With everything else explained, it's time for you to build your very own character(s) for use in the Universal Heroes Role-Playing Game. Whether as a regular player (building PCs) or as the game's Judge (building NPCs), there are two systems available for the creation of all new characters. These are the random (dice based) character creation process and the systematic (point based) character creation method.
The random method of character generation is designed to build characters that are different from one attempt to another. The likelihood of creating identical characters using the random method is incredibly slim. At the same time, it may be difficult for a player to get precisely what he or she wants out of a character. And while PCs may be of differing utility, the truth is that the dice don't lie - they roll what they roll.
The systematic method of character generation puts the entire responsibility for a character's capabilities in the hands of its creator. All PCs will begin play with a like amount of points, and may place them as they see fit on their character - within any limitations set by the Judge in advance, such as power rank caps and so forth. While more balanced, systematic character creation allows for the creation of 'repeat' characters.
Rules for both are presented during character creation, no matter what form of character is generated. Usually the random method is explained in detail first, since it involves a plethora of tables to determine just what each character can do. Such lengthy rules are followed by a quick set of instructions on using the systematic method, since it is (generally) much more straightforward.
Before anything else, the type of character to be generated must be determined. This is typically the player's choice, and no die roll need be made (or points spent) to make this determination. A random chart is presented for the Judge's use, however, in order to quickly produce a hero, villain, or other character 'on the fly' as is necessary. Character types (or origins) are presented on table 34.
Normal characters lack super human abilities of any stripe. They wield no technology above and beyond that of their peers, they lack bizarre genetic quirks, and they have not studied with strange mentors to learn the arts arcane or disciplines psionic. They only have their own natural abilities, skills, resources, and history to draw upon in order to achieve their goals, whatever they may be.
Textbook characters are those who have inherent powers for a host of different reasons. They may manifest due to a freak accident, a scientific experiment gone awry, a quirk of genetics, or some other mysterious process. This origin is all about ingrained abilities, and while a textbook character's powers may be temporarily neutralized by others somehow, they are not easily lost (or gained).
Technological characters are those who derive their powers from the application of knowledge. This application can come in the form of high tech devices, cybernetic implants, biological constructs, and a whole lot more stuff that we ordinary humans can barely imagine. It's important to keep in mind that most technological capabilities and advantages can be easily countered, disabled, or even stolen.
Sorcerous characters are those who, after intense study and training, have learned how to subtly alter probabilities. In doing so, a sorcerer can achieve feats that are seemingly impossible - but are in fact merely incredibly improbable. Sorcerers do not wield inherent powers, they simply access their fantastic abilities thanks to their considerable knowledge of the arcane and the obscure.
Psionic characters are they who have mastered the powers of the mind that are inherent to all sentient beings. Whether exerting control over themselves or the outside world, a psi has learned how to wield the full power of his or her very self thanks to intense meditations. Psionics are like talents, in that they are based upon what the psi knows, instead of alterations in their cellular makeup.
Immortal characters are those who are blessed with an evolved life force; while a physical evolution may give humans special abilities, a spiritual evolution grants them life eternal - or some form therein. Immortal characters may also include individuals who wield powers that persist while they do not, are simply blessed with an ageless existence, or even those imbued with powers by deific beings.
Combination characters do not readily fit into one of the neat categories above. They often possess characteristics of two (or more) of the above character origins, either where intentional blending occurs (such as a technomage or a deionicist), or some other merging. A combination character can be incredibly versatile, but care must be taken to make sure they do not step upon their own, proverbial toes.
Alien characters are non-human entities. Their species may have started out as human or some variant therein, but has since wandered into different territory. Aliens may also be creatures that neither had their beginnings amongst human specimens nor on earth proper, and are truly extraterrestrial or extraplanar in origin. Aliens may be 'stock' examples of their kind ('normals') or possess a power path all their own.
Once a character origin has been determined, simply refer to that portion of the Universal Heroes rules in order to continue / complete the character generation process. Unless, of course, you've decided to create an unpowered, 'normal' adventurer. In that case, simply read on, for the rules necessary to create a normal character in the Universal Heroes system follow below.
While the Universal Heroes is designed to cover all kinds of strange adventures in stranger locations, usually conducted by yet stranger characters, there's still room for completely normal people in the game. Normal characters are those who lack special powers of any variety. They do not fire heat beams from their eyes, control the weather, or destroy whole buildings with a mere thought.
