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Polaris RPG Character Creation – Marco Callardin September 1, 2016

Posted by jkahane in character creation, personal, polaris rpg, rpg hut.
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Since I’m getting ready to run the Polaris RPG that has just come out commercially from the folks at Black Book Editions on my three gaming groups, I thought I would post up here a detailed example of character creation for the Polaris Roleplaying Game.

Game: Polaris Roleplaying Game
Publisher: Black Book Editions
Degree of Familiarity: Familiar with it, but pretty much a newbie. I ran a couple of games at CanGames last year, and have just finished reading the main rulebooks for the Polaris RPG in English.
Books Required: The Polaris Roleplaying Game Corebook 1 and to a lesser extent, Corebook 2.

Please note that this post is extremely long, as I’ve gone into the game mechanics a bit in terms of character creation, and have provided background on the character and the choices. Hence the majority of this post is behind the cut. That said, there is some of the game mechanics and descriptions of game world elements that I’ve skimped on in this write-up, so if you want to know more, just drop me a line in the Comments.

Marco Callardin, a former Chiloean militiaman, turned Equinox bartender

For those who don’t know, the Polaris RPG is a science fiction underwater roleplaying game set in a far future where the world above ground has become uninhabitable for the human species. Human beings have found refuge in the depths of the ocean, where they try to somehow survive in spite of the many difficulties they encounter in this hostile environment. The species’ degeneration (characterized by the increasing number of sterile individuals and various genetic mutations), the perpetual wars that have ravaged entire colonies, the monsters, and, above all, the difficulty of exploiting natural resources are the immediate problems faced by this civilization.

In this new world of silence and darkness, players can choose to become agents of one of the underwater factions, mercenaries working to keep afloat, or freelancers trying to establish their own communities. No matter which side they pick, they will discover that nothing is completely black or white, and that humankind will need to unite against a common adversity if it wants to survive. Meanwhile, they will have to fight against all odds and gear up as best they can, buying precious breathing mixes or fluids. They will need to tinker, patch up, and stitch together their submarines. Luck may smile upon them when they discover brand-new equipment or one of the stashes left behind by the ominous Empire of the Geneticians. Their fate will be much darker if they happen to stumble upon raiders or pirates. Adventurers will, however, get a chance to gain fame and even influence the world’s destiny through their actions and discoveries. Humankind is in need of heroes, and empires can sometimes be born from simple ideals. All these elements and many others make up the backdrop of this universe in which one great mystery prevails: the Polaris Flux.

Anyway, here’s the character creation process. Bear in mind that this material is quite long, due to the complexity of the game system character creation process, and my willingness to write all this up! 🙂

Step A: Character Concept.
The first step that I always include in my games is to have the player come up with a Character Concept for the character they want to play. This is basically a one- or two-sentence bit that gives you all the essentials about what the character in question is. For the Polaris RPG, this actually a suggested idea, and can be taken even further, with the group of players coming up with a “group concept” for the adventuring team, so they have consistent characters and a role in the group.

While the game is an underwater science fiction roleplaying game with a post-apocalyptic history, I want to have the character live in the here and now. After looking at the map of the World of the Deep, I decide to create a former soldier/militiaman from one of the major cities in the Red League who became disillusioned with the corruption that he saw all around him, and quit to open up a bar on Equinox. I haven’t decided on a few other things, but I like the first name Marco. So we’ll see where this goes.

Note 1: The GM gets to set a Power Level for the game. The three Power Levels are Realistic, Intermediate (the default setting), and Heroic.

Note 2: There are two essential methods for creating and building a character in the Polaris RPG system. The first is to choose an Archetype (Default Character, the Upstart Kid, the Young Heir, the Hybrid, the Phenomenon, the Survivor, the Veteran, and the Old Seadog) which gives an automatic distribution of Character Points (CP) that the player can build off. The second method of character creation is to use the Free Distribution of Character Points method. In this method, the player receives 20 Character Points (CP) to distribute among their abilities (the Archetype method gives you these pre-assigned, but you still have to make choices). One can actually use the second method, but use one of the Archetypes as a guideline for what you want to do with the character.

I decide that I’ll play the GM for a moment, and we’ll be using the Intermediate, default setting for the game.

In addition, I choose to use the Free Distribution of Character Points method of character creation for Marco, so I’ll have 20 Character Points (CP) to distribute for the character.

Step B: Distribute the 20 Character Points (CP).
The Character Points (CP) are distributed among six different Aspects – Base Abilities, Genetic Type, Special Abilities, Prior Experience, Advantages, and Disadvantages. As far as i can tell, the only way to go above 20 CP is through adding some Disadvantages in this choice of point expenditures. I’ll detail each of these in the steps character creation below.

