A suggested hate mechanic for old-school games.
Hate: Intense or passionate dislike that engenders a loathing, aversion, and a desire for revenge.
A player can either randomly generate a score for how hateful they are or designate what the character hates or if the DM wishes a set of backgrounds and related hates can be established.
Random Hatred: Roll 3d6 that score determines how much hate a character has. For each 3 points of Hate (or fraction there-of) the player should generate one thing that is hated.
So a character with a hate of 3 would have but one thing they hated, while a character with a Hate of 16 to 18 would have 6 things they hate. Players can choose what the character specifically hates or roll it up randomly.
The generic Hatred table starts with a specific hatred and narrows it down if that score is rerolled
Sample Generic Hatred Table
5- Wizards & Withces
9- The Same Sex
10- The Opposite Sex
17- A Foreign Ethnicity
18- Thieves & Bandits
19- Berserkers & Barbarians
Designated Hatred: in this method a player is free to specifically choose what a PC hates.
Each particular hatred earns a character 3 points in the hate score.
Campaign Background Specific Hate: this requires more work on part of the DM (and player) who should establish background options for characters along with associated hates that come with those backgrounds. This is useful as there is campaign building involved and eventually players will learn details like The Gabberclap Clan of the North Hills hates Lord Raticus of Darkhold and the Guttergut Mercenary Company that serves him. This is campaign specific stuff that really shouldn’t be generic and as such can’t be covered in detail here.
Using that Hate
While a player is free to have a character act as they wish sometimes hate can get the best of them or prove a useful tool.
Embracing Hatred: a player must roll their hate score or less of 1d20, if successful the character gain a +2 bonus to actions against what they hate. On a failure no benefit is gained but the player is still free to act against the source of the PC’s hatred. Chaotic characters may get an EXP bonus for acting on hatred.
Controlling Hatred: There are situations where self control is important and comportment must be maintained and individual hatred set aside. Mechanically one must roll over their Hatred score to avoid worsening short term reactions with a source of hatred. If a hatred is commonly known both sides have a 1 pt reaction penalty but if one can not contain themselves the reaction is one step worse. Lawful characters may get an EXP bonus for controlling hatred when it benefits others.
Specific Hatred (optional): a character can have a general hate that get’s more and more specific. By Example: A character could Hate Dragons, hate chromatic dragons, hate red dragons and hate the dragon Embyr that roasted mom and dad. this would count as 4 hates and could be recorded as Hate Dragons>Chromatic Dragons>Red Dragons>Embyr.
Outside of the benefit of fine tuning who a character relates to things in the campaign it also allows for more serious hatred granting additional bonuses against the target of hatred. A DM might allow additional bonuses to actions for each step after the first. But the problem here is intelligent foes will use that hatred against a character and on a successful saving throw may be able to gain temporary houses equal to those of a characters hatred.
Targeting Hate Adjustments (optional): the bonus for hatred might not be palatable to a player or campaign as a flat adjustment vs a target of hatred. It may be appropriate to restrict that hatred to a specific bonus such as to-hit rolls, initiative, damage, armor class,saving throws, or similar mechanical functions in the game.
Defeating a hated foe: If a specific individual is hated it is recommend that an experience bonus be granted for defeating that hatred. Less specific hatreds challenged and defeated may be awarded a minor bonus to experience gained but if a character has a strong hatred against a group and completes a major act against that group the reward should be substantial. Getting revenge against a hated foe does no in itself reduce the hate score.
Acquiring new Hates:A player may add one new Hate per character level directed against foes that have foiled them or destroyed allies of the character. This does not change a characters Hate score.
Reducing Hate: A player may consult with healers, sages, and clergy to get over their hatred (this may require an expense of time or action) or have a sudden insight following a beneficial encounter with the subset of their hate. Strike the Hate from the list of hates when so done and reduce the hate score by 1d3.
Resisting the Temptation to Exact Revenge (optional): It is possible for a character to find themselves in situation where they have the capacity to exact revenge against the target of their hate but they genuinely do not wish to do so at the time to resist taking the attempt a character must control their hate (as above) by rolling over Hate on 1d20. Good or Lawful characters may be rewarded for avoiding the temptation immediate base revenge.
Wanton Hatred(optional): A player may choose to have a character be very active and wanton in the degree of hate they have for targets of their hatred. For every vile act of hatred they commit they are allowed to add one point to the Hate score (once per character revel max). Wanton hatred will be acts that would inspire disgust an disdain from others and may in some campaigns be considered Alignment violations. DMs should not punish a player directly if they violate alignment but associations and grouse they belong to may demand redemption.