Creature Rules (Action)
|Heroic Action Role-Play|
Creatures is a generic term used in Action for all things in action capable of independent action. This includes all player characters, non-player characters, bit actors, animals, monsters, summonnables, automatos, and robots. A trap or automatic device may or may not be a creature depending on how it is used in the game.
Role & Quality
All creatures have the four Attributes and almost all have Skills and Schticks. Creatures also have a role; this determine how they take Damage and use Fortune. There are also four degrees of competency creatures can have. These do not in themselves have any effect on the game, but are used when generating the creature's traits.
Role determines the use of Fortune and how you take Damage. It has no direct impact on statistics. The role of an NPC can change during the story; a villain that first turns up as a serious challenge (Villain) can later be someone's sidekick (Henchman) or a Minion can assume a greater role and become a henchman, all with no change in attributes.
The effect of roles are summarized on this table:
A hero or villain is a main character; a mover and shaker. They are able to take massive amounts of punishment and can use fortune to achieve their ends. Normally, all player characters are heroes, while there are only a few non-player villain in a story and generally no non-player heroes - when non-player heroes appear its because the GM needs a powerful Avatar to highlight some aspect of the story.
An NPC hero becomes focused at the beginning of each round, and can spend that focus to do one Limit Break each round as if it was a Basic Action, spending only three shots to do so. Under special circumstances, the GM may set up situations where heroes become focused even more often than once per round.
Henchmen are important and powerful figures, but they don't have the staying power of heroes and villains. They have more than one hit and can use fortune to push the envelope, but not to the same degree - their luck runs out after a few moments of glory.
Heroes, Villains, and Henchmen are all considered named characters, but Henchmen are much more common than the other type. Unless otherwise specified or the GM desires things otherwise for plot reasons, all named characters are henchmen by default.
An NPC henchman starts each encounter focused, and can spend that focus to do one Limit Break each scene as if it was a Basic Action, spending only three shots to do so. In general, they cannot become focused again in that same scene, but the GM can set up conditions that keeps them focused.
Also refereed to as a mook or unnamed character, a minion can be competent and dangerous, but has a bit part. Minions are faceless and display little individuality beyond a fierce determination. A minion has no name or goes by a generic and forgettable moniker. Minions can work for both heroes and villains.
A victim is a heroic variant of the minion, just as frail but with a lot of personality and motivation - tough often in a simple stereotypical way. Wearing a red shirt and expressions such as "this is my last day before retirement" are common. They exist to provide drama and motivation; they strive heroically and their failures serve to inspire the heroes.
Groups of minions have some special rules. They share a single shot counter. The members of a group can only take one action against a specific target. They can assist each other, but they cannot make more than one action that is actually rolled for against a single target. This prevents groups of minions from overwhelming lone named characters. Like all rules, the GM can ignore this for dramatic reasons.
Using stunts against a minion potentially affects the entire group. Any interaction can either apply to the entire group of minions, or the minion that was interacted against loses his nerve and runs away. Interactions that affect an entire group of minions cannot be ignored in this way; they have the normal effect against the entire group. If there are lots and lots of minions in an encounter, divide them into groups of 5-12; often each group has a number of minions equal to the Mind of whoever is responsible for them.
The quality of a creature is used to generate its Attributes and Skills. Quality is independent of role, and a creature's quality - and the statistics derived from it - generally does not change, but the GM can make exceptions, handing out extra abilities as needed or as the character's role in the story grows. Overall, the quality rules are just benchmarks; GMs will find them handy to set the abilities of the opposition, but should feel free to ignore them as the story requires.
The first step in creature generation is always to decide on the maximum value, the highest skill the creature has. From this and the quality of the creature, the rest of its values are derived. No value (Attribute or skill) can ever exceed this maximum value.
The player characters are the stars of the story, and a few major NPCs of the campaign are made this way too. They are built using experience points and the normal Character Generation rules. Compared to the other types, stars have very diverse abilities and are able to bye a great number of schticks.
An extra is capable but not as versatile as a star, having fewer schticks. Most important NPCs of the campaign are extras, masters of their role in the game but also restricted to that one role.
Extras are built on a point system, a simplified version of experience points. An extra has a number of points equal to three times their highest level. These points can be spent on the following things, at one point apiece.
- Attributes Extras begin with zero in all attributes, paying one point per attribute point. For Folk, attributes should confirm to racial norms.
- Skills: Each skill costs one point. Skills start at a rating equal to the maximum value. For every two skills bought, the skill rating goes down by one point. You can redistribute points between skills if you want a more diverse distribution, but no skill can go below 10 or above the maximum value.
Example: Alfred has a maximum value of 14 and spent 5 points on skills. He has five skills, Dodge, Melee, Impress, Spot, and Ride. Two skills are at maximum value (14), The next two skills are one point lower (13), and the next two another point lower (12) - except Alfred has only 5 skills. His final skill values are Dodge (14), Melee (14), Impress (13), Spot (13), Ride (12). These values could have been assigned in any order, but it is normal to put a priority on Dodge and combat skills.
- Schticks: Extras purchase shticks and powers at one point each.
- Extras do not need to bother with Forms.
- Extras that use powers should have an origin and one or two methods relevant to the story. Don't bother with focusing powers; extras generally start a fight focused and do not focus again during the fight except as required by the plot.
- Limitations: Extras can have limitations, gaining extra points to spend, tough their limitations should be taken with care.
Rabble are extras limited to two times their maximum value in points. They generally have very few skills or schticks, and are almost always Minions, generally coming in large groups.
Monsters are large and powerful creatures, usually not Folk. They have very strong attributes, but their skills are lacking. This is a benchmark even more inexact that the earlier ones, and usually needs a lot of fitting. Monsters are powerful creatures, intended to challenge whole parties of adventurers.
A monster has a number pf points to spend on skills and schticks equal to its maximum value.
- Attributes: A monster has two attributes (most commonly Body and Mind) equal to their maximum value. The remaining attribute starts at zero and has a cost equal to the rating chosen.
- Skills: One point each.
- Schticks: Monsters purchase shticks and powers at one point each.
- Limitations: Monsters often have limitations, gaining extra points to spend. Finding a monster's limitations is often the focus of a story.
- Lost Shots: When a monster loses shots because of stunts, they never lose more than one shot. If the loss would ordinarily be a single shot, the monster ignores this loss.
- Focus: A monster is always focused regardless of how many limit breaks it does. It can do limit breaks as if they were Basic Actions. They frequently do Focused Actions.