The measure of man is the measure of all things.
Statistics are your character’s…well, their stats. They are the most important aspect of the character: they influence everything he or she does in the world. They show how smart or lucky they are, how much stuff they can carry, how much health they have, how fast they get their health back, how fast they are in combat, how well they resist certain things, and a lot more. There are two different kinds of statistics: Primary, and Secondary.
- 1 Primary Statistics
- 1.1 Examples: Choosing a Race, Traits, and Primary Statistics
- 1.2 Primary Statistics: Descriptions
- 1.3 Secondary Statistics
- 1.4 Examples: Calculating Secondary Statistics and Adding Race and Trait Modifiers
After making a character concept, choosing a race, and picking a trait or two, the player must decide on a character's Primary Statistics. Primary Statistics influence the Secondary Statistics (see below), and are sometimes rolled against to determine different effects (Perception to notice a thief filching your wallet, etc). All characters start with a certain number of Character Points, determined by race, which are then distributed among the seven statistics. Statistics can never go below racial minimums and can never go above racial maximums, even with adjustments from Traits, unless otherwise noted. In addition, all Character Points must be used and distributed; a character can never “fault” himself and start with fewer than the entitled amount of Character Points.
If you chose a trait that affects a Statistic, keep this in mind as you are distributing your points. Remember to adjust Statistics for Traits after assigning your points.
Examples: Choosing a Race, Traits, and Primary Statistics
Jack wants to make a hand-to-hand fighting character. He thinks playing a fighting mutant would be fun, and his character concept is something along the lines of one of those lovable mugs like Rocky Balboa. Jack decides the Heavy Handed trait will work well for him. Statistically, Jack begins with:
STR 5 PE 5 EN 5 CH 5 IN 5 AG 5 LK 5
Since these statistics fit within the racial parameters for a Mutant, Jack is OK so far. Jack decides a fighter needs to be more agile and strong, so he allocates 2 points to STR and 3 points to AG:
STR 7 PE 5 EN 5 CH 5 IN 5 AG 8 LK 5
Jack decides his character doesn't need to be all that attractive, but could stand to be a little more lucky. He takes a point from CH and adds it to LK:
STR 7 PE 5 EN 5 CH 4 IN 5 AG 8 LK 6.
None of these statistics are too high or too low for the Mutant racial parameters. Jack's character is well on his way to becoming a post-nuclear pugilist.
Jane wants to make a character that can fast-talk her way out of any situation. She thinks a human would work best for that kind of job in the wastes, so she will be working with normal racial maximums and minimums. She also thinks the Sex Appeal trait will be beneficial, so she makes a note of that trait on her character sheet.
She begins by allocating 2 points to CH to make her character more likable, 2 points to IN to give her character a better grasp of the world, and 1 point to PE so her character is more aware:
STR 5 PE 6 EN 5 CH 7 IN 7 AG 5 LK 5.
Jane decides a character that relies on her wit doesn't need to be strong, so she takes one point away from STR and one from EN. She then allocates these to luck.
STR 4 PE 6 EN 4 CH 7 IN 7 AG 5 LK 7.
She now has a post-nuclear version of a lawyer.
Primary Statistics: Descriptions
A complete description of Primary Statistics, with their use, is provided below.
A measure of your character's physical strength and muscle power. Characters with a high Strength probably spent a lot of time in the gym in high school. Characters with low Strength probably got beat up by the characters with high Strength. This statistic is used in the secondary statistics Carry Weight and Melee Damage. All weapons have a minimum Strength requirement as well. Rolls against Strength are used when characters try to break doors down, bend the bars on their prison cell, and do other feats that require sheer muscle power.
Perception is your character's awareness and "street-smarts," sometimes called instinct or a "sixth sense." Perceptive characters notice details instantly, like smells, sounds, and sights that don't fit a "normal" picture. Perceptive characters tend to be able to read another person's reactions, and can even tell when another person is lying. They can also make long-distance shots in combat that no one else can make. Highly perceptive characters are private investigators or snipers. Characters with low Perception walk about in their own little world. This statistic is used in the Sequence secondary statistic, and in several skills such as Lockpick, Traps, First Aid, and Doctor. The primary use of this statistic is to determine the maximum distance your character can shoot a ranged weapon effectively. The better the score, the farther you can accurately shoot. A high Perception is imperative for a sniper. Rolls against Perception are used when there is a little detail the character has a chance of noticing, such as the glisten off the scope of the sniper taking an aim at his or her head.
Endurance measures the body’s constitution and overall health. Characters with a high Endurance have great immune systems, good cardiovascular fitness, and can outrun and outswim others. Characters with high Endurance can swim across the English Channel. Characters with low Endurance can drown in the kiddie pool. The Hit Point, Poison Resistance, Radiation Resistance, and Healing Rate secondary statistics are based on Endurance, which also modifies a character's Survival skills. Endurance is used to determine if burst hits knock characters down, or even unconscious. Rolls against Endurance determine things like whether your character can hang on to that rope over a canyon, or can resist the deadly cloud of bacteria some renegade scientist just sprayed in his or her face.
