HGd10PHB - Chapter 2 - Base Characteristics
CHAPTER 2 - BASE CHARACTERISTICS
Characteristics or base statistics are used to provide a framework of description and limitation for your character. These characteristics are the basis for skills, spells, combat, and all other properties of your character are founded on.
Base characteristics are the numbers on which all other aspects of the character are built. There are nine: Agility, Beauty, Constitution, Strength, Perception, Personality, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Spirit. Each of these characteristics is used as the basis for anything your character can do, from trade skills to combat, from magic to leading a kingdom. Each kind will have different maximums, but all heroes start with a number of points to spend based on the initial die roll outlined below. Remember, your character is a hero, not an NPC, and so it is expected that there is something special about them, something more than the ordinary.
Agility describes the character's quickness, flexibility, and ability to manipulate small, intricate things with their fingers. While there are a larger number of skills that fall under Agility than any one of the others, many skills are more complex than any single characteristic. The higher a character's agility, the more likely they are to succeed at things that require fine manipulation, quickness, or flexibility. Lower agility scores indicate someone who is clumsier, sluggish, or inflexible. Agility is one of the possible primary traits for ranged combat.
Beauty is a character's physical aesthetics in an objective sense. It encapsulates symmetry, coloring, scent, feel, timbre of voice, or other physical things that are usually objectively defined as pleasant to the senses. While individual perceptions may vary, thus orcs may find other orcs attractive, beauty itself is not based on individual perspective. The higher the beauty score, the more likely the character will be attractive to another character, will be able to gain attention, and will make good first impressions. Lower scores indicate someone who is not as physically desirable to downright ugly (yes, we know it's an ugly word, but it's a harsh reality that many Unbular and other Kinds often face; calling it something else is just lying and that's heavily frowned on in the Guild).
Constitution is the physical hardiness and integrity of the character's body. It defines the ability of a character to take or shrug off physical aggression in the form of combat, magic, poisons, or any other kinds of attacks against the body. The higher the score, the more endurance, durability, and structural integrity a character has. A lower score indicates someone who is physically frail.
Intelligence is simply the character's ability to store and recall information or to reason through logical puzzles or arguments. The higher a character's intelligence, the more likely they are to remember things or be able to figure things out. Lower scores indicate poor memory and reasoning skills. Intelligence only pertains to “can I?” not “should I?”
Perception is the character's ability to perceive the world around them through the natural senses. High scores in perception mean they are highly aware of the environment and the things in it, are able to sense things better, react faster, and aim more precisely. Lower scores indicate dullness of the senses, lower reaction times, and less precision. Perception is used in all aggressive actions including ranged, melee, and physical magic combat.
Personality refers to the character's less tangible qualities, their inner beauty. It relates to their kindness, generosity, leadership, and likability. The higher the personality score, the more positive these attributes are and the more likely they are to persuade others, find followers, and be liked. The lower the score, the less liked they will be, the less they will influence people positively, and the more likely they are to cause a fight. Whatever a character believes about themselves, Personality reflects how they actually come across to others.
Spirit has to do with the mental endurance, will to overcome, and moral integrity. The higher the spirit score, the more likely a person is to maintain their moral standard (not necessarily good or evil, but whatever they currently are at the time), to persevere in the face of adversity, and to throw off attacks on the mind. Low scores mean the person has no mental defenses or moral compass.
Strength represents a character's capacity to exert physical force to do work. The greater the strength score, the easier it is for them to lift, push, pull, or swing objects. Lower scores represent physically weak characters. Strength is one of the possible primary traits for melee combat.
Wisdom is the ability to evaluate things and determine which is better out of a group. The higher the wisdom score, the more likely a character is to make a favorable or ‘good’ choice (from their perspective). The lower the score, the more likely the choice will lead to a less favorable outcome. Wisdom concerns itself with “should”, not with “can’.
*A note about beauty and personality. Beauty is acknowledged by the Hero’s Guild as real and objective. We also accept that there is physical (external) beauty and inner beauty. That’s why Beauty and Personality are separated. To deny the reality of beauty and ugliness, both external and internal is absurd. Words have meanings and we prefer precision, conciseness, and objectivity and we reject political correctness.
When a character does not have a skill that matches the action or reaction they are attempting to make, they may attempt a Characteristic Roll. It is rolled by the same method as everything else with the following stipulations:
- 1d10 + Characteristic Mod (sac 5 for additional d10).
- Natural 10's explode.
- No XP is gained for use.
It should be noted that Characteristic Rolls are much weaker than Skill Rolls. They are a "better than nothing" attempt to achieve something active or reactive, but will likely fail against anything but the most basic obstacle.
E.g. a tree branch is blocking the way forward. Doogan chooses not to use his magic or a physical attack skill to destroy or move the tree. Instead, he just wants to lift it out of the way. The tree branch has a DS of 17 to lift. Doogan rolls 1d10+5 and rolls a 7 for a total of 12 and cannot lift the branch. Thean steps up and rolls a 1d10+8 and manages to roll a 9. He is just able to lift the branch out of the way. However, it might have been easier for Doogan to use his Air+Movement magic or Thean to slice the branch with his 2H Melee (Axe) than to try and lift the branch.
Characteristic Building - Assigning Characteristics
Characteristics are associated with some calculated statistics like life points but are mostly used in conjunction with skills in regard to dice rolls for those skills. Each Kind listed in Chapter 1 has a table associated with it that gives the average and maximum normal characteristics for that Kind.
