Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Character Creation: In Flames

I made a character yesterday, too. I have a streak going.

The Game: In Flames
The Publisher: Cubicle 7, but listed as currently unavailable. It's by Greg Saunders.
Degree of Familiarity: None.
Books Required: Just the one, I think; it uses the d6 System, and apparently it's not fully explained, but the chargen system seems intact.

So, the premise of the game is actually pretty compelling. It's a sci-fi setting with spaceships and all (looks closer in feel to Firefly, specifically "Bushwhacked", than Star Wars), but there's a strong spiritual component. Characters are spirits that used to live in their own dimension, and come to people to possess them and act out their passionate, violent, or libidinous desires. But your PCs are spirits who committed some kind crime in spirit-land (it's actually called the Understar) and were banished. They permanently possess a person, meaning that these folks just wake up with no memory of who or what they are, but it's possible to figure out what your crime was and therefore rejoin the spirits. There's even a guide sort of being that helps you do that.

So far, so good, right? Here's the weird thing: The spirits are called loa, and the guide thing is called Ghede. Now, beyond that (and the whole "possession" thing, I guess), there are no other call-outs that I've seen to vodoun, santeria, or any other similar religion. Which is just weird and vaguely appropriative, I think? But I admit I haven't read all the way through the book.

Anyway, this would be a game I'd considered running, maybe, if I had players that got the itch for weird sci-fi.

The book advises me to think of concepty things first, so I do what I usually do with games like this and flip to the setting chapter for inspiration. And there it is!

My character is newly 30, with a young face, thick black hair (worn long; he's proud of it), and a beefy, muscular build. Up until pretty recently he was an indentured servant on Sapphire. The only way out of indentured servitude is to buy your way out, and my character (his name is Drez Ma) managed to form a consortium with a few other folks, hoarding a very particular sea snake's venom (Sapphire has undersea cities, which I think is cool) which is used recreationally. It's illegal to buy or sell it on Sapphire, but not on other worlds, so Drez made deals with some smugglers to get it off-planet, sell it (legally!) and get the money. He was free!

And then he got possessed by a loa called Gaius Sael. Ah, well.

Now, Attributes. I get 10D (dice) to split amongst four Attributes, which are divided into two qualities, Mind and Body. Body is supposed to represent my host (Drez), while Mind represents the Exile (Gaius).

I can also split dice up into pips, so if I have one Attribute at 3D+2 and one at 1D+1, that's 5D I've used (so, same as Men in Black, actually. Incidentally, it's a testament to how infrequently I do this that I thought I made that character recently, when in fact it was almost a year ago).

So! I want Drez' body to be muscular; his work involved a lot of swimming. I'll put 3D+1 into Might. I'll put 1D+2 into Agility, which means I've spent 5D. Over on the Mind side, I get Wit and Charm. I'll put 3D into Wit and 2D into Charm, how about?

Now I get 7D to put into Skills. Skills start equal to their controlling Attribute, so I have 3D+1 in all my Might Skills already. Once again, Might/Agility is Drez' muscle memory, while Charm/Wit is Gaius.

Well, Swimming, duh. I'll put 1D there. I'll put 1D into Lift, too, and +2 into Stamina. I've spent 2D+2 so far.

I'll put that lingering +1 into Pilot, giving me 2D. I guess I'll put 1D+1 into Athletics (which is misspelled as "Atheletics" on the character sheet), for a total of 3D there. I guess some combat would be useful, so I'll throw 1D into Melee. I've spent 5D+1. I'll put +1 into Stealth and Pistol (putting me at 2D in each and taking my spent total to 6D, I have 1D more).

I'll actually save that and take Good Looking as a Perk. I could take Complications but they don't seem to matter during chargen, so I'll skip it (none of them make me happy anyway).

Now I define my Exile's crime, for a very skimpy value of "define." Really I just pick a verb, because part of the game is discovering what exactly you did. In Gaius' case, I'll say "I pretended." I see him as lazy.

Static defenses, done, they just follow formulae. Likewise guilt and dislocation (if my dislocation hits 0, Exile and host break up and I'm basically dead).

Gear, for this game, is a little more interesting than "you have a zillion credits, buy shit." You get a piece of gear for each of your relevant Skills. In my case, I'd want a diver's knife (useful when I was a servant), some kind of device to extract the venom, and probably a vial or two of said venom (useful for bribery or just drugging people).

And I think that's good!