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 Post Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:29 pm 
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With all the regions now completed, it's time to actually get this game running. I'm now opening the thread for character creation. If you contributed a region to the game, then you are eligible to create a character; if you did not, then I'm afraid I have to give priority to the region contributors. I may be able to take you later if something opens up, though. I'm looking for no more than six characters at this point, so please do your best to make someone flavorful and interesting for the type of game I'm making.

============================

THE BASICS

Before we go any further into the mechanics, please have a rough idea of what sort of character you'd like to play. You can feel free to refine it as you work on it, but I'd like you to come up with the following information for me before you proceed any further.

Name: Everyone has one of these. Whether it's the one you were born with, or the one you adopted, tell me what to call you.
Calling: What does your character see himself or herself as? How do they fit into this ruined world, and what do they do? Give me a brief statement of what they'd call themselves if asked who they are, and a quick one-to-two sentence summary of what it means.
Purpose: Why is your character wandering through the dangerous wastes instead of living in a nice, safe community? What's their goal? This can be a long-term one, or it can be something short-term, but should be something worth risking their life over.
History: Where did your character come from? What shaped them into the person they are now? Please don't go overboard on this - a paragraph or two is as much as I want. Quality over quantity. Make sure to tell me where your character hails from, though, so I can figure out where they fit in.
Appearance: What does your character look like? Do they have any distinguishing features? Any personality quirks, any particular styles they prefer? What's the first thing someone's going to notice when they see you?


============================

ISN'T THAT SPECIAL?

Using a system based loosely on the Fallout system, characters' vital statistics are divided into seven Traits: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Characters have one point in each of these Traits, and have seven more to divide between them. These will be permanent, with no opportunity to change these during the game; please think carefully about how to allocate your Traits. A 1 represents a Trait that your character is deficient in, although your character will still be functional in that area. An average Trait will be a 2, with 3 representing someone who is gifted, 4 someone with phenomenal talent, and 5 literally world-class potential. Note that you MUST have at least one 3 or higher, which means you must also have at least one 1.

The system will be a dice pool mechanic, based on taking the two most applicable statistics, adding them together, and rolling that many d8. 8 is 2 successes, 6-7 is 1, 5-2 is 0, and a 1 is a setback which removes a success. The very simplest tasks require 1 success, your average task will require 3, and anything requiring 5 or more successes will obviously be fiendishly difficult.

Strength: Brute muscular might. A strong character can carry more, hit harder, move around heavy things when scavenging, and win fights with a grin and a crack of their knuckles. Strong characters can also use their strength as a source of determination, refusing to back down or let someone take advantage of them.

Perception: Sensory ability and understanding. A perceptive character can see things others don't, hear things others miss, comprehend body language and nuances in conversation, and put together connections others wouldn't realize exist. Perceptive characters are good at figuring out how to get what they want with what they have, and when things aren't quite right.

Endurance: Resistance and resilience. An enduring character can run further, work longer, survive natural and unnatural hazards, and keep focusing when the situation is against them. They are also mentally sturdy, resisting attempts to browbeat, cajole, or threaten them.

Charisma: Social aptitude and persuasiveness. A charismatic character is more convincing, more sincere, more charming, and just plain more likeable. Charisma also represents your magnitude of personality, allowing you to lead others, and keeping others from being able to exert control over you.

Intelligence: Learning and analytical ability. An intelligent character understands more difficult subjects, learns faster, remembers more, and can use what they already know to adapt to a new situation. Intelligence lets you see through tricks and falsehoods, and figure out how to exploit the weaknesses and strengths of others.

Agility: Dexterity and reflexes. An agile character moves more quickly, thinks faster, acts with more precision, and is able to keep control and react coolly even in the face of adversity. Agility lets you recover from your mistakes more easily, and is important for when you're trying to think on your feet.

Luck: The ability to make things happen. Lucky characters have more pleasant surprises and less unpleasant ones, experience more serendipity, find what they need when they need it, and generally just find that things tend to turn out in their favor. Luck means you're going to make fewer mistakes, and that others will be less likely to notice them and take advantage of them.


For each statistic, tell me what your ranking is, give me a snappy one-to-two word description of how someone would describe that attribute for your character, and give me a quick explanation of how your character uses that attribute.

============================

TAG, YOU'RE IT!

Now that you've got your raw potential laid out in front of you, it's time to decide how your character took advantage of this. You'll be picking three skills based on your character's history and calling that your character is particularly good at. Skills are meant to be relatively broad categories that your character has spent time practicing, to the point where these are second nature to them. Think "Science" rather than Biology or Computer Science, "Medicine" rather than First Aid or Surgery, and "Guns" rather than shotguns, pistols, rifles, or machine guns. Even if your character hasn't practiced the ins and outs of their tagged skill, they'll know enough to be able to figure things out more quickly than someone without that broad level of experience.