But don't underestimate them! Normals in the Universal Heroes game are adventurers who can quite readily keep up with their powered brethren. While their teammates may have the ability to set anything they look at on fire, a normal has a staggering array of skills and resources with which to level the playing field. While a normal cannot fly, he or she can still run rings around their powered counterparts in a scrap.
Background and Style
Though normal human adventurers have many skills and weapons and whatnot, the most important part of such characters is their story. Why does such an individual do what they do? It takes an impressive person to throw down with costumed antagonists, whether or not they themselves wear Spandex ™. What's their motivation? Do they do their thing out of a sense of duty, or is it just a paycheck they're looking for?
These are the things that define a normal human adventurer. Their traits, quirks, skills, contacts, and equipment should be representative of what makes them tick. Mutants do what they do because of their freakish genes, while sorcerers can do what they do because of their occult studies. But a non-powered adventurer? His or her background and style should explain why they have all the capabilities they do.
This origin story will define many of the abilities, skills, contacts, and items they have access to. It will also (hopefully) help to define a certain 'style' representative of the character, one that sets them apart from others of their ilk. Many characters may wield guns or swords or whatever, but their background and their flair is what makes them unique compared to other, similarly capable folks.
Random (Dice Roll) Method
When generating normal human adventurers, use table A to generate Strength, Endurance and one mental ability score, table B to generate Fighting, Agility and another mental ability score, and finally table D to generate the remaining mental ability score (whichever of one's Reason, Intuition or Psyche has yet to be determined). Normals do not have access to hyperexhaustive or hyperkinetic ability ranks.
|Table A||Table B||Table C||Table D||Table E||Table F||Table G||Table H||Table I||Rank|
At this point, a 'gamble' may be rolled on any two ability scores the player desires. This allows him or her to shore up any shortcomings they may perceive, or otherwise lets them bulk up a character if they would like. Keep in mind that the character's ability scores must remain within the normal human maximums (as detailed in the Ability Scores section); drop an ability score to that level if a gamble raises it too far.
Once physical and mental ability scores are set, calculate the character's Health, Karma, negative Health, and mental Health scores. Normal Humans may determine their initial Resources rank on table B. Their Popularity score will initially be zero (0).
|(Shift X max.)||(Un 100 max.)||(Mn 75 max.)||(Am 50 max.)||(In 40 max.)|
Next up are Quirks. A normal human adventurer begins with four quirk points, which he or she may spend on beneficial quirks as they see fit - either purchasing one level 3 quirk, two level 2 or 'double cost' quirks, four level 1 quirks, or any combination therein. If the character would like even more, he or she may take on deleterious quirks to cover any difference their choices create.
While the quirks taken are entirely up to the player generating a character, random tables are presented for convenience, should the player not really know (or care) which quirks he or she begins play with - or for the Judge's use. Random quirks can be generated by rolling on table 37 to determine the type of quirk to be taken, while tables 38 through 42 showcase the individual quirks available.
Quirks with a (2) listed behind them count 'double', and cost (or grant) two quirk points. Quirks with a (*) notation may be taken in levels, costing (or granting) one point at level 1, two points at level 2, and four points at level 3.
