Fantasy Wargaming—Character Generation

Period and culture
Characteristics and other random attributes
Social background
Determining the character’s occupation
Calculate other attributes


To understand the character generation process in Fantasy Wargaming, it is necessary to read the entire book. It’s not just a historical treatise! To understand what sorts of magic-user you can play in the game, for instance, you have to have read the chapter “Myth, magic, and religion,” which describes them in detail. The premise of this game is to be historically accurate, so all of the history presented in the book is actually of direct use in the game.

Once you’ve read the book, you’ll need to refer to it as you create your character. This procedure assumes you have the book available to you; I do not reproduce the tables or the text you need.

Period and culture

Before beginning to create a character, it is essential that the date and location of the game’s setting be known. A character from AD 600 Scandinavia has vastly different choices than a character from AD 1475 France. If the Gaming Master has created an original setting, or has borrowed one from fiction, he must supply the players with an equivalent historical time and place, or else create new warrior, mage, and cleric tables, and any other changes necessary for the setting.

Characteristics and other random attributes


Roll 3d6 for each of 11 characteristics: physique, agility, endurance, charisma, greed, selfishness, lust, bravery, intelligence, faith, and social class. Social class is the characteristic most influential on what type of character you can create.

Astrological influences

If you wish, or if the Gaming Master demands, you may adjust the character's characteristics with the Astrological Alterations table. Roll a 12-sided die to determine the character’s astrological sign on the table (record this as Star Sign). (This is recommended, as astrological influences are pervasive in the magic rules.) Adjust the characteristics as indicated on the table. Do not adjust any score below 3 or above 18. If you are not adjusting your scores, simply roll for the star sign.


You now have a chance to adjust the character’s scores according to your own wishes, representing the astrological conditions of his or her birth. Roll 2d6−7. The result is the number of points, ±, by which you must alter the characteristics. You may not alter a characteristic more than two points, and if a characteristic is 14 or higher, you may only alter it by one point. Greed, selfishness, and lust, being vices, are adjusted in reverse: −1 increases the score by 1 point, +1 reduces the score by one point, and so on. Consider the Characteristics: Primary and Secondary table in this section, and what sort of class you want the character to be.

Special attributes

Roll 1d6. 1–2: roll once against the Bogey Table; 3–4: roll twice; 5–6: roll three times.

Some entries on the Bogey Table will affect the possible social background and skills of the character, which is why they must be rolled before determining those. Jewish, heretic, and atheist characters cannot be (Christian) clerics or nobility and will have a hard time integrating themselves into most other professions. Only Jewish characters of the High Middle Ages can be cabalists.

Social Background

This is the heart of the Fantasy Wargaming character, and the reason this game exists at all. It is also the most confusing section, because you have to have read and understood the rest of the book, including the historical background chapters.

Choosing your father and your relation to him

Find the table in the section entitled “Choosing a Father/Family Rank.” Choose the family situation you want to find your character in. For instance, do you want your character to be the eldest son of a nobleman, or the bastard son of a serf?

Once you select your situation, find the adjustment listed on the table and add it to your social class. This is the social class of your character’s father. Note: if your father’s social class does not allow him into the appropriate group on the Social Class and Background table, you cannot choose this family situation. For instance, if your warrior has a social class of 10, there is no way he could be the son of a nobleman (minimum social class 15 for Landless Knight, but maximum father’s social class of 13). Likewise, a character of social class 18 could be the bastard son (+3) of a king (social class 21), but never the son of a common serf (social class 7). Also note that “clergy” refers to the entire clergy column in the Social Class table; don’t count them as nobility or freemen even if they appear in those categories. Characters related to clergymen never have a +1 factor on the table.

The character’s sex will affect the available choices of the father’s social position and occupation as well as the classes and occupations available to the character. The most likely profession for a female adventurer in the fantastic-historical setting of Fantasy Wargaming is mage — as a witch or wise woman. As clerics, women can only be nuns — treat this the same as a monk. Women were usually not allowed to be warriors.

Now choose a suitable profession or status for your character’s father on the Social Class and Background: Character Generation table. Make a note of the father’s social class, profession, and your character’s relation to him.

On the sample character sheet, “Father’s social position” is where you write your father’s title on the social class table (e.g., Man-at-Arms, Middling Monk, Bordar), “Family rank” is your relationship to your father (e.g., eldest legitimate son (heir), eldest daugter (not heiress)), and “Social position” is a combination of your column on the social class table and the “area” you occupy on the table, indicated by vertical, all-caps text (e.g., unfree rural dweller, landowning freeman, noble clergy, but note that if you follow a career different then your father, you may end up occupying a different social position than him).


A character has social class 12. The player decides he is the eldest son of a freeman (+1). This makes his father’s social class 13. The player may choose from the following for the father’s profession: mercenary captain, journeyman of a rich guild, member of a middling guild, master of a poor guild, or reeve. The player decides that his father is a member of a middling guild, and then further decides (purely for background interest) that his father’s guild is a banking house.

