Monday, April 19, 2010

New Character Race: The Time-Displaced

Hit Dice: 1d6 per point of CON
Mutations: none

The denizens of the Mutant Future live amongst the ruined flotsam of Those Who Came Before. Occasionally, one of these historical outcasts will somehow surface, finding him or herself in the post-apocalyptic hellscape.

The term "Time-Displaced" refers to any character or NPC who is ripped from the period prior to Final Wars that lead to the destruction of society. This does not mean, however, that the character comes from a time just prior to the apocalypse. A Roman Centurion, a 1950s suburban housewife, and a soldier plucked from the frontlines of the Final Wars would all fall into the category of "Time-Displaced." Obviously the skill sets and technical knowledge each possesses will be vastly different, so it will be up to the Mutant Lord to help guide the player in the development of the character's background and abilities. More on that later.

Rather than rolling up a character’s ability scores at the outset, it is more important to initially determine the time period the Time-Displaced arrived from. (It is more common to encounter a Time-Displaced character who hails from the recent past rather than from prehistory. However, the occasional "defrosted Viking" has been encountered in the wastelands.) To determine what time period the character hails from, roll 1d20 and refer to the table below:

1. Stone Age (pre-3500 BC)
2. Metal Ages (Copper, Bronze, Iron - 3500 BC to 1000 AD)
3. Middle Ages (1000 to 1500 AD)
4-6. Age of Discovery (1500 to 1800 AD)
7-13. Modern Age (1800 to 2000 AD)
14-20. Pre-Apocalyptic Age (2000 AD to The Final Wars)

If desired, now would be a good time to flesh out HOW the character ended up in the Mutant Future. Some of the more common ways include:
    * Deliberate (or accidental) freezing via cryogenics or suspended animation device. This character would be automatically released due to a preset timelock or perhaps discovered by an adventuring party.
    * A time-traveling experiment in the past went awry, hurling the hapless character forward in time. Or a still-running time-traveling device in the Mutant Future reaches back through time and pulls the character to the "present."
    * The character drops into a state of hibernation when they are overcome by a harsh frozen environment, ie, “frozen caveman in a block of ice”. They revive once they thaw.
    * The PC steps through a naturally occurring rift in the space-time continuum that promptly seals behind them after they are dropped into the Mutant Future.
    * The character could have found a way to slow or stop the aging process, and they are actually thousands of years old.
Once the background is fleshed out, the character’s abilities can be rolled. Over the centuries, the abilities of the average human has changed as well. To reflect this, the player should roll their abilities as normal, with the following exceptions:

*** Stone Age characters were strong and hearty, necessary to carry them through the daily task of just trying to survive in the harsh environment of the prehistoric world. Stone Age characters receive a +3 bonus to their STR and CON rolls. They also receive a +4 damage bonus when they hit with any handheld weapon due to their brutishness in combat. However, they have a –15% to their Technology Roll Modifier having never before encountered anything more complex than a rabbit snare. They may even be frightened or overwhelmed by high-tech equipment, equating it with “magic.”

*** Metal Age characters were there for the invention and refining of metal weapons and have refined their abilities and fighting skills to reflect this. They receive a +3 bonus to their STR and DEX rolls. They also receive a +4 to hit bonus with any handheld weapon to reflect their fighting skills. They have a –5% to their Technology Roll Modifier, but they will not fear high-tech, knowing it to be simply machinery they do not understand.

*** Middle Age characters hail from the “Age of Enlightment,” when mankind was beginning to unravel the mysteries of the world around him using the scientific method. Art, civility, and exploring the human condition were most important. To reflect this, characters from the Middle Ages receive a +4 bonus to their CHA and WIL rolls. Middle Age characters were experimenting with ranged weapons like bows, crossbows, and some primitive firearms, so they receive a +2 to hit with ranged weapons. They also receive a +5% to their Technology Roll Modifier, as they have a basic understanding of some of the mechanical principles at work.

*** Age of Discovery characters have begin to spread out and explore their world. They are known for being nomads and travelers as they traversed the world, discovering new lands and new cultures. They have built up their endurance and dexterity to make these voyages, so they receive a +4 bonus to their CON and DEX rolls. Characters from this era have practiced extensively with ranged weapons in order to protect and feed themselves while in the wild. They receive a +2 damage bonus when using a ranged weapon. They also receive a +10% to their Technology Roll Modifier, as they are on the cusp of the modern age of invention.

*** Modern Age characters come from what would be the player’s actual time period – the real world “present.” Modern Age characters are headstrong in more ways than one, giving them a +4 bonus to their INT and WIL rolls. Modern Age characters have evolved with a knowledge of most forms of weaponry and thus receive a +1 bonus to hit and +1 to damage with all weapons, both handheld and ranged. They also receive a +15% to their Technology Roll Modifier, as they are very tech-savvy.

*** Pre-Apocalyptic Age characters come from our “future” - the period just before the bombs fell. They are responsible (or at least experienced with) the advanced tech of that period, inventing most of the high-tech devices, vehicles, and weaponry so coveted by the mutants of the Mutant Future. Because of their advanced knowledge and their personal savoir faire, Post-Modern Age characters receive a +4 to their INT and CHA rolls. They receive no bonuses on their combat/to hit rolls (they let their androids do their fighting, or they just dropped bombs from a distance). However, they receive a +25% to their Technology Roll Modifier, as they were responsible for the creation of many of those devices and would have first-hand experience or knowledge of them.

All Time-Displaced characters calculate their hit points by rolling 1d6 per point of CON. Since they were not raised in the harsh, bizarre environment of the Mutant Future, they receive a –2 saving throw adjustment when saving versus the effects of poisons or radiation. Also, no Time-Displaced PCs will be found with mutations of any kind and will not mutate if exposed to radiation (although they will take damage from the exposure).