Charisma measures how physically attractive your character is and how adept they are at knowing exactly what to say and do in social situations. Beauty as well as grace and leadership ability contribute to Charisma. A Charismatic character will be the leader of the pack, and everyone will follow his or her orders. John F. Kennedy was charismatic; Dan Quayle was not. No secondary statistics are based on Charisma. It heavily influences the Barter and Speech skills. Rolls against Charisma are made when a character is attempting to schmooze past some guards or trying to pick someone up in a bar.
Intelligence is a character's higher reasoning power. Characters with high intelligence have better memories and are better at solving problems than people with low intelligence. Albert Einstein, Napoleon, and Alexander the Great had high intelligence. General Custer, Forrest Gump, and the guy in "Sling Blade" did not. No secondary statistics are based on intelligence. Many of the non-combat skills use it for their base values, however. Intelligence also determines the number of skill points your character gains each level (see Advancement: Experience in Chapter V: Advancement). Rolls against Intelligence are made when characters are attempting to guess a password or determine the pattern sequence of electric charges running through the pattern on the floor.
Agility measures the speed of a character's reactions. More or less, Agility describes how quickly an impulse is received by the brain, is encoded into the appropriate message, travels through the Central Nervous System, and reaches the character's arm, which jerks out of the way right before a bullet hits it. Characters with high Agility are jugglers and acrobats. Characters with low Agility dance with two left feet. This statistic is the basis for the Armor Class and Action Point secondary statistics. It modifies the greatest number of skills as well, especially combat skills. Rolls against Agility are made when your character dodges a poison dart trap or attempts to jerk his arm out of the sewer before a mutated rat bites it off.
Perhaps the most ambiguous statistic, Luck is everything and nothing. Characters with a high amount of Luck just tend to have things go their way, and characters with a low amount of Luck always seem to be standing under the scaffolding just when someone drops that brick. Luck directly affects the Critical Chance secondary statistic as well as influences Social skills. Rolls against Luck are made at the GM's discretion; Luck rolls can determine if, when your character is out of ammo and lying half-unconscious on the ground, he happens to find that loaded shotgun lying concealed and forgotten in the dust.
After determining Primary Statistics, the player needs to calculate the Secondary Statistics. Remember that racial and trait bonuses and penalties need to be applied to Secondary Statistics. Formulae for determining initial levels of Secondary Statistics are given with the description of each stat. Secondary Statistics are in different places on the character sheet, usually grouped together – protective stats are all in one place, and attacking stats are in another.
HIT POINTS (HP)
Perhaps the most important statistic in the game, as hit points determine whether your character is alive and breathing or dead and rotting. Dead characters cannot be played or revived, ever. Hit points can be recovered with time, drugs, the correct skills, or an able doctor. The base number of hit points is 15 + (STR + (2 X EN)). In addition, a character gains more maximum hit points for every level equal to 3 + 1/2 EN, rounded down (see Advancement: Experience in Chapter V: Advancement). It should go without saying that hit points can never be healed above the maximum.
If hit points drop to zero, your character does not die instantly. A character whose hit points are between 0 and -5 is knocked unconscious; they slump to the ground and cannot move. That character begins to recover hit points as if they were resting (see Healing Rate, below). That means that an unconscious character will eventually wake up, although it may take several hours or even days. Until then, they must be carried or protected until recovery. For more information, see Damage and Death in Part III below.
ARMOR CLASS (AC)
Maybe the second most important statistic in the game, Armor Class increases the chance that a character can dodge a blow, or their armor will deflect a shot (or turn that shot into a non-damaging glancing blow). Armor Class is measured as a percentage. Your character's base Armor Class is equal to their Agility. In addition, any armor they are wearing can make their Armor Class even higher. For instance, if your character's Agility is 6 and they don a leather jacket with an armor class of 5, their AC is now 11(%). Armor Class affects the chance to hit; in the above example, if the mutant sniper was trying to take a potshot at the character in the spiffy leather coat, his chance to hit would be reduced by 11%.
ACTION POINTS (AP)
This is perhaps the third most important statistic in the game, as it may mean the difference between reloading your gun and firing that final shot, or staring at your empty sidearm as a rocket explodes in your chest. APs are the number of actions your character can take each turn in combat. Moving one hex (one meter) costs 1 AP. Reloading a weapon often takes 2 APs. Making a shot often takes 5 AP. A character’s base action points are equal to 5+ (1/2 AG, Round Down). Therefore, all characters start with at least 5 APs, and it is possible to have more than 10 APs.
How much equipment your character can carry on his back, in his pockets, or in his backpack and fanny pack. Every item in the game weighs something. Carry Weight is 25 lbs + (25 X STR). A character with 6 STR can carry 175 lbs of equipment. Now, finding room for that much stuff may be a problem...