If you don’t know ahead of time what sort of family and social position you want for your character, you can make a list of every possible combination. In the example above, the list would look like this:


This character cannot qualify for unfree, poor free, or slaves because his or her social class is too high.

Determining the character’s occupation

Characters in Fantasy Wargaming aren't locked into character classes like warrior, mage, and cleric. These categories are only the beginning of the description of the character’s occupation. Is the warrior a Viking huscarl or a French sergeant? Is the mage a rural cunning man or an urban high sorcerer? Is the cleric a priest, a monk, or a religious knight? The whole book and character creation process leads up to this decision, so take it seriously! You may want to create a list of all the occupations the character qualifies for using the notes below, then choose which one you want.

While reading the historical descriptions in the first part of the book, you’ll have noticed a lot of talk about social mobility and what the children of different sorts of people were expected to do. That information is directly useful here. Chapter one explains, for instance, that the male heir of a landowner will be expected to learn the business of war to fulfill his feudal service when he comes into his inheritance, but that younger sons with no expectation of inheritance often go into the priesthood. If you plan on playing a regular warrior, you’ll want to be your father's heir, but if you want to play a cleric, being an heir would get in the way of your priestly duties. You could still play a warrior as a non-heir, but you’d have to choose a type of warrior that isn’t serving a feudal lord, like a mercenary or a berserker.

The player’s job is to work out, as a combination of the character’s social class, the father’s social position and occupation, the character’s relationship to his or her father, and the social rules of the society they live in, what kind of occupation and equipment a starting, 16-year-old character could reasonably have. This will give the character a suitable background to draw upon: favored weapons for a warrior, a rank in the church for Christian clerics, and a magical specialization for mages. However, since Fantasy Wargaming does not limit characters to classes, any character has an opportunity to learn weapons, magic, and appeals as they like.


If you want your character to be a warrior, choose a warrior type according to period, nationality, Social Class, and the father’s social class and position from the Warrior Table. (Players may only choose “Hero” if the GM agrees. These are exceptional individuals, not the typical historical specimen. See the chapter on “Myth, Magic, and Religion” for a list of hero types for each culture and time period. It is unlikely that a new, 0-level character will count as a hero.) The weapons, armor, and mount listed on the table are those that the character typically uses, and which a starting character will have trained with. List the weapons on the character sheet as “favored weapons.” The player may choose one additional (suitable) weapon or type of armor to be familiar with, though if it is a weapon it does not start as “favored.” When buying their starting equipment, characters should generally be restricted to the weapons and armor they’re familiar with. Use the Weapon Table and Armor Table to determine suitable choices. Beware of the armor list on the Warrior Table: the numeric references do not match up with the Armor Table (I suspect a revision of the Armor Table after the Warrior Table was written).

For a special type of “warrior-cleric,” see religious knights, below.


Your character’s father’s social class and profession determine what kind of mage your character can begin as. Find the table in the magic rules under “Magic Users: Class, Preparation, Etc.” Compare the father’s social class to the correct Min/Max Social Class column on the table. Choose from any mage types that apply. The choices are: wise woman/cunning man, witch, wizard, runic sorcerer (Dark Ages), high sorcerer (Middle Ages), or cabalist (Jew or Muslim). Note that this choice is not necessarily permanent: there are many ways to improve your magical career choice. Make a note of your character’s occupation.


A character in Dark Ages England has a father who is a friar (social class 12). Reading down the Clergy column on the Magic Users table, we find that as a mage he has the following starting choices: cunning man, witch, wizard. The player decides that his long-term goal is to reach runic sorcerer, so he chooses to play a wizard.


Christian clerics have five career choices: secular clergy, monks and monastic canons, friars, religious knights, and devil worshipers. The character begins at rank 1 (unordained clergy, novice monk, novice friar, knight, or coven member). Note this on the character sheet. As the cleric adventures, he will be promoted in rank (see the Religious Rank table).

The Religious Rank table does not provide the same social rank advice provided by the magic-user table. A comparison between the Religious Rank table and the Social Class table, however, provides some insights as to allowed choices. Clearly, secular clergy, monks and monastic canons, and friars must be members of the clergy category. Advancement is as described after the Religious Rank table, but starting choices are clearly governed by the character’s social rank. A character of social class 8 can only start as unordained clergy or a coven member. To start as a novice friar, one must be at least social class 12. Religious knight requires social class 14 under the Landowning and Warrior Classes category. To start as a novice monk, social class 13 is required. Below social class 8, coven member is the only allowed choice.

Examination of the Religious Rank table will reveal that religious knights cannot advance as far as other clerics. They are actually a type of character that is “halfway between clerics and warriors.” If you choose to play a religious knight, you should also choose an appropriate warrior type from the Warrior Table.

