Category Archives: Musings

Privilege: The Dice Game. An Allegory

I’ve been desperately trying not to write this allegory through game rules, because I’m not convinced either that it is particularly clever, or that any good will come out of its existence. But it also won’t get out of my head, so here it is.

In Privilege: The Dice Game, each person gets to roll one die. You get a number of points equal to your roll. Highest point total wins.

One of three different levels of player privilege is assigned based to each player based on factors outside they players control or merit.

Most Privileged each get to roll a d20.

Less Privileged get to roll 1d12.

UnPrivileged get to roll 1d6.

Now obviously this means that sometimes an UnPrivileged player will score more points than a Most Privileged or Less Privileged player. To the various Privileged players, this will often feel like they had no advantage, or that their advantage didn’t matter. They did have an advantage, of course. A massive one, in *circumstance*. If you offer to play another game with them, and ask what role they want in order to score the most points, none of them will decide to be UnPrivileged just because one once got more points.

Less Privileged players may focus more on the fact that Most Privileged players have a bigger advantage than they do, rather than the fact UnPrivileged players have a huge drawback compared to the Less Privileged.

The UnPrivileged are likely to complain the game sucks. And fir them it objectively does. And if they roll a 6, they will not feel the game is fair just because lots of Most Privileged and Less Privileged players roll a 5 or less.

Even if we adjust the game and say the UnPrivileged win ties, they are at a disadvantage. AND, at this point, any Most Privileged or Less Privileged player who ties with a UnPrivileged player may feel it’s “unfair” that they lose ties, claiming that the UnPrivileged have an advantage they don’t. This ignores that the UnPrivileged are still likely to score the fewest points, through no fault of their own.

We could even let the UnPrivileged roll 2d6 and take the better of the two results AND win ties, AND say if they roll two 6s they can roll a d20 and take THAT result if it’s better. And since that feel unfair to the Less privileged, we say that if THEY roll a 12 on their d12, they can roll a d6, and if it comes up a 6 they can roll a d20 and take that result if it is better.

And it’s still not a fair game, not because the UnPrivileged get two special rules and the Less Privileged get one, but because they are still systematically less likely to win than the Most Privileged.

Now, with these expanded rules there is no outcome that is impossible for any players. So, with this rule set, it is impossible to identify if a single player is Most Privileged, Less Privileged, or UnPrivileged just by being told their final score. Absolutely any player could, theoretically, get a point score from 1 to 20.

But if you are told the scores of 100 players all at the same level of Privilege, you are going to pretty easily identify which Privilege rank they all had.

End of Line

Considerations For Game Industry Work

So, assume for a moment that you have to pick from a range of projects available to you, and you can’t do them all. This isn’t necessarily a matter of being blessed with 7 companies all offering you too much freelance. You might be offered one or two simultaneous jobs by a long-time source of work. Or you might be asked to outline which of several lines you want to work on during an interview. Or you might have no work coming in from other sources, so you need to pick a project of your own to develop.

However it happened, you need to pit project outlines against each other, and decide which one you are going to do. So, how do your compare apples to cthulhupunk airship murder mysteries?

Here are some factors to consider.


How much are you getting paid, and WHEN are you getting paid. This is not the end-all be-all of these consideration, but you have to include it. How much, under what circumstances, starting when, and ending when, if the money? I have taking pay rates that were 20% of my normal take, because the publisher promised (and delivered) “Payment by PayPal within an hour of turning it over.” I’ve also had times where 10 cents/word in 13 months sounded better than 8 cents/word in 6 months. I’ve taken royalties for the life of a product over flat rates, and vice versa, based on my needs and hopes. (I almost never accept royalties for the first 1 or 2 years of sales, because that discounts things like compilations and rereleases, which have made me tens of thousands of dollars over my career, but even then the right terms would make me do it.)

Know what money you have, what money you are getting, how much you TRUST that you’ll get that money when you are supposed to, and what money you need. If you have regular payments coming in or a “day job” that means your writing/game industry money is all gravy, you can take bigger risks and wait longer periods than if you need $50 to make a care payment next month.


The less you need the money, the more you can worry about fun. I have honestly considered defining “professional game designers not as people who make enough money to cover their expenses with industry work, or people who get paid for anything game-related, but as people who get paid to do game work they don’t find interesting. (I then decided I’m not the fucking high poo-bah of who is a game industry professional and gave up on the idea of defining squat, but I DO think people who can and do make money on game projects that don’t excite them have a useful and rarer professional skill.)

