Monday, August 2, 2010

Creating a character with newbie

I have this internet friend I met playing one mmorpg. Even after we both basically quit playing it we have been keeping touch via Facebook and messenger.

So, he knows that I am a table top roleplayer and I quess everything he knows about playing roleplaying games what aren't computer based is from me. Same time I am testing my own system YDIN N6 Mini so I asked him, would he like to make a character for it. He agreed.

I have been sending my system for various people I know over the internet who do play roleplaying games, but I thought it might be interesting to try to create a character with a person with no experience in actual roleplaying. So, here is what we did:

I told him basics of creating a character, that characters have values in different attributes. Basically same than in computer games. But in tabletop roleplaying games all attributes aren't necessarily needed for performing action typed things, like usually computer rpg's tend to go.
Then I told him, that this is just a basic system without a world, so he could do any kind of character he would like to do. I gave several character concept examples from pizza deliver boy to soldier. He chose to do a chinese plumber. First I was a bit confused, that does he think p&p roleplaying is a joke and he doesn't take this serious but in the other hand, it is not ment to be serious and I just wanted to try to create a character with a person who hasn't done a single pen and paper character in his whole life. So chinese plumber it is then.

Then I explained him attributes and what they mean and stand for. I also explained point buy system, how it works and what it means. I also told what it means to have high or low scores in certain attributes. This is how he divided them:

Power: 3
Body: 2
Dexterity: 5
Perception: 5
Intelligence: 3
Charisma: 2

He spots the poop, is agile, but not that big in frame. And not the charismatic person in the party. And he got this and the meaning of values in the different characteristics.

Next thing in character creation list is to calculate hitpoints, wounds, initiative and defence which was quite easy. Just tell that hitpoints for damage, wounds how much serious damage you can take, initiative in what phase of the turn you act and defence paired with skills dodge or parry. Simple.

After that it was turn for skills. I described skills and their use similarly to attributes. They tell what your character can do, and how well he can do it. I also told that you can try to attempt to do something without a skill, but it ofcourse is harder. He understood this and started to divide them points gettings this list of skills:

Firearms S(mall) 1
Melee 2
Hand-to-hand combat 1
Dodge 2
Parry 1
Mechanics 2
Burglary 1
Focus 1
Heavy vehicles 2
Boats 2
Survival 2
Computers 1
General knowledge 2

I didn't question why he did choose these skills, because I think they made sense in character. So we moved on. Next thing to do was divide 3 points to hobbies. Hobbies are skills out of skill list. Something small to flesh out your character. I thought that hobbies are like chess, gambling, horseback riding, cooking, knitting and so on, but he came up with these:

Reading Small Red Book (what's that in english, Mao's book or something) 2 points
Inventing Political Slogans 1 points

That got me confused for a second. But hey, this is a rich of person who has never played. He can unintentionally twist the rules, or think out of the box. I have to admit, that this was pretty cool and indicated that he was committed to this character creation and actually was thinking about it in this process. So, this far we have chinese plumber who is obvious and quite fanatic communist.

Next step was gift. Another thing in character creation player should invent himself (in this demo). This took a bit longer time, even if I gave him few examples of gifts (sight of an eagle, booze head). He came up with these:

HVAC-knowledge 1p
Cleansing 2p

This guy knows his job and he is born natural to it. Pretty cool, that when he got this concept of a plumber he actually is writing and imagining and creating it. I thought that starter would like to create warrior or agent or something like that, but this is quite cool and I was excited about it.

Last touch was inventory. In my demo you determine inventory based on your skills. Every 2 point skill is worth of lesser item realted to the skill and every 3 point skill is a major item. So here is his item list he had to invent himself:

Discount coupon for Mao's little red book volume 2
Monkey wrench
Leather gloves
Rubber boat
Keys to Scania R730
Encyclopedia (pocket size)

Items were quite innovative. Discount coupon? That's cool. Quite useless as it is, but it flesh out the character. Monkey wrench is quite obvious for a plumber who takes his job serious as is Leatherman. Leather gloves are cool, and could be used in work also even if I think rubbery ones could be a bit more useful. If these leather ones aren't used for... brawling. Rubber boat was fun and can be used in sewers. He has skill heavy vehicle on level 2, so he cannot own his own truck but hey, he could have keys for his working truck right? That was really, really innovative.

Conclusion. My friend Lanttu understood this character creation process very well. There were some obscurity from time to time, but I blame my skills of explanation. And I quess this was first time he read the book, or parts of it.
I think he got the idea pretty well. I know this wasn't the easiest character creation available, as in few places you had to use your own imagination to fill the empty spots. But he did it. With some clever twist.

To, this is Ta Hun Kwai, chinese plumber who is obviously fanatic about communism. He is good at what he is doing.

This was fun. Thank you Lanttu for taking part to this.

Now I cannot stop imagining about urban legends about alligators in sewers... What would our chinese plumber say about that?

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