Chuck Dee

tabletop

#characteraday, #rpg, #tabletop

The presentation of character creation in Eclipse Phase 2nd Edition is quite clean compared to what I read of 1st Edition. I never made one in 1st Edition having come in on the 2nd Edition Kickstarter, but I've heard horror stories.

For Damien we'll go in order of the steps as they're laid out.

Step 1: Background

Looking at the available backgrounds, Freelancer seems to fit the best. This starts me with the following:

Interface 40 Kinesics 20 Know (Black Markets) 30 Know (Investigation) 60 Persuade 40 Program 30 Research 40

Step 2: Career

I see that they have an investigator as a career, so I take that one giving the following aggregate:

Interface 40 Kinesics 30+20 = 50 Know (Black Markets) 30 Know (Current Events) 30 Know (Ego Hunting) 60 Know (Investigation) 60 Perceive 40 Persuade 40 Program 30 Research 60+40 = 100. The cap is 80, so 20 to be spent elsewhere – Infiltrate & Athletics. Infiltrate 10 Athletics 10

Step 3: Interest

He needs some gun handling and such, so we go with Fighter giving the following aggregate:

Fray 20 Guns 40 Infiltrate 20 Interface 40 Kinesics 50 Know (Black Markets) 30 Know (Current Events) 30 Know (Ego Hunting) 60 Know (Investigation) 80 Know (Security Ops) 40 Melee 40 Perceive 40 Persuade 40 Program 30 Research 80

Step 4: Faction

He hasn't made it where he is by playing it safe, so he doesn't advocate that in any area- including markets and technology. I chose Extropian for his faction. There's also the fact that nothing else seems to fit other than Criminal or Anarchist.

Step 5: Aptitude Template

With the faction and background, I take Thrill Seeker. This gives the following Aptitudes:

COG 20 INT 10 REF 20 SAV 15 SOM 15 WIL 10

Step 6: Skills

I've been doing this all along- but during this step, I realize that the 80 is including aptitudes. I'm going to have some adjusting to do. Final totals:

Athletics: 10 + 20 = 30 + 5 (1CP) = 35 Deceive: 15 (3CP) + 15 = 30 Fray 20 + 40 = 60 Guns 40 + 20 = 60 Infiltrate 10 + 20 = 30 + 10 = 40 Interface 40 + 20 = 60 Kinesics 50 + 15 = 65 Know (Black Markets) 30 + 15 = 45 Know (Current Events) 30 + 15 = 45 Know (Ego Hunting) 60 + 15 = 75 Know (Investigation) 60 + 15 = 75 Know (Security Ops) 40 + 15 = 55 Melee 40 + 15 = 55 Perceive 40 + 20 = 60 Persuade 40 + 15 = 55 Program 30 + 20 = 50 Research 80 + 10 = 90 – 10 = 80

Step 7: Languages

I want him to know how to move around several different cultures, so spend 4CP on languages: English (Default), Russian, Cantonese, Spanish, Japanese

Step 8: Flex

2 Ego Points (2CP)

Step 9: Reputation

I figure he's had the most dealings with the underworld, and some dealings in the corporate and police worlds. I didn't want him to have a high rep in any of them, as I figure as an investigator he's 'tolerated'.

Underworld: 40 Corporate: 30 Police: 30

Step 10: Customization

I purchase some Ego traits- I figure that he's agile, quick to adapt to new morphs, can empathize with people, and is relatively well off.

Adaptability: 1 (2CP) Quickness: 1 (1CP) Empathy 2 (3CP) Resources: 2 (4CP)

Step 11: Derived Stats

Initiative: 6 Lucidity: 20 Trauma Threshold: 4 Insanity Rating: 10

Aptitude Checks: COG 20 x 3 = 60 INT 10 x 3 = 30 REF 20 x 3 = 60 SAV 15 x 3 = 45 SOM 15 x 3 = 45 WIL 10 x 3 = 30

Step 12: Starting Morph and Gear

Most of the morph just seems to be picking, writing down info, and buying traits.

