Travails of a roleplayer.

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madd0ct0r
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Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-08-31 03:34am

Been playing traveller and risus a lot lately.

For the former, player character creation is done using a life path system. Two of us pledged to make a Rocker and his pyrotechnic expert stage manager.I managed to make a talentless rockstar with an empty bank account, phenomonal partying skills, lying through a hangover skills and ducking thrown weapons skills. Oh, and a bunch of dodgy contacts in the arms trade, an alien conspirator and an unstable (ex) naval officer.

The other guy joined the navy to learn explosives. Discovered the navy dont teach that. Starts relationship with girl called Dynamite Sue instead. Left navy for army, pinching a man portable radiation artillery gun that he couldnt lift. Failed to get in. Got drafted... right back into the navy. Spends time working out, trying to get strong enough to lift gun. Leaves navy for army. Gets fired for weapon smuggling. Joins merchant marine. Eventually leaves to work for a famous performer contact. A well rounded killing machine, with a lockup containing a gun so deadly you need a radiation suit to survive firing it.

So far from our ambition we're a pair of broke weapon smugglers, just trying to make ennough money to keep me in cocaine for a few more years... we needed a stealthy infiltrator on the team...

The stats roll went badly. Quasi is a dried up mutant oathbreaker with no friends from a hot and boring planet. We signed the schmuck into the exploration scouts hoping he'd improve. He's found dtifting in space eight years later with amnesia. We gave up on the infiltrator idea and sent him to be a medic in a back of beyond missionary center. He failed to cheat, failed special traing and failed to be promoted beyond basic doctor training. He also failed to age, using his own cocktail of stolen or expensive drugs. Age 46, he owns nothing but his medical bag, a few ship shares and a bunch of debt. He needs a job and guess which aging rockstar needs his liver restarting ocassionally?


And finally, Throgg. Ahh Throgg. The concept was for a closeup bodygaurd. A barbarian who saw the stars and liked thrm. Throgg spent his early twenties kicking his way up the pole to warlord. Someone cunninly signed him up to the galatic draft. He ended up in the police force of a vast urban sprawl. Surprisingly, his straightfowrd approach and developing skills as an mma saw him climb the ranks quickly. When they needed a born survivor for an undercover mission to follow up weird stories coming out of a colony, he agreed reluctantly. He came back a changed man, with scales beneath his skin, abnormal strength and a prescient understanding of body langauge, particualry of lesser animals. Despite misgivings, he lied his way back into his old role, but quit shortly after to sail his old homeworld. I cut a deal with the gm that instead of ewuipment he could have an animal companion, as long as he roleplays the taming.

So Throgg sets out on a spirit walk along the dhore of his planet, and what the fucj did i roll? A 50kg grazer with intelligence, high dexterity and armour, but no actual weapons and a noted atribute of "slime". Yes. The kungfu and grapple master's companion is Squishy the Octapus. Dice clearly like me.
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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by Zeropoint » 2016-09-14 08:02am

Ah yes, Traveller--the system where you can die in character creation!
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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-09-15 05:15pm

The mongoose edition fixed that. You can get medical treatment to repair the pyhsical damage of various misfortunes in character creation and start with a character whos tough but has a tonne of medical debt hanging over them.


We actually ran an adventure with the first two characters. One guy was alone at the bottom of a uranium mine excavating an alien artifact. My eight year old nephew asks to join. The only other thing in the mine is a repair robot. Gave him a sheet, asked for three things you are bad at, sixe things you are good at and two things you are very good at. He wrote them out as sentances and drew his robot underneath. Cutest thing...
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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by bilateralrope » 2016-09-16 12:57am

The one thing that has kept me away from Traveller is the random character generation. I don't like random character generation. When I roleplay, I start with an idea of the character I want to play. Random character generation often forces a different character upon me.

