Sunday, December 8, 2013

Character Creation: Full Light, Full Steam

Two characters in a week? I'm on a roll.

The Game: Full Light, Full Steam
The Publisher: Josh Roby
Degree of Familiarity: None.
Books Required: Just the one.

Full Light, Full Steam is a steampunk RPG that I picked up in the Haiti Bundle a million years ago. I've never gotten past the cover before; just gone, "Oh, it's that Steampunk one with a system I don't know," but today I have a little time and I started reading it.

It actually looks really cool. The fiction captures the premise well, and it's pretty good. I think the Analytical Engineering referred to as "beekeeping" was what hooked me enough to keep reading.

So, in this world, various nations have colonized the solar system and are off fighting pirates, colonizing the stars, and generally wearing gears. The character creation chapter opens with talking about comfort zones and expectations, which I greatly appreciate. So let's see how chargen works.

Our first step, really, is to decide on how many points we get (this would probably be a GM decision). Let's do 125, since that's the lower end of Competent. We'd also decide on a spoils exchange rate, which indicates how fast characters progress. Since I'm just doing this as a chargen exercise, that's probably moot, but I do like that it's in there.

Step Two is concept. The book gives us a set of questions to consider, but none of them are mandatory; it's just to get us started. I have "cartographer" in my head, for some reason. I think that my character was a stargazer from the time he was a youth back in England. He peered through telescopes and made star charts, and when he tired of that, he pored through old maps of London, noting the differences between "then" and "now." He joined the RAN (Royal Astronomical Navy) to find new things to map. So, "starry-eyed cartographer" is good for concept, for now.

Step Three is thematic batteries. These look a lot like Aspects in Fate, except that to use them to your advantage, you have to "charge" them (by taking a handicap related to one). That's kind of cool.

So, I think "Bright-Eyed" is good for my guy. He's a little naive but he's very enthused. I see him as kind of a perfectionist, too, so I'll take "Always Correct" as a thematic battery. And finally I'll take "No Boundaries" as his final one - not socially, but literally. He's in space, which never ends, so he'll never map it all.

Step Four: Attributes. I start with a free rank in each one, and it costs more to buy higher ranks. But the cool thing is, on the character sheet, you pay 1 point per square, and you just fill up the squares in a row to buy a rank (there's more of them for higher ranks). Handy for non-mathy people like me! And I don't see any disadvantages that can be used to buy points later, so this 125 points is what I've got. Neat.

OK, so what do these mean? Acumen is used to size up a situation quickly, and Intellect is, well, smart-making stuff. I want those to be my focus. But Coordination seems to represent fine-motor control, which I also need. OK, I'll do it like this:

Acumen 3
Brawn 2
Coordination 3
Intellect 3
Leadership 2
Savoir-Faire 2

That puts me at 60 points spent. I'm going to do Skills, but if I find myself with 10 spare points, I may raise Savoir-Faire (I see my guy as enthusiastic, but polite).

Step Five, as you may have guessed, is Skills. I want:

Athletics (always take Athletics)
Marksmanship
Motoring
Shiphandling
Tactics
Weightless
Classics
Empathy
Language
Astrogation
Beekeeping
Theory
Cartography (an Exotic Skill, meaning I just made it up)

That's a lot, but I don't have to take high scores in all of them. I am going to spend 10 and take all four points in Cartography. That leaves me with 55 points. Putting one of the other Skills I want would cost 12. Hell, putting 2 in each would cost me 36. I can do that. That leaves me with 19 points. Well, I want more Theory, so I'll spend 7 and buy that up. I have 12 left. I'll spend 7 more and buy Astrogation up to 4, because that's perfect for my character (who seems to be well-suited to be a navigator). Now I have five points, so I guess I'm not going back to Attributes. No matter. I shall spend three to raise Weightless (just figure it's something I have a knack for) and then buy one point each in Etiquette and Ether.

At this point in the process, the group would decide on a ship name and some thematic batteries for said ship, but I think we'll call it a day, since that'd be a group thing and I haven't got one. I do need a name, though. His name is Lieutenant Trevor Vaughn-Smythe, and he's maybe not the head navigator (too young), but probably serves directly under him.

And that's it! Boy, that was easy. Might have to run this sometime.