Average for a characteristic means what a typical character in that Kind might have. Max is the normal highest score a Kind may have in a characteristic without magic or other artificial aid.
Player Characters (PCs) can assign characteristics a number of different ways. Our preferred way, in order to play the character that you want, is to start with 45+3d10 points to distribute in a 1/1 manner among all 9 characteristics keeping in mind the maximums for your Kind.
A secondary method is to roll 12d10 rerolling any 1s. Keep the total of the nine highest rolls and distribute those points between the Base Characteristics in a 1/1 manner. Kind maximums for stats still apply.
The final method is to simply roll 12d10 without rerolls, keep all 12 rolls and distribute as above. This method has more randomness to it but is more likely to roll high totals. GMs should only use this if they want their player characters to start off with a little more power.
Both of these last two paths are riskier in that the dice might roll unfavorably low. However, they offer the potential for greater power if the die roll high.
It is a fact that some people just move faster than others, act more often, and get things done. In the Hero’s Guild rule system, this is reflected in the Speed characteristic. A character’s speed involves a number of different characteristics to determine how often they act in a given round. Also, involving so many characteristics in this stat has a practical effect of keeping characters from dumping all of their points into a single stat to get the higher Speed rating. Agility is involved because speed is based on the body's basic capacity to act. Intelligence is involved because acting requires constant receiving and analyzing data. Perception is involved in speed because acting requires perceiving the environment accurately in order to interact with it. Spirit is involved in speed because it provides the will to act. Wisdom is involved in speed in that a person needs to make the right decision.
To find a character’s speed, take the sum of Agility, Intelligence, Perception, Spirit, and Wisdom, and divide by 10. Keep track of tenths of the SPD characteristic as it can be upgraded by the 10th.
Below is a table for determining Player Turns based on Speed.
Additional Speed points may be purchased for 1 BP for 1/10th a point of SPD.
Base Movement for all character Kinds is 10m per player turn. This means a faster Speed will take them farther per round than other players. Some Kinds, forms, or effects may alter this Base Movement rate.
Each Round is divided into 12 seconds called Turns (Game Turns). Speed determines which Turns a player goes in any given Round by dividing 12 by Speed and truncating any decimals.
For example, Ethaniel Phorj has the following scores: AGL 5; INT 7; PRC 5; SPI 9; WIS 8. The average is (5+7+8+9+8)/10 = 3.7 which truncates to 3. Which means Ethaniel gets to act 3 times each Round. To find out which Turns, the Round of 12 seconds is divided by 3 Turns to get 4. So Ethaniel will start in Turn 4 and go every 4 seconds thereafter.
There is a difference between Game Turns, or seconds, which are numbered 1-12 and Player Turns, which is determined by their Speed. An action that takes multiple Player Turns can take longer or shorter depending on the speed of the Player.
For example, Lord Dalgan Riftwind|Dalgan Riftwind and Koribald Riftwind are both casting a spell with Casting Time of 3 Turns. They both start casting at the beginning of the Round. Dalgan is more powerful, but his speed is only 3 so it will take him until Game Turn 12 to cast the spell (he normally goes in 4, 8, and 12). Koribald has a speed of 4 and so he casts in Turn 9 (3, 6, and 9) and then has one more Turn to act as his father is casting the original spell, perhaps even countering his father's spell.
Game Turns are therefore a universal mechanic that has no variability and applies to all. Player Turns depend on the Speed of the Player and the action being taken.
One of the most vital characteristics is life points. These points indicate how close a character is to dying in the game. Life points are calculated initially by adding Constitution and Spirit and multiplying by 3. Additional Life can be purchased for Base Points (BP) at a rate of 1 BP/3 Life at any time throughout a character’s lifespan. More on Base Points in Chapter 3 - Skills.
If Life reaches 0 for any character, that character is considered "swooning" and is helpless, prone, and incapable of acting. They are also not aware of their surroundings. If they reach Life equal to negative their CON + SPI, they are dead and their soul or animating force departs from their physical body.
Sample Character Sheet
Below is a sample character sheet showing only the top section before equipment. Most parts are self-explanatory. Faction refers to the most influential organization in the character’s life which may be a cause, company, or religion. Occupation is analogous to “class” in many other systems but is how characters identifies themselves for the purposes of the story. Occupation has no practical bearing on any statistics and generally flows from them instead of defining them.
Player Name:____________Character Name: _______________ Current Alias: _____________________
Kind:______________________ Age:_______ Gender: ___________ Height: _____________
Weight: ______________ Eye color:______________ Coloring: __________________________________
Occupation: ________________ Faction:_____________________
Base Points Acquired
Base Points Spent
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
At this point, we are ready to move on to the core mechanic of the game, Skills.
- Hero's Guild Players Handbook Home
- Chapter 1 - Creature Kinds
- Chapter 2 - Base Characteristics
- Chapter 3 - Skills
- Chapter 4 - Traits and Foibles
- Chapter 5 - Physical Combat Skills
- Chapter 6 - Mystical Skills
- Chapter 7 - Equipment
- Chapter 8 - Crafting
- Chapter 9 - Knowledge Social and Movement Skills
- Chapter 10 - Optional Classes
- Chapter 11 - Rules of Engagement