'Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,' the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. 'Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.'

-Robert E. Howard
Beyond The Black River

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Altered Carbon the RPG: Creating a Character

I am back with another RPG look, this time at the new Altered Carbon from Hunter's Entertainment.  I will circle back to my actual thoughts on the rule book, but I thought we would start with character creation since the characters are how players interact with the world. 

Chapter 2 is dedicated to the character, there is a blurb saying to jump to page 41 for the character creation process, and then proceeds to go over each of the character's stats & attributes.  This isn't a bad approach, building a character without knowing what everything is can be tricky, especially if you are trying to create a specific type of character.  We will of course jump straight to page 41, and fumble our way through.

Character creation is detailed on page 41, but they include an expedited process on page 41, which is a nice touch.  Let's see if we can get up to speed quickly with only having seen the quickstart rules, shall we?

Expedited Character Creation

The rules say this is a quick way to create a character but at the cost of some customization.

Step 1: Choose an Archetype (pg 54-65)

This will determine our starting attributes and default sleeve.  It will also determine starting skill checks and wealth.

Archetype: Soldier
Default Sleeve: Synthetic, Mid Range
Starting Sleeve attributes: 
    Min/Max Strength: 35/55
    Min/Max Perception: 30/45
Starting Stack attributes:
    Empathy: 30
    Willpower: 30
    Acuity: 30
    Intelligence: 30
Starting Skill Checks (there are many, so here is a taste):
    Athletics: d8
    Toughness: d12
    Detection: d10
    Survival: d10
    Cultures: d12
Wealth Level: Lv1

Step 2: Pick a Starting Package (pg 54-65)

This determines the starting traits and equipment.

Starting Package: Mercenary
    Combat - Common Trait Tree
    Business & Society - Anomalous Trait Tree
    Others - Uncommon Trait Tree
    Energy Weapons - Rail Weaponry Training
    Long guns - Basic Training
    Prof. Network, Business - Commission
Starting Equipment:
    CTAC Praetorian railgun, Flak Coat, Toolkit, 3x Lvl1 Credits

Step 3: Pick a DHF Age (pg 45)

This determines the characters starting resources, Ego, Influence, Stack.  Archetypes may modify Ego and Influence Points.

DHF Age: 35
    Starting Stack: 20+Acuity bonus (3) = 23
    Starting Ego: 45+Willpower bonus (3)= 48
    Starting Influence: 0+Empathy bonus (3) - 2 = 1
    No of Baggage D6s: 1
    Baggage Rolls: 1d6

Step 4: Roll for Baggage (pg 75)

Roll: 5
Personality Quirk: A new interest or addiction acquired from the sleeve.

Step 5: Finishing Up

The rules state that we now have a fully playable character, but allows us to make a few modifications, like swapping in some equipment specifics, spending stack points and tweaking the player as per page 50, which allows modification of starting skill levels.

And there we have it a quickly expedited soldier character creation.  The book makes many many references to DHF, and through context, you understand that this is the character's digital self, the bit stored in a stack.  DHF = Digitial Human Freight.  

This book also makes massive use of icons, we see icons for each of the attribute bonuses, ego points, stack points, tech points etc.  Once you get your head around the game and the mechanics although they are small, they are fairly explanatory and think they will work out well.  Even after just doing the expedited character build I have a much better handle on them.

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