So last night I finally got a chance to start up Eschalon. It was so nice to have real character creation, I didn’t get past that ;)

As most already know, you can only be male in the game. Not a problem, as I usually start with that anyway in games that allow gender choice. I do, however, wish they’d had a few more face choices.

Creation is fairly simple, though it will take time to get the sort of character you want. Stats are done with dice rolls. Yay! The numbers range 7-14 and you get 15 points to add in (1 for 1) wherever you want. If you don’t like the numbers, you can re-roll until satisfied.

The usual suspects are present (STR, DX, etc), along with Speed, Perception, and Concentration. speed affects armor class and attacking. Perception is useful for magic, controlling mana points, mana regen, and magic resistance. Concentration is a utility stat with effects on a variety of skills and abilities.

Further, you choose a country of origin, which gives a small boost to a couple of stats. Naturally, that varies by country. Mousing over each one tells you what you would get.

So for those of us old-timers who haven’t forgotten to be patient (heh), there is ample opportunity to have a decent start-up, as far as the stats are concerned. You don’t know how I’ve missed this!

Next comes the class, which hands out one free skill. The rest have to be bought with 20 points, and that gets expensive. It costs 3 to acquire a skill. Fortunately, it only costs 1 point to increase it.

That’s a bit tricky, especially as you better take Cartography if you want the automap to function. Right there, you’re at 17, and there are always more skills than you can afford, whatever the class.

One thing I liked here is the ability to “undo” a skill choice. That came in handy when I forgot to give one character the mapping. Oops. Good thing I caught it before moving into the game.

Just right-clicking on a skill deducts points. If it’s at level 1, all three points go back in the pool and you lose the skill. If the skill is higher, then the single points come off first. A nice touch there.

Finally, there’s the “axiom”, which is a religious outlook. I prudently took “Agnostic”, which has neither a bonus or a negative. All the rest give with one hand and take away with the other. For instance, “Druidic” types restore mana faster, except in dungeons or underground, where it’s slower.

By the way, there is only one race, human, which simplifies things. Which is good, because I won’t be annoyed by all the usual extras that non-humans tend to get.

I did a quick look at the Options in-game, and saw that my system is rated at Performance 3. Since they say lower is better, the game should run all right.

So, the creation process is nice and clean, and something one could play with for quite some time. But I managed to pull myself away after making just three. I have a rogue, a fighter, and a magic-user at the starting gate. Which one to try first? Ah, that’s the question! Tune in tomorrow and find out!