|01-17||Physical (beneficial)||18-33||Physical (deleterious)||34-50||Mental (beneficial)|
|51-67||Mental (deleterious)||68-83||Role-Play (beneficial)||84-00||Role-Play (deleterious)|
|01-06||Acceleration Tolerance||07-12||Adrenal Surge||13-18||Ambidexterity|
|19-25||Fast Healing||26-31||Fighting Logistics||32-37||Gravity Tolerance (*)|
|38-43||Hardiness (2)||44-50||Heightened Sense||51-56||High Pain Threshold|
|57-62||Hypermobility||63-68||Learned Resistance (*)||69-75||Omnidexterity (2)|
|76-81||Rank Boost (2)||82-87||Strong Bones (*)||88-93||Sturdiness|
|01-05||Abnormal Attribute||06-11||Acceleration Intolerance||12-16||Addiction (*)|
|17-21||Albinism||22-27||Allergy (*)||28-32||Color Blind|
|33-37||Dulled Sense (*)||38-42||Dwarfism||43-47||Epilepsy|
|48-52||Feebleness||53-58||Gigantism||59-63||Gravity Intolerance (*)|
|64-68||Lameness||69-74||Low Pain Threshold||75-79||Missing Parts (2)|
|80-84||Rank Loss (2)||85-89||Slow Healing||90-94||Weak Bones (2)|
|01-08||3-D Sense||09-15||Alertness||16-23||Cybernetic Aptitude|
|24-31||Fortitude||32-38||High Stress Threshold||39-46||Karmic Shell (2)|
|47-54||Magical Aptitude||55-61||Natural Talent||62-69||Psionic Aptitude|
|01-03||Action Addict||04-06||Attitude (*)||07-08||Bluntness (*)|
|09-11||Bully (*)||12-14||Combat Paralysis (*)||15-17||Compulsiveness (*)||18-19||Cowardice (*)||20-22||Cyber-neurosis||23-25||Delusions (*)|
|26-28||Fanaticism (*)||29-31||Frenzied||32-33||Greed (*)||34-36||Gullibility (*)||37-39||Honesty (*)||41-42||Impulsiveness (*)|
|43-44||Inept (*)||45-47||Insanity (2)||48-50||Insomnia||51-53||Jealousy (*)||54-56||Karmic Dearth (2)||57-58||Laziness (*)|
|59-61||Learning Disorder||62-64||Low Stress Threshold (*)||65-67||Mania (*)||68-69||Multiple Personality (*)||70-72||Pacifism (*)||73-75||Paranoia (*)|
|76-78||Personal Code (*)||79-81||Phobia (*)||82-83||Pushover||84-86||Rudeness (*)||87-89||Short Attention Span||90-92||Shyness (*)|
|93-94||Stubborn (*)||95-97||Temper (*)||98-00||Vow (*)|
|38-36||Benefactor (*)||37-45||Cash Flow||46-54||Charmed|
|55-63||Fame (*)||64-72||Fan Club||73-81||Good Reputation|
|82-90||Likability (2)||91-00||Lucky (2)|
|01-06||Alien Culture (*)||07-11||Bad Reputation||12-17||Bigotry (*)|
|50-56||Nerd||57-61||Poverty||62-67||Repugnant Personality (*)|
|68-72||Snob||73-78||Social Dependent (*)||79-83||Unattractive (*)|
|84-89||Unlucky (2)||90-94||Unpleasant Habits (*)||95-00||Weirdness Magnet|
Perhaps the greatest advantage a normal human adventurer has over their powered counterparts is their extensive roster of Talents. The whole idea of a skilled normal is that he or she is, well, highly skilled. In order to determine the number of skills such a character has, make a roll on table 44 for a random number of skills, and then add six (6) to the value generated.
To generate random talents (should the player so choose), roll on table 45 to determine a talent category, and then on tables 46 through 53 to determine specific talents. Talents with a number listed in parenthesis after them count as that many talents (Military costs two talent 'slots', for instance), while any with an asterisk in parenthesis have a special cost; see their individual descriptions for more.
Most talents may be taken at higher levels; a level 2 talent occupies two talent 'slots', while a level 3 talent occupies four. Of course, it behooves the player to choose each talent they desire, as these will be the primary thing that gets them through a fight - whether with powered or unpowered opponents. Aside from any gear they carry, mind you.
|01-17||Two talents||18-33||Three talents||34-50||Four talents|
|51-67||Five talents||68-83||Six talents||84-00||Seven talents|
|01-25||Heir to Fortune (3)||26-50||Law Enforcement (2)||51-75||Military (2)|
|76-87||Sleight of Hand||88-00||Tactics|
|01-06||Acrobatics||07-12||Aerial Combat||13-18||Astral Combat|
|19-25||Martial Arts type A||26-31||Martial Arts type B||32-37||Martial Arts type C|
|38-43||Martial Arts type D||44-50||Martial Arts type E||51-56||Mounted Combat|
|57-62||Multiple Attacks||63-68||Spatial Combat||69-75||Targeting|
|76-81||Tumbling||82-87||Underwater Combat||88-93||Vehicular Combat|
|01-12||Escape Artist||13-25||First Aid||26-37||Gastronomy|
|38-50||Power Skill||51-62||Repair / Tinkering||63-75||Resist Domination|
|01-06||Agriculture||07-12||Artist||13-18||Business / Finance|
|19-24||Crime||25-29||Demolitions||30-35||Detective / Espionage|
|01-04||Advanced Guns||05-09||Blunt Weapons||10-14||Bows|
|15-19||Concussion Weapons||21-24||Energy Weapons||25-28||Entangling Weapons|
|29-33||Guns||34-38||Marksman||39-43||Martial Arts Weapons|
|44-48||Natural Weapons||49-52||Pole Weapons||53-57||Quick Draw|
|58-62||Sharp Weapons||63-67||Shields||68-72||Spontaneous Weapons||73-76||Thrown Objects||77-81||Thrown Weapons||82-86||Two Weapons|
|87-91||Weapon Skill||92-96||Weapon Specialist||97-00||Weapons Master (2)|
Contacts are people a character knows, above and beyond mere employees, employers, or acquaintances. A contact may be relied upon to aid characters during the course of their adventures, whether with information, materials, or direct intervention. Of course, a contact is a human being (or a group of such), and does not exist in a vacuum; lean on a contact too much and they'll ask for favors in return.
