Another request, this one from leila_child. I know I wanted to avoid doing too much White Wolf stuff at first, but this is getting silly. I need to redress that over the next week. HoL unfortunately doesn't count. Werewolf tomorrow, Promethean the day after.
The Game: SLA Industries
The Publisher: Nightfall Games
Degree of Familiarity: Not as much as I'd like. I've played it a few times and used to write stuff for the game back in Germany.
Books Required: Just the corebook, again.
SLA Industries, the game of urban horror. It's the sort of game I'd like to call Thatcherite science fiction—serial killers are media darlings, Operatives get roped in to giant job centres to do whatever the supercorp that owns the universe wants them to, blood and death and violence are popular entertainment. It's a grim, grimy urban horror setting with a strong media angle that just happens to be set on another world.
Thing is, character creation's fairly involved. I cursed Nephilim for the same thing, let's see if SLA also makes me want to drive nails into my frontal lobes after all this time. This time, I have a helper. The SLA 1.1 Character Generator.
We buy everything from a pool of 300 points.
Race and Package
There's a number of races available in the World of Progress, from drug-happy claymore-wielding Frothers to dispossessed aliens to genetically engineered Stormers. I consider one of the Ebb-wielding races, but I'm not gripped by a specific concept. Indeed, I want to play outside the box a bit. Wraith Raiders normally live on ice-planets and are quintessential hunters. Rather than a sniper, what about a Wraith investigator? Applying the instincts of the hunt to dealing with normal people to track down solutions.
As a Wraith Raider, I get the following skills:
1 Martial Arts
I fill in some details: He's a first-generation immigrant from an Ice-World that his parents won't tell him the name of. He's all about the thrill of the urban hunt, picking up clues from all areas to track his prey. That makes him a bit of an outcast among other Wraiths, but also gives me a good in to the Investigation and Interrogation package. This gives me either a bonus rank in the package skills or the skill at rank 2 if I don't drop any points into it.
All my stats start at 5, and act as caps for the linked skills. I want a high Dex, as a Wraith, and a high Diag and Conc for the I&I skills. Should be fun. As a rough guide, I decide to blow about a hundred points on Stats. It's five points per rank above 5.
As a Wraith, he's inhumanly fast. I boost his Dex to 12. Diagnose covers quick-thinking and problem solving, and is also 12 (the Wraith stat-cap). Concentration is vital for thinking through things. Wraiths are capped at 9 rather than 10, so I push it to the limit. I figure that Marlowe has seen his share of shit, so I add a point to Cool, and he's got used to getting people to talk to him, so I boost his Charisma to 7. 105 points spent.
It's at this point that I realize that it's been so long since I played the game that I've no idea if I've undersold or oversold myself on stats. Eh, fuckit. It'll all come out in the wash.
Skills are fairly fine-grained. As in, blade and club are separate skills, as are the one- and two-handed versions of each. The cost is the sum of the rank numbers between 0 and the purchased rank, so for Rank 1, 2, 3, 4 the cost is 1, 3, 6, 10. Rank 1 is basic, 5 is expert, 10 is master. I'm also capped by the related stat.
Looking down the skills by stat, I drop three ranks into Blade 1h, the only Str skill I'm currently interested in. I raise Martial Arts to 5—just finding people isn't enough, especially if they notice me. Four ranks in Sneak and six in Hide, because a bad hunter chases and a good hunter waits. Four into Pistol rounds out the Dex skills. Under Physique, I boost the mobility skills I get as a Wraith: Running and Climbing go to 3 each. Under Charisma, I put six ranks into Interview and four into Persuasion, because the best way to catch someone is to talk to everyone.
Diagnose has the Tracking, Lockpicking, and Electronic Locks skills. Six into the first, four into the other two. Concentration's main draw is Detect, which I grab at five Ranks. I want to be able to communicate and communicate well, so I put four ranks into both Wraith and Killian. Finally, Knowledge skills. Six ranks into Survival: stakeouts can last for a damn long time. Five ranks in Streetwise will help. Three in SLA Information and Rival Company Info, because the only thing better than knowing your enemy is knowing your supposed "friends".
