Sunday, February 10, 2019

Character Creation: Nemesis 382

I am, still, behind on my chargen posts. Been having problems working up the inspiration and the focus to do it, as I rather feel like I'm teetering on the edge of "fuck it" a lot more than is comfortable. Unlike the past year, though, "fuck it" feels less like "find a high structure and jump off" and more like "cut off all contact with anyone that I don't physically see on a regular basis, because the internet is dark and full of horrors."

(This is no one's fault, but it doesn't help that since G+ is going away, the traffic on my blog is dropping. It's not like there were ever a lot of comments anyway, but it does feel like I'm talking to myself. Which is fine, I'm not doing this for money or love, just for the hell of it, but still, it does contribute to the feelings of isolation.)

WOW TOO REAL. Anyway.

The Game: Nemesis 382: The Point of No Return
The Publisher: Pelgrane Press, as part of Seven Wonders
Degree of Familiarity: None, reading it now.
Books Required: Just the one.

Nemesis 382 is a game about exploring a black hole, but apart from that, it's meant to be hard sci-fi. First step is to set the tone, which for my purposes isn't really important, but the default is tension/horror and I'm fine with that.

Next step is to set the scene, but that would consist of the GM reading out a brief passage. The gist of it is: It's 2237, we've got FTL travel but for the average person, life isn't much different because space travel is hella expensive. We're on the cusp of a new frontier - traveling into a black hole to see what (if anything) is in there. The hole in question is Nemesis 372, a supermassive black hole. The ship is the Albert Einstein III.

So, my first actual step for character creation is my role on the ship. I don't think I want to be the captain. I like Corporate Sponsor, for some reason, and I also like the idea of playing a mechanic or maintenance tech (which are kinda opposite ends of the spectrum, as I think about it). I think I'll go the latter and play the ship's Mechanic.

Next question: Where is my character from? My character grew up in Germany, but his family is from Belarus. Figure that there has been plenty of conflict in that part of the world in the ensuing decades, and he and his family got forced out (and it's not like the US was accepting refugees).

Name and description. His name is Mikalaj Rusiecki, but folks on the AEIII call him Nico. He's in his late 40s, heavyset, bald, wears a short beard (once black, now grey). He likes to sing; most of the songs he knows are in German, but he knows a few in Belarusian. (He does speak Russian, but prefers not to.)

Why did you join the mission? Nico is a good mechanic and he knew the right people. He and his wife divorced a couple of years ago and he's estranged from his daughters, so he doesn't have a lot keeping him on Earth. He took the job because it's a job - it pays well and it'll be interesting, and his dad taught him that you don't turn down work.

What did you leave behind? Nico's left behind his family in a literal sense, and his country and culture in a more abstract one. He hasn't fully internalized that, in all probability, he's not coming back from this.

The only other thing left that I could do on my own is decide whether Nico really wants to go into the Black Hole or not. And I'm gonna say no, when it all comes down to it, he'd rather live on Earth and try and to fix things with his family, but that may not be in the cards.

The other part of chargen is deciding relationships with other characters, but since it's just me, that's me done.

Blue Rose: Shadows of Tanglewood

Some time back, we (by which I mean Michelle, Al, and my kiddos) made characters for Blue Rose. Last night we played the first session. But let me back up.

I wanted to run a game for my family; my son is able to focus enough now to play a session, and I definitely think my older kiddo needs the outlet (and I'm always happy to spend more time with both of them). But what to play! Cael doesn't like horror particularly, so I was leaning toward something more fantasy-driven, but the problem with that is that I don't tend to like fantasy, and we all know it's a terribly idea to run something you don't enjoy.

So we sat down and used the Spark method of picking a game. I've done this a couple of times; we all pick a piece of media that we like, explain why, and then try to find a game that hits the right notes or evokes some of the same feelings.

