BARBARIANS OF HEAVY METAL 11: CHARACTER GENERATION MECHANICS…

I have, this very day, put the finishing touches on Character Generation (I have an alpha presentation of the game and tablet functionality due Tuesday) and will now take you through the character generation process by making a couple of sample characters.

NAME & SCHOOL OF ROCK

The first and most important thing is to name the character and determine exactly which School of Rock they were brought up in. Schools of Rock, as I have mentioned, are more than just simple music schools, they define a way of life for a whole section of the inhabited universe.

The characters we are going to create here will be a pair of rival Titan Riders: Keneniah, a Nazarite; and Asmodeus, a Sabbathite. The names fit the schools, the Nazarites taking names from angels and Biblical heroes and the Sabbathites taking names from fallen angels and bastardized Latin names.

The Schools themselves will affect the rest of character generation (and I’ll talk more on them in detail in a future post), so we’ll move along and show their character by example.

ATTRIBUTES

In BoHM we use the same four attributes as BoL, but we’ve reskinned them to sound more Metal: for Strength we have Might; for Agility we have Celerity; for Mind we have Savvy; and finally, Appeal is now measured in Cool. We still distribute 4 points amongst the Attributes, as with BoL. One attribute can be reduced to -1 to gain an extra point for another.

For Keneniah, we are going for a more well rounded character, so we will be placing 1 point in each Attribute.

MIGHT 1, CELERITY 1, SAVVY 1, COOL 1

For Asmodeus, we are going to focus more on Might and Cool, so 2 points in each of those. In addition, the Sabbathite School provides a +1 to Might, so Asmodeus’ final Attributes look like this:

MIGHT 3, CELERITY 0, SAVVY 0, COOL 2

Every School of Rock has a Bonus in either an Attribute or Combat Ability, meaning that the average character will have 5 points in one or the other. This is intentional as it further delineates the strengths and weaknesses of the various schools and fits in well with the extended range of difficulty set forth in the previous post.

COMBAT ABILITIES

Again, we have reskinned these to fit the thematic qualities of the Metalpshere: Brawl is now Rumble; Melee is now Shred; Ranged is now Fire, and Defense is still pretty close to the original as Defend, which fits in better with the other CAs, from a tense perspective. Again, our characters have 4 points to spend. Like attributes, one Combat Ability can be reduced to -1 to raise another by 1 point.

Keneniah gets the School bonus here, adding +1 to Defend, and sticking with our drive to be well-rounded, his Combat Abilities come out thusly:

RUMBLE 1, SHRED 1, FIRE 1, DEFEND 2

Asmodeus’ stats are going to lean more heavily on personal combat, to take advantage of his heavy might, and he’ll probably wear heavy armor to make up for his average defense:

RUMBLE 2, SHRED 2, FIRE 0, DEFEND 0

CAREERS

There are 24 Careers currently in the game, and our characters have 4 points to spread amongst 4 careers, with no career starting out with a rating greater than 3.

Keneniah is going to take advantage of a special ability of his School and take a career normally not allowed to anyone but The Church: Priest. Along with that, he’s going to want to be able to fight in Titan combat, so he takes Titan Rider. He wants to play up the leadership side of his character, so he takes Manager. Finally, he wants to be able to do some basic repairs on his Titan and other equipment, but cannot take Tek (another Career only available to the Church), so he takes Roadie. He spreads his 4 points amongst those four careers thusly:

TITAN RIDER 2, MANAGER 1, PRIEST 1, ROADIE 0

Asmodeus, coming from a very different school has very different interests. He is fascinated with the Occult and so he takes Occultist. He also wants to ride the ‘Heavy Metal’ and takes Titan Rider. His final two skills reflect his dedication to his School’s Style: Inquisitor, because only the most dedicated deserve to be a Sabbathite in his eyes; and Warlord, to indicate that he is Sabbathite nobility. He takes an even spread in those careers.

TITAN RIDER 1, WARLORD 1, INQUISITOR 1, OCCULTIST 1

STYLES

Our characters must now choose 4 Styles of Rock to play in. They receive 4 points, as above, to distribute amongst these styles, with the following restrictions:

  • They must take their School as their first Style.
  • They cannot take a Style that is opposed to their School of Rock.
  • They cannot have more points in a Style than they do the Style of their school.

