Hey there! Welcome to the Apocalypse’s after party! Today, I’m going to slip you some sick info about making mercenaries for my brand new game. You’re playing mercenaries, or mercs, who take on shitty jobs in return for bullets, food, and other increasingly scarce supplies to survive in a world that has gone to hell. Now, before we move on, I should mention that the Demon Lord Engine powers this game. If you know how to play Shadow of the Demon Lord, you should be good. If you have no clue about Demon Lord (what, pray tell, are you waiting for? Go out and snag a copy! Each copy sold helps feed starving cats!), the game system uses familiar elements so you should be pick up the system without any trouble. OK. We’ll slip into that warm mayonnaise bath later. For now, let’s look at making characters.
Step 1. Attributes
PA uses a set of eight attributes to broadly describe the kinds of shenanigans you might get yourself into. They are Muscles, Meat, Hands, Feet, Brains, Eyes, Mouth, and Guts. Using these should be pretty self-explanatory. You want to lift something heavy? You’re going to use Muscles. You want to run away from Mungalunga chasing you? Feet is your attribute. You want to keep the warlord from cutting off your head before you get a chance to explain what you were doing in her liquor cabinet? Mouth.
Each attribute has a score and a modifier. The attribute score is the target number for rolls made against you and the modifier is the number you add to your d20 roll when you want to do something and it’s not clear if what you want to happen will happen. Scores are numbers between 1 and 20. Modifiers are scores minus 10. If you’re playing it safe, you can use the default scores of 13, 12, 11, 10, 10, 10, and 9. Stick one in each attribute until you’ve placed them all. The game also includes a random method for folks who feel lucky.
Step 2. Background
Everyone on your team is going to be a mercenary, but before you start rooting around the wasteland, beating the shit out of gangers, mutants, and V Reichers, you were somebody. The main book includes eight backgrounds such a drifter, ganger, and muscle. Here’s a sample just wait for a kiss from your eyeballs.
You’ll see from the above that your background boosts one of your attributes, gives you some languages (draw them from the languages currently spoken), a talent, and some starting gear. Junk, in this case, is a bit of fun, randomly determined that might give you a quirk, something weird, or something funny (or not). For example, as a starting piece of junk, you might have a stack of porno mags, a DIVX player, a dongle, or a rubber mask of a dead president.
Step 3. Other Stuff
Here you’re going to fill in your character sheet. You start by plugging in your modifiers. Remember, these are the scores minus 10. It’s not hard math. You also have a Defense score, Health score, Grit (use this to heal damage), Education (which gives you access to specialties that reflect the shit you’ve learned to do), Speed, Size, Mutagen (to determine if you get mutations), and Missions (think levels, but sexier).
Step 4. Character Details
This optional section includes a slew of tables to help you flesh out your character. These tables cover age, looks, distinguishing features, and some names (samples include Lips, Hog, Nugget, Crow, and filthier names).
That’s it. Fast and simple. That’s it for this week. Next time, we’ll take a look at the rules.