MELEE DAMAGE (MD)
This is how much damage your character does in unarmed combat and combat with melee weapons. The more melee damage your character does, the harder she or he hits. Strong characters can hit very hard; weak characters might do less damage or make blows so pitiful that they do no damage at all. Melee damage is equal to ST-5.
Even in the post-nuclear world, there are certain chemicals that just don't mix well with human anatomy. Poison resistance is equal to 5 X EN. A character with an endurance of 6 will have a 30% Poison Resistance. That means they have a 30% chance of their liver safely metabolizing the poison. See Poison Damage in Combat: Damage and Death in Part III.
In the post-nuclear world, radiation is always a concern. Some places are naturally radioactive, like the blast centers where nukes went off. Some are more radioactive than others; near the center of the blast, you are guaranteed to find more rads than 5 miles away. Radiation Resistance is equal to 2 X EN. It can be increased with chems (see Equipment: Chems) and with certain kinds of armor (see Equipment: Armor). A character with an 8 EN has 16% radiation resistance. This means that 16% of the rads that hit his skin do not go in. If he was standing at the rim of a blast crater and was taking 1000 rads every ten minutes (!), only 840 of those rads would enter his body. That still means he's going to glow like a lightbulb, but his skin won't fall off - right away.
One of the nastier weapons in the wastes, gas attacks can cause massive amounts of damage to a large number of people, or cover a large area in a relatively small amount of time. Some gasses do not damage a target, but are merely designed to incapacitate it. Gas Resistance is based entirely on armor, race, and equipment. There are two kinds of gas attacks: Inhaled and Contact gasses. Inhaled gasses must enter the lungs before causing ill effects; Contact gasses are more like clouds of acid vapor, damaging any biological substance they come into contact with. Gas resistance is given in a X/X number, with the first variable representing Inhaled gasses and the second variable representing Contact gasses. Unless they have a racial modifier, starting Gas Resistance is always 0/0. Note that robots are never affected by gas attacks.
This measures how resistant a character is to electricity. Whenever the character takes damage from electricity, the amount of damage is reduced by their electricity resistance (a percentage). Unless a character’s race has built-in electrical damage, this number always starts at 0.
Damage Threshold represents the actual amount of damage that a piece of armor can stop. Note that on the character sheet, there is no Damage Threshold under Secondary Statistics; rather, it is under Armor. A character does not have any actual Damage Threshold until he or she is wearing armor of some kind, unless that character’s race includes some built-in armor. See Before Combat: Wearing Armor in Part III, below.
Sequence determines who goes first in a combat round. Of course, if you are the one initiating the combat, you automatically get to go first (you sneak up on a guard and clobber him in the head), but all the combat turns after that get broken down by Sequence, with highest Sequence going first, and so on down the line (see Combat: Sequence in Part III). Sequence is equal to 2 X PE.
Life possesses the remarkable ability to heal itself naturally. Your character's Healing Rate is the number of hit points they heal naturally in a day (24 hours) of activity, or in six hours of resting. Healing Rate is equal to 1/3 EN, Round Down. A character with 7 EN would have a healing rate of 2 and heal 2 hit points in a 24-hour period where he or she was active (fighting, walking around, etc) and will heal 8 hit points in any 24 hour period where he or she is resting (sleeping, watching TV, etc.) See Healing under Combat: Damage and Death in Part III, below. Note that Robots do not naturally heal themselves, and therefore automatically have a Healing Rate of “0”.
This is the base chance to cause a critical hit in combat. High weapons skills and weapons of high quality can modify this number later. If a to-hit roll is successful and low enough that it fell within the character’s Critical Chance, the hit becomes critical (see Combat: Chance for Criticals in Part III). A base Critical Chance is equal to a character's Luck. A character with 3 Luck has a 3% base chance to critical hit.
Examples: Calculating Secondary Statistics and Adding Race and Trait Modifiers
Jack and Jane calculate their characters’ secondary statistics. Jack's maximum Hit Points is 32; Jane's is 27. Jack's Armor Class is 8, and because he is a mutant, it probably won't get a whole lot better. Jane's AC is only 5, but she can find some armor and protect herself a little better. Jack gets 9 Action Points and Jane gets 7. Jack's Carry Weight is 200 lbs, where Jane's is only 125. Jack's Melee Damage is a whopping 4 points because of his Heavy-Handed trait, and Jane's is only 1. Jack enjoys a 45% Poison Resist and Jane gets 20%; Jack's Radiation Resist is 60% because of his race and Jane's is 8%. Neither character has any Gas Resistance, but Jane has an innate 30% Electricity Resistance (Jack’s is 0). Jack has 10 Sequence, but Jane is faster at 12. Jack's Healing Rate is 1 HP, and Jane's is 1 as well. Jack gets a 6% chance to deal a critical hit (LK 6), but Jane gets a 7% (LK 7).