After deciding how I want to assign my 20 CP for the character, I assign them as follows.

Base Abilities (6 CP) – An extra 12 Attribute points.
Genetic Type (0 CP) – Just a normal human.
Special Abilities (0 CP) – Can only take random mutations, and no mastery of the Polaris Effect.
Prior Experience (14 CP) – 14 years of professional experience.
Advantages (0 CP) – What it sounds like.
Disadvantages (0 CP) – What it sounds like.

Step 1: Base Abilities

This Character Creation process begins in earnest with the Base Attribute values. To start with, there are some Attributes in this system. The Primary Attributes are Strength (STR), Constitution (CON), Coordination (COO), Adaptation (ADA; the character’s capacity to adapt to their environment, and more particularly to a sudden change of situation, the reflexes stemming from survival instinct and speed of thought), Perception (PER), Intelligence (INT; mental capacities, and aptitude for assimilating new knowledge), Willpower (WIL), and Presence (PRE; representing aura and charisma). There is also a special Attribute called Luck (representing connection to the hand of fate). The Secondary Attributes, all of which are derived, are Reaction (REA; speed of response when action becomes crucial), Melee Damage Modifier, Shock Resistance (to trauma and psychological shock from wounds), Damage Resistance (resistance to physical wounds, and modifies the damage taken from them), Natural Resistance (to poisons, diseases, drugs, and radiation), and Suspend Breathing (later called Apnea; how long you can hold your breath before asphyxiating).

To start with, the Primary Attributes each have a Base Score of 7. The player receives a number of points to distribute to these Attributes based on the GM’s game level established above (see Note 1, above). In the Intermediary Setting, the number of Attribute Points is 38. Levels 8 to 15 have a normal cost (1 point per level). Levels 16 to 18 have a cost twice as much. Level 19 and 20 have a cost that is three times the normal.

Deciding on how I want to spend Marco’s 38 points at this time, I settle on the following: Strength 12, Constitution 12, Coordination 13, Adaptation 12, Perception 10, Intelligence 10, Willpower 11, and Presence 14. That uses up my 38 base points quite nicely.

Any Character Points (CP) assigned in the Base Attributes section above (see Step B) can now be spent on the Attributes. Since in Step B, above, I spent another 6 CP on Base Abilities, this gives me two times the number of CP spent for Attributes as well. The point costs and conditions for raising the Attributes do not change from the above.

Since I allotted 6 CP to my Base Abilities, I have another 12 points to allot to my Attributes. Musing what I want to do, I decide to raise my Strength to 14 (2 points), my Constitution to 14 (2 points), Coordination to 15 (2 points), Perception to 12 (2 points), and Willpower to 12 (1 point). I increase my Intelligence to 12 (2 points) and Adaptation to 13 (1 point). The other Attribute does not change (Presence 14). I feel as if I may regret not increasing the Adaptation, but we’ll see.

So my current main Attributes look like this:

Attributes   STR  CON  COO  ADA  PER  INT  WIL  PRE
Base          12   12   13   12   10   10   11   14

Since the character’s Secondary Attributes may still change, there’s no reason to calculate them out at this time. (See Step 2, below.)

Step 2: Character Genetic Type
The next step in Character Creation is to determine the player character’s Genetic Type. There are four Genetic Types in the Polaris: normal Human, Natural Hybrid, Geno-Hybrid, and Techno-Hybrid. Hybrids are either mutants or modified huma being who are able to breathe and survive underwater. By default, all player characters are normal humans; this genetic type is free, and does not cost CP. I’ll not say more about the various other hybrids here for various reasons.

Since I had no plans to create a Hybrid character, I didn’t assign any CP to the Genetic Type under Note 3, above. My character, Marco, is a normal Human.

Unless I somehow modify Marco’s Attributes later on, his starting Attributes are as follows:

Attributes   STR  CON  COO  ADA  PER  INT  WIL  PRE
Base          12   12   13   12   10   10   11   14
Genetic
CP Modifier   +2   +2   +2   +1   +2   +2   +1
Final         14   14   15   13   12   12   11   14
N.A.           2    2    2    2    1    1    1    2

The Base above refers to the initial 38 points that I assigned to the Attributes. The Genetic row pertains to any bonuses from taking a Hybrid of some sort, which I have not. The CP Modifier is the number of additional points from the CPs in Note 3 and Step 1, above. The Final represents the actual normal values for the Attributes. The N.A. refers to the Natural Ability for each Attribute.

