Lets Create: Urban Jungle Characters – Bruno Brown and Felicia Flair

After a bit of time experimenting with character builds in Urban Jungle, I have come up with six I want to share, starting with two now. While the rules list character concepts as Species/Type/Career, I go with Type/Species/Career. I find that Broken Bear Vagrant and Famous Fox Actress sound better than Bear Broken Vagrant and Fox Famous Actress.

Speaking of, those are the two I shall be looking at first – Bruno Brown the Broken Bear Vagrant and Felicia Flair the Famous Fox Actress. You could compare all the various species, types and careers to work out the ‘best’ combo for the character you want, but for me I went with choices that sounded fun. Plus alliterations. All of the Urban Jungle characters I came up with have alliterations for no other reason than because I could.

Bruno Brown – Broken Bear Vagrant

Bruno Brown once had it all – a home, a good job, a loving family. But that it all gone now, fate having dealt him a cruel blow. With nothing but the clothes on his back, Bruno has lost everything but his sense of right and wrong.

Your first three choices are your species, type and career, which give you a good overview of what you’d like your character to be. In Bruno’s case that was a big bear who had been through the tough times of the depression and had yet to recover from it. A Bear is pretty obvious as to what it is; a big carnivore. A Broken character is one described as damaged goods but who still wants to do right – they have suffered some tragedy in the past. A Vagrant is the quintessential hobo, riding the rails, sleeping rough, doing what they can to make ends meet. In this case I felt that Broken and Vagrant went well together.

The choice of Bear gives him the skills of Endurance, Fighting and Presence, and the gifts of Giant and Wrestling.

The choice of Broken gives him the skills of Endurance, Evasion and Presence, the gift of Noncombatant and the soak of Frenzy Soak. I didn’t mention soaks previous, but they are ways of ‘soaking’ or reducing damage if you take it, and have limited uses.

The choice of Vagrant gives him the skills of Endurance, Negotiation and Observation, and the gifts of Streetwise and Survival.

You may notice all three unique traits give him access to the Endurance skill, so Bruno is very resilient. He needs to be after all that he has been through.

With his unique traits selected, it is time to assign dice. In Bruno’s case I decided to double down on just how big and tough he is by placing the D8s in Body and Species. He is an impressive specimen of a bear, as big and tough as they get. For his poor dice, I decide that will go in his Career. Bruno has only recently lost it all and been thrust into the life of a Vagrant, and he is still learning the tricks of the trade.

Traits: Body D8, Speed D6, Mind D6, Will D6, Species D8, Type D6, Career D4.

Just a few notes on the various skills and gifts so you can see what they do and get a better picture of what Bruno is like.

Endurance represents stamina, self-discipline and the ability to work through physical hardship. In combat everyone uses an endurance soak first, rolling body plus skill dice, with every success reducing damage by 1. If any damage remains, then they can use their gift soaks. In Bruno’s case he rolls 3D8 + 1D6, with 4 or higher being a success. Meaning he can take a lot of punishment.

Evasion is used for both sneaking about and also dodging attacks. The attacker rolls his fighting dice while the defender rolls his evasion dice. If the defender rolls higher, he is missed, otherwise he takes damage and has to ‘soak’ it.

Presence is used to make an impression of someone, which can range from trying to scare and intimidate someone or impress them in the forms of acting or making public speeches.

Fighting is all forms of hand-to-hand combat, whether it be fists, feet, knives or lumps of wood.

Negotiation is used to try and get people to do things for you, to give you things or to not do something. Basically when you are trying to get a minor advantage.

Observation is for spotting and hearing things, whether it be hidden clues or pick-pockets.

Noncombatant means that as long as Bruno doesn’t attack anyone he gets a bonus +D12 to all dodge rolls and to scramble (run away). If he does attack someone he looses the bonus for 24 hours.

Giant means that he has extra reach in combat and can claim a +D8 bonus to situations where being a giant would help, such as helping assist smaller teammates over tall walls or resisting intimidate attempts by smaller enemies, like mice.

Wrestling gives Bruno extra attacks he can use – Crush, Suplex, Throw and Wrestle – which are superior to simple fisticuffs.

Streetwise gives Bruno an understanding of the criminal element, resulting in a bonus +D12 to know and recognise criminals in the form of Academic and Observation checks, as well as gathering information through gossip. He can also buy illegal goods cheaper and sell them for more than regular people.

Survival is a bonus +D12 for dealing with the wilderness, for Academic, Observation and Endurance checks relating to foraging food, finding water and constructing shelters.

Frenzy Soak reduces damage by 2, and recharges when you hit an enemy with an attack.

The last choice we make is for his personality – Pacifist. Whenever he is in a situation where he is being a pacifist, he gains a bonus +D12 to rolls.

For his Gear we list what he receives from his unique traits; a keepsake from better times, a rough outfit and a bindle on a stick. Yeah, he doesn’t have much.

