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Hyper-Man

RPGnet thread: Create a character for something! Walk us through it!

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Seriously?

 

No volunteers at all?!

 

I would try but my 'process' is probably too CDO* for public viewing!

 

*CDO

Extremely OCD. So OCD that you feel the need to put the letters in alphabetical order

 

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“I hope you don't mind but my cousin is in town and I invited her to the game.”

 

“That's okay, I'll give her a character and she can join in.” (Now, how am I going to fit a new character in? They're in the middle of the adventure.....)

 

 

Some people have stable groups where the exact same people gather for every game. For the rest of us, we have those who drop in and out, or sometimes can only join for a game or two. I think it may pay to be prepared for this.

 

One could have a couple of very capable non player characters on hand at all times, but I think the player characters should be the “stars” of the game – having NPCs around who are just as powerful dilutes that.

 

So I am going to create the Upgradable Non Player Character, a character who can be a useful henchman but not outshine the players, but can sometimes step up and perform as their equal, hopefully WITHOUT it being too utterly jarring to be credible.

 

This means that I am in a sense going to make TWO characters, of lesser and greater power. Fortunately, Hero System has a mechanic for this (Hero System has a tool for almost every possible problem) – in fact, it has at least two.

 

I can use the Multiform Power, which is the traditional way to do, for example, werewolves or The Incredible Hulk. Or I can use the “Only in Alternate ID” Limitation, which modifies abilities so that they are only available under certain conditions – Iron Man for example might be built this way, because many of his abilities are only available when in armor. I think I'll try both, but I'll start with “OIAID” and save Multiform for a later experiment.

 

I'll be using the Hero Designer software for this, and may occasionally reference the way it organizes things, but the process would essentially be the same without it – just slower.

 

A standard beginning heroic character in Sixth Edition Hero System is built on 125 points, plus up to 50 points added by taking Complications. A “Competent Normal” such as a capable mercenary hireling is suggested as being built on 70 point plus up to 30 from Complications. I want the minion version built on the 70 starting points and the upgrade built to be equal to a starting player character at 125 starting points. Hero doesn't require you to start with any given aspect of the character first; I can start with Characteristics or with Skills or with Complications or whatever. Let's start with Complications.

 

I want a Psychological Complication of Loyal, partly because if whoever ends up playing this character takes a notion to desert the party, steal something, or otherwise act in a way “prejudicial to good order and discipline” I can curb that behavior by pointing out they are going against character. This gains the character 15 pts. I also like the Unluck Complication; taking 2 dice of it is another 10 pts. Finally, Accidental Change – between “powered up” and “powered down” “forms” - is 20 pts. This last is possibly questionable in that, while it effects the character, it will never really effect the PLAYER. I decide to go for just 25 pts now, dropping the Accidental Change, and will revisit Complications later if I think I need more points.

 

That gives Me 95 pts for the character as a “henchman” and 150 as a Player Character.

 

Now for Characteristics. I have in mind a strong sturdy amazon type, clever and skillful but perhaps a little slow of reflexes. I'll call her Belanta.

 

 

STR 15 Able to lift twice as much as the average man

DEX 8 Slow, but I have a plan....

CON 13 Hopefully tough enough

INT 13 Bright and perceptive

EGO 8 Not strong willed – could be vulnerable to certain magic

PRE 15 Moderately brave

OCV 5 “To hit” good enough for a professional soldier

DCV 4 Knows something about avoiding being hit

OMCV 2 Very low “Mental to hit” roll – will probably never matter though.

DMCV 3 Mind altering magic finds her no easier or harder a target than the average

SPD 3 Speed of 3 means 3 action phases each turn – same as the player characters

PD 5 Reduces physical damage done to the character

ED 5 Reduces energy damage (fire, lightning, etc) done to the character

REC 5 RECovery measures how fast the character recovers from damage or exhaustion

END 20 ENDurance points are spent to take actions

BOD 10 This is “hits to kill”

STUN 20 This is “hits to knock out”

 

So far I have expended 39 of my allotted points. Now for a brief look at Powers, specifically Movement Powers. Every character gets certain Powers for free, including things like normal senses and the Movement abilities of Running, Swimming, and Leaping. I'll make Belanta a weak swimmer, “selling back” 2 meters of that movement for -1 pt, and cut Running from 12 to 9, for -3 pts. This saves me 4 pts.

 

Now for Martial Arts. In Hero, “Martial Arts” doesn't just mean oriental unarmed fighting skills; basically these are points spent to gain access to special maneuvers. Hero's normal list of possible combat moves, even without Martial Arts, is gratifyingly extensive; any character at any time may attempt to disarm another character, trip someone up, parry an attack, grab an enemy or their weapon, etc. But Martial Arts give benefits often well worth the points. The first maneuver I buy is a Parry move, bought as “Martial Block” for 4 pts. This allows Belanta to avoid an attack by rolling her own OCV vs the opponent's OCV and gives a bonus to both OCV and DCV (that's Offensive and Defensive Combat Value) and once the action has been declared, she can keep blocking any number of attacks (with ever increasing penalties) until missing a roll. Furthermore, after blocking someone, she will usually be able to attack first next phase – regardless of DEX (see, I said I had a plan to deal with that low DEX.) For my next maneuver, you guessed it, Counterstrike! That's another 4 pts for a move with OCV and DCV bonuses that can only be used right after a successful Block. Finally I spend 5 pts for a Takeaway maneuver that lets her grab an opponent's weapon, just in case she breaks or drops her own. I define this set of maneuvers as working with swords and knives by default, and spend 2 pts to also use them with bare hands (the Takeaway in particular....) and with shields. This is 15 pts spent on Martial Arts. Total of 50 pts spent so far.

