Powers and Perils

Character Generator

The Powers & Perils Character Generator is a program to help those who think character generation is a lot of hard administrative work or time-pressed GMs who need to make up some NPCs fast. The software and documentation was written by Scott Adams.

Sample Character

To show you what the output of the program looks like one of the sample characters included in the package is available online.


What is the purpose of this program?

This program will generate partial characters from scratch for use in the Powers & Perils Role-Playing Game System. It covers everything from attributes, special events, factors (like age that apply on the character sheet) and finally skills. It will then output all that data onto a character sheet template ready for play. This program is also useful for making quick character level NPCs. At this time this only does NON-Magic Users. While advanced players and GMs can use this program, the finiahed character will be useful for new players as well since it will include many notes on skills and such.

Running the program

Simply type PNPCGEN.exe or use normal windows program execution procedures to run the program. This is a DOS based program but should run fine in any dos shell of windows. System requirements are at least a 486 compatible computer.

The program will run and start a main menu where you can start the generation process or quit the program.

The Character Generation Process

Make a Character - Select this option from the Main Menu to begin.

  1. The first step is selection of gender and your race. This will determine how the process will continue.
  2. You will then determine your attributes. You can have the computer roll until you like the attributes that are rolled randomly. There is no limit on the number of times to roll. You will see the final native scores on the far right after the racial and gender modifiers. Once you agree to the stats they will remain as such unless later changed in the program by an event or characteristic point gain.
  3. Next step in the process are the attribute multipliers that will determine the Maximum Ability scores for each stat. Constitution and Appearance will already have a pre-generated (rolled randomly) ability multiplier. The other eight attributes you will have the chance to allocate multipliers in 0.5 increments. The Minimum are already done (1.5) and the maximum (4.0) will be the limit. Simply select the attribute you wish to add a 0.5 to or subtract a 0.5 from that attribute. Once you have allocated all of them you will continue to the next process. If you wish to exit the generation process here you can do so by hitting the X key. But be advised that this will EXIT the program altogether and abort the generation process. This is good if you made a wrong choice or mistake at this point.
  4. Age and Station will be randomly rolled and shown to you.
  5. Next Step is the Initial Increases. Some do not use the rules of this section by the book. In that they do not apply characteristic points. Yet in this program I assume we use that part of the rules. I believe that max is only the max reachable while some use Max as the Current Ability (without Characteristic point additions). At any rate at this point the process should be explained. The points you spend on this table will depend on your age and station. You need to allocate each of the four areas up to finally equal the number of points determiens. For example: The program tells you have 65 points to spend. So you can allocate 10 points for Characteristic Points, 16 for experience, 17 for expertise and 22 for wealth (thus 10+16+17+22=65). From this the person felt he wanted alot of wealth to start out with. This results in 40 characteristic points given to the character to be added to current scores. You will get 300 experience points (which is CEL 3) to start the game with and 340 Expertise points to spend for skills. Finally depending on the wealth factor in step 4 (shown before step 5) you will get 120 coins of the coin type based in step 4. What you do here will determine your attributes (which affect skills and other factors) and how much you can do for skills and skill levels. So keep this step in mind when you consider a character.
  6. At this point you will be able to add to your current attribute scores the number of characteristic points you allocated in step 5 from your initial increase points. You will not be able to go beyond the Max ability of that score.
  7. We get to some fun stuff at this point in the process - Special Events. Here you if you choose to do the events (if not then you just go on to the next steps) you will have 1-3 rolls on the table. The computer will do all the rolls randomly. Be advised this is a ALL or nothing step. Some bad deals could result as minor as a limp to as bad as being a felon. But good things as small as some extra wealth to being a land owner could occur. The results will not be shown unless you are given a option (like adding to a attribute). These events will be later shown on your final saved character sheet. If the event is a attribute increase the attribute will be changed for the character sheet. But if its something like wealth it will not be added to the shown wealth.
  8. Characteristic Bonuses are determined now based on the current attributes. The sceen will explain each bonus and you will see the chart that determines the final bonus on the character sheet.
  9. At this point the program will generate the numerous factors that will be placed on the character sheet like Dodge Value to Poison Resistance. Most of these are based on formulae while a couple are generated with the use of a random roll (like height). Each factor will be shown to you just for your observation.
  10. The next step is the most time consuming and complex ones of the program and is the heart of the program itself - skills. First common knowledge (or that which you start out with based on race and station) will be determined. There are some choices to be made in this process but the most is already pre-destined. The second part is that of buying your actual skills. A list of all the skills and their price will be shown. Simply select the skill you wish to buy. Many skills are CLASS skills like Axe which will give you automatically all skills of that class to you (like Hand Axe and such). Hit F1 to get a help screen of all your options. You can view your current skills at any time in this step by hitting the S key. Note the last 3 items of the skill list. The first is partial expertise. Partial Expertise can be given for skills if you do not wish to allocate enough points for a the next level. This is good say for example you only have 3 expertise points left and no skills cost that much (so you can't buy any more). But you can give an existing skill partial expertise. The second item is the ability to actually increase existing skill levels to a new level. In the Show Skills screen you will see the points needed for the next level and the Max level. You also have the option to hit the last item in the list. If you do this this step will end and the points you did not spend will be given in the Notes section of the character sheet. Why use this? If you do not see a skill on the list or there is a problem you can work with the points outside the list. If there is a problem with the program or list or anything you can exit the program by hitting X BUT no data will be saved. Using the ? key on a skill will show you the details and explanation of that skill. Showing M key on a skill will show you if that skill will give you any others through a skill or bonus through that skill. If you wish to see the complete list of skills that give extra or bonus skills hit the O key. Once you have spent all your points this step will end.
  11. The final step is that of asking what filename you wish to save the data to. It should be a filename of 8 normal filename characters. You can rename it later if you wish to use a Windows Long Filename. An extension of .pnp will be added to the file. This WILL overwrite the file if it already exists so be careful. The character will then be saved to the file you specify. The program will then return back to the Main Menu.