Damien starts with a Remade Morph (30MP)

Derived Stats

Wound Threshold: 9 Durability: 45 Death Rating: 68

Pools

Insight: 2 Moxie: 2 Vigor: 2 Flex: 2

Morph Traits

Quickness: 3 (3MP) Fitness: 3 (3MP) Pain Tolerance: 2 (3MP) Toughness: 2 (6MP) Skill Artifact (Guns): 2 (3MP) Skill Artifact (Fray): 2 (3MP)

Also included in this step is gear:

Anonymizer Armor Vest (Light) Fake Ego ID Medium Pistol Firearm Smart Clothing TacNet App VPN App

Step 13: Motivations

Personal Career Exploration Mental Challenge

–> On to Day 3

#characteraday, #rpg, #tabletop

After Altered Carbon, I figured I'd contrast it with Eclipse Phase, as I'm going to be hopefully running a transhumanist science fiction game of some sort soon.

This time I figure I'll go with an investigator that enjoys the mental challenge of chasing down X-risks.

Rolling a name, I come up with Damien Kinnear, and sketch out a background.

Damien Kinnear was a private investigator- he considered himself a good one, able to find things that others overlooked or missed, constructing narratives that led to results for his clients. So, when he received a call from a wealthy client asking him to find a sensitive package, he was not suspicious of the motives behind the ask. Unfortunately (or Fortunately depending on your outlook) his assignment was a smokescreen for a Firewall cell. The person he'd been asked to track down was had been co-opted by a nanovirus, and was actually a ticking timebomb. It was hoped that Kinnear's probing would draw the attention of the entity that had infected him, and indeed it did. But everything went sideways, and the cell had to bring Kinnear in for true. And once you're in, there's no way out.

The threat of the X-Risks, the nature of Firewall- it appealed to Kinnear's sensibilities. The chance to get off Earth? To explore and find things that are threats to the human race? That was tailor made for him. He wasn't an investigator for the money, but the challenge. And this was more of a challenge than anything he'd ever been presented with.

–> On to Day 2

#characteraday, #rpg, #tabletop

Conclusions

Character creation in Altered Carbon took a bit to wrap my head around; there's way too many special cases for them not to have included an example. They did include their 'Expedited Character Creation' rules, but creating a character is one of my favorite parts of roleplaying. The little icons that they use for everything and the fact that the explanations are all spread out in the book are not really useful either. And it shows something that I'm still not sure if my character is legal.

That said, the character turned out pretty much how I figured, other than still having the Praetorian network... there is probably a way to get around that and have a more appropriate network, but I figured it could also fit, as he was still in the military, so military might be more inclined to still talk to him.

Final Character

Name: London Tian

Description

Physically, London's sleeve is in good shape. He is tall with fair skin, blonde hair and green eyes. Though handsome, his face is cragged, and he looks older than his actual age. He has a tattooed sleeve up his right arm, going along his back- black roses, near death, intertwined with a lattice of thorns. Another on his left bicep depicts barbed wire wrapping up from the elbow to the armpit. Strangely there's nothing on his trunk, except a small cross above the place where the DHF is implanted.

His original sleeve was quite different, him being of mixed Asian-African heritage. His last memories of it was a wiry build with a dark cast to his skin, and blunt features. Not as perfect featured as his current sleeve, but still handsome in his own way.

Background

Tian was born offworld on the frontier- a backworld planet Gui Xiu VI. He was recruited young, and trained into CTAC. He had an aptitude for getting into places he wasn't supposed to be, and more importantly getting out. In his relatively short life, he's inhabited many sleeves, casting anywhere they needed inside information. He was good at his job, and though he had no real long term aspirations, it was easy to see that his star was on the rise. On a pretty routine mission for the Protectorate, he was debriefed- then he doesn't know what happened. He woke up in a new sleeve on Earth in a re-sleeving facility. 50 years had passed since the last time he was spun up. He was cashiered out of the military, and he doesn't know why. For a re-sleeve, he was given a decent sleeve as his severance, so he was very suspicious of the circumstances. But with no contacts and no way of finding out what happened, he's done the best he could, taking odd jobs putting his skills to use as he tries to amass enough contacts and resources to find out what happened to his career, his life, and his own sleeve.

