Session Zero: Character Generation
Note: While this first session was going to be CharGen and the start of an adventure to get everyone going, CharGen ran on longer than expected.
Spirit of the Century, for anyone reading that hasn't played it is an awesome experience in and of itself. Rather like the City of Heroes character generator, you can have tonnes and tonnes of fun just throwing up characters and playing with ideas. And that is what happened for this group. Two of the five players were familiar with the rules, while the other three's experiences of role-playing were mostly limited to White Wolf's World of Darkness. It took them a long time to wrap their heads around the freedom SotC's CharGen system gave them, particularly in relation to creating Aspects.
A brief word on the CharGen system for SotC in case you're unfamiliar with it. As it's a pulp style game, character names usually include dramatic, short descriptions, such as Doc Savage, Man of Bronze. Aspects are character traits illustrated through phrases or character quotes, like "First on the Scene", or "Where Did You Come From?" They are completely up to the player to invent. Players tag them by saying things like "Ah! But perhaps Jet arrives early and is "First on the Scene"?!?" gaining additional successes to the role, or affecting the flow of the story. Interesting Aspects should be ones that the GM can compel to put the PC in harms way, by saying "Ah! But Jet arrives early and is "First on the Scene"", before throwing him early into a conflict, now horribly outnumbered and awaiting back-up!
As well as aspects, you then get to choose from a list of Skills. You get one Superb, two Great, three Good, four Fair and five Average, with everything you didn't pick considered at Mediocre. These are things like Athletics, Drive, Pilot, Fists, Science and so on. I'll include the top three each player choose in the character descriptions below. Players then get five Stunts, special abilities related to their Skills.
One of the most interesting parts of SotC CharGen is the concept of Novels. As everyone is essentially a pulp hero, they each have their own novel, the story that outlines their background. However, they also guest star in two other PC's novels, allowing the game to start with everyone knowing some others in the group, if not all of them! This is really handy, as it eliminates the "Why are we all here?" problem most stories have to deal with. There is already a connection between the PC's, and the game starts with them all working for Atlantic Philanthropy, operating out of Boston. The novels all contribute to Aspects that the PC has.
Other than any interesting background they care to create for themselves, they're done. Sounds simple, but the freedom involved leads to hilariously difficult choices to be made and interesting co-operative character development among the group.
So, without further ado, the party as it stands is as follows:
Maurice LeBec, Retired Gentleman Thief (Gar)
Novel: The Man In The Fog
Sample Aspects: The Man in the Fog; The Style Justifies the Means; So, Your Plan Requires my Death?; Your (Chloe, see below) Sister Stole my Heart
Skills: Burglary, Stealth, Sleight of Hand
Guest Staring In: The Chrono Catastrophe; Lipstick on a Shattered Mirror
Sir Alistair Montgomery, Inventor to His Majesty King George V of England (Ray)
Novel: The Chrono Catastrophe
Sample Aspects: If Wishes Were Horses; Never Enough Cogs; Pull it out of my Hat; For King and Country; The Evil Dr. Eternity!
Skills: Engineering, Academics, Science
Guest Starring In: The Man In The Fog; Areas Astral Vs. The Ice Queen of Mars
Chloe "The Siren" M (Stephanie)
Novel: Lipstick on a Shattered Mirror
Sample Aspects: Old Flame; Exit, Stage Right; Where Did That Come From?; At the Last Possible Second
Skills: Deceit, Rapport, Alertness
Guest Starring In: The Chrono Catastrophe; Hank Scorpio in The Mystery of the Blood Medallion
Hank Scopio, P.I. (Tom)
Novel: Hank Scorpio in The Mystery of the Blood Medallion
Sample Aspects: Don't Lie to Me!; And it all went Dark; Of all the Gin Joints; Dames...
Skills: Investigation, Rapport, Drive
Guest Starring In: The Man In The Fog; Lipstick on a Shattered Mirror
Ares Astral, Prince of Mars (Brian)
Novel: Areas Astral Vs. The Ice Queen of Mars
Sample Aspects: Things Man was not Meant to Know; Stranger in a Strange Land; I Never Suspected my own Brother!; Ares, my Friend! My Camel is your Camel!; If Only we had More Time
Skills: Mysteries, Resolve, Guns
Guest Starring In: The Man In The Fog; The Chrono Catastrophe
And there we have it! An interesting bunch that have given me food for thought! They are a great group to game with, and everyone is really getting into the pulp swing of things! Hopefully I'll have some time to write about each of the adventures they've been on so far soon. I'd like to keep a record of how things go, and where I feel I could have improved on it.
For now, though, don't touch that dial! Keep watching for further updates, and more thrilling adventures!
Friday, March 07, 2008
Session Zero: Character Generation