TRAITS: Defining a character in Classroom Heroes

Each Hero is defined by a series of Traits that represent their abilities and powers. Traits are important for determining what a Hero can do during an Encounter, and can be raised during the course of the game through the Expenditure of Experience Points (XP).

Traits are separated into three categories: Attributes, Skills and Special Abilities.

Attributes represent a Heroes innate Physical, Social, and Mental qualities. Every character has the same Attributes, though each person will be more developed in some areas than in others. A characters rating in an Attribute might be because of a natural talent, or as the result of dedicated training.

Skills represent those things that a character has learned to do through study and practice. A character's rating in a skill represents their ability to perform actions covered by that skill, as well as their knowledge relating to those activities.

Special Abilities are those things that make the character exceptional in some way. Super powers, magical abilities, and special training are all covered by 'Special Abilities'. How a character attains and develops their special abilities should be determined primarily through means of narrative. A young wizard may study hard to learn his first spell, and then later discover an enchanted book that instantly teaches him a new spell. A young mutant might train themselves to master their first super-power, but after exposure to cosmic radiation they suddenly manifest an entirely new ability.


Attributes represent those intrinsic abilities possessed by all characters, and every action a character takes starts first with their rating in an Attribute.
Every character has a common set of attributes, which are divided into Primary and Secondary Attributes. For younger students, or to run a more simplified version of the game, use only the Primary Attributes.

Attributes tableJPG.jpg

Physical Attributes

Body: An overall representation of how well the character can affect the world through physical actions, and resist the effects of the physical actions of others.

Strength: how strong your character is. This attribute is used for activities that involve applying force, such as lifting, running, breaking things, punching, kicking, throwing, etc. In most circumstances, Strength is a characters primary Attribute for Offensive physical actions.

Dexterity: this attribute determines how quickly, and how precisely, your character can perform actions. In most circumstances, Dexterity is a characters primary Attribute for Defensive physical actions.

Stamina: this attribute determines how fit, and how resistant to physical damage your character is. Stamina is the Attribute used for physical tests of Endurance, and also contributes towards their total damage points.

Social Attributes

Charisma: An overall representation of the characters’ ability to interact with other people and living things and affect changes in other peoples’ feelings and actions through social interaction, as well as their ability to resist the effect of others people’s Charisma.

Persuasion: this determines the Hero’s ability to convince other people to believe them, or to do things that the Hero wants them to do. In most circumstances, Persuasion is a characters primary Attribute for Offensive social actions.

Rapport: this attribute reflects the Hero’s ability to work ‘in sync’ with other people, build relationships, and gain another’s trust and confidence. In most circumstances, Strength is a characters primary Attribute for Defensive social actions.

Resilience: this determines a Hero’s resistance to other people's persuasion, or to the fear created by monsters such as dragons. Resilience is the Attribute used for Social tests of Endurance, and also contributes towards their total damage points.

Mental Attributes

Mind: An overall representation of the Hero’s intellectual capacity, and their ability to affect the world through actions that depend on knowledge and understanding. Willpower also determines a Hero’s resistance to the mental actions of other characters, and adds to their overall Damage points.

Intelligence: this determines the characters’ ability to understand and apply complex information in order to affect the world. In most circumstances, Intelligence is the attribute used for Offensive Actions.

Wits: this attribute determines the speed with which a character can think and process information before acting. In most circumstances, Wits is the attribute used for Defensive actions.

Willpower: this attribute represents your characters resistance to mental attacks, as well as their 'mental fitness' and their ability to continue with difficulty mental tasks. Willpower is the Attribute used for Mental tests of Endurance, and add to their overall Damage Points.

Attribute Ratings

All Primary Attributes begin the game with a rating of 1, with a maximum possible rating of 5. Secondary Attributes automatically have the same rating as the Primary Attribute, but each secondary attribute can be raised above the Primary Attribute either during character creation, or later on, with experience.

If a character has a Secondary Attribute higher than the Primary Attribute, and then later raises the Primary Attribute, the Secondary Attribute does not benefit from the boost. For example: Lightning McGee is a Superhero with Super Speed. He has a Body of 2, but his Dexterity is rated at 4 to represent his enhance speed. After saving up Experience Points, the student chooses to boost Lightning McGee’s Body to 3, increasing the characters’ Strength and Stamina to 3, however the character’s Dexterity remains at 4.