 

Now for some Skills. I start a list: Combat Skills. It takes 2 pts to be Familiar with all “Common Melee Weapons” and another 2 for “Common Missile Weapons” and now she takes no penalty for using swords, bows, spears, and most sorts of weapons she'll want to use. A +1 Skill Level with Martial Arts makes her a touch more effective with all those maneuvers and costs 3 pts, and for 2 pts I can get a Skill Level with Block specifically. I can also buy “Penalty Skill Levels” that only work to counter specific kinds of penalties; Remember I said that Belanta can keep using Block against multiple attacks once it's declared, but at a penalty? By spending 4 pts I can eliminate the penalty for the second and third parry and reduce the penalty for the fourth, fifth, etc. That's another 13 pts, I have spent 63.

 

Now for the part of the Character called Talents. I like using lists to organize abilities, so I create a list for Combat Talents and add Combat Luck for 6 pts. This gives the equivalent of wearing armor even if not wearing armor, as the character dodges and twists and rolls with blow, reducing the damage taken from each hit. Obviously it doesn't work as well when bound or unconscious. I want this character to have armor too, so I also buy 2 pts of Environmental Movement, a Talent for moving freely in difficult circumstances; one must define the circumstance when buying the Talent. In this case, it counters up to -1 DCV for wearing armor. Heavy armor normally slows a character down and makes them harder to hit, but is very useful for reducing the damage of those hits. I name this Talent Accustomed to Armor (note that Belanta can wear heavier armor with a bigger DCV penalty and gain full benefit of the Armor's ability to block damage, but it will slow her down and make her easier to hit.) That's 8 pts, I have spent 71.

 

Back to Skills, new list: Adventurer Skills. I select Stealth, Concealment, Streetwise, and Conversation for 3 pts each to get a roll based on the associated Characteristic (in most cases this means a 12 or less on 3d6,) Trading, Teamwork, Tactics, Climbing, Tracking, and First Aid (called Paramedics by default, but I change the name) for 2 pts each (mere “proficiency” and a 10 or less roll) and Animal Handling and Survival for 1 pt each (“familiarity” and an 8 or less roll. Every character gets a free Familiarity with Riding horses, but I give Belanta Animal Handling to help care for the party's mounts.) I have now spent 97 pts and have overshot my goal for the “lower power” version of the character. I go back and cut all Skills to the 10 or less versions, drop Accustomed to Armor, and cut STR and PRE to 13 and REC to 4. All this cuts me back to 86 pts. I can spend 9 more

 

I usually run Turakian Age, and that setting is notable for having a plethora of languages. I don't want to nail down specifics, but I want the character to be able to communicate with the player characters and besides, a mercenary adventurer should be well traveled. I take Linguist and add a few unspecified languages for 7 pts. I have spent 93 pts.

 

Now I am ready to build the “Upgrade.” I have 57 pts to spend. I start a list under Powers called “Having a Good day.” All these abilities will have a “Limitation” of “Only in Alternate Identity”

 

In Hero, almost anything – even including Skills and Characteristics – may be bought with Advantages, which make it more effective and more expensive, or Limitations, making it more curtailed in some way and less expensive, or both.

 

The first “Power” I buy is called “Raise Proficiencies to Full Skills.” I have 10 Skills at 10 or less rolls- adding a single point to each would increase them to full Characteristic based rolls. I create a Custom Power worth 10 pts, and after the Limitation it costs 8. That is arguably kind of a “munchkin” thing to do because if I bought each one separately with the Limitation it would cost the full 10 pts (Limitations can't reduce a cost below 1) but I'm only saving 2 pts and it's my game so I can do it this way if I choose. If I try to bring the character into someone else's game and this is vetoed, I will shrug and shave off 2 pts somewhere else.

 

I buy an Overall Skill Level. A Skill Level is a +1 that applies to only one thing at a time; the more things it can apply to, the more it costs. An “Overall” level is good for anything; any Skill roll, any attack, your DCV to avoid attacks, etc. I also get a Skill Level with All Combat, and 5d6 of Luck. That's a huge amount of Luck, but luck is something that comes and goes mysteriously – the day someone extra shows up and needs a character is obviously Belanta's lucky day. The players know it's a question of whether anyone is playing the “walk on part” but all the characters know is, “On a good day the Gods really smile on Belanta, and on a bad day she's still a capable warrior and a team player.”

 

I am now at 139 points and can spend 11 more. Let's try building something really special. On a Good Day I want Belanta to not only be good at blocking, but to be better able to protect others and to set them up for their own attacks.

 

The aspect of Hero System that most seems to intimidate new players is the Powers section, but this is also the aspect that allows the most creativity and freedom to create exactly the kind of abilities you want for your character. With the Power rules, it is possible to create an ability that is legal and defined by the same corebook rules every other Hero player has, but is absolutely 100% unique to your character. Hopefully, I can show that what everyone says is so complex is really not that hard in practice – especially if you're using Hero Designer.

 

First, the rules impose a penalty for blocking for someone else. I spend 2 pts on Penalty Skill Levels to eliminate that and now Belanta can block an attack on an adjacent ally as easily as an attack on herself.

 

Now I want to be able to Block allies within a few steps. Hero has a way to extend a character's reach; it is called Stretching. That sounds like a comic-book Power you'd give Mr. Fantastic or Elastic Man, or in a fantasy context maybe something for a giant octopus that lurks in a pool and can snatch up characters who come within a certain distance, but the names of Powers don't have to be taken literally and I can take “Stretching” without any part of the character's body actually growing longer, as long as I can explain what the character IS doing and how it looks in the game world. Maybe Belanta stays mobile, lunging out to block an attack on an ally then leaping back into position; or calls a timely warning “Behind you!”or “Shield up!” that lets the ally avoid the attack without spending their own action; or perhaps she spoils an attack by distracting the attacker with a shout or thrown object. In fact, by taking the Advantage “Variable Special Effects” I can use any or all of these explanations, whatever fits the circumstance at the time. Since it won't be obvious that she can protect companions up to a certain radius, I also take the Advantage “Invisible Power Effects” to the level where it is “Invisible to two Sense Groups.” Normally a Power has to have at least three ways to detect it in operation, usually including seeing and hearing it. I now have to define at least one way an onlooker can tell that the character's reach is greater than it might seem; normally this would be some more exotic sense. I decide that anyone with Tactics, Analyze: Fighting Style, or Danger Sense, will know from the character's stance what she is capable of, and those with only Familiarity or Proficiency with those Skills can still tell if they make a Perception roll. I also add two Limitations to this ability: One is “Only to extend reach of the character's Block” and the other is “Requires a Skill Rolll (Teamwork.)” If the Belanta fails a roll on the Teamwork Skill with a -1 penalty, she can't do the block without getting in someone's way and doing more harm than good. The roll has to be made for every Block attempted with the extra Reach.