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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by Jub » 2016-09-16 01:38am

Things like Lifepath in CP2020 and fully random character creation can be great ways to get players who normally don't detail things like backstory to have more developed characters. It's also a great thing for one shot games played off the cuff where you might not have time to think up and plan out a character. For longer term games an experienced player can treat it as a way to expand their horizons.

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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by bilateralrope » 2016-09-16 01:58am

Jub wrote:Things like Lifepath in CP2020 and fully random character creation can be great ways to get players who normally don't detail things like backstory to have more developed characters.
The players who do detail their backstory will still have more detail in it than those who stick with whatever character generation spits out at them.
It's also a great thing for one shot games played off the cuff where you might not have time to think up and plan out a character.
True.
For longer term games an experienced player can treat it as a way to expand their horizons.
There are characters I know I can't enjoy playing. For example, I can't enjoy playing any low INT PCs. I know this because I tried it and it didn't go well.
Being in a load of debt is another thing that might be problematic.

Is there a way to prevent random generation from coming up with those PCs ?


As for expanding horizons, I do that by changing systems at the conclusion of a campaign. Different system, different setting which leads to the PCs also being different. Often I find myself wanting to play a PC that would not fit in another system and/or setting, and I might never come back to that specific one. Which makes random character generation denying what I want to play even more annoying.

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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by Jub » 2016-09-16 02:16am

bilateralrope wrote:The players who do detail their backstory will still have more detail in it than those who stick with whatever character generation spits out at them.
Not always, you don't need five pages of backstory to add some life to a character. For something like a CP2020 life path or Traveller 2nd Ed you get a backstory that goes basically year by year which is pretty detailed.
There are characters I know I can't enjoy playing. For example, I can't enjoy playing any low INT PCs. I know this because I tried it and it didn't go well.
I've never got this idea of not being able to play a character with/without X. I don't normally play mechanically simple classes like D&D fighters, but when I have I just put more effort into the RP, effort that would normally go towards deciding which spell to cast next or maneuvering a horde of minions. If I had to play a low Int character I'd roll with it, suggest some really dumb plans, and generally have a great time.
Being in a load of debt is another thing that might be problematic.
How so? Being in debt is just another plot hook that a DM can use to send you on adventures.
Is there a way to prevent random generation from coming up with those PCs?
You can either give players a limited pool of rerolls or roll with the DM present so things can be smoothed over.
As for expanding horizons, I do that by changing systems at the conclusion of a campaign. Different system, different setting which leads to the PCs also being different. Often I find myself wanting to play a PC that would not fit in another system and/or setting, and I might never come back to that specific one. Which makes random character generation denying what I want to play even more annoying.
Most groups don't do that. Even if they did, you still wouldn't try a low int character with a load of debt and thus you'd never figure out if you could or not.

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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by Zeropoint » 2016-09-16 04:56am

I agree that playing a character type that you don't normally play can be a great way to expand your skills as a roleplayer, or to get a game experience that you otherwise wouldn't get. I would agree that a game system should offer the player that chance. I don't agree that the system should FORCE that onto a player who doesn't want it . . . although I guess you could argue that if you agree to play Traveller, you're agreeing to all of that up front.
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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-09-16 07:11pm

Well the rulebook does also offer a point buy system too, but they note people tend to build very similar characters that are often a little boring to play. The chargen rules, between the pick you own home world bonus skills, the six extra basic training skills, the random experience skills, the random promotion bonus skills, the fixed extra promtion bonus skills, the rarer random life event skills,the chosen basic skill at new job and the bonuses whenever you leave or retire from a job and the choose campaign pack of skills makes it really really hard to generate a completely useless character.

Traveller also gets you to roll the six stats, but lets you assign which to which, so you always start with the rough shape of a character in mind.
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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by bilateralrope » 2016-09-17 03:19am

Jub wrote:I've never got this idea of not being able to play a character with/without X.
A low Int character is an idiot. I don't enjoy roleplaying an idiot PC, because I keep coming up with ideas that are followed swiftly by "my PC is too stupid to think of this". I just can't get into the characters head, which ruins all the immersion.