The ratings for attributes are described as follows:
  1. Underdeveloped: The character is less capable than an average person.
  2. Average: This is the rating of an average person with no special training in the use of this attribute.
  3. Developed: The character has some practice in the use of this attribute and can use it to achieve significant effects.
  4. Impressive: This attribute is particularly well developed, and the character is able to achieve spectacular things through the use of this attribute. This is the highest possible rating that an ‘ordinary’ person can achieve
  5. Heroic: The character has gone beyond the realm or ordinary people, and is capable of undertaking truly incredible feats with this attribute.


A skill is an ability that a character has developed through training and study. Unlike Attributes, a character does not begin the game with any skills and must acquire them during character creation or through the expenditure of XP during the game.

Like Attributes, all skills are rated from 1 to 5, and the rating of a skill is combined with an appropriate attribute to determine a Hero's Action Score for any action they wish to take.

Each skill covers a broad range of abilities, and students should be encouraged to think creatively about the application of each skill, rather than being limited by the definitions provided here.

The standard skills are as follows:

Physical Skills

Athletics – any deliberate action that requires a combination of strength, endurance and coordination. Cycling, gymnastics, swimming, running and climbing are examples of activities covered by Athletics. This skill is also combined with Dexterity to Dodge as a defensive action..

Combat – Unarmed – this skill covers all forms of bare-fist fighting, including Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing, Kung-Fu, or Tae-Kwon Do.

Combat – Melee – the ability to fight using hand held weapons such as sword, clubs, staves or knives.

Combat – Ranged – characters with this ability are able to use weapons that fire projectiles or energy beams, including firearms, laser weapons, bows, etc

Control Vehicle – this skill allows a character to control self-powered vehicles, including horse drawn vehicles, sailing ships as well as motor cars, trucks and motorcycles.

Stealth – characters with this ability can move about without being seen or heard, and can force their way into buildings or other locations that are locked or otherwise prevent normal entry.

Social Skills

Animal Handling – this skill represents a character’s ability to interact with, train and command animals. This skill also includes he ability to ride horses.

Etiquette – characters with this skill knows how to interact with different groups of people in the appropriate manner.

Leadership – being able to command and coordinate a large group of people takes special training and practice.

Negotiation – a character with this ability knows how to convince another person to do what they want. Whether it is lowering the price of something at a market, or convincing the prison guard to unlock the door.

Performance – With this ability, a character knows how to speak and move for the purposes of engaging an audience. Singing, dancing, acting and the ability to play a musical instrument are covered by this ability.

Mental Skills

AcademicsThis skill represents the body of knowledge and understanding that a character has acquired relating to academic subjects, as well as their ability to study and understand new information. Academics could include: English literature, History, Dragon Lore, History of Superheroes, or any specific subject that would be the focus of academic study.

Computer – Heroes with this skill have a detailed understanding of how computers work and how to accomplish complex tasks using computers and electronic devices. This skill covers activities such as searching for hard-to-find information, programming, hacking, etc.

Investigation – A heroes with this ability knows how to piece together clues to find something they are looking for. Detectives and spies make great use of Investigation to foil the plots of the enemy.

Science – Similar to Academics, this skill covers those fields of study that require an understanding and application of scientific principles. Rocket Science, Engineering, Robotics and Mad Science are all covered by this skill, as are the underlying fields of chemistry, physics, biology, etc.

Survival – This skill allows a hero to find food and shelter in difficult situations, as well as the skills required to make fire, navigate difficult terrain and otherwise keep themselves alive when the essentials of life are not readily available.

Magical Skills

Spell-casting – With this ability, a Hero knows how to cast spells intended to stun, hurt or otherwise affect the ability of a target to act. If a spell has a deliberate effect on one or more people or objects, then it is covered by this skill.

Summoning – Some characters may learn how to summon magical creatures such as elementals or spirits to do their bidding. This skill could also include spells that are intended to give life to inanimate objects, like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Potions – some magical heroes learn how to make magical potions than can be used by anyone at any time. Potions can have many of the same effects as spells, but must be made beforehand. Potions are usually used by either drinking them, applying them to the surface of a target person or object, or sometimes even by simply pouring them on the ground, depending on the effect and nature of each particular potion.

