I promised I would read through this game and give a full report, and by now I’ve read far enough through to make an attempt at character creation. There are two methods of character creation, Quickstart and Construction. The former is done by choosing a sample character and then developing a life-path for it; the latter is a full creation process. I haven’t read the latter, so I’m going to try the former today.
Quickstart creation essentially uses all the statistics from the sample character, and the only creation part the player engages in is the social history of the character. I think this reflects the importance of the social setting in this game, and the role played by a character’s social supports (their Lois). Also, characters have a cover, which is chosen for you in the sample characters.
There are 4 basic ability scores, and under each ability score a couple of skills which are affected by it. The ability score is, I think, determined by your choice of syndrome (I haven’t got that far in the book to be sure), while the starting skill values are determined by your cover (so a high school student has different skills to a company man). The ability scores and skills are:
- Body, which is strength and constitution, and covers three skills: melee, dodge and ride/drive.
- Sense, which is a kind of intelligence score, and covers the three skills of ranged combat, knowledge and art (which has various sub-specialties)
- Spirit, which is a kind of willpower score, and covers the three skills of Renegade Control (used for powers), will (important for resisting triggering your impulse), and knowledge (which has sub-categories)
- Social, which governs diplomacy, requisition (for preparing items, which I think might be special objects in this game), and information (about research and gathering information)
Again, these skills indicate a strong social element to the game, and a simple framework (I haven’t got to task resolution yet!)
Other character creation elements
Having chosen your sample character, you need to determine the following elements of your life path:
- Your origin, the environment in which you were born and raised
- Your experience, which can be chosen from four background tables: High School, Company Life, Underclass, or UGN (the company that our heroes work for)
- Encounter: determines a person you met in your life who is very important to you
- Awakening: How you discovered your Renegade talent
- Impulse: an emotion which, when triggered, threatens to evoke overwhelming emotions which carry a particularly high risk of overwhelming your control of your powers, and causing you to lose your humanity and become a germ
The first 3 sections of this process each give rise to a Lois, a person with whom you have a particularly close bond. One of these will be an NPC. For each Lois you need to determine a negative and positive trait in your relationship, and turn it into a narrative for your relationship with this person.
All these decisions are made by “ROC,” Roll or Choice, so you can create your character completely randomly by rolling on d100 tables, or you can choose everything. Since choosing everything involves decoding lots of entries in lots of tables, our example character is going to be done randomly. Shall we try?
Sample Character: “Sparkling Twin Bullets”
We’re generating a Japanese role-playing character here, so one thing is fixed: they’re going to be a high school student. Any of the sample characters can be, of course, but there is one that comes with a pre-packaged High School student picture (click to enlarge):
The text at the bottom left of the picture says
UGN Children. Awakened as Overed in infancy, these children are raised by the UGN agency. You are one of these
Your earliest memories are only of study in order to control your power. You realised that you are not normal, and you have a duty to fulfill.
It’s not the case that you don’t yearn for ordinary life. It’s not the case that you don’t imagine a world at peace.
But, for now you are using your power to protect others. In this there is meaning, you believe.
This is the path you learned to follow…
The big text at the top left says “Duty! Roger! Finish this quickly!” and the part at the right is this schoolgirl’s character image (the “Sparkling twin bullets”) writing.
The UGN children story is not essential to the sample character, so we can change her, but let’s not. We’ll give her a UGN background and assume that she’s still in high school, because the stat block for her character sheet says that’s her cover; but the rule book says that UGN Children have to select their experience life path element from the UGN table.
We’ll call our girl Yumiko, in honour of my friend who has been recently helping me with my Japanese study. In Japanese characters, Yumiko means “Free Beautiful Child” (由美子）
Syndrome: Yumiko is a tri-breed, so she has 3 syndromes, which are Angel Halo (manipulating light), Morpheus (creating and manipulating matter), and Hanuman (changing the nervous system to increase speed or reflex).
As might be expected of someone with this focus, Yumiko’s stats and skills are:
- Body 1, 1 level of skill in Dodge
- Sense 9, 4 levels in missile attack
- Spirit 1, 1 level of skill in Renegade Control
- Social 3, 3 levels of skill in requisition and 1 level of skill in Information (UGN)
She has 23 hit points.
