Monday, October 3, 2016

Raiders - Character Creation Steps


When you can't do the Race/Class combo thing in an RPG, what do you do to make character creation more interesting and customizable? In Guardians the solution was to have Origins, though technically there were a couple race options within origins like alien, robot, or supernatural creature. Colonial Troopers has some alien races and synthetics (androids), but that game really is optimized for playing humans. In a game like Raiders though it seems really out of place to have anything other than humans as an option for characters. I suppose you could have Atlanteans*, or go with ancient aliens, or even have some supernatural options like werewolf or something. But those things didn't feel right for the kind of setting the game is intended to evoke. The world is very grounded with just a little bit of the supernatural around the edges. Or more if the game master really wants to take it further, because Raiders is a retro-clone after all and delivers all the power to the GM to create the kind of game he/she wants.

So, being stuck with just humans as the race option a different path was added to the character creation steps that felt right and organic to the game world. That is the player chooses a Background. These backgrounds are fairly broad and somewhat generic, but add a lot of depth to the character and allows you to make the kinds of characters you see in pulp books and movies. Each character chooses a background that gives them advantages, and some disadvantages, in their adventurous careers.
Here is a sampling of the backgrounds you can choose from:

Military: the character has served in the military or was brought up in a military family. Soldiers may recognize and respect them, military officials may afford them special treatment.

Government: the character has been a member of a government and has deep ties and friends in the government. This can be advantageous in countries friendly but can be a disadvantage in hostile territories. Even then understanding the ins and outs of bureaucracies can be helpful.

Aristocracy: the character is a member of a royal family and grew up privileged, and has aristocratic ties that can aid them.

Show Business: the character is a performer, or grew up in a family with ties to show business. Choose one major and one minor talent: singing, dancing, acting, musical instrument.

Journalism: the character was a reporter for a newspaper and has deep ties to the field of journalism. They are always seeking the truth, or the best story they can write to sell copies of their work.

Science: the character specializes in a field of science like Archaeology, Paleontology, or Chemistry. When dealing with matters that fall within their science knowledge they have an advantage, often reflected as a bonus to a die roll appropriate to the situation.

Law: the character is a lawyer and understands how to navigate the maze of legality. This can be a bonus to a die roll in situations dealing with the police or judicial systems when the character inevitably runs afoul of the law.

What adding this step to the character creation process has done is allowed for a much simplified selection of classes to choose from, and when combined with a background can create a huge variety of interesting characters with depth all while avoiding over complication.

That about covers the preview for today. Next preview will be about the Organizations the character can choose to be affiliated with, which will naturally come with benefits, and friends, and enemies, to enrich the game play environment.

*now that I think about it, it might be fun to have some add-on packs that detail out extraordinary character options such as Atlanteans that are intended to be fully compatible with Raiders. Maybe later, because now the focus is on getting this core rule set done and out into player's hands!

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