 

I looks like this on the character sheet:

Extended Reach with Block: (Total: 5 Active Cost, 1 Real Cost) Stretching 2m, Variable Special Effects (Limited Group of SFX; +1/4), Invisible Power Effects (Invisible to [two Sense Groups], effects of Power are Invisible to other characters; +1 1/2) (5 Active Points); Requires A Roll (Teamwork Skill roll, -1 per 5 Active Points modifier; Must be made each Phase/use; -1 1/2), Limited Power Only to extend the Reach of the character's Block (-1), Only In Alternate Identity (-1/4) (Real Cost: 1) END Cost: 1

By expending 1 extra ENDurance point and making a Teamwork roll at -1 for every Block attempt that benefits from it, Belanta can add 2 meters to whatever Reach she has from weapon or circumstance, for the purpose of making Block maneuvers. “That's three times I saved your butt in this battle.”

 

It only costs 1 Character Point- but now Belanta has a totally unique ability that is not exactly like anything anyone else has. (Until someone likes the idea and copies it.) These are sometimes called “signature abilities.”

 

I still have 8 more points to spend. No law says I have to spend them all – whoever plays the character may think of something I didn't after all – but I want one more ability, one that lets Belanta not just Block an enemy but set that enemy up to be attacked by allies.

 

"Strike NOW, comrade!": (Total: 10 Active Cost, 4 Real Cost) +2 OCV, Usable Simultaneously (up to 4 people at once; +0), Grantor can only grant the power to others, Recipient must remain close to Grantor, Grantor can take back power at any time (10 Active Points); Conditional Power Only vs targets that have been Blocked by the character (-1), Only In Alternate Identity (-1/4) (Real Cost: 4)

 

Belanta can give a +2 OCV (“to hit”) to up to 4 people. This uses the Advantage “Usable Simultaneously” but since Belanta can't use the extra OCV herself and those who can have to stay close, it works out to a +0 Advantage and costs the same as if Belanta simply bought +2 OCV for herself. This bonus can only be used to attack someone Belanta has just blocked. And now Belanta has two unique and special abilities, both team-oriented. Looking back over it, I notice that I can move the Penalty Skill Levels for Blocking for Another to Combat Skills from the Good Day list to the Combat Skills list without going over my self-set limit; it makes the "minion" version of the character exactly 95 pts. So let's do that.

 

The process would be even simpler if I had chosen to buy only Characteristics, Skills, and Talents, and restricted my Powers to the ones everyone has by default, like Running. But by setting aside a few points (very few; only 5 out of the total budget of 150) I wanted to show how the flexibility and power of the Hero system can be used to generate an endless number of fun and interesting abilities.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Palindromedary Enterprises

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Lucius, this is awesome!

 

Do you mind if I post it to the RPGnet thread?

Hm, I do have an account there I just never use it - I mean, from one year's end to the next I don't use it.

 

But I'll see if I can get back in and post this myself.

 

edit: posted it.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary notes that Lucius Alexander is easy to manipulate with flattery. Tell him he's "aweseome" and he'll do anything.

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Is it about time I did another one of these?

 

Lucius Alexander

The palindromedary says maybe I should try a Multiform next

 

 

Yes!

 

How about this?

 

“Hey, did you know it's been over a year since you created the Upgradeable NPC and 'documented your process?' Weren't you going to follow up on that with another character?”

 

“To be honest I forgot all about it. But I need to create a Troll anyway so I'll take notes as I go along, how's that?”

 

As it happens, I possess the excellent Monsters, Minions, and Marauders book full o' monsters from Hero Games, which has Trolls and Ogres who are probably serviceable; also, I am using the Turakian Age setting, and that book also has a write up for Trolls as potential player characters. But I like rolling my own, so I'm going to build from scratch then compare to the book to see if I missed anything obvious or that I'd want to throw in.

 

I'll be using the Hero Designer software for this, and may occasionally reference the way it organizes things, but the process would essentially be the same without it – just slower.

 

A standard beginning heroic character in Sixth Edition Hero System is built on 125 points, plus up to 50 points added by taking Complications. I've been way too generous with my players on experience, so I'm going to add 100 xp to bump these monsters up to about the same level. Since these are monsters and not player characters it won't matter much if I go over budget, or under for that matter, but that's a good starting point. For those not yet aware, Hero is a point buy system in which Characteristics, Skills, Powers, etc. are all bought from a pool of points; you get a certain number for “free” then can take up to a given amount of “extra” points by taking Complications. Instead of tracking experience until you “go up a level” and unlock several new abilities at once, your XP are spent directly on abilities you want just like the character points you start with. Not that I expect these guys to accumulate much experience, but some might survive their encounter with the player party and come back later..

 

One can start building a character anywhere but this time I want to start with some Powers. I start a list: Large Humanoid. Consulting the Size Templates I see a Large character is suggested to have +15 STRength. I could buy this “normally” as the Characteristic STR, but I am buying it as a Power because that lets me use Modifiers. For those unfamiliar with the Hero System, Power Modifiers include Advantages, which make a Power better in some way but more expensive, and Limitations, which do the opposite. In this case, I don't want Trolls to have to work harder to use all that extra STRength, so I use the Advantage of Reduced END Cost to cut the cost to zero. I apply the Limitations Perceptible and Side Effects: Inconvenient Size. The reason it's strong is because it's big, and being big is not only obvious, it causes a variety of problems. I make a note that anyone looking for a Troll has a +2 to Perception because they're hard to miss. Inconvenient size isn't going to hurt that much, though, so it's what we call a -0 Limitation and doesn't really effect the cost, just helps define how the Power works. The extra STR costs 18 pts.

