Animates have been described in general terms elsewhere. This section details them a little more and gives some guideline to creating Animate characters.

Animates in Human Society

Animates are very rare. However every city will have at least one, since the creation of an animate is the mark of a Grandmaster. If a Grandmaster's animate is destroyed, they will usually be compelled to create a new one, since other powerful adepts may perceive this as a sign of weakness.

Animates are usually popular people. They are well known within their own city. (Nobody forgets the one person in the city who is made out of brass.)

Animates will often forgo their previous identity. After all, they have little in common with the person they used to be. In stead they will adopt a nickname or title, descriptive of who they are. Examples might be, the Tin Soldier, Raggedy Man, or Millie Strings. They may retain their original name or a nickname, for close friends.

Animates as Characters

The first choice a player must make when designing an animate is to decide what material their body is to be made of. Just about any material is acceptable, but the character is limited somewhat by the material they choose. Some of these limitations have been mentioned before, but they are expanded upon a bit here.

Firstly, animates are bought using a house rule modification of the Automaton rules. The cost of being an animate is 30 pts., plus the appropriate Life Support (see below)

Animates have a specific range for buying some characteristics:


Animate Characteristic Ranges
CHA Range
STR Maximum value is equal to Resistant PD x 3
BOD Maximum value is equal to Resistant PD x 3
COM Normal range, but indicates quality of construction
PD Maximum value is equal to Resistant PD x 2, Minimum is 3
ED As per PD, but can be adjusted for concept
END Animates should buy their END score to 0

In all cases,Normal Characteristic Maxima apply.

Suggested Armor Values
rPD Possible Materials
8 Steel
7 Iron
6 Weaker Metals
5 Hardwoods
4 Softwoods
3 Weaker Materials



The PD and ED of the character are determined by the material of construction. Use the values of armor as a guide for these numbers. The highest possible is 8 (steel). The lowest possible is 3. Although some materials are of lesser strength than this, the minimum value is higher to simulate the fact that the body has no vital organs and can be partially deformed without loss of integrity. An equal amount of armor is bought to match. Thus Rafe Sterling, an animate of steel has a PD value of 8 and an additional 8 points of armor. A GM may allow that an animate may be constructed of particularly high qualitiy materials and allow them a value one greater than normal. Such animate will repair back at one point of armor less than normal unless the higher quality raw amterials and an appropriate repair facility are available. In any case, the other characteristics, such as Strength and Body are still dependant on the base armor value.

Example: Hank Woodman is made of hardwoods. Given his job as chief assistant to Grandmistress Dakota, he has access to very good imported woods and first a shop. He can slow replace his body until his natural armor value of 5 has become a 6. However, if he is damaged in the wilds, he may only repair himself back to an armor value of 5 or less, depending on materials available. He may repair himself back up later once he is in an equivalent repair facility to Dakota's.

Hank's player may buy Hank a STR of up to 15 (Hardwoods). Even if in game play he increases his material construction to 6 (Hardwoods +), his STR is still limited ot 15.

The limitation on strength is primarily an indicator of the structural strength of the material. A rag arm cannot lift a set of 200 lb. barbells.

The limitation on body is to represent the alteration on a normal human body of 10. The body cannot be too rigidly constructed, or it will not bend; it cannot be too loosely constructed, or it will not stay together. In general, a body is held together better by stronger materials, hence stronger materials will yield a higher body score.

Comeliness is an indicator of the quality of the craftsman. High comeliness indicates the hand of a skilled craftsman. Low comeliness looks like shoddy workmanship. Considering the effort that goes into the creation of an animate body, Comeliness tends toward the high end.

The END characteristic for an animate may be bought down to zero. Strength and any powers must be bought to zero END cost. If an animate has a power that can be exhausted, this should be modeled with an Endurane Reserve or Charges.

Animate Defenses

Go ahead, young fella-me-lad! Give the old chin a one-two. You'll wind up with naught but a handfull of bruised knuckles, wot?
But use that old mace there, and it's the repair shop for me. Of course, I daresay I'll be back in fighting trim long before you're out of the healers, eh?
— Brassman to a rowdy brawler

Animates have unusual bodies. Although they move and act, they are pretty much a collection of normal materials. As such, there are special considerations for how they may purchase defenses.

Weapon Damage Types on Animates

Animates are basically animated armatures of real world natural materials. As such, they might take certain types of damage differently than other characters. A man of solid wood may take little damage from arrow fire, and a woman of silk may be able to ignore being clubbed. This is modeled by limited Damage Reduction.

