View Full Version : Player Help Playing a big brute - how to make him stand out?

2017-12-29, 08:18 AM
We are still playing Post Apocalypse. Our characters are not bunker folk or similar but adapted to the wasteland. Characters are mostly organized in cults. The catastrophe was several meterorites hitting Europe and expunging an alien fungus (and spores). For story reasons planes are not functional (the writers never explained why). Our group in short snippets:

1) The Doc - he is fascinated with the genetical make-up of anything spore-related (pun not intended). He is a bit of a malicious opportunist but not the least combat ready character in the group. His cult pays well for anything aiding their research. They burn down anything remotely related to the alien spore. Think Fallout's Institute meets the Enclave.

2) The Soldier - she is from the bunkers of Hellvetica (yes it is Switzerland) and has the most advanced tech. But much to her dismay, her advanced rifle uses ammo that cannot be reproduced. She has to resort to more brutish methods for smaller dangers to preserve her ammo. Think Brotherhood of Steel - Swiss edition.

She is our tracker and ranger.

3) The Male Prostitute - he is just that. Plus her cult rules over the drug trade (that is conveniently produced by inhaling the toxic spores of the alien fungi) which inherently troubles the Doc. Plus he is our rogue - opens locks.

4) The Tinkerer - she is a scrapper. She scours for scrap to build stuff. The game has a whole system of improving weapons and armor. But our DM is not above allowing us to build stuff from scratch.

5) Me - the Big Brute - my character was a caravan guard until the Chernobog (actually an ancient corporate boss that runs on a liquid called ambrosia that makes him immortal and superhuman) and his hordes attacked the next city over, causing his tribe to flee. We fled into the area where the game takes place where I joined a biker gang - prior to the party. I was pretty successful and members are not allowed to kill each other.

The cult has an insane pecking order. I was thinking my character imposed himself in between these to protect the mobbed individuals. Some guy hated that and put me on a mission where I was to be killed. I was disfigured by the accident and hid away with the Scrappers (with the Tinkerer being a close friend). The game has concepts (similar to D&D bonds or personalities) and I picked ' conqueror'. So naturally I do not take defeat very well.

Initially I thought to be the protective kind but my defining trait has to be conquering. So what would you do now?

I am de facto the only melee character. My skills beyond combat are severely limited (though the DM wants perception often so I'll invest into that next). I have a very hard time being useful in any way outside of combat. My character lied himself into work by claiming he is a wilderness expert (when in actuality he is just durable enough to survive harsh environs but not to provide). The char is also literally broke - having invested his only money into backpacks and sleds to transport riches back home to make a bit of a fortune. Besides being a meat shield the character is pretty useless.

We have a face and rogue, we have a tracker and marksman, we have a tinkerer, we have a doctor (he knows stuff too) and face #2, and we have me as a big brute, with almost no job outside combat.

2017-12-29, 09:21 AM
i like my beatsticks to be of the pragmatic variety and counsel the less violent-inclined members of the team. usually, the techie (or tinkerer as you call them) will provide the means to a plan, like improvising traps. the rogue or the face are the lynchpin, and someone else will come up with a harebrained scheme that's over-complicated and convoluted. the beatstick is there to keep the plan grounded with the least possible chances of failure.

your brute conned his way into a caravan. that's a pretty good start to their personality, as in, they're of the weasely type of getting in and out of situations. you've got sort of solid survivability (reading your description, you don't make him come off as intelligent or even street-wise, but at least a high endurance is a plus). i'd say to help your group think to their advantage despite not having the skills required to do it yourself. then, once violence is needed, remind your team that you're worth your pay. you need to be conquering? make sure you underhandedly gain the biggest advantage. perhaps intimidate your way into creating supply lines, always taking an arm when somebody gives you a finger. things like that. your wealth and your team will thank you. plus, you're broke and money was a motivation. conquer land and wealth.

some of our most memorable brutes had no skills outside of combat, but just being there to help the group think made them invaluable.

i'm currently playing a beatstick type character, but since it's rogue trader, i've got a few skills to help my team. nearly all of them are combat oriented, but believe me that i make my grunt useful if only because a pep talk to an inexperienced player/character can go a long way.

2017-12-30, 05:17 PM
Good idea. But usually the player of the soldier takes this role (he is a great DM but he rarely varies from his stoic straight-forward warrior type). The soldier is the newest addition (last session) so I cannot tell how he will play her.

2017-12-30, 08:59 PM
While not necessarily 'useful', per se, a brute will be forgiven much if they are funny. It can be as simple as playing him as being a bit too dumb to be genre-savvy, so that he occasionally blurts out some observation that would make perfect sense in the real world, but is rendered totally nonsensical by the game world. Or something to that effect.

2017-12-31, 12:23 AM
It might help if we knew what system you were using...