Yeah, Marlowe's turning out to be a really suspicious bastard, tracking down his prey through whatever evidence he leaves behind and interviewing witnesses, then going all-out to find him.
I've spent 219 points on Skills. Oops.
I'm already over-budget and don't want to go too psycho with disadvantages. I limit myself to just ten points of Advantages. I decide to keep it fairly basic, taking a Rank of luck and three ranks of good vision.
I take five ranks of Bad Sleeper to start: whatever he's seen, it ain't leaving Marlowe alone. He's good at what he does, but he knows it, so I take a three ranks of Arrogant as well—which isn't going to help with other Wraiths. He's not had any luck with landlords, and that shows: he's still living in a flat in Upper Downtown. On the other hand, that puts Housing at -5. Also, he's not all there. He's got a bad case of paranoia, and has a hard time trusting anyone—including his "friends". That's another 5-point Disadvantage. He's also got a younger sister who moved onto the streets a year ago and Marlowe's still looking out for her.
That's me up to 300 points spent. Now on to
1500c to spend. Body Blocker armour is the basic level of protection, but anything bulkier would get in the way. In combat, it's up to other people to dish out the pain, I'll just tell them who they need to hit. Assuming the bastards don't want to stab me in the back.
For weapons, I start off with a FEN 603 pistol. It's bog-standard, but I'm not much of a combat-monkey. I augment it with a KK20 backup wrist-mounted pistol and a MAC knife. I'm buying ammo in 10mm for the FEN and 12mm for the KK20, in sets of 20. I take a standard clip and a Hi-ex Armour Piercing clip for the FEN, and a Hi-ex Squash-head clip for the arm-gun. Ammo's expensive, but worth it.
I go for a 3km telescopic sight with IR enhancement and a pistol stock for my main pistol. Slung from various bits of webbing are a rangefinder, a private cellphone, manual and electronic lockpicks, and some climbing gear. An ECM suit woven into the coolant suit that keeps Marlowe healthy (Wraiths being adapted for ice-worlds and all) means I can get around without anyone seeing, even if they're packing IR scopes.
I've 57c to spend on better living through chemistry. Two doses of Streak to kickstart Marlowe's brain, a dose of Honesty, and a dose of KickStart just in case the shit hits the fan. Two credits left. That suits me just fine.
And there I am. Character finished. Admittedly, having the program handy to keep track of points spent and the like made things a hell of a lot easier, but the lack of guidelines on what kind of ratio one should blow points rubs me the wrong way a bit. On the other hand, there's no random die rolls. And yeah, making a character is some work, but I like the game more than Nephilim, and I hadn't already been introduced to the genre by a game with an objectively better system.
Race: Wraith Raider
L. Arm: 7
R. Arm: 7
L. Leg: 7
R. Leg: 7
L. Arm 10
R. Arm 10
L. Leg 12
R. Leg 12
3 Blade 1h
5 Martial arts
4 Lock picking
4 Electronic locks
4 SLA Information
4 Rival Company
5 Psychosis: Paranoia
5: Dependent: Homeless Sister
1 FEN 603 Auto pistol, 1 K.K. 20 panther,
40 P 10mm STD, 20 P 10mm HEAP, 20 P 12mm STD, 20 P 12mm HESH ,
1 MAC knife,
1 PP644 Armour,
1 FEN telescopic sight (3000m), 1 IR enhancement for fen scope, 1 Pistol Stock, 2 SLA head set comunicator, 1 Range finder, 1 Cell phone, 1 ECM Body Suit, 1 Lockpick - Manual, 1 Lockpick - electronic, 1 Climbing gear, 2 Magazine, 1 Weapons maintenance kit,
1 Kick start, 2 Streak, 1 Honesty,
Klippo Lighter, Pen, Blueprint News file case, S.C.L. card, Finance Card, Package card and badge, Departmental Authorization Card, 2 sets of standard issue clothes, one set of standard issue foot wear, operative organizer, SLA badge, packet of contraceptive.