|ADVANCED CHARACTER DYNAMICS
If this is your first time reading through the game, skip this section and head to the
Supernatural Abilities Arsenal immediately following. Read the description of how the
powers are defined and then look a few up. Once you are ready to make player characters
and NPCs, come back here.
In this section we will give a detailed explanation of how to take a character from concept to game
mechanics, using historical examples. We will provide you with five ready-to-go player characters
and five villains. Detailed are the various patterns found in the construction of these characters and
how they are reflected in game terms.
Our game was constructed with the idea of cataloging all of the abilities found in genre literature. To this end
we have listed several hundred net outcomes of various abilities. Some powers are worthy of being a focus,
others are merely building blocks. This section is largely about how to put the blocks together.
In the first part of this section we will cover historical trends in character concepts, showing which of the
game’s abilities can be attributed to various types of characters. The second section is simply about the broad
game functions collections of different powers have. We have not covered all of the listed powers in this
section, nor are most powers explained in depth.
Our game is based on popular fiction. Such fiction is branded into several genres, such as Romance,
Western, Detective, True Crime, Mystery, Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction. Just as fiction has brands, the
characters found in such are of several identifiable types. Let’s start with our example from Basic Character
This is how the character would be recorded in
game terms. We have listed the powers in
alphabetical order, but that may not be the order
in which either a judge or a player might want
their character sheet.
POWER SHORTHAND GUIDELINES: Beyond listing the power and what basestat it
comes from, each power should have a note on how it reflects the character concept and any specific details
about its functions, such as range, duration, area of effect or bonuses conveyed. In the case of Apantomancy,
it’s something of a custom power. Listing specific functions and outcomes is in order. We put the potential
HTH Damage bonus for ADEPT ACTION in, but this is optional. Beyond delineating the exact functions of
Apantomancy (divination via chance encounters with wild animals), notes were also made for COMBAT,
GUARDED DESTINY, M-W-A and STROBE.
COMBAT: Listed how many dice this ability contributed to the character’s HTH Damage total.
GUARDED DESTINY: Note is a reference to the character concept. Like most supernatural
abilities, GUARDED DESTINY is a described effect. Here we are detailing that it comes from a
M-W-A (Military Weapons Access): Describes the ability’s trim level, what type of access Secret
Agent X has to military class weapons.
STROBE: Here we disclose that it is a piece of equipment and that it has a range of 40 meters and
an area of effect of 12 meters.
The other powers did not require additional notes, although simply listing them may not entirely disclose their
functions. ADEPT ACTION has several functions that we did not detail. It is assumed that a copy of the
rules will be handy if there are any questions as to a power’s nature.
You may have noticed that UTILITY BELT is rated at Mutant level, although it is linked to Secret Agent X’s
POWER which is at Super Human level. Without confusing things, you can always link an ability at less than
the level of the BASESTAT. In this case, UTILITY BELT is one of a handful of abilities which has a set level.
UTILITY BELTS are 25 allocation points worth of useful and it doesn’t matter what level of basestat it is
linked to. The entire UTILITY BELT concept and all of its functions are rated at Mutant level.
Per this cashier’s receipt, Secret Agent X is a 623
point character. We are not an accounting game and
the point totals are only a thumbnail measure. That
said, the point total seems about right for what this
character historically is. As an NPC, he’s fine,
perfectly reflective of the character from the pulp
(Clear Seeing, a SUPER SENSE, was awarded for
free since the character has a Mutant or better
PERC basestat. We were allowed a 10% discount
on STROBE for defining it as equipment. As per
our previous section, the character’s skills were
accounted for without additional point expense. )
Would this be a good player character? Sure, although he’s in a bad point range. If we lop off ADEPT
ACTION and STROBE, he fits right at the 500 level. If we add ARMOR or TOOL ARM, it builds on the
concept a bit. Or we could just bulk him up with ATHLETICS, DURABLE, FORTITUDE or RUGGED. Given
the right campaign, he would make a fine 700 point character.
In short, NPCs can be at any point level, but player characters have to be at the point level of the other player
characters. Even if you have to tweak it a bit. Teaching you how to tweak concepts is part of the point of this
Is there anything all that special about Secret Agent X? Certainly the people at Ace Magazines would like you
to think so. They’ve invested a lot in art and novels and printing just for that purpose. But divorced from the
stories and art and logo, is there anything all that original about the guy himself? The off-beat psychic powers
are a nice twist, but the character is a of a distinct type, or class. He is a ‘Trick Suit’ character, an ancient
archetype dating back to the Dime Novels of the 1800s.
The genre of literature in which this game was based dates back to the Romantic Era and the rise of Popular
Literature. Like Popular Music, Popular Literature is not necessarily the good stuff, but it is the one most
people choose. Once the Industrial Revolution got underway, there became a market for mass produced
escapist literature, first in the form of Dime Novels then Pulp Magazines and then Comic Books. Each medium
added its own advancements. Three types of characters ruled the Dime Novels:
(1) Masters of Disguise Trick Suit Detectives, mostly inspired by Sherlock Holmes;
(2) Boy Inventors, perhaps inspired by the antics of Edison and Ford;
(3) Gunfighter criminals with unstated supernatural abilities, mostly the various representations of Jesse
James. (Jesse James could rip a person’s arm off and beat them to death with it.)
In pulp magazines the Trick Suit heroes turned violent, the inventor types grew up and the supernatural
criminals modernized. The emergence of comic books saw the heroes gain visually oriented supernatural
This is where we are now. Market forces have proven certain types of adventure characters. These
characters have somewhat similar traits. In this section we will be defining the groupings as an aid to helping
you with your own creations. We will be working from the most common to the least common.