All weapons do one or more of the following types of damage: Slashing, Piercing, Chopping and Bashing. An animate character can choose one or more types to be resistant to. All Damage Reduction is purchased at 50%. Whether it is bought resistant is dependant on the type of damage being reduced. Values are listed below, including energy-based damage reduction for specific animates.

Damage Reduction Values
Damage Type Defense Bought As
Slashing Physical Damage Reduction, Resistant, 50% (30 Active Points); Slashing Only (-1/2), Cost: 20
Piercing Physical Damage Reduction, Resistant,50% (30 Active Points); Piercing Only (-1/2), Cost: 20
Chopping Physical Damage Reduction, Resistant,50% (30 Active Points); Chopping Only (-1/2), Cost: 20
Bashing Physical Damage Reduction, 50% (20 Active Points); Slashing Only (-1/2), Cost: 13
Any two types As per most expensive, at -1/4
3+ types Full cost
Fire Energy Damage Reduction, Resistant,50% (30 Active Points); Fire Only (-1/2), Cost: 20
Electricity Energy Damage Reduction, Resistant,50% (30 Active Points); Electricity Only (-2), Cost: 10

Here is a table showing the recommended weapon damage types by category:

Weapon Damage Types
Weapon Type
Axes Slashing, Chopping
Hammers Bashing, possibly Piercing (some maces)
Picks Piercing
Clubs Bashing
Swords Slashing, Light swords may have Piercing, Heavy swords may have Chopping
Knives Piercing, Slashing
Flail Bashing
Pole-arms by weapon type
Other weapons Use common sense

A character is usually given the benefit of the doubt as to which specific type of damage a weapon is doing. A character weilding an axe against an animate who has damage Reduction to Chopping, should be considered to be doing chopping damage unless a) the GM rule that the fighting style of the attacker most closely resembles slashing, or b) the attacker specifically states they are trying to do an alternative type of damage. The GM may impose OCV penalties in this case.

Remember, Damage Reduction is optional, and should only be used to model constructs which truly are more resistant than others. Most animates will not need to buy Damage Reduction.

Animate Bodies

Animate bodies must be poseable or bendable in their natural unanimated state. Some materials which are not flexible (metal, wood) may be jointed or otherwise articulated. Thus metal arms might be hinged or joined with cotter pins.

If an animate is to possess sensory ability, it must have a representation of the sensory organ constructed as part of their body. Thus for Peter Potter, whose body is made of terra cotta, must have eyes and ears painted on his head. The body's psyche allows these to function as real eyes and ears. Likewise a mouth is required to allow the ability of speech. None of these things has to be actually functional, a painting or suggestion of the feature will do.

Animate bodies do not naturally heal; they must be repaired. This is both a drawback and an advantage. Although the animate cannot naturally recover from damage like a living being, she can withstand tremendous amounts of damage, or even total dismemberment and be none the worse for the wear after a good repair job. Dismemberment does not kill the animate, but the animate cannot control body parts independently. They cannot for instance, remove a hand and let it crawl around doing their bidding. The body's morphia does not "remember" this ability.

The only exception to this rule is the clean removal of the head. Humans have a tendency to view head and body as two separate things working together, so if the head is removed completely, the animate can make an ego roll to continue to operate the body. The body cannot perform complicated tasks, there just isn't enough control, but it is possible it could blindly grope for the head and replace it, provided the attachment is not too complex.

In the event of dismemberment, the consciousness of the animate stays with the head. If the head is destroyed, the consciousness remains with the largest remaining piece of the original body. Unless the body is pretty much totally destroyed, the animate can be repaired. As soon as new body parts are attached to the remnants, the spirit can animate the entire body.

Thus Raggedy Jane, if burnt by fire so that nothing but her apron and boots remain, can still be saved. She needs to have a seamstress put together a new body closely resembling her own and place the apron and boots on it. Raggedy Jane will then be able to animate the new body. If only a boot buckle was remaining, the GM might declare that this is not large enough to anchor her spirit and that she has departed forever. Likewise if the boots were sold to a travelling merchant and the apron folded and put in a pantry for three years, the GM might declare that too much time has passed, and once again, Jane is gone. In general though, if some of the body remains, it can be repaired.

