Monday, August 5, 2013

Numenera Character Creation Example

So, I finally made it through the Numenera RPG core book. I am really debating of what my post will be after having done that. I’m not quite at the point where I want to give a synopsis on the more detailed setting +Monte Cook  put together. There are sections after the chapter settings that detail running the game, GM tactics, and numenera including making your own numenera, but the basics of these items have been covered. Again, it becomes a question as to what is and is not oversharing.

So, what I have decided to do instead is walk through character creation. I may come back and cover these other topics later. I just have to find a way to do that I feel I am not lessening the worth of the actual product.

I have several ideas for characters and adventures in the Ninth World floating through my head. In fact, I mentioned one yesterday while reading through the setting material, about a shadowling jack who had their cover blown. So, I already have a little bit of a basic idea of where I am going. Let’s see what I can come up with going through the rules of the book.

The jack is described as being a hunter, treasure hunter, rogue, skald, con artists, scouts, and experts in a variety of fields. This seems to fit the basic character concept I have in mind quite well. After all, if this were D&D, this character would be a rogue. So, we’ll stick with the rogue character type. What does this mean for our newly crafted character?

I’m going to skip past the jack’s place in a group and in society, because I already have kind of an idea of who this character is and what they are like.

The jack’s pools for Might, Speed, and Intelligence are all set at 10. I get a total of 6 points to spread across these polls. I think I’m going to keep it simple here and put two points into each, so his new pools will be Might 12, Speed 12, and Intelligence 12.

For this character, I see him as a growing up in the poorer part of town. He didn’t have much. He had to figure it out himself. He was later brought into the shadowlings for his unique skill set. Combine his past with his training and he ends up being a shoe in as someone to infiltrate a criminal organization. As such, I choose the School of Hard Knocks for the character’s background.

I roll for the jack’s connection to the world. I get a two, which means my older sister is a skilled nano. The numenera is not my strong suit, but I am also not completely lost in that area. This certainly isn’t something I would have immediately chosen for this character, but it gives me an interesting detail to add into the character’s backstory that may become useful later, during play.

As a tier one jack, my character has an Effort of 1. I want this character to be an agile adventurer, a nimble fighter, and be able to get out of the way (or out of Dodge) when he needs to. Because of that, I decide to put his one Edge into Speed, since the Jack can choose which of their three stats to apply edge to. I make note that my Jack can carry as many as two cyphers at a time. The jack is also practiced with light and medium weapons.

Now, I have an important choice here. I can choose one skill to be trained in. I’m really thinking he should be stealthy, so I am going to pencil in the stealth skill for now, but that may change before we are done. The jack also gets to choose one skill to be trained in on a daily basis. Each day they can choose a new skill or each day it can be the same skill. This effect only lasts for the day.

The jack starts with clothing, two weapons, light armor, an explorer’s pack, a pack of light tools, and two cyphers. I will wait to detail and decide upon the specific items until later in character creation—namely after choosing a descriptor or focus.

For tricks of the trade, I do not see my character as a spellcaster of any sort, so I am immediately staying away from hedge magic. Instead, I take Thrust and Skilled in Defense. For the specific skill I choose sidestep, showing the jack’s ability to get out of the way of attacks.

For the jack’s descriptor, I had already mentioned how I thought of him as a stealthy character, so the Stealthy descriptor seems to be quite fitting. However, I notice this brings about an inability, causing all movement tasks to be one step higher in difficulty. So, I look instead at the Swift descriptor which gives the character a +4 Speed, training in initiative actions, trained in running actions (makes sense, because he is on the run), and an inability in balance tasks. I don’t really like that, but I could see it playing well—so fast he sometimes moves too fast for his own good.

For my connection to the starting adventure, one of the other player characters convinced my jack that it was in his best interest to join the group. He’s on the run from a powerful enemy, after all.

When I got to my jack character’s focus, I actually stalled for a moment. Works in Back Alleys seems like a perfect fit, but it makes him much more a thief than I really envisioned him. It might still work. Then, I thought of how I kind of envisioned him as a swashbuckling fighter, but I’m not quite sure it fits as well as I want it to. So, I went through the foci provided in the book one by one until I found one I was sure fit. I come across Explores Dark Places and it seems to fit quite well. I love over the tiers and it makes sense for this character. He was essentially a spy rather than a scavenger, but the skill set is the same, and it will lend itself well to crawling through the mysteries of past civilizations and the numenera. My character gets the bonus items to go with the explorer’s pack. I make note of this. He also becomes trained in climbing, jumping, balancing, searching, and listening. That boost to balancing acts will cover the inability the jack picked up from his descriptor, so that’s good. From this focus I also have a bond with another PC. We’ve worked together before and we do so well, gaining a +1 to any tasks where we work together.

For equipment, it is suggested that characters not start with anything denoted as special and that the price for the free equipment given by the character type should be limited to 5 shins per weapon and 15 shins for armor. I consider the armor and I simply do not see the jack being weighed down by it. I use the option to take the value in shins rather than the armor and add 3 shins to the character’s currency. For weapons, I’d really like him to have a buzzer, having essentially been a criminal and an undercover members of an elite secret police force, but that costs 25 shins. A GM might allow it, but I’ll try to keep within the game’s guidelines for now. As such, I’ll give him a forearm blade and a crossbow. I plan on the blade being retractable and the crossbow being collapsible. There doesn’t seem to be any specifications of this and it fits the character well. I’m going to stretch the rules a bit and give him one set of ammo to go with the crossbow as well. To kind of even it out, I’m going to make the crossbow a light weapon.

A jack automatically gets a bag of light tools. This includes Contains small tongs, pliers, screwdriver, small hammer, small pry bar, lockpicks, 10 feet (3 m) of string, 3 feet (.09 m) of wire, and miscellaneous screws and nails.

Rogue from the Pathfinder RPG, but pretty close to
what I see my Numenera RPG Jack looking Like
With my focus of Explorer’s Dark Places, my jack’s explorer’s pack contains 100 feet of rope, rations for five days, three spikes, hammer, warm clothes, sturdy boots, three torches, and four minor glowglobes.

I can’t really think of anything off the top of my head for the character to need equipment-wise, so I will leave it at that and know he now has 11 shins.

I still need to figure out the cyphers the jack starts play with. I’ve looked through other example characters, their starting cyphers, and the section on numenera. I think he’s going to end up having an injector that allows him to heal 1d6 might points instant. I also think he’s going to have a set of adhesive gloves that make climbing earier. Both are good for only one use, of course.

I’m going to flesh this character out a bit more, but that is it in essence.

For some simple rules, it really did take longer than I expected. I think that is because a number of options were close to, but not exactly what I was looking for. In the end, I end up with this:

A Swift Jack  who Explores Dark Places.
Might 12 / Edge 0
Speed 16 / Edge 1
Intelligence 12 / Edge 0
Effort 1
Trained in Climbing, Balancing, Initiative, Running, Jumping, Listening, and Searching
Inability Balance

+1 to tasks when working with [Character Name]