A Parade of Black
This appendix was lifted from Kenzer to help players through the process of creating characters and equipping them for the campaign. It will guide you step by step through this process.
Player Character Generation
Okay, the moment to gird up your loins has arrived. It’s time to create your character. To create your HackMaster character, simply follow the steps in sequential order and refer to the appropriate chapters/appendices as instructed (Remember to return to this Appendix and continue to the next step after finishing the previous step). Most GameMasters require characters to be created under the watchful eye of a sanctioned/accredited GM, although the ‘honor system’ is acceptable if the GM deems the player(s) trustworthy. Be sure to check with your GM on his policy before rolling up your character.
If you encounter terms you don’t understand, just check the glossary in the back or re-read the appropriate section/chapter. Everything should be fully explained. If it isn’t, then it’s probably something you’re not ready to embrace, in which case you should consult your GM for guidance. Once you’ve worked through this list, and your GM has signed off on your character, you are ready to jump into the fray.
Step 1: Proper mindset
Creating a character shouldn’t be taken lightly. Not only can it be time intensive (Your first character could take up to 45 minutes to complete), but there are a lot of critical decisions to be made throughout the process. If you’re not in the proper frame of mind, you’re going to make mistakes. I recommend sitting in a quiet place for ten to fifteen minutes to clear your mind. Take the phone off the hook, put the cat outside – do whatever it takes to shake off the worries of the day so you can think clearly. Some meditate, others use yoga and special breathing techniques, while some listen to soothing music or watch the final few scenes of Excalibur. You’ll need to find your own personal method to get into your zone.
If your GM has insisted on observing while you create your character you should accept the fact that it is his right (and responsibility) to do so. Just tell him you need to step out of the room to gather your thoughts. He should fully understand.
Step 2: Proper setting
It’s also important that you have a proper setting that is conducive to the process. Make sure you have a sharpened pencil, an eraser, a calculator, several sheets of scrap paper and a pencil sharpener. You should also have some extra character sheets on hand just in case you need them. A cold tasty beverage of your preference is a good idea as well. Other important aspects of the setting to consider include adequate lighting , comfortable seating and a good flat surface free of obstructions on which you can roll your dice. Most importantly you need to make sure you’re dice are game-ready. You should never use virgin dice to roll up a character. See Appendix L for procedures on how to properly fine tune and ready your dice for play.
Step 3: Roll ability scores (Chapter 1)
Your character needs scores for Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma and Comeliness. The base ability scores are determined by rolling 3 six-sided dice. For each ability, a player also needs to roll a d100 for fractional abilities. These “fractional” ability scores represent how close a character is to attaining the next integer ability score. (You’ll have a chance of raising fractional scores as you go up levels. You can also raise them in later steps with building points). If you don’t like the results you rolled you can try to adjust them to suit your needs. Consult Table 3D for class ability requirements. You can adjust Ability Scores by burning off two (2) points from one ability and adding one (1) point to another (however, comeliness may be adjusted neither up nor down). You can also deduct points from your Ability Scores to generate building points (BPs) at this stage (you’ll use these later). See Chapter 1 for the exact procedure and rules for doing this. Record the final results on scrap paper.
Step 4: Choose a race (Chapter 2)
It’s now time to choose what race your character will be. Your options will be somewhat dictated by the Ability Scores you rolled. Each race has its own maximum or minimum limitations on certain abilities. Consult Table 2A for a compiled list of racial ability score requirements. Then adjust the character’s scores as indicated on the table for the race you’ve chosen.
Step 5: Record racial abilities and talents (Chapter 2)
Now flip back to Chapter 2 and find the description for the race you’ve chosen. Consult the ‘At a Glance’ listings and record the character’s special racial abilities. It’s also a good idea to read through the descriptions for any additional racial abilities which were not listed. Record the racial BP bonus on your scratch paper.
Step 6: Character priors and particulars (Chapter 4)
Now flip back to Chapter 4 and roll up your background in the following order:
• Table 4A: Character Starting Age (roll according to race)
• Table 4D: Determine Character Handedness.
• Table 4E: Determine Character Height and Weight.
• Table 4F: Roll for Character Social Class and Rank.
• Table 4G: Roll for Circumstances of Birth.
• Table 4H: If Table 4G indicated an Illegitimate Birth determine
the nature of the illegitimacy.
• Determine Status of Parents (d100)
• Table 4I: Determine Quality of Parent
• Table 4J: Determine Family Heritage
• Table 4K: Determine Number of Siblings
• Table 4L: Determine Order of Birth (if necessary based on result
of Table 4L)
• Determine Status of Sibling(s) (1d20)
Note that you are allowed to burn a building point and re-roll if you don’t like the results of a die roll on any table in Chapter 4 or Chapter 6. This process could result in unwanted quirks and flaws and possible Ability Score adjustments. Be sure to keep track of these (if any) on your scrap piece of paper.
Step 7: When using Class books, you will want to use them for steps 7, 8, 9, and 10 and keep them in mind with 12.