Yes, I will accept any of the Fallout skills for Tags.

The skills which you've tagged give you an advantage when you do something related to them. Every time you use one of your tagged skills, one of your d8s is replaced with a d10. Not only does this mean you have a higher chance to succeed, but you can also roll a 9, which is also 2 successes, and a 10, which is a whopping 3. Although other things may give you an advantage, having a tagged skill is the easiest way to get these advantage dice when you need them. Each tagged skill will also allow you to start with one piece of equipment useful to someone with that specialty. Although the equipment won't be anything to write home about (better equipment must be purchased), it will still be a cut above what you'd scrounge up under ordinary conditions.

Tagged Skills: What do you particularly excel in? Pick three tagged skills, and give me a quick explanation of how your character picked that skill up.
Equipment: Give me a rough idea of what three pieces of equipment would best fit your character, based on these tagged skills. While I will be the final arbiter of equipment picks, I'll probably make minor modifications at worst. You can also add other equipment if you'd like, but they will all be low-quality scavenged or makeshift goods.


============================

PERK UP!

Characters also have one perk, representing something unique and special about them. Maybe your character learned a particularly useful trick, like how to jury-rig parts to machines or how to reset a computer's security system. Maybe they've got an unusual aptitude, like understanding robots intuitively, or being especially good at intimidating people. This doesn't have to be a skill, either - maybe radiation doesn't affect them as badly as the average person, or maybe they've got exceptional endurance when it comes to walking long distances while loaded down. It's even possible that they've been mutated, or that they picked up a cybernetic implant from a member of the warring tribes. Whatever it is, your character can do something normal people can't. Unlike a tagged skill, this should be rather narrowly focused - one technique, unusual area of aptitude, abnormality, or so forth.

I will determine the mechanical effect of perks once all characters have been created. Each will have some useful impact, but will probably not be as valuable as having a tagged skill.

Perk: What's your character's unique special ability? Come up with a snappy descriptor for it, then describe what it does. How'd they pick this trick up, anyway? Were they born with it, or did they come by it somehow?

============================

THE SYSTEM IS FLAWED!

Finally, characters are only human, and everyone is bad at something. Maybe they're not particularly good at relating to people, or are a terrible liar; maybe they're nearsighted, or have a bad arm; maybe they just look like a mile of bad road. Whatever it is, your character has some relatively broad area where they're simply at a disadvantage. Moreover, this has to be an area that they're going to actually have to face every so often - your flaw cannot relate to something your character wouldn't normally be expected to know. If it isn't something related to your Calling, or conceptually linked to one of your highest Traits, it should be something the average person would struggle with semi-regularly. This won't come up constantly, but when it does, you'll be at a disadvantage.

When you are at a disadvantage, one of your dice is replaced with a d6. The rolling mechanics are still identical, which means the best you can get is one success, and you have an even chance of suffering a setback from it. While other things may cause disadvantages, you'll see these any time you have to deal with your flaw. Note that these cancel out Advantages, rather than being rolled together.

Disadvantage: What's your character's weakness? Come up with a snappy descriptor, then describe what they have a problem with. How'd this problem start? How has it impacted them during their life?

============================

Once you've got an answer to everything in Bold, you may go ahead and submit your character. You may post in-thread if you'd like, or PM it to me for feedback, but make sure to let everyone know what you're thinking of doing once you've started work on your character. If you then want to figure out connections between other characters, go ahead and do so. Just make sure to get it all done by the time Monday's Sluggy is posted on the 17th.

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 Post Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:25 am 
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Salamander wrote:
The system will be a dice pool mechanic, based on taking the two most applicable statistics, adding them together, and rolling that many d8. 8 is 2 successes, 6-7 is 1, 5-2 is 0, and a 1 is a setback which removes a success. The very simplest tasks require 1 success, your average task will require 3, and anything requiring 5 or more successes will obviously be fiendishly difficult.


Oooh, this will be tough. I've been running a few figures here, and unless I'm very wrong, a character with a 5 in the relevant skill, using a tag to change one of their dice to a d10, without being affected by a flaw, will succeed at an average-difficulty task less than 50% of the time. (The expected average number of successes for such a situation being 2.3)

This... seems a hard bar for an average-difficulty task. This is clearly due to a long life of malnutrition having its deleterious effects on our characters.

