Character Generation (Action)

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Heroic Action Role-Play

Player characters in Action are built using character's points. The point value gives an estimate of their overall competence. More points are earned during play, these are called experience points (xp). They are used in exactly the same way as character points. A character starting with 50 character points that earned 15 experience points is identical to one that began with 65 character points in game terms.

Maximum Value

The game has various limitations built into it to prevent characters from specializing too much. The most important one is the skill limitation that depends strictly on the total point value of the character. No Attribute or Skill can have a higher value than this limit. As experience points are earned, the skill limitation increases, allowing character even more heroic action.

In addition to this, there are attribute limits - normally a character can have an attribute ranging from 4 to 10, tough this can vary if the Race rules are used. There are also schticks that increase the maximum allowed attributes.

Points Skill Level of heroism
15 10
30 11 Nonheroic
45 12
60 13 Everyday heroes
75 14
90 15 Action heroes
105 16
120 17 Major Heroes
135 18
150 19 Legendary heroes
165 20
180 21 Godlings
195 22
210 23 Lesser gods
225 24
240 25 Greater gods
+15 +1

Point Costs

Most things in Action cost one point to buy, but some have special rules. Attributes are the obvious exception, at 4 points each. Each game trait has a base value that you get for free. Base values in skills cannot be traded back, they have a minimum of 8. Attributes can be traded back to gain more points. Human heroes can have attributes in the 4-10 range. Higher than that and you need a schtick to increase your maximum.

Thing to purchase Base Value Cost
Attribute (Body, Mind, Reflexes, Move) 6 4
Skill 8 1
Attribute Schtick 0 1
Neutral Schtick 0 1
Skill Schtick 0 1
Race Schtick 0 1
Form (Including the Cantrip) 0 1
Power 0 1

Experience in Play

Experience points in Action are not primarily a reward-you normally assign each character the same number of experience points. Rather, it is a vehicle to slowly change the story and allow character growth, exploring new venues of rule-playing. In principle, you can play characters unchanged through a long story, but in practice is it generally more fun to see your characters grow through their adventures.

Experience points measure character growth. They are used exactly as in character creation above. Points can be saved up or spent immediately. When a character has earned enough experience to qualify for the next rating in their skills, the player can improve all skills to the new limit. It can thus be wise to save up some experience points for this.

In general, all the characters in an Action campaign have the same number of experience points. Players absent from a session still earn experience points for their characters, and if a player decides to change character or replace one that has died or retired, the new character enters the game at the same points as everyone else.

It is possible to be partial about experience point rewards, to use it as a reward for good play or as a punishment for absence or other perceived sins, but this is generally a bad idea. The players who are most active and come up with the most ideas will dominate the game regardless, and giving them more xp only pushes the other players more into the background. And if the game is enjoyable, missing a session is punishment in itself.

Normal Progression: The "normal" experience progression of Action is one experience point per session. If you manage to play 15 sessions per semester, the maximum value will increase by one. This is abut the same as a season in a TV series and generally sufficient to feel the characters have matured and experienced enough for a major improvement to make sense. If you end up slightly short of 15 session per semester, you may with to hand out the remainder as a special season award to create a feeling of achievement as the game moves into a new season. Or you may not have seasons as such in your game, and just give out straight session awards.

Custom Progression: Decide how long your campaign is going to be - an approximate number of sessions. Then decide how many points you want your characters to progress - how powerful do you think they should be by the end of the story? Divine these total points by the number of sessions, this becomes the reward per session. If you have any fractions remaining, it is often a good idea to hand out bonus points at the conclusion of each story, in addition to session awards. If you decide to hand out less than one experience point per session on average, you should probably only hand out these adventure bonuses.

Claire is a GM planning out a campaign. This will be a cop drama set in a blue-collar neighborhood turning into a slum. She does not want the story to be particularly heroic, so a low progression seems justified. Characters will begin at a skill value of 12 and end at 13, gaining 15 points over the life of the campaign. She thinks it will run for about a year real time and thinks that 20 sessions over this period it realistic. 15/20 is 0.75 xp per session. Claire can either hand out the standard 1 xp per session and overshoot her goal a little, or she can give out adventure awards and possibly extra series awards.