Welcome back, dice fondlers! Last time, we talked about the world of Beast Hunters and its basic framework. This week, we’ll be looking at character creation and the various beasts we’ll actually be hunting. With that in mind, let’s dive right in and get creating!
What makes a Beast Hunter?
As we covered last week, the Beast Hunters are a special group even within the nomadic peoples of the Chel’qhuri. In their matriarchal society, which can range from egalitarian to oppressive, the Beast Hunters are the only group where all biases fall away. They have received specialized training even among their warrior people. So let’s take a look at what details define our character.
In order, they are Character Name, Hunter (or Player) Name, Initiative, Reward Points, Traits, Resources, Tattoos, and Damage Boxes.
Initiative is broken down into three scores: one each for social, mental, and physical. Initiative helps determine how quickly a character can react in a conflict. Traits are broken down like Initiative, but also into offensive and defensive categories. These are not static numbers like in D&D, but individually named abilities that can run the gambit from “Bloodthirsty Brute” to “Raised By Ghosts” to “Trained In Spear And Axe.”
When attempting to complete actions, Traits must be relevant for you to use them, but they can never be denied to you in applicable situations. Where Traits represent how skilled a character is inherently, Resources contribute to the same abilities, but Resources can be denied characters by someone cutting off their social ties or stealing their ceremonial spear. Beast Hunter Tattoos are artifacts of great power. The Elders of the tribe use the blood of beasts that a hunter has slain to imbue them with special abilities that are always active. Finally, characters also have Damage Boxes for each domain (social, mental, physical). Damage Boxes also come in five levels: Light, Medium, Heavy, Incapacitating, and Fatal.
Now, when we start actually creating the character, our initiative begins at one in each domain (physical, mental, social). We also have one Damage Box at each level to start with. We don’t have any Traits or Resources yet. As we start adding them, we can have a maximum of three per domain. Also, as we add Damage Boxes, we cannot have more of a worse injury type that the type above it. For example, if I have three Light Damage Boxes, my cap on Medium Damage Boxes is three as well. Let’s start working through the steps of creating our Beast Hunter.
Step One – Parents.
During this step, we add three Traits from our character’s parents. These would be things like “Trust the Elders (Social, Defensive)” or “My Mother Trained The Weakness From Me (Mental, Defensive).” You also have two Resources, which can be things like “Family Heirloom Spear (Physical, Offensive)”. You also choose to raise one Initiative domain by one. You also get one Light and one Medium Damage Box in a domain of your choice.
Step Two – Tribe.
In this step, you gain two more Traits and two more Resources. These have to be based on things you’ve inherited from your Tribe. Now is also the time that you’d name your individual tribe. Finally, you gain one more Initiative raise, as well as one more Light Damage Box, both in the domain of your choice.
Step Three – Enemies.
Use this step to think about what enemies you’ve created in your life so far. From these experiences, you gain three Traits, and one Resource. You also get to raise an Initiative domain by one, and gain one more Light Damage Box.
Step Four – Beast Hunter Training.
In this step, you gain two Traits and one Resource that pertains to the rigorous and specialized training you received to become a Beast Hunter. If you haven’t chosen to give yourself traits regarding your ceremonial weapons yet, now is a great time to add them. You also gain one more Initiative domain raise, as both a Light and a Medium Damage Box. Damage Boxes can be applied however you choose, as long as you remember that you can’t have more Medium Damage Boxes than you do Light Damage boxes in a given domain.
Step Five – Apply Numbers.
At this point, you have 10 Traits and 6 Resources. Each Trait gets assigned a rank, as does each Resource, ranging from +1 to +3. You have two +3s, four +2s, and four +1s to distribute among your Traits. You have one +3, two +2s, and three +1s to distribute among your Resources. Once you have your numbers applied, you’re done! You have a character ready to run their first Hunt and afterward, hopefully claim their first Tattoo.
Let’s move on to the subject of Beasts. While players from other game systems might immediately be tempted to make their own Beasts (and it really isn’t terribly hard to if you’re a mechanics minded game master), I advise against it. The mechanics of Beast Hunters are so wrapped up in its setting that there is something to be gained from putting characters through the paces of hunting the vicious, cat-sized reptiles called the Hektaran all the way up to eventually facing the mythical Qhurm that no living Beast Hunter has ever laid eyes upon. The story you tell should be based on the tribe, the environment, and the circumstances more than focusing on how to completely alter the Beasts. Further, as each Beast slew grants a Hunter a Tattoo that gives them permanent bonuses (like slaying the Hektaran grants +2 Physical Defense to all rolls requiring speed and agility.
With that, we’ve taken a hefty bite out of Beast Hunters! Next week, we’ll take a look at another random game. Between now and then, remember to…