For other players, I imagine it's a similar thing. Too large of a conflict between the person and the PCs personality.
Zeropoint wrote:I agree that playing a character type that you don't normally play can be a great way to expand your skills as a roleplayer, or to get a game experience that you otherwise wouldn't get. I would agree that a game system should offer the player that chance. I don't agree that the system should FORCE that onto a player who doesn't want it . . . although I guess you could argue that if you agree to play Traveller, you're agreeing to all of that up front.
Agreed. If I start a game with random character generation, I've agreed to the random character generation.
madd0ct0r wrote:Well the rulebook does also offer a point buy system too, but they note people tend to build very similar characters that are often a little boring to play.
I've seen many people claim that happens when you let players choose point buy. I've never seen it happen and, as you can probably guess, I avoid RNG in character creation.
The chargen rules, between the pick you own home world bonus skills, the six extra basic training skills, the random experience skills, the random promotion bonus skills, the fixed extra promtion bonus skills, the rarer random life event skills,the chosen basic skill at new job and the bonuses whenever you leave or retire from a job and the choose campaign pack of skills makes it really really hard to generate a completely useless character.
But can you guarantee a character that will be enjoyable to play ?
Traveller also gets you to roll the six stats, but lets you assign which to which, so you always start with the rough shape of a character in mind.
Rolling and assigning the rolls where you like is good.
Giving everyone the same array of stats to assign where they like is better, because it gives everyone the same restrictions on what characters they could build, while rolling stats means someone might roll way higher or way lower than everyone else.

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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-09-17 04:14am

Have i played idiot characters?

I dont tjink i have. Ive played ones with low intelligence and high charm, which means they have great instintive undestanding of groups, conversations, haggling and the like. Ive played ones with low intelligence and high violence, and often do when im not gming becayse they are refreshingly direct. They might not be big readers, but force disposition, tactics, identification of weapons... they are smart at the thibg they are good at, and pretty good at turning other things into what they are good at.

Ive never felt limited by a low int character.
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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by Lord Revan » 2016-09-17 05:02am

then again there's character that might not the sharpest but still close to average intelligence and there's characters that have so low int that they're outsmarted by a 2 year old, the first is rather easy to RP you just have to remember to think simple, but the second is a lot harder if you're not a really good actor as it's hard to think convincingly "stupid" opposed to just simple.

since once your int drops low enough you're not smart at anything period, if you're a warrior you're like the savage Hulk smashing things random with no real problem solving skills
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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by bilateralrope » 2016-09-17 05:16am

I can roleplay a low int character. I just don't enjoy doing so.

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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by Jub » 2016-09-17 02:26pm

bilateralrope wrote:A low Int character is an idiot. I don't enjoy roleplaying an idiot PC, because I keep coming up with ideas that are followed swiftly by "my PC is too stupid to think of this". I just can't get into the characters head, which ruins all the immersion.

For other players, I imagine it's a similar thing. Too large of a conflict between the person and the PCs personality.
Don't DM then, as a DM you need to get into the head of everything you send at the PCs. It'll be a crappy game if the PCs never fight anything with an intelligence between say 6 and 2 because it's too hard to figure out.
madd0ct0r wrote:I've seen many people claim that happens when you let players choose point buy. I've never seen it happen and, as you can probably guess, I avoid RNG in character creation.
There are always optimal point spreads for each character archetype in a point buy system. In a game where a mage always needs to have a high intellect for optimal magic use, players in a point buy system will always stick the highest reasonable stat into this score. This leads to characters that are, essentially, built off of a template. Whereas with rolls you may not get the optimal spread and thus have to deviate and create something that isn't entirely optimal.
But can you guarantee a character that will be enjoyable to play?
Nothing can do that, not even point buy.
Rolling and assigning the rolls where you like is good.
Giving everyone the same array of stats to assign where they like is better, because it gives everyone the same restrictions on what characters they could build, while rolling stats means someone might roll way higher or way lower than everyone else.
Look it's a point buy carebear. What is the obsession with fairness in gaming? Who gives a fuck if that guy has an 18 and your character only has a 15, a good DM will ensure you both get your share of the spotlight.

