Friday, April 3, 2015

Trek to the Stars part 8:Character Creation

Character creation in Trek to the Stars is a bit more involved than I normally like to make. That said I think there is a lot of interesting things that can happen in a more involved character generation. I hope I am right in that, and not just kind of meandering at the mind. In this post I will be putting down the framework of character creation, step by step. For those just picking this series up, here is the precious posts:
Initial thoughts
Part 1: The Pitch
Part 2: Skill roll basics
Part 3: Potential Campaigns
Part 4: History in brief
Part 5: Keys and Secrets
Part 6: Timeline and Technologies
Part 7: More technologies

Character Creation
To create a character for Trek to the Stars you start with the basic campaign template. Decide what sort of game you wish to play as a group. The game makes the assumption that you will all play members of a star ship crew travelling the space-lanes, taking colonists and cargo to and from the various outposts of human occupied space. However, if you wish to play a colonist, miner, or some other form of game the mechanics will allow that style of play.

Star Ship
Decide at this point weather or not your ship is registered with a government/organization. If you are registered that has some benefits and some downsides. If you are not, you remain free of outside influence, but that carries a lot of downsides as well. At this point choose a model of star ship from the list provided(no list at the moment, but I will have one in the final draft, for now just make up a cool sounding star ship) Also each player should write down one fact about the ship. Facts are one sentence descriptors that can enhance rolls during play.

Character Origins and Motivations
Next you choose an origin. Origins cover your birth planet/government, whether you are a baseline human or some variant, and your defining background events. You will choose one Origin Key that will be most important to your character. Following the origin you will choose a motivation. Motivation Keys are the driving force for your character in the moment. They are what you want, what you need. Check out part 5 of this series to get advice on building keys.

At this point you will also choose whether or not your character is a baseline human or something different. Currently I have only three types available, but my end goal is to increase that number to cover all the types I have discussed in previous posts. This is an area I am still heavily developing so any thoughts on this would be very welcome.

Baseline: you gain a character the first time in a session when your biology would cause a hindrance to you. when you spend a character point on a fact to gain an extra kept die you gain two extra kept dice instead.
Alpha: Increase your maximum dice in physical and mental categories by one and increase the rating of two skills within those categories by one. Gain a character point the first time in a session your biology would hinder your character.
Raven: The first time your biology would get in the way in a given session, gain a character point. You can fly at your running speed.

I am still working out how to do some of the human augmentation within the systems I currently have. Any thoughts on how to do enhancement within the system would be greatly appreciated.

You start out with 35 points to spread among the various skills. No skill can start higher than five dice. This may be not enough skill points(or it may be too many) for actual play. I feel that this works, but will need to run some tests to see if adjustment is needed. I am currently using the skill list I set down in part 2, so check that out for the current list.

Your character starts with three achievements. Achievements are specialties or talents within a given skill. Currently I do not have a bunch of names for specific achievements, but I do have a set of rules for creating them. An achievement can do one of the following:

  • Allow you to keep an extra die on a given roll(usually only in a given circumstance, though perhaps if you take it twice you can just increase the kept die for all rolls with the skill) 

  • Give you a minor unique ability of some sort or permission to use your skill in a new way(let you use a skill in the place of another skill within a defined field)

  • Increase the scale of the skill in a specific circumstance(I am still working on the specific effects of this and would love to hear any thoughts on what I can do with it) 

  • Increase effect or damage of a skill after the roll(basically you achieve success with style automatically on a success, you critically succeed when you succeed at all)

  • Character Points expenditures and advancement
    After character creation you can improve your character through the expenditure of character points to enhance a skill roll. The final character sheet will have a list of ten boxes set below the skill rating bubbles so you can easily track skill growth.
    10 character points gets you the next dot in a skill
    5 character points grants you an achievement(a specialization or ability within a given skill)
    2 character points grants you a fact(something like an aspect that is attached to the skill). These are the only character points you can spend on character advancement without spending them on enhancing a skill first.

    Finishing Touches
    Write down three facts about your character. One should be about their training and background. The other two should be about relationships or social duties your character has. These are very important as they allow you to increase the number of kept dice you can have on a given roll. These Facts also allow for a bit of niche protection and individualization of specialty. Also here is where you mark down any signature equipment and your physical description. And then you should be done...

    So far that is what I have for character creation. I would like to do a bunch of character creation and see if it stands up to repeated iterations. If any readers would like to build a character(or a bunch of them should the mood strike), I would like to see them, post or link in the comments. In fact I would love to hear any thoughts on this method for character creation. Let me know if you think it will work what areas are weak, and anything else you thought about it.