Friday, December 9, 2016

Shared Solo Experiment -- Background and Character Information

I've been talking a bit with some of my fellow members of the Lone Wolf RPG group, and we're going to try something a tad different for Solo Gaming--we're going to try doing something shared. We each start off in the same genre and with the same prompt, and then let our games spiral from there. They might cross over, they might not, but we'll all have a shared point of origin. I'm just in it to see how others handle their games.

If anyone's interested in following along or joining in, the core thread is located HERE.

As for me, the first thing I want to do is come up with a character. All I know at this point is that it is a Science Fiction game, set in a nebulously defined universe, so people can go where they will. Also, I have the initial prompt: "The main character must [Fight] [Technician], at [Entertainment District], but have to contend with [Trap] while being confronted by [Corporation].” And that's that!

I don't know what the details of my universe are. I don't know know what rules system I want to use. Heck, I don't even know who my character is! So, I want to start with that first. Figure out who my character is, how he approaches things, and what his place in the world is. I don't want to go too far into the Science Fiction milieu for my character, I want him to be somewhat grounded. Not a psychic space night, or a genetically enhanced super-soldier, or a trans-human. These very well might exist in this world, but the main character should be someone more grounded. Ideally he'll be something of a "professional adventurer"--someone who is a mercenary, or an investigator, or something.

Since I'm looking for ideas, I decide to turn for one of my old classics--Central Casting. I'll be using the "Heroes for Tomorrow" book to help me come up with the character. It's a series of random tables that flesh out a character, so I will have to apply a good bit of interpretation and editing to work things out.

First off, I need to determine what "genre" of Tomorrow I'm in--Central Casting has four options-Tarnished Tomorrow, Final Frontier, Imperial Space, and Post Apocalypse. I like cyber-punk, and I'm probably leaning that way for most of my stories, but the setting we decided on is a bit more than that. Final Frontier is too optimistic, so I'm going to go with Imperial Space. Mankind has been in space for a while, and the future isn't what we were promised.

Next, race. I know I want to be a Human, so I just pick that and move on. Then, I need to determine my "technoculture"--a lot of time has past since man took to the stars, and different planets stand at different levels. I'm at the "Third Interstellar Age"--pretty common for Imperial. Energy Weapons, FTL, communication is faster than ships. After that, I look up the actual Culture my character is from, and I get "Decadent," described thus: "Decay, particularly moral decay, has begun to set in at all levels of society and the people have become pleasure-seeking and jaded." Yeah, that's the cyberpunk vibe I was hoping for.

Rolling a bit more, I discover the following. My character is an only child, and was raised by his Aunt & Uncle, and is middle class. He was born on a Core World, which is known for its volcanic nature. He nearly died while being born--perhaps mom didn't make it? His Aunt & Uncle have an unusual career--they have a "hobby" for a job. I rolled "partying." If they were higher class, I'd say they waste their days partying, but since their social status doesn't really allow for that, right now I'm thinking they're "party planners"--the kind of ridiculous career available in a decadent society. Things might change later, perhaps instead they've wasted his once vast inheritance for their own pleasure. We'll see.

Now, let's see what events shaped him as a child:

At age 6 -- Rivals force family to move to another world.
At age 11 -- Fateful event occurs: Something Wonderful--disease almost kills character, but miraculously he is immune to all disease.
At age 13 -- Learns head of household occupation (great, I'm a trained party planner...)
At age 17 -- Learned unusual skill -- Professional Gambling
At age 18 -- Fateful event occurs: Tragedy --Imprisoned for a Crime He Did Not Commit. None of the results appeals to me, so I decide it was Manslaughter--a teenage prank went wrong, and it was an accident, but he served time regardless. He was kept in a Medium Security Workcamp, and while there three events happened: 1) Disease ravages prison, but character becomes a hero by tending to the sick (ok, that makes sense). 2) Character learns thieving skills. 3) A general amnesty is declared. Character is freed after serving 40% of his sentence. I assume his sentence was for 10 years, so we pick up with the character age 22.

