We’re pulling into the home stretch of our character creation journey for Savage Pathfinder! With episode one we came up with our character’s concept, chose their Dwarven ancestry, and selected a number of hindrances. In episode two we figured out their attributes, selected their skills, and determined their derived statistics. For the final episode of character creation, we’ll be giving them their Edges, Background, and some Gear before sending them off on an adventure!
Let’s get started!
So far, we know that our character is a dwarf, but they’re not the only dwarf in the world. Likewise, anyone else could have the exact same slate of attributes and skills that we gave our character in the last episode. Edges are where each character differentiates themselves.
Think of Edges as special traits that a character has through unique life experiences, either rigorous training and study, or the time-honored practice of running across something dangerous and living to tell—and learn from—the tale. Everyone’s lives are different and they’ll pick up different lessons as a result, including your characters. When you’re picking Edges for your character, it’s important that you keep that in mind.
As we build out our Dwarven wizard, we’ll try to make sure we use all the decisions we’ve made for their Concept and Hindrances to inform what Edges we choose. Of course, you can always pick Edges that reflect cool things you want your character to be able to do, but thinking of these traits as extensions of your character’s history and upbringing. This can help your character feel like a full-formed individual rather than just a collection of different traits, and it can help guide you when it comes time for advancement later on.
Edges in Pathfinder are separated into ten categories:
There are also Prestige and Legendary Edges, but these are edges for characters that have advanced beyond the Novice rank. Since we’re building a Novice character, we don’t need to worry about these right now.
So how do we select Edges for our character? To begin, every Savage Pathfinder character gets one free Class Edge. Since we’ve already decided that we’re going to be playing a Wizard, that makes our first choice easy! Each initial class edge—known as a Core Class Edge—has Attribute requirements, as well as class specific traits that we’ll need to make note of. In our previous episode, we made sure our Smarts and Occult attributes were at least a d6 so we’re covered there.
As for our class specific traits, first up, the Wizard class is an Arcane Background, which means it’s a class that has access to arcane energy—represented in Savage Pathfinder by Powers. Think of Powers as individual spells or miracles from the original Pathfinder.
In order to use a Power your character has an associated arcane skill. Every character with an Arcane Background starts with 10 Power Points, and your choice of three starting Powers from a list of either spells or miracles, depending on your class. The important thing to remember is that Powers all work the same for anyone with an Arcane Background; each character has access to Powers that they spend Power Points to use. The difference is how each character uses them.
For Wizards, their arcane skill is Spellcasting, which is linked to their Smarts attribute. We’ll cover the basics of how to use this and other skills in more detail for our Rules episodes, but for now let’s select three Powers from the list underneath the Wizard’s available powers.
Next, we have an Arcane Bond that we need to decide on, which is a strong magical connection that our Wizard has with either an object, or a magical pet—a familiar. Now while everyone loves a familiar, I think since he’s already bucking convention by being one of the only mages in his family line, maybe his arcane bond could be an item that a blacksmith relative made for him. Let’s say a Warhammer from his father, who had different aspirations for his only son. He may not use it in combat precisely the way that his dear old dad would want, but so long as it’s on his person, it will grant him +1 on all Spellcasting totals.
We also have to choose what path of magical study our Wizard undertook—either a “universalist” that learns a little bit of everything from all schools of magic, or a “specialist” that focuses on one to the detriment of others. Specialists get some bonuses when casting within their specialty, but suffer some negatives when casting anything under an opposing domain. I think that it’s appropriate for our character to go with the former. Since he’s already working as an unlikely mage, it’s fun to imagine him looking for magic knowledge whenever he can find it rather than focusing on a single discipline.
That leaves us with two other things to note about the Wizard edge; the armor interference trait subtracts 4 from spellcasting and agility-based rolls if the character’s wearing armor or shields, and wizards must keep and maintain a spellbook to cast their spells. Pretty standard stuff for Wizards if you’re already familiar with Pathfinder or other fantasy gaming tropes.
