Creating a Character – Chapter 3 (Part 2) – HYOOTRD RPG Players’ Guide


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Host Your Own Old Time Radio Drama Role Playing Game

Host Your Own Old Time Radio Drama Role Playing Game

Steps in character Creation

Step 1. Choose a speciality

To begin creating a character for the game you will need to develop a character concept.  The heroes of the age of radio tended to be of three broad types;

  • Adventurer,
  • Mystic,
  • or Academic.

There are some clear points of overlap between them, but, by and large, they remain a helpful starting point for character development.

An adventurer lives by his or her brawn.  They are action oriented and settle things with guns, fists, and bravery.  Adventurers include Tarzan, the Green Hornet, and the Lone Ranger.

A mystic employs various forms of magic, hypnotism, and illusion.  They are less action oriented, preferring the powers of the mind over the powers of the body.  Mystics include Chandu the Magician, Olga Mesmer, and the Shadow.

An Academic, like the name implies is a science hero, using learning to overcome evil.  They employ deductive reasoning and specialist expertise to astonishing effect.  Academics include Professor Challenger, Violet Ray, and Phineas Fogg.

Deciding on a speciality often comes down to a matter of emphasis.  Dr Henry Jones Jr (otherwise known as Indiana Jones) is clearly an Academic (being an Archaeology professor by profession) but more properly fits the Adventurer category (solving most problems with his fists).  Discuss your selection with your GM if you are uncertain quite which one to pick and negotiate the solution.  If it makes it easier, think of a character from film, radio, or fiction on whom to model your own.

When you have decided on your speciality record it on your character sheet under Archetype (see the form below).

Examples (Specialities)

Gavin thinks he’d like to create a character along the lines of Indiana Jones; an archaeologist who is handy with a gun.  Talking it over with his GM they decide the concept he is looking for is more adventurer than academic and record his speciality as Adventurer.

Michael wants to try a more bookish character; a detective and medical doctor.  Michael’s character is definitely leaning more towards the academic end of the spectrum and the speciality is recorded as Academic.

Beth wants to play a character similar to Mandrake the Magician with skills in ancient languages.  In this case the speciality is clearly that of a mystic and is recorded as such (though a case might have been made for a character who was more of an academic – researching the mysteries of ancient languages and magic).

Step 2. Choose an archetype

Here’s where you flesh out your character concept, narrowing down the role they will take on.

Having chosen a speciality you need to choose or invent an Archetype from within that speciality.

Adventurer Speciality

Includes the archetypes…
Doctor, Pilot, Mercenary/ Legionnaire/ Soldier, Noble Savage, Cowboy, Masked Avenger, Explorer, Gentleman/ woman thief, Detective etc.

Academic Speciality

Includes the archetypes…
Reporter, Priest, Nun, Dilettante, Archaeologist or other Academic, Science Hero, Gadgeteer, Linguist etc.

Mystic Speciality

Includes the archetypes…
Medium, Magician, Hypnotist, Psychic, Martial Artist, Sorcerer, Gypsy etc.

There are a huge range of archetypes to pick and those above are just suggestions.  Think of them as possible occupations you can choose and you won’t go far wrong.  If you have settled on an Adventurer speciality but would like your character to be a two fisted mechanical engineer,  that’s fine.  Don’t let it bother you that it is not listed here. Talk it through with your GM and record it under Archetype on your character sheet.

Examples (Archetypes)

Gavin wants to stick with the Indiana Jones theme and chooses to make his adventurer an Archaeologist.  He records Archaeologist on his character sheet under the label Archetype.

Michael is trying to figure out whether to make his character a private detective or a doctor.  He decides he will make the character primarily a doctor who has detective skills.  He records Doctor under the label Archetype on the character sheet.

Beth decides she wants to affect people’s minds with illusions.  As such she wants the power of a hypnotist (or, more in the flavour of the thirties, a mesmerist).  She records Mesmerist under the label Archetype on her character sheet.


Step 3. Assign attributes and derived scores

Base Attributes

The game system is very simple and essentially based on two statistics; strength and willpower.

Strength sums up a character’s physical attributes such as health and vitality, physical strength and stamina, coordination and dexterity, as well as speed etc.

Willpower sums up a character’s personality attributes such as intelligence, personal charisma, ability to argue with and influence others, determination, and academic ability etc.

Strength and willpower are referred to as base attributes or skills. From these attributes we derive all other statistics in the game.

Your initial strength and willpower are determined by your speciality selections.

SpecialityStrengthWillpowerHero Point Bonus
Adventurer430
Academic334
Mystic340

 

Colour in the number of dots corresponding to the result on the character’s record sheet for both strength and willpower.

Examples (Strength and Willpower)

Gavin has chosen an Adventurer Speciality.  As such he receives four dots of strength and three dots of willpower.

Strength x x x x O OOOOO
Willpower x x x OO OOOOO

In Michael’s case, having chosen an academic he receives three dots of each attribute (note he also receives an extra four hero points – see Hero points below).

Strength x x x OO OOOOO
Willpower x x x OO OOOOO

Beth is a Mystic so she receives 3 dots of strength and four dots of willpower.

Strength x x x OO OOOOO
Willpower x x x x O OOOOO

Derived Attributes

The two remaining statistics (resistance and essence) are equal to strength and willpower respectively. These attributes will be explained in detail later (see special conditions below).  Essence is a measure of a character’s humanity and sanity, while resistance is a measure of a character’s resistance to disease and magical control.

Wounds

Wounds indicate the amount of damage a character can take before becoming unconscious during combat. The number of wounds a character can take is equal to four times their strength.  Leave dots empty but place a vertical line after the dot equivalent to the number of wounds your character can take.

Example (Wounds)

In the case of Gavin, he has a strength of 4, giving him 16 (4 strength multiplied by 4) wound points.

Wounds OOOOOOOO|OO OOOOO OOOOO

Michael has a strength of 3, giving him 12 (3 strength multiplied by 4) wound points.

Wounds OOOOOO|OOOO OOOOO OOOOO

Beth also has a strength of 3, giving her 12 (3 strength multiplied by 4) wound points as well.

WoundsOOOOOO|OOOO OOOOO OOOOO

Piercing wounds are allocated during combat and should be ignored at this point.

Hero Points

Initially players have Hero Points equal to their strength + willpower which can be spent raising (or lowering) their dice results (more on this later).  Again, leave the dots empty and place a vertical line after the dot equivalent to the number of hero points the character can spend.

Example (Hero Points)

In the case of Gavin, he would have 4 (strength) + 3 (willpower) = 7 hero points.

Hero Points OOOOOOO|OOO

Michael has 3 (strength) + 3 (willpower)  + 4 (bonus hero points) = 10 hero points (academics get 4 bonus hero points).

Hero Points OOOOOOOOOO|

Beth has 3 (strength) + 4 (willpower) = 7 hero points.

Hero Points OOOOOOO|OOO

Hero Points can be spent to reroll the dice or can be added to a roll at one per point.

Hero points are spent and never replaced.

New hero points are earned through roleplaying (especially through roleplaying negative consequences) at 1 per cover earned (again more on this later when we discuss character advancement).

Skills which have 9 dots in them cannot use hero-points.

NEXT TIME: Part 3 – Building your character background.

This chapter of the Host Your Own Old Time Radio Drama RPG and all associated content (except where acknowledged) is © copyright weirdworldstudios.com and Philip Craig Robotham 1997 and may not be reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author.


HYOOTRD Roleplaying Game – Players’ Guide