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Character Creation 60: Doctor Who

Status report: Still in quite a bit of pain. The nerve trouble in my hip's not as bad—I can put my own socks and shoes on, though tying the laces isn't brilliant. Unfortunately, the muscles around my chest seize every night and it takes me a couple of hours after getting vertical to find a place where I can breathe without it hurting. But yeah, the level of pain's down quite a bit, though not enough that it's a sensible idea for me to be back at work just yet.

Anyway. Because I'm sat on my arse, I've been lulled into the srs bzns of internet spaceships and not making characters. Which is a deficiency I need to rectify as soon as I get the KLF on...

The Game: Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space
The Publisher: Cubicle 7, the jammy bastards.
Degree of Familiarity: I couldn't not pick it up, and it looks like a nice game that I need to run once I'm healed.
Books Required: Just the boxed set.

This is the Doctor Who game that should have been. The two earlier games were both products of their times, but this is something much better: a decent RPG that's been expertly applied to the licensed material. It does this as well (if not better than) the Angel RPG does, and that's saying something. The system's decently light and abstract, to the point that Mickey arguing down a Cyberman who wants to shoot him is handled by a single opposed roll of straight Presence + Convince vs Coordination + Marksman. The victor of a roll gets to narrate the outcome. Degrees of success include everything from "Yes, and..." to "No, but..." (indicating marginal success and failure respectively). It looks like a mainstream game and a robust system that's learned from games like Cold City and Don't Rest Your Head, and is one of the first mainstream games to really push the idea of a shared narrative.

I love it.

Ideally, I want to get [personal profile] gominokouhai involved in a test-run of the game as the Doctor. Because if I'm not the Doctor, he's the next best thing. [personal profile] stormsearch would of course have a role as companion, as would whoever else, but pajh as the Doctor gives me good excuse to study the great Anthony Ainley's Master as a suitable counterpoint. Hell, between us we could run something that properly draws on the heritage of the previous Doctors in addition to the modern series. It'd be good.

But still. I'm here to make a character.

The game uses three pools of points to start with: 24 Character Points (used for Attributes and Traits), 18 Skill Points, and 12 Story Points.

Concept
Right. I have a bunch of ideas for my own personal Whoniverse cribbed from all over the place, so I'm going to blend them and pour a character out of the resultant goo.

After the fall of Torchwood, the Prime Minister chose not to continue with an obviously flawed idea. Instead, he chose to re-activate the British Experimental Rocketry Group—a group tasked with finding and studying extra-terrestrials and their technology to see how they could benefit the United Kingdom. Operating as a department of the Civil Service, BERG had a not insignificant success. It helped that the members of BERG were scientists rather than macho lunatics; any hostile alien activity was instead dealt with by seasoned headbangers in the Weird Happenings Organization: the recently-formed (and fully deniable) MI5 to BERG's GCHQ. Alongside the Department for the Observation and Measurement of Scientific Work (focusing on the weird science dreamed up by human minds), BERG was safe. Hell, life at BERG was boring.

Danny Chance had wanted to join the Weird Happenings Organization, but they're a selective bunch: you don't get to see the exciting and dangerous bits of alien life without a tie and a crest. He joined the civil service instead, cozying up to a job for life even if that life was fixing broken computers. Two years ago he put in for a transfer to BERG, and to his surprise, they took him. He had a different office but the same dress code and the same future.

Until Prospero.

An alien artefact appeared in translunar space one day in late June 2032, narrowcasting a signal directly at BERG headquarters just ouside of Bradford.The signal contained the word "PROSPERO" in standard UTF-8 encoding, then a block of white noise, repeated five times. Daniel Chance, a man who'd long resigned himself to a life of civil service mediocrity, got the unenviable task of analysing that noise. Against all the odds, he did just that.

Prospero was sent to be the shepherd of humanity, a device that slowly parted the veil of space and time. It gave humanity the key to teleportation, the satellite translating inanimate objects through space, and even through time. Danny Chance, revitalized, lead the experimental programme. Prospero could transfer matter to any location from a specially constructed base unit, and return that same matter at a different point. Further broadcasts gave strict instructions on how items could be sent back in time, appearing at a point in history. Chance spearheaded the project, and stood on the platform alongside two trained agents of the Weird Happenings Organization as the first people to travel in time.

A grinding, wheezing noise and a flash of blinding light later, Danny opens his eyes, alone, in the bronze control room of what has to be an alien ship. A man, strangely dressed, asks what the hell he's doing and how he got into the TARDIS. Stunned, Danny can't answer.

Cue the game.

Attributes
Six Attributes: Awareness, Coordination, Ingenuity, Presence, Resolve, and Strength. These get bought from Character Points. The book suggests spending 18 here and holding back 6 for Traits. These are on a 1-6 scale, with human average being 2 or 3.