 

Speaking of hard to miss, I next get Defensive Combat Value +3, because their long reach makes it hard to move in and land a blow, but besides being perceptible and involving their size, I add a Conditional Limitation, meaning there are times the Power doesn't work. In this case, it won't help against ranged attacks, and I take another Conditional Limitation so it won't help against enemies the same size or larger. But in melee with Humans and their ilk, the Troll is significantly harder to hit. With similar Limitatons applied, I go on to get +5 CON, BOD, PD (Physical Defense) ED (Energy Defense) and PREsence (how impressive you are, plus how hard it is to impress you) and +6 to STUN.

 

So far that's 46 pts. Now I fill in the Characteristics that aren't size linked, and here is what the Characteristics block looks like, with explanations:

 

STR 25 Strong enough to pick up a human warrior – AND the horse he rode in on

DEX 8 Slow, but I have a plan....

CON 20 Very healthy

INT 8 not too dim witted but not quick on the uptake either

EGO 8 Not strong willed – could be vulnerable to certain magic

PRE 20 Kind of scary

OCV 5 “To hit” good enough for a professional soldier

DCV 4/7 Knows something about avoiding being hit - especially in melee

OMCV 2 Very low “Mental to hit” roll – will probably never matter though.

DMCV 4 Slighter harder to target with things like Telepathy and Mind Control

SPD 3 Speed of 3 means 3 action phases each turn – same as the player characters

PD 15 Reduces physical damage done to the character

ED 15 Reduces energy damage (fire, lightning, etc) done to the character

REC 5 RECovery measures how fast the character recovers from damage or exhaustion

END 20 ENDurance points are spent to take actions

BOD 15 This is “hits to kill”

STUN 33 This is “hits to knock out”

 

Yes, as much as I love Hero, it goes a little overboard on the number of Characteristics. So far I've expended 82 pts. Now to go back and fill in some Powers related to being Huge that are not Characteristics. I buy 1 meter of Stretching with appropriate Advantages and Limitations to simulate a Troll's extra reach, and Striking Appearance granting a bonus to PRE against anyone smaller than a Troll.

 

I'm getting tired of my players taking out big monsters (even a stone giant one time) with one shot by a combination of high damage attacks (my fault really for allowing them to buy Talents like Weaponmaster) and either a lucky hit to the vitals or an aimed blow to the head,either one of which will double the BODy damage done by lethal weapons. So I design an ability I call “Too Big to be One-shotted.”

 

Too Big to be One Shotted: (Total: 10 Active Cost, 8 Real Cost) No Hit Locations (10 Active Points); Requires A Roll (14- roll; Burnout; -1/4) (Real Cost: 8)

 

On the one hand, this prevents extra damage from head or vitals hits; on the other, the damage for hits to arms or feet is not reduced. A “burnout” roll means the ability works the first time it's used; then each time thereafter it can fail on a roll of 14 or higher on 3d6.

 

Then I add “Too Big to be Easily Hurt.”

 

Too Big to be Easily Hurt: (Total: 6 Active Cost, 3 Real Cost) Resistant Protection (2 PD/2 ED) (6 Active Points); Conditional Power Power does not work against Area Effect attacks (-1/2), Perceivable (-1/4) (Real Cost: 3)

 

This acts as armor, but not against things like fireballs or other attacks where being bigger just means more surface area to suffer.

 

Then I stack another 2 pts of Resistant Defense on top of that for Tough Hide, and when I get to equipment, I'm giving them armor too. This isn't related to being big, so I start a new list called “Troll.” (Just a reminder, organizing abilities in “lists” is my personal preference, not something you have to do if you're building a Hero character.) Trolls in the Turakian Age are also supposed to have Nightvision and a +2 to all Perception, so I add those.

 

These Trolls are native to the frigid northern steppes, so I start another list of abilities: At Home in Frozen Wastelands.

 

Damage Reduction is a Power that allows you to take only a fraction of a defined kind of damage. It comes in three levels: 25%, 50% and 75%. So if you have 25% Physical Damage Reduction and get hit by a club for 4 pts of STUN (after subtracting your defenses) you only take 3 pts – you reduce it by one quarter. If you get hit for 37 pt s of STUN, you only take...ummm...26. Normally Hero is only “complicated” during character creation and actual play is much simpler, but Damage Reduction can slow things down in play if you have to take damage totals and multiply by .25 or .75, which is why when I use it I almost ALWAYS go for the 50% level, because it's easy to cut things in half. So, 50% Energy Damage Reduction costs 20, and after the Limitation for “Only vs cold” it costs 11. Then I add “Life Support: Safe in Intense Cold,” which protects against some of the common penalties of arctic conditions, and more Resistant Protection with Limitation “Only vs cold, snow, ice.” I include Flash Defense; their eyes would be adapted to protect against snow blindness, so that makes sense.

 

I assume they would be accustomed to deprivation, so 1 pt buys the ability to go a week without food if necessary.

 

I want them to see well even in blizzards and hear one another even over a howling wind. Under Enhanced Senses I find “Partially Penetrative” which I buy for Sight Group (normal Vision and Night Vision) and for Hearing, defined as cutting through precipitation and wind.

 

I have now spent 162 pts. Let's consider Complications next. Complications are a character's weakness, flaws, or vulnerabilities. These Trolls have sworn to serve Kal Turak, the major villain after whom the Turakian Age itself is named, so they get the Hunted Complication (in this case, Hunted doesn't mean someone is out to get them, just that they're “keeping an eye on them.” If they disobey orders or betray their evil master, though, someone WILL be out to get them.) This is worth 15 pts. The minions of Kal Turak have been teaching them the depraved habit of consuming their fellow sentient beings, which would make them outcast among normal Trolls; this shameful secret is worth 5 pts. I don't give them a Complication for their size because the abilities they gain for being large already have Limitations to reflect the inconveniences of their size and it's munchkin to take a Complication for something you're already taking Limitations for.

