For my first Digital Shoebox character, I thought it would be fun to do an ad-hoc Savage Worlds conversion of the Demon Hunter O.C.C. (Occupational Character Class) from Palladium's Mystic China sourcebook. As with any SW conversion, I'm aiming to capture the feel of the source material rather than do a line-for-line conversion. This character will also give me a chance to see how SW handles martial arts, always of perennial interest to me in an RPG system. (To that end, I'll be referencing the Deadlands Player's Guide--and the free "Player's Guide to the Flood" PDF--for extra options beyond those presented in the Savage Worlds Deluxe core rules.)
As usual for a Palladium product, my read-through of Mystic China has been marked by equal parts frustration and inspiration. The inspiration for this character came from the O.C.C. write-up:
If there was a job posting for a Demon Hunter, it would look something like this:
Wanted: Loud-Mouthed Big-Muscled Jerk. In need of someone who takes risks, bets against the odds, and is a good loser. Must be obnoxious, capable of blustering and/or pleading for mercy but also charming and fast-talking.
Criminal record of gambling, drunkenness, vandalism and carousing required; skill with confidence games (i.e. "Con Artist") a plus. Please, no one with moral or ethical compunctions need apply, yet applicant must be ultimately honest in outlook and practice, and completely resistant to threats, bribery, coercion or blackmail. No job security, unpleasant travelling conditions, and very little hope of monetary compensation.
Of course there are no such advertisements. Demon Hunters hunt demons because they love doing it. It's the ultimate challenge, putting mountain-climbing, bungee-jumping, and alligator-wrestling to shame.
Fantastic! I'm always a fan of Bruce-Campbell-style characters. But what really sold me on the character concept was this bit:
Demon Hunter Finances: Overall, the Demon Hunter's finances waver somewhere between disaster and calamity. No matter how much they make, it seems like they're always spending/losing more. The fact that Demon Hunters don't really live for the future means they have a nasty habit of borrowing money from loan sharks.
Income: None. If worse comes to worst and no work is available, the Demon Hunter can always fall back on dish washing in a restaurant for $250 per week.
I immediately pictured this character at the start of a campaign as working in the steamy, blistering confines of a tiny kitchen in a dim sum palace in Hong Kong or San Francisco, annoying the bejeezus out of his coworkers as he talked a constant stream of shit from behind his pile of dirty dishes. Little do his irate colleagues realize that this guy is merely killing time while he waits to hear of the latest morsels of demonic activity in his local area. Or perhaps this is where the other PCs find him as they go about "getting the band back together" to take down a Yama King?
With this vision in mind, I sat down to make the character...
SHI GOU ("Ten Dogs") TSE, Demon Hunter
Veteran (50 Experience Points)
Knowledge (Occult) d6
Power Points: 20
Big Mouth (Minor)
Arcane Background (Chi Mastery)
Feet of Fury (Spin Kick)
Demon Snare (Entangle) d8
I-Ching Mirror (Banish) d8
Lion's Head Sword ($200) Str+d6, Bedroll and Normal Clothes, $5 cash
I used the random Chinese name generator in Mystic China to come up with Ten Dogs' name. It seemed quite fitting, considering the somewhat dodgy aspect of his concept.
I also decided to make Ten Dogs a Veteran so that I could play around with his Edges and Powers a little. Seasoned would've worked as well, but I really wanted that "Feet of Fury" Edge, and it's Veterans only!
For such a loud-mouth braggart, it's interesting that his Charisma is still 0. I considered taking something that would give a Charisma penalty, but at the end of the day I still wanted him to be ultimately likable.
The Powers granted by Chi Mastery nicely reflect the equipment effects given in the original O.C.C. write-up. Speaking of which, the bulk of the text there is advice on how to permanently defeat demons through subterfuge and trickery: challenging them to a gambling contest, outwitting their egos, or simply tickling them into submission(!). So I made sure to give Ten Dogs a nice selection of skills to support that type of "demon hunting"--stuff like Gambling, Intimidation, and Taunt. I also included the optional Guts skill, as I figured any campaign revolving around demons would (and should!) feature it.
I elected not to give Ten Dogs a formal martial arts style, as the O.C.C. specifically mentions Demon Hunters being too intractable and distractible to master a single form, instead developing their own, magpie-like, by borrowing from a bunch of different styles.
Making a Savage Worlds character, even at Veteran level, is always an exercise in compromise and resource management. All in all, I'm extremely happy with how Ten Dogs turned out, and would love to play him in a Big Trouble in Little China-style campaign!