If you want to be the protective type, but need to conquer for some reason....start setting yourself up to want to take over an area (start with a small town) to keep it safe, and impose a bit of law and order. He doesn't conquer other towns for personal power, he's just trying to bring stability and order to an lawless land....

2018-01-01, 11:56 PM
It might help if we knew what system you were using...

Degenesis Rebirth (2. Edition) if you know it. It has an English translation but it is incredibly niche. Alas, it is very simple so here is a rough overview: Brute (http://www.degenesis.com/character-en/index.html?id=f7de89cf-c891-43af-d1dc-d778b027847c) The game is played with a d6 dice pool (Perception 3 means 3d6: rolling 4-6 counts as success, 2 successes is a good result, as in succeeding in a average mundane task)

I maxed Body (melee combat) and Psyche (for Reaction = Initiative, Willpower = Resistance towards supernatural stuff and Domination = Intimidate). Instinct is for survival reasons (I will go for Perception and Orienteering next). After that I'd probably continue with my armor potentials (stacking up to 9 armor in a world where a shotgun does 12 damage means I do not have to back down if someone threatens me with a rifle that is not aimed at my head.

Origins is a field where heavy roleplaying is rewarded. New NPC allies offer their services at a discount, network gives information, authority lets me boss around lower ranking scrappers.

2018-01-02, 08:08 AM
The brute can be useful for:
- intimidation
- heavy lifting
- comic relief
- moral backbone

My usual advice for melee chars:
- get a ranged attack (throw rocks/knives/axes, get a gun/crossbow whatever fits the system)
- get a personality - be the boastful jerk, the pervy funny guy, the philosophical warrior, anything that would make you stand out
- add flavor using "useless" talents (learn to juggle, palm coins, cook, sing, learn a foreign language, etc. )

You can never be too genre savvy, so read up tvtropes: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheBigGuy (mandatory warning about tvtropes link, it'll drag you in worse than wikipedia ;) )

The Glyphstone
2018-01-02, 03:25 PM
A conquerer could still have protective instincts towards things (or people) he regards as 'his'.

2018-01-05, 02:50 AM
So I tried to push the pragmatist but honestly we played 3 hours yesterday and I said almost nothing ingame. It just doesn't work.

I feel like I should play the strong silent type. I just act instead of talk.

2018-01-05, 09:41 AM
Is he smart or dumb? Is he smart enough to play dumb? Is he dumb enough to play smart?

Red Fel
2018-01-05, 10:44 AM
The brute can be useful for:
- intimidation
- heavy lifting
- comic relief
- moral backbone

Much these.

In a recent (and unfortunately brief) Pathfinder campaign, I played a Half-Orc Barbarian... for whom Int was not a dump stat. He was actually pretty smart. I deliberately had him speak in broken Common, not because he was unintelligent, but because, as he would put it, "Uruk have issue with grammatical construct and pronoun usage in Common language. Orcish much more fluid on the palate. Tenses also much simpler." (He was also the only party member to speak Elvish other than the Elf.)

He was also the answer to paralysis-by-analysis. Lots of parties come up with plans and schemes, and that's good, but sometimes that can drag on for awhile. And while he was by no means "Leroy Jenkins," he kept the game moving. For example, in one scene, we had to escape from a jail. There were two guards in the front, and the party was quietly bickering back and forth how to get past them. Worried that a guard would eventually succeed on a Perception check to notice, my Barbarian simply said, "We need distraction. Uruk has clever plan." (Uruk had a lot of "clever plans.") He then proceeded to walk openly into the room, and bellow loudly to the guards, "Pardon Uruk, but does guard's employment provide adequate medical coverage?" (Uruk came from a very progressive village.) This provoked the guards, who were then sufficiently distracted for the party to escape, whilst Uruk introduced them to a form of improvised surgery involving a large axe.

Short version: How does a big brute stand out? By having a personality. You don't need to do mechanical things outside of combat - be sufficiently engaging that the players have a good time, and a good enough RPer that NPCs get along with you too. There are times when a character would rather interact with a big meat mountain - use that.

Honest Tiefling
2018-01-06, 10:20 PM
Dude, if I understand your background correctly, you're a biker. Which means you probably have a passing knowledge of how those work. I wouldn't want to step in on the tinkerer's territory, but I think a second scavenger might work, especially since you can carry the heavy stuff better, I assume. You don't tinker, you just try to scrounge up as much stuff as possible, don't let it go to waste. Reuse everything!

Admittedly, I am sorta getting the image of the Strong Silent Papa Biker Guy. You might not stand out on your own, but you're going to help those crazy kids do whatever it is they do. A strong arm does wonders in hauling scrap, holding down organ donors, and making sure customers don't get too violent with your uh, rogue.

Investing in intimidation seems viable. I get the feeling that the male prostitute might not have this particular skill. Even if the solider has it, you could work together to intimidate folks. You know, Bad Cop and Crazy and Will Eat Your Flesh Cop, a classic strategy!