Chapter 3 – Creating a character
This chapter takes you step by step through the process of creating a character that you can then use to represent you in the game. It helps you devise a character concept, derive some basic numbers to describe your character, invent your character’s skills and abilities, define your background or history, and equip your character.
The quick-start method allows you to invent a quick character in under ten minutes.
The longer campaign method allows you to develop a much more fully rounded character if you choose.
Neither method is preferred. In the former you “discover” your character during play. In the latter, you provide your GM with lots of background to help tie you into the game.
The League of Adventure Seekers
The radio serials of the 30s and 40s often had as their focus the lone hero (though exceptions did exist). Role playing, by contrast, usually involves a team and doesn’t lend itself well to solo play. In order to bridge this potential issue we have invented the League of Adventure Seekers. The League is a voluntary association of heroes that has arisen to fight global threats. It’s president, the enigmatic Miriam Ribbensberg (an adventurer and aviatrix in her own right), aided by her psychic sister, enlists the aid of members of the league in thwarting new threats to the peace and safety of the world. Through the agency of Miriam it is possible to bring together a team of heroes to play through adventures without the sometimes cumbersome need to roleplay the group’s first introduction to one another and come up with reasons why such obvious lone-wolves would cooperate together.
The Code of the Radio Hero
As noted in chapter 2, radio heroes have faith in progress. Things are getting better, progress is being made. The future is brighter than the present.
In the world of radio adventure the government can be trusted and officials (in our own country – especially law enforcement officials) are worthy of respect (unless we have been invaded).
Morality is black and white. There is always a right thing to do and a wrong thing to do. The choice will be obvious, even if the price is not fully known. Having committed to their ideals, radio heroes live with the consequences.
Moral lapses have grave social consequences. Wanton destruction; personal infidelities; the breaking of one’s word – all these result in social ostracism.
Radio heroes always fight fair. If the other side uses non-lethal force, we can’t use lethal force. If the other side uses knives or swords, we can’t use guns. If the other side uses pistols and small-calibre weapons, we can’t use submachine guns, and so on. Or, if we do use them, we can’t aim them at the enemy. Lack of fairness in fighting results in the erosion of public trust until the “cheater” is seen as a pariah or, worse, a villain.
No problem is so great it can’t be fixed by heroically kicking in a door or pressing random buttons.
Hero smarts ALWAYS trump brawn. Brawn ALWAYS trumps everything else (including villain smarts).
No villain is so far gone that they cannot be redeemed (unless they are clearly non-human and weird looking).
Enemies are to be respected even in defeat.
Optimism ALWAYS triumphs over cynicism.
The Code of the League of Adventure Seekers
On entering the League of Adventure Seekers, all heroes are asked to swear the following oath (unashamedly lifted from the pages of Doc Savage).
Let me strive, every moment of my life, to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right, and lend all my assistance to those who need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
The story so far (Introducing our Characters)
Dr Herbivore (Professor of Archaeology)
Jake Stead (Adventurer)
Malefice, Mistress of the Mystic Arts (Magician)
They stood before the door to the office of the President of the League of Adventure Seekers. As junior members of the League none of them had so far been given cause to visit this particular section of the club, up the stairs and at the back. They felt a little like school children brought to stand before the door of the head-master. “A great honor”, Farrington had said. “It’s not many as young as you who get to go on up”.
“Go on up” was a colloquial expression within the League that signified an interview with the reclusive and little known Miss Miriam Ribbensberg, current President. Such meetings were known to be an invitation to high adventure, but often at great risk to the participants.
As she stood at the door Malefice eyed her two companions. Jake Stead was tall broad and ruggedly handsome. She rolled her eyes slightly; these heroic types often seemed cut from the same dull cloth. Still, she knew him quite well, and he had saved her life during that business involving the ivory claw hammer. As for her other companion, he was as unprepossessing as Stead was ostentatious. Dr Herbivore, professor of archaeology, had an almost uncanny ability to fade into the background. One almost had to force oneself to notice him. He was small, thin, slightly stooped, and sporting an enormous walrus moustache. She had grown to respect the formidable intellect behind the self-deprecating manner. He had recently saved the world from a doomsday device she had been completely unable to fathom. She had assisted him briefly during the episode, saving his life twice.
Malefice allowed a brief smile to play across her lips. Here she was, engaging in a bit of sardonic internal mockery of her companions appearance and affectations while giving little thought to her own. The irony wasn’t lost on her. Malefice, Mistress of the Mystic Arts, complete with silken robes and veil! Of all of them she was the most outlandish… and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
While adventuring didn’t necessarily require theatricality (Lord knows Herbivore was evidence enough of that) she had found that the theatrical props and mystique often aided her in accomplishing her goals.
The door opened and Miriam Ribbensberg, dressed in the flight uniform she never seemed to be without, invited the three of them in.
“Welcome”, she said. “I’m so pleased you agreed to attend this meeting” .
“It’s an honour Miss Ribbensberg”, broke in Stead. “We’d hardly decline such an opportunity would we?” His mid-western drawl seemed overly loud in the confines of the president’s office.
“That’s very kind of you, Mr Stead. But it is often the case that those who respond to my invitations face great danger soon afterward.”
“You mean that Nairobi business, don’t you?” said Malefice.
“That’s right. The threat was averted but we lost the whole team.” The pain in Miriam’s voice was unmistakeable.
“It was not your fault Miss Ribbensberg”, piped up Herbivore, suddenly reminding everyone of his presence once again. “All of us who join the League are aware of the risks. It is willingness to put our lives on the line in the service of peace and justice that forms the common bond between all of us”.