Earning BPs with additional quirks and flaws (Chapter 6) Now you have an opportunity to earn more building points (BPs) by voluntarily taking on quirks and flaws. You have two options:
- 7a: Cherry Picking:
You may pick up to two minor quirks or flaws from Chapter 6 and gain 2 BPs for each one you choose. You can also pick 1 major quirk or flaw to gain an additional 4 BPs. Therefore using this method could earn you a maximum of 8 additional BPs.
- 7b: Rolling Randomly for Quirks/Flaws:
With this method you must declare how many rolls you are going to make on the quirk and flaw tables in Chapter 6 (Table 6A). You can roll a maximum nine times. The catch is you must roll at least as many times as you had declared. The tables might require you to roll additional times beyond those you had declared but if not, you must roll the exact number of times you declared. BP earnings for quirks/flaws randomly rolled are listed in their descriptions in Chapter 6. Once you have chosen or rolled for all of your quirks and flaws, you should record them on your character sheet and total the number of building points you have. Also, don’t forget to adjust any abilities that may have been affected by a quirk or flaw.
Step 8: Record final ability scores and relevant data (Chapter 1)
Now that you’ve chosen your race and made any necessary adjustments to your ability scores for quirks or flaws you have the opportunity to adjust your fractional Ability Scores by spending as many building points as you want on them. One BP can increase a fractional Ability Score by 25. Any fractional ability Score that is increased beyond 100 by this method allows the main Ability Score (those that were determined using 3d6) to be increased to the next highest integer. Once you have spent as many BPs as you want for this, record your final Ability Scores on your character sheet. Once that’s done consult tables 1(A) thru 1(G) and record the various bonuses and penalties the character receives for having particularly high or low scores. There should be a specific box for each bonus/penalty on your character sheet.
Select a class and Record your class abilities and bonuses (Chapter 3) Consult the ‘At a Glance’ listings in the racial descriptions section of Chapter 2, and select a class that is available to your character’s race and one that you qualify for with your current Ability Scores. This information is also compiled for all of the races on Table 2C. Consult the description for the class you’ve chosen, and record any abilities and bonuses derived from that profession. For example, if your character is a thief, record his base thieving skills. Add your BP bonus for the class you’ve chosen to your current BP total.
Step 10: Finish background (Chapter 4)
At this time, you can determine how long it took your character to make it through school and/or training for his chosen class and what money he has left over. Turn back to Chapter 4 and roll on the following tables:
• Table 4B: Modify Character Starting Age (roll according to race)
• Table 4C: Determine Aging Effects if any. (by racial type)
• Table 4M; Determine Starting Money
Step 11: Calculating your starting Honor (Chapter 1)
Now add the seven ability scores from Step 3 together, and divide that sum by seven (round down any fractions). Adjust the result by any modifiers for your Charisma score, character class, background or quirks and flaws. This is your starting Honor. Record the result on your character sheet. Check Table 1H to see if any adjustments to your current total of BPs are in order.
Step 12: Purchase beginning skills, proficiencies and talents Remember Class books
(Chapter 7 and Appendixes F thru I)
Now you can spend your building points on any skills, proficiencies or talents from any of the lists in Appendix F, subject of course to any racial/class restrictions and skill progression requirements. Each skill you purchase allows you one (1) roll of the mastery die for that skill, which can be added to your base skill mastery for that skill. You cannot buy a progression skill until you have at least a 50% in the pre-requisite skill(s) for that skill. Note that you must spend the BP cost to gain weapon proficiencies. They are not automatic.
Step 13: Cash in any remaining BPs for money
Each BP you have remaining can be cashed in for 25 gp. Any BPs not converted are lost.
Step 14: Choose an Alignment (Chapter 5)
Abide by class restrictions when choosing your alignment.
Step 15: Record Saving Throws (Chapter 12)
See Table 12G.
Step 16: Roll Hit Points (Chapter 3)
Roll the appropriate hit die for your character, as indicated on the class progression table for the class you’ve chosen.
Step 17: Record base movement (Chapter 16)
Find the character’ base movement rate on Table 16A and record it. Also record the encumbrance categories from Table 9Y as well as modified movement rates and combat abilities.
Step 18: Name your Character
Give your character an appropriate name and record it on your character sheet.
Step 19: Equip your character.
Check with your GM and determine if you’re allowed to equip your character out-of-game. (i.e. choosing what you want from the equipment lists in Chapter 9, rolling for availability and making your purchases.) Some GMs require beginning characters to make all their purchases in the game (i.e. you must actually role-play your interactions with the merchants). Don’t forget to determine your character’s armor class rating for any armor worn. Also be sure to modify your base AC by your defensive adjustment. Record the weight, size, damage, rate of fire, and range information for each weapon carried. Include type and speed factors also.
Step 20: Have GameMaster review Character and certify.
Obtain your GM’s approval and get his signature. Be sure to make him two copies of your character-one for his files, and one for the local chapter of the HMPA Registry.
Well, that’s it. You now have a character ready for battle. Now be off with you and good gaming!