Step C: Determine the Character’s Natural Abilities (N.A.).
In addition, when using a Skill, the player character draws from his natural abilities or innate talents, represented by his Attributes. For example, Intelligence comes into play when the character is using his Knowledge Skills. Characters have three levels of Skills – Base Level, Mastery Level, and Global Level. The Base Level of skills is based on the Natural Ability (N.A.) of the character derived from the Primary Attributes. There is a nice chart that is used to determine these values. The Base Skill Level is equal to the sum of the two Natural Ability Levels derived from the Attributes. With only one associated Attribute, one takes double the Natural Ability value. Mastery Level and Global Level of Skills will be covered elsewhere, below.

Since I’m not going to be playing a Hybrid (see Step 2, below), I can determine my Base Skill Levels at this time. My N.A. for each of the Attributes is as follows: Strength 2, Constitution 2, Coordination 2, Adaptation 2, Perception 1, Intelligence 1, Willpower 1, and Presence 2. Once we get to the Skills section of character generation, you’ll get a better idea of how this relates together with that material. For now, this gives me the following statistics.

Attributes   STR  CON  COO  ADA  PER  INT  WIL  PRE
Base          14   14   15   13   12   12   11   14
N.A.           2    2    2    2    1    1    1    2

Step D: Determine the Character’s Luck and Secondary Attributes.
The character’s Luck and Secondary Attributes can be determined at this time.

Luck is determined by the level that the GM assigns to the campaign.

The Luck of the player character is equal to 13, based on the Intermediary campaign level decided on by the GM.

Reaction (REA) is taken as the average of Adaptation and Perception, that is (ADA+PER)/2.

Marco’s Reaction score is equal Adaptation 13 + Perception 12, averaged, round down, to 12.

The Melee Damage Modifier is based on the Strength of the character as found on the specific table.

Marco’s Strength is 14, which gives him a +2 Melee Damage Modifier.

The character has two Shock Resistance values. The first is the Stun Threshold, derived from the sum STR, CON, and WIL, averaged, that is, (STR+CON+WIL)/3. The character’s Knockout Threshold is derived from the Stun Threshold (modified by bonuses or penalties), plus 10.

Marco’s Stun Threshold is equal to 14+14+11 = 39/3 = 13, and his Knockout Threshold is equal to 23.

The character’s Damage Resistance is determined by the sum of the character’s STR plus CON, as determined by the specific table.

Marco has a Strength of 14 and a Constitution of 14, for a total of 28. This gives him a Damage Resistance of -2.

The character has two Natural Resistance values. The first is Resistance to diseases, poisons, and radiation, based on CON, on the table. The second is Resistance to drugs, based on the average of CON and WIL, that is, (CON+WIL)/2, also on the table.

Marco’s Resistance to disease, poisons, and radiation is based on his CON, which 14, for a value of -2. His Resistance to drugs is based on his CON of 14 and WIL of 11 averaged, which is 12. This gives him a value of -1.

Suspend Breathing (or Apnea, depending on your preference), allows the characer to hold their breath for an amount of time before asphyxiating. This is (CON+WIL)/2 in Combat Rounds.

Marco’s Suspend Breathing is (14+11)/2, or 12 Combat Rounds. Not great, but not shabby.

Step 3: Special Abilities
The next step in the Character Creation process is to determine if the player character has any Mutations or is capable of using the Polaris Effect.

A player is allowed to take Mutations using one of the two methods noted. First off, a player must allocate a number of points to the Special Abilities section of Step B, and may then purchase Mutations at the costs provided. Alternately, a player may randomly roll on the Mutations Table, as many times as one likes, getting the Mutations listed. A wise GM will keep players down to a limited mumber of Mutations randomly rolled this way.

Since I did not assign any CP to the Special Abilities section as per Step B, above, I cannot purchase specific Mutations that I might like. However, I can randomly roll for Mutations, and I decide to do this…once. I roll the dice, and come up with a Mutation… Reinforced Skin! This means my dark, rough skin gives me 3 points of natural armour. Nice! And lucky.

Step 4: Prior Experience
In the world of Polaris, children are considered to have reached adulthood at age 18 (except pirates), and their apprenticeship starts immediately. One may choose to take a profession at 17 years of age, which is the minimum age for a player character.

The player character’s Prior Experience consists of three elements – their Geographical Origin, their Social Origin, and their Initial Training (as well as any Higher Education, if available to the character) – as well as the character’s Profession(s), but the latter will be covered in a separate sub-Step on its own. For Geographical Origin, Social Origin, and Initial Training, the player can roll a D10 to determine their results, or choose off the various listings themselves. Each of the results in these categories provides the character with certain Skill bonuses that are applied to their Mastery Level.


