Character Generation

Days of Judgement relies on the Prose Descriptive Qualities system designed by Chad Underkoffler. It differs from the base PDQ system in a few ways.

  1. Days of Judgement uses an alternate combat and damage system. Since battling the undead, and being battled as an undead, was such a large part of the game, the author decided on a system to capture the deadliness and grisliness of guns, axes, and other means of destruction.
  2. As recommended by the PDQ system, character generation adds a number of elements unique to this game, detailed below.

Elements of a Character

Type

In Days of Judgement, there are two types of characters, Live Folks and Dead Folks. Live Folks are like the people we see every day. Dead Folks are like Live Folks, only, well, dead but still walking around.

The presumption is that Player Characters are Dead Folks, newly risen from their graves. There's no attempt to "balance" Dead Folks and Live Folks, so if a player wants to play one of the Living, and the GM agrees, he'll have an advantage in interacting with other Live Folks but a distinct disadvantage when things get ugly.

Name

Everyone has a name, even if it's only a nickname or codename given by others. It's too inconvenient to say "hey, you" all the time.

Race, Sex, Place of Birth, Age at Time of Death

While race, sex, age, and place of birth have no direct influence on the game, they help to situate the character in the Old West setting.

(Warning: not fact-checked:) In Texas during the 1870s, the power of whites was ascending. While Mexican landowners had held onto West Texas for generations, whites were taking their lands by fair means and foul. Blacks had recently been freed, but their situations had little improved since the days of slavery, and many were sharecroppers for their former slave-holders. Native Americans were hustled onto reservations as fast as the U.S. Army could get them there. The Chinese, settling mainly in California, were the new brute labor, building railroads for robber barons at the cost of their own lives.

Women were still expected to be wives and mothers, although on the prairie there was little time for pampering and dainty manners. Most men were miners, farmers, ranchers or ranch-hands. Few towns had more than one resident lawman, and many had none. Gamblers, prostitutes, gunmen, and bandits congregated where the money was, and faded when the mine closed and the dust bowl came.

Individual PCs can buck these trends, but they should be aware of cultural expectations and prejudices of the time.

Qualities in Life

As in the main PDQ rules, pick six "points" worth of Qualities that describe your character. Not everyone is a Gunslinger or Lawman, but proficiency with firearms isn't uncommon, and could be subsumed into Rancher, Farmer, or Stagecoach Driver, for example.

Reason To Live

The Old West, and post-Civil-War West Texas, is a hard, unforgiving place. What kept your character going? Was it love for a woman? Love for money? A desire for revenge? A quest for justice?

Figure out what drives your character, and write it down in five words or less.

Cause of Death

Live Folks would ignore this section.

How did your character die? Trampled by a horse? Caught in the crossfire in a gunfight? Shot for cheating at cards? Hung for horse theft? How a character dies can be as important to his personality as how he lived?

Condition of Corpse

Live Folks would ignore this section.

Once in the ground, human bodies decay. This can be inconvenient for the Risen Dead. Each Dead Folk character, upon Rising, must choose one condition for his body, each of which has advantages and disadvantages.

ConditionUpshifts/DownshiftsDescription
StrengthSpeedSocial
Freshly Dead000Can pass for living in a bad light, or with makeup
Recently Dead+10-1Dead for a few weeks; obviously deceased, but not in bad condition.
Rotting+1+1-2In the grave for a while, and decomposing badly
Skeletal0+2-2Little more than stringy muscle on bones
Well Preserved+2-1-1Preserved through embalming or natural processes. Requires either wealth or burial in the desert under specific conditions.

The game effect of a Dead Folk's Condition is upshifts or downshifts when performing specific tasks. Strength tasks involve lifting, pushing, striking, and other uses of muscle. Speed tasks include anything involving reaction time or hand-eye coordination, as well as simply moving fast. Social tasks include all interaction with Live Folks, and sometimes Dead Folks (especially the Recently Dead, or recently risen).

The normal progression is Freshly Dead to Recently Dead to Rotting to Skeletal, and from there to completely gone. Well Preserved is the only stable state, and under certain conditions even that can degrade to Rotting or Skeletal.

For more information on the problems of the Dead, see the section on Dead Folks.

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