

Core Mechanics #18 - The One Ring

I explain the core mechanics of The One Ring, published by Cubicle 7. Support Core Mechanics and other videos at my Patreon: http://ift.tt/2vLk4hg


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Core Mechanics #17 - Dramasystem

I explain the core mechanics of the Dramaystem, published by Pelgrane Press. Support Core Mechanics and other videos at my Patreon: http://ift.tt/2vLk4hg


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Core Mechanics #16 - Cypher System

I explain the core mechanics of the Cypher System, from Monte Cook Games. Support Core Mechanics and other videos at my Patreon: http://ift.tt/2vLk4hg


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Castle Whiterock—Chapter 2: Escape and Revenge

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CharactersEmmeline Forthwrought, eccentric human wizard.Frevia Arden, self-sufficient human druid, with Roberta, snake animal companion.Imra Shadowmantle, disciplined elven rogue.Melanie Shadowmantle, aristocratic human fighter. Prologue Roberta the snake had been seperated from her mistress when Frevia and the others were captured by the slaver "monks." She managed to follow the scent trail to a well-furnished bedroom, where the smells disappeared into a stone wall. Unable to fathom how this could be, Roberta hid under the bed and waited for the situation to make more sense.

Eventually, a large man came in and pulled a torch sconce on the wall, revealing a secret door. As he went into the tunnel beyond, Roberta followed as stealthily as she could. The man seemed to hear her, but the snake was able to hide behind some crates while he turned back to investigate. In the darkness, Roberta struggled to find her way, but she eventually discovered a door and a set of stairs goi…

Core Mechanics #15 - Risus

I explain the core mechanics of the Risus, the Anything RPG. Support Core Mechanics and other videos at my Patreon: http://ift.tt/2vLk4hg


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Core Mechanics 14 - Storytelling System

I explain the core mechanics of the Storytelling System, which powers the Chronicles of Darkness. Support Core Mechanics and other videos at my Patreon: http://ift.tt/2vLk4hg


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GURPS Psionics: Stats for The Phoenix Project

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GURPS Psionics for Third Edition included a sample campaign background centered on the Phoenix Project, an organization devoted to helping and training folks with psionic abilities. Using the system presented in GURPS Boardroom and Curia, here's the organization stats for the Phoenix Project in Fourth Edition.
The Phoenix ProjectMission Statement: The Phoenix Project is a secret organization dedicated to nurturing the birth of a benevolent “world-mind” which would embrace all psi-users in peace and harmony. To this end, members attempt to help new psis realize their potential, while at the same time protecting them from organizations like the Eugenic Security Police and the Overmind Institute.
CapabilitiesTL: 8; Members: 2,000
Wealth: Comfortable
Contacts: Parapsychological research skills-15 [10].
Member Traits: Unusual Background (Psi) [20].
Notable Resources: The Project’s facilities are disguised as parapsychological research institutes, private boarding schools, or even religious…

Core Mechanics 13 - Shadows of Esteren

I explain the core mechanics of the Shadows of Esteren, a dark fantasy game inspired by Celtic culture and Renaissance science. Support Core Mechanics and other videos at my Patreon: http://ift.tt/2vLk4hg


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Castle Whiterock—Chapter 1: Slavers and Orcs

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CharactersEmmeline Forthwrought, eccentric human wizard.Frevia Arden, self-sufficient human druid.Imra Shadowmantle, disciplined elven rogue.Melanie Shadowmantle, aristocratic human fighter. Lady Chauntessa at the Slumbering Drake had offered to pay the party for books recovered from the ruins of Castle Whiterock, that ancient fortress located about a day's travel from Cillamar. Intrigued by both the promise of gold and the chance to unearth forgotten lore, the group decided to journey to the Castle and see what they could find.