Archetype: Military, Infiltrator Wealth Lv. 1 Requisition 1 Tech Points 4 Network – The Protectorate Military DHF Age: 57 Stack Points: 30 Ego Points 39 Influence Points 5

Sleeve

  • Synthetic, Mid Range
  • 39 years old
  • Baggage 4d6, 1 Roll
    • Mistaken Identity. As a result of cross-sleeving or by some happenstance, the sleeve a character occupies is someone with an extensive list of enemies. They will either be victims of the sleeve’s past corporate espionage, or they will be rival gang members or criminals.
  • Military Neurochem
  • Combat Neurochem
  • Carbon-Fiber Skeleton
  • ONI implant

Equipment

Blade (concealed, monomolecular) Steyr M9-A1 Tool Kit – Stealth – Professional Grade, Tools Tool Kit – Survival – Tools Tool Kit – Weaponsmith – Professional Grade Flak Coat – Environmental Repulsor, Broadcast Blocker

Traits

  • Small Arms – Basic Training
  • Martial Arts – Martial Arts Training
  • Urban – Streetwise

Sleeve Attributes

Strength 41/50 Athletics – d8, Melee Combat – d8, Brawl – d8, Toughness – d12, Endurance – d10

Perception 30/50 Detection – d10, Search – d10, D. Energy Weapons – d8, Stealth – d8, Firearms – d6, Throw – d12

Stack Attributes

Empathy 30/50 Diplomacy – d12, Expression – d12, Read Person – d10

Willpower 40/50 Composure – d8, Discipline – d8, Intimidation – d10

Acuity 41/50 Data Analysis – d12, Mechanics – d12, Data Engineering – d12, Navigation – d10, Digital Networking – d12, Pilot – d10, Investigation – d8, Survival – d10

Intelligence 30/50 Bureaucracy – d12, History – d12, Cultures – d12, Science – d12, Engineering – d12, Medicine – d10, Geography – d12

#characteraday, #rpg, #tabletop

Step 1: Choose a Character Archetype

I've already said that I wanted an ex-military, though all things considered, I could choose a criminal. I go with military.
This gives me the following:

Sleeve: synthetic, mid-range sleeve Wealth lv 1 Requisition ¼ Gain 1d10 Ego (+8) Protectorate Military as a Network Traits: Combat is common, Business and Society is Anomaly. All others Uncommon.

I choose a package, though I plan to play around with it- just a starting to see where I stand.

Infiltrator

Kit: Directed Energy Weapon (1 tech), Tool Kit – Stealth, Survival (+1), Another Tool Kit (2 tech), Flak Coat (2 tech)

Traits: Energy Weaponry – Basic Training, Martial Arts – Basic Training, Evasion – Concealment.

Sleeve Attributes

Strength Athletics d8, Melee Combat d8, Brawl d8, Toughness d12, Endurance d10

Perception Detection d10, Search d10, Directed Energy Weapons d8, Stealth d10, Firearms d6, Throw d12

Stack Attributes

Empathy Diplomacy d12, Expression d12, Read Person d12

Willpower Composure d8, Discipline d8, Intimidation d10

Acuity Data Analysis d12, Mechanics d12, Data Engineering d12, Navigation d10, Digital Networking d12, Pilot d10, Investigation d10, Survival d10

Intelligence Bureaucracy d12, History d12, Cultures d12, Science d12, Engineering d12, Medicine d12, Geography d12

I can tweak the levels – switch 3 skills by 1 level, or 1 skill by 2 levels

I'm choosing to switch Read Person d12 –> d10, Stealth d10 –> d8, and Investigation d10 –> d8.

Then I check out my attributes.

Sleeve: Strength 35/55 (+3), Perception 30/45 (+3)

Stack: Empathy 30/50 (+3), Will 30/50 (+3), Acuity 30/50 (+3), Intelligence 30/50 (+3)

DHF Age – I'm choosing 67, which seems a good time for him to have time in the military- if he went in at 18, then that gives him 49 years in the military before he was put on ice.

This starts to get to the point that annoys me- they use a lot of icons to represent stats rather than just abbreviations. These icons are not necessarily the most readable in small form on the page. It's not as big a deal here, I realize, as all stat bonuses are based off of the tens digit in the stat- so all are +3.