 

Now for Skills. I start a list titled “Barbarian” and buy Survival for arctic & subarctic climes, Tracking, Concealment, Stealth (at the proficiency level only, as it's hard to hide a Troll, but hunters need to have some ability to move quietly or starve,) Security Systems (the Skill for finding, disarming, making, and placing traps; I put a Limitation on it for snares, pits, and hunting traps only.) Riding (I mean to mount them on mammoths) Breakfall (Limited to only for falls from their mounts – they haven't practiced falling off cliffs) and Animal Handler (for the mammoths and for wolves.) So far I have spent 183 pts.

 

Your Running or other Movement measures how far a character moves, when they move. SPD measures how often a character moves. A standard noncombatant Runs at 12 meters with a SPD of 2 and moves 24 meters in a turn. A warrior with SPD of 3 can “buy down” Running to 8 meters and still move 24 meters in a turn. They'll mostly be riding mammoth anyway. Now I'm at 179pts. I increase END to 30, STUN to 32, and REC to 8 by spending 2 pts on each.

 

I buy Power Skill: Troll. Power Skill is, among other things, used for what are called “Power Stunts.” If I wizard knows at least one spell involving fire for example, and has Power Skill, they can try to casually light a candle across the room with a gesture or instantly reheat a cold bowl of stew. In this case I mean to use it for feats of strength or toughness that I may want to try.

 

Now for equipment. In addition to their own hides, the Trolls wear the hides of animals for +2 Defense to most locations, and a steel helm and chain coif protects head, throat, and shoulders with +5 Defense. What would be a large shield for a Human counts as a medium shield because a Troll has so much more to cover. Similarly their daggers could be used as short swords. Each carries at least two or three spears, usable as thrown weapons, and I also give most of them mauls. Then I go back to Skills because I realize I haven't given the Trolls any Weapon Familiarities! That's 2 pts for Common Melee Weapons, 1 pt for Thrown Spears, and 1 pt for the Ankus or bullhook – the goad they use on the mammoths.

 

At 195 pts I think My Trolls are ready to go! Now to write up their mounts.....

 

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Palindromedary Enterprises

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Very nice! Have you considered their primitive, evolutionary history? Before learning to create weapons, did they use to hide out in overhangs and reach down with their long arms through snow and wind and snatch up their prey? Or perhaps they would jump down on unsuspecting victims from above in the (presumably) hilly/mountainous arctic landscape?

 

If so, that might suggest upping their breakfall. 

I also note that you've not adopted the traditional Regeneration ability so common for Trolls.

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Very nice! Have you considered their primitive, evolutionary history? Before learning to create weapons, did they use to hide out in overhangs and reach down with their long arms through snow and wind and snatch up their prey? Or perhaps they would jump down on unsuspecting victims from above in the (presumably) hilly/mountainous arctic landscape?

 

If so, that might suggest upping their breakfall. 

I also note that you've not adopted the traditional Regeneration ability so common for Trolls.

You have a point about Breakfall, in fact I remember thinking "what if they fall off their mammoths?" but forgot to include that Skill somehow.

 

There is no reason for them to have Regeneration.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

What if I fall off my palindromedary?

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There is no reason for them to have Regeneration.

 

 

Sure there is! If you want them to, then they should! You don't, so they shouldn't. I've never played in a HERO setting, so I have no idea what the standard abilities of a Turakian age Troll are, so I was indirectly inquiring to see if you'd discovered anything you "missed" on comparison to the setting book's writeup.

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I've been trying to build a character for this thread. I also just want to build a character since it has been so long. I found myself explaining every closet case when I build a character though. I am going to keep working at streamlining the narrative.

 

EDIT: And in totally Nolgrothian fashion, I wasn't satisfied with the Language choices (too many) in the Languages skill in Hero Designer. Went to remove that, only to find that that <REMOVE></REMOVE> tag wasn't working. Looked deeper and did not find an answer. Then I started thinking of names and the English language so I looked up an article on the different dialects and accents inside of England. I need to focus on the damn character! :D

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The basic concept behind Epic Everyman is that the Heroes are heroes, not because they are extra-normal when compared to everybody else, but because they choose to do heroic things. As such, the amount of points for them is somewhat limited. They will, at least in the beginning, tend to fall back on Everyman skills, Familiarities or even outright Characteristic checks (where appropriate). In addition, the base starting Characteristics (and Body) have been lowered to 8. This is across the board so a 0-point character will have Str, Dex, Con, Int, Pre, Ego, and Body all at 8. The other stats have remained at the default level. I have also changed the formula for determining skill rolls to make them more granular (base 8, increases for every 4 points in a characteristic for a range of 10-13 for normal characters without buying the skills up). Finally, I adjusted the way Weapon Familiarities work to remove broad categories. I wanted more specialized training when it comes to combat, so that the characters might be more distinct.

 
For equipment and magic, I am using a variant of the Variable Power Pool rule to establish Resource pools for the characters. For the purpose of this write-up, Iron Jack has a single cutlass, a flintlock pistol, and about 10 shot for it. He has the clothes on his back, a few coins, and that pretty much sums up his possessions. 
 
My character, John Henry Cadwallader, is of Welsh-English heritage and has come to the New World to make his fortune. Originally he started out as a chartered Privateer in service to the English Crown. Later, he and his crew mutinied, launching the pirating career of "Iron Jack" Cadwaller (simpler for his men to pronounce). Iron Jack's imprint on the local sea trade was immediate and brutal. He took many small prizes in the forms of schooner ships and even a brig or two. Just as his star was rising, he suffered the same fate as the man he replaced. Iron Jack was always a smooth talker though and was able to convince his crew to maroon him on an island instead of casting him into the sea. Iron Jack spent a harsh couple of months there before being rescued by a passing merchant ship. The dehydrated and nearly starved Jack spent the next week recuperating before being let off at Charles Town, South Carolina. Humbled, but not defeated, by his experiences, Iron Jack is looking for his next adventure.
 