Over the next week, the party made preparations for an expedition, laying in rations and other equipment. Emmeline researched the ruins in the Shadowmantle family library, learning that the surface was not known for any particular exotic monsters. The depths were said to be home to strange beings like troglodytes, oozes, and the ancient dragon Benthosruthsa. Frevia brewed up some antitoxin from the centipede poison she'd collected in the sewers. Imra …

Core Mechanics #12 - Storyteller System

I explain the core mechanics of the Storyteller System, which powered the classic World of Darkness games. Support Core Mechanics and other videos at my Patreon: http://ift.tt/2vLk4hg


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Core Mechanics #11 - Tails of Equestria

I explain the core mechanics of Tails of Equestria, based on the TV series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and written by Alessio Cavatore, Dylan Owen, and Jack Caesar. Support Core Mechanics and other videos at my Patreon: http://ift.tt/2vLk4hg


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RPG Lexicon #4 - Dice Pool

Defining tabletop RPG terms for the uninitiated. What exactly is a dice pool? Support RPG Lexicon and other videos at my Patreon: http://ift.tt/2vLk4hg


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Core Mechanics #10 - Unknown Armies

I explain the core mechanics of Unknown Armies, created by John Tynes and Greg Stolze. Support Core Mechanics and other videos at my Patreon: http://ift.tt/2vLk4hg


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Unboxing the Dungeon Fantasy RPG

I got my Kickstarter rewards for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG from Steve Jackson Games. Take a look with me!


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Core Mechanics #9 - One Roll Engine

I explain the core mechanics of the One Roll Engine, created by Greg Stolze. Support Core Mechanics and other videos at my Patreon: http://ift.tt/2vLk4hg


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Castle Whiterock — Chapter 0: Filth Beneath Cillamar, Part 2

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CharactersEmmeline Forthwrought, self-taught apprentice mage-turned-full wizard.Frevia Arden, nature adept, herbalist, and healer. Newly-minted druid.Imra Shadomantle, elven expert and disciplined rogue.Melanie Shadowmantle, fighter and adopted aristocrat daughter of house Shadowmantle. Last time, our group of young adventurers discovered a conspiracy to spread disease trough the refugee camp in the slums of Cillamar. They had captured a wererat at a secluded fountain-idol of Narrimunâth, rat-god of disease. They tied the creature up, but when the color spray spell wore off, he tried to escape by shrinking down into dire rat form. The party was forced to subdue him properly and then left him for the town guard.
Having seen the grate the wererat had climbed up from, the group descended into the sewers to find his lair. Imra took the lead, using her keen elven sight to watch for traps. Not far down the tunnel, she managed to spot a trip wire. She couldn't tell what it might have un…

RPG Lexicon #3 - "Roll Up"

Defining tabletop RPG terms for the uninitiated. What does "roll up" mean? Support RPG Lexicon and other videos at my Patreon: http://ift.tt/2vLk4hg


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Core Mechanics #8 - AGE System

I explain the core mechanics of the AGE System, published by Green Ronin Publishing. Support Core Mechanics and other videos at my Patreon: http://ift.tt/2vLk4hg


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RPG Lexicon #2 - Exploding Dice

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Core Mechanics #7 - Fate

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RPG Lexicon #1 - Critical

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Core Mechanics #6 - GURPS

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Gen Con 2017: Day 4 and Recap

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Sunday is always a day of last chances and regrets. It's a day of packing up all your newly acquired treasures and checking out of the hotel. It's a day of tracking down that person you didn't manage to see all show, and then realizing as your heading out the door that there was someone else you didn't even know was in town.

The one thing of note I did on Sunday this year was visit the 50th Anniversary retrospective at the Lucas Oil Stadium. This was an excellent collection of gaming artifacts from the history of Gen Con and beyond. I was particularly interested in the early prototypes and playtest manuscripts of various games. Thanks to everyone who lent pieces of their collections.



Unfortunately, the time came to say goodbye to another year at Gen Con. And then travel back across the scorching plains of Ohio without air conditioning. And then get stuck in a completely pointless traffic jam at the Pennsylvania state line. But eventually, we made it home to our cat and…

Gen Con 2017: Day 3

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Saturday definitely felt more crowded than any Gen Con before. As much as I was impressed by how the organizers and convention center staff had seemed to keep people moving, there's only so much they can do when the crowds grew to record levels. I'm very curious to see what the final numbers are.

As for my day, it was close to excellent. It began with an excellent breakfast with +Jamie Stefko and +Tracy Barnett. We chatted about our goals and expectations as creatives and shared ideas for projects we want to work on. Tracy and I are on similar pages about working to our strengths and getting help from others with complementary skillsets rather than taking on everything ourselves.