At 67, I get

35 Stack Points + 3 = 38 30 Ego Points + 3 = 33 2 Influence + 3 = 5 4d6 on Baggage table with 1 roll – 15 = Mistaken Identity. As a result of cross-sleeving or by some happenstance, the sleeve a character occupies is someone with an extensive list of enemies. They will either be victims of the sleeve’s past corporate espionage, or they will be rival gang members or criminals.

That's pretty doable. I'm going to spend 8 stack points to increase Will (4d4) and Acuity (4d4)– Will is now 40, and Acuity is 41. I'm going to spend 2 Stack points on Strength, adding 6, bringing the final total to 41. My stack points are now 28, but increasing Acuity brings it back up to 29. That seems strange, but it does say it in the rules- I just can't use it again to increase stats.

As far as age of the sleeve, I'm going with 39.

The sleeve has the capability for 4 tech points. Usually you split them with the group, but as this is just an example character, I'll use them- Military Neurochem, Combat Neurochem, Carbon-Fiber Skeleton, and Oni Implant.

On to Traits. From the package, I get Energy Weapons, Martial Arts, and Concealment, but looking at Concealment, I don't see this guy having that. I'm going to change it to Urban – Streetwise. Also looking at the tech, I'm switching to Small Arms – Basic Training.

Moving on to equipment, I take what is offered, adding only a blade (concealed, monomolecular), and changing out Directed Energy Weapon (2 tech) for the same in Small arms, picking up a Steyr M9-A1.

On to Part 3: Conclusions and Final Write-up

#characteraday, #rpg, #tabletop

I know I want to make someone that has a lot of trouble, is good in a fight, and not afraid to get his hands dirty. Protectorate, I'm thinking, but more in an infiltration behind the lines type of way instead of CTAC. Not on good terms with his unit, though he doesn't know why. Old enough to have a bit of experience in different conflicts, but still pretty young comparatively.

Rolling up a name, one that catches my eye is London Tian.

Tian was born offworld on the frontier- a backworld planet Gui Xiu VI. He was recruited young, and trained into CTAC. He had an aptitude for getting into places he wasn't supposed to be, and more importantly getting out. In his relatively short life, he's inhabited many sleeves, casting anywhere they needed inside information. He was good at his job, and though he had no real long term aspirations, it was easy to see that his star was on the rise. On a pretty routine mission for the Protectorate, he was debriefed- then he doesn't know what happened. He woke up in a new sleeve on Earth in a re-sleeving facility. 50 years had passed since the last time he was spun up. He was cashiered out of the military, and he doesn't know why. For a re-sleeve, he was given a decent sleeve as his severance, so he was very suspicious of the circumstances. But with no contacts and no way of finding out what happened, he's done the best he could, taking odd jobs putting his skills to use as he tries to amass enough contacts and resources to find out what happened to his career, his life, and his own sleeve.

I had to make up the planet name, as the base rulebook only gives info about Earth. Disappointing, but I figure I can wing it.

On to Part 2: The build

#rpg, #tabletop

I found out about this Character a Day challenge- it was to make a character a day in the month of January. Of course, I didn't find out about it until January had already started, and I'm also not sure I could even do a character a day. But then I got the idea to just make characters for some of the games that I haven't been able to play, or am thinking about using for campaigns, and it struck a fire under me.

So, you'll be seeing a lot of characters posted here for various games. The format I'll try to stick to is to (a) visualize the character and background, (b) walk through the character creation steps to give a feel for how you make the character, and then © show the final result, and evaluate if it embodies the concept that I visualized.

First up: Altered Carbon

The End

#rpg, #RPGaDay2020, #Tabletop

Prompt: Experience

I've tried to do these before, but have never kept up with them past the first few days. With the exception of the last couple of days of the month, this time I did it!