Base points are 50 with 25 matching Complications. As much as I find Complications counter-intuitive, they serve a game mechanics purpose. I decided to leave them in. I might change that, depending on how much it annoys me as I go along. I very quickly realized that I needed to add some Complications. Being that he is a pirate of some small reknown, I gave him a Negative Reputation, a Social Complication (Wanted Posters), and Fickle Luck (Unluck 1d6). I was torn between the Social Complication and Hunted. I just decided that he has no active hunters at this time. Total Complications 20 means that I have 45 of the 50 points to work with. Plus, I dumped the OMCV for another 9 points. Total points I can work with is 54.
 
Remembering that, with the small point spread, even a few points in a Characteristic makes it better than the average person. Strength, Constitution, Physical Defense, Recovery, Body and Stun are all tied into Iron Jack's persona. He is, simply put, a bit tougher than the average person. I also increased his Presence and Ego to reflect his acute sense of self worth and to indicate why he was able to convince a crew to let him be in charge...for a little while anyway. Jack is just a little smarter than the average bear. Final scores:
 
STR 10
DEX 8 
CON 12 I don't particular like using the Stunned rules, but I felt that having a higher than average Constitution was essential to this concept.
INT 10 
EGO 10
PRE 10
OCV 3 Jack is not particularly skilled at battle. He gets by better than normal folk (because of his proficiency), but only just.
DCV 3
OMCV 0 Jack is not designed to be magical. This effectively became a "dump" stat.
DMCV 3 Never dump a defense stat. Just sayin'.
SPD 2
PD 5 Jack can take a lickin'....
ED 2
REC 8 ...and keep on tickin'
END 20
BODY 10
STUN 30 Between his PD and his STUN, Jack is going to be one heck of a brawler in this setting. Lethal attacks will be much more problematic.
 
As Everyman Skills are going to be a huge part of the character framework, I wanted to give them some basically useful one. All skills have a default 8- (Familiarity) unless noted. Here is the list: Acting, AK: Homeland, Animal Handler (Equines), Concealment, Conversation, Deduction, First Aid, Language (Native), Persuasion, Professional Skill 11-, Shadowing, Stealth. For Iron Jack's Professional Skill, I chose Sailing.  
 
To that list, I added Gambling (Craps, Board Games) 11-, Inspiring Speech (Oratory) 11-, Negotiator (Persuasion) 11-, Quartermaster (Trading) 11-, Sailor (Navigation) 11-, Sailor (TF: Large/Small Wind Powered Vessels), Streetwise, and Weapon Familiarity with Firearms, Large Blades, Small Blades, and Thrown Knives and Darts. My goal here was to fill in all the pirate useful skills and add a couple of 'color' skills as well.
 
Final Touches: Added Sea Legs (Environmental Movement 2 points to counteract moving around the deck of a ship). I can't find an export format for HD that I like, so I'll just leave the basic concept as is.
 
Inspiration: Edward Kenway, the protagonist from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.  This character is nowhere near the combat and stealth prowess of his inspiration. I wanted to focus on the pirate aspects more than the Parkour, Sneaky, Engine of Destruction that is an Assassin from that franchise.

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You still going over there?  Glutton for punishment?

 

 

Nah.  It's a far more civil place than a few years ago. 

We even have a Hero Fan Group with a 100+ members.  :D

http://forum.rpg.net/group.php?groupid=226

 

 

I've been hanging out there some the last few days.....and starting to wonder if maybe I shouldn't make a habit of it.

 

edit; to clarify, I'm saying the "atmosphere" so to speak is less relaxing and welcoming there than it is here. Also, they need to fire the scriptwriter. RPG net keeps not responding due to a long running script,

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary and I have been in nicer places. Here for example.

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You still going over there?  Glutton for punishment?

 

Well I'll say that I've been lurking and reading threads and what I see does make me very reluctant to post anything. Or anything outside of the Hero-related threads and maybe a few others like the "Create a Character" thread.

 

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary and I can probably find better things to do

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I did a conversion

 

 

 

Steena as a Hero Character.

 

I'll use 125 Base Points and up to 50 in Complications. Standard starting Heroic.

 

I like starting Hero characters off with the Complications. So in this case, Psychological Complication: Religious Devotion fits a priestess. I'll take it as Common, Total. Then, Religious Duties as a Social Complication. Frequently, Major, but “Not in Some Cultures” (if she ends up on a long quest the villagers won't be calling on her all the time.) Distinctive Features (walks around with a scythe) and Negative Reputation (the superstitious regard a Death Priestess as ominous.) And Hunted (Watched) by own Deity (so if she breaks any rules, the Goddess might notice.) This totals 50 so I have 175 pts to invest in the character's assets.

 

Now to translate some Characteristics. I'll say WILL 16 probably corresponds to EGO 18, and to Offensive and Defensive Mental Combat Values of 6. Charisma 14 must mean at least 15 PRE but I'll take it to 20 since I don't have an arbitrary “Array” to deal with. CON has a function in Hero it doesn't in the system I translate from, of preventing being stunned in combat, so any character that fights at all needs a good CON, so I'll take 15 which isn't too out of line with the original I think. Wisdom and Intelligence both factor into what INT is in Hero. The character's “Wisdom Check” would be 12 on D20; To get a 12 or less on 3d6 in Hero, INT should be 13. So it is. Dexterity and Strength of 9 are about at the minimum for a starting character in Black Dragon; starting values in Hero for STR and DEX are 10, I will use those.

 

I'll assume that starting Hero Offensive and Defensive Combat Values are equivalent to a Magic User's abilities in Black Dragon. The Cleric has a Base Attack Value one higher than the Mage. So I'll take OCV 4 and DCV 4. SPD of 3 and PD and ED of 5 seem like good minimums for an adventurer.

