Final Thoughts on Character Generation

Final Thoughts on Character Generation

(Because a Cinematic System character is never complete..)

The Cinematic System Character Creation Checklist: Does your character have..

  1. The usual shit – a species, class, alignment, equipment, genocidal tendencies and a deep, overriding sense of greed.
  2. 9 total stats: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma, Comeliness, Luck, and Speed.
  3. Special Points: 1 Fate Point, 1 Conditional Fate Point, d4 + [Luck modifier] Character Points, Toughness Points equal to your Constitution modifier, Stat Points as per The 4th die rule and your background skill selections..
  4. Other Special Points you have yet to beg/barter/bribe for..
  5. Cinematic Hit Points (C.H.P.), awarded by the DM..
  6. An equal amount of Beneficial and Non-Beneficial Sub-Stats. Recall that at minimum, a character will have [its level] + 4 of each; at maximum, a starting character can have up to its Charisma modifier in additional beneficial and non-beneficial sub-stats.
  7. A Fighting Style, and weapon skill points.
  8. Background Skills, selected by placing your (4 + Charisma modifier) x 5 background skill points. Your DM might allow you to choose these, or she may have you roll them randomly.
  9. Possible extra languages: Starting characters gain up to their Intelligence modifier in additional starting languages (beyond what their species description argues they have), with as many ranks to spend in these language skills as their Intelligence score. Thus, characters with no (or negative) Intelligence modifiers do not receive additional starting languages. These are almost never randomly determined.
  10. Positive and Negative Quarks – these are usually rolled randomly, and we have tables for how many a character receives as well. As a general rule, characters have the same number of Positive and Negative Quarks. We recommend a minimum of two pairs, but that’s up to you.
  11. Neutral Quarks – these round-out your character and your character’s background story. Players roll as many as they want, usually adding 6-12 of them to their character’s history.
  12. A hyper-detailed Background Narrative, which incorporates each of the unique Cinematic elements into an interesting, holistic story. Players write these stories on their own, and Funmunitions would LOVE to post the more interesting ones!

Automatic maximum hit points only if you start at first level: Characters that enter the campaign world at level one are allowed maximum hit points and do not roll their hit points randomly. Characters starting at a higher level do not gain this benefit (idea from Ian Kaplan), but they do roll two hit dice and take the higher roll as usual.

Player Characters Roll Two Dice For Hit Points: Whenever a player character gains a level (or when rolling hit points for the first time) their player rolls two hit dice and takes the better roll. If the two rolls are identical, that player can choose either of these options: their character either gains that many stat points as a bonus award or they can roll again (since you always seem to roll again in games on doubles). If both rolls are the maximum possible roll, the character in question gains another bonus: a conditional fate point useable to re-roll any hit die roll in the future (only one die). Why? Because PC’s are the heroes.

“Gestalt” Characters Are Allowed: A “gestalt character” (not a Cinematic innovation but it fits into the philosophy of the system) has two character classes at the same time, taking the full range of class skills from each, taking the most advantageous BAB progression, saving throws, and skill point calculation, keeping the special abilities and earned feats from each class, but only needing to keep one XP (experience points) total. However, gestalt characters earn 50% less experience points than their non-gestalt counterparts. Certain Cinematic System character classes might increase this penalty (such as the Autodidact).

The Concept of “Favored Classes” and the 20% XP Penalty For Uneven Levels of Multi-Classing Is Toast: Cinematic characters can still multiclass, they just don’t have to worry about XP penalties for doing so. When a character levels they can take a level in what they want – even a gestalt character could choose to take a level in a single class of something else. However, a character is only allowed one instance of “gestalting” in their history. Thus, a gestalt Fighter/Wizard could take a level in Barbarian, but not in Barbarian/Rogue. Note that it is not possible to acquire instant magic or psionic ability simply by taking a level in something like Sorcerer or Psion – a character needs to have the appropriate Aptitude feat prior to taking the level if they want these kinds of powers. However, a character lacking the Magical Aptitude feat could take a level in, say, Wizard – they just wouldn’t get any spell ability or the use of the control skill until they somehow acquired the Magical Aptitude feat.

Starting Number of Feats: A Cinematic System character begins play with 2 feats, one of which has to be a feat that can only be taken at character generation. A careful read through this system’s unique feat list will reveal several strategies for beginning with even more than 2 feats. As characters gain levels, they still gain feats every 3 levels. Yes, human characters start play with a bonus feat (and with bonus skill points).

Starting Number of Special Points: Player characters in the Cinematic System begin play with the following numbers and types of special points..

  • One Fate Point..
  • One Conditional Fate Point, as determined by d20 roll and described on page X of this rule set..
  • Possibly other Conditional Points depending on what sub stats and background skills are selected..
  • Character Points equal to d4 + [the character’s Luck modifier]..
  • Toughness Points equal to the character’s Constitution modifier..
  • Some amount of Stat Points depending on the players use of The 4th die rule (see page X of this rule set..
  • Any other special points the DM is willing to hand out, and the players are willing to beg for..