A: Geographical Origin
I start by determining the character’s Geographical Origin. Since I established that Marco came from one of the Major Cities of the game world, I don’t roll to determine this. The Georgraphical Origin choices include Nomadic Ship, Small Station, Middle-Sized Station, and Major City. Since I established that he comes from the Red League nation, I decide that he comes from Chiloe, one of the major cities in that nation. The Major City Geographical Location gives Marco the following Mastery Skill Level bonuses: Bureaucracy +2, Education/General Knowledge +2, and Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Red League) +3.

B: Social Origin
I continue by selecting one of the Social Origins, again with the option of rolling for it, but Social Origin is also dependent on one’s Geographical Origin (see above). The Social Origins available are Slums, Working Class, Middle Class, and Upper Class. Looking at the options available to me based on my Geographical Origin, I decide on the Middle Class. The Middle Class Social Origin gives Marco the following additional Mastery Skill Level bonuses: Bureaucracy +1, Education/General Knowledge +2, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Red League) +2. (We’ll total up all the Skill Mastery Levels once I’ve finished with the basics of Prior Experience.)

C: Initial Training
I then determine the Initial Training for the character, based on the character’s Social Origin. The options available here are Deliquency/Crime, Technical Apprenticeship (choose one specifically), Education, or Self-Taught. I decide that Marco will be an Educated individual, as his parents aspired to great things for him. The Education Initial Training gives Marco the following additional Mastery Skill Level bonuses: Computing +1, Education/General Knowledge +4, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Hegemony) +2, Foreign Language (Olosakian) +1, Science/Specialised Knowledge (Botany) +2.

Note that under the Geographical and Social Origins, the Knowledge of a nation/organisation skill had to be one’s own, but the one under Initial Training had to be a foreign one, and I chose the closest nation to the Red League, the Hegemony. The Language skill under the Initial Training had to be from any foreign nation I wanted, so I took the language of the Hegemony here. A character gets their Native Language free (see the final Skills list).

Thus, at this stage of character creation, Marco has the following Skills and Mastery Level bonuses:

Bureaucracy +3, Computing +1, Education/General Knowledge +8, Foreign Language (Olosakian) +1, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Hegemony) +2, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Red League) +5, Science/Specialised Knowledge (Botany) +2

C1: Higher Education
Higer Education is only available to characters who received the Education Skill above (Marco has a Mastery Level bonus of +8 so far). It tends to correspond to the last years of high school or freshman year at college. There are different types of Higher Education that one can choose, and these are: Business/Management, Law, Engineering School, Military School, Naval School, Medicine, Sciences/Humanities, and Political Science. Each type of Education costs 1 CP and adds two years to the character’s age. Some of the Higher Education paths can also open up some reserved Skills. Finally, pursuing a Higher Education study is mandatory for access to some of the Professions (see below). Each Higher Education taken provides bonuses to Skill Mastery Levels.

The character of Marco is intended to be a specific type of character, the former militiaman turned bartender, neither of which occupations require him to have a Higher Education. However, Marco’s parents had aspirations for him, and so I spend 1 CP from my allotment for Prior Experience (see Step B, above, leaving me with 13 CP left) and increase my age by two years, making Marco 19 years old so far. His parents wanted Marco to become a major player in the foodstuffs industry in Chiloe and the Red League, so they sent him into Business/Management. Marco gains the following additional Mastery Skill Level bonuses: Bureaucracy +3, Business/Trafficking (Foodstuffs) +2, Education/General Knowledge +3, Finding Information +1, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Coral Republic) +1, Foreign Language (Isitacian) +2, Foreign Language (Olosakian) +1, Science/Specialised Knowledge (Administration/Management) +2.

Note above, that the Business/Trafficking, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (at +3, to be split as desired), and Science/Specialised Knowledge skills allowed for specialisation in specific areas. The Isitacian language is spoken in the Coral Republic.

When taking into account all the Prerequisites and default Skill Levels of the various skills in the game, at this stage of his life Marco has the following total Mastery Skill Level bonuses:

Bureaucracy +6, Business/Trafficking (Foodstuffs) -1, Computing -2, Education/General Knowledge +8, Finding Information -2, Foreign Language (Isitacian) -2, Foreign Language (Olosakian) -2, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Coral Republic) +1, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Hegemony) +2, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Red League) +5, Science/Specialised Knowledge (Botany) -2, Science/Specialised Knowledge (Administration/Management) -2.

