When I introduced Super Squadron I also offered to make a sample character as an example. I made this offer to demonstrate the systems generation tool and I have also been thinking that there is a distinct lack of random characters in the world today! So that said I will be creating a Super Squadron character who (like all Super Squadron characters) generated completely randomly!
|The character sheet in the book|
The first thing that we leap into is statistic generation. The statistics are Strength, Agility, Charisma, Intelligence, Stamina, Public Standing, Ego and Luck. Each of these is determined by a d20 roll except Public Standing (which starts at 11 or neutral: not seen as a hero or a villain) and Luck which is determined by rolling d100 and checking a table. Only 10% of heroes get a Luck factor. Strength I roll a 15, pretty good; Agility is a 13 so looking like a physical character so far; Charisma is 11 so at least I can handle the media and not look like a douche bag; Intelligence of 19! That was a surprise; Stamina is a 5 though. The luck had to stop at some stage I suppose. A physically strong character with a brilliant mind BUT struggle to keep the action up at the moment… Public Standing is set to 11 and I roll a 6 for Ego. Timid, perhaps upset that the character can see their potential but not live up to it. I roll a 16% on the Ego roll so end up with no Luck Factor at all. Close but no cigar.
The next thing we look at is the origin of the character. Where do the super powers come from? The options are Mutant, Self Developed, Supernatural, Designed or Sponsored, Accidental/Scientific and Alien. This is determined by a d10 roll and I roll up a Designed or Sponsored character! Can anyone say Duff Man! Looking at the section I have to roll another d100 to find out where I originated. Getting a 47% means I was designed by an organisation, perhaps in a program like Captain America. Thinking about this I actually like the idea of having a hero that is sponsored by a health supplements firm or chemical giant. I note that and decide to return to it when I think more about the history. Also noted under the origins section is a roll for age. I am d12 + 25 years old, the d12 roll determining my character is 27 years old!
Now we come to the important bit! This is the roll that I remember all the players sweated on. Many actually tried to bump the table if it wasn’t favourable! It is a percentile roll that will allow between one and seven powers. Lower the better! No better time for it I roll the d100 and get a 78. Ouch! Definitely the lower end of the powers. Checking the table I end up with a grand total of two powers. No wonder my hero has ego issues!
Each origin has their own set of random power tables. There is a primary and a secondary power table. The primary table offers me the chance if I roll 1% to get another power and is set with a lot of powers that fall under the self improved style hero. The secondary table is allowed to be used for up to two powers (in other words all of mine!) but does not offer me the ability to build n my powers. The powers there though are pretty cool, although most need me to have a device to operate them. I think I am going to roll one on the primary table and one power on the secondary table. On the primary table I roll a 66% which scores me Flight as a power. Very cool indeed but it has an asterisk which means it is not innate, instead operated by a device. On the secondary table I roll a 63% and pick up Invisibility! Also powered by a device but in reality these two powers are really quite a cool combination. Let’s face it, I could be Wonder Woman’s jet!
|I got given a notebook of “walls” for Father’s Day and I
figured that a Superhero character is urban enough to give
it a christening! I was saving it solely for Arcana Rising
but they can share!
Looking at my powers there is a little bit to figure out. First, under flight I need to determine my speed. In Km per hour I can fly my agility plus stamina plus luck multiplied by three, so a dazzling 54 Km/h. Not massive but it will get me around. With my Invisibility there is a 10% chance that the Invisibility is permanent and I need to expend action points to appear visible. My percentile roll falls outside the range though so I use the device (likely a jet powered cloaking suit) at the rate of 10 Action Potential for an hour of invisibility. The flight power costs nothing in the way of Action Potential (which is good because from memory they are based largely on Stamina…
Once the powers are done we need to look over the attributes again and work out some derivative statistics. It is done at this stage as many of the powers may actually alter your statistics. Not this time for my character though. My high strength of 15 is labelled on the chart as an average super being strength which will add one to my direct damage. My agility is also that of an average super being and will give me one extra hit point when I calculate it. It also allows me a movement rate of 55 metres per melee round. Charisma is the next table and I fall within the average person range meaning there are no adjustments to be made (adjustments here fall into effects on how a hero or villain react to you). My intelligence is rated as bright, which is cool as it gives me +2 hit points, +1 direct damage, a +10% accuracy (which is how you hit people), a 7d6% chance of detecting entrances (I rolled 24%) and 8d6% of detecting traps (I rolled 29%). The last is my ego to check. I have decided this guy is a hero rather than a villain so on the chart it makes me shy. This gives me a compulsory retreat (if I hit half hit points and things are stacked against me if I roll under this I flee) of 50% and a willing retreat (if the hero wants to retreat and things are not stacked too bad against me I have to roll under this) of 80%.