Now that leaves us with the rest of our Edges to pick. Like we mentioned in our first episode, taking Hindrances can give you up to 4 extra points to use during character creation, and we took the maximum amount. I could split those points up between skill points, attributes or edges, but I think I’ll go all in on extra edges. Each one costs two points, so I can take two more.
For my first, I’ll take Arcane Armor from the Power category. It makes my armor interference trait count as one higher, so my character can wear light armor without a penalty. That’ll help keep me from being too fragile in combat. Then I think for my second extra edge, I’ll take Linguist from the Background category. Going back to the idea that he’s looking for knowledge wherever he can get it, all the various tomes and scrolls he’s poured over have made him at least conversational with a number of different languages.
And that finishes off our character’s edges! Oh, and just to note, if you’re building a character along with me and you find an Edge that you want but don’t have the requirements for? You can always go back and adjust your skills and attributes later.
Now all we’ve got left is to figure out our dwarf’s Background and get them some Gear, but before we do that let’s hear from our sponsor…
Now it comes time for our character’s Background—things like their history up ‘til now, family life, why they became an adventurer, and anything else you’d like to fill in. In our case, we’ve already done a lot of that work ahead of time.
We’ve established that our character is an exception to the average dwarf stereotype, being a magic scholar rather than a craftsperson or warrior. We can tie that to some of the Hindrances we’ve selected. Since he’s Arrogant, Stubborn, and Mean due in large part to his efforts to prove himself in contrast to his family? Maybe he got that way because of a family full of stern authoritarians who couldn’t understand why a son of theirs would want to waste time with spells and tomes. Or it could be that his family was perfectly reasonable, but full of warriors and smiths who have legendary deeds to their names, and he allowed feelings of inadequacy to complicate his relationships with people who otherwise love him? The great thing about backgrounds for RPG characters is that they don’t have to—and shouldn’t—exist in a vacuum! Work with your GM and maybe the other players to weave your background into the rest of the game. Ask your GM where they’re planning on having the adventure take place, or what important people, organizations, and entities will be featured. See where your fellow players are at with their own characters to perhaps build in some pre-established relationships. Your background should serve two purposes: Make your character more fleshed out for you to play, and to give the rest of the players—including the GM—a richer world to play around in.
Speaking of history, some characters like Clerics have to pick a specific deity or domain that powers their abilities. We’re playing a Wizard, so we don’t necessarily have to deal with that, but it wouldn’t hurt to look at the list of deities and domains and have an idea on how your character might feel about them, or even worship. Tentatively, let’s have our dwarf have a healthy respect, if not out-and-out reverence for Nethys—the deity whose primary concern is magic. May as well cheer for his chosen home team, right?
Before we finish up with the background, a word on Alignments in Savage Pathfinder. While other fantasy games and settings, alignment is less of a hard line that determines what sort of spells and items your character can use, and more of a broad outlook of their moral compass. By default, characters in Savage Pathfinder are of either Neutral or Good alignment, and cannot be Evil. Work with your group to establish the type of tone you’re all looking to have in the game, and above all, make sure your character fits the vibe.
To close out, let’s give our Wizard some gear before we send him out on an adventure. The process is pretty simple! Every character gets 300 gold pieces for gear that you select from Chapter Two—the gear chapter, naturally. Keep all of your previous character choices in mind—for example, due to our Armor Interference trait, we won’t be grabbing any armor above Light—but other than that, take your pick of loot!
Now that we’ve got a complete character ready to go, join me next time as we dig into how to play Savage Pathfinder! For our next episode, we’ll cover the Savage Worlds rules basics, and how they apply to Pathfinder. Thanks! If this helped you, please consider liking and sharing. And check out the Saving Throw Ko-fi to support more content like this!
If you have specific questions or have a request, please check out our Discord! And here’s some homework before our next episode: Give our dwarf a name in the comments!
‘Til next time – LET’S DUNGEON!