 

Because original CON was 12 giving no special bonus, I'll leave RECovery and ENDurance at starting values. Now to figure BOD and STUN. The Cleric has one third more “Hit Points” than the Mage, who I am using as baseline. I'll represent that with +1 BOD, +6 STUN and Combat Luck so the hits don't hit as hard. (Combat Luck is a talent that acts like armor even when not wearing armor – it turns a solid hit into a “glancing blow” of lesser damage.)

 

I bought up SPD so I'll buy down Running. I may have explained before, in Hero SPD determines how often you act in a 12 second Turn; Full Move is an action, so if you raise SPD by even 1 pt you are now moving half again as fast on the ground as a normal untrained person who has SPD 2. I reduce Running to 9. I now move 9 meters in a phase, and 27 in a Turn. A normal person moves 24 in a Turn.

 

Lets look at Skills next. “Groups” include -

Communications: Buying my PRE up to 20 is enough to simulate this +1 on Interactions

Knowledge: I'll take the Scholar Skill Enhancer and some appropriate Skills

Athletics and Husbandry: I'll take the Jack of All Trades Skill Enhancer and some appropriate Skills.

 

(Skill Enhancers cost 3 pts up front but then subtract 1 from the cost of the Skills they effect.)

 

“Specializations” are – Religion, Diplomacy, Singing, Read/Write, Law, First Aid, Herbalism, Diagnosis, Forensic Medicine, Alertness, Fire Starting. Religion, Law, and Herbalism, work as Knowledge Skills (KS) so I'll put them in under Scholar. Actually, I make the Knowledge Herblore and put Herbalism under Professional Skills (PS) under Jack of All Trades. KS is for just knowing things, PS is for knowing “how to” do things, like handle herbs safely and preserve their qualities etc. Literacy is often free under the campaign assumptions I usually use. Singing is a PS based on PRE. Speaking of PRE, I start a list for Social Skills and put in Persuasion and Oratory for Diplomacy. First Aid translates to “Paramedics” (the Skills in Hero weren't all named with Fantasy in mind.) I start a new list, Healing Skills, for things like First Aid, and add Diagnosis as “Analyze: Medical Condition.” I'll use Concealment for Alertness as it's the Skill for finding things. And I'll take a Familiarity with Survival which should cover Fire Starting. And PRE based PS for Priestcraft. I start a list, Adventurer Skills, and put in it the Concealment and Survival and my Weapon Familiarities, Sling and Pole Arm. I never did specify the extra language; I'll just take the Skill Enhancer Linguist so when the character does start learning new languages they should come easy.

 

Now to go to the Powers tab and start a list, Clerical Powers. I am Immune to the touch of Ghouls and resistant to Fear, Charm, and Drain effects.

 

Immune to Ghoul Touch: (Total: 18 Active Cost, 9 Real Cost) Resistant Protection (12 PD) (Impermeable) (18 Active Points); Only Works Against Rare attack (Ghouls; -1) (Real Cost: 9)

This blocks 12 pts of damage from a Ghoul and is defined as “impermeable” to block touch attacks. Some STUN damage will still get through.

 

Fearless, Unswayable, and Steadfast: (Total: 20 Active Cost, 20 Real Cost) Power Defense (10 points) (Real Cost: 10) plus +10 Mental Defense (10 points total) (Real Cost: 10)

This helps block mental effects and attempts to drain abilities.

 

I have Turn Undead and even DESTROY Undead. That one's going to be a real point hog of an ability. The original ability says the character may turn up to 2d8+1 Hit Dice of undead, or destroy half that number. That lets a 1st level Cleric potentially insta-kill an undead monster of up to 8 hit dice!

 

After playing around with several ways to build it, I give up on hitting more than one monster at a time and focus on something that might insta-kill a single undead. Instead of using a conventional Killing Attack I settle on using the Drain power, since it bypasses normal defenses. The drawbacks are

1) Has half the apparent effect since a Drain targeting BOD is halved – precisely because it would be such a powerful ability.

2) Points lost to Drain come back, even if BOD is drained to the point of destruction – so the undead could crumble to dust but then reconstitute itself over time. However, that can be prevented by scattering or destroying the remains.

On the other hand, a lot of undead are considered destroyed at 0 BOD rather than having to be reduced to negatives. And even if something reduced to 0 or negative BOD by Drain is only “temporarily destroyed” it should be easy to then inflict enough damage on the dormant remains that the destruction becomes permanent. Gather up those ashes and throw them in running water!

 

I end up with

 

Destroy Undead: (Total: 124 Active Cost, 26 Real Cost) Drain BODY 8d6+1 (halved) Alternate Combat Value (uses OMCV against DCV; +0), Area Of Effect Accurate (4m Radius; +1/2) (124 Active Points); Limited Power undead only (-2), OAF (Holy Symbol; -1), 6 Recoverable Charges (-1/4), Gestures (-1/4), Incantations (-1/4) (Real Cost: 26)

Alternate Combat Value lets me use the Offensive MENTAL Combat Value which is pretty high (OMCV 6) and the “Accurate” means it targets a Defensive combat Value of 3. The attack will seldom miss (roll will be 14 or less on 3d6 before range modifiers) and will do half the rolled damage to BOD unless the undead has Power Defense or special protection, such as being insubstantial. With experience this can be improved to effect incorporeal undead, be usable more often then 6 times per combat, etc.

 

Note that this power would not be allowed in some games because of its high Active Points, indicating an ability that can be very powerful. But in the original context, the character presented the same balance issues; an encounter with undead could be a cakewalk or overkill, depending on whether the cleric is along. Hero System just makes the potential imbalance more obvious because the abilities have point costs.

 

I'm down to 5 points left unspent. I would like more than that to play around with as I round out the character, so I scale back some of what I have:

 

Fearless, Unswayable, and Steadfast: (Total: 10 Active Cost, 10 Real Cost) Power Defense (5 points) (Real Cost: 5) plus +5 Mental Defense (5 points total) (Real Cost: 5)

 

Now I have 15 pts. Let's see about Turning Undead. That is basically a PRE attack in Hero and with a PRE of 20 Steena can make a 4d6 PRE attack. (Each 5 pts is a d6)

 

There are three problems I see.