D: PROFESSIONS
The next step in Character Creation is the most complicated one in many ways. The player determines which Professions he wants to take (assuming he has the prerequisites required for each Profession chosen), and then decides on how many years he wishes to be in that Profession, based on the years of professional experience he decided on in the Prior Experience step in Step B, above. Each year spent in the Profession gives the character the following:

10 Skill Points to distribute among the Professional Skills.
Automatic Advantages and Disadvantages
5 points to distribute in the Professional Advantages.
An increase in his Savings (dependent on his years of experience).

There are a variety of rules covering the various circumstances here of how the Professions work, little details of the Professions, and some guidelines and rules for the GM to use. I’m not going to all that detail here.

So let’s get to the details.

PROFESSION: SOLDIER/MILITIAMAN

We start with the player character’s Skills under the Profession.

With 13 prior years of experience to work with for the Professions, I’ve already established that Marco was a soldier/militiaman for the Red League, before departing the nation for the neutral station of Equinox where he opened up a bar. I decide that Marco was in the soldiering profession for 10 years of his 13 remaining years. Therefore, from the profession, Marco gains the following:

100 Skill Points to distribute among the Professional Skills.
Automatic Advantages and Disadvantages
50 points to distribute in the Professional Advantages.
An increase in his Savings (dependent on his years of experience).

So let’s cover things one step at a time. We’ll start with the Skills.

There are a whole series of Skills listed for the Soldier/Militiaman to have, so we’ll buy our Skills from that list primarily. I start by buying Mastery Levels in Armed Combat +3, Hand-to-Hand Combat +4, Handguns +6, Shoulder-Fired Weapons/Rifles at +5, and Intimidation +4, and Leadership +2. That’s 25 of my Skill Points. I purchase Athletics +4, Endurance +5, Observation +6, Orientation +4, Knowledge of an Environment (Underwater cities and stations) +5, and Stealth/Silent Movement +4. That’s another 29 points, so I’ve spent 54 Skill Points.

I pick up First Aid +5 and Climbing +4, and add to my ratings of Skills I’ve already got, adding Foreign Language (Olosakian) +4, Computing +4,
Business/Trafficking (Foodstuffs) +3, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Hegemony) +3, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Red League) +1, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Chiloe) +3, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Equinox) +2, Finding Information +5, Foreign Language (Isitacian) +5, and Biology/Physiology +3. That’s another 46 points, and brings me to my total of 100 Skill Points. So I’m done with the Skills for the Militiaman/Soldier.

Marco’s Skills now look like this in terms of their Mastery Skill Level bonuses:

Armed Combat +3, Athletics +4, Bureaucracy +6, Business/Trafficking (Foodstuffs) +2, Climbing +4, Computing +2, Education/General Knowledge +8, Endurance +5, Finding Information +3, First Aid +2, Foreign Language (Isitacian) +3, Foreign Language (Olosakian) +2, Hand-to-Hand Combat +4, Handguns +6, Intimidation +4, Knowledge of an Environment (Underwater cities and stations) +5, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Chiloe) +3, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Coral Republic) +1, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Equinox) +2, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Hegemony) +5, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Red League) +6, Leadership +2, Observation +6, Orientation +4, Science/Specialised Knowledge (Administration/Management) -2, Science/Specialised Knowledge (Botany) -2, Science/Specialised Knowledge (Biology/Physiology) -1, Shoulder-Fired Weapons/Rifles +5, Stealth/Silent Movement +4.

Next up, the player gains certain Professional Advantages and Disadvantages.

In the case of Marco’s character with the Soldier/Militiaman he automatically gains 3 Contacts, 2 Allies, and 2 Adversaries. I don’t have to decide on who these individuals are at the moment, but I can narrow it down somewhat. I decide that the three contacts are as follows: a vendor of foodstuffs from the Coral Republic, who has helped him bring in some food for the starving and downtrodden people of Chiloe; a street informer who keeps an ear out for bad stuff going down; a miner who lives in Chiloe, but who has the ear of a good, solid group of other miners. The two Allies are as follows: a minor government official who wants to clean up the corruption in Chiloe; and a second person, to be decided. I’m not sure what I want to do with the two Adversaries at this point, so they can wait.

Marco also gains another 5 points per year, for a total of 50 points, to assign to Fame, Connections, and Gear (including military gear). I decide to spread the 50 points out as follows:

Fame 18 – the number of points to spend
Connections 0 – the number of points to spend
Gear 30 – the number of points to spend

This gives me a Fame Level of 6.

The Gear points translate to 30,000 Sols worth of gear of various types. I can decide what I want in this regard later in the process.

In addition, Marco gains the following gear as part of the Profession: Handgun (pistol with a free permit); Melee weapons (free knife); a set of armour; and standard gear. Because he’s foregoing the career to become a Bartender (see below), he’ll lose pretty much all these weapons and the like.