Past this point there are adjustments for Public Standing but as a starting character they do not effect the character. The next thing is hit points. Hit points are worked out using the formula of 1/2 stamina plus 1d10 + luck + experience + modifiers. In other words I am looking at a very low hit point character. I believe that you round fractions in this game up so I have 1/2 Stamina (3) + 1d10 (4) + luck (0) + experience (0) + modifiers (3) giving me a total of 10 hit points.
Acton Potential is the next thing to work out. Again another formula is required being strength plus half intelligence plus stamina plus half agility plus luck plus experience. This should be a little better for my character being strength (15) + half intelligence (10) + stamina (5) + half agility (7) + luck (0) + experience (0) giving me a total of 37 Action Potential. In essence, three hours of invisibility up my sleeve.
We can now put this all together. My character has 1d4+2 direct damage when punching (+1 strength, +1 intelligence). I have a hit probability of -5% due to my poor ego (don’t believe I am good enough) and an accuracy of +10% due to my intelligence and I start at level 0. In game I pick up experience for doing super hero type stuff and this will also alter my public standing (depending on how it is interpreted by the public) and also my ego, depending on the jobs I do. I can also start working out to improve various statistics. All of that aside though character creation then goes to provide a background, including a secret identity from your every day super hero identity.
|The finished product…|
Looking at my abilities for that killer superhero name I can fly and I can turn invisible, all of it using a device of some form. I could go with Chameleon but that is more about blending in, not disappearing. Transparent Man is way too cheesy but what about Gossamer Man? A synonym of transparent and not as cheesy as Mr. Glass. Gossamer Man it is. I will work up a bit of a history using the rules before I develop what his full story is. With such a poor ego and little stamina he is hardly the life of the party so he is probably quiet and very likely goes under the radar a lot so to reflect this I give him an unassuming name. Craig Craven just to follow Stan Lee’s preferred naming protocol.
To start with the background we look at the family. A percentile roll tells me that my Father is alive (is Wes Craven a bit much?) but my Mother (Mary) is dead. I decide she died in childbirth and perhaps his father never let him forget it therefore causing him to retreat into himself again. I have another two siblings, the eldest a girl (Andrea) and a brother a year older than me (Tyler).
Height and weight is also determined randomly. This is affected by some modifiers. I add 5 c.m. due to my strength, 1 c.m. for my stamina and 3 c.m. for my agility. My percentile roll puts me at a base 192.5 c.m., adding a further 9 c.m. puts me just a little over 2 metres tall at 201.5 cm! In the old school that is like 6′ 8″ almost! Weight is also modified. Strength gives me an extra d4 kg (2), my agility score makes me lose a d6 kg (-5), stamina gives me a further 2 kg. The percentile roll starts me with a base 61 Kg and factoring in modifiers this drops to 60 kg which means I have a rail thin giant on my hands!
The final step for me is to add a job that I do when I am hiding my true identity. I have to admit that this is one of my favourite tables and in this case it is likely to determine what purpose or who I was developed for. My percentile roll comes up and I am a Radio DJ/Reporter. I obviously take the reporter option and then roll my salary and I must be pretty good rolling maximum to get $280 a week in salary (it is the 80’s remember!). This gives me the idea that the character had his stealth suit made on the quiet by the station and they use him to be a hard hitting investigative reporter. He hides behind his super identity as the Gossamer Man and brings back information on corruption for the radio news crowd. He likes this life as it means he gets to stay incognito with only the people at the station in the know. But recently he has been wishing he did more with his life. He wants to help others with the suit and decides that as long as no one can see him it won’t hurt to solve a few crimes and clean up the mean streets himself a little.
|I would dearly have loved to put a picture
of Gossamer Man here but my art is not so
good, so here is a picture of the game books!
I hope you have enjoyed this step by step character generation. You can see I did not roll up a batman or spiderman in my first go, in fact I think Kick Ass would give him a thorough beating. But it is what happens next that matters in this game. Where you take the character, what troubles follow. With experience comes to options for finding more powers, even if it is from devices! What I love about this game is the random element. It is part of what I like about Traveller too. Getting to play only characters you build was something that became popular in the late 80’s and early nineties. I think many of us now relish the older school style where you could whip up a random character and the challenge was bringing them to life! I would have cringed at some of these rolls for Gossamer Man but honestly, using his stats I feel like I know him and would love to run him! He could be an information broker of sorts.
Tell me what your favourite games were to start with or what experiences you have had with older or random games. What characters have you had spring to life from a bunch of stats and an idea that you kind of fell across as you were making them. If you would like me to do more generation posts, let me know and I will work over a few systems in the coming weeks. Until then, keep rolling!