Back to the exhibit hall, and I finally made it to Pelgrane Press's booth and partook of their amazing 4 for 3 deal to finally pick up 13th Age and Cthulhu Confidential, plus a couple supplements. I won't bore you with the details of international banking and credit card fraud protection that …

Gen Con 2017: Day 2

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Wednesday and Sunday at Gen Con don't entirely count for various reasons, so Friday is really the juicy center of the convention. This year, it was my big day for industry related activities, so let's see how that went.

The day began with a stroll to Au Bon Pain for breakfast, where I managed to burn the tip of my middle finger with scalding oatmeal. So that was a good start. It was pretty good oatmeal, though.

Then it was off to the exhibit hall to wind our way through the second half of the aisles. (My roommate had finished his circuit of the first set on day one.) Remember how I said Thursday felt like Saturday? Well, Friday felt even busier. By the time we hit the 3000s, I was seriously itching to get away from the crowds. Hunger was certainly a factor, but I swear those rows get narrower the farther you get from Paizo and Fantasy Flight.

To escape, I headed to the Crown Plaza for Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Live. I won't spoil Ken's Nerd-Trope for future listen…

Gen Con 2017: Day 1

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I'll start by saying it: Thursday felt like Saturday. The crowds are certainly higher, and I can only imagine they'll continue to grow. That said, let's talk about how the day went.

I began by walking +Jamie Stefko to her first game, which was located on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. I've never been out to the stadium before, as the convention had only expanded into it in the last couple years. I believe this was the first year they held events on the field.

The big feature there, however, was the pop-up museum of gaming history behind the facade of the Horticultural Hall, Gen Con's original home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I stayed here only briefly, but it looks like a well curated, if small, glimpse into the hobby's past.


But I had other places to be. As an Industry Insider, I had a ticket for early access to the exhibit hall, and I certainly wasn't going to waste it. Of course, like everything else at Gen Con, a couple hundred people had the same idea …

Gen Con 2017: Day 0

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It has begun again: Gen Con, the best four days in gaming (tee em). This year, of course, is the 50th instantiation of that hallowed gathering, and no one really knows just what kind of madness to expect. It seems to be off to a smashing start, but the crowds have yet to truly roll in.

My Gen Con experience began as all do with travel. Indianapolis is just close enough to Pittsburgh to think that driving to the show is a good idea. Unfortunately, when your air conditioning dies halfway across Ohio, and the temperature outside reaches the lofty heights of the mid-90s, you start to regret not taking to the air when you had the chance.

Thankfully, we reached Indy without losing too much of our body weight through our pores. And of course, along the way we indulged in that holiest of all roadside attractions: the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.


Once in Indy, we checked into the Westin and then made our way to the convention center. Signs proudly announced that all badges were sold out, …

Core Mechanics #5 - Blades in the Dark

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My Big Fat Gen Con 50 Schedule

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This is going to be a huge Gen Con for everyone. The event has sold out completely for the first time in its history, and tens of thousands of gamers will fill the Indiana Convention Center, Lucas Oil Stadium, and surrounding hotels for the best four days in gaming (tee em).

Where will I be, you ask? (I'm imagining that you asked, since you're reading this. You can't stop me.) All over, as I am an Industry Insider Featured Presenter, and therefor contractually obligated to do stuff that might benefit you, the con-going public. Plus all the other stuff I'd normally be doing at Gen Con. Minus the playing games part. I couldn't actually fit time into my schedule to sit down and play.

Anyway, here's where I'll be and when throughout the convention.
Wednesday My wife and I plan to leave bright and early Wednesday morning. It's about a 6-8 hour drive from Pittsburgh, depending on traffic, construction, and how many times we stop to pee. If we leave by 9:00 AM…

Castle Whiterock — Chapter 0: Filth Beneath Cillamar, Part 1

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CharactersEmmeline Forthwrought, self-taught apprentice mageFrevia Arden, nature adept, herbalist, and healer.Imra Shadomantle, elven expert and troubleshooter for the less legitimate business of House ShadowmantleMelanie Shadowmantle, adopted aristocrat daugther of house Shadowmantle
These four women were brought together at the house of Thomas Kerrwin, a merchant familiar to them all. Kerrwin was pleased to see they all knew each other, as he was hoping they could help him with a problem. Thomas' son, Joran, had been missing for two weeks after accruing a heavy gambling debt. Joran owed a bookmaker named Evrik the Braid to princely sum of 3,000 gp, and Thomas wanted the group to pay the dwarf off and return Joran to his home. The party agreed and set off for Myna's Bones, a tavern in the Warrens of Cillamar which Evrik was known to frequent.

