Creating a Character

Redbox Hack

Author Eric Provost
With Mark Causey and Lisa P
Licence Told to 'do what you'd like with the thing'
Website Redbox Hack Blog

The PCs are all professional adventurers in search of fame and fortune. They’re usually young and inexperienced, but don’t necessarily have to be. This chapter will guide you through creating your character.

Attributes

Your character will have six attributes, each rated –1 through +5. These values are used as modifiers to most of your die rolls.

Alertness

Does your character have sharp eyes? Or are they surprised by every little thing? This attribute tells us about how much your character tends to pay attention to the world around them. The GM can call for an Alertness roll to see if your character noticed something important happening. In combat, Alertness is used for your initiative roll and for the Assist action.

Daring

Does your character have the guts to jump across that river of lava? How about to sneak past those well-armed guards? Use this attribute when your character is trying to accomplishing something that might have disastrous results. In combat, Daring affects your ability to Show Off.

Eloquence

Smooth talker or mush-mouth? When your character is trying to accomplish something with talk, this is the attribute. Eloquence has no direct influence on combat.

Sneakiness

Can your character tiptoe past mice without waking them or does he wake the dead just by strolling past the tomb? Roll Sneakiness whenever your character is trying to do something without being noticed.

Size

Big adventurers are strong adventurers who can carry lots of stuff. This attribute has lots of fantastic non-combat utility. Like for intimidating people. Or reaching things on high shelves. Size has an indirect influence on combat by determining how much heavy stuff you can wield and a direct influence on the Push action.

Stubbornness

Stubbornness is the catch-all reactive attribute. Someone’s trying to seduce you? Or to talk you into giving up your favorite shirt? Roll your stubbornness to oppose them. Stubbornness has no direct influence on combat.

Attribute Chart
19 or 20 +5
17 or 18 +4
15 or 16 +3
13 or 14 +2
11 or 12 +1
7 to 10 +0
6 or lower -1

Initial Scores

To determine the initial value of your attributes, roll 2d10 and consult the chart. Assign the modifier to one attribute of your choice. For example, if you roll a 17 that’s worth a +4 modifier. If you want to assign that modifier to your Size, all you have to do is write +4 in the box next to Size on your character sheet. Easy. Now repeat the process until each of your attributes has a modifier.

Mulligan

If you just don’t like how your scores turned out ask your GM about either swapping a couple scores around or maybe just re-rolling the whole batch. Remember that these scores will not look as high as regular D&D scores. If all your attributes add up to +6 or better, and you’ve got at least one score of +3 or better, then you’ve got a pretty good set of attributes. You probably don’t need to re-roll.

What scores do you need?

Unlike D&D, you don’t need any particular scores to make a good character. If you want to make a Warrior with –1 Daring and –1 Size, that’s acceptable. Funny, but acceptable.

Class

Now that you have your character’s attributes, you need to choose a class for them. Your character’s class outlines their special skills that they bring to adventuring. There are 7 classes to choose from. Four of the classes represent human professions (if speaking to trees were a profession) and three represent anthropomorphic animal characters. The next chapter outlines the seven classes.

Dibs

There should only ever be one character of a given class in each adventuring party. If two or more players want to play the same class the player with the lowest total Attribute points should get their first choice. If there’s a tie, flip a coin.

Limitations

Each class has an innate limitation. There are certain things that some characters just can’t do, or can’t do as well as other characters. But taking on the limitation is an option. If you choose to deal with your character’s limitation, jot it onto your character sheet.

It won’t break a thing if you want to author your own limitations. Similarly, it’ll be ok for you to take on a limitation from a different class if you like.

Talents

Now pick out a single talent from your class’ list. You may choose any one of the talents on the list. Each talent is either something your character can do that no one else can or something that everyone can do, but you can do extraordinarily well.

Cross-Class Talents

When your character levels up you may be able to choose talents from other classes’ lists. There are two limitations on cross-classing. The first is that you may never have more cross-class talents than you have talents from your own class. The second is, if anyone else is playing a character of the class you want to pull a talent from, you have to get their permission.

For example:
Lisa is playing a Bear, Mark is playing a Magus, and no one in the group is playing a Warrior. At second level Lisa decides that she would like to take Puppet Strings as her new talent. Mark’s Magus doesn’t have the Puppet Strings talent yet, but he still has the option of denying permission to Lisa for her character to have it. On the other hand, Lisa could take any one of the Warrior talents without worrying about stepping on anyone’s toes.

Arms and Armor

This system doesn’t have a shopping list of weapons and armors. Not that I’m opposed to shopping lists. Quite the contrary. But in this system I want you to bring your own fantasy accessories to your character. Does your warrior wear shiny plate mail or lacquered wooden armor? Maybe your character wears a mish-mash of iron cookware as their armor. Does your character wield a katana? A bow? A small tree trunk with a rock tied to the end?