And lastly three key stats; initiative, dodge and rally. Initiative is Mind plus Observation; D6+D4. Dodge is Speed plus Evasion; D6+D6 (with bonus D12 for Noncombatant and Pacifist while not fighting back). Rally is Will plus Tactics (D6).

With all that we get an idea of what type of character Bruno is – a gentle giant despite all that has happened to him. Despite his size and strength and presence he doesn’t like to hurt people, and it takes a lot to provoke him, but if you poke a bear to much even he can snap. His people skills are limited, but he has started to get an understanding of them, especially the more criminal element. Being homeless and with little in the way of resources, he is also learning to survive it rough in the wilds.

Bruno Brown (Broken Bear Vagrant)

Traits: Body D8, Speed D6, Mind D6, Will D6, Species D8, Type D6, Career D4.

Skills: Endurance (+D6+D8+D8), Evasion (+D6), Presence (+D6+D8), Fighting (+D8), Negotiation (+D4), Observation (+D4)

Gifts: Noncombatant, Giant, Wrestling, Streetwise, Survival

Soaks: Frenzy Soak -2

Gear; Keepsake, Rough Outfit, Bindle on a Stick

Initiative; D6+D4. Dodge; D6+D6. Rally; D6.

Felicia Flair – Famous Fox Actress

Felicia Flair always dreamed of making it as a big star of the silver screen and now she has. Her rise has been meteoric and now everyone knows her and her name.

In Felicia’s case, I wanted something rather different. From the lows of Bruno I wanted to go to the highs, and there isn’t much higher than an actress. Not just any Actress though, a Famous one. I could have chosen any species, but to keep up the alliteration theme I chose a Fox.

Fox gives her the skills of Athletics, Endurance and Observation and the gifts of Coward and Danger Sense.

Famous gives her the skills of Deceit, Presence and Tactics, the gift of Leadership and the soak of Injury Soak.

Actress givers her the skills of Deceit, Observation and Presence and the gifts of Performance and Team Player.

Assigning dice for her, I want her to be at the top of her field and so I place the D8s in Type and Career. She is one of the most famous and best actresses around. Her poor dice I stick in Body. She is used to an easy life and has grown soft, not used to any form of hardship.

Traits: Body D4, Speed D6, Mind D6, Will D6, Species D6, Type D8, Career D8.

Some of the skills are already covered under Bruno but the new skills and gifts work as follows;

Athletics covers all kinds of outdoor sports, like climbing, jumping, swimming and riding.

Deceit is used for lying, cheating, disguises, pilfering and anything that uses a falsehood to get what she wants.

Tactics covers fighting co-ordination with teammates and helping them out. Felicia can gain bonus dice when targeting an enemy a teammate is threatening. She can also try to rally teammates who are dazed or panicked.

Coward gives a bonus D12 to dodge rolls while panicked – and you can choose to be panicked at any time by using your panic soak.

Danger Sense gives a bonus D12 to initiative, and for any skill checks to spot and avoid traps and other hazards.

Leadership gives a bonus D12 to attempts to rally friends, and to any presence roll when you try to exhort a crowd to action through a public speech, like leading workers in a strike against factory owners.

Performance results in a D12 bonus to any rolls relating to impressing a crowd with acting, music or another public performance.

Team Player allows you to assist other characters better. You get a D12 in it compared to a D8 everyone else gets.

Injury Soak allows you to soak up to 4 points of damage, but it can only be used once per rest and doesn’t recharge until after you get 8 hours sleep and a decent meal.

For her personality, Felicia is Flamboyant. She likes to be dramatic and the centre of attention, and when she is, she gets a bonus +D12. She is the star, not the supporting actor after all.

Her Gear is better than Bruno’s, naturally. She has an item like a nice purse, comb or compact that defines her image. For her I’ll go with a hairclip in the form of a blue butterfly. That is her signature piece. She also has a fancy outfit, a pocket pistol and a copy of a Shakespeare play, bookmarked to her favourite soliloquy.

For her derived stats, she has Initiative of 2D6+D8+D12, her Dodge is D6 (with a bonus D12 is she is panicked) and her Rally is D6+D8+D12.

Now that Felicia is built, we can see what kind of person she is, and that is very much a people person. She understands them and can manipulate them, both in a good and a bad way, as she needs. And because she understands people, she can lead and inspire them. Just don’t expect her to do much in a fight – she would rather run.

Felicia Flair – Famous Fox Actress

Traits: Body D4, Speed D6, Mind D6, Will D6, Species D6, Type D8, Career D8.

Skills: Athletics (+D6), Endurance (+D6), Observation (+D6+D8), Deceit (+D8+D8), Presence (+D8+D8), Tactics (+D8)

Gifts: Coward, Danger Sense, Leadership, Performance, Team Player

Soaks: Injury Soak -4

Gear: Hairclip, Fancy Outfit, Pocket Pistol, Shakespeare Play

Initiative: 2D6+D8+D12. Dodge: D6. Rally: D6+D8+D12.

That is, more or less, how you make a character. Next time we might take them out, put them through a couple of situations to see how they actually play.

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