-----
Lord Revan wrote:since once your int drops low enough you're not smart at anything period, if you're a warrior you're like the savage Hulk smashing things random with no real problem solving skills
Most games have stat minimums for this very reason, and often times it's the players, not rules or DMs that force their characters to play dumber than they should be. If you have 3 Int, you're probably going to have troubles with certain things and if all his mental stats are low then he's certainly going to be severely mentally challenged. However, that same character with an above average wisdom will be more than able to help the party set a proper ambush or know when somebody is lying to them and with a high charisma he could easily intimidate something weaker than himself when the time is right. Int is not the only score that governs your characters ability to act correctly in a given situation.
Last edited by Jub on 2016-09-17 02:31pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by Jub » 2016-09-17 02:31pm

[Ignore me]

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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by bilateralrope » 2016-09-18 01:49am

Jub wrote:Don't DM then, as a DM you need to get into the head of everything you send at the PCs. It'll be a crappy game if the PCs never fight anything with an intelligence between say 6 and 2 because it's too hard to figure out.
As I said in my previous post, I can roleplay dumb PCs, I just don't enjoy them. As for running dumb NPCs, that doesn't hurt the enjoyment because the dumb NPCs aren't doing much, so I focus my attention on other NPCs. Ones I can enjoy running.
There are always optimal point spreads for each character archetype in a point buy system. In a game where a mage always needs to have a high intellect for optimal magic use, players in a point buy system will always stick the highest reasonable stat into this score. This leads to characters that are, essentially, built off of a template. Whereas with rolls you may not get the optimal spread and thus have to deviate and create something that isn't entirely optimal.
Yes, there are optimal ways to build a character with a specific concept in each system. But I've never seen players pick the same concept as each other. So, even if they were optimising, they would still produce different characters.

At least, I think that's what's happening. All I know is that I've never seen two people building "very similar characters".
Nothing can do that, not even point buy.
A character creation system where everything is decided by the player would fall into one of two categories:
- The player in question can build something that he/she would enjoy.
- Nobody playing that game can produce a PC that the player in question would enjoy. Which means the player should play a different game.

Random generation adds another possibility:
- The game can produce a PC that the player in question would enjoy. But the dice decide to produce something that won't be enjoyed.
What is the obsession with fairness in gaming? Who gives a fuck if that guy has an 18 and your character only has a 15, a good DM will ensure you both get your share of the spotlight.
Lets say that two players decide to build the same archetype*. One of them rolls higher than the other in every single stat. How does the GM share the spotlight when one is better in all stats than the other ?

*Lets say that it's a system that is so poorly balanced that only a few archetypes are worth playing.

As for fairness, there is a reason D&D doesn't 3d6 in order: you must be this lucky to play (a paladin)
What does randomness in character creation add to the game ?

For the record, I find point buy to be a poor method of character creation as it often leads to some stats at their maximum, the rest at the minimum. I prefer stat arrays.
Most games have stat minimums for this very reason, and often times it's the players, not rules or DMs that force their characters to play dumber than they should be.If you have 3 Int, you're probably going to have troubles with certain things and if all his mental stats are low then he's certainly going to be severely mentally challenged. However, that same character with an above average wisdom will be more than able to help the party set a proper ambush or know when somebody is lying to them and with a high charisma he could easily intimidate something weaker than himself when the time is right. Int is not the only score that governs your characters ability to act correctly in a given situation.
True. Depending on the system in question. Low int was just the easiest example of a type of character I don't like playing that random character generation can force upon people. It's not the only one.

At this point I don't even know if Traveller forces any upon me that I'd have a problem with, as I can't know that without looking at the rulebook. Well, except for earlier versions which could kill the PC during character creation, but that doesn't produce a character I'd be playing for any length of time.

