Character Creation

Racial Traits

Character creation in Teller's Tales functions much the same way as in standard Iron Heroes, with one key difference: the addition of race traits. All non-human characters receive a Racial trait at character creation in addition to their two standard traits. Human characters receive a free background trait instead. This Background trait counts as their one allotted Background trait, allowing the character to take an additional Physical or Mental trait.

List of racial traits

Your keen Elven senses grant low-light vision as well as a +2 bonus to your Listen and Spot skills. In addition, you may choose a Cultural benefit:
Atorrani: +2 bonuses to History and one Craft skill of your choice, +2 to Will saving throws made to avoid fear effects.
Cerzi: +2 bonus to Survival, proficiency with all weapons with the Bow descriptor.
Mesiani: +2 skill bonus to diplomacy; Mesiani Spiritualists also receive a +1 bonus to Pact checks which stacks with the bonuses granted by the Changeling Child trait.

You are size Small. As a Small creature, you gaina +1 size bonus to passive defence, a +1 size bonus to attacks, and a +4 size bonus to Hide checks. You suffer a -2 square (-10 foot) penalty to your base movement speed. You must also wield weapons one size category smaller. You may not choose the Short or Tall traits at character creation. Dwarves do not suffer the usual -2 Strength from being size Small, as they are comparatively brawny. You also gain Darkvision. In addition, you may choose a Way of Life benefit:
Merchants: +2 skill bonus to Appraise, Bluff and Sense Motive, and you may roll an additional 1d4 when you generate starting gold.
Miners: +2 skill bonus to Profession: Miner and Search and proficiency with all weapons with the Pick or Hammer descriptor.

As an Orc, you are very adept at surviving in hot conditions. You gain a +4 bonus to all Fortitude saving throws made to resist non-magical heat effects, as well as a +2 bonus to all Survival checks made in desert environments. You can survive on half as much water as most people - if you carry a three-day supply of water, for example, you can it allows you to live in the desert for six days. This does not stack with the benefit granted by the Desert Born trait. Additionally, you may choose a Way of Life benefit:
Shield-brother: +1 bonus to active defence while adjacent to an ally, proficiency with all Common and Martial spears and shields.
Warrior: +1 attack bonus when flanking an enemy, +2 skill bonus to Intimidate.
Wanderer: +2 skill bonus to Spot, +1 Fortitude.

Ability Score Generation

Characters in Teller's Tales generate ability scores using the point-buy method detailed in the core Iron Heroes book, receiving 22 points rather than the standard 24 to compensate for what is essentially a free trait.


For realism's sake, reading and writing are not considered inherent in linguistic knowledge. Literacy should be considered a separate Academia skill from Speak Language. Note this on your character sheet as you see fit (e.g. Literacy: Mesianic or Literacy: Sharum)

A character with Speak Language but no points in Literacy will only be able to converse with that language verbally, and will not be able to read books, scrolls or carvings.
A character cannot have Literacy in a language they don't also speak, unless they are mute.

  • At 1 rank, a PC reads and writes slowly, with poor penmanship that makes writing legibly take much longer, and limited word recognition/written vocabulary. Reading or writing a legible page takes 8 full turns.
  • 2 ranks is basically fluent and legible in most common terms, and can generally understand new words by their context. Reading or writing a legible page takes 6 full turns.
  • 3 is educated, perhaps even verbose, and able to write and read precisely and legibly with greater speed. Reading or writing a legible page takes 1 standard action per 6 turns, with any movement at half of walking speed.
  • 4 and up decrease time needed by one action, to a minimum of one full turn (i.e. 4: 1 standard action per 5 turns; 5: 1 standard action per 4 turns; 6: 1 standard action per 3 turns; 7: 1 standard action per 2 turns; 8: 1 standard action on a single turn)

A half-legible page can always be produced in half the time, down to a minimum of one standard action at 8 ranks.

Most lower class folk will be illiterate, but the ability to read and write can be highly useful for dealing with more learned people and certain factions.

See Languages for a list of what is spoken and written in the world of Teller's Tales.


Avoid chainmail for the time being.


While not specific to Teller's Tales, this is just good advice in general. Source

  • Have a Backstory: It doesn't have to be expansive a paragraph is usually enough to let everyone know the feel of your character. Like a list of characters for a play it should let everyone know your character's premise.
  • Improvise: Have your character ocassionally act on impulse and let the ramifications come. It surprises a GM and your fellow PCs and it keeps things fresh.
  • Now It's Personal: Grow attached to things. PCs naming their +2 returning Javelin "Diplomacy" adds a lot of flavor to simple things. Also if the same setting is ever revisited at a later time finding a relic from your past adventures is a lot of fun.
  • Be Quirky: Give your charecter flaws. And not just the suggested ones for bonus feats. Make your Monk OCD and spend ten minutes trying to organize the tomb of a Chaotic Evil guy. Have fun with it. Other PCs will laugh or hilariously try and stop you. Fun for all.
  • Keep it Simple, Stupid: Don't make the GM dig through pages of rules for your actions. If the GM simplifies something deal with it rather than attempt rules lawyering. Speeds up play prevents you from time hogging and will make more time for fun.
  • Stay on Track: The first sidequest is awesome, the sidequest from that sidequest is questionable, after that its too much.
  • He Tasks Me: Choose someone you hate. Don't let other PCs know, pick an enemy and figure out why you loathe them.
  • Keep Secrets: Pass notes to the GM. Collude with another player. Make sure people pay attention to your character. (Don't hog the Spotlight though)
  • Stay on the Rails: The GM probably has something awesome planned. And the rails are not nessecarily bad.
  • Go off the Rails: The GM will be impressed and flustered the encounter will be more fun as its improvised and you shape the villian's plans as much as the GM making a fun exercise in team storytelling. Don't forget to have fun along the way.