Not every project needs to be fun, but learn what you like and what you don’t, AND how it impacts your speed, satisfaction, burn-out potential, and so forth. If I love a project, I can do it faster and be happier, and that absolutely gets considered in my choice of projects.


Do you want to be better at what you do? Then value those opportunities that will help you grow. I have taken jobs, and even worked at companies, specifically because of the quality of designer, editor, and producer that lets me interact with. Working with great creative in different task and different kinds of projects very much helps me grow my skills. While I have never worked with anyone without learning SOMETHING from them, there are certainly people I learn more from than others.

Where possible, convince these people to be part of your own game company and pay them a cut of all the money you make, so they feel encourages to just sit around and say smart things. J (This is an advanced technique… )


This is harder to define, and not everyone is going to have the same career goals, but it’s worth looking at what projects will position you to do the things you want to do later in life. This can include taking types of projects you don’t have a track record with. For example when I had developed a strong reputation as a specialized game mechanics “crunch’ guy, I began looking for more adventures and worldbuilding projects to work on. And then right after those got published, I find myself in a game company interview being asked if I had done any adventures recently. (Phew.)

You may also find it useful to work with new people. A small project that doesn’t much interest you may be entirely worth taking if it gets your foot in the door with a company, property, or person you want to work with more. DON’T let yourself get taken advantage of (and if they want to, reconsider if you want to work with them), but do consider the value of taking on things outside your normal schedule or preferences to prove you can do a good job for them. I have, for example, taken more than one assignment on a Friday that was an emergency that needed to be done by Monday. Those never paid extra, but they did still pay well, and they let me prove I was reliable, useful, and able to work under crunch-time conditions.

Visibility can also be important. I did, in fact, “work for exposure” early in my career, writing reviews for TSR’s AOL content for no pay, and contributing to pro-am netbooks that were sold for money, without receiving anything but a credit. Those were both useful and paid off for me. Nowadays I’d recommend you NEVER do what I did, but it can totally be worth it to write for a blog or Patreon or social media without a guaranteed paycheck, assuming you own the material and that when money comes in you get your cut. I’m also fine with doing free work for projects that no one makes money on, like fan sites and charity projects, but beware. Those rarely boost your visibility any more than a good blog of your own material that you can control and own the rights to.


No one but you can decide which of these factors are most important to you, and there are lots of other things that might influence your thinking. If you find something morally or ethically objectionable, don’t do it. If a friend did you a favor and needs one in return, feel free to cut them the same kind of slack you would if they needed someone to watch their pet for a vacation or pick up soup when they were sick… as long as it isn’t an ongoing thing.

And always check your assumptions in the middle, and at the end of each project. If it turns out you find satisfaction more important than money, it’s worth knowing. If you love doing something as a hobby but hate doing it as a job, it’s good to know. If you find it easier to make money writing games you hate than your existing corporate job, it’s good to know.

Contemplate, weight, balance, reconsider, and be ready to do the whole dance again for your next project.


And always, always find a way to turn every job into an ad for other ways for you to make money.

For example: “If you actually found that worth reading, why not become a patron, and support my efforts to blog on various topics?”

(Seriously, if this was helpful to you, why not throw a few bucks my way?)

A Fat Man’s Fashion Concerns

There’s no moral or point to this post, just my thoughts and experiences on what it’s like to worry about clothes as a fat man. It’s not really career, gaming, or geek-related, so feel free to skip it.

In many ways, I think it would make sense for me to ignore fashion entirely. I’m a 430 lb. man, plus or minus 2-3% of that depending on when you catch me. I am regularly mocked, and rarely even assaulted, based entirely on my obese appearance. Wearing a custom fit 3-piece suit doesn’t change that (I happen to know), and thus there’s a part of me that would like to paraphrase She-Hulk’s line “I’m six foot seven and bright green! People are gonna stare no matter how I dress!”

Sadly, I lack that level of self-confidence.

So, I strive for a level of comfortable casual 99.5% of the time, and dress up (as uncomfortable physically, psychologically, and sartorially as that always is) as needed for funerals, weddings, formal parties (which I mostly just avoid), and job interviews. Over the years that comfortable casual has evolved into jeans/khakis/dockers, an undershirt and a Henley (though with the occasional polo) and sneakers. Colors stick to a pretty narrow palate of grays, browns, blacks, darker blues, purples, reds, and greens, and rarely white.