Whatever your character may bring into a fight, you can probably easily qualify it as one of five different categories of weapon: Light, Reach, Ranged, Heavy or Very Heavy. Or one of four categories of armor: None, Light, Heavy, and Very Heavy.

Encumbrance

Some things are heavy. Some things are very heavy. Your character may carry a number of heavy things equal to their Size bonus without being encumbered. Very heavy things count as two heavy things. If your Size bonus is zero, or less than zero, you may not carry any heavy things at all.

When your character is carrying more heavy things than their Size rating, they are encumbered. You can still move and talk and stuff, but you’ll fail every roll you make until you are no longer encumbered. So taking a heavy weapon and heavy armor is no good for your character if their Size is less than two (for example).

Weapon Types

A light weapon is small, easy to wield, easy to conceal and handy for getting between the chinks in your enemy’s armor. Roll an extra d10 when wielding a light weapon.

A reach weapon is very long. You can use it to keep your enemies at bay. Your armor class is one higher when you’re wielding a reach weapon.

A ranged weapon can hit foes at great distances. You may attack targets in adjacent arenas with a ranged weapon.

A heavy weapon takes a big adventurer to wield it. It’s not fancy or elegant, but it hurts a lot when it hits. A heavy weapon does 2 points of damage instead of 1 when you hit your target.

A very heavy weapon makes heavy weapons look meek. It takes a huge adventurer to wield one of these monsters. A very heavy weapon does 3 points of damage when you hit your target.

Armor Types

Light armor is very basic. It either only covers the vital organs or only covers the part of your body you intend to show to your enemy.

Heavy armor covers most of your body. It usually leaves gaps at your joints to allow freedom of movement.

Very heavy armor covers your entire body. Joints are covered up with armor that is slightly more flexible than the rest.

Arm your character

Choose a weapon and a type of armor for your character. Be certain that your weapon and armor don’t make you encumbered. Record the Bonus and Favored Arena for each of your weapons.

Specialist Gear

In addition to your weapon and your armor, your character has a single piece of special gear that he or she uses when adventuring. It can be just about anything. It might be a set of lockpicks, a mount, a set of papers from a high ranking magistrate, or even a fancy set of clothes. Whenever you use your character’s specialist gear in a conflict, you’ll gain a bonus to your roll. Specialist gear never has any effect on combat. Make a note of your specialist gear on your character sheet.

Secondary Weapon

As an option, you may choose to have a secondary weapon instead of taking any specialist gear. In combat you may switch between your primary weapon and your secondary weapon at any time as a free action.

Motivation

The last step in creating a character is to determine why your character is out adventuring. Why is your character killing monsters and hunting for treasures? To get rich and famous, yeah. But why? One or two sentences will suffice.

Warrior

You kill things professionally. Not that the other classes aren’t good at killing, you just focus on it a little bit more.

Limitation: Self Absorbed

You should never pass up an opportunity to steer the conversation towards yourself and your exploits. When someone isn’t paying attention to you then you should do whatever it takes to make them pay attention to you.

Talents

Armor of Scars

Getting beat up as often as you do has it’s advantages. You’re tougher. Lots tougher. Instead of five hit points you have eight. That’s a lot more punishment you can take.

Beefcake / Cheesecake

You may look good in a full suit of armor, but you look much better without one. Gain a +2 bonus on Eloquence rolls and a +2 bonus on Show Off rolls when your character is wearing light armor or no armor at all.

Charger

After moving, you may take a free attack action against anyone in your new arena.

Strategist

Your character has a particularly good eye for guiding others in fights. You gain a +5 bonus to Assist rolls and you may divide the Awesome Tokens you receive from those actions between any allies you can communicate with.

Weapon Bond

Pick one specific weapon for your character. Your character either has gone
though, or will go through soon, a special warrior’s rite for bonding her soul to that weapon. After the rite is completed the weapon cannot be broken, stolen, lost, or damaged in any way until the death of the character.

Furthermore, while wielding that particular weapon, all of your attack dice are face dice.

Magus

You are a student of the supernatural forces.

Limitation: Sparker

You suffer from the side effects of being a conduit for powerful energy. Candles and lanterns spontaneously light in your presence and your eyes have a tendency to glow in an unnatural way.

Talents

Blast

Your character can summon a great deal of destructive firepower from his fingertips. Just so long as you are able to move your hands freely, you may make a Ranged attack that does 2 points of damage. This attack treats all arenas as it’s favored arena, giving you the +2 bonus to attack no matter where your target is standing.

