Concept is the most important part of a character. Without it, they're just numbers. Think up who you want to play as, and then build the stats to suit the concept.
The concept can be as simple or as detailed as you like. Just give them a Name and Motivation, or come up with their life's story.
Once you've got your concept, you can figure out their statistics. We do this using a point-buy system. A new character starts with the following points to spend:
- 5 Attribute Points
- 15 Skill Points
- 1 Edge
- 1 Major Hindrance
- 2 Minor Hindrances
- 4 Hindrance Points
Characters are defned by attributes and skills, collectively called “Traits,” and both work in exactly the same way. Attributes and skills are ranked by die types, from a d4 to a d12, with d6 being the average for adult humans. Higher is better!
Every character starts with a d4 in each attribute, and has 5 points with which to raise them. Raising a d4 to a d6, for example, costs 1 point. You’re free to spend these points however you want with one exception: no attribute may be raised above a d12.
- Agility is your hero’s nimbleness, quickness, and dexterity.
- Smarts is a measure of how well your character knows his world and culture, how well he thinks on his feet, and mental agility.
- Spirit reﬂects inner wisdom and willpower. Spirit is very important as it helps your character recover from being Shaken (see page 68).
- Strength is raw physical power and general fitness. Strength is also used to generate your warrior’s damage in hand-to-hand combat.
- Vigor represents endurance, resistance to disease, poison, or toxins, and how much pain and physical damage a hero can shake off.
Skills are learned abilities such as Shooting, Fighting, scientifc knowledge, professional aptitudes, and so on. These are very general descriptions which cover all related aspects. Shooting, for example, covers all types of guns, bows, rocket launchers, and other ranged weapons.
You have 15 skill points to distribute among your skills. Each die type costs 1 point (starting at d4) as long as the skill is equal to or less than the attribute it’s linked to (listed beside the skill in parentheses). If you exceed the attribute, the cost becomes 2 points per die type.
As with attributes, no skill may be increased above d12.
For a full list of available skills, see the Skills page.
A few statistics are derived form Attributes and Skills:
- Rank is a measure of your character's experience. Starting characters have 0 XP, putting them at Novice rank to start. As they gain experience, they'll raise in Rank, opening up a wide range of additional Edges, Powers, and such.
- Charisma is a measure of your character’s appearance, manner, and general likability. It’s 0 unless you have Edges or Hindrances that modify it. Charisma is added to Persuasion and Streetwise rolls, and is used by the GM to figure out how non-player characters react to your hero.
- Pace is how fast your character moves in a standard combat round. Humans walk 6” in a round and can move an additional 1d6” if they run. Write “6” on your character sheet beside the word Pace. This is 6” on the table-top—every inch there represents 2 yards in the “real world.”
- Parry is equal to 2 plus half your character’s Fighting (2 if a character does not have Fighting), plus any bonuses for shields or certain weapons. This is the Target Number (TN) to hit your hero in hand-to-hand combat.
- Toughness is your hero’s damage threshold. Anything over this causes him to be rattled or worse. Toughness is 2 plus half your hero’s Vigor, plus Armor (use the armor worn on his torso). Vigor over a d12 is calculated just like Parry
- Grit is a measure of your hero’s willpower, as well as his experience with the more horrific foes found on the dark prairie. Rookie heroes are as likely as not to skedaddle from some of the weirder varmints out there, while old hands are liable to look the creature straight in the face and spit in its eye. Wild Card characters have one point of Grit per Rank (so a new Novice character has a Grit of 1), unless they’ve taken an Edge or Hindrance that modifies Grit. Each point of Grit adds +1 to the character’s Guts rolls.
Edges and Hindrances
Great heroes are far more than a collection of Skills and Attributes. It’s their unique gifts, special powers, and tragic ﬂaws that truly make them interesting characters.
Edges are those special abilities that define what a character is really good .
Each hero starts with 1 Edge. For a full list, see the Edges page.
Hindrances are character ﬂaws and physical handicaps that occasionally make life a little tougher for your hero. Some Hindrances are more or less subjective (such as Overconfident). They’re there to help you roleplay your character, and might even net you more Bennies (called Fate Chips in Deadlands) since the Game Master awards them for properly playing your character.
A character should have one Major Hindrance and two Minor Hindrances, giving them a total of 4 Hindrance Points. You’re free to take more if you think they fit your character description, but you don’t get additional points for them. Hindrance Points can be spent as follows:
For 2 points you can:
- Raise an attribute one die type
- Choose an additional Edge
For 1 point you can:
- Gain another skill point
- Gain an additional $250 in starting funds
For a full list of hindrances, see the Hindrances page
What better way to spend that starting cash than by checking out the Gear? If there's something specific that would fit the character that isn't listed in Gear, let me know and we can come up with something.