Custom Skills

[Special ability]: Some level 3 special abilities require a dedicated skill to be able to use them properly. These skills do not add to any Actions Score ratings, but are required to be able to use the bonuses granted by the Level 3 Special ability.

Special abilities

Heroes have special abilities that allow them to perform deeds beyond the realm of normal people. The type of special abilities a hero has depends on what type of hero they are. Superheroes have super powers that allow them to fly, move at super speeds, manipulate fire or ice, etc. Warriors and Action Heroes usually have specialised training and equipment that enhance their abilities. Fantasy Heroes (wizards and witches) can learn spells that allow them to achieve all sorts of magical effects, they can be of a non-human race and have special abilities as a result, or perhaps they carry a magic sword and ride a dragon. All of these magical enhancements count as Special Abilities.

Special abilities are categorised into three levels, and all are rated from 1-5. The exact nature of each special ability should be determined by the type of Hero being created, and given an appropriate name. They serve as much or a Narrative purpose in helping to define the character as they do a mechanical one in resolving Conflicts, so student should be encouraged to work towards XP awards for writing histories and stories for each of a Hero’s abilities.

Each ability adds its rating to one or more Attributes or Skills to represent its effect, however only one special ability can affect a particular attribute or skill at a time.

Level 1

Level 1 abilities add their rating to one single skill.

For example:
  • Wolverine's claws would be a level one ability that adds its rating to his Combat - Unarmed skill.
  • Katniss Everdeen has 'Special training' in archery that adds its rating to her Combat - Ranged skill.
  • Like King Arthur and Excalibur, a warrior might carry a special weapon that adds its rating to the heroes Combat - Melee skill.
  • Harry Potter learned the Expelliarmus spell, which would add it's rating to his Spellcasting - Offensive skill.
  • Superman's ability to fly would be a level 1 ability that adds its rating to his Athletics skill, while Spider-Man's spider grip would be a level 1 ability that also adds its rating to his Athletics skill.

Level 2

Level 2 abilities add can do one of the following:
  • Add their rating to one secondary attribute
  • Add their rating to 3 different skills

For example:
  • Batman's armour has built in blades, shooting darts, and grappling hooks, which add the rating of this ability to his Combat - Melee, Combat-Ranged, and Athletics skills.
  • Iron Man has his computers and workshop which add their rating to his Science, Computers and Investigation skills, allowing him to create new weapons, chemicals, or other devices to help defeat his enemies.
  • Hermoine learns how to make a study potion that adds its rating to her intelligence attribute. She also makes her poly juice potion which adds its rating to her persuasion attribute as she tries to convince others that she is actually Draco Malfoy.

Level 3

Level 3 abilities are incredibly powerful, and can take a wide range of forms, from super gadgets like the bat mobile, to powerful mutant abilities like Professor X's telepathy or Magneto's magnetic ability, or any other powerful ability that has multiple possible uses.

Level three abilities can do one of the following:
  • Add their rating to any six skills.
  • Add their rating to any three secondary attributes
  • Add their rating to any one primary attribute
  • Represent a large power with a broad range of applications (see below)

For example:
  • Bruce banner becomes extremely strong and tough when he transforms into the hulk adding his special ability rating to his 'body' primary attribute, greatly increasing his strength, dexterity and stamina.
  • A wizard learns a shape shifting spell, which turns them into a fierce lion. When they a storm, they add the bonus rating to their dexterity, strength and wits.

If a level three ability is used to represent a large power with broad applications, then it can also be used in the following way: for each point of a special ability (such as professor X's telepathy) you can choose one level one or level two ability, which can be used at the rating of the level three ability. To have such a powerful ability, however, the character must also have a skill that allows them to use their ability, and the total rating of a level 3 ability cannot be higher than their skill. When a character has both a skill and level 3 special ability at rating 5, then they can use that last point to develop a single ability at the equivalent of a level 3 special ability.

For example, Harry Potter is learning to become a great wizard, and he is developing the special level 3 ability of 'Sorcery'. He also has a skill in 'Sorcery' which represents his ability to use this power. As a novice wizards, Harry learns 'Expelliarmus', which adds its bonus rating to his ranged Spellcasting - Offensive. As his magic improves, he learns the Riddikulus spell, which adds to his Willpower attribute and allows his to resist mental attacks. As he becomes a master wizard he learns the Patronus charm, which adds its rating to his Stamina, Resilience and Willpower attributes, protecting him from all forms of attack.