Enchant

You can make ordinary things into enchanted things. An enchanted item gives it’s wielder a +2 bonus to rolls when it’s being used for the purpose it was created for. A hammer does not make a good boat, enchanted or not.

You may make an enchantment permanent by permanently reducing one of your attributes by one. You are not limited in the number of permanent enchantments you can make, but you are limited to one temporary enchantment at a time. Temporary enchantments fade after a couple days or when you will them to fade.

Illusions

Your character has the ability to fool the eyes and ears of those around you with realistic illusions. Roll your Stubbornness vs. the Alertness of skeptics. In combat you may use Stubbornness in place of Daring for a Show Off action.

Mirrors

Your character has the ability to use reflective surfaces like they were cell phones. Video cell phones. Anything with a smooth reflection works nicely.

Puppet Strings

You may cause inanimate objects to become animate. They are, for the most part, merely puppets under your control. A chair may be made to walk to you, an origami dragonfly made to fly about your head. They have no intelligence of their own, but they can follow very simple instructions such as “Bring this letter to Yessif.” The animation usually wears out after a few hours, or when the Magus chooses to release the spell

Mystic

One part Cleric, one part Augra from The Dark Crystal, and one part crazy cat lady, the Mystic is traditionally a travelling wise woman. One that has conversations with trees.

Limitation: Wild Style

Civilized things like beds and hairbrushes are just plain alien to you. Rail against so-called civilized contrivances whenever possible.

Talents

Animus Meal

Your character knows how to cook an interesting meal. It tastes horrid (utterly repulsive), but anyone who eats the whole thing is transformed into a woodland animal. They retain their intelligence, but are otherwise trapped in the body of an animal. The spell wears off at sunrise or sunset, whichever comes first.

Commanding Voice

Your character can make their voice take on a particular and supernaturally powerful tone. When you do so, you can give others commands that they find particularly difficult to disobey. You may roll Eloquence vs. Stubbornness to force your subject to perform even self-destructive tasks. In combat you may use Eloquence in place of Daring for the Show Off action and you may use Eloquence in place of Alertness for the Assist action.

Conversational Spirit

You can freely converse with the spirits of plants, places, and the dead. What those spirits have to say is generally up to the GM.

Companion

Your character has attracted the long term friendship of one of the animal kingdom. The animal’s attributes add up to +5, it can have one special ability (like Flight or something), and it can have any weapon and armor attributes that you think make sense (and are appropriate for it’s Size). Treat the animal like an NPC under your control. There’s no telepathic link, but you can converse freely with the animal. Your companion has the same plot immunity to death that your character does.

Crystal Augury

Crystals can tell you secrets. Like where to find lost and hidden things. They can also answer questions for you. Usually ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions like “Is this real gold?” The closer the crystal is to it’s subject, the stronger a reading it can give to you.

Longrunner

A little bit spy, a little bit ninja, and a lotta-bit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Limitation: Follower

All your training revolves around being part of a team. You are a cog in a machine. You don’t need permission to do every little thing, but you look to others to instruct you when important decisions need to be made.

Talents

Bird Feet

Any surface can support you while you’re running. Water, leaves, crumbling rooftops, falling snowflakes, etc. If you stop running, you fall.

Chalk Door

Your character doesn’t need to bother with locks and keys. Just so long as you have some chalk or some paint, you can draw your own door on any wall. These doors only open for you and for other folks with this talent. To normal people they are just drawings on walls.

Guild Contacts

Wherever your character goes, there always seems to be someone around who’s part of your guild. All you have to do is look, and there they are. A social network you can depend on for help and information. And a place to sleep when things get rough.

Perfect Disguise

A good spy is one that cannot be seen. You are the kind of spy who can disguise himself as anyone or anything. From the general’s best friend to a potted plant, your disguises are complete and compelling. When your character takes the time to disguise herself, you don’t need to roll to deceive anyone. You always succeed.

Two things at once (if one is running)

Your character is so used to living his life on his feet that he’s developed the ability to multi task. Eating, sleeping, or even composing poetry while running is well within his grasp. In combat you may follow any Attack, Assist, or Show Off action with a free Move action. Note that you only get one free Move action per turn, even if you have multiple attacks in a single turn.

Snake

The snake class is inspired by a bit from the Nagas of L5R and a bit from the Ancients of Call of Cthulhu. They’re smart, invented written languages, and are generally very creepy.

Limitation: Cold Blooded

Your character favors warm temperatures and shuns cold ones. Be lazy when it’s cold outside and be active when it’s warm. Seek warmth wherever you can find it.

