Saturday, March 29, 2008

[SotC] Ambrose Goodfellow: The Critic of Crime

I am hugely excited about Spirit of the Century, a pulp adventure roleplaying game based on the deeply brilliant Fate system. I still haven't gotten a chance to play the game yet, but, by God, it looks like fun. I'm hoping to it for my Tuesday night crew (shout out to Brigid!), eventually.

Anyway, one of the really cool things about this system is that even the character creation is an extremely fun, fast-moving creative exercise. The centerpiece of any character is a list of ten "Aspects", traits created by the player which describe the character's identity, background, personality, possessions, mottos--everything that defines the character's nature and shtick beyond the usual mechanical skill rankings and such. But these Aspects do actually have mechanical weight! They can both help and hinder a character whenever they might logically apply to a situation.

If you've got an Aspect along the lines of "lives in the woods", then you can use it for a bonus when attempting to do things like follow tracks, identify mushrooms, hide in foliage, or anything else you might reasonably apply it to. The main limitation is that you've gotta spent a "Fate Point" to use an Aspect. And where it gets completely brilliant is the way you get Fate Points: by letting your Aspects be used against you. So when your backwoods hermit is in the big city and interacting with big city people, the GM can offer you a Fate Point to do or say something inappropriate. And you can refuse . . . but only if you spent a Fate Point instead of taking one.

Anyway, it looks like a huge amount of fun, and I'm jonesing for it so badly that I'm making characters I'll probably never do anything with. Here's my latest, a guy who's kinda supposed to be a pistol-packing, mystery-solving, slightly Oscar Wilde-ish art critic.

Ambrose Goodfellow
The Critic of Crime

• "Dead men tell tales."
• dressed fashionably and impeccably
• friends in low places
• lust for secrets
• magnificent bastard
• notorious indiscretions
• pearl-handled revolver
• rapier wit
• sexual invert
• too famous for prison

+5 - Art
+4 - Empathy
+4 - Investigation
+3 - Guns
+3 - Rapport
+3 - Resolve
+2 - Contacting
+2 - Deceit
+2 - Academics
+2 - Resources
+1 - Alertness
+1 - Athletics
+1 - Drive
+1 - Intimidation
+1 - Stealth

• The Artist's Eye (This allows him to guess personal things about someone by examining their creative works.)
• Five Minute Friends (He can make friends very quickly.)
• Razor Tongue (He can craft the perfect insult to enrage or manipulate someone.)
• Poison Words (His insults can sway the opinion of a whole crowd against a person.)
• Quick Eye (He can quickly scan a scene for clues.)


Whirly / R00kie said...

We've been through character generation a lot. In fact my group have generated a lot of characters because its almost become a party game. We generally don't bother with skills or stunts.

I think it stems from the way I ran my first character gen session. There was some discussion during stages ones and two, but when we got to stage three (the stories) I got everyone to write their stories on index cards.

We then passed those cards to the left and got the next person to add their guest staring role. The fact that each person had to add themselves into the existing story ment we had instant conversations - each person trying to find an individual role for themselves which worked within the original players vision.

Then the final phase was the brilliant as we ended up with groups trying to work a third character into the story. At this point all the stories seemed to morph a little, as they were re-written to turn them into something concrete, plausibe and fun, which involved all three characters. Because by this point all the players were involved in three different stories, and had interacted with four other characters in some way it quickly developed into a set of group discussions out of which we got six great stories.

By this point the cards were a mess of changes, additions and adjustments so we re-wrote them as completed stories. Possibly longer stories than the game designers originally intended. Then quite a few players changed their aspects based on the new reformed stories.

After that we found picking skills and stunts a bit of an anti-climax.

As a result of this first fun character gen session we've actually used character gen for SotC as a fun thing to do if our weekly game falls through. It does mean a lot of the characters will never get played, but its a lot of fun.

Matt Sheridan said...

Hell, making characters that'll never get used is a good summary of my whole RPG history.

But, yeah, I'm not surprised the novels and the aspects are the star of the show in SotC character creation. It really looks like a hell of an awesome time, and I've gotta drag my group into try it, regardless of what we're actually going to be playing.

Skills don't really seem so bad. They're not as exciting as aspects, but at least they're easy to choose. It's stunts that seem like kind of a pain in the ass. I can see why some people houserule them out.

Still, I'd like to try a game where players are allowed to make up new stunts the same way they can aspects. Might be workable, with the right guidelines.