I want Ingenuity 5. Danny's smart in that peculiar way that starts solving a problem as soon as he's aware of that problem. I put four points into Awareness: he's got to know the full context in order to solve problems. He's not too clumsy, and knows how to handle a soldering iron so I keep Coordination at 3. I put two points in Presence: he tries to be funny but comes off as being either cocky or just a knob. Likewise, two points in Strength due to one too many late nights and one pack too many cigarettes. To match up with that, I put two points in Resolve: he's quit smoking three hundred and sixteen times, never for more than forty-eight hours, and knows better than to put down money to join a gym.

I've spent eighteen points so far.

Traits
Traits are actually more important than Skills, they're what defines a character. Taking the same role as advantages and disadvantages from other games, the list is both big and comprehensive. Minor Traits cost one point, Major traits cost two, and Special traits cost more—and can also affect the starting Story Point total. Bad Traits, of course, give stuff back.

Boffin (allowing ludicrous jury-rigged technology) is a given, so that's two points, as is Technically Adept for a further one. As a BERG operative, he's had some basic Psychic Training (one point) and still has a major Friend in the BERG (two more points). People don't seem to notice him until he does something remarkable—part of what makes him so objectionable—which gives me a decent excuse for Face in the Crowd (one more point).

Looking at Bad Traits, Argumentative (one point) is a given. He's driven by an Insatiable Curiosity (one point), which explains a lot. That leaves me with one Character Point to spend. I could dive into Special Traits, but they're all a bit out of the ordinary—though I'm sure his trip through Prospero changed him in some way, I'm going to leave that as a dangling hook rather than demanding that he be Psychic or a Cyborg at the start of the game.

Skills
Eighteen points to spend, plus one spare Character Point. On first glance I want decent Knowledge, Science, and Technology. Three points in the first two, four in the latter. That's ten points spent. He can talk people round if he has to, and he's not too bad with a set of lockpicks, so I put two points into Convince and Subterfuge. He received basic medical training, and he knows the very basics of how to use a gun—both things he was taught before his jaunt through time. Medicine and Marksman both get one point. One point each into Survival and Transport. One of his unspent Character Points buys the Repair area of expertise for Technology.

Finishing Touches
Much of this is dealt with up in the concept, but let's have a crack on it anyway.

Appearance
Danny's average height, got a beer-gut because he can never be bothered to exercise, and he smokes. A lot. Dark rings under each eye from terminal lack of sleep. Sandy blond hair in a scruffy centre-parting that sweeps back at the sides, a chin covered in roughly a week's stubble, and thin-framed glasses. He's early thirties, and wears open collar shirts with jeans and a cheap suit jacket, straight from the Jeremy Clarkson school of fashion.

Background
Some more mundane details to go along with the events that took him to the TARDIS. Tech support turned lead techie on a project that could be the threshold of a new age of humanity. Thirty-two and single, though it's not for want of trying. He left his last long-term girlfriend (Julia) six months ago, he didn't think he was good enough for her. His parents split up when he was twelve, his mum (Anne) died in a car crash shortly after—he still feels guilty that his last words were "I hate you." His dad (James) worked lots of overtime to support Danny and his older brother (Tony) but Danny drifted apart from his family while at university.

Home Time and Tech Level
This is a simple one: most of the 21st Century is Tech Level 5.

Personal Goal
This acts as the big motivator for the character. Danny wants to leave a legacy, to do something that people for generations will remember him for. It's not as simple as fame, he actually wants to better the lot of humanity.

Equipment
Danny's got a Leatherman multi-tool, a ten-LED torch, a smartphone, forty Benson, and a silver Zippo lighter (his dad's idea of a graduation present).

Finally, I note that I've got 12 Story Points (funkily, the box has a whole bunch of tokens for Story Points) and I'm good to go.

Danny Chance

Personality: By turns abrasive and cocky, Danny's got the very annoying to be right whenever someone asks him question. He wants to leave a mark on history by discovering something big, and so seeks out things to uncover, but he's too busy getting sidetracked to concentrate on any single project for too long. Since he arrived on the TARDIS he's started to shape up, analyzing problems and putting his solutions into practice even in the face of danger.
Appearance
Average height, a beer-gut because he can never be bothered to exercise, and he smokes. A lot. Dark rings under each eye from terminal lack of sleep. Sandy blond hair in a scruffy centre-parting that sweeps back at the sides, a chin covered in roughly a week's stubble, and thin-framed glasses. He's early thirties, and wears open collar shirts with jeans and a cheap suit jacket, straight from the Jeremy Clarkson school of fashion.
Home Time and Tech Level
21st Century - 5
Personal Goal
To do something that betters humanity and that people remember him for

Attributes
Awareness 4
Coordination 3
Ingenuity 5
Presence 2
Resolve 2
Strength 2

Traits
Boffin
Face in the Crowd
Friend (major)
Psychic Training
Technically Adept

Skills
Athletics 0
Convince 2
Craft 0
Fighting 0
Knowledge 3
Marksman 1
Medicine 1
Science 3
Subterfuge 2
Survival 1
Technology 4 (Repair +2)
Transport 1

Equipment
Multi-tool
Torch
Smartphone
Silver-plated lighter

Story Points 12

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