Cinemechanix Classes

Category: Cussin' In Tongues
Created on Friday, 12 January 2018 Written by Steve

The Cinemechanix equivalent of the QAGS Job trait is Role. Except for the addition of a component that describes your character’s personality or demeanor (so you’re a “Grumpy Ninja” instead of just a “Ninja”) and the game mechanics (Role doesn’t have a number and bumps your Default Die from a d12 to a d20), it’s basically the same idea: An open-ended trait that defines what your character can do, what he’s like, who he knows, what kind of equipment he probably has, etc. The exact details and character abilities are left for the players to work out during the game, usually based on genre or setting conventions. 

For players who prefer crunchier character descriptions, you can add Character Class, which is a Concept Trait tied to a template of specific abilities and character traits. A Character Class is similar to a Role (or Job, Archetype, Template, Clan, Narrative Paradigm, or whatever your game of choice calls it), but in Cinemechanix it’s a seperate trait that serves a distinct purpose. Role describes how your character fits into the game’s ficton narratively. Class describes how the character functions mechanically in common game situations. While the two are often closely related (most Wheelmen have Role with “Driver” in the descriptor) and can even share a descriptor (a Wheelman’s Role may be “Wise-Cracking Wheelman”), they don’t have to be (a Wheelman with a Role of “Taciturn Blues Musician” works, too). 

To illustrate how you might use Character Classes in Cinemechanix, I came up with a few broad examples that would make sense in a modern-day action game (though several of them translate well into other genres without much tinkering). 


Description: The Bruiser specializes in hurting people really bad in hand-to-hand combat. Some do it with their fists (or feet), some specialize in a particular weapons (often some variation on the club), and others use whatever’s handy. Sample Bruisers include Rocky Balboa, Hulk, and Buford Pusser.  

Common Roles: Biker, Bodyguard, Bouncer, Boxer, Dock Worker, Enforcer, Gang Banger, Gator Rassler, Good Ol’ Boy, Sheriff’s Deputy, Soldier of Fortune, Wrestler

Common Fatal Flaws: Narcissism, Roid Rage, Toxic Masculinity  

Common Trademarks: Boxing, Brawling, Clubs, Improvised Weapons, Intimidation, Martial Arts, Pool, Sports Trivia, Strong As An Ox 

Common Drawbacks: Not Real Bright

Props & Wardrobe: Baseball Bats, Baseball Caps, Blue Jeans, Brass Knuckles, Bud Lite, Camo, Leather, Mirror Shades, Motorcycles, Muscle Cars, Team Jerseys, Tire Irons, Wife Beaters

Special Abilities: 

  • Hero Factor 2: The Bruiser gets a Damage Bonus on melee attacks equal to the number of Boosts that he got from Tropes on the attack roll. 
  • Hero Factor 5: The Bruiser adds his Hero Factor to his Damage Bonus on melee attacks. 
  • Hero Factor 10: A Bruiser may act twice during a round provided both actions are used to make melee attacks. 

Clue Magnet

Description: The clue magnet is, as the name implies, good at finding clues, solving puzzles, and making lateral leaps that allow him to solve mysteries. Examples of clue magnets include Sam Spade, Thomas Magnum, and Velma from Scooby Doo

Common Roles: CSI, Homicide Detective, Meddling Kid, Mystery Novelist, Paranormal Investigator, Private Detective

Common Fatal Flaws: Curiosity Killed The Cat 

Common Trademarks: Bad Cop, Blood Spatter Expert, Bug & Dirt Guy, Criminology, Cryptography, Eavesdropping, Firearms, Forensic Science, Good Cop, Interrogation, Investigation, Self-Defense

Common Drawbacks: Chain Smoker, Getting Too Old For This Shit 

Props & Wardrobe: Big American Cars, Cigars, Deerstalker Caps, Fedoras, Frosted Glass Doors, Hip Flasks, Magnifying Glasses, Note Pads, Trench Coats, 

Special Abilities: 

  • Hero Factor 1: Once per game, the Clue Magnet can ask the GM for a hint 
  • Hero Factor 5: Once per game, the GM can ask the GM for a clue
  • Hero Factor 10: Once per game, the GM can ask the GM to reveal the significance of a clue 

Higher Hero Factor Clue Magnets can trade in a higher level benefit for 2 lower-level ones. So a Hero Factor 5 Clue Magnet could get 2 hints instead of a clue and a Hero Factor 10 Clue Magnet could either have one clue explained, get 2 clues, get 1 clue and 2 hints, or get 4 hints during the course of the adventure. 


Description: A fixer is a person who specializes in getting things. By cultivating a network of people who both have access to useful resources and trust or owe the fixer, he can trade favors in order to ensure that everyone gets what they need (and he gets a cut). Fixer examples include Winston Wolfe, Mike Ehrmantraut, and Doug Stamper. 

Common Roles: Arms Dealer, Consiglieri, Dirty Cop, Fence, Handler, Informant, Pimp, Political Operative, Power Broker  

Common Fatal Flaws: Egomaniac, Greedy, Power Hungry

Common Trademarks: Good Memory, Heard It Through The Grapevine, Intimidation, Knows A Guy, Local Lore, Negotiation, Persuasion, Underground Economics  

Common Drawbacks: Varies, though many fixers (especially those of the criminal variety) are retired or semi-retired from more active “adventuring” because of age or old wounds.   