See the final character at the bottom of the page for the list of current gear and equipment.

Finally, we come to the character’s Titles and Income Growth.

For Marco’s time spent as a Soldier/Militiaman, his 10 years in the profession left him with the Rank of Sergeant, and he accumulated 25,000 Sols. This money allows me to accumulate some savings and/or spend some of it on equipment and the like. That’s quite likely when I finish up the character.

PROFESSION: BARTENDER

We start with the player character’s Skills under the Profession.

Having already decided that Marco was a soldier/militiaman for the first 10 years of his professional life, that leaves me with his having been a Bartender for the last 3 years. He left the Red League, and made his way to Equinox, where he’s established a small bar, Marco’s Place. Therefore, from the profession, Marco gains the following:

25 Skill Points to distribute among the Professional Skills. (Changing the profession reduces the first year’s Skill Points to 5 from 10.)
Automatic Advantages and Disadvantages
13 points to distribute in the Professional Advantages. (Changing the profession reduces the year’s allotment to 2 points from 5 points.)
An increase in his Savings (dependent on his years of experience).

So let’s cover things one step at a time. We’ll start with the Skills.

There are a whole series of Skills listed for the Bartender to have, so we’ll buy our Skills from that list primarily. I buy Eloquence/Persuasion +3, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Equinox) +3, Business/Trafficking (Foodstuffs) +2, Armed Combat +2, Hand-to-Hand Combat +1, Foreign Language (Neo-Azuran) +3, Specialised Language (Solean) +4, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Smugglers) +3, and add the Disguise/Deception Skill at +2 (at a cost of 4 points). That total up my 25 Skill Points here.

Marco’s Skills now look like this in terms of their Mastery Skill Level bonuses:

Armed Combat +5, Athletics +4, Bureaucracy +6, Business/Trafficking (Foodstuffs) +4, Business/Trafficking (Information) +2, Climbing +4, Computing +2, Disguise/Deception +2, Education/General Knowledge +8, Eloquence/Persuasion +3, Endurance +5, Finding Information +3, First Aid +2, Foreign Language (Isitacian) +3, Foreign Language (Neo-Azuran) -1, Foreign Language (Olosakian) +2, Hand-to-Hand Combat +5, Handguns +6, Intimidation +4, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Chiloe) +3, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Coral Republic) +1, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Equinox) +5, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Hegemony) +5, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Red League) +6, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Smugglers) +3, Knowledge of an Environment (Underwater cities and stations) +5, Leadership +2, Observation +6, Orientation +4, Science/Specialised Knowledge (Administration/Management) -2, Science/Specialised Knowledge (Biology/Physiology) -1, Science/Specialised Knowledge (Botany) -2, Specialised Language (Solean) +0, Shoulder-fired Weapons/Rifles +5, Stealth/Silent Movement +4.

Next up, the player gains certain Professional Advantages and Disadvantages.

In the case of Marco’s character with the Bartender he automatically gains 2 Contacts and 1 Supplier. I don’t have to decide on who these individuals are at the moment, but I can narrow it down somewhat. I decide that the two contacts are as follows: a customs inspector on Equinox who keeps him informed from time to time about incoming arrivals from the Red League; and a former militiaman from Nazca, who dwells in the slums, and lets him know of potential employees for Marco’s Place. Marco’s Supplier is from the Mediterranean Union, who acquires for him some of the vintages of the Med U that seem to be popular on Equinox. Shipments take a bit of time to arrive, of course.

Marco also gains another 5 points per year, but only 3 in the first, for a total of 13 points, to assign to Bar, Inventory of Goods, Fame, Connections, and Gear.

Bars 10 – Marco’s place is about 10 metres2 in size.
Fame 0 – I decide he hasn’t made a name for himself on Equinox yet, beyond a good reputation as a bar owner.
Inventory of Goods 3 – Primarily composed of food/beverages (in good/mint condition) in two warehouses.
Connections 0 – None others at this time.
Gear 0 – the number of points to be spent.

In addition, Marco gains the following gear as part of the Profession: Standard gear; Bladed weapons; Contact weapons; Handguns.

See the final character at the bottom of the page for the list of current gear and equipment.

Finally, we come to the character’s Titles and Income Growth.

For Marco’s time spent as a Bartender so far, his 3 years in the profession make him a Bartender (in the hierarchy, I guess), and has accumulated 2,000 Sols. Some of these funds will go to his savings, but others will go to his equipment.

