For today, though:
The Game: Trinity
The Publisher: White Wolf
Degree of Familiarity: Ran a few times, played a few times, wrote a chunk of the fan-made-but-kinda-sorta-liked-by-people Storyteller's Handbook. Not played it for a few years, but it's my go-to SF game.
Books Required: The Trinity corebook and Stellar Frontier.
I actually bought the corebook that I'm using on ebay back in 2004, as it was one of the old ones with the sticker over the word AEON. That's less of a concern to me (though I like having a collectible) than the fact that I have a corebook that naturally lies flat on a table. If only my Player's Guide did the same, rather than the binding being knackered. I mean, I have a PDF but it's just not the same. Anyway.
Trinity's a setting that has it all. Interstellar exploration in a new and experimental ship. Fascist states reeling from destruction. Europe burned to a crisp. Militarised Australia, South America and Africa both booming, cyberpunk cityscapes on Luna... any kind of SF story people could want can be found in the setting. Even better, the ongoing story of the setting was told through a linked series of missions that the characters are front and centre of. Great stuff.
I'm torn. I could make a character from the corebook, but... damn. I want to play something I never had a chance to before. Fuck it. Time to break out Stellar Frontier. Imma make me a teleporter!
I should clarify at this point: the teleporters vanished six years before the "day zero" of the corebook. Through the adventure book series, they come back out of self-imposed isolation. The world fears them, for the teleporters have Earth alone for six years. The teleporters fear the world, for the world tried to enslave them. But the secret's been blown wide open and everyone's got to work together in the wake of the first Chromatic attack on Earth.
Step One: Concept
I know I want to play a member of the Upeo Wa Macho, the Psi Order of teleporters. Isolated from Earth after the other Orders tried enslaving them, they're finally returning to Earth. So, three questions spring to mind immediately. What did this guy do before the exodus, what did he think to locking himself off from the world for so long, and what's happened since his return. A name would come in handy here. Danny MacLeod. That'll work. Especially given that Ken MacLeod gets a shout-out in the inspirations.
So. Before the Exodus, hell, before he even tested positive for latent psionic powers, he was a wanderer. The son of a couple of Upeo support staff, he relocated with them to Ruan's World in 2112. He studied and worked as a technician for a while, helping out with the systems that keep the colony running. The exodus stretched him to the limit. Freedom's model of direct democracy combined with an almost anarcho-communist means of handling production and services could handle the influx of the psi order's personnel, but the aging systems that kept Freedom habitable were less adaptable, but he and his crew worked their balls off to keep the colony viable.
When he hit 21, his parents asked him to take a noetic aptitude test. He accepted, though not without some worry; going through the Prometheus Tank would change him and he wasn't sure what he would become. Rather than let his worry control him, Danny signed up with the Monitors and trained to help out and work for the good of all those worlds that had lost contact with Earth. He's been stationed on the Karoo mining colony, helping maintain order. The new contact with Earth has proved problematic—while he can now make his presence public, he's worried about how the people back on Earth are going to regulate teleporters outwith the Order.
Origin describes his life before the Tank. From the list in the corebook, Protector reads the closest to how I see him thinking. Fixing things only matters in as much as it means the colony keeps on going. Nature is going to be Caregiver: he's invested in the personal consequences of his actions rather than the wider social changes. Aptitude is Teleportation. Finally, he holds allegiance to the Monitors.
Step Two: Attributes
Attributes follow the "classic" scheme. Which is annoying in a way, because the split of Mental and Physical Attributes just makes more sense in the new scheme. Ah, well. It's nowhere near as jarring as it is in a game like Scion. At least I get more points this time. I think Mental is going to be Primary, Physical is secondary, and Social tertiary. He's bright, and he knows how to fix problems, but talking to people isn't his strong suit.
Mental gets seven points. That'd be a high Perception and Intelligence, to start with. Three points into Perception, two into Intelligence, and two into Wits. No detail gets past him, and he's both bright enough and sharp enough to act on what he notices.
Physical... bugger. This is the old system, and Dex is the God-stat. That said, a technician needs a good Dexterity to cut the right wire when working at 100x magnification. He also needs better than average stamina, because when a job needs doing he gets it done. Two points into each, with one into Strength.
Social, I don't muck about with. One point into each. He's average across the board.
Step Three: Abilities
Trinity did one thing I really like with Abilities: you get ten points to put into Allegiance Abilities and thirteen points to go anywhere. None of them can go higher than three at this point. As a Monitor, I get Command, Firearms, Investigation, Melee, Savvy, and Subterfuge. Of those, I want lots of Investigation, Savvy, and Firearms. As an investigative Monitor, I drop three points into Investigation. Two points go into Firearms, because most people ain't going to come quietly, especially on an isolated mining colony. Savvy is the equivalent of "streetwise", and that guarantees it's getting three points. A further two points go into Subterfuge. I justify that quite simply: he's effectively an undercover Upeo, watching over the colony while maintaining a day job as a technician, at least until the re-contact with Earth.
I now have 13 points to spread about. Two go into Awareness straight off. He's always getting the prickly neck, and seems to focus on suspicious conversations quite by accident. Two points each go into Legerdemain (all that close-in work has given him quite a light touch, and sometimes he needs to liberate evidence) and Stealth (if people see him, he's in trouble. One point into Endurance, because he's used to dealing with strange environments. Two dots go into Engineering, reflecting his past life, and two points into Intrusion, again for his "shadow life". Of the remaining points, I put one into Intimidation and one into Command. That should round things off nicely.
Step Four: Advantages
Seven points of Backgrounds. Two of those go into Cipher, though the Upeo are public knowledge now he's still got plenty of hidden secrets. Two dots in Resources as well. One point in Status (Upeo wa Macho). The remaining two go into Contacts (Karoo underworld).
I get three points in Teleportation Modes, along with the basic ability of Spatial Sense. While Translocation (moving himself) looks cool, Transmassion (other people and objects) is a better fit to the role. For one thing, the first dot brings anything in sight right into Danny's hands. The second allows him to move other people to him. Rock. I also like the look of some of the later Translocation powers, so I pick up the first dot of that Mode now.
Step Five: Finishing Touches
Initial Willpower is five. Psi is one-half Stamina + Wits + Charisma. It would have to be the Attributes I didn't really bother with... Still, I start with Psi 4. Initiative is Dex + Wits, or 6. When it comes to movement, walk is 5m, run is 15m, and sprint is 29m
Finally, 15 bonus points. I want at least one point in Brawl, for the joy of the Upeo Death Drop: grab someone, then teleport them as far up as you can see. Around a viewport, that can be really lethal. Two points in Brawl sets me back four bonus points. A dot in Translocation, to get short-range personal teleportation. That's another four points. Another point of Resources and a point of Mentor, representing one of the other Monitors on Karoo who takes an interest, brings that total up to 10. I bring Investigation to 4 and Stealth to 3, then use the remaining point to increase Cipher to 3.
Flicking through the equipment, I note down a pair of formatted Wasp II laser pistols, for all the fun of two-gun mojo and lasers combined. An armour vest [1/3] will help with staying alive. Work boots and coveralls complete the look. A construction toolkit and holefixer are his most common tools, he doesn't like to leave much evidence of his real profession just lying around.
I want a chance to play this guy now.
Name: Danny MacLeod
Engineering (Construction): 2
Contacts (Karoo underworld) 2
Mentor (Karoo Monitor) 1
Status (Upeo wa Macho) 1
Orgotek Wasp II Pulse Laser (formatted)
Armour Vest [1/3]