Character Creation & Moves Playtest for my Fiction First Action RPG Ardent!


Hey again folks! I got so much positive support for ardent last time I wanted to show you guys the updated rules, and invite anyone who's into it to the closed beta (coming very soon). This playtest has the rules, my early notes on the Lore, as well as some of the Moves and NPC rules you'll need to create a character. Chargen in this game is a BIG part of the fun, so I'm really interested in seeing how you guys like it! And thanks again to everyone who commented on my last post!

Ardent Chargen Rules & 6 Question Survey

Some answers to the questions from my last post:
"You're using a dice pool of d6's and keeping the highest die, which is fine. But then you add in Potency, which seems like it could range up to about +4 or +5. It seems to me like that's going to swamp the actual die rolling."
It only gets up that high if people really build for it, and even then, they'd have to spend Hold to pump it to that level. That's intended! As long as players are depleting a resource to do it, and can't say, do it every round, that creates some positive stress while also letting the PC feel powerful! Also I 100% want dice to be less relevant than in, say, DnD, but not irrelevant of course.

If you’re doing an old-school power-fantasy dungeon-crawler, maybe you need to rethink your setting hook.
I did! It's still about social conflict to an extent, but it's not Dogs in the Vineyard, it's more... Witcher meets the best parts of that movie Bright from Netflix. It can lean monster of the week, Game of Thrones style unfolding epic, or anything in-between depending on the style. Indeed, the lore is meant to provide some realistic and compelling context for "adventurers" who undertake the sort of "quests" we're all familiar with from traditional fantasy RPGs. You're not a merry band of murderers, you're Wardens, your order has a history, there's a reason Monsters exist and want to harm humans. There's a reason Orcs and elves don't like each other and it's not...a pointless race war. There's a reason everyone looks pretty much like a human. Those facets can all be explored or ignored, but they're there, providing the backdrop and some narrative rails for the game you want to play.

Thanks so much Story-Games community!


  • The intent is much clearer and it really looks good.
  • I tried to build a sniper (you should find the details in my survey response) and merely assigning +3 to Violence and an additional +1 to Ranged Violence gives him a permanent +4 at shooting people, depleting only arrows.
    The real limiting factor is that such a character is not good at anything else; what are your targets for limiting overspecialization through diminishing returns? Is Potency +4 good or excessive?
  • Cool stuff! I appreciate the reconfiguration of the lore – the opening blurb is just as compelling as before, but now it fits much better with the straightforward old-school adventure vibe you’re going for. Subtle changes, but effective.

    Definitely enjoyed reading the fleshed-out lore, though it could be both tighter and more expansive. Tighter in that you can probably start the narrative with the most recent events (any background can be summarized – in the distant past, some humans split off to become Fey, the humans attacked them, the Fey retaliated by creating monsters, the monsters got out of control, etc.) More expansive in that I’d love some more specifics. Names of prominent figures! Kingdoms! Regions! Who did what and when? Personalize the lore. Tell us why we want to weave it into our game, instead of ignoring it and doing a context-less dungeon crawl. In any event, you’ve got good bones set up.

    I have some questions about the names you’ve chosen for things. It seems like you’ve renamed some existing terms, and occasionally explained a new term using a synonym that actually might work better as the term name. I get, for example, why you would replace the loaded term “Race” with the more neutral term “Heritage”. But why Major Methods and Minor Methods instead of Abilities and Skills? Why have DC mean “Dice Check” when it means “Difficulty Class” in other games (and serves the same function)? Why have AC/Armor Class reduce damage when it’s widely understood as a term for how hard a character is to hit? Why call the persistent player resource Hold (which is used in other systems for a temporary carried bonus to rolls) when you could call it Reserves (which you use when defining it)? Why call it Potency instead of a Bonus (or why define it at all – lots of games simply say “add +1” or “this effect gives you +1 to rolls”)?

    Similarly, there are some terms and concepts that seem like they could be streamlined into a single idea. If both Heritages and Classes are menus of Moves, why not combine those (like Apocalypse World playbooks)? Why have Defense *and* Toughness *and* AC *and* Cover? Why have Wealth *and* Gold? Why have Quirks *and* tags? This is a particular design philosophy, but I feel strongly that any similar concepts or terms should either be combined or even further differentiated to achieve absolute minimal overlap.

    There are a bunch of concepts that I really like here, as well. The idea of Permission is great and I really like how you integrate it into moves. The mix-n-match NPC construction point system is a very cool way to give the players compelling foes without a big ol’ monster manual. I like the way the game thinks about classes and the simplicity of the character sheet is very nice & appealing.

    Again, as before, you’ve got a lot of good stuff going on here, and the changes from the last version have really paid off. You definitely have enough to start running playtests and revising the game based on those.
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