Props & Wardrobe: Briefcases full of Cash, Briefcases Full of Drugs, Diamonds, Distinctive Canes, Flash Drives, Expensive Cars, Nice Suits, Rolexes, Stolen Files, Weapon Caches

Special Abilities: Once per game, the fixer can leverage his network to gain access to a resource without having to play through the scenes that would normally be required to obtain the resource. All the work takes place off-screen between scenes. The type of resources available to the fixer depends on his Hero Factor.

  • Hero Factor 1 Examples: Walking Around Money ($1,000 x Hero Factor), Common Contraband (Guns, Drugs), Useful Dirt (Security Protocols, Sexual Proclivities), Minions (a number of Mooks or Extras equal to the Fixer’s Hero Factor), Low-Level Influence Peddling (Paying off a police shift commander to keep patrols away from a particular area), A place to lay low for a few days
  • Hero Factor 5 Examples: A Briefcase full of Cash ($10,000 x Hero Factor), Uncommon Contraband (Illegal Weapons, Human Organs), Actionable Intelligence (Access Codes, Blackmail Material), A Specialist like a Safe Cracker or Hitman (the Specialist’s Hero Factor is 75% of the Fixer’s Hero Factor), Mid-Level Influence Peddling (Calling in a favor to get the prosecutor to drop charges in a low-profile felony case), A safe house
  • Hero Factor 10 Examples: A Load of Cash ($50,000 x Hero Factor), Serious Contraband (Military Hardware, Uranium), Confidential Information (Bank Account Numbers, State Secrets), A person with A Very Particular Set of Skills (A character with numerous useful skills with a Hero Factor equal to the Fixer’s), High-Level Influence Peddling (Extorting the Mayor to support or withhold support on a particular hot-button issue), A fortified stronghold or secret hideout

The cash available to a fixer can also be used to obtain legally available goods (cars, rental property, uniforms, etc) with equivalent value. Higher Hero Factor fixers can “trade in” their resource for two lower-level resources. So a Hero Factor 5 fixer could get 1 Hero Factor 5 resource or 2 lower-level resources per game and a Hero Factor 10 fixer could get 1 Hero Factor 10 resource, 2 Hero Factor 5 resources, 1 Hero Factor 5 and 2 Hero Factor 1 resources, or 4 Hero Factor 1 resources. 


Description: The Mastermind is an expert planner, schemer, and strategist. Not only can he come up with a masterful plan for whatever the characters need to do, he always has a backup plan when things go wrong. Examples of masterminds include Nathan Ford, John “Hannibal” Smith, and Hagbard Celine. 

Common Roles: Captain, Coach, Con Artist, Crew Chief, Criminal Mastermind, Lead Agent, Mission Planner,  Ring Leader, Sergeant, Team Leader 

Common Fatal Flaws: Brutal Honesty, Egomaniac, Know-It-All

Common Trademarks: Attention to Detail, Chess, Obscure Knowledge, Research, Social Engineering, Strategy, Tactics, Well-Educated 

Common Drawbacks: Varies

Props & Wardrobe: Varies, but nearly all of them have a chess set 

Special Abilities: Once per game, the Mastermind can trigger a flashback scene to explain how he anticipated and prepared to deal with an unexpected complication in the plan. Any new elements revealed by the flashback (such as specialized equipment or new characters) must be consistent with everything that’s already happened and the characters’ resources and abilities. For example, any new equipment that the flashback introduces has to be small enough to have believably remained hidden until its reveal. The mastermind’s flashback can show him hiding a gun in an ankle holster, but not strapping a bazooka across his back. Hero Factor 5 Masterminds can use this ability twice per game. Hero Factor 10 Masterminds can use it 3 times. 


Description: “Specialist” is a generic Class that can be used for any character who is an expert in a very specific thing. 

Roles, Tropes, Fatal Flaws, Trademarks, Drawbacks, and Props & Wardrobe: Vary from one type of Specialist to another. 

Special Ability: When doing something in his area of expertise, the specialist can take a default roll rather than leaving it up to the dice. At Hero Factor 1, the default roll is equal to 5 plus twice the number of Boosts the character would have gotten if he’d rolled. At Hero Factor 5, the character adds his Hero Factor to the roll. At Hero Factor 10, he also adds an Exploding Die. Common Specialists: [Blank] Experts (can take a default roll for rolls relating to a particular field of study, like Monsters or Chemistry), Athletes (can take a default roll for non-combat physical rolls), Disguise Artists, Electronics Experts, Faces (can take a default roll for persuasion rolls), Hackers, Medics, Safe Crackers, Stealth Masters, Trackers, Wheelmen, etc.  

Other Possible Classes:

  • Gunner: Specializes in attacking with area effect weapons, and (at higher Hero Factor) using regular guns as area effect weapons 
  • Kung Fu Master/Swashbuckler/Sharpshooter: Has the ability to perform special attacks with lower penalties or more spectacular effects than normal characters 
  • Thief: Specifically, an expert at breaking into places without getting caught. Gets bonuses to divide among stealth, lockpicking, and certain types of athletic and electronics rolls. 
  • Tank: Specializes in taking lots of damage and gets bonus Stamina and maybe extra recovery rounds or variant healing rules. 

Any type of Specialist could be turned into its own Class with a more unique abilities, especially if the specialists area of expertise plays a large role in the game.

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