Use of Special Points Prior to Game Play: With DM permission, it is perfectly acceptable to spend special points (particularly character points) while creating your character. However, you can’t spend character points to have more starting hit points, and you can’t spend your fate point to modify your base stats (it is not a wish spell). You could spend your fate point to gain a new feat, and you can spend character points to gain stat points (as it is possible that with certain combinations of background skills, one of your stats might attain enough stat points to nearly raise the stat +1). When rolling randomly for such things as sub-stats and quarks, the DM may or may not let the players spend character points strategically while looking at the charts themselves.

Cinematic Fantasy Races Species:


Stat Mods

Cinematic Elements


+2 Constitution; -2 Charisma; -1 Speed; -1 Comeliness

-20% to all Damage-Knockdown Rule percentages; all starting toughness points are d6 instead of d4; Intuit Depth becomes a Wisdom-based skill; Dwarves start with 8 free ranks in language, fluency [common] and language, fluency [dwarvish], and receive [20 + Int modifier] skill points to place in their “bonus languages”. These skill points can be traded, 1:1, for skill points that can be placed in craft skills. As an older-lived species, dwarves get an additional x1 modifier to their background skill points, which are calculated off of Wisdom instead of Charisma. Thus, Dwarves begin with (4 + Wisdom modifier) x 6 background skill points.


+2 Dexterity; -2 Constitution; +1 Speed; +2 Comeliness

Elves get a special +1 to hit with bows (not crossbows), longswords, and short swords. Elves start with 8 free ranks in language, fluency [common] and language, fluency [elven], and receive [22 + Int modifier] skill points to place in their “bonus languages”. These skill points can be traded, 1:1, for skill points that can be placed in knowledge skills. As the oldest-lived species, elves receive the Richer Background feat for free. Thus, Elves begin with (4 + Charisma modifier) x 7 background skill points. Elves also begin with 2x their Dexterity modifier in bonus ranks in perform (dancing), and 2x their Charisma modifier in bonus ranks in perform (sing).


+2 Constitution; -2 Strength; +2 Luck; +1 Comeliness

All starting toughness points are d6 instead of d4. Gnomes start with 8 free ranks in language, fluency [common] and language, fluency [gnomish], and receive [24 + Int modifier] skill points to place in their “bonus languages”. These skill points can be traded, 1:1, for skill points that can be placed in profession or craft skills. As an older-lived species, gnomes get an additional x1 modifier to their background skill points. Thus, they begin with (4 + Charisma modifier) x 6 background skill points. Gnomes begin play with the Magical Aptitude feat (as they have innate spells), and add the skill control to their starting list of class skills. Gnomes are treated like illusionists in regard to the control skill (and receive bonuses to control spells of the illusion school). Gnomes receive a +2 innate bonus to smell and drive checks as well.


+1 Comeliness and Charisma

They gain their charisma modifier in bonus skill points spendable on perform related skills, and receive the Marxist Stealth feat as a bonus feat. Half-elves, being ½ Human, receive 2 bonus skill points at level 1 as well as a conditional fate point useable “for 50% the XP cost of one purchased feat”. If a specific kind of elf is specified, the DM may allow the character to incorporate diminished features of the half-parent-elf as additional special abilities.


+2 Strength; -2 Charisma; -2 Comeliness

They receive the Dense Minded and Diehard feats as bonus feats. Half-Orcs, being ½ Human, receive 2 bonus skill points at level 1 as well as a conditional fate point useable “for 50% the XP cost of one purchased feat”. Due to the unusual nature of their minds, Half-Orcs receive [10+d10]% psionic resistance against telepathic psionics. Half-Orcs receive 8 bonus language, fluency ranks in common or orcish, depending on where they grew up. 


+2 Dexterity; -2 Strength; +1 Speed; +1 Luck; +1 Constitution (for healthy eating)

Halflings receive 20% magic resistance against the cursed effects of magic rings (rolled once per ring), +d4% every time they level. If Halfling is its own language in your campaign, they receive 8 bonus language, fluency ranks in that and common (else just in common), as well as [20 + Int modifier] skill points to place in their “bonus languages. These skill points can be traded, 1:1, for skill points that can be placed in profession or knowledge skills. While a longer-lived species, Halflings spend their time eating and living comfortably – they gain [4 + their Charisma modifier] in bonus background skill points useable to improve background skills of comfort and relaxation only. In addition, Halflings receive +2 bonus character points and +4 C.H.P.



Humans receive 1 bonus feat as well as 4 additional skill points at level 1. In addition, they receive the Human Random XP feat (not listed in the official Cinematic System feat list, it allows the DM to, from time to time, ask the player to roll d100 – the result being bonus XP for the human). Of course, the DM could have the human’s player roll more than a d100. Also, during character generation, humans can lower an ability score by 2 to raise another ability score by +1 (with DM permission) in honor of Clay “The Slipstring”, the human who MOST enjoyed playing TRPGs ever on Earth.