The choice of cleric type determines two important factors: your place in society, as mentioned above, and the list of clerical powers you can use. For instance, any Christian cleric can perform a Benediction, but only ordained clergy (rank 2+ secular clergy) and Abbots (rank 4+ monks) can perform Maledictions. Devil worshippers have an entirely different list of ceremonies and powers.

Teutonic (including Norse and Germanic) clerics are usually not ordained priests at all, but laymen. They must be freemen, and most begin at rank 1. In fact, all Teutonic free men count as rank 1 clerics for purposes of appeals and ceremonies. Promotion is based on improving social class (see the Norse Ranks Compared to Christian table). Since any free man may successfully appeal to the gods and make sacrifices, it makes more sense for Norse or Germanic characters to be warriors who make appeals than to be ordained priests (who tended not to roam about, having adventures).


The character from a previous example has social class 12, is the eldest son and heir of a member of a banking guild (social class 13), and counts as a townsfolk freeman. Suppose he hails from England in the year 1300. He qualifies for the following occupations:


Sergeant. A social class of 12 is a sergeant or mercenary NCO on the Social Class table. Mercenary infantry and yeomanry are too low-class for this character, and knight, nobleman, and king’s officer are above his station.


Cunning man, witch, wizard, high sorcerer, or cabalist. This character is in that sweet spot that gives him a choice of every possible mage occupation. Being the son of a banker suggests that a Jewish cabalist might be an appropiate choice, but really, any of these are allowed.


Unordained clergy, novice monk, novice friar, coven member. He is not of high enough social class to be a religious knight.

Derived and invariant attributes

Now that you know who your character is, you can fill in the rest of the character sheet.

Name, sex, nationality

These are chosen by the player, but should be suitable for the period and game setting. If the character is female, apply the following adjustments: physique and endurance −3, charisma −2, social class −3, bravery −2, greed, selfishness, and lust −3.


16 years old.


4′7″ + 1″ per physique point.


50 lbs. + 10 lbs. per endurance point.

Mana, piety

These scores change frequently, and need not be determined during character creation. Mana powers magic, and piety is necessary to appeal for miracles.


This attribute is the one usually held out as an example of why this game is unplayable. It actually doesn’t get used all that often in the game, though. Apply this formula: [(3 × Charisma) + Physique + Intelligence + Bravery + (4 × Social Class)] ÷ 10
Round up.


Add intelligence and social class points over 12, or subtract points below 8, and multiply the results by 10. Add another 10 if the character is a mage or cleric; subtract 10 if he is a warrior. Roll d% against this number. If it succeeds, write “Yes” here; otherwise write “No.” A character is either literate or he is not.


Halve the percentage required for literacy. Write down this percentage. Roll d% against this number whenever the character encounters a new language on the adventure, to see if he knows it. This score is kept in lieu of determining a list of starting languages (but once you determine that he knows a language, record it here).


Skills are usually used when deciding whether a character is a “professional” or “skilled” at something (this is one of the modifiers on the resolution tables). Each has three possibilities: the character can perform the skill, the character can perform the skill well, and the character cannot perform the skill. You can write each skill name and set it to “Yes,” “No,” and “Well,” or you can just write the names of the skills known and mark the ones known well as “expert.” The skills are riding, swimming, climbing, tracking, stealing, and singing.

Note that you do not roll the listed percentages when the character tries to do something. When an unfree peasant tries to steal, he does not have a 50% chance of success. This percentage is rolled at character creation to determine if he has skill in stealing.

See the section Skills to determine “Yes,” “Well,” or “No” for each skill. Where the description gives a chance to perform a skill then says a characteristic at 14+ does it well, that means that if you’ve already determined that the character can perform the skill, then if that character also that characteristic that high, he does the skill well.

Any character who qualifies as a thief steals “well.” This counts as “professional thief” on the adventuring tables.


Characters have three experience categories: Combat/adventuring, Religious, and Magical. Each begins with a value of 0.


Characters start with a certain amount of money that they can use to buy adventuring equipment. This does not represent other investments. Look on the Social Class and Background table to determine the “purchase cost” of the character’s current social class in Gold Sovereigns. The character will start with an amount of money determined by this table:

Starting Money
Social Class Starting Money (GS)
0–5 1/2 × rank purchase cost
6–9 1/3 × rank purchase cost
10–13 1/4 × rank purchase cost
14–16 1/5 × rank purchase cost
17–18 1/6 × rank purchase cost
19–20 1/8 × rank purchase cost
21–22 1/10 × rank purchase cost

Once starting money is determined, use it to buy equipment from the Cost Charts. It is expected that your character will only buy those items that it makes sense for him or her to have. In the case of weapons and armor, warriors should choose only from the weapons and armor from their entry on the Warrior Table and their extra chosen starting item (these weapons and armor are not free!). Mages and clerics don’t usually carry around weapons and armor, but if the GM allows them, they should choose weapons and/or armor appropriate to their social class — children of villeins are not allowed to run around wearing mail and wielding swords, for instance!

Last updated April 20, 2022

David Trimboli | Index