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 Post Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:57 am 
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Name: Peter Piper

Calling: Peter Piper is a somewhat simpleminded cook. However, he defines his happiness in terms of the happiness of others; that is to say, his calling in life is to make everyone else happy. His cooking, therefore, concentrates mainly on desserts and sweets.

Purpose: He wants somewhere to belong. Somewhere to settle down and live, where his talents are appreciated and the people are happy to see him. Of course, he wants to settle down in the best place - he's currently looking around, hoping to find that place.

History: Peter Piper grew up in the Hidden Valley. Born of bandits, raised by bandits, in a village that moved every two weeks and survived only by continual theft; surrounded on all sides by nothing but rocks, rocks, and more rocks. Food was always short; Peter learnt to cook and did what he could to make it taste better, but taste only helps so much when there really isn't enough to go around. And no-one was ever very happy, in the Hidden Valley.

The first time that Peter joined in a raiding party (into the Emirate Crater), it was a revolution. There was green stuff just growing out of the ground! Organic material, just there for the taking!

Subsequent experiments in grass-based cookery did not go well; but one of the older raiders, who had heard the legends of Villa Lau, told Peter where the Emirate's grain came from (originally, before the raiders stole it). Told him the tale of a place where people actually have occasional reason to smile. To be happy. A place where life can be enjoyed, not merely lived.

Peter promptly resolved to find such a place, should it exist. The other raiders did not hide their opinion of Peter's expedition - it was likely just a complex form of suicide.

But Peter felt that he had to take the risk; for the reward offered made it worth taking the chance.

Appearance: Peter is tall - a smidgen under six foot - and thin. Outside of the Hidden Valley, he has little trouble finding things to smile about. His hair is a dark black, and his skin is tanned; he has green eyes and all his teeth.


Strength: 1 - Wimpy
Perception: 1 - Would likely fail to notice an approaching enemy until it's close enough to whack him on the head
Endurance: 2 - Average endurance
Charisma: 5 - Very likeable
Intelligence: 1 - Somewhat dim
Agility: 1 - Trips over his own feet on occasion
Luck: 3 - Tends to land in fortuitous circumstances more often than not


Tagged skills:
Cooking - Peter was the cook for the bandit tribe in the Hidden Valley for several years. He can do a lot with a very limited set of ingredients.
Swordmastery - No bandit survives long without some idea of how to use a weapon of some sort. Despite his training, he was never really a great fighter.
Psychology - Peter has an almost instinctive understanding of just what to say or do to get the emotional reaction he wants. He usually uses this to try to keep morale up amongst those near to him.

Equipment:
Small portable solar stove (stolen from Silicate Vale)
Sword, reasonably well-made
Portable spice rack - it doesn't take much in the way of spices to really improve a good meal, though Peter does need to refill this on occasion

Perk: Finding stuff. If he knows what he's looking for, Peter usually has a good idea of which way to go to find it.

Disadvantage: Fear of being alone: When Peter first left the Hidden Valley, he was alone - completely, totally, alone - for the first time in his life. This experience scared him badly - if he is ever left alone, or if he has reason to believe that a companion has left (or is about to leave) permanently, he tends to go to pieces. This, naturally, includes any time that a companion looks like they are about to die.

...

How's that?

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 Post Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:15 am 
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Drat, was hoping I'd be the only character with Charisma 5. Speaking of, gonna have my character turned in by tonight.

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 Post Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:28 pm 
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I've got practice tonight, so I am going to put off character creation until tomorrow evening.

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 Post Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:50 pm 
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Though I created a region, I'm just not feeling up for a game in this setting. I will let someone else who is more invested with this style of fiction get in.

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 Post Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:33 pm 
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Sorry to see you go, Himi. Let me know if you want a bit part or something in the future.

CCC - the issue I have with Peter is that a 5 score in a SPECIAL Trait is legendary. It's meant to represent world-class potential, not just someone who's very likeable. You don't necessarily have to be someone who would lead the world, but the point is that you could be. I think you might want to tone the Charisma down and bump some of your other stats - having a 1 in Strength, Perception, and Agility does not suggest someone who'd have survived life as a bandit.

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 Post Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:55 am 
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I was thinking he'd survived among the bandits not because he was any good in particular, but because several other bandits looked out for him. Perhaps 'very' was the wrong word, perhaps I should have used 'extremely'... someone who could lead the world is more-or-less what I was going for.

Anyhow, I rather like the idea of having a 5 in some stat. If putting it in Charisma is vetoed, perhaps I could swap the Luck and Charisma scores?

