So. Here's a character sheet I ripped from a book of pre-written scenarios so you can see what one looks like. I think it's helpful to have an example when doing one for a new game.
Let's work through it in order.Obsession
This is the thing that drives you, the thing that gives your life meaning. It doesn't have to be big and noble, something as simple as "Being financially and physically comfortable" is just as fine as "Overthrowing the crypto-fascist military-industrial complex" or "Wiping the Scottish from the face of the Earth"
Some examples from the core rulebook are:
Egyptian Antiquities, Knowing it All, Music, Physical Perfection, Religion
Shout up if you need help defining one.Passions
These are the things that bring out the worst, most terrified and best in you (Rage, Fear and Noble respectively).
Are you annoyed by rude people? The Scottish? People who give opinions on matters they know nothing about? There's your Rage Stimulus. You'll get bonuses to rolls relating to smashing, destorying or otherwise nullifying those things.
Are you scared of snakes? Being poor? Becoming Scottish? Being tied up? There's your Fear stimulus. You'll get bonuses to rolls to getting the fuck away from that thing. You'll notice that the example character sheet has "(Self)" written there, ignore that bit, I'll fill that in. It relates to the stress gauges below.
Does the suffering of small children bring out the best in you? Or maybe you think Education is the most important thing of all? Or maybe you have devoted your life to helping people who are born with genetic Scottishness fit in in civilized life? That's you Noble Stimulus, the thing that brings out the best in you. You'll get bonuses to rolls that work towards your noble goal.
Shout up if you want some help on this.Stats
Ah, game mechanics.
You have 220 points to distribute between the four stats. 50 is human average, and I probably won't allow anything to be below 20.
Body is your physical toughness and strength. It governs how much damage you can survive, how strong you are and how long you can run without needing a rest.
DnD Equivalent: A combination of Strength and Constitution
V:tM Equivalent: A combination of Strength and Stamina
Speed is your physical and mental reaction time. It covers how fast you sprint, how well you dodge and how clumsy you are.
DnD Equivalent: Dexterity
V:tM Equivalent: A combination of Dexterity and Wits
Mind is your intelligence and ability to retain facts, along with your mental resilience. It governs how much you know, how fast you can balance your chequebook and how well you react to Things Man Was Not Meant To Know (TM).
DnD Equivalent: A combination of Intelligence and Wisdom
V:tM Equivalent: Intelligence
Soul is your force of personality, emotional and social skills and also your propensity for magic. It governs seduction, lying and altering the nature of the universe.
DnD Equivalent: A combination of Wisdom and Charisma
V:tM Equivalent: A combination of Charisma and Manipulation
Let me know if you want any help assigning.Skills
This is where it gets a little tricky. Each stat has a number of associated skills. Skills cannot go above the lower of the governing stat or 55 (initially at least. They can be raised later). You start off with some free skills and then can raise them in character creation. You have the number of points in the governing stat to spend on raises in that stat's skills. So if you have put 60 points of your 220 into Body then you have 60 points to spend on raising Body skills. Once that is all done, you have a further 15 points you can spend anywhere.
A few things to be aware of before I get to skill descriptions.
1) Penumbra. This is the term for a host of related skills around the main one. Take Drive for example. At low levels of Drive the penumbra covers knowing different makes of cars, the Highway Code, etc. As you get higher ranks it expands to cover mechanics, maintenance, etc. In essence, its a way of limiting the number of skills you need to take. Quoting from the book:
A skill is more than a direct action. It's also the knowledge you have related to that skill. This area of knowledge around a skill is the penumbra. Your Firearms skill lets you shoot guns, but it"s also the skill you use fOr knowkdge about firearms: what the gun laws are in your area, who sells guns on the black market, how much a gun is worth, and so on. The penumbra is abstract knowledge, it's knowledge of people with similar skills and interests and so on.
Got a skill in Egyptology? The skill's penumbra means you know about current Egyptian antiquities exhibits touring the country's museums, or who can figure out how old that mummy in your basement is, or where to sell stolen grave goods. It's all right there in that one skill.
The higher your skill, the wider your penumbra. Someone with a Firearms skill of 30 is unlikely to know any arms smugglers. Someone with an Egyptology of 70 is on a first name basis with nationally recognized experts in the field.