“Thank you Lucius. I’m pleased you think so.”
Miriam Ribbensberg took a moment to look each of them over. She appeared to be weighing them up with a practiced eye.
“Yes”, she mused. “I think you will do for this job. Please come in and sit down.”
The group took their places in some chairs placed around a low table. The men waited while the women were seated first.
“Old world charm?” laughed Miriam.
Stead looked slightly embarrassed but Dr Herbivore took it in his stride. “Of course, mademoiselle. There is no excuse for bad manners”.
“Indeed” she replied, favouring him with a dazzling smile. “But we have business to discuss. It has come to the League’s attention that Franco Gionelli of the Gionelli Crime Family in Star City is smuggling in a dangerous biological agent. It is our belief that if he is not stopped, this agent will be released into the general populace and from there may come to threaten the globe.”
“But how do you know this?” asked Malefice.
“My dear, you are aware, as a mistress of the mystic arts, that there are many things in this world that are beyond explanation? Things and abilities that defy analysis?”
“Then let me entrust you with one of the great secrets of our organisation. Since I was a child my sister has had visions. She is mute and does not speak, but I have always heard her voice in my mind. Her visions, though fragmentary and often confusing, always come true. She is the reason the League has been so effective at heading off threats to the world. Without her warnings, the world might have been destroyed many times over.”
“I see” said Malefice. “And her visions somehow involve us?”
“In a way. ” Miriam paused for a moment. “You have been brought together because we have need of your skills. My sister has seen that the solving of this mystery will require the expertise of someone who can brawl and deal with security, someone with an understanding of basic chemistry and biology, and someone who understands the varied pathways of the esoteric and magical. It is my job to try and create the best match between the skills we have on hand and the threats that arise. You are currently our best hope”.
The little group sat in silence for a few moments.
“We won’t let you down, Miss Ribbensberg” said Stead in a strangely subdued voice.
“I know you won’t” she replied.
(To be continued…)
Name: Place of Birth: Current Residence Experience Points Archetype Specialisation Strength (d10/2)raised OOOOO Willpower (d10/2)raised OOOOO Resistance (Strength) OOOOO Essence (Willpower) OOOOO Invention Points (Willpower) OOOOO Initial Skill points (7 + highest base attribute) Hero Points ((Strength + Willpower)/2)raised Wounds (Strength x 4) OOOOO OOOOO OOOOO OOOOO Piercing Wounds OOOOO OOOOO Penalty Points (lost Essence) Skills xxxOO OOOOO xxOOO OOOOO xxOOO OOOOO xOOOO OOOOO xOOOO OOOOO xOOOO OOOOO xOOOO OOOOO xOOOO OOOOO General Skills xOOOO OOOOO Bluff x Brawl (untrained) xOOOO OOOOO Catch xOOOO OOOOO Climb xOOOO OOOOO Drive vehicle xOOOO OOOOO First Aid xOOOO OOOOO Hide x Jump (untrained) xOOOO OOOOO Lift/carry/crush/bend x Melee (untrained) xOOOO OOOOO Perception xOOOO OOOOO Persuade x Ranged (untrained) x Ride (untrained) xOOOO OOOOO Run xOOOO OOOOO Search xOOOO OOOOO Sneak xOOOO OOOOO Throw xOOOO OOOOO Swim Spells, Subskills, & Gadgets xOOOO OOOOO xOOOO OOOOO xOOOO OOOOO xOOOO OOOOO xOOOO OOOOO xOOOO OOOOO xOOOO OOOOO xOOOO OOOOO Gear (items in your possession)
Don’t miss part 2 of this chapter where we begin taking you through the steps of completing the character sheet.
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
- Chapter 1 – What is Roleplaying?
- Chapter 2 – Preparation for Play (What you’ll need and an introduction to the World of Radio Adventure)
- Chapter 3 – Creating a Character – Part 1 – Introduction and Character sheet
- Chapter 3 – Creating a Character – Part 2 – Specialities, Archetypes, Base Attributes and Derived Attributes
- Chapter 3 – Creating a Character – Part 3 – Character background and history
- Chapter 3 – Creating a Character – Part 4 – Character skills and equipment (including weapons, vehicles, and specialist gear)
- Chapter 3 – Creating a Character – Part 5 – Special items and abilities (including gadgeteering, weird science, and magic)
- Chapter 3 – Creating a Character – Part 6 – Special conditions effecting characters (including illness and injury, insanity, mutation, mechanization, undeath, disembodiment, reanimation, , vampirism, lycanthropy, and necrophagy)
- Chapter 4 – Getting Things Done – Part 1 – Skill types and skill ranks
- Chapter 4 – Getting Things Done – Part 2 – Consequence tests, perception, contests, special skills and abilities, hero points and skill advancement
- Chapter 5 – Combat – Part 1 – Melee and ranged combat, combat actions, the combat board, and a combat cheat sheet
- Chapter 5 – Combat – Part 2 – Print and play components
- Chapter 5 – Combat – Part 3 – Physical combat (melee and ranged combat) example
- Chapter 5 – Combat – Part 4 – Magical combat example
- Chapter 5 – Combat – Part 5 – Vehicular combat example, injury, and recovery
- Chapter 6 – Chases – Part 1 – Chases and chase actions
- Chapter 6 – Chases – Part 2 – Chase example
- Chapter 7 – Death-traps, hazards, and puzzles
- Chapter 8 – Victory and death – Heroic deaths, cheating the odds, plot devices, experience and advancement