Thursday, 21 August 2014

[Parsecs] Travellers guide to the Fringe - Hulkers

Welcome to a new column (weekly I hope) where I'll explore the Fringe setting from Five Parsecs From Home and what it means for gameplay, modelling and generally having fun.

One of the character possibilities you can run into is the Hulker. Genetically modified to be strong and rather dumb, these brutes were intended for mining, suicide missions in the military, herding particularly unpleasant large animals and other tasks where muscles are more important than brains.

However, over time, significant enough numbers have either fled, wandered off, gotten lost or even staged their own rebellions that they can be encountered everywhere in Unity space.

Being generally too dumb to fill out paperwork and with a penchant for berserk rage if hurt or scared, they tend to make poor fits for the highly regimented existence most Unity citizens follow.
Consequently, they often end up in the Fringes where life is simpler, more things need breaking and where there's always someone willing to pay for simple people who can break stuff.

Modelling Hulkers:
I'll be honest, Hulkers were included because I like a lot of the space orc figures out there, but I didn't want to simply transplant a race like that into Five Parsecs. As such, the first stop for Hulker figures is any range of orc-like humanoids: Heavily muscled, a bit Neanderthal in appearance and with big, crude weapons, though any human figure with suitably exaggerated muscles can work.
Since they are essentially of human stock, though heavily manipulated by space-fantasy-science, they should be painted with flesh tones though a slight, green'ish hue to the skin would be a nice nod to their thematic origins.

"Officially" a Hulker should be from human sized to about time and a half. This gives you a lot of flexibility to pick suitable figures.
Incidentally, because of their status as crude genetic constructs, feel free to use old, poorly sculpted figures with weird faces!

Hulkers in the game:
Hulkers are subject to two special rules: They get a +1 bonus to Brawling rolls (due to their size, reach and brutality). This is more significant than it may sound as they also get the attacker bonus of +1. Even without a melee weapon, they are likely to inflict serious damage, if they can close enough.

Additionally, whenever they take ANY results from a Kill or Shock die, they have a 1 in 6 chance of going berserk. This makes them ignore the original dice result and instead charge 6" towards the shooter immediately.

This is too unlikely to rely on as a saving throw, though it IS a nice touch when it happens.

If the Kill or Shock dice are not inflicted by a shot, they will charge the closest visible enemy. If no enemies are present, the Hulker shrugs off the harm and yells angrily but will remain in place.

Hulkers in the scenario:
While Hulkers are pretty dumb, they are not imbeciles. As such, they may carry and use complex weaponry and can take all tests as the scenario may dictate.
Hacking scenarios may be off limits (but they can probably brutalize any door or barricade just fine on their own). Persuasion is usually based off telling exactly how many limbs the recipient will have AFTER they are done refusing to cooperate.
A scenario may dictate a penalty to Persuasion rolls, if it involves winning someone's trust.

When setting up Hulkers in a scenario as enemy cannon fodder, they should generally be armed with simple slug throwing weapons. Fitting them with melee weapons is a rather powerful combination though it does suit their qualities.

Hope you enjoyed. Feel free to comment with questions, what items you'd see explored in new posts and anything else on your mind!

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