Step 5: Advantages and Disadvantages
The player may give the character Advantages and Disadvantages at this time. If the player did not choose to do so in Note 3, way above, the character may *not* choose any Advantages or Disadvantages. If they did choose to do so in Step 3, way above, bear in mind, it is not a good idea to overload the character with Disadvantages, just as it can be dangerous to spnd one’s Creation Points (CP) on Advantages.

Since I did not choose to spend any of my CP for Marco on Advantages or Disadvantages, Marco does not get to choose any Advantages nor does he get to select any Disadvantages to add to the character.

Step E: Final Details
The Character Creation process ends with the determination of several final details.

First up, I determine the Handedness of the character. The Handedness of the character is rolled on a D20 on a table provided. Alternatively, if a player desperately wants an Ambidextrous character, they can take that Advantage.

I’m content to determine Marco’s handedness on the table, and roll the D20. My result yields the fact that Marco is right-handed.

Secondly, I determine the character’s Gender.

Since I’d already decided on the character’s name as being Marco Callardin, I guess the character is Male. 🙂

Thirdly, I need to determine’s Marco’s appearance.

Going somewhat off the character’s Attributes, I determine Marco’s appearance as follows.

Marco Callardin is a man of 32 years of age with features that are somewhat South American in colouration, who stands 1.8 metres tall and weighs around 105 kilos. He has wavy black hair that has a touch of grey, dark brown warm eyes, a litheness to him with a muscular feel, and a strength of purpose that radiates from him. He has a couple of nasty scars, one on his right leg and the other on his left neck that goes from the ear down to the breastbone, both courtesy of ruffians that he encountered during his days as a city guard in Chiloe.

Next, I determine the character’s Background.

Marco Callardin was born in the city of Chiloe in the Red League and was raised in the middle class with a respect for thelaw and a sense of self-worth. Unknown to him, both his parents were low ranking botany experts for the city who worked in the hydroponic gardens, and the young man seems to have inherited an interest in plants and plant studies, though he never was able to devote himself to it. Big and relatively strong, with a decent head on his shoulders, Marco went into military service after receiving a higher education in bureaucracy, and served Chiloe and its surrounding small bases as a guard, valuing his role as a protector of the people. In his fifth year on the job, Marco started seeing things that discouraged him – various guards and security personnel taking bribes, undesirables being allowed into Chiloe, dishonest mining practices, and even several attacks on hydroponics facilities – and made him re-evaluate what he did for a living. Especially the living conditions of the poor. He made a contact from the Coral Republic, and started helping bring in food and supplies for the folks living in Chiloe’s slums.

It all came to a head in his tenth year on the job, when a group of security guards were ordered to take down a rioting group of miners in one of the secondary bases off Chiloe. Part of the security force sent to contain the riot, Marco watched in horror as several of the rioters were gunned down for no other reason than itchy trigger fingers, and “we’re operating under orders”. Disgusted by it all, Marco realised this was no longer the life for him, as the Red League’s forces were corrupt. Taking some of his life savings, Marco resigned his commission and departed Chiloe, fled Chiloe, and found himself on Equinox. He opened a bar after learning about the place for several months, working as muscle when he had to, at odd jobs when he didn’t (since he still required oxygen to breathe and food). The bar is called Marco’s Place, and while it’s not a large place (being only 10 square metres), he has a supplier from the Mediterranean Union who keeps him stocked as best he can with some of the Mediterranean Union’s better vintages. Marco tries to keep himself clean and out of the limelight, but there are times when a man has to resort to violence to keep the peace in his bar. But he’s also grown a bit restless, and is tired of hearing tales of derring-do and the like, and he remembers his days as a Red League guard when his life seemed to have a little bit more meaning.

And that’s the Character Generation process done for the character.

A few additional notes before the final game stats. First of all, each character gains their Native language, in this case Olakarian which is spoken in the Red League, at a level equal to 10 + Education/General Knowledge. In the case of Marco, he gains his Native tongue at 18. In addition, each character starts with their Knowledge of a nation/organisation (home community) at +3. In Marco’s case, this means he has the Knowledge of nation/organisation (Chiloe) at +3 on top of the +3 (costing him 4 points earlier).

Secundus, some Skills are designated as Natural Progression (NP) Skills that the character can naturally acquire, because he’s exposed to it every day. For each year spent in a given nation or organisation, the character gains 1 level in the appropriate Skill, up to +5 maximum Mastery Level. I decide that since Foreign Language (Neo-Azuran) is the most commonly spoken language, and that on Equinox it must be heard a lot, Marco gains three years worth of experience with it, and boosts his Mastery Level in it by +3. The same goes for the Hegemonic tongue, Foreign Language (Olosakian), and he increases that by +3 as well, and also gains +2 levels in Specialised Language (Solean).