Education. I originally rolled really well for this, but decided it didn't fit his ex-con past, even with amnesty. I rolled again and got average with "office worker" as his career. He has a degree from a minor university in Business Administration or the like. Enough to get him a boring job pushing papers somewhere.

Events of adulthood. I don't want my character to be a kid, but not too old either. I'm thinking late 20's to early 30's. Old enough to be taken seriously, young enough to still be "starting out." I get 3 events for the events of his adulthood.

I figure college took 4 years, and assign the first even to that--I get, Ah, Love! My character is pulled into a romantic triangle, the romance ends, but we remain good friends.

2 years after college -- becomes Involved in Illegal Activities. Why? Needs money to pay off debts (run of bad luck at Gambling, maybe?). Type? Organized Crime. He commits murder, burglary, smuggling, whatever the boss needs. Events: Becomes a Leader, Jailed for a Few Days, Joins a Gang.

Final Event: Joined Military. Drafted. Branch: Army. Recon. Rank: Private. Events: Disease ravages the army. (Heh, lucky me). Conflict: Carnage is awesome. 70% of his unit is killed. Character survives, despite grievous wounds.

All these events have given him the following traits: Drunkard, Cruel, Impatient, Amoral, Liberal, Honest, Rude, and Sober.

Given all that, here's my character. He was born on a distant planet, and his parents died when he was young. Due to the vagaries of politics, they emigrated to the volcanic world he calls home (Krakatoa I decided). His Aunt and Uncle worked hard as caterers. They weren't quite servants of the wealthy, but close enough. At least they were able to provide for him. Through them, he associated a bit with the children of the wealthy, and supplemented his meager allowance by conning them through games of "chance." He was an all right student, but he stole a car as part of a stupid prank, and ended up killing a pedestrian. He was sent to prison, one ravaged by disease. He was unaffected, and took care of the sick. This earned him some respect among the more hardened members who took him under their wing. The conditions were so bad that eventually a public outcry forced some changes, and everyone with "good behavior" was released early.

He went to college, and did well enough to get a job at the local space port, pushing papers. He was bored by the tedium of his life, and turned to gambling and drink to fill the void. One drunken game wiped him out, but he was approached by some old friends from prison who said they could help each other. He used his position at the port to facilitate their smuggling, but was eventually caught up by the police as part of some investigation that didn't originally, involve him or his friends. They couldn't convict him of anything, but his job was over.

With nowhere else to turn, he threw himself wholeheartedly into the mob. His intelligence and fearlessness made him a favorite of the boss (I decide he's not in charge, but a top lieutenant), and was willing to do whatever needed to be done. When Krakatoa went to war over some petty nonsense with a neighbor, many "undesirables" were "enlisted" to fight. Bad leadership at home made the army weak from disease due to lack of food, medicine, and basic supplies. Bad leadership in the field left the army victorious, but practically wiped out. They won because the other side was as poorly led, and the Krakatoans were the ones left standing a few days after the battle. The war was ended through negations, and despite all the fighting and death, everything went back to normal. At least Krakatoa's "pride" was still in tact.

The story begins a few months after he is marshaled out, with new skills and fresh cynicism.

Personality wise, he's a cruel, violent man with no thought about "right" and "wrong," only what is "necessary." He doesn't like killing, not out of moral squeamishness, but because it's messy and mucks things up.  He like to drink and gamble, but only when he's "off the clock"--he never drinks while working, afraid of how it affects him. He doesn't care about what personal choices people make (liberal), only in that they don't rock the boat for the Organization; though he does get annoyed and impatient with how often people insist on "explaining" themselves and their actions to him. For his boss, he's honest, sober, and dependable. For everyone else, he's the last person they want to see.

I like him--a good, cynical, hard-boiled criminal who gets the job done. For his name, I decide on Alan Dogan, going with an English/Turkish combo to represent the future mingling of culture. But everyone knows him as "Lucky."

Let's Play Alien Hunger

What follows is an experiment in Solo Gaming, or at least an experiment for myself. I have run a few games in the past, but I wanted to...