Tuesday, November 30, 2010

HEX character generation

Here it is...the eve of the last day of Daily Blog Challenge. Today, I'm going to walk through the process of creating a character using the rules in Hollow Earth Expedition. It's going to be sort of a live blogging experience. Keep in mind, I've only played about a 10 minute demo of the game. I've never seen in played otherwise. I've read most of the rule book, though.

Step 1: Archetype
Since this is my first attempt at character generation, I'm going to go with one of the archetypes in the book. I'm going to go with Soldier, since there isn't an example in the book. The adventure I'm planning on running for my players will likely have some government connection to kick it off, so offering a soldier as a pre-gen makes sense. Apologies ahead of time to any military folks in the audience. My military experience doesn't extend much past watching "The Dirty Dozen" a couple times.

Step 2: Motivation
Again, there is the option to select between the motivations in the book and making up your own. I'm going with a motivation Duty. Kind of cliched for the Soldier, I suppose, but I'm just feeling things out right now.

Step 3: Attributes
Starting characters have 15 points to spend on starting attributes. You have to spread them between 6 attributes. Nothing can be over 5 or under 1 (so essentially 6 of your points are accounted for off the bat). I decided this guy was some sort of sniper, so I gave him a 4 in Dexterity and a 3s in Strength and Intelligence. He's got 2s in Body and Willpower, so he's a bit of a glass-jaw for now, but that's okay. That left me with 1 left for charisma. He's not so good in social situations. Maybe he's a bit "backwoods" or something?

Step 4: Secondary Attributes
Secondary attributes are based directly what you selected for Step 3. You just fill in the blanks. I ended up with a Move and Initiative of 7, Defense of 6, and Perception of 5. I think that works for the character concept.

Step 5: Skills
Here's where you determine what your character is good at. Since I was going with the military sniper motif, I gave his some ranks in firearms with a rifle specialization. He also has Brawl and Melee (with a spear specialization, which applies to the bayonet on the rifle). I also gave him Larceny, with a specialization in Security and Stealth with Camouflage specialization (for entering and hiding in those good sniping spots).

Step 6: Talents and Resources
You start with one talent or resource. I chose to the resource Rank.

Step 7: Flaws
I chose Superstitious. I decided the character has a lucky lighter that he rubs and fiddles with all the time. If he loses the lighter, he's psychs himself out and is less effective.

Step 8: Experience
You start with an additional 15 points to spend, but the skills and attributes aren't as cheap now. Since he's supposed to be a sniper, I spent all 15 to get the Accuracy talent, which allows him to ignore -2 worth of penalty on a called shot.

Step 9: Finishing touches
I equipped the guy with a .30-06, a bayonet, and a Colt M1911 pistol, general adventuring gear including a backpack, binoculars, fatigues, rope, a scope, and a few other things. It's more than $100 listed in the book, but I'm using my Rank resource to justify it. I still need to write a bit of background for the character, but it's coming together nicely.

Step 10: Style
He's going to get a style-point for the flaw. I'll give him a couple more once I write that background.

That's it. Mechanically, I was able to throw this together in about an hour, with no previous experience. That said, I had a pretty well defined, and simple, character in mind when I started. I'm sort of tossing around the idea of letting the players come up with the characters, rather than just jamming pre-gens in their faces, but it could be a bit too time consuming, considering I'm the only one with the book.


  1. Well a little historical input based on what youve written up.

    Snipers have a weird little history in the US (I've got an Osprey book on it if you are curious). While a corp of snipers were created for WW1 they were disbanded and basically ignored in the interwar years. Interestingly enough the primary task of snipers is actually observation, so perception would be important.

    Since he cant be an active sniper you need another idea, which you do have. A backwoods hunter who fed the family with his rifle till he was old enough to sign up is a historical archetype you can tap.

    Basically do you want the sniper from Band of Brothers or Sergeant York as your archetype?

  2. Oh and Id ditch spear as traditional sniper rifles, even those based on service rifles, have the mounts for bayonets removed. But... trench knives from the Great War, Bowie knives and Arkansas toothpicks from the Midwest, machete from the South and the tomahawk or hatchet for most of the rest of the US can fill that niche.

    Any thoughts on personality?

  3. Sorry for the delay in response, Tim. Thanks for the info. Since HEX is designed for very cinematic pulp roleplaying, the idea was to go for action over accuracy, so I'd be leaning much closer to Sgt. Rock than any reality based model.

    Haven't really put much else into the development here, as I'm not really sure what direction I'm going to go with the game, as far as providing pre-gens or doing character generation at the first game. The process was a bit easier than I anticipated, but it will be slowed by the fact that I'm the only one with the book.