So early in the day, Myna's Bones was nearly empty, save for a few sour-faced regulars and a table of rowdy thugs and a bald dwarf…

Core Mechanics #4 — Feng Shui 2

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My Sales Numbers for July

For July 2017, I again offered PDFs, POD books, and POD cards for sale through OneBookShelf: DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, DriveThruCards, etc. July was the second strongest month of the year so far. In total, I sold 27 units last month, including a few card decks. My total earnings came to $29.48.

Arthuria: 1 PDF
Fragments, Volume 1, #2: 2 PDF
Full Moon: 1 PDF
Interstellar Patrol: 3 PDF
Interstellar Patrol Adventure Cards: 1 Card deck, 3 PDF
Rituals and Convergences: 4 PDF
Situation Aspect Cards: 1 Card deck, 7 Print-and-Play PDF
Super Power Cards: 1 Card/PDF combo, 2 Print-and-Play PDF
The Model: 1 PDF

My Sales Numbers for June

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For June 2017, I again offered PDFs, POD books, and POD cards for sale through OneBookShelf: DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, DriveThruCards, etc. June was actually a rather strong month, for no real reason I can think of. In total, I sold 28 units last month, including a few card decks. My total earnings came to $35.98.

Arthuria: 4 PDF
Fragments, Volume 1, #3: 1 PDF
Interstellar Patrol: 6 PDF
Interstellar Patrol Adventure Cards: 1 Card/PDF combo, 1 PDF
Rituals and Convergences: 4 PDF
Situation Aspect Cards: 2 Card/PDF combo, 1 Print-and-Play PDF
Super Power Cards: 1 Card deck, 2 Card/PDF combo, 4 Print-and-Play PDF
The Model: 1 PDF


Why Do You Hate GURPS?

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GURPS—the Generic Universal Roleplaying System—is one of my favorite games, but this is not an installment of Favorite Games Ever. Instead, I want to look at some of the reasons I hear for why gamers avoid, dislike, even hate GURPS. I don't really agree with many of these points, but let's examine them for what they are, rather than try to dismiss them out of hand.
Too Much Math GURPS certainly has a reputation for being numbers heavy, and it's not entirely undeserved. While at its core, you'll only need basic arithmetic to play GURPS, there are slightly more advanced permutations and optional rules that call for multiplying by percentages and rounding (almost always up) or dividing by something other than half. In a very few, very niche areas in supplements, you may need to pull out a calculator and use the square root function.
While I don't have a problem digging into a little math here and there, I can understand how it would put off a gamer who just wants to g…

Favorite Games Ever: D&D Third Edition

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The first RPG I ever ran was Dungeons & Dragons, Third Edition. I wasn't nearly as tied into gaming news then as I am now. No one was, though I certainly could have been more informed — if I knew ENWorld (or its predecessor) existed, for example. But I was aware that a new edition of D&D was coming out, probably because I collected GURPS and other game books and was no stranger to a hobby shop.

In the fall of 2000, I picked up the three core rulebooks for Third Edition. The Player's Handbook came with a CD-ROM — remember those? — with a character creation program. The first adventure I ran was a bizarre affair involving an abandoned wizard's tower surrounded by a village of lawn gnomes, with a dungeon beneath inhabited by a cotton candy-pink dragon. Keep in mind, I was a senior in high school at the time. And I've never done drugs.

Anyway, I was hooked. I managed to play in a campaign through graduation, and then when I got to college, I joined the gaming club…

My Sales Numbers for May

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For May 2017, I offered PDFs, POD books, and POD cards for sale through OneBookShelf: DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, DriveThruCards, etc. May was fairly average, without any sales or specials to goose revenue. In total, I sold 21 units last month, including a few card decks. My total earnings came to $19.83 (auspicious, but not particularly heartening).