Effects are the powers her mutations give her. In addition to the standard (concentrate), she gets the following:
- Fine specks: increases her ranged attack by improving her precision (this is an Angel Halo perception effect)
- Hundred Guns: in exchange for some raw material, this creates a ranged attack weapon, the form of which is up to the player (this is a Morpheus matter creation effect)
- Penetrate: Enhances a gun so that it penetrates armour better (this is a Morpheus matter modification effect)
- March Weapon: Gives the power of using two weapons at once, either ranged or close combat (this is a Hanuman sensory modification)
Those are some serious powers with guns! Yumiko is a deadly schoolgirl!
Yumiko has a connection to an executive in UGN (however would a schoolgirl do that??!!), which gives her a bonus on her Information (UGN) checks.
So, using random rolls, let’s go through Yumiko’s life path.
Inheritance of power: Born the heir of a family that values its genealogy, Yumiko has always carried an inheritance. The Lois for this origin is a teacher. (I rolled 27)
Dirty job: As a UGN Overed, Yumiko had an experience on the battlefield that she doesn’t want to think about a second time. The Lois for this experience is a fellow soldier. (I rolled 87).
Herself: Yumiko has minded her own business and had few encounters with others. Her main connection in UGN is Artemis (Shikishima Ayame), a UGN illegal with great powers who tends to look after isolated members of the organisation. (I don’t know yet what a UGN illegal is, and I rolled a 2).
Ambition: Yumiko is driven by a single eternal goal, and will bravely consider any sacrifice to achieve it. She only has one dream, which is for everyone to admire her, and to be able to overcome any enemy. When she achieves this goal, she is uplifted. (I rolled 4 on a d10 on this table, and it gives a corrosion probability of 17%, near the high end)
Hunger: In her heart, there is an empty hole. Nothing she consumes can fill it, but it has to be filled. So, by any means… (This flaw gives a corrosion probability of 14%, the lowest)
This gives us three Lois‘s, characters with whom Yumiko has a close relationship she cannot neglect. One of these is the NPC, Artemis. The others are a childhood teacher, and a fellow soldier. For one of these, Yumiko needs to establish a positive and negative emotion, which conflict in the same relationship. I choose to make these for the comrade-at-arms, and off we go…
Positive:charity! This person is a figure like a junior member of her team who always strives at hard tasks, a sick sister, etc. who Yumiko cherishes (I rolled a 21).
Negative: threat! This person has the power of a formidable rival, and may be someone Yumiko is afraid of losing to (I rolled a 10).
These two elements need to be worked into the same relationship, so I think we can see what is happening here.
Let’s put it all together, then…
Yumiko’s full story
Born into a wealthy family from whom she stood to inherit a great deal, Yumiko manifested her Overed powers early, and was taken in by UGN. Her family were a typical loveless aristocratic family, and during her powers’ awakening she was cared for by an elderly teacher whom she still respects very much (this is Lois 1, the teacher). Taken in by UGN, she was assigned a cover as a school girl in this teacher’s school, and mentored by the teacher while she learnt to control her powers and fit into society. At an early age she was thrust into a terrible task, of the “burn this school down to save it” sort, and in this horrific battle she endured much grief and many battle scars that she dare not think over again. There was only one survivor from this battle, a junior soldier who Yumiko protected to the end out of a sense of duty, and she carried him bloodied and battered from the ruins of the school. He recovered, and to this day they have maintained their original relationship, as if she were his senior and more respected figure; but in fact his powers have grown fast and there is increasing tension between them as he chafes within the bonds of her charity (this is Lois 2).
And the bonds of her charity can be great indeed, for she has few friends or associates and has always been lonely, from the time of her loveless early childhood right through her training at UGN. She has always withdrawn, and focussed sullenly on the development and control of her powers. Some say that she feels rejected and spurned by her family, cast aside in the unloving embrace of UGN, and that she has a deep, dark desire to be accepted which also drives her ambitions and her stern sense of duty, both to UGN and to her junior colleague. This complex attracted the attention of Artemis, herself a loner, who recognised the risk that ambition thwarted, duty spurned, or acceptance withheld could trigger a great shock for Yumiko, and drive her to dark deeds.
Also, Yumiko is a very good shot, and has a fine selection of schoolgirl outfits, many with matching shoes.