The text of this blog is copyright 2012. Have fun with the content but don’t pass it off as your own or try to sell it, Okay.
The following is a home-brew character generation system for creating pulp characters for your role-playing game. Feel free to use, ignore, or modify these rules to suit yourself (just remember the copyright line above). While the majority of this is home-brewed, the questionnaire included below was inspired by the questions provided in the fantastic Castle Falkenstein rules by R Talsorian Games.
- Base attributes
- Pulp Specialties and archetypes
- Pulp Skills
- Generic Skills
- Hero Points
- Background Questionnaire
- Character Record Sheet
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 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.
To calculate strength roll 1 ten sided dice (1d10) and divide the result by two rounding up.
Colour in the number of dots corresponding to the result on the character’s record sheet.
Repeat this process for the willpower statistic.
A player seeks to create a character named Robert.
For strength he rolls a 5 which when divided by 2 and rounded up gives him a result of 3.
Robert is therefore given 3 dots of strength.
The player then rolls an 8 which when divided by 2 and rounded up gives Robert a result of 4.
The player therefore colours in four dots of willpower.
The two remaining statistics (resistance and essence) are equal to strength and willpower respectively but should not be entered until the game keeper directs. These attributes will be explained later.
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 twice their strength.
In the case of Robert he has a strength of 3 giving him 6 (3 strength multiplied by 2) wound points. These are recorded by placing a line to the right of the 6th dot. This marks the current upper limit of wounds the character can sustain while remaining conscious. Pencil should be used as the number of dots will vary up and down throughout the game.
Piercing wounds are allocated during combat and should be ignored at this point.
To develop a pulp character you must choose a Speciality and an Archetype from within that speciality.
Includes the archetypes…
Pilot, Mercenary/Legionnaire/Soldier, Noble Savage, Cowboy, Masked Avenger, Explorer, Gentleman/woman thief, Detective
Includes the archetypes…
Reporter, Priest, Nun, Dilletante, Archaeologist or other Academic, Science Hero, Gadgeteer, Linguist
Includes the archetypes…
Medium, Magician, Hypnotist, Psychic, Martial Artist, Sorceror
Roll your Strength and Willpower scores.
If you have selected a Willpower Speciality you may spend 7 + willpower points purchasing Mystical skills. You must also apply willpower points to your essence and set your resistance to 0. Non-mystics do not have these skills.
If you have selected an Adventurer Speciality you may spend 7 + strength points purchasing Adventuring skills. You must also apply strength points to your resistance and set your essence to 0. Non-adventurers do not have these skills.
If you have selected an Academic Speciality you may spend EITHER 7 + strength OR 7 + willpower points purchasing Academic skills. You must set both your essence and your resistance to 0.
Invent a minimum of 3 skills for your speciality and record them. Give 3 points to the most important skill, and 2 points each to the two next most important skills. Add generic skills of one point each until your points are all spent.
You can usually assume you have an unlimited number of general skills (like running, brawling, etc.) at 1 point whether specified on your character sheet or not. More specialised skills (such as piloting a plane, manoeuvring a submersible, speaking a foreign language etc) will need to be listed on your sheet or purchased. The exact nature of what constitutes a generic or specialised skill is left to the discretion of the GM.
A cowboy who rolled a strength of 3
A linguist who rolled a willpower of 2
|Speak new language|
|Read new language|
|Write new language|
|Identify location of dialect|
A psychic who rolled a willpower of 4
|Cheat at cards|
The exact nature of the skills needs to be approved by the GM as well as how they work.
Also available to characters are a set of generic skills. These skills are used by characters to attempt actions.
General skills can be purchased right away.
Characters can spend points on these skills out of their initial pool.
The x’s beside the general skills indicate that character’s already have 1 point assigned to them in each skill by default. For each spending point available the character may add one dot to a skill.
Example (General Skills)
Robert has 3 strength and 4 willpower giving him 7 points to spend on skills. Ignoring specialty skills he spends all his points on general skill. He spends 2 on perception, and 1 each on hand to hand, pick lock, sneak, hide, and slingshot.
|Hand to hand||x|
Once skill points have been distributed initial character generation is complete.
Initially players have Hero Point equal to their strength + willpower which can be spent raising (or lowering) their dice results.
In the case of Robert he would have 3 (strength) + 4 (willpower) = 7 hero points.
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 negative consequences) at 1 per cover earned.
Skills which have 9 dots in them cannot use hero-points.
Eg. Wild Bill tries to shoot the lever that controls the gate to the Hyena pen but only rolls a 4. His six gun skill is at 3 which raises it to a 7 (still not enough). He elects to spend 5 out of his total of 6 Hero points to make the shot a success leaving 1 Hero point available for the rest of the session.
Alternatively, Wild Bill might cash in a hero point to re-roll the first result (saving a few hero points in the process). However, the re-rolled result is final and cannot be added to by further hero points.
Character Generation (Optional) – Background Questionnaire
(A cross between two actors, characters from film, characters from television, characters from fiction, or characters from comic books).
Clothes and physical quirks
Family background and childhood
A skill you were born with
A trait you inherited from your father
A trait you inherited from your mother
A trait shaped by your environment
A unique possession acquired
Two skills you developed as a result of personal interests
Two traits you discovered during adolescence
Two traits formed in your peer group
A unique possession acquired
Three vocational skills you learned
Two traits you developed on the job
One trait that grew out of your first adult encounter with tragedy
One trait that describes your view of romance
One trait that defines your view of authority
Dark Secret or Hidden Weakness
Most cherished principles:
Most cherished possessions:
Most cherished people:
Nemesis (and the reason for the enmity):
Motivation for adventuring:
Title of your most recent adventure:
Guest appearance in the back story or a recent adventure of the player on your left (in which you saved his/her life)
Guest appearance in the back story or a recent adventure of the player on your right (in which you helped save the world)
The questionnaire above can be used as the basis for developing the characters’ skills.
|Place of Birth:||________________________|
|Initial Skill points
(7 + highest base attribute)
((Strength + Willpower)/2)raised
|Wounds (Strength x 2)||00000 00000 00000 00000|
|Archetype Specific Skills|