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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-09-18 04:23pm

Well, as very gerensl rule some professions on the life path are riskier than others but tend to have high cash or ship rewards. Other professions are more likely to raise stats than skills and some professions will give a wider range of skills at low level, and some a few at a high level.

If you name an archetype or a firefly character i'm happy to roll up four or five attempts on that character so we can see the effect the random has.
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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by InsaneTD » 2016-09-18 09:22pm

I'm vaguely curious how mal would look in traveler.

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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by Zeropoint » 2016-09-19 04:06am

Bilateralrope wrote:Well, except for earlier versions which could kill the PC during character creation, but that doesn't produce a character I'd be playing for any length of time.
That doesn't produce a character that you'd be playing at all, which rather defeats the purpose of character creation and is why that aspect of Traveller is considered silly.
Jub wrote:There are always optimal point spreads for each character archetype in a point buy system. In a game where a mage always needs to have a high intellect for optimal magic use, players in a point buy system will always stick the highest reasonable stat into this score. This leads to characters that are, essentially, built off of a template.
A valid observation. For example, if I'm making a "brick" character for a superhero game in the Hero System, it's clearly optimal for me to buy my strength and resistant defenses up to the campaign limit. If that were all there was to a character, it would get boring. However, if the point limits and point budget are properly balanced, you get a situation where everyone can afford the obvious basics, BUT they have to make choices about secondary abilities--which will reflect the players' differing character concepts and priorities. If all you know about Chameleon Lass and Pangolin Lad is that they both have 80 STR and 20 DEF, they sound identical. When you discover that Chameleon Lass also has Clinging and Invisibility whilst Pangolin Lad has Tunneling and Duplication, you realize they'll play differently. (and that someone has either strange ideas about pangolins or trouble sticking to a theme)
Jub wrote:Whereas with rolls you may not get the optimal spread and thus have to deviate and create something that isn't entirely optimal.
Well, I can see the value of choosing a sub-optimal build for whatever reasons. I just don't see any value in the system forcing someone to play a sub-optimal character for no reason beyond bad luck.
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Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by madd0ct0r » 2016-09-20 04:49pm

InsaneTD wrote:I'm vaguely curious how mal would look in traveler.
Gave it a go. I tried to stick to getting as close to Mal's backstory as possible, instead of optimising for the (incredibly shitty) stats I kept rolling:
Remeber - Mal grew up on a hard scrabble, ranch, served in the 'Balls and Bayonets' in the Browncoats, and has done a fair bit of wandering and market trading and outright larceny. He's not dumb, and can handle himself in a scrap, but in the Firefly crew he's the trader, broker, capn and leader.
In the canon backstory, he was a Sargent, but I'm going to not try for that since it requires 4 promotions in the army track, and in Mongoos Traveller, that'd imply 16 years in the army, which tastes wrong.
Traveller works on very specific skill check system, so shooting a pistol is 2d6+Dexterity modifier+Guns (pistol) modifier, target of 8. Basic stats are less important than the modifiers they create. If you don't have that specific skill, you are at -3 to start with, Skills with a speciality in brackets can be uased as a 0 in other similar rolls. Eg Guns(pistol)2 lets you use a rifle at 0. A generalist has lots of skills at 0. A world-leading surgeon may have Medic at 4. Generally speaking you choose which of 6 1d6 tables to roll on for skills or stats bonuses, but you can't choose the explicit skill. In a full table top party he'd also gain up to three more skills at 1, but that they'd be would depend on what holes other players need covering. Likewise, I also didn't bother with buying extra equipment, presented is just the bonus stuff gained on the lifepath.

Mal the Free Trader.