  1. What does that show me? It is possible for me to keep up with a blog for an extended period of time.
  2. What was different this time? I've been trying this new method of planning out my day- keeping a Zettelkasten, and having daily notes. I put this, another prompt that I was working on personally, and my agile board for completing my campaign on it. I also tried to put everything for the day, and as I did things, I moved them to the completed area of the board. I also indicated what I was going to carry over. It's been helpful to me as I have pursued purchasing a house also, as there are a lot of little things that you have to do when going through that process. But for the other two areas it was helpful also- and pretty much in every area, including work. The tags and maps help me to get back to everything later.
  3. Why did I miss the last couple of days? Moving, which I think is a pretty acceptable excuse. But it also lets me know that I can have things interrupt, and because it is my deadline, as long as I'm disciplined enough to come back to it, that's OK too.
  4. What about #RPGaDay2020 in particular? It was a fun exercise. Some of the days were a bit challenging and forced me to think outside of the box. Some were a bit light because of that fact, but I think I made some interesting entries. It might be a bit harder to come up with topics for a blog outside of this, but this experience has caused me to seriously think about continuing, even if just for my sake.

Thanks to all that followed and/or commented! And thanks to the organizers!

Portal the Game

#rpg, #RPGaDay2020, #Tabletop

Prompt: Portal

A strange one. This one first sparked in me a memory of Portal. And from there... well you'll just have to go with me on this one. Portal is a game from Valve. It is a pretty unique game- or at least it was- that had a few things going on. First of all, you didn't know the whole story, or pretty much any of the story starting out. You were a blank slate. It was a first person game, where your only weapon was a portal gun that you learned how to use while solving puzzles. You could point it in one place, and make a portal, then another place, and make another. Then you could travel through them. Or push things through them. There was more to it, but that's not relevant to where this stream of consciousness took me...

... how many times have their been unique mechanics implemented in RPGs that invoke the feel just from playing? I love aspects in Fate, because they can be anything – especially with the Bronze Rule (Fate Fractals). But I'm not really familiar with any other games that even come close to the idea.

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Mile Marker Imagae

Prompt: Ride

I remember when I was younger, the hardest thing (next to finding people who wanted to play) was finding transportation to get to a gaming session. I spent about two hours on the bus to make it across town to a friend's house in large part because the bus didn't go directly to his house. And I remember more than once having to run after the last bus because I'd cut it too close, though I never actually missed the bus to come home. I also had to ride the bus to the store in order to even buy them as the city only had a few places to find them.

As I grew older, there were more people to play, and more places to buy the books, but even though the number of players is not decreasing, the number of stores where you can buy the books is rapidly doing so. Though I can buy from Amazon and other places on line, nothing compares to browsing in a store. The only places close that I can do that (or could before the pandemic) was Barnes & Noble. I wonder if I should gain more of a tolerance for a long ride to support those that are an hour away- after all, I did it when I couldn't drive...

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Going out of Business Sign

Prompt: Close

If there's one thing consistent about Tabletop Gaming stores – it's that they close.

I can rattle off a few names: Oxford Games and Comics, The War Room, Sword of the Phoenix- there are many more. Making a living off of a niche industry is hard, and you learn to adapt or die. I worked for years for a game shop, and the owner stopped adapting. For a while he did, branching out into Poker Chips (as big a seller as Magic cards, believe it or not), Chilmark (another big seller), How to Host a Murder, Osprey Books – whatever he needed to do in order to turn a profit and allow the game store to remain in business. He became a distributor, supporting shops in smaller towns that the larger distributors wouldn't supply with favorable terms, and moved from prestigious places to others that were less so when the years became leaner. We'd even set up an online store for the shop, hoping that would bring more business in (and it helped me get some web work under my belt while I was in college), but nothing worked. I remember talking to him before the decision came down, and he said that he'd put away a lot from the best years, but it had been a few years since he actually turned a profit. With Diamond/Alliance swallowing up all of the smaller distributors, it was rare that he was able to actually get favorable terms by going direct. He could keep the place open for a few more years on the liquidity that he had in the business, or call it a day, and chose to do the latter, though he really didn't want to do so.

Now with the pandemic and quarantines, I'm not sure how many more that were just hanging on like he was will be forced to close. I can personally get games from Amazon pretty easily, but I'd rather support someone- but what do you do when there's no one to support. The closest store to me is almost an hour away. And given the shrinking number of stores, how long until there will truly be no one to support? It's a sad thought, but I don't really know of any real solutions.

What are some thoughts on how game stores can survive and even thrive in these troubling times?