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Attributes are scores that reflect the character's basic physical and mental abilities. In short, the core attributes define the character's "body and mind."
The three attributes that define a character's "body" or physical being are Health, Strength, and Reflexes.
Strength (abbreviated STR) is the "Power" attribute for the Body Group. STR represents raw physical prowess, including the ability to lift, push and otherwise exert force.
The total weight that a character can lift to waist level without moving (i.e., dead lift) is shown on the Basic STR Table. A character is able to carry (lift and move) weight equal to half his lift capacity. A character can drag or pull twice his lift capacity.
Tom's character has a STR of 7. He can dead lift 250 kilograms (about 550 pounds), he can carry 125 kilograms (275 pounds), and he can drag or pull up to 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds)!
Reflexes (abbreviated REF) is the "Aptitude" attribute for the Body Group. REF covers the character's agility, coordination, reaction, and overall speed. The higher a character's REF, the more dexterous and agile he is, and the better his sense of balance is. A REF of 0 represents total lack of control over one's muscles and movement (e.g., severe palsy or total paralysis).
Health (abbreviated HLT) is the "Resistance" attribute for the Body Group. HLT reflects the character's overall constitution, general health, resistance to disease, and overall fitness. The higher a character's health, the more resistant he is to illness and physiological degradation and injury. A HLT of 0 represents an absence of life (i.e., death).
The three attributes that define the character's "mind" or mental and emotional being are Presence, Intellect, and Will.
Presence (abbreviated PRE) is the "Power" attribute for the Mind Group. PRE represents the character's general personality, charm, charisma, and innate persuasiveness. The higher a character's PRE, the more influential he can be. A PRE of 0 represents a total lack of personality, charisma, and emotion (e.g., a brick or a wall).
Intellect (abbreviated INT) is the "Aptitude" attribute for the Mind Group. INT represents the sharpness of the character's mind, clarity of thought and overall alertness. The higher a character's INT, the brighter and more perceptive he is. An INT of 0 represents a complete lack of intelligence and thought (e.g., brain death or an inanimate object).
Will (abbreviated WIL) is the "Resistance" attribute for the Mind Group. WIL reflects the character's mental strength, ego, and force of conviction. The higher a character's Will, the greater his resolve, focus, and level of concentration. A WIL of 0 represents no resistance to emotional influence and/or a complete lack of self-awareness (e.g., an automaton, robot or zombie).
All attributes are based on a scale of one to ten (1-10), denoting the normal human levels of possibility. Characters in certain types of games may have attributes with scores higher or lower than humanly possible.
The higher an attribute score the better the character is in that area. For example, a character with a Strength of 3 is average, whereas a character with a Strength of 1 is roughly equivalent to an infant or small animal.
A score of 9 or 10 represents the pinnacle of human achievement. It should be rare to encounter someone with an attribute or skill at this level (at least among NPCs), and such a person may be well-known for his ability.
For example, a strength score of 9 could represent the strength of an Olympic weight-lifter and an Intellect of 10 could represent Hawking-like genius.
Scores higher than 10 are superhuman and are only possible through some unusual or supernatural means, such as drugs, magic, or paranormal power. Creatures, legendary beings, superheroes, and otherwise extraordinary beings are not subject to the maximum score of 10 rule.
A score of 0 means the character has absolutely no capability in that area. Generally, if a character's attribute drops to 0 for any reason, the character is completely impotent in that area.
Characters have numerical scores that define their basic capabilities, called Attributes. Each character can also have traits, benefits, and skills. These are described in detail later in their own sections.
Attributes cost 1 Attribute Point for each level in an attribute. Buying a STR of 5 for a starting character, for instance, has a cost of 5 Attribute Points.
Each player gets a number of points to divide among the character's attributes. This number is usually equal to the average attribute score used by characters in the game multiplied by the number of attributes used, rounded to the nearest 5. (See the table below.)
Attributes can be improved after character creation by spending Experience Points (see Experience, page 86). To increase an attribute by one level costs 5 times the new level in experience points.
Tom wants to increase his character's current STR from 3 to 4. It will cost 4 x 5 = 20 experience points to increase Tom's character's STR to 4.