  • Cael chose Undertale, because he likes the idea of searching out hidden knowledge.
  • Kai chose the music of Samsa, because of the very pleasant, smooth, chill lyrics.
  • Michelle chose this trailer for John Wick: Parabellum. She likes the scene at the end where they fight alongside doggos.
  • Al chose Warcraft, for the stylized and unusual character presentation. 
  • And I chose Batman: Arkham City for the stealth and planning that goes into it (I've been replaying the campaign challenges of late). 
So with all of that, we wound up choosing three possibles. We considered Familiars of Terra (you've got animal companions, after all!) and Pugmire (doggos!), but in the end settled on Blue Rose. It just sounded interesting to everyone. 

So then we made characters:
  • Cael's character is Whirlpool, a sea-folk expert. Whirlpool is a treasure hunter, interested in finding relics of power and mystery. His Calling is meditation of extremes. His Destiny is Charismatic, and his Fate is Arbitrary. 
  • Kai's character is Arlen, a vata'sha adept. Arlen is from Rezea, and never really fit in. He's not much of a ride, preferring to draw, and he's a witch, touched by Selene. His Calling is protection of nature. His Destiny is Judicious, and his Fate is Jaded.
  • Al's character is Kisha Lost, a vata'an expert. Kisha is an escapee from Kern, heading south into Aldis. Her Calling is discovering and learning secrets. Her Destiny is Daring, and her Fate is Overzealous. 
  • Michelle's character is Dobbin, a human expert from Aldis. Dobbin travels with her little dog Pansy. Her Calling is atonement. Her Destiny is Patient, and her Fate is Cynical. 
These characters are all moving away from their homelands - Whirlpool is heading north along the Rose River, Arlen is heading east from Rezea, Dobbin got lost while wandering in the northern forests, and Kisha, as mentioned, is heading south from Kern. 

Whirlpool first meets Dobbin when he bursts forth from the Rose River, thinking that Dobbin was a threat, but immediately realizes she's a traveler, too, and tags along. Kisha meets Arlen as the latter is sitting on a boulder sketching, and they bond over shared (missing) heritage. The two pairs meet up in the woods and share shelter under a huge tree during a thunderstorm, and decide to stay together. Whirlpool is pretty convinced these folks are going to need a mediating influence at some point. During that night, Arlen sees the stars come out early, and takes this as a sign from Selene that something important is happening. Kisha wakes up and sees Arlen standing with a book in his hand staring at the others, and this makes her a little concerned. 

On this particular day, the characters are in the Pavin Weald, a stretch of woods in the northern part of Aldis near the Icebinder Mountains (this is a little closer to Kern than Kisha would like, so she'd probably like to turn south at some point). As they're walking, they feel a psychic contact begging for help. 

They follow it - they're all decent folks, after all - and they find Servat, a watch-tower station along the border. A quick search of the place reveals that it normally houses three people (a couple in one shelter and then one other person in a second), but no one's here now. There's no sign of a struggle, though, so it doesn't seem likely that the psychic contact they got was from here. 

Arlen notes a forest sprite following them, and talks to her gently. The sprite mentions that two of the people who live here - the two that sleep together - went off together some time back and she knows where they started. Arlen asks the sprite to show them, and the party starts tracking the trail into the Tanglewood. 

The Tanglewood is aptly named; it's full of brambles and thick brush, and the characters have trouble fighting through. They finally break into a clearing with a big, rotted fallen tree in the center...and Dobbin notes Pansy growling and raising her hackles. She calls a warning to the others, just as a pack of wolves breaks into the clearing. 

The wolves are night-black and their eyes gleam red; they're clearly influenced or corrupted by the Shadow. As if their general appearance weren't evidence enough, they immediately attack! 

Two of them jump Kisha, knocking her down and biting at her. Arlen runs over and smacks one into the woods, but another bites the adept and drags him back. Dobbin readies her bow and fires arrows at the wolves, while Whirlpool readies his trident and lays waste to the monsters. Arlen turns invisible and, hoping to