Some notes on the Skills. I am using the Skill variation article that is on the main P&P Web Page. I actually only integrate the skills from this list that are new. Unfournately this article takes out the "or 80" part of the basic rules. Therefore ask your GM which system he prefers. If he doesn't mind then use any of the skills. But if he does you might want to stay clear from those skills that are in that article. The program would be huge and complex if I seperated both sections from the Core Rules and Variation System so I simply integrated both. I will include the article of the Skill Variation article in this archive for reading.

  1. Miscellaneous Throwing Weapons - This skill should be actually defined in my opinion to determine what type of item like Chair or Rocks. But ask the GM if he will take it as a general skill or it should be defined.
  2. Shield the rules don't say it should be defined for each shield type like a weapon skill (like crossbow) again do like A above.
  3. Two-weapon Fighting - Is a complex skill you might just want to buy this skill and further define it in the character sheet if needed. The 10 point course will be ADDED to the expertise cost for this skill.
  4. Intrigue - I took the liberty of giving bonus skills from this. To see which use the O key in the skill list :). This is my PERSONAL opinion and not in the rules.
  5. Languages - Languages are the single most problem of the program frankly. Because it is vast so general it was hard to program. As a result there COULD be problems with this skill. Just try it first either way. You should be able to select the right human language and other race languages with no problem. I have tested it but you just never know what could occur. If at all fails just store some of your points on the character sheet and buy manually.
  6. Read & Write - Normally you should be able to get this skill many times but the program will not likely allow it. Most characters only get it once anyways but there is a rare chance he/she might want it more than once. If so just buy it manually through the store points on character sheet option. If more people need this I could rig it up to get more than once in the program just let me know.
  7. Supernatural Language - You can buy this skill (I believe only once though). The program will not ask you to define which tongue though because its based on complex procedure of alignment and such. Just buy this skill and use the language chart to actually determine which tongue it is. If there is enough demand I could program the chart into the program like I do for the Human Languages.
  8. Stablehand, Laborer and Farmhand are skills that are not found in any article or the rules. As a result I added them due to the possiblity of low station (0) characters. These are my own home brew skills. I will show the formula for each skill below. If people object to the way I did the formula please tell me I'm not used to making my own skills, frankly.
    Cost Max EL
    Stablehand 10 NELx7 (S+St+W)/15
    Laborer 10 NELx7 (S+St)/10+StB
    Farmhand 10 NELx7 (S+St+W)/15+StB
    I actually based those on other physical skills.

There is BOUND to be something I overlooked in the skills like a certain skill should be bought more than once. IF so please leave me feedback.

Delete a character

This option allows you to easilly delete character files. It will only work on character files (*.ppc). Once erased its erased until you use a undelete or recycle bin program.

View a character

This is a simple viewer. I did not make it too fancy. It will just read the file in and display it in chunks. If you need a better viewer use external programs :).