The recommended maximum score for any attribute depends on the campaign level of the game ( See the Maximum Attribute Score Table). Players may purchase up to the maximum score for any primary attribute. This limit does not include any bonuses for applicable Advantages (see the chapter on Traits).
Jim is creating a character for a Realistic level game, with a maximum characteristic score of 6. Jim buys a REF score of 5 for his character and also buys the Physical Advantage trait and defines it as providing a +2 REF bonus to his character. This makes the character's effective REF score a 7, which is higher than the suggested maximum attribute score for the campaign, but is allowable.
The GM is free to ignore this rule for his or her game.
Any unspent Attribute Points may be converted to Character Points at a rate of 10:1. Character Points are used to buy advantages, benefits, or skills. This means that for every 1 Attribute Point that a player wishes to spend on something besides his character's attributes, the player can "exchange" the Attribute Point for 10 Character Points. Character Points can't be used to increase a character's attributes, however.
Developers or GMs who wish to use a single pool of points for character creation may do so. Simply multiply the number of Attribute Points allotted times 10 and then add those points to the Character Points to form one pool of points used for character creation. The cost of attributes is also multiplied by 10. Thus, when creating a new character, it costs 10 Character Points to buy 1 level in any primary attribute. The cost of increasing Derived Attributes remains the same.
Example: Tom is running a Cinematic-level American Revolution game, set in the American colonies in 1776. Tom decides to use a single pool of points for character creation, so instead of giving each player 25 Attribute Points and 50 Character Points, he converts the Attribute Points to Character Points (25 x 10 = 250). He tells the players that they each have 300 Character Points with which to create their characters.
The core rules use only two attribute groups: Body and Mind. Some GMs will want to add their own attributes to characters for their games. Adding attributes and keeping them compatible with the core rules is easy.
If your game uses additional Attribute Groups, make sure to increase the number of Attribute Points given to players when creating characters (see Buying Attributes).
First you need to decide what the "realm" or "effect" of the group is. Is it for psionic abilities? Maybe you could call it the Psi Group. Does it deal with faith, religious conviction, or karma? Maybe you could call it the Spiritual Group. Do you want to expand on social traits and skills? Create a Social Group.
Next, you need to create three attributes for your new group. Each group has an attribute for "power," one for "aptitude," and one for "resistance."
For example, let's say you're adding a Psi Group. You could create the new attributes Prowess (PRW), Control (CON) and Mental Defense (MEN).
If you don't want to create three new attributes, you could use one attribute for all three aspects of that group, but we recommend that you use three attributes. The game system was designed with three attributes in each group.
You will no doubt see new Attribute Groups in various products. These are optional. They add "flavor" and atmosphere to these games, but you are free to ignore than and use only the Body and Mind Groups in the core rules, if you like. We recommend giving these new Groups a try. New Groups can be both fun and add a lot to a game, especially if the game uses an exotic setting or unusual genre.
There are also a few special attributes. They are not assigned points during character creation like the core attributes. Instead, the following attributes are derived from attributes in the Body or Mind Group.
Derived attributes in the core rules are Defensive Target Number, Initiative, Toughness, Life, and Move. You can create new derived attributes in addition to these.
Some special attributes can have scores higher than 10; derived attributes are not necessarily scaled the same as a character's attributes, such as STR, INT or REF.
Derived attributes can be increased using Character Points (but not Attribute Points). The cost for increasing each Derived Attribute above its base score is given in the description.
A character's Defensive Target Number (abbreviated DEF) represents how difficult it is to successfully hit the character in combat. DEF becomes the base Target Number (TN) needed for any skill rolls made to hit the character in combat, for hand-to-hand, melee and ranged attacks. A character's DEF score may be modified up or down for variables such as distance, armor (heavy armor lowers a character's effective REF) and so on.
A character's DEF equals his REF + 10.
Mike's character , Arelius, has a REF of 7. His REF+10 gives him a DEF of 17, so any characters who attempt to attack Arelius must roll against a Target Number of 17.
The Defensive Target Number may be increased at a cost of 5 Character Points for each additional point of DEF. A character's DEF score may not exceed 20 in Realistic-level games, though it may be higher than 20 in Cinematic and Extreme level games.
Initiative (abbreviated INI) represents how quickly a character can act in a turn.
