Brotherhood_of_the_Rail1.  High Concept and Trouble

  • High Concept – your character’s High Concept should reflect their life as a Depression Era Hobo.  “Industrial Magnate” is not appropriate, but “Industrial Magnate Turned Drunk” might be.  Below are some suggested High Concepts.  This isn’t a list, but should serve to generate some ideas for the character’s High Concept.  Combining two or three of the ideas below allows for a large number of interesting concepts.
    • American Nomad – you have traveled all around the country
    • Big Ole – you are a big fella!
    • Boston Bum – other hobos tend to thing of you as sophisticated
    • Cajun Hobo – you know your way around bayous and swamps
    • Card Man – you are a member of the International Workers of the World, which makes you popular with employers
    • Circuit Rider – you have a steady income from Veterans benefits or Social Security
    • Coast Beggar – you are very familiar with the West Coast
    • Emperor – other hobos look to you for leadership
    • Flimflam Man – you are good at conning and hustling people
    • Fruit Tramp – you know about crops, and get along well with farmers
    • Gypsy – you have connections to the gypsy community
    • Home Guard – you are particularly knowledgeable about a particular city
    • Looloo – you are a pretty woman (or a handsome man)
    • Magical – you have been to the Candy Mountain and have discovered the magic of the hobo’s world
    • Palooka – you can throw a punch and take a punch
    • River Rat – you know your way around rivers, docks, and riverboats
    • Streamliner – you are particularly adept at travelling light and quick
    • Trombenick – you have connections with the Jewish community
  • Trouble – a character’s Trouble aspect is particularly important because it represents not only ways that the character can get in trouble, but stands in for the troubles and difficulties that hobos have in Depression-era America.  Careful consideration should be given to what sort of Trouble the character gets in.  Again, some examples are listed below:
    • Bad Actor -trouble follows you, and other hobos don’t trust you
    • Boob – you aren’t a smart one
    • Cabbage Head – you are addicted to drugs of some sort
    • Cracker – you are intolerant, uneducated, and rude – and you really don’t care
    • Dodger – honest work gives you the heebeegeebees.
    • Fall Guy – whenever something goes wrong, you’re always taking the blame.
    • Fink – you are known as a strike breaker and scab, and I.W.W. members and union sympathizers loathe you.
    • Gimped – you have lost an important part such as an arm, leg, or eye
    • Glass Jaw – you are a coward
    • Glims – you need spectacles in order to see worth squat
    • Gummy – you tend to stick to others and let them do the work
    • Hot – the law is after you
    • Sterno Drunk – regular alcoholism just doesn’t do it for you anymore
    • Stoolie – hobos know that you sell information about them to the railroads, but railroad folks like you
    • Yegg – you either are or have been the lowest form of life, a hobo who preys on other hobos.

2.  Another Aspect – add another aspect to your character.  This is a good place to round things out or add in something special or unique about your character.

3.  Name and Appearance – most hobos don’t go by their real name.  Instead they go by a nickname or moniker.  Flesh out your character’s appearance, and even give him or her a name if you like, but hold off on the moniker for now.

4.  Choose Approaches – when choosing approaches choose one Fair (+2), two at Average (+1), two at Mediocre (+0) and one at Poor (-1).*

5.  Create one stunt (regular or hobo magic) – Stunts in FAE come in two varieties – those that give a +2 bonus to a specific approach under specific circumstances, and those that allow the character to do something cool or bend the rules.  For this setting, the first are considered to be mundane stunts, and the latter are considered to be magical stunts.

Choose one stunt for your character.  If that stunt is magical, come up with some idea of what your magic is based on and what it looks like.

6.  Set your Refresh at 3.

7.  Moniker.  Your character’s Moniker is the name he or she uses with other hobos.  Monikers are usually the result of some incident in the hobo’s past – perhaps something significant, or perhaps something insignificant or even completely irrelevant that simply stuck.  It is a rare hobo indeed who actually gets to choose his or her moniker – they are almost always bestowed by other hobos.

Choose another player to give you your moniker.  That player can ask you questions about your character, offer you choices, or make the decision totally on his or her own as to what your moniker is (though the GM might veto particularly obnoxious monikers not in keeping with the spirit of the game).  The only other restriction is that the player giving you the moniker has to tell you how you earned it.  Again this can be something big and meaningful, or something small and whimsical.

Your moniker acts as an aspect.  As such it should be something that can both be invoked as a bonus, or compelled to earn fate points – though the exact balance between the two is up to the player who gives you the moniker.

Example – you ask one of your fellow players to give you a moniker.  She decides to tell you a story about a time when you disappeared from the Jungle for several days.  Everyone thought you had been arrested, beaten up, or were on a bender, but it turned out you were actually out collecting toys for some of the children living in the jungle, including a very nice rocking horse that the children loved.  Your moniker, she informs you, is “Hobbyhorse”.

You can now invoke “Hobbyhorse” to give yourself a bonus, perhaps when helping or interacting with children.  The GM can also compel it to get your character to help out children when it might cause you trouble.

8.  (Optional) Depending on what the GM, you might be able to add some additional Aspects and Stunts at this point.  By default, you don’t.

On to Part 4

Back to Part 2


*Hobos are not action heroes.  They also live in a pretty tough world.  The reduction in points for Approaches reflects this.

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  1. I love the way another player chooses your moniker. That’s brilliant. Also, your example aspects are excellent. I would play this in a heartbeat it’s a great idea.

    • Edmund Metheny says:

      Thank you for the kind words! Once I get finished (I’m working on a bonus adventure) I will bundle the whole thing up, edit it so it reads better, and put it up as a PDF.


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