This sounds extreme, but is basically a Special Effect of BODY loss. If an animate loses more than half its (full) BODY in a single blow, it is considered to have lost some structural integrity. The GM may interpret this freely as the loss of a limb, or other body part. If an animate goes below 0 Body, it is considered to have been decapitated or have otherwise suffered some overall gross bodily damage. It is dying (like any other character at at a negative BODY score). An animate can be saved (like any other character) by the actions of nearby characters. For living characters, this usually is modelled by the skill Paramedics. For animates, any appropriate crafting skill will do. GMs may allow a simple INT or DEX roll if the value below zero is very slight or the construction is very simple (such as a scarecrow). More information may be found below under the limitation Finely Crafted.

Animates may be Stunned or knocked Unconscious. Stunning is usually a by product of a sharp blow or other damage, and is generally modelled by temporary disorientation rather than pain. Animates do not sense pain as do living things, though they find damage to their bodies to be uncomforatable and disturbing. Being knocked unconscious generally means the animate has suffered enough damage or has been disoriented enough to require time to recover. This can be modeled by extremely easily repaired damage (A limb pops off due to loss of a cotter pin, Jack Straw has the stuffing knoked out of him). In some cases, the animate has just suffered a ringing blow and needs time to gather its sensibilities. Creativity on the part of the GM and the player is encouraged.

Some people might wonder why aren't all bodies made of steel. Why make a living rag doll or scarecrow? The answer is fairly simple. Maintenance. A steel body must be kept polished and lubricated. Repair parts can be expensive or time consuming to obtain. A scarecrow can use any old shirt and pants and some handy hay, and presto: new body.

Bodies also tend to be of one type of material. Although Brassman might have a steel pin or two in his construction, it is easier for a master to create an animate if the host body only has one predominant type of morphia. Animates thus tend to identify with a particular type of material and often use it somewhere in their name, i.e. "Iron John", or "Hank Woodman".

Animate bodies go through daily wear and tear. The GM may rule occasionally that the hands or feet need replacement or repair. Some bodies naturally need replacement of parts. Jenny Scarecrow might need to regularly replace her stuffing before it gets moldy. Jack O'Lantern might need to regularly replace his pumpkin head before it rots.

Some bodies need simple repairs; some need skilled craftsmen. This is handled under disadvantages. In general, a body can be repaired rather quickly and easily if materials are available. Many animates carry simple repair kits (needle and thread, glue-pot) with them whenever they travel. If an animate has taken the limitation: Limited Manipulation, they require assistance to affect repairs. Otherwise, unless their injury was to the hands or sensory areas, they should be able to repair themselves. If they are at home, they may have a small supply of ready-to-use replacement parts.

Upgrading a body is rarely allowed. Usually the morphia is set in place by the Master who created the animate. Thus later painting a nose on Raggedy Jane's face would be cosmetic only, and not grant her a sense of smell. Her creator might be convinced to alter her morphia to allow it however.

Animates may wear armor, if the concept allows. (A scarecrow in plate mail is an inherently silly idea.) In such cases, the armor values do not stack. Normal armor encumbrance and activation rules apply, though animates will not usually need to worry about the environmental dangers of wearing armor that is too encumbering. Thus if Hank Woodman, wiht a natural Resistant PD of 5 were to wear steel plates (DEF 8) over half his body (11-), he would suffer a -3 DCV and -3 DEX-based skill roll penalty, the same as any other character. Few animates would be able to wear ordinary armor, but would need to have it sepcially constructed for them. 

Animates may not be constructed of spiritually enhanced materaisl. They ARE spiritually enhanced materials.

Animate Powers


Animates generally have human level senses. The rule of thumb is that the animate body must have a representation of the proper sensory organ in order to possess the sense. Painted or carved eyes and ears will function like ones of flesh and blood. Unless the character had an unusual sense during life, it cannot possess the sense in animate form. Since animate do not need to eat, they are rarely given tongues. Many animates lack the sense of taste (Phys Lim: Infrequently, Slightly Impairing, 5 pts).