Strength 5 Modifier: -1
Dexterity 7 Modifier: 0
Constitution 6 Modifier: 0
Intelligence 7 Modifier: 0
Education 4 Modifier: -1
Social Standing 4 Modifier: -1

Skills:
Broker 2, Guns(Pistol) 2, Guns(Rifle) 1, Social Science (Psychology) 1, Persuade 1, Recon 1, Vacc Suit 1, Athletics(Endurance) 1, Survival 0, Animals 0, Driving 0, Melee 0, Heavy Weps 0, Mechanic 0, Zero G 0

Equipment and Contacts:
Custom gun, body armour, 1 rival and 2 enemies

I rolled, 4,4,5,5,6,7 for the intial stats. Mal grew up on a Poor, Low Technology planet, granting Animals 0 and Survival 0 initially. He did not have a great education (modifier of -1) and starts with only those two skills.
Age 18 he applies for the Army, passes the entrance check and joins the Poor Bloody Infantry. He goes through basic training, picking up a bunch of skills at skill 0, Guns(rifles) at 1 and, as his bootcamp training meets regular food, Athletics(Endurance) 1.
He survives the term in the army, and rolls Army Event 3, a campaign in a tough and hostile enviroment, gaining Vacc Suit 1 in the process.
He is promoted, gaining recon 1 in Lance Corpral training and Guns(pistol) in bonus training.
Age 22 He improves Guns(pistols) to 2, but fails his survival roll and will have to leave the Army (browncoats defeated?) The rolled mishap is that he is driven out by a superior or a colleague. Mal gains a Rival.
Mal rolls two leaving bonus (1 for rank and 1 for the 18-22 term), gaining 1+Endurance and a set of Armour.
Age 26 he applies to be a Merchant and passes, becoming a Free Trader, choosing Broker 0 as his basic training.
He quickly gets to grips with space, rolling a Zero-G 0 skill. He survives the term, and (Merchant Event 4) learns a thing or two from contacts at the University of Life, gaining a shrewd Social Science(psychology) 1.
He is promoted, gaining Persuade 1 and a bonus Mechanic 0 (probably following the fast talking needed to get his ship back in the air following an unscheduled landing).
Age 30 he rolls and improves Broker to 1 and survives the term. Unfortunately, he rolls snake eyes for his event, and the rolled mishap is that his Ship is destroyed (Mal gains an Enemy). He is not promoted this term.
Age 34 he rolls and improves Broker to 2, but fails to survive the term. He rolls the same mishap, and so the Starport he is operating out of is also destroyed. Mal gains a second Enemy.
Mal rolls 3 leaving bonuses for rank and terms served, gaining 20K credits, +1 to Intelligence and a custom gun.

I could have rolled one more term for him, but stat damage from age was already a risk and he had most of what I wanted.


Since the starting stats were below average I tried twice more, but managed to do even worse. Normally with such poor stats I'd focus on easier to succeed low risk careers but that wasn't the challenge. I dumped most of their bonus rolls into stat boosts. I would agree with Bilaterlarope that a modern game should give you a stat block to assign, espcially with the snowball effect of lifepaths.
No detailed history for these two:


Mal the Drifter

Strength 6 Modifer: 0
Dexterity 8 Modifier: 0
Constitution 6 Modifier: 0
Intelligence 7 Modifier: 0
Education 4 Modifier: -1
Social Standing 2 Modifier: -2

Skills:
Guns (pistol) 1, Guns (rifle) 1, Streetwise 1, Survival 0, Animals 0, Athletics 0, Deception 0, Recon 0, Stealth 0, Melee 0, Pilot 0, Astogation 0

Equipment:
Ship Share, 1 Ally, 2 Contacts, 3 Enemies

Failed initial career check, became a Wanderer for 8 years. 4 years in the army, followed by 12 years a Belt Scavenger.


