I've been playing with burning up a Doctor in TBW, and I was wondering if there were any other skills I should be taking besides the ones I've got, and if my current skill choices would be adequate for his primary concept (The G5 in Surgery, namely). If I am missing attributes, etc. Here's the basic concept:

Lifepaths: City Born, Student, Doctor

Age : 23

Stats: Wi: B5, Pe: B4, Po: B3, Fo: B5, Ag: B4, Sp: B4, Speed Mult.: x3.5

Attributes: Ref: B4, Ste: B4, Hes: 5, Hea: B5, MW: B10, Circles: B2, Resources: B0


  1. I cannot allow a patient to die.
  2. Medicine is the way to a better life.
  3. The Government cares nothing for the sick and frail.


  1. Always keep surgical implements handy
  2. Keep an eye out for medicinal plants
  3. If a fight breaks out, duck for cover.

Traits: [Char] Frustration With Church, [Dt] Cool Headed, [C-O] Driven

Skills: Alchemy B3, Anatomy B4, Apothecary B3, Herbalism B3, Read B3, Surgery G5, Write B3

Gear: Surgery Kit, Herbalism Kit, Clothing, Pet Cat, Shoes

Property: Cottage Practice

  • \$\begingroup\$ A comment as this is not a full answer: Is this character a prodigy, or is the game set in a period where medical training is different from our own? If not, you may want to consider aging it a bit. \$\endgroup\$ May 7, 2011 at 23:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your skills are reasonable, if very focused. Double check with your group whether they want to allow Grey skills. Your beliefs don't have any actions for you to take. Do you have a patient in particular you want to save? What are you going to do to show that medicine leads to a better life? What are you going to do to change the government? Include specifics! \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    May 7, 2011 at 23:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ On the skills, I'm a little worried about that. I want him to be a supernaturally skilled surgeon, but I've never played the game in practice before so I worry that I won't be able to do much outside of his area of focus. As for @Rune, I'm playing around with 3 lifepaths, I could tack on something else in there, maybe throw in Physician, or something to make him a bit more utilitarian. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cthos
    May 8, 2011 at 0:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you're going to do 4 LPs, throw in a repeat of Student and use those points to broaden your skill base. Get some Inconspicuous, City-wise, Soothing Platitudes, and move some of your general skill points out of wherever they are now into some Knives (scalpels!) and Oratory/Persuasion/Ugly Truth/Falsehood (mix depending on your character concept). Remember that one point can give you a whole new skill at a lovely, failure-prone exponent! Also, don't ignore Bloodletting—in this setting it's useful medicine. \$\endgroup\$ May 10, 2011 at 18:40

3 Answers 3


Grey skills require buy-in from the group. If this is your very first character and/or if no one else has anything grey, I would stick to black shade. This also gets you a lot more skill points to play with.

I would recommend at least one skill suitable for Duel of Wits, such as Persuasion or (in my opinion, very fitting) Ugly Truth, unless you want to be an easily-manipulated savant.

A combat skill could be nice to have, but it's also exciting to learn one during play.

Consider having a skill not related to surgery just to round out your character.

Also, wises are awesome! Pick or make one. What do you want your character to know about?

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 Agreed almost completely. The gray surgery makes him a master surgeon... I'd not approve it at a G5, but would at a G3 or G4. \$\endgroup\$
    – aramis
    May 8, 2011 at 1:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1. Buy-in isn't just a good idea, it's the rules. If even the GM is cheating if they burn up a monster and don't get its stats approved, that goes double if players don't get group approval for their character's stats. \$\endgroup\$ May 8, 2011 at 2:03

He's like an idiot savant. No Duel of Wits skill, no wises, no fighting capability. In fact, nothing but a G5 Surgery gun and a handful of FoRK bullets. You better be prepared to fail a lot and learn a lot outside of medical situations.

  • \$\begingroup\$ While your wording is harsh, I was actually kind-of aware of that. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Cthos
    May 10, 2011 at 14:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to StackExchange, Luke! \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    May 10, 2011 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks at name...looks at profile...looks back at name Wait...Luke as in Luke Crane, Luke? Holy crap. We need a way to put the imps next to your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cthos
    May 10, 2011 at 17:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Cthos "yeah, that one" \$\endgroup\$ May 10, 2011 at 18:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Now we just need to make the imps happen. :D \$\endgroup\$
    – Cthos
    May 10, 2011 at 18:35

It's also important to consider your character in light of the whatever the concept is for the campaign. Based on your Beliefs, it seems like the kinds of conflicts you're looking for are:

1) Encountering some patients you might WANT to let die and the moral conundrum around it ("These are the enemy soldiers who attacked our city a month ago!") 2) People misusing medicine 3) Government oppression.

You might want to also get one Belief that builds interpersonal connections - someone you're in love with, an estranged parent, etc. It makes your character human.

Also ask yourself what kinds of things you see as being fun in conflict. BW often revolves around Duel of Wits and fighting, and since you've got no skills in either, you're going to spend a lot of your game starting out being really sucky. It may not be a fun way to start the game - it won't feel heroic, for sure.

Also, with the Grey Surgery, realize that you're probably going to become famous, and have said government quick to seek your services. (If your setting is magical, Grey Surgery might have fey creatures coming to you for assistance! Fun! Dangerous!)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm beginning to like this idea of being totally inept at everything but surgery. I don't want to be in a fight fight (hence the instinct to duck and cover), but duel of wits would be awesome to start out totally unable to convince people, and building the stat in play. Though I might add the 4th Lifepath as @SevenSidedDie suggests up in the comments. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cthos
    May 10, 2011 at 22:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Another fun thing to do is give yourself a troublesome instinct or two. "Always try to reason with people first" might be a good way to get those tests, and some Artha while you're at it. \$\endgroup\$
    – bankuei
    May 11, 2011 at 17:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ I played a 3LP wizard with no combat and only Ugly Truth for social, on purpose. It was rough but led to some awesome situations. \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    May 13, 2011 at 14:46

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