Finally, in the Skill Listings below, Skills are shown as (Base Level + Mastery Level) Global Level. The Base Level is determined by the Natural Ability (N.A.) for each Skill, the Mastery Level is self-evident, and the Global Level is the sum of the two previous levels.

So when all is said and done, and the character is finished, we end up with the following:

Marco Callardin

ATTRIBUTES (6 CP)

Attributes   STR  CON  COO  ADA  PER  INT  WIL  PRE
Base          14   14   15   13   12   12   11   14
N.A.*          2    2    2    2    1    1    1    2

SECONDARY ATTRIBUTES

Luck  13				Reaction  12
Melee Damage Modifier  +2 		Damage Resistance  +2
Stun Threshold  13			Knockout Threshold  23

* Natural Ability

Prior Experience: Major City (Chiloe), Middle Class, Educated, Higher Education (Business/Management, -1 CP)

Savings: 9,300 Sols

Personal Gear: Computer (personal assistant, TN3/Gen3), Bat (Dicta), Dagger, Heavy pistol (with license), Molecular leather armour vest, forged documents (Level 2).

Relationships: (Militiaman:) Contacts 3, Allies 2, Opponents 2; (Bartender:) Contacts 2, Supplier 1.

Advantages/Disadvantages/Professional Advantages: Bar (10 pts., 10 metres2, Marco’s Place), Fame (Fame Level 6), Gear (30,000 Sols used), Inventory of Goods (foods/beverages on Levels 9 and 13 of Equinox, food/beverages on Level 13 of Equinox (warehouses) (good/mint condition).

Mutations: Reinforced Skin (3-point armour)

SKILLS

COMBAT (MELEE): Armed Combat (4+5) 9, Hand-to-Hand Combat (4+5) 9.

COMBAT (SHOOTING): Handguns (3+6) 9, Shoulder-Fired Weapons/Rifles (3+6) 9.

COMMUNICATION/SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS: Eloquence/Persuasion (3+3) 6, Intimidation (3+4) 7, Leadership (3+2) 5.

KNOWLEDGE: Bureaucracy (2+6) 8, Business/Trafficking (Foodstuffs) (3+5) 8, Education/General Knowledge (2+8) 10, Finding Information (2+3) 5, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Chiloe) (2+6) 8, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Coral Republic) (2+1) 3, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Equinox) (2+5) 7, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Hegemony) (2+5) 7, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Red League) (2+6) 8, Knowledge of a nation/organisation (Smugglers) (2+3) 5, Science/Specialised Knowledge (Administration/Management) (2-2) 0, Science/Specialised Knowledge (Biology/Physiology) (2+-1) 1, Science/Specialised Knowledge (Botany) (2+-2) 0.

LANGUAGES: Foreign Language (Isitacian) (2+3) 5, Foreign Language (Neo-Azuran) (2+2) 4, Foreign Language (Olosakian) (2+5) 7, Native Language (Olakarian) (Special) 18, Specialised Language (Solean) (2+2) 4.

PHYSICAL ABILITIES: Athletics (4+4) 8, Climbing (4+4) 8, Endurance (3+5) 8.

STEALTH/SUBTERFUGE: Disguise/Deception (4+2) 6, Stealth/Silent Movement (3+4) 7.

SURVIVAL/OUTSIDE: Knowledge of an Environment (Underwater cities and stations) (3+5) 8, Observation (2+6) 8, Orientation (3+4) 7.

TECHNIQUES: Computing (2+2) 4, First Aid (3+2) 5.

Whew! Well, that was quite long and definitely detailed, and shows folks how character creation works for the Polaris RPG (though it’s missing some of the fine steps and explanations, that I just didn’t have the energy to type in!).

This was the first character for the game that I created, and to be honest, in the original version of this character I fouled up some of the mechanics, and everything fell into place after talking with the lead writer of the game, Philippe Tessier. That said, the big mistake I made with Marco Callardin was to do him as a multi-Profession (Militiaman and Bartender) character. Having to roll under those Global Skill Levels on a D20, albeit with some modifiers, isn’t going to be easy. Still, I rather like him as characters go.

The Polaris RPG character generation system and game world does give for some interesting characters, and my three gaming groups and the players there are proving this in spades. Character generation in Polaris can definitely take a while, as there are some choices that need to be made in character creation that require information about the game world to be given to the player. If one has an idea of what one wants in the player character, the process can definitely take less time, but to be honest, this is a game system that is extremely fun to work with and gives an incredibly wide variation on characters.

Comments and feedback are welcome. 🙂

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