New Year, New Character
It’s Day 1 on the New Year, New Character Challenge. As per my outline post, I had no idea which game to start with. I headed over to my favorite online die roller (The old Wizards of the Coast one) entered in a custom “D31” and got a 28, which results in Mechwarrior.
Mechwarrior is an old RPG put out by FASA as part of their Battletech line of tabletop games. In the 1st and 2nd Editions of the games, the assumption is that the PC’s are “mechwarriors”—pilots of the huge, humanoid war machines that dominate the battlefield of the far future. Later editions aren’t quite as tied to the concept, but it’s still pretty core for the game. Of course, the name “Mechwarrior” is probably more well known for the series of videogames, rather than the table top RPG.
I’ve run some Mechwarrior in my life, though oddly none of the PC’s have ever actually been a mechwarriors—they’ve been criminals, scholars, cops, and relatively ordinary folks trying to survive in a war torn and broken future. I actually personally prefer the 2nd Edition rules, but the 3rd Edition (now known as Classic Battletech RPG and owned by Catalyst Game Labs. I think) has a fun “life path” system which seems ideal for the “create a bunch of random character” thing. And given that, I will not be using the UNE for this character, instead allowing the life path to guide me.
A players goes through a "lifepath" for their character, determining their background. This backgrounds provides certain points which will later be used to buy skills, as well as adjustments to attributes. At the end of the path, the player spends various points based on these values as they finalize their character. So, for example, a +1 from the lifepath translates to a +0 skill (barely trained), while a +3 will give me a 1 in the skill (competent). The system itself uses 2d10+Skill to resolve issue.
First, I need to pick my characters Affiliation, the "nation" that my character hails from. This is a choice, so I'm going to roll against a chart I make:
- Draconis Combine (Inner Sphere)
- Federate Suns
- Capellan Confederation
- Free Worlds League
- Lyran Alliance
- Free Rasalhague Republic
- Taurian Concordant (Periphery)
- Magistracy of Canopus (Periphery)
- Outworlds Alliance (Periphery)
- Minor World (Periphery)
- Warrior Caste (Clan)
- Civilian Caste (Clan)
- Back Woods
- Blue Collar
- White Collar
I also realize that he needs a name. I flip open the Everyone, Everywhere List and decide he'll have a French first name and a Spanish last name. I roll two percentile and get 98 and 3. "He" is now Franck Aguilar. Franck is 16 years old and setting out on his own.
|Franck's Background Worksheet|
Since I went with "Ne'er Do Well" I skip Step 3 Higher Education and move on to Real Life. I figure I'll bring Franck to his mid-20's before his adventuring career begins.
Repeating the path is similar to doing it the first time, with some slight differences. You still get the skill bonuses (Streetwise, Gambling, and I pick Appraisal this time), but I don't modify my attributes. Also, I get a -1 to my Event Roll. So, this time I roll 2D6-1 and get 11. AGH! Finally roll decent, and it's with a penalty. Still, an 11 gives me "Lady luck smiles; you make a living playing poker [EDG
Now I need to actually "create" Franck. I begin with his Attributes--remember all those "+1 Edge" modifiers I got? They didn't actually improve my Edge attribute, instead it merely adjusted the threshold for that attribute. A player begins with 50 points to spend on Attributes. For those up-to or below that threshold, each level is 1 point each (so, to buy a Charisma at 5 would cost me 5 points), to go above that would cost me 2 points each (so, to get a Charisma at 7 would cost me 9 points). 1 is the lowest an Attribute can be, while an 8 is the max for "normal" characters.
My threshold for Edge is an 8, so I immediately spend 8 points and max that one out. Before I look at the others, I want to look at my Social Score. My threshold of 5 allows me to get as high as a Baronet (lowest level of nobility), but that's way to high for this character. I decide to go with a 4, which makes him Upper Class--he's a successful gambler, after all, and stays in nice hotels and wears fashionable suits, even if he doesn't have much in the bank. Then, of course, there is Charisma. My threshold of 5 rather stinks, as "charming rogue" seems to be Franck's thing. I want it to be at least a 7, which is Remarkable, but that cost me 9 points. I think it's worth it.
Next I need to do skills. As I mentioned, the pool of points you get in the Lifepath don't directly translate to your skills. Instead, you use to buy those skills. So, if you have 1 from the lifepath, that gives you a skills at +0. You need a 3 to get a +1. But, what if you have a 2? All the "spare points" go into a pool that you can use to purchase other skills you may want.
After calculating out my skills, I only have 7 spare points. I decide to grab "Pistols" at +2 for this, as my gambler needs someway to defend himself, and blades won't be enough given his poor strength.
Finishing Touches and Equipment
With the "Wealth" Trait, I have a 5,000 C-Bills to purchase gear. Most of is combat focused, and therefore of little interest to Franck when the game begins. He's a wandering gambler, and his equipment reflect that. First, I grab his weapons, getting him a basic Auto-Pistol, Hold-Out Pistol, and Dagger. Armor doesn't really seem to fit him, so I go with just a basic Leather Jacket. All that only costs me 128 C-Bills. I buy a civilian micro communicator and spend 500 credits on clothing. Franck still has 4,197 credits left to spend once the game begins.
I probably shouldn't have done Mechwarrior for my first character. Character creation in that system is very fiddly and...odd. The "get points in Life Path and spend them later" is interesting, but a little wonky. This probably should have been a later post.
Also, Mechwarrior 3rd is wildly unbalanced. With different choices and different rolls, I could have easily had a character that was a far more "powerful" and skilled. In one of the games I ran, I had a barely competent cop/PI, an academic who was amazing at a few Academic and Language skills (and nothing else), and an Ex-Special Forces/Super Spy who had more skill points than the other two put together (and was as good as if not better than them in a lot of their skills). Other characters could start as Nobles with vast estates, or merchant princes with their own space ships. Or, like Franck, just a regular guy.
Which is actually something I like about the game. I'm fine playing a "Spec Forces" game with it, but I really enjoy running and play "regular folks" dealing with either petty and local issues, or those confronting Lovecraftian monstrosities. By default, there are no aliens in Mechwarrior, which I think makes it a natural fit for Cosmic Horror.