To choose contacts, begin by rolling for the number of initial contacts on table 54, and add six (6) to this result. Even more so than is the case with talents, a character should choose contacts to help flesh out his or her background, as well as to give themselves ready-built assistance during play - though some contact 'slots' may be held in reserve against future necessity if desired; these are known as 'floating contacts'.
However, a random rolling table for contact types is presented as well, that being table 55. This is mostly for the Judge's use when building random characters, but can offer good ideas if a player gets 'stuck'.
As is the case with most quirks and talents, a contact may be taken at multiple levels. Level 2 contacts occupy two contact 'slots', while level 3 contacts occupy four.
|01-17||Two contacts||18-33||Three contacts||34-50||Four contacts|
|51-67||Five contacts||68-83||Six contacts||84-00||Seven contacts|
|01-06||Aide||07-11||Artist / Performer||12-17||Business|
|34-39||Foreign Power||40-44||Government||45-50||Hero / Villain|
And Last, But Not Least
Finally, the player must decide what kind of gear the character possesses, whether they store it in a lair or carry it on their person. A normal adventurer will not have any equipment that is of an advanced, sorcerous, psionic, or deionic sort. As such, they can have any stuff readily available in their campaign. Mundane vehicles, weaponry, and electronics of any variety are that which the normal human adventurer wields.
This can be anything from a Desert Eagle ™ to a Jeep ™ to a Blackberry ™ - whatever materials the character ought to have as a function of their background and role. An adventurer who is known for her two-handed gun style and a predilection for playing music in the middle of a fight would presumably have the finest hand guns available, not to mention a few mp3 players in her pockets (since they get broken so easily).
The equipment a character will possess depends on their Resources rank. A character may automatically have any gear with a Resources rating equal to his or her Resources rank or less, and may start out with materials of up to their Resources rank +2 CS with but a small explanation (the character has a Porsche ™ that he paid off previously). Anything more exorbitant must be approved by the Judge, but isn't necessarily out of the question.
It's mostly just a matter of feasibility and availability at that point.
Systematic (Point Based) Method
As is the case with all other player characters, a normal human may be built with fifty (50) points. These points may be allocated as the player wishes, within a few constraints. To begin with, determine how far above (or below) the norm the character will be in each ability; for our purposes, the 'norm' will be Typical (6) rank. For every +1 CS a player applies to each spend one point, and for each -1 CS applied to these values, add one point.
All of these values must remain within the limits of a normal human character (as detailed in the Ability Scores section). Once these are set, calculate the character's Health, negative Health, Karma, and mental Health scores. Begin with Typical (6) Resources and a Popularity of zero (0). Resources may be raised (or lowered) for two points per CS, as opposed to the one point value for normal ability scores.
Popularity may also be raised at double the cost, but an opposed Popularity score (negative for heroes, positive for villains) is worth two points, no matter how great it is.
Next, the player must choose their character's quirks, talents, and contacts. They may spend their remaining points on any number of each, as long as they can afford the price. It's important to note that level 2 and 3 versions of these qualities require increasingly detailed explanations for their presence in the character's back story; one can have several level 3 talents, for example, but that would take a whole lot of dedication.
Of course, these should all be dependent on the character's background to begin with. If the player isn't too sure about the precise origins of their normal human adventurer, perhaps their quirks, talents, and contacts can help to expand on it somewhat. In fact, if the player has not completed their new character's background yet (assuming they didn't start with that step to begin with), they probably should do so at this point.
Finally, determine the equipment the character possesses. As is the case with randomly generated characters, normal humans built with the point based system may choose any standard gear that is readily available in the campaign, as long as it falls within a few CS of their Resources rank. If they want something more expensive, the player must give a good reason for such, though the Judge has veto power over improbable items.