Hand Attacks

If an animate is built of a hard or rigid material, they may buy a hand attack to simulate that hitting someone with their hand is like using a club. The maximum allowable Hand Attack is +1 die per 2 points of PD Armor. Thus, Brassman, with a rPD of 6 can buy up to +3 levels of HA. HA must be bought to 0 Endurance.
Hand Attack is bought as 5 pt.s of STR,-.5 only for hand-to-hand damage, as per the HSR 5th Ed. In this one instance, the cost of STR is 1 instead of the campaign-dicated 2, since the STR cannot be used to increase weapon damage, HKAs, etc. The HA must also be bought to 0 Endurance, which is a -1/4 lim for the one level, and -1/2 for multiple levels. As a quick guide here are the costs of levels of HA:

Bonus Cost
+1 die 4 pts.
+2 dice 9 pts.
+3 dice 15 pts.
+4 dice 19 pts.

Killing Attacks

Built in killing attacks are generally not allowed unless the original body had a natural killing attack. If this is true, then the animate body may be constructed with an equivalent attack. In special cases, the GM may allow a natural killing attack if the construction warrants, but this is strongly discouraged. If the body is made of metal, the reduced penetration limitation common to animals may be bought off.


Movement should be roughly equivalent to what the animate would have had in life. Justification should be given for higher than normal movment scores.

Like senses, unless the character possessed an unusual movement method before being transferred, they may not purchase it later. Many animates cannot swim.

Growth, Shrinking and Body Alteration Powers

Animates which are larger or smaller than man-sized will use 5th edition recommendations for size. (Do not use the powers Growth or Shrinking). Refer to the section on size differences in the Beast Chapter for further clarification. Since animates generally use the spirit of an existing person as their spiritual template, Animates are almost never of an unusual size. This is not necessarily true of Golems.

Other body alteration powers such as stretching, shape change or multiform are generally not allowed. Raggedy Jane might be able to use her rags to tie into a rope, but she would have no animating power over them. Likewise, if enough were used, she might have to temporarily disassemble her legs or something.

Life Support

Life Support is required. The bare minimum life support is the lack of the need to breath, sleep, eat or excrete. Neither do they age.

Beyond that, all animates must purchase whatever life support seems appropriate. Immunity to radiation, pressure and vacuum are likely candidates. Heat and cold are also common. Use common sense as a guidline.

For example, Raggedy Jane burns fairly easily. If thrown into a furnace, she would be destroyed about as quickly as a living human would. However, Peter Potter, the Terra Cotta man has bought LS: Heat. He can reach into a furnace without damage. Extreme cases will still result in damage, however. Even Peter could not take a nap in the furnace!

Life Support is expensive. To help defray the cost, Animate characters take a -1/2 limitiation on Life Support: Real Materials. This represents the fact that although they may not take damage from dangerous environments, they are still subject to discomfort or minor hindrances due to their surroundings. For example, though Hank Woodman may take no damage from cold, his joints may become creaky (-1 Stealth) or his boards brittle -1 DEF Bashing damage) if he is crusted in ice. Likewise, his wooden parts may expand or contract with rise and fall in temperature (-1 Dex rolls). It would be impossible to come up with every permutation of environment and material, so Life Support gets a blanket Limitation rather than listing each component.GMs should use common sense when applying penalties due to environment; they should rarely be applied and never extreme.

Full Life Support thus costs 30 points: Full Life Support (45 Active); Real Materials (-1/2) 30 Real

Other Powers

Other powers may be purchased if they represent something intrinsic to the body. Needles, the Pincushion Girl might have a damage shield for instance.


Most skills are purchased normally. If an existing character is transformed into an animate during the course of play, they may transfer as many of the Int, Ego and general skills as they wish. Some physical skill may have to be abandoned. A rag doll would not be likely to use martial arts, nor an iron manikin use acrobatics. Again, the GM is the final arbiter of what can be bought or transferred.


An animate character is limited in terms of what it can use experience for. The physical aspects of an animate are "locked in" when the master creates them. In general, it requires an equal act of creation to make major changes in the body. Obviously, it is not something that is undertaken lightly. Minor modifications might be allowed. Armor could be increased by rebuilding their body piecemeal from better materials. Jack Straw, the living scarecrow might replace his rag clothing with soft leather, for instance, or Hank Wodman could recreate his body using hardwoods, reinforced and lacquered.

Nevertheless, re-animations are not unknown. In general, a character should look at this as a "radiation accident", that is, an opportunity to redesign their character from the ground up.


Animate Disadvantages

Some disadvantages are inappropriate for animates. Age and accidental change spring to mind. Some other disadvantages have special interpretation when applied to animates. Finally, there are a few disadvantages that are required by almost all animates.