Print a Character

This was a requested feature which I thought was good at the time. But due to borland pascal 7 under win98 I've not coded a print function in a new program since I moved from win3.1/dos to win98 :). I found it to to be a bit of a bear. It might be hit and miss. So if you print the printer might go offline or blink if so check it and make sure the character has been fully printed. I have tested it here but you never know. It assumes the printer is on the normal LPT1 port. If not it will not likely work. Normally old method of printing code would work no matter what. I could maybe in a future version add windows support to detect the printer and all that but tis alot of extra code to print a simple file that can be done in any other program out there like word :). It works here at least with the guy I printed 3 pages. Please send feedback and maybe I can tweak it better for future versions. I have added the ability to define the printer port you might have a printer on. Run the program with pnpcgen.exe LPTx where x is the number like LPT1 (default) or others like 2 or 3. This is only for such cases. If its on lpt1 (most are) then just run normally without a parameter. It MUST be LPT1 LPT2 or such (in caps) otherwise an error could occur as I have no error checking in place. If all else fails just print in a normal editor where you can use fancy fonts and such. I recommeend this anyways. (G)

Hidden Program Items

While doing the program I did it in pieces and with ways to get out of trouble if there are any. The two areas are:

  1. Multipliers - Hit X at the prompt to end program.
  2. Skills List - Hit X at the list to end program.

Just remeber that if you do this the program will stop completely. While for debugging I left it in just in case of problems I have not found during testing.


Before you do any character that you will use for a long time you should consider what he/she will be. You might check the skill charts to see what attributes are needed for such skills and center on those attributes. The Attributes are the core of all skills and factors. So if you want a fighter center on the physical scores like Strength and Stamind not Appearance :). Just keep these in mind before you even start the character.

Keep the guideline in mind when you also are at the Initial increases part of the program. If you are a fighter you should set a high number for experience (ie CEL).

Just plan before you do any character beforehand. Talk with your GameMaster to see what he likes or does not like.


I welcome any and all Feedback on the program. From improvements to suggestions on new features. I did this program centered around what I tend to allow in my games but this might not agree with others. As a result I can consider all input for future revisions. Without feedback the program will just stay as is without any future changes. So its up to you as a user or GM to help improve the program. To leave feedback to me or contact me:

Email longshot@darktech.org
pnpgm@softhome.net (for the PBEM games of AdventureNet).
NetmailFidonet 1:112/91
AdventureNet 33:409/1
Mail (forwarded to here)Scott Adams
[Not my personal home address :)]
2540 Stein Street Jacksonville, Florida 32216
ICQ24436933 (www.icq.com)
IRCSysopNet as Nick Longshot - www.sysopnet.org for servers
Channels - #bbs, #telegard, #advetnrunet, #coders, etc.
Usually on from 9pm -3am EST (USA) in that ragen.

Magic Users

Magic Factors are not shown on the character sheet you should do those manually if you need them. I might add them in a later version.

Magic Characters should GET the minimum needed for their magic path (expertise points) and then save that to the character sheet while buying other skills minus this number. This is how you can use the program to do a basic character then do his magic spells.

Future versions

Future versions depend on user feedback or heck just my wants and desires :). Future plans might include

  1. User input for the program rather than all randomly done. Personally random is more 'fair' but if demand is for user input I can do it.
  2. NPC Generator
  3. Magic User characters - In order to do this I need help from people who might scan in or type in the data for all the spells. Its alot of data entry.
  4. Character database
  5. Charts used in character generation for viewing.

and much more..I will take any suggestions..

Known Bugs and problems

Even though I have tested pretty much as I can there is bound to be program bugs or problems.

  1. Sorting - The skills are sorted before they are put on the character sheet for nice viewing. But I am finding a random bug at this point that duplicate skills like 2 hand Axes. This is random and isn't easy to find. If this occurs make sure that the number of skills match that which you got. If not please report this as it could be missing one skill or so. I don't think this occurs however. Also Just remove the duplicate skill if it occurs the expertise points were not wasted on the duplicate. Maybe I'll find this bug and squash it.
  2. Skill Levels - Occasionally some formula will goof up. This might have a STARTING level be higher than the max. This makes no sense and I think I have it fixed at this point. But it might occur again. This was a problem with the starting level routine divisors. I think its fixed now. However if its not see if the maintenance routine will fix it. This routine is run automatically several times to 'fix' problems and do to things like get max levels cost of next levels and such. To do this Hit the F key from the skills list and view your skills. Hopefully it will fix it. If not please report the problem to me with the character sheet if possible so I can get a idea of your stats for number crunching.
  3. Languages - what can I say. Who knows what could occur with this thing. If you notice any problems with languages please tell me. I know you can buy more than one language however. I will say I had several problems with them during this program I had to fix over time :).