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 Post Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:50 am 
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Just note, CCC, from what he's saying, you better have a darn good reason for whatever one you pick if you have a 5.


Still trying to think of an idea of mine, so far not sure what to go with.

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 Post Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:56 am 
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I'm also planning on having a character with charisma 5, and everything I've planned for him pretty much requires that he be pretty darn persuasive. A max stat is a huge character detail, is what I'm saying.

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 Post Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:58 am 
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Lemme bang out a character now. Going to Philly for the weekend to watch the USA Eagles play the Maori All Blacks. Should be entirely awesome.

Name: Ernest "Four Eyes" Mason
Calling: L33t Haxx0r and Major Dork.
Purpose: Ernest has left the Silicate Valley to see what technological delights the rest of the region has to offer. He knows that mostly he will be disappointed, but the occasional gem is worth the trek. Also, he is an insufferable know-it-all who needs fresh pastures to show off all his know-how.
History: Ernest was a member of the Bhaator tribe of Silicate Valley for the first part of his life. Not much of a warrior, and a bit of a brainiac he was very valuable keeping the energy weapons favored by his tribe in good repair. However the life as tech support for his tribe wasn't the most exciting, and Ernest wanted to see what lay beyond the lip of the valley. He set out to findtraveling companions and explore. He'll return home some time with tech and spoils.
Description: Ernest is slim, lanky, and has terrible acne. A pair of ancient and still-functional AR Glasses perch on his nose and glow with information whenever he bends to a task. He dresses in a sturdy boilersuit and boots, and carries his posessions in a succession of bags and pouches hanging from innumerable straps.

STR: 2 - Lanky and thin
PER: 4 - Capable of intuitive leaps
END: 3 - Surviving the wastes, with difficulty
CHA: 2 - A bit of a know-it-all
INT: 5 - Because he knows it all.
AGI: 2 - Not the most athletic.
LCK: 2 - Or the luckiest.

Tag Skills: Energy Weapons (Perception), Repair (Intelligence), Science (Intelligence)
Equipment: AR Glasses (Repair/Science) - Ernest found a still-functional set of Augmented Reality (AR) Glasses. Under most circumstances they don't do much except make him look like the biggtest dork in the land, but whenever they are around still-working technology of any kind they wake up and allow Ernest to do things most denizens of the waste couldn't dream of. Fortunately Ernest is intelligent enough to put them to good use.
Plasma Holdout (Energy Weapon) - Ernest also is in posession of a well-cared-for and ancient holdout plasma pistol. It's small enough to conceal in a pocket, and packs a wallop for something that size. Ernest also rigged up a charging device that works when hooked up to any source of power. Which is good, because there are only two battery packs for the weapon.
Perk: HUD - In addition to helping with computers and technology, Ernest's AR Glasses give him a ton of information at all times through a Head's Up Display. This manifests itself as an occasional additional bonus (beyond being a conduit for his tag skills) to whatever tasks the GM decides the HUD is aiding with.
Flaw: Blind Without 'Em - The downside to having such a magnificent device is that Ernest has become very dependant on it. In addition to losing his bonus when he is without his AR Glasses, Ernest recieves a one die penalty to the tasks he relies on them for the most assistance when without them.

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 Post Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:30 am 
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I'm really not sure about the system you've got, Sal. 7 points might be too few, or you're going to get nothing but hyper-specialised characters, as the two submissions here in thread already suggest. Is that what you were aiming for? Your system is basically half-SPECIAL, and characters in SPECIAL are built with 40 points - so shouldn't we be getting 20, rather than 14?

(And this doesn't even touch on the statistical problem CCC already mentioned. A "gifted" person will fail an "average" task most of the time.)

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 Post Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:44 am 
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I'll let the nerds do the math. If things change I'll respec.

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 Post Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:46 pm 
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Freaky, in retrospect, you're right. Long story short, this is sort of an adaptation of a system I Kickstarted, and it calls for 14 total. However, it is producing characters who are super-specialized, and that's going to be less fun in the long term. Y'all get 13 to spend, not 7. You are all still limited to one 5, however.

I'll run the math on successes and see how the numbers work. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that I'm expecting people to use beneficial combinations of score when they have a chance. E.g., ranged attacks are usually agility + perception; however, if you want to play someone who is careful and snipes his foes where they're weak, you might roll intelligence + perception instead. Similarly, if you spray and pray, you might roll luck + agility. Give me a good justification, and you can usually replace one stat with another; two stats replaced will require one hell of a good one, though.

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 Post Posted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:20 am 
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I missed that it was two stats; I'll recheck the statistics in the morning but that probably changes things.

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