Talents

3rd Eye

You have physically grown a third somewhere on your body. You can now see incorporeal things like ghosts and invisible monsters. You can also see through solid things like walls.

Homunculus

It’s a complex and gross ritual, but you can split yourself into two identical individuals. Each individual has identical memories and attitudes right up until the moment of the split. You will have to split your HP between the two versions of the character. However, that’s the only thing you split. Each copy has otherwise identical attributes and talents. If one copy eats (yes, eats) the other, then you have one character again with the combined HP.

Note that it’s possible for one or the other of the copies to die. The first one to run out of HP is the dead one. The remaining twin holds onto his plot immunity from death. If one twin dies, the other regains his full HP at the beginning of the next adventure.

The Words

You have discovered the secret of finding something’s true name. That true name is usually pages and pages long. But, with some time, and careful observation, you can convert any inanimate unliving object into words on a page. The size of the object is no barrier. When someone reads the words again, the object is returned to it’s former state, immediately in front of the reader.

Water Breather

You’ve developed the ability to breathe water. Also, you can move about beneath the water as freely as you could on dry land.

Yari Master

You may make one free attack with a reach weapon every turn. Assuming you’re wielding a reach weapon.

Bear

I can’t tell you how many of my games of D&D included talking bears in floppy hats. Maybe it was from watching The Jungle Book one too many times. In any event, the Bears are a kind of Mystic-Fighter. They’re peaceful, until they’re not. Then look out.

Limitation: Party Animal

Your character cannot pass up a celebration. If no one else is going to start a celebration then you’re perfectly willing and able to start one yourself.

Talents

A Mighty Grip

You are able to wield some crazy big weapons. You have five weapon categories available to you that no one else gets. Heavy Reach, Heavy Ranged, Very Heavy Reach, Very Heavy Ranged, and Very-Very Heavy. Very-Very Heavy weapons are like Very Heavy weapons, but they do 4 points of damage instead.

Heart Song

Anyone can fix things. You do it with style. And in very little time and without any spare parts. Just sing a happy song and the object (or person) knits it’s self right back together. When you heal a PC, treat them like they have more than 3 HP left. Your song and a good drink is enough to heal any wound.

Long Shadow

When you guard someone, you really guard them. As a combat action you may declare your character to be Guarding. While Guarding, whenever anyone in your arena is attacked, you may designate yourself as the target instead. Furthermore, while Guarding you may try to prevent anyone from leaving the arena with a Size vs. Size roll.

Rock Music

With a good musical instrument, you can play a tune that “wakes up” the rocks within earshot. Boulders, pebbles, and even stone carvings attain a basic animal-like intelligence, and tend to follow you around like rats to the piper. Sometimes they’ll even do chores for you. If your music is really good. When the music stops the rocks go back to sleep.

Sky Dance

You can lead a dance to move the moon and stars. The weather, the phase of the moon, and even the setting and rising of the sun follow your desires when you get enough people to dance for you.

Fox

Uppity little fur balls of doom. Don’t corner one if you know what’s good for you. Part thief, part Cuisinart. All attitude.

Limitation: Overwhelming Curiosity

From the mysteries of the universe to the inner workings of a poison needle trap to whether or not Eleanor is really in love with Geoff, or if she’s really just faking it… these are the things your character needs to know about. Leave no stone unturned and no question unanswered.

Talents

Frenzy

Your character is particularly dangerous when cornered. When you are in a Tight arena you do an additional point of damage on all your attacks.

Dream Thief

Your character has the ability to physically enter someone’s dreams. Not only that, but you can steal things from within their dreams. If you can hold it in your hand you can take it with you. When the dreams aren’t showing you what you want to see, you may make a Stubborn vs. Stubborn roll to direct the dream. Things you steal from people’s dreams evaporate in direct sunlight and when the dreamer wakes. To enter someone’s dream you must inhale their breath while they sleep.

Night Eyes

Your night vision is super developed. And it makes you pretty confident. You can see perfectly well in any level of low light, even if there is no light present at all. When there is either no light at all or a near complete lack of light, the confidence you gain gives you a +2 bonus to all your attribute rolls. In combat or out.

Shape Shifter

You can slip between three different forms, your natural anthro-fox form, a full-fox form, and a mostly-human form. No matter what form you are in, you are always recognizable for who you are to people who know you. Your attributes change a bit when you change form too. Gain +1 Size/-1 Alertness in human form, and the opposite in full-fox form.

Note: If you are cross-classing from Bear or Snake, you will use those animals instead of Fox. If you are cross-classing from any of the human classes, you may choose any animal form to take.

Three Tails

You’ve got three tails. They allow you to fly. If and when you are transformed into a form that has no tails (or less than three tails) you loose the ability to fly until you get your tails back.