Arthuria: 4 PDF
Fragments, Volume 1, #3: 1 PDF
Interstellar Patrol: 3 PDF
Rituals and Convergences: 1 PDF
Situation Aspect Card Blanks: 1 Card/PDF combo
Situation Aspect Cards: 3 Card/PDF combo, 4 Print-and-Play PDF
Super Power Cards: 1 Card deck, 1 Card/PDF combo
The Model: 2 PDF


What Did I Accomplish in May

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This past month, I continued my effort to produce daily content here on One Yard Hex as well as weekly Fragments on www.nothingventuredgames.com. As with April, May was a failure. The problems that kept me from performing last month continued.

I missed six daily blog posts on One Yard Hex. Once again, the saving grace for my word count goal came in the form of GURPS character stat blocks.

I produced zero installments of Fragments in May. I tried to come up with a plan to get this rolling again, but I just didn't manage it.

In total, I produced:
13 blog posts here on One Yard Hex, including7 GURPS posts,1 Wild Talents post, and1 Werewolf: The Apocalypse post. I streamed 5 Fallout 4 game sessions on Twitch. They are archived at my YouTube page.

I would like to point you to a couple posts I did this month on other sites. I was a guest writer on Brie Sheldon's blog Thoughty, talking about my experience running Shadowrun Anarchy. And at the Gamerati, I wrote a character for their s…

Grognar, Goblin Barbarian

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Another pregenerated character for GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, a goblin barbarian.

Grognar, Goblin Barbarian 250 points
ST 17 (Size†, -10%) [63]; DX 13 [60]; IQ 9 [00]; HT 14 [30]. Damage 1d+2/3d-1; BL 58 lbs.; HP 23 (Size†, -10%) [9]; Will 10 [0]; Per 14 [20]; FP 14 [0]. Basic Speed 6.25 [-10]; Basic Move 7† [0]. SM +1; 7’1”, 250 lbs. Social BackgroundTL: 3 [0]. CF: Common (Native) [0]. Languages: Common (Native) [0]. Advantages Discriminatory Smell [15]; Goblin [0]; Hard to Kill 1 [2]; High Pain Threshold [10]; Outdoorsman 4 [40]; Temperature Tolerance 2 [2]. Perks: Weapon Bond (Fine spear) [1] Disadvantages Bad Temper (9) [-15]; Easy to Read [-10]; Gigantism [0]; Sense of Duty (Adventuring companions) [-5]; Social Stigma (Minority Group) [-10]. Quirks: Assures others that he’s quite attractive for a goblin; Complains loudly if he can’t get fresh meat; Thinks ale is poison. [-3] Skills Animal Handling (Snakes) (A) IQ+1 [4]-10; Brawling (E) DX [1]-13; Camouflage (E) IQ+4 [1]-13‡; Carousing (E…

Lel, Wood Elf Scout

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A pregenerated elf scout character for GURPS Dungeon Fantasy.

Lel, Wood Elf Scout 250 points ST 13 [40]; DX 14 [60]; IQ 11 [20]; HT 12 [20].
Damage 1d/2d-1; BL 34 lbs.; HP 13 [0]; Will 11 [0]; Per 14 [15]; FP 12 [0].
Basic Speed 7.00 [10]; Basic Move 8 [0].
5’4”; 150 lbs.
Social BackgroundTL: 3 [0].
CF: Common (Native) [0].
Languages: Common (Native) [0].
Advantages Absolute Direction [5]; Acute Vision 1 [2]; Heroic Archer [20]; Outdoorsman 2 [20]; Signature Gear 3 (Bow, shortsword, and shield) [2]; Wood Elf [20].
Perks: Weapon Bond (Bow) [1].
Disadvantages Honesty (12) [-10]; Odious Personal Habit (“Unwashed bushwhacker”) [-5]; Overconfidence (6) [-10]; Sense of Duty (Adventuring companions) [-5]; Vow (Never sleep indoors) [-10]; Vow (Own no more than what can be carried) [-10].
Quirks: Careful. [-1]
Skills Armoury (Missile Weapons) (A) IQ-1 [1]-10; Bow (A) DX+4 [16]-18; Camouflage (E) IQ+3 [2]-14†; Cartography (A) IQ+1 [4]-12; Climbing  (A) DX [2]-14; Fast-Draw (Arrow) (E) DX [1]-14; Fa…