As mentioned in the previous post, Styles are more than just musical characteristics and make up one third of every resolution test. They are therefore important when determining what sorts of tasks your Headbanger will be proficient in.

Keneniah’s main Style will be Nazarite, Christ Rock. He won’t even touch Sabbathite music, which is opposed to Nazarite music, but he does appreciate both Dedite power shredding (and has an affinity with the application of force) and Yngwie virtuosity (along with a bent towards skills that require precision and timing), so he takes those. For his final Style, he chooses Ledite, as he finds the blues driven but contemplative style to be very cool (and his slightly intellectual nature is derived form this). He spends his 4 points in these styles in an even manner, with no style being greater than the other:

NAZARITE 1, YNGWIE 1, DEDITE 1, LEDITE 1

Asmodeus prefers the upper half of the Rocktagon with a little wild chaos thrown in, so he goes for the party-hard Glamling style (which enhances his vitality and makes him somewhat fearless), the Dedite style (for the raw destructive power it provides) and throws in some Punk for flavor (he is highly adaptable and good at sorting through chaos), but he makes sure that his main style is his first and most potent style:

SABBATHITE 2, GLAMLING 1, DEDITE 1, PUNK 0

INSTRUMENTS

Every Headbanger is proficient to some degree in 4 instrumental styles (and has 4 points to spread around those instruments). There are 5 to choose from: Axe, the ubiquitous guitar; Bass, the bass guitar which provides a pounding rhythm; Percussion, the use of drums; Vocal, including singing or spoken rap; and Other, which covers a wide range of other instruments which must be chosen separately.

Keneniah is going the frontman route and chooses:

VOCAL 2, AXE 2, BASS 0, OTHER (KEYBOARDS) 0

Asmodeus goes for the might of pounding rhythm with a bit of back up vocals and an instrument designed to unnerve his enemies:

BASS 2, DRUMS 1, VOCALS 0, OTHER (BAGPIPES) 1

HARMONICS & DISCORDS

Every Headbanger starts off with 1 Harmonic and 1 Discord from their School of Rock, which, if you will recall, are activated by hitting the Harmonic or Discord numbers on the Rocktohedron. Headbangers may take an additional Harmonic, but must either take another Discord or reduce their starting Fortune to 3.

Keneniah’s Harmonic number is 1. He has the following choices:

  • You Are I Am: The Nazarite is infused with the Holy Spirit and gains 1 Fortune. This may take them above their maximum.
  • Reborn: The Nazarite is filled with the breath of life and regains 3 Fight.
  • Seventh Angel: A guardian angel intervenes, aiding the band in small, almost imperceptible way. The Nazarite generates 3 Bonus Dice that can be added to any of their Band’s rolls until the end of the scene.

Keneniah doesn’t plan on doing much fighting outside of his Titan, so Reborn is not very useful for him. You Are I Am is very useful, but only once in awhile (you can only activate each Harmonic or Discord once per session) and Seventh Angel fits in more with his concept of a Band Leader, so he takes the latter.

His Discord Number is 5 and he must choose one of the following:

  • Abyss: The Adversary takes a personal interest in the Nazarite and their band. The enemy gains D6 Penalty Dice that they may apply to the entire Band for the rest of the scene.
  • Holy War: The Nazarite becomes wrathful and divisively sanctimonious. They take a Penalty Die on any Cool rolls for the rest of the scene.
  • Lamentations: The Nazarite has a crisis of Fath that  reduces his Nazarite Style to -1 for the rest of the scene.

As a leader, Keneniah would be a poor example if he suffered Lamentations, so he gives that a quick miss. The same could be said of Holy War. Abyss sounds perfect, as it fits in with the idea of Satan trying to bring the whole Band down by messing with its leader.