Mal the Aged Blackheart

Strength 2 Modifier: -2
Dexterity 4 Modifier: -1
Constitution 4 Modifier: -1
Intelligence 7 Modifier: 0
Education 4 Modifier: -1
Social Standing 2 Modifier: -2

Skills:
Pilot(spacecraft) 1, Carouse 1, Zero G 1, Athletics(coordination) 1, Broker 0, Recon 0, Battle Dress* 0, Tactics 0, Heavy Weps 0, Guns 0, Stealth 0, Comms 0, Streetwise 0, Astrogation 0, Pilot 0, Persuade 0, Recon 0,

Equipment:
3 Ship Shares, 1 Ally, 1 Rival, 1 Enemy

Failed initial career check, drafted into Marines Ground Assault, tortured as a POW, became Pirate, became Merchant, became Drifter.

*Power armour, basically.
"Aid, trade, green technology and peace." - Hans Rosling.
"Welcome to SDN, where we can't see the forest because walking into trees repeatedly feels good, bro." - Mr Coffee

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Civil War Man
NERRRRRDS!!!
Posts: 3758
Joined: 2005-01-28 03:54am

Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by Civil War Man » 2016-09-21 01:46pm

bilateralrope wrote:The one thing that has kept me away from Traveller is the random character generation. I don't like random character generation. When I roleplay, I start with an idea of the character I want to play. Random character generation often forces a different character upon me.
It's a personal preference thing. I personally have a lot of fun with random character creation, since I enjoy trying to build a backstory to fit the character that was generated. Either I will roll up the stats, and build a character that makes sense based on the stats, or for point-buy systems I will come up with some way to randomly generate the backstory, then build the character to fit. For example, I once played in a short-lived Call of Cthulhu game where my character had good all-around stats with the exception of a below-average sanity, and almost no resources, which I turned into a World War I veteran from Northern Ireland who survived Gallipoli, came back shell-shocked, fell in with the IRA due to his anger over what happened, and then was forced to hastily flee to America after he assassinated a British noble who turned out to have a lot of unsavory connections.

My approach is less that I'm creating a character, and more that the character already exists and I'm just learning about them. Definitely doesn't work for everyone, but I enjoy it because for me it results in characters who feel more like people.
bilateralrope wrote:A low Int character is an idiot. I don't enjoy roleplaying an idiot PC, because I keep coming up with ideas that are followed swiftly by "my PC is too stupid to think of this". I just can't get into the characters head, which ruins all the immersion.

For other players, I imagine it's a similar thing. Too large of a conflict between the person and the PCs personality.
I find that there's some wiggle room regarding PC intelligence. Many systems allow you to increase it using experience points or levels, so I've often treated it more as a measure of education or ability to grasp new concepts. It helps when there are other stats that also cover mental traits, like Wits or Wisdom.

That said, it can definitely be tricky to play a character with a different mental capacity than you, though I find that's more of a problem when trying to play a character that's smarter than me. It's less of a pitfall than trying to play a character with different personality, though. I've seen shy people try to play outgoing characters, and vice versa, and it can be a train wreck if they don't have enough practice playing those types of characters, because that's not how they are used to acting.

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Zeropoint
Jedi Knight
Posts: 581
Joined: 2013-09-14 01:49am

Re: Travails of a roleplayer.

Post by Zeropoint » 2016-09-21 05:53pm

I'm currently playing in a Champions game (Hero System superheroes, specifically set in the universe provided by the game company) in which I'm running an ex-cop private detective who's stumbled into having magic powers (which are supposed to have a Lovecraft/"Laundry Files" flavor that I'm having a hard time getting across in play). The character is of mildly above-average intelligence, but unlike myself is NOT a science/engineering student and all around science geek. We've had some adventures with technological and scientific themes, and it's a bit of a challenge to remember that my character doesn't have the background understanding of this stuff that I do.

Civil War Man, I can relate to your process of making sense--of CREATING sense--out of a randomly generated character. It's quite satisfying to take a random mess and make something coherent and interesting out of it.
I'm a cis-het white male, and I oppose racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. I support treating all humans equally.

When fascism came to America, it was wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.

That which will not bend must break and that which can be destroyed by truth should never be spared its demise.

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