Friday, October 24, 2008

Contemplating Options

I'm working on a random chargen system for use with SavageWorlds campaign that is designed to capture the feel of Cyberpunk 2020.I wantthe system to be reminiscent of the Lifepath charts from CP2020.

However,insteadof charts, I want a shorter & more abstract system. I thinkI'llhave it use playing cards: Cards are used for initiative inSavageWorlds, but not much else, and I'd be happy to justify theirexistencea little more. As a plus, it might feel a bit reminiscent ofthe systemfrom the original Deadlands (and/or the tarot card spreadsfrom 7th Seasourcebooks).

I think I'll have each PC be definedby 5 cards,and each card represents a specific event in yourcharacter's life thathelped define the person they became. Possiblyit's draw 7, discard 2,but it may just be 5-card stud. 5 is a nicenumber - it's notoverwhelming or overly detailed, and a normal SavageWorlds PC gets 5Attribute points and 15 Skill points. That means Icould try:
  1. Eachcard gives you +1 to one specific Attributeand +1 to 3 skills. Thiswould work with a draw 7, discard 2, method.Characters would be alittle random, and tend towards generalization.

  2. Eachcard givesyou +1 in one of your choice of two attributes. Likewise,each cardgives you 3 points to spend on a short list of two to fourskills. Thatway, two PCs with similar events in their past wouldn'tbecarbon-copies. However, it would also make the chargen systemslower,so I'd be tempted to make this a straight draw system. This mayplay havoc with the system by which Attributes limit Skills in SavageWorlds - what happens if you get 3 skill points but the skills inquestion are above your attributes so they cost 2 points per level?

  3. As #2, above, but instead of skill points, you get +1 to three skills from alist of 3 to 5 per card. We dodge the Attribute bullet by disconnecting skills from attributes at chargen. More exciting cards can also give you Hindrances and Edges, as long as the card balances out. On the plus side, we don't care whether the PC has the legal number of Edges or Hindrances, since they don't (in this version) ever get to take Hindrances on their own, and, when all is said and done, only get to pick Edges to represent cyberware. The big downside is that PCs are even more random than the previous method.

  4. Eachcard gives you +1to one skill (on average). In addition to the 5 carddraws, PCs get 5 attribute points and 10 skill points. This gives you alot of flexibility in character creation, but at thecost of making thecards/backstory less important. However, it means the Attribute-to-Skills feed becomes more important since PCs can customize the character more.

  5. Cards only give Hindrances and Edges. Attributes and Skills remain yours to pick and spend as you see fit.

There's probably a few other options I haven't even considered yet.

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