The program will exit out with an error if there is something more serioues. But fear not a error.log will be generated with full details. Send this file to me and I can track down those problems with as much details on what you tried to do and such.

If you abort the program some files may need to be deleted:

All 3 would be merged into the final character sheet.

Version Info

[Version A.BB.CC - A major version number for total rewrites BB - for major new features or bug changes. CC for minor level fixes and one simple bug fix = 1 version of .01 :)]

Version info will be held seperately in Whats.new :) Please consult that file.


There are three main controls in the program.

  1. User Input Boxes: These are shown when you are asked for some value like in the Initial Increases section. It will ask for a value usually a number or a string. You can use Alt-D to clear the field at any time if you wish. You can use INS and DEL functions like normal editing keys. If you enter a wrong value it will tell you if you are out of the range or not.
  2. Selection Control: An example of this is seen right away when you select race and gender. It will highlight the default item. You can use the Cursor keys (left/right/up/down) to move in that direction depending on the control. You then just hit enter to select that item. The mouse also works as well for this control.
  3. List Controls: An example of this is the language or skill lists. You can use the cursor keys up and down to go up or down one item or the page up/down keys to go up/down a screen full. You then hit enter to select that item in the list. Some lists have hooks like the skill list to other functions (like F1). The mouse can also go up and down the list with the button for selection.

Support Files

There are some required files to have the program run smoothly.

  1. Data.pnp - This file is used to hold the strings and data the program uses. Many screens use the data in this file to show on screens like the Bonus information. The majority are special event info and skill info. Each can be viewed online (skills) or will be later printed onto the character sheet in the special event section, notes or skill notes section. You CAN edit this file. But be careful as anything you change could affect the program radically. Keep these things in mind:
    1. Margins should STAY the same. There is a indentation to allow for use on the sheet and on screens. You should keep the left and right side as they are. Do not add any text beyond this area. You can edit anything with that block however.
    2. Delete - if you delete things keep the SAME amount of lines or the program will get confused.
    3. Change - Change anything you wish if it fits within a) above.
    4. Additions - If you add stuff that's fine but within the limits set in a) above and you do not add ANY lines. If you do the program will be affected.
    If you wish to add things for your own use contact me and I can make a special edition just for you if you have more details or comments for skills.
  2. Sheet.txt - This is the Character Sheet Template. You will notice it is a pure ascii text file like this file. It should be used if edited by Editors that allow HIGH ascii characters. Since the lines and borders are high ascii characters. You will notice things like @01-@73 these are template codes for things from Race to the skill notes. If the program finds these codes it will replace that code with the actual data needed. It is highly advised you keep this file the same. However if you do change it you do so at your own risk. If you need to ask what to change that might be risky leave me email. But the nice thing is once the character sheet is done and you need to edit things you can. Just remove anything you don't want.

Odds and Tidbits

  1. Supernatural Will Power - Errats says for evil eye 14 yet the minimum is 25. Am I missing something? So keep it non-errata.
  2. Mana Regeneration not done in the program because this is mainly for magic users. But if needed to be done here is the chart:
    1-1012345 6
    11-2023456 7
    21-3034567 8
    31-4045678 9
    41-5056789 10
    51-60678910 11
    61-707891011 12
    71-8089101112 13
    81-90910111213 14
    91-1001011121314 15
    If there is demand I can add this to the program but right now since there is no Magic-User generation system in it it would be a slight waste.
  3. Other Magical Factors like: Casting Ability, MDV (for non magic -users its Mana Level) for magic users its ML+(MEL/2) Round Up (Natural MUs-ML+MEL). Mana Level - (I+W+Em)/10, round up. Magic Path, Orientation, Magic Experience POints and Magic Experience Level are all magic traits not in this program. If you try to make a Magic User you will need to change MDV accordingly!


This program was done in Borland Pascal v7 - copywright Inprise, Inc. Powers & Perils - Copywright 1983 by Avalon Hill Game Company

Many thanks to the people on the P&P Mailing List and Web Page!

P&P Web Page URL: http://www.powersandperils.org/index.htm

Thanks to Burton Choinski for the Skill variation stuff :)

Thanks to Scott Cohan and others who helped to find bugs and give suggestions, comments and recommendations.

Finally thanks to any who tested this program and found bugs and to those who really enjoy it :).

Scott Adams


Character Generator for MS-DOS

Now presenting: v. 1.07.23 (06/02/00). For more information see whats.new included in the zip-file.

Design: Scott Adams