Building More Powerful Starting Characters



Hey folks. I’m adapting an old D&D module for an ICRPG game that I’m running, and I’m puzzling over a bit of design. The module is written for higher-level players, and I’d like to keep that aspect as the adventure provides challenges that limit/nullify higher-level powered skills.

I’m playing around with how to adapt something like player levels to ICRPG. I’ve been in one game where we were given extra STAT points which could buy things like milestones or spells. I’m also wondering if it would be just as easy to use normal character creation and tell my players to pick x number of Milestone Rewards, etc.

I was just curious if any of you all have experience with tweaking character creation in your games to give your players some extra starting salvo. Or is this an issue I’m just over-thinking. I’d be curious to hear anyone’s thoughts on the matter. Thanks!


Maybe you could use the Milestone Paths in ICRPG Worlds. Give your players the choice of two tier 1 and one tier 2 reward. Or two from tiers 1 & 2 and one from tier 3 if you want them to be more powerful.


Mile stones and 4 extra loot, some extra equipment. Not hard.

I would lean on loot. But limit the hit points on both sides. Most things should have 1 heart / 10 hit points. Adjust target numbers for enemy to apply difficulty, keep timers going. That will do more than anything to keep things fun.


It seems like the 10 point build with milestones and spells costing 2 points that @BigGrump did for our game worked well. You may have to add points to allow for higher levels though, I’m not sure what level your module is for.

Another thing you could do would be to have a starting point build of 10+ for stats only and then give milestones and spells out to each character after class, race, and backgrounds are chosen.


Thanks for the responses so far dudes.

@MattC This is sort of the direction I’ve been going in, and reading other responses adds to my gut feeling that I may be overthinking this.

@Paxx Thanks for the suggestions. Just curious about the advice to limit hearts- I’m assuming scaling up health can be redundant.

@rpgerminator Yeah, that game put the idea in my head for a point-buy system. Though the more I work it out in my head, I think the second idea of deciding on a set number of milestones may be the way to go. As far as levels, it’s a 1st edition module, and I’m not sure how that scales to the modern edition, so I’m just guessing at what feels right. More interpretive dance than science. :relaxed:


I play with a small party and do a lot of solo playing so I like to have more powerful starting PCs so the game isn’t a bunch of fights with zombies and goblins. Here’s what I do:

Start with 10 Points to award to Stats, Armor and Effort. Add any Racial bonuses as well.

Start with 2 Hearts.

1 Heart can be added in exchange for any Starting Powers/Loot or 2 Points.

Add 1 Starting Loot (non-weapon), 1 Weapon Loot, Add 2 non-Loot Weapons, 3 Starting Equipment.

Add 6 Powers/Loot

  • Powers/Loot can be spells, abilities, weapon effects, or anything else that fits the narrative of the PC. Acquired Loot can add to or modify these Powers/Loot.

  • Depending on their effect these Powers/Loot can be Utility or At-Will and useable at any time or limited to once an Encounter or once a Day. They may recharge or even be heightened in Effort or effect by using Hit Points.

Disclaimer: I use some 4e elements for Loot Power because I find it is a nice fit for Loot/Powers


You get beyond 30 max HP and it is just making combat take longer.

You can give disposable items that provide temporary hit points, or healing when out of combat.

Run it in scenes, short rests…but for most things, good, short and deadly combat is best.

Peek tension, harassing and relentless. Then lowering it to hard choices and some closing doors. Then ratchet it back up.


@Paxx Gotcha. Fortunately wasn’t planning to let HP get that high for players, but it’s nice to know that for reference. I appreciate the tips!

@mavfan21 Thanks for the build example. What I’ve experimented with in my notebook is pretty close to this. Still playing with numbers, but glad to hear it seems to work for your table.

Thanks again for the advice, Shielders!