Distinctive Features

Highly recommended

This is a given. The Default is 15 points for not concealable, noticeable/recognizable. If the animate is particularly dangerous-looking, or made of precious substances, the player may add major reaction. If the Animate is obviously a killing machine, an extreme reaction may be applied. Most animates will have the default.


Highly recommended

Most animates will have a Reputation. Animates are popular characters in their home area. The default is 14- for 15 points. Although they would normally get a –5 modifier for limited geographical area, animates are so obvious and unusual that they quickly become known wherever they travel. Public ID is not recommended for the Savage Earth campaign.

Physical Limitations

There are several limitations an animate can take to represent the material of which they are made, or the quality of their craftsmanship.

Limited Manipulation. This is virtually identical to the Beast physical limitation of the same name. It is used to represent animates with poorly crafted or ill-controlled hands. Someone whose hands are gloves stuffed with rags or straw might have this limitation, or someone whose hands were roughly tied-together sticks. If an animate is forced to accept makeshift repairs, the GM might temporarily give them this limitation. See the beast limitation for more details.

Limited Manipulation is worth 15 points (frequently, greatly)

Body is finely crafted. This is actually a limitation, since it makes repairs and replacement more difficult or expensive to achieve. Raggedy Jane would not need this limitation, whereas Brassman needs a brassmith to craft his replacement parts. Note that the body is not necessarily of better or more expensive construction, just more difficult to repair, for whatever reason.

Body is finely crafted is worth 10 points (infrequently, greatly).

Susceptibilities and Vulnerabilities

These may be required by the GM. A man of straw might take 2x body from fire, for instance. Not all animates will have one of these weaknesses.

Psychological Limitations

This is a specialty of Animates. After all, having your entire being remolded is an extremely traumatic event. Tiny mistakes are bound to be made. Sometimes memories are lost, sometimes entire skills or skill groups. Partial or selective amnesia is common. Sometimes Animates become obsessive with the care or appearance of their new bodies. Quicksilver (an animate made of silver), might grow leery of sunlight and take to polishing every night. Some might become terrified of a substance inimical to their bodies.

Adapting to a brand new existence can create all kinds of defense mechanisms. It may be difficult to realize that all friends will some day age and die, so an animate may try to make as many friends as possible, to lessen the blow, or she may try to make as few as possible, to avoid being hurt.

Animates may take up to half their initial points in Psychological limitations.


Golems are very similar to Animates, with the exception that they have no Psyche. There is no mind in them, they are pure automatons. The rules for the creation of golems are similar to the rules for creating Animates, with the major exception that they are bought using the automoton rules. Other exceptions are noted below:


Golems have slightly different limitations on their characteristics. Since there is no intent for them to bear a psyche, more energy can be expended toward Morphia and Anima. Here is the chart for Golems:

Char Initial Value Notes
STR 10 +.5, (0 END) Max is 3 x DEF*
DEX 10  
CON No value
BOD 10 Max is 3 x DEF
INT  No value
EGO  No value
PRE 10  
COM 10 Indicates quality of construction
PD 1/3 value Per material MIN 3*
ED 1/3 value Per material MIN 3*
SPD Base value Max 5
REC No value
END No value
STUN No value
Move 6 NCM 12

*Strength limitation can be increased for Golems of unusually large size.

Unusual Size

Golems are frequently built on a larger or smaller scale than normal. This may change their characteristics. Use common sense. It will also change the ease with which they can be created by a Master. Golems of either very small or very large proportion are rare, since their creation is difficult and tiring.

Small golems are used to get into places where humans cannot (such as a sewer cleaner)or because they have an unusual physical requirement (such as warbirds, which need to fly). The smallest known golems are the animated chess pieces made by Mistress Dakota of Tallon as a gift for Archon Ningan. They are priceless.

Large golems are typically used in industry or warcraft. They are good at lifting heavy loads or battering down defenses. The limitaitons on Strength may be relaxed for truly gigantic golems. Golems are rarely built more than twice man size. The largest known golem is the Colossus of Karkul, a city defense golem which is made of stone and stands over fifty feet high. Its estimated Strength is over 65.


Golems have very simple skills. They may have no skills that require higher reasoning. They are usually limited to Weapon and Transport Familiarities, perhaps skill levels in a particular maneuver or the very simplest of Professional skills, such as PS: Streetcleaner, or PS: Woodcuter. Any skill sthey have must have been possessed by the person or being that served as their morphic and animate template. Golems cannot learn, Neither can they react to unforseen circumstances.