I own a few things that fall outside of this. A mustard yellow Henley, for example. (The colors for fat men’s clothes are often described in food terms – I have much more mustard, chocolate, eggplant, and mint clothing than I do yellow, brown, purple, or green.) But that’s fraught with peril. I once wore the mustard Henley with khaki pants, and up[on entering a room literally silenced ongoing conversation as everyone stared at me in shocked silence at so much tan-to-yellow in one place. I counted to five before anyone managed to speak or look away.

I neither desire, nor manage, such attention well.

I like white, but it attracts too much attention. A white shirt on me can look like a spotlight trying to flag down passing planes. I do own some white undershirts, but they attract stains… and while dressing well doesn’t cut down on abuse, a fat man with a food stain does invite it.

I keep a Tide stick in my desk at work, so that a careless bite of lunch doesn’t send me into such a panic I have to flee home fighting tears.

Darker shirts are much more forgiving of a drop of food, and less likely to have an old stain I don’t notice become obvious in juuuust the right light. Light gray is about as bold as I get for outer shirts at this point.

I also prefer dark undershirts, because I can’t afford to replace my shirts often. At my size even t-shirts are often quite expensive, and sales are less common and more likely to only include things like bright orange camo patterns with a big red bear on the back… which I simply cannot wear. Cheap stores don’t go to my size. So I tend to wear my shirts until they are worn threadbare, and don’t have the luxury of giving them up with they develop tiny wholes. But a black undershirt generally conceals a tiny hole in a navy blue Henley. A white undershirt highlights such imperfections, limiting them to be matched with as-yet pristine shirts or my few light gray choices.


Wearing a shirt with obvious flaws and holes is at least as embarrassing as wearing one with a food stain. I tend to check them every day, so see if this is when I need to retire one, and spend a few hours online trying to buy a replacement I can afford. Stores are a disaster for me, and I have almost entirely given up on them.

I have noticed that no one seems to care about the color of my socks. Even the most offensive of fat-shamer doesn’t care if my socks are white, black, purple, or have little brown bears all over them.

Often my geek choices are limited. There are t-shirts I would wear… that don’t come in my size. This is also often true of company shirts, vest, and jackets, though a work-around can generally be found.

At conventions and other geek-heavy events, I suffer a lot less harassment at the event itself… and a lot more just outside its borders. So that’s a wash.

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Turning Down Work is Part of the Job

I turned down an offer of work today. On a cool project I’d love to do, too.

Now, this is unquestionably the right decision for me. I am behind on a lot of projects, and booked out for months and months on Starfinder opportunities and other things. I can’t, responsibly, take on anything else right now. When I had a thin wedge of availability, I filled it with high-priority items I think will pay a lot of career dividends, and even that was as much excitement as smart planning (though it did get my Business managers approval).

But my Freelancer Reflexes remain strong. The idea of someone offering to pay me to make games, and declining, rubs me the wrong way and often sets of waves of near-panic. I mean, if I turn down work, people will stop offering to me, right? And then I’ll have huge gaps in my production, and everyone will forget who I am, and I won’t be able to get any work, and I’ll go broke and starve.

Yes, it’s not rational. But it is part of what drove me for so many years.

But being a GOOD freelancer, even a good creative employee, means giving the people paying you their money’s worth. And that means you can’t take on so much work that you either rush any of it, or end up not being able to complete it on time, or maybe at all.

Those are hard lessons to learn. Most freelancers I know, myself definitely included, make the mistake of agreeing to too much early on, and then re-make that mistake from time to time.

You can’t do everything. You need some down time. More work will come. And, in my experience, telling someone that you’d love to do a project, but right now you are overbooked, never causes them to write you off forever. Frequently, producers appreciate that you know your limits, and make notes to contact you for other projects later on.

So yes sometimes turning down work is part of the job.

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My Teachers: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and RPGs

Science fiction taught me that being smart and creative was valuable.
Fantasy taught me that monsters can be defeated by both champions and brave common folk.
Roleplaying games taught me I could make friends.

More than 175 Pathfinder pdfs for $39.95!

From now on, Rogue Genius Games will be maintaining the Purple Duck Games store on To celebrate, we have a HUGE bundle of their entire Pathfinder backstock compiled into one bundle you can pick up for $39.95 for a limited time! More than 175 products, with a retail value of over $600! Just so you can get caught up on this great line! But the offer only lasts until the end of the month!
I know it’s April 1st, but this is happening! PDG will still do their thing, making the same great content as always, and we’ll make sure it’s available to you on
If you are already a fan of PDG, nothing really changes! You’ll just be buying things from the Purple Duck section of the Rogue Genius store on
If you aren’t already a fan, this is a great chance to get caught up! 
So check out the bundle, check out their awesome selection of products, and join me in a big, hearty quack!

