Play By The Rules: Random Character Benefit Generator

Guided by a firm belief that the books are just the beginning, we here at Intwischa are pleased to present “Play By The Rules”, an ongoing series that will provide custom mechanics for your favorite RPGs!  These posts will strive to give players and storytellers alike original, creative, game-ready ways to add spice and texture to all kinds of role-playing experiences.  Here’s hoping you’ll try one out, leave a comment, or suggest your own!

If you joined us last time, you may have already used our random generator for character quirks and flaws.  For this installment of “Play By The Rules,” we give a nod to exceptional virtue (and perhaps even to balance) and provide a Random Character Benefit Generator.  Given all the powers, feats, and other heroic attributes your PC has available to them this table may seem like just another choice.  But random gifts are always more exciting than the ones you pick out, so I suggest using one of these random gems to either counter a voluntary mechanical flaw you’ve already rolled, or to replace a low-level feat or power that you chose when building your character.  With the exception of the in-game effects, this table could be used for a number of systems.  I tried to give a very general flavor to the names, descriptions, etc. just for that reason.  No matter how you incorporate it, it’s almost guaranteed to result in some interesting encounters.

A brief example of how I just now used this table for the first time:  I start by rolling a D6, and get a very impressive 1 to start things off.  That  means whichever gift my character has, it’s only of a Mild caliber (Intensity Modifier 1).  The next roll on a D6 decides the type of Benefit; it comes up a 2.  That means my character profits from a ‘Sturdy Stature’.  So I scroll down to the Sturdy Stature table, and roll 2D6 this time.  The dice read 3+8=11, which corresponds to ‘Eagle Eye.’  (Apparently my character never reads without adequate lighting, and always eats his carrots.)

Not only does that give me some ideas for role-playing and further character creation, it means that the first time my character takes damage during an encounter I have to roll a D20, subtract 1 from it (my character’s Intensity Modifier), and compare it to my Reflex defense.  If the total equals or exceeds my Reflex defense (technically a “hit”), my character’s enemies are able to conceal their attacks and tactics from his expert vision,  so he won’t gain any benefits for this particular encounter.

However, if the roll is less than my character’s defense value, his enemies have missed their chance to obscure their actions and my character gains Damage Reduction 1 (again equal to my Severity modifier) to whichever kind of damage he suffered from their attacks.  This bonus represents his preparedness against their attacks, and lasts until the end of the encounter.

These tables (random flaws AND benefits) were designed to function together, so I’d suggest off-setting one with the other as a basis for a believable, complex, and interesting character.  This combination of vice and virtue better represents the hero we can all relate to: one who isn’t perfect but triumphs despite their shortcomings!

1. DETERMINE INTENSITY MODIFIER (D6)

1-3= Mild/1

4-5= Moderate/2

6= Inspiring/3

2. DISCOVER ATTRIBUTE (D6)

1= Natural Nerve

2= Sturdy Stature

3= Driving Devotion

4= Mental Mastery

5= Helpful Habits

6= Beneficial Belief

3. DEFINE QUALITY (2D6)

NATURAL NERVE 

2= Pyrophilia (fire)

3= Xylophilia (forests/trees)

4= Bibliophilia (books)

5= Photophilia (light)

6= Hydrophilia (water)

7= Cibophilia (food)

8= Astrophilia (stars/space)

9= Glossophilia (spoken word)

10= Thermophilia (heat)

11= Zoophilia (animals)

12= Oenophilia (wine)

STURDY STATURE 

2= Bloodhound’s Nose

3= Thick Skinned

4= Steady Handed

5= Iron Gut

6= Hot Blooded

7= Level Headed

8= Nerves of Steel

9= Fleet Footed

10= Broad Shoulders

11= Eagle Eye

12= Double Jointed

DRIVING DEVOTION 

2= Dreams/Visions

3= Employer/Profession

4= Life-Long Quest

5= Social Order/Class

6= Master/Teacher

7= Laws of the Land

8= Church/Deity

9= Family/Clan

10= Personal Code

11= Culture/Customs

12= Ruler/Authority

At the start of each encounter roll against the character’s Will defense, subtracting their Intensity Modifier from the roll. 

HIT: Separated from that which gives them strength, the character receives no benefits during this encounter.

MISS: Drawing strength from their chosen source, the character receives a +2 bonus to attack rolls, saves, and AC.  This benefit lasts for a number of rounds equal to D4 x Severity modifier.

When a character first takes damage during an encounter, roll against their Reflex defense, subtracting their Intensity Modifier from the roll.  

HIT: The character takes damage as normal for the encounter.

MISS: Drawing on their natural resilience, the character gains Damage Reduction, equal to their Intensity Modifier, against any attacks of the type that first caused damage.  This lasts for the entire encounter.

At the start of each day roll against the character’s Fortitude defense, subtracting their Intensity Modifier from the roll.  

HIT: More concerned with their immediate situation, the character gains no benefit today.

MISS: The character, emboldened by their commitment to a higher purpose, receives a benefit to Initiative, attack rolls, and saves equal to their Intensity Modifier.  This effect lasts for 8 hours.

MENTAL MASTERY 

2= Telekinesis

3= Deep Focus

4= Calm & Collected

5= Photographic Memory

6= Flawless Logic

7= Head For Numbers

8= Perfect Patience

9= Brilliant Tactics

10= Peaceful Meditation

11= Linguistic Expert

12= Telepathy

HELPFUL HABITS 

2= Polished Expertise

3= Self Sacrificing

4= Always Travels Light

5= Uses What’s on Hand

6= Balanced Diet

7= Excellent Hygiene

8= Practice. Practice, Practice

9= Waste Not, Want Not

10= Honesty is the Best Policy

11= Fervent Prayer

12= Ascetic Lifestyle

BENEFICIAL BELIEF 

2= Chosen by a higher power

3= Guardian angel/spirit

4= Lucky numerology

5= Hallowed ground

6= Karmic rewards

7= Lucky charm

8= Holy symbol

9= Guided by fate

10= Stars are in alignment

11= Born under a good sign

12= Destined to fulfill prophecy

At the start of each encounter roll against the character’s Reflex defense, subtracting their Intensity Modifier from the roll.  

HIT: The character is burdened by distracting thoughts, and gains no mental benefits for now.

MISS: Razor-sharp focus gives the character a bonus to Initiative, checks, and saves equal to their Intensity Modifier.  This lasts until the end of the encounter.

At the start of each day roll against the character’s Fortitude defense, subtracting their Intensity Modifier from the roll. 

HIT: The character is not yet focused enough to gain any benefits from their helpful habit.

MISS: The character’s persistence pays off, granting them a bonus to saves, checks, and defenses equal to their Intensity Modifier.  This effect lasts for 8 hours.

At the start of each day roll against the character’s Will defense, subtracting their Intensity Modifier from the roll. 

HIT: The character’s faith is still being tested, and they gain no benefits for the day.

MISS: The character is filled with zeal, and receives a bonus to attack, Initiative, and saving rolls equal to their Intensity Modifier.  This effect lasts for 8 hours.

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