Monsters & Magic – a sample character
Let’s look at some of the differences. First, you’ll see there are two types of hit points – physical and mental. Monsters & Magic lets you engage in not just physical, sword-and-board combat, but also fear attacks, intimidation, battles of will, debates, social browbeating, madness attacks, and much more. Also, hit points in general are quite a lot higher – conflict of any kind is dangerous in Monsters & Magic, but at the same time PCs are generally more than one-hit-and-you’re-dead mooks, even at 1st level.
Next, check out hero points: that’s a resource that you’ll use for many purposes in the game. Hero points are scarce, but you can gain them during play, and use them to do cool stuff, including determining how you react to a successful attack against you. Effects and consequences are the flipside of hit points – they’re things like temporary advantages, good positioning, tactical perks, wounds, “conditions”, etc, which have a game-related effect. Hit points may measure how far you are from death or defeat, but effects and consequences measure just how your current state affects what you do.
Traits are key in Monsters & Magic – they’re a way of defining your character’s boundaries, what he or she can do. More traits aren’t necessarily better than fewer in any numerical sense – if anything, having more traits broadens what your character can do. A character with fewer traits will be just as competent in those areas as one with more traits. Whether you want more traits is a decision about the nature of your character, not necessarily about how powerful he or she is. You get traits from your character class and race, but also from your personal background choices and also from the decisions you make as you level up.
There’s lots more to say here – check out your alignment focus and drift, for example, for an idea of how your character’s decisions may affect play. But, hopefully, you should feel pretty much at home on this character sheet. We’ve spent the past months writing out some of our favourite old school characters on this character sheet, and running them through our favourite old school modules. Which character would you write up, and which module would you play?
Normandy, May 2013