2) Skill levels reflect your ability to use the skill under pressure
. So long as you have a rank of 15% you can use that skill in mundane situations without a roll - you don't have an 85% chance of crashing if you drive across town. You do, however, have an 85% chance of crashing if making a high speed getaway while thugs shoot at you and a demon tries to claw the rook off your car.
3) Matched rolls. If you roll a matched roll (11,22,33, etc) then the outcome is unusually good or bad, depending on whether its a success or a failure. This has the side effect of making a skill of 33% more than one percent better than a skill of 32% - as a matched roll of 33 becomes a matched success rather than a matched failure. It doesn't come up all that often but its worth being aware of.
4) Obsession skills. See in the sample character sheet how "Belive Me" is bold? That's because it's the Obsession Skill. Pick a skill that relates to your obsession. You can always choose to "flip flop" (essentially switch the tens and units round) this skill. The choice is up to you and will say something about your character. Two characters might havve the obsession "Sorting out the city's homeless problem" but if those two characters have taken "Build Houses" and "Hide the Body" as their obsession skills they'll have radically different approaches to how to do that.
Finally, 5) You can rename skills or even make them up. There's a list of general skills, which I'll get to in a second, but they're only a starting point. The sample sheet has "Believe Me" and then an explanation of it, for example. If you want to make one up, to be able to do something most people can't, then talk to me about it and we'll make something up. Renaming is similar, and changes the focus. You have a free skill called "Struggle" which covers melee combat. You might want to change that to "Karate". It's still the same thing, but the focus of it, and the penumbra, will be different.
Skills are a tricky area. Feel free to shout up with any questions. They are the only tricky bit though.
Anyway. The skill list.Body Skills:
General Athletics - Starts at 15%
This covers running, catching a ball, lifting weights, all of that jazz.
Struggle - Starts at 15%
All sorts of Melee. Hitting people with fists, baseball bats or katanas.
Other example Body skills (You don't get these for free, but you can spend points on them if you wish. Or make your own up)
Distracting physique - incredibly beautiful or soul-crushingly ugly, people stop and stare at you.
Hold Your breath - you can hold your breath for a long time
Hold your liquor - You can remain standing after a heavy night boozing
Large and hard to move - you're difficult to take down.
Or what about:
Climbing, Boxing, Weight Lifting, Work without rest, Marathon running, Enduring torture or Falling down safely.Speed Skills:
Dodge - Starts at 15%
What it says on the tin. Getting the hell out of something's way
Drive - Starts at 15%
The ability to drive a car
Initiative - starts at half your speed score.
How quickly you react to stuff
Other example Speed skills (You don't get these for free, but you can spend points on them if you wish. Or make your own up)
Do Two Things At Once - you're very good at splitting your attention between tasks
Fast Draw - you rock at getting a weapon into your hand quickly
Snatch - the ability to get something out of someone else's hands and into yours
Squirelly Reflexes - you're intrinsically jumpy and move quick at the first sign of trouble
Or what about:
Slight of hand, Picking Pockets, Parlour Magic, Sprinting or Diving for coverMind Skills:
Conceal - starts at 15%
The ability to hide things, either on your person or in a room or even hiding yourself
General Education - starts at 15%
The stuff you learnt at school and still remember. Dates of battles and trigonometry.
Notice - starts at 15%
The ever present spot/perception attribute.
Other example Mind skills (You don't get these for free, but you can spend points on them if you wish. Or make your own up)
Authority - you're in a position of authority in some formal organisation and can occasionally order people around
Photographic memory - See it once and its always with you
Or what about:
Medicine, Locksmithing, Strategy or Natural LinguistSoul Skills:
Charm - starts at 15%
Getting people to like you
Lying - starts at 15%
Telling impeccable lies and having them believed
Other example Soul skills (You don't get these for free, but you can spend points on them if you wish. Or make your own up)
A friend in the family - you have a contact you can call on for favours
Commanding presence - people naturally see you as a leader
Good old whatshisname - you just look kinda familiar to people.
Or what about:
Persuasion, Seduction or Borrowing Stuff
As I say, skills are a little complex. Feel free to ask for any clarifications.
Finally we reachMadness Meter
Don't worry about this. If you know the rules and want to play around with it - paradigm skills or whatever, then fine and ask. But for those not familiar with the rules, ignore it for the moment and I'll bring it up as and when it becomes relevant.