A character's Initiative equals his (REF + INT)/2, rounding up. At the beginning of each turn of combat (or any other time the GM calls for the players to determine initiative), each player rolls 1d6 and adds the number rolled to his character's INI score.
The character with the highest INI total acts first in a turn. In cases of a tie, the character with the higher INT goes first. If both characters have the same INT, then the characters act simultaneously.
For more information about how Initiative works, see the section on Combat.
Initiative may be increased at a cost of 3 Character Points for each additional point of Initiative. A character's Initiative score may not exceed 10 in Realistic-level games, though it may be higher in Cinematic and Extreme level games.
Toughness (abbreviated as TGH) represents a character's resistance to blunt force damage, such as from a punch, a baseball bat, or auto collision.
A character's starting TGH equals (STR + WIL)/2, rounding up.
When a character suffers damage from a pummeling, bashing, or blunt attack, subtract the character's TGH score from the damage, then subtract the remaining damage (if any) from the character's Life points (see Life, below). If a character suffers an amount of damage that does not exceed his TGH score, he suffers no loss of Life; he has completely shrugged off the attack.
For example, Swingin' Sam has a Health of 4 and a Toughness of 8. In a fist fight with a bad guy, Swingin' Sam is hit by his opponent, and the GM rolls 19 points of damage. Albert subtracts Swingin' Sam's Toughness of 8 from the damage, leaving 11 points of damage.
Toughness may also be used to decrease the damage suffered from some forms of Special Damage at the GM's discretion (see Damage, page 70).
Toughness may be increased at a cost of 5 Character Points for each additional point of Toughness. A character's Toughness score may not exceed 10 in Realistic level games, though it may be higher in Cinematic and Extreme level games.
Life (abbreviated as LIF) points are used to keep track of damage a character suffers during an adventure. Any time a character suffers damage, he temporarily loses a number of Life points equal to the points of damage inflicted.
A character's LIF points equal (HLT x 3) + (WIL x 2).
Continuing from the example above, Swingin' Sam has a Health of 3 and a Willpower of 5, so he has 9 + 10 = 19 Life points. Albert subtracts the 11 points of damage from his character's Life points. After getting punched, Swingin' Sam has 8 Life points left.
Stunning and deadly damage are both subtracted from a character's LIF (see Damage, page 70). When a character reaches 0 LIF from lethal damage, they are dying. If a character suffers combined stunning and deadly damage that exceeds the character's LIF, the character is unconscious but not dying.
Swingin' Sam has 19 LIF points. He has suffered 11 points of stunning damage from a punch and then a short time later he is shot (Sam's had a hard day) and suffers 8 points of deadly damage. Sam has suffered 11 points of stunning damage and 8 points of deadly damage, for a total of 19 points of damage, bringing his current LIF points to 0. Sam is unconscious. Until he regains some of his LIF points back (either from healing, medical aid or other means) he will remain unconscious.
A character may also be stunned or knocked unconscious by one mighty blow. Any time characters suffer an amount of damage from a single event or attack that exceeds half their LIF score (round up), after subtracting TGH (if applicable), they are stunned. A stunned character's STR, REF, PRE, and INT all drop to 0 for as long as the character is stunned. In addition, stunned characters lose their next action, which is spent "recovering from being stunned." On the subsequent turn, the character has recovered and may act normally.
If a character has not yet acted in the turn in which he is stunned, he loses his action for that turn but may act normally on the next (second) turn. If a character has acted in the turn in which he is stunned, he loses his action for the next (second) turn and may act normally on the following (third) turn.
Kyle's character has 20 LIF points and a TGH of 5. He is hit by a punch for 17 points of blunt damage. Kyle subtracts his character's TGH from the damage, leaving 12 points of damage. Because 12 is more than half his character's LIF, Kyle's character is stunned for one turn.
At the GM's discretion, a stunned character may go completely limp, fall down, or otherwise lose the ability to maintain his current action (for example, hold a rope, stay in the saddle, etc). A stunned character has a base DEF of 10, with no bonus for REF.
Life may be increased at a cost of 2 Character Points for each additional point of Life. A character's Life score may not exceed 50 in Realistic-level games, though it may be higher in Cinematic and Extreme level games.
