So those of you that have been following my blog will know I have been running Iron Kingdoms for about 7 sessions so far, and I am on the second story of the chronicle, which is the first part of the Witchfire trilogy. So I thought I would begin with an overview of the group of character in my chronicle right now and how and why they are what they are.
To begin lets examine the scope of the game. I decided before hand that the group would be a sanctioned group of witch hunters and investigators working for the Order of Illumination. I am also the type of GM that would rather set out restrictions on character types first and then only push those boundaries when I am given good reasoning by players. This prevents special snow flakes, and reinforces a group template and guides them in how their characters should have synergy, and prevents too much player character antagonism from the outset.
Given this guideline within which to create characters, it means I can do enough forward planning without working from complete scratch while leaving enough room for player creativity. The great thing about these group templates for parties of characters, known as adventuring companies, is that there are bonuses for the party if they adhere to the concept. So in my case, I have modified the Intrepid Investigators example, by allowing Knight rather than Mechanik, to create a Church Sanctioned Investigator party. I think the real strength of these companies is that they enforce a degree of unity, and also push players to take less combat focused careers. This also means that there is a drive for diversity given that you have certain criteria to fulfill. If all the players go for all combat based careers, you will soon end up with characters that are all very similar. The other thing is that you are perhaps less likely to have some of the more extreme combos of skills, abilities, and archetype benefits, leading to game breaking, or at least over the top, play from the players.
So given the above what characters did my players create.
We have the priest of the group, who is an ex-military captain and chaplain, Brother Eckert, who's innate magical ability blossomed into life during war with the Menites. He has a illegitimate child that he keeps little contact with, and sends money back home to his mother. He is of course a priest and so a capable ghost hunter, as well as a well seasoned fighter. Within the group he serves as perhaps the 2nd combat hitter of the group, but also the group buffer (he can increase ARM) plus he is the team healer, and also leader in all fights against ghosts and undead. He of course has a big staff, and will more than likely become the group 'jack marshal in time and be given a church consecrated warjack.
Next we have the Llaelese aristocrat, ex-nun turned bounty hunter for the church, Darcey de Dimiani. She hails from Voxsauny and is the daughter of an Earl. She of course was very boyish in some respects, and favoured by her father, who taught he to fight and hunt. She was sent to a nunnery in preparation for her wedding, but the church recognized her skills and so she joined the Order of Illumination. Her career combos makes her the combat all rounder. A good marksman with pistols, and has a heavy rifle. She also makes use of maces as she is trained to kill the undead. Her heritage and nobility means she is also an influential person to have when dealing with heresy in the ranks of nobles. In cases where she must be subtle she relies on her unarmed combat skills and wields a spring loaded hidden blade. She also follows a code of silence, and so will not speak to men on first meeting them, unless there is a matter of urgency.
Then there is the exiled knight turned duelist, Gregore. Her once was part of a Morrown order of knights, before being expelled for dubious reasons, and then for a time worked for the Cygnaran spy network. He of course was offered work within the Church to remove his sins, and to redeem the honour of his family. He fulfills the tank of the group. Brandishing a great sword, heavy plate armour, and being a more than capable fighter who can easily face down trolls on his own. He of course is more than able to move into to support the others, especially when they are in a grave situation in a fight. combined with the priest, he becomes the formidable shield wall of the team.
Finally with have Beck Hurst, alchemist investigator. He still searches for the killer of his parents, who were respected mechanicks themselves. He learned enough of their trade, and that through try to find their killer, that he was taken in by the university of Corvis and trained formally. After his graduation he was then employed by the church, first as alchemist, and then as investigator, doctor, alchemist and expert on the sciences. He of course is more of a support character in a fight, using a variety of grenades (which supplement or stand in for those abilities of the priest), or other chemical to aid them. He of course is an investigator, and so is skilled in forgeries, alchemy, forensics interrogation and law. He also acts as the battle plan booster, allowing the team to have the drop on their enemies. He is also somewhat stealthy.
As you can see, the team has a wide range of careers, capable of interacting in roleplay scenarios as various levels of society, with a wide range of knowledge based skills, and also an equally wide range of combat skills and fighting styles, meaning that the team can easily adapt to various situations.
So what groupings of characters have you had for your games of Iron Kingdoms? How do they work together? Is there enough diversity? Are they all combat munchkins?