 

One is that some undead are mindless automatons who normally don't respond to PRE attacks. I can solve that with a Power Skill; Power Skill is a generic Skill type like “Knowledge Skill” or “Professional Skill” that lets a character use an ability in an unusual way. It takes only 1 pt to convert “Priestcraft” from a Professional to a Power Skill; I now have 14 unspent pts. Because it's a PRE based Skill it also gives me a bonus to PRE attacks of 1d6 when I make the roll, and 2d6 if I make the roll by half, which helps the next problem.

 

PRE attacks are defended against by either PRE or EGO, and both are often high for undead. If Steena makes an attack with Destroy Undead and makes a Priestcraft roll, then she has 4d6 for a PRE of 20, 2 or 3 bonus dice for the violent action/exhibiting power, and +1d6 for making the Priestcraft roll. That's about 24 to 28 pts worth of PRE attack – enough to perhaps make a ghoul pause, but probably not run. Fortunately, we can enhance that with Striking Appearance.

 

Striking Appearance is a Talent that gives a bonus to PRE in appropriate situations. The player defines what about the character is “striking” and that determines when the bonus applies; a princess with Striking Appearance defined as “fairest in the land” could get a bonus to persuade her knights to go on a quest, but it won't help to persuade a dragon not to abduct her or if she has to write a diplomatic letter to a neighboring ruler. If Striking Appearance only effects a limited audience, it only costs 2 pts per level. I take 3 levels of Striking Appearance that only applies to undead, defined as a Holy Aura. That costs 6 pts so now I have 8 left to spend. I decide that all servants of the Death Goddess will have a Reputation: Undead Beware! It only costs 1 pt per level, because undead are a “small to medium group” but the target has to be aware of the reputation to be effected and that happens on a roll of 14 or less according to Rules as Written. I make a note that mindless undead aren't effected and most undead know on an INT roll at +3, because that makes sense to me and is not far from the 14 or less standard roll the rules prescribe. Buying 2 levels of Reputation costs 2 pts, and I have 6 left to spend.

 

The third problem with PRE attacks is that by default they are temporary; even if undead flee they might turn around in a matter of minutes. I fix this with what in Hero is called a “Naked Advantage,” an Advantage that is bought separately from the Power or ability it effects. I buy “Uncontrolled” for Steena's PREsence; Uncontrolled means when a power is activated the character puts a number of END points into a “pool” (essentially transferring their own reserves of energy into the power) and the power keeps going until that pool runs out. I put “Zero END” Advantage on the Uncontrolled (Yes, I can put an Advantage ON an Advantage) to evade that limit but there STILL has to be some way to make such a power stop; I can think of several that are reasonable in this case, such as reaching an unholy temple or desecrated ground, being pursued into a dead end (pardon the expression) or corner, or being bolstered by a necromancer (which could be as simple as the necromancer making their own Power Skill: Necromancy roll.) I also apply the “Undead Only” Limitation, and it looks like this:

 

...And STAY Turned!: (Total: 15 Active Cost, 5 Real Cost) Uncontrolled (+1/2) for up to 20 Active Points of PRE, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2) (15 Active Points); Conditional Power Undead only (-2) (Real Cost: 5)

 

I now have 1 point remaining. I decide to invest it in a PS: (Professional Skill) Firestarting. It will be a complimentary Skill to Survival when trying to light those funeral pyres.

 

So that's Steena in Hero System. I may even decide to rework her ignoring the point limits of a standard character to come closer to a strict translation (that is, able to blast small groups of undead instead of one at a time) but I think even this version against the undead will be...

 

a Holy Terror.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Copyright Palindromedary Enterprises

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The third problem with PRE attacks is that by default they are temporary; even if undead flee they might turn around in a matter of minutes. I fix this with what in Hero is called a “Naked Advantage,” an Advantage that is bought separately from the Power or ability it effects. I buy “Uncontrolled” for Steena's PREsence; Uncontrolled means when a power is activated the character puts a number of END points into a “pool” (essentially transferring their own reserves of energy into the power) and the power keeps going until that pool runs out. I put “Zero END” Advantage on the Uncontrolled (Yes, I can put an Advantage ON an Advantage) to evade that limit but there STILL has to be some way to make such a power stop; I can think of several that are reasonable in this case, such as reaching an unholy temple or desecrated ground, being pursued into a dead end (pardon the expression) or corner, or being bolstered by a necromancer (which could be as simple as the necromancer making their own Power Skill: Necromancy roll.) I also apply the “Undead Only” Limitation, and it looks like this:

 

...And STAY Turned!: (Total: 15 Active Cost, 5 Real Cost) Uncontrolled (+1/2) for up to 20 Active Points of PRE, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2) (15 Active Points); Conditional Power Undead only (-2) (Real Cost: 5)

I like this character and the thought that went into the conversion. One question. Aren't PRE Attacks and instant power with lingering effects? Wouldn't that mean you need to buy it Constant as well, before you can put uncontrolled on it? Also, as a GM I would probably go with the way you built the Reduced Endurance, but I think by the rules it is not needed because PRE attacks are already 0 END?

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I like this character and the thought that went into the conversion. One question. Aren't PRE Attacks and instant power with lingering effects? Wouldn't that mean you need to buy it Constant as well, before you can put uncontrolled on it? Also, as a GM I would probably go with the way you built the Reduced Endurance, but I think by the rules it is not needed because PRE attacks are already 0 END?

Might be a matter of interpretation but as I understand it, technically, a Naked Advantage is supposed to cost END even if the underlying Power doesn't. One of the drawbacks to taking a Naked Advantage.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

An instant palindromedary with lingering tagline

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Might be a matter of interpretation but as I understand it, technically, a Naked Advantage is supposed to cost END even if the underlying Power doesn't. One of the drawbacks to taking a Naked Advantage.

 

 

Correct.

6E1 Page, 314.

Champions Complete Page 95 (called Independent Advantages)

Fantasy Hero Complete  Page 112 (also called Independent Advantages)

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