Move (abbreviated as MOV) represents the distance a character can move in a single action. A character may move up to his MOV in meters each turn, as a normal Move action or, if running, up to 2x his MOV in meters per turn. A character may also sprint, moving up to 3x his MOV in meters per turn, but a character can only sprint for a maximum number of turns equal to his HLT, after which time he must rest for one minute for each turn spent sprinting (see Taking Actions).
A character's MOV is REF + (STR+HLT)/2, rounding up.
Albert is playing in a pulp adventure game. His character, Swingin' Sam, a brawler, has a REF of 6, a HLT of 5 and a STR of 4. Albert averages his character's STR + HLT and gets 5. Then he adds his REF of 6, for a total MOV of 11. Swingin' Sam can move up to 11 meters each turn normally (the equivalent of 13.2 kph or 7.8 mph) or 22 meters per turn when running (26.4 kph or 15.5 mph), and he can sprint for up to 6 turns at a speed of 33 meters per turn (about 40 kph or 23 mph)!
Move may be increased at a cost of 5 Character Points for each additional point of MOV. A character's MOV score may not exceed 10 in Realistic-level games, though it may be higher in Cinematic and Extreme level games.
|4||4.8||2.8||Average walking speed|
|5||6.0||3.5||M113 APC (water speed)|
|9||10.8||6.4||Running a 9-minute mile|
|14||16.8||9.9||Running a 6-minute mile|
|17||20.4||12.0||Running a 5-minute mile|
|22||26.4||15.5||Running a 4-minute mile|
For the Extended MOV Table, see page 96.
Other derived attributes can be added to the game rules, if you choose to do so, much like new Attribute Groups can be added (see Creating New Groups).
Adding new derived attributes and keeping them compatible with the core rules is easy. First you need to decide what the effect of the derived attribute is. Is this new derived attribute designed to reflect magical "mana" for casting spells? Maybe you could call it Mana (abbreviated MAN). Does it deal with physical endurance and fatigue? Maybe you could call it Fatigue (abbreviated FAT).
Next, you need to determine what formula will determine the base or starting value for this new derived attribute. As a rule, the base score for a derived attribute is some multiple of a primary attribute or an average of two or more primary attributes.
If the derived attribute is to be used as a variant of a primary attribute or used in dice rolls, then the derived attribute should be on the same 1 to 10 scale as other primary attributes.
If the derived attribute is to be used as a variant of TGH, such as a derived attribute to resist the effects of mental powers, then the multiple should be no more than 2 times the primary attributes.
If the derived attribute is to be used as a variant of DEF, such as a derived attribute to represent the value required to "overcome" the character, then the multiple should be no more than 3 times the primary attribute.
If the derived attribute is to be used as a variant of LIF, such as a derived attribute to represent the value required to "incapacitate" or "damage" some aspect the character, then the multiple should be 5 times the primary attributes.
To determine the base cost for improving a derived attribute, first determine the multiple used and divide 10 by this number. If the derived attribute is roughly equal to five times a primary attribute score (e.g., 5 x STR), the base cost for a one point increase in the derived attribute should be 2.
If the primary attribute used is an Aptitude attribute (i.e., REF in the Body Group or INT in the MIND group), we recommend increasing the cost by one point, as Aptitude attributes are more valuable and likely to be bought to higher levels than their attributes.
Lastly, consider how often the derived attribute comes into play. If it is useful in combat situations or used extensively in the game, leave the cost as-is. If not, consider reducing the base cost by one point or even reducing it by as much as one half of the base cost.
You will find examples of new derived attributes in various products. These are optional. They add flavor and atmosphere to these games, but you are free to ignore than and use only the Derived Attributes in the core rules, if you wish. We recommend giving these new Derived Attributes a try. They can be both fun and add a lot to a game, especially if the game uses an exotic setting or unusual genre.
If your game uses additional derived attributes you needn't increase the number of Attribute Points given to players when creating characters (see Buying Attributes, earlier in this chapter), because all derived attributes are based on the primary attribute scores and not purchased separately.
Traits are aspects of a character that differentiate him or her from the norm. Traits can be either advantages or disadvantages.
If you wish to select one or more traits for the character, simply note each trait on the character sheet along with its point cost (if an Advantage) or "refund" value (if a Disadvantage).