Campaign Ideas Hanging Around

The proposed (and definitely never happening) Analemma Tower would make an awesome set up for any number of campaigns using Anachronistic Adventures or Starfinder. Here are some campaign ideas for a mobile city-sized building hanging down from an asteroid.

All Along the Watchtower: The U.N of 2075 can’t operate out of any one nation or building anymore. Diplomacy, military intervention, and trade all work better from mobile city-towers hanging from asteroids.

Ark V: After the Quantum Genegineering Wars, the ground level of the world became uninhabitable. At the small scale, mutant Morlocks and hunter-killer drones are contant random threats. At the large scale, the doomsday weapon biotank Kaiju are drawn to any major stationary power source.
There are still survivors scrabbling to survive in a ruined world, and super-science and relics to be dug out of cities overrun by horrors. but the only way to get to them is to wait for a period of low threat, then jump down from the roaming bastion of science and civilization that is Ark V, our last, best hope for survival.

High Ground: The evil supergenius Tex Tanner could have engaged in countless battles to overthrow nations, establish shadow governments, and defeat heroes like Anthem Lass and the Gargoyle. Instead he created one overwhelming show of his scientific brilliance and endless resources, the mobile space-anchored archaeology known as High Ground. From there he runs TannerCorp, literally above the laws of other nations.
Is he done now that he’s made his point, or is High Ground just step one/ As as an archaeology under his exclusive control, why is he hiring street-level heroes to police his private fiefdom?

The Sword of D.A.M.O.C.L.E.S: Aliens have conquered Earth for Earth’s own good. Mostly humanity is left to its own devices, but certain activities and experiments are forbidden. The Department of Alien-Mandated Oversight, Committee of Law Enforcement Systems are mostly humans, though a few alien races also work within it, and makes sure forbidden actions are not attempted. DAMOCLES operates out of the Sword, a hanging alien watchtower that orbits the Earth in a variable pattern to allow maximum command support of hot spots.

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Gotta Catch this *One*

Lj and I ran errands today, and ended with lunch at Godfather’s Pizza in Federal Way. They are apparently a major Weekend Birthday Party stop, and it was fun to see so many very different families having fun together.

About halfway through our meal a new family came in with birthday decorations including a very large Pikachu balloon. Just as they came in, the string on that one balloon broke, and it escaped upwards to an elevated corner of the ceiling.

A few minutes later, the mom borrowed a broom and was trying to bat the balloon down to get it within reach. After she had tried for a bit, i could see she simply lacked the height and arm length to pull it off.

I went over and asked if she would like help from someone taller. I have been told I can be imposing, so I stayed out of her personal space and kept my arms to my sides as I asked. She enthusiastically agreed she’d love help, and passed me the broom.

I almost got the balloon twice, but couldn’t quite keep the balance long enough. I asked the very helpful Godfathers employee who was assisting if they happened to have a *second* broom. Lj asked if I planed to use them like forceps, and I confirmed that was the case. We got a second broom, I managed to use the two as enormous tongs, and recovered the balloon into the mother’s hands. She thanked us profusely.

This is a VERY different kind of work that I have been doing lately, and it felt really good to help out with a random child’s birthday decorations.

Also, I caught a pikachu.

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Genre: DieselDada

I’ve never been particularly happy with the term “DieselPunk,” because it often seems to be missing any “punk.” You perfectly well CAN add the punk philosophy to a superscience 1920s-1950s setting, but most people who make a run at it don’t seem to. Mostly, they are just doing flavors of pulp.

Now, I like pulp. A lot. I have mostly squared that circle by calling my own setting Diesel Pulp, which I feel helps convey more of what I am going for. But I have always wondered what a real effort to inject punk into a diesel-driven superscience setting would look like. And, personally, I think it would be more interesting to look to the movements of the era, and inject a big dose of Dada into a diesel-drvien superscience setting.


