Character Development: The Black Hack

Welcome to a new series of weekly articles about character building. Specifically, I have literally dozens of RPGs, several of which I’ve never even played. As an exercise in creativity, I’m going to build characters for each system and post the results here. But I’m going to take it a step further. Rather than just post the finished characters, I’m going to walk you through the character creation process and give insights into how and why I made the decisions that result in the finished product.

black hackOur first system is The Black Hack, a relative newcomer on the scene. The Black Hack takes the core mechanic behind a certain well-known fantasy role-playing game and modifies it to create a distinct and unique system. Based around the original Dungeons & Dragons rules, it creates a very playable and user-friendly system that is easily modified to meet your personal needs, as indicated by the library of “hacks” that are in existence (such as The Drac Hack, which provides stats for “your favorite Gothic horror adventure” (yes, that one), The Pulp Hack, which puts the action into the 1930’s, or The Bikini Hack, which moves the story to a 60’s beach party). For our purposes, we’ll just be using the basic rules as described in The Black Hack. The Black Hack is available through Drive-Thru RPG for the incredible price of only $2.00!

To begin with, I’ll generate my six stats, in order: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. My first result is a 17. According to the rules, my next stat must be rolled as 2d6+2, rather than 3d6. After that, I return to 3d6 unless another 15 or higher is rolled. My other rolls are 5, 15, 4, 12, and 10. My stats, in correct order, are:

STRength 17
DEXterity 5
CONstitution 15
INTelligence 4
WISdom 12
CHArisma 10

I’m permitted to swap any two scores, and I think that, given my stats, the big, dumb fighter is probably my best bet. I’ll swap Dexterity and Wisdom, so my new array looks like:

STRength 17
DEXterity 12
CONstitution 15
INTelligence 4
WISdom 5
CHArisma 10

Next up, I need to choose a class. I’ve already said that I’ll go with the big, dumb fighter, so Warrior it is. A Warrior rolls 1d10+4 for hit points. I rolled a 6, for a total of 10.

Finally, I get 3d6x10 coins. A roll of 11 nets me 110 coins. Not a lot to purchase all that I need, but it will have to do.

I get a set of clothes and a 1-handed weapon as allowed by my class, so I’ll spend 100 coins on a set of leather armor. I’d like to have a shield, but I can’t afford one, so that will have to wait. With my remaining 10 coins, I’ll purchase a backpack, six torches, a set of iron spikes, and a flint & steel. I don’t have enough to purchase food or a waterskin, much to my chagrin. I’ll have to hope for the charity of others in the group, I guess.

I need to name my character now. Nothing too fancy, given his intelligence. I think that “Rolf” will do nicely. Rolf has always been a bit on the slow side, typically performing manual labor for his bread and butter. Recently, however, a group of strangers came to town and told him that they would pay him to come with them and fight alongside them. They gave him some coin and told him where to meet them the following morning. Rolf is now a proud member of the Company of the Four.

ROLF
Fighter 1

STR 17
DEX 12
CON 15
INT 4
WIS 5
CHA 10

10 HP

EQUIPMENT
Leather (4 armor points)
Iron Spikes
Torches (6) [d6 usage dice] Backpack
Flint & steel
1-hand weapon (1d8)

That’s all I need to know to play. If you feel like there is something missing, there is, but all of that falls under game mechanics and the objective here is to create a character, not explain game mechanics (which are very simple). Pick up a copy for yourself and check it out!

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