Asmodeus has an entirely opposite set of Harmonic and Disocrd realities. His Harmonic number is 5 (the opposite of Keneniah, which is appropriate as they are of opposing schools), and he has the following Harmonic choices:

  • Iron Man: The power of the abyss seems to fill the Sabbathite with unholy vigor and they regain D6 Fight.
  • Sabbra Cadabra: The Sabbathite sometimes pulls off miraculous feats that seem for all the world like true Magick. The roll is counted as a Success, even if it is a Failure or Critical Failure.
  • Hand of Doom: Those around the Sabbathite feel the hand of The Adversary himself interfering with their actions. The Sabbathite gains D6 Penalty Dice that can be added to any roll from any character until the end of the scene.

At first glance, Iron Man would seem to be ideal for a close combatant like Asmodeus, but he loves the thought of the Devil himself interfering on his behalf as well as the ability to pull a success out of certain failure. He dices to take two Harmonics, forgoing Iron Man, as he is already fairly robust, in favor of the other two.

Again, Asmodeus Discord is opposite that of his rival Keneniah, a 1, and he has the following Discords from which he must choose 2 to make up for his bonus Harmonic:

  • Paranoid: The Sabbathite is distracted by what they think are demons eyeing them with diabolical intent flitting about with just outside of their direct  line of vision. They suffer a cumulative -1 modifier to all rolls for the rest of the session.
  • Faeries Wear Boots: The Sabbathite is convinced that demonic gremlins in massive Doc Marten boots are interfering with their actions by hobbling gear and stomping on their feet. This roll becomes a Critical Failure automatically and cannot be rerolled or modified in any way.
  • Crazy Train: The Sabbathite sees demons of madness swirling around the heads of D6 Band-Mates and allies, who suffer an automatic Discord on their next roll, even if they roll a Harmonic.

Faeries Wear Boots just happens to be a favorite song of mine, and its effect, while critical in the moment, is not as long-standing as Paranoid, so we’ll take FWB. Crazy Train is definitely more punishing, but it punishes others, not Asmodeus, so [two-ginger salute] those guys! ROCK & ROLLLLLLL! (translation: we’ll take Crazy Train).

 SECONDARY CHARACTERISTICS

In BoL we have Lifeblood, which is called Fight in BoHM (as in ‘having the fight beaten out of you’). It is figured the same way: 10 + Might.

Next we have Fortune, which are like Hero Points and have a similar function. You start with 6 in BoHM, as they have an additional use that will see them spent a bit more freely, that of negating Discords.

Fame is a new Secondary Characteristic, and it represents a pool of influence that can be used during an adventure to add 1 point to any Cool roll to influence others. Like Fortune, it only recovers at the end of an adventure, so it is a dwindling resource. Fame is equal to Cool during character creation, but may be raised using advancement points, to represent the Headbanger’s increased notoriety spreading their reputation throughout the Metalsphere. If there were a single number that represents ‘winning,’ in the Charlie Sheen sense of the word, this would be it and the Headbanger with the highest Fame should lord it over the other, lesser players.

There is a fourth characteristic that will be introduced in a later expansion: Freak. For those who want Sabbathites to cast real sorcery, Priests to get actual miracles from God, and Punks to disrupt their foes with Psychic screams while Ledite Yogis levitate above the fray, this is the power source of those sorts of things, which will be an option in the expansion, which will cover all sorts of alternate wrinkles for the universe of the Metalsphere, and it will be equal to 10+Savvy.

Keneniah’s Secondary Characteristics come out as follows:

FIGHT 11, FORTUNE 6, FAME 1

Asmodeus comes out a bit tougher and a bit more notorious:

FIGHT 13, FORTUNE 6, FAME 2

GEAR

Ok, so I fibbed a bit, as I still haven’t worked out the way Gear will be distributed. the general idea however is to restrict it in a way similar to BotA, as this is a post-apocalyptic universe, but not so severely and without the between-adventure attrition found in that game.

Career will play a large roll in what you can have and you will gain a number of free points, + career points + special items that are granted by your school to equip your Headbanger. I imagine that, as both the above Headbangers have Titan 2 a careers, they will be able to pick up a Medium Titan as part of their equipment.

 SUMMARY

So there are your two sample BoHM characters. Hope that gives you a taste of how they differ from other BoL games and a feel for the type of people you might meet living in the Metalsphere. Next time I’ll try and go into depth about the Revised Rocktagon and the Schools of Rock themselves…

 

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