Imagine a world where calculating machines, broadcast power, personal flight, giant robots, teleportation, selective breeding, talking animals, and all sorts of other marvels and terrors of science and knowledge exist… because of a war. where the world has all the tools to build paradise, but they were just used to slaughter millions as retaliation for a single assassination. Where some individuals have spent years as super-powered solo operatives, given permission to do anything for victory, and are no being told to take 9-to-5 jobs to make toasters.
In response to that insane circumstance, many of them rebel not just against the establishment, but against the very ideas of logic, money, society as a whole, and even rationality. Some wish to help in their own way, others use their vast sea of options to create nonsense acts even if that hurts others.
That diesel-driven super-science post-war setting of individuals rejecting modern society’s ideals and rules because following them lead to the Great War, which they see as the Great Horror, is DieselDada.

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Professional PCs: About My Character (Part 3)

Okay, as outlined to About My Character Part One and Part Two, my new PC now has a name, race, class, history, and through line.

So, Now I can actually make a character. In a lot of ways this is the boring part. 🙂

Ability Scores
Because it’s going to affect so many other choices, I like to do ability scores first when making a Pathfinder character. I often adjust those choices from time to time during the process (when the character creation rules allow that), but knowing what my character’s natural abilities are helps me know what he or she can do, and what the character is likely to focus on in the training that leads up to 1st level.

So, I know Krokar is a half orc who plans to kill a god, and who embraces tactics but it better known for being a fanged killer. I can work with that.

With a 25 point buy and a character is hits things first, soak up damage second, and casts spells third, I want a big Strength and Constitution, and a fair Wisdom. I also like the idea of being quite intimidating.

I drop 16s in Strength and Constitution, eating 20 of my 25 points. I wrestled with that for a good long time. There are lots of ways to boost hit points – the Toughness feat, favored class bonuses, and so on. So do I really want a 16 Constitution? Would a 14 not be just as good, and much cheaper at 5 points?

On the other hand, inquisitors have a d8, so I don’t have as many hit points as a fighter with the same Constitution score. And for hp calculations after 1st level, I don’t know if we are doing maximum, or rolling the hit dice, or some formula. If we roll and I get a 1, I’m going to want to use those other hp addition methods even if I already have a 16. So, that stays.

That leaves mw with 5 points to spread out among my Dex, Int, Wis, and Cha. I need at least an 11 Wisdom if I want to cast spells. Of course, I COULD sell off something I don’t need as much. For example, with 6 skill points/level as an inquisitor, I could go down to an 8 Int and still have more skill points/level than a typical fighter. That’d let me buy my Dexterity up to a 12, for example, which would be an etra point of AC and Reflex saves, even in very heavy armor.

But I don’t see Krokar as dumb, even if he’s not a genius either. Similarly he’s not clumsy and not unstriking. No matter how much it might make sense from a pure effectiveness point of view, it doesn’t match my character concept to sell an ability down below 10.

I decide to go with a 14 Wisdom, thinking I’ll put my +2 racial bonus to any one ability score from being an Orc in, and end up with three 16s, ensuring I can cast 5th and 6th level inquisitor spells when I am much higher level.

But I don’t.

As I go to make that note, it just doesn’t feel right. Krokar is a massive brute in my mind, and he just isn’t equally strong and wise. He may get there. I kinda hope he does. But right now he’s too brash, and too dedicated to the patently insane idea that he’ll kill his own god. One could certainly argue that praying to the god of war for the power to challenge the god of war is not wise. even if it worked in this case.

Instead, I put my racial +2 into Strength, ending with Strength 18, Dexterity 10, Constitution 16, Intelligence 10, Wisdom 14, and Charisma 10. I’m not 1005 convinced about that Charisma, but certainly there are physically imposing individuals who just don’t know how to make the most out of their visual look. I decide to ponder at as character design goes forward. I can always adjust, later.


First, since the Advanced Player’s Guide is available, I want to look at alternate racial traits. I decide right off the bat I’m not willing to sacrifice the “intimidating” feature for anything. Getting +2 on Intimidate checks ties into my character concept too well.

But then I spot “Toothy,” which gives me a bite attack. My character history calls out his noteworthily large tusks, so this seems a perfect fit. Since I’m using a greatsword the natural attack would be a secondary attack most of the time – low chance of hitting, low damage, but I like the idea and it means Krokar has options if he’s disarmed or captured. I decide to take it.

Next, there are the standard 2 traits many campaigns allow, and the GM confirms we can pick 2 from the APG. Looking through those, I immediately liked the sound of “History of Heresy,”

“You were raised with heretical views that have made it difficult for you to accept most religious beliefs and often caused you or those you love to be treated as pariahs. As a result, you have turned your back on religious teachings. As long as you do not possess any levels in a class that grants divine spellcasting power, you gain a +1 trait bonus on all saving throws against divine spells.”

This trait would literally do me no good since my first level is in a divine spellcasting lass. And Krokar hasn’t exactly turned his back on religious teachings, he’s just taken a different message than expected from it. I still note it down, in consideration. It’d be a strong roleplaying touch to support my character history with a trait that’s useless to me, though it might also make the GM feel like I was asking for something to be done with that choice, and I don’t want to add any pressure in a light and fun campaign.

Then I run into Indomitable Faith.

“You were born in a region where your faith was not popular, but you still have never abandoned it. Your constant struggle to maintain your own faith has bolstered your drive. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Will saves.”

I suspect telling your religious teachers you plan to kill their god WOULD be unpopular, so this actually seems a closer match to my character history, if not quite as a weird-fun choice.

In combat traits, I find Courageous.
“Your childhood was brutal, but you persevered through force of will and faith. No matter how hard things got, you knew you’d make it through as long as you kept a level head. You gain a +2 trait bonus on saving throws against fear effects.”
Krokar’s entire childhood wasn’t brutal, but the part where the lost his whole family and came to hate his chosen god is. And, I like the idea that opposing your own deity takes courage.

I go with Indomitable faith and Courageous, because I like what they say about Krokar’s mental state, and how he got there.


As I noted, inquisitors get a lot of skill points. I put a rank each in Intimidate, Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (religion), Perception, Sense Motive, and Spellcraft. The Intimidate is supposed to be his natural (and growing) ability to be menacing. The rest is his formal religious training in Absalom.

Class Features

About the only class feature choices I need to make as a 1st level inquisitor are my domain and my spells known. Domain is easy – the tactics subdomain of war. It’s one of the things that drew me to Forum as a god, and it fits nicely into Krokar’s character history. I don’t get a lot of spells know. 0-level I take detect magic, light, stabilize, and virtue, in an effort to get a mix of utility and tactical options. I wouldn’t give a half orc light normally at 1st level, but Krokar sees the benefit of making allies able to see.

For my first level spells, I take cure light wounds (because I don’t know if we’ll have a cleric and, anyway, it should help keep Krokar in the fight if things go south), and magic weapon. That last is another effort at a tactical choice. If we run into ghost rats, for example, being able to make a weapon magical will have a big upside. Also, it’s less likely to step on the toes of a cleric, if we have one. I can pick up more standard options, like bless, divine favor, and protection from (alignment) later after I see who else is in the group.

Though I don;t have to select it, it’s also worth noting that stern gaze works nicely with my desire to be intimidating. I pretty well decide to stick with my 10 Charisma. Krokar will get scary just fine, and leave diplomacy and deception to charisma-focused members of the team.


I get a single feat. I’ve played a fair number of human fighters in my time, so this feels light, but them’s the rules, and honestly there’s no feed I need to make this character feel right, which is nice. I can explore some other options.

I suspect Power Attack is a must-have eventually, and lots of feats will come with that as a prerequisite, but I don’t qualify for it right now since my base attack bonus is +0.

I could do Weapon Focus (greatsword) to represent Krokar’s training, but it doesn’t feel right. Krokar is a monster in combat, but he focused on tactics in his training. Later, the inquisitor’s teamwork feats will represent that nicely, but for the moment even if I took a teamwork feat it’s unlikely anyone else will.

Other than “hit it harder,” most of Krokar’s current tactical options involve spells. He doesn’t have a LOT of those at 1st level, but using them judiciously in combat may be the best way to get the feel of someone who does more than slice at targets. And if I am casting in combat, with my non-maximized Wisdom, casting defensively is far from a sure thing.

So, despite not being interested in a major spellcasting focus, I take Combat Casting. It’s a solid feat with high use throughout my career, and right now it represents Krokar having studied when martial magic can tip the scales in a conflict.


We have a LOT of money for 1st level characters, 300 gp each, but we still can’t go crazy. I pick a greatsword, and decide I like the idea of a long suit of chainmail for his main protection. That’ll likely change to a breastplate later on, but the 50 gp savings is worth it to me right now. I also get a light crossbow for ranged fights, and a morningstar as a back-up weapon.

That leaves me plenty of money for a backpack, rope, blanket, food, and so on. Since I have darkvision and light, I skip torches or lanterns.


And that’s it, my 1st level character is basically done! I hope you found the explanation of my process interesting (and if not, why are you still reading this?). Assuming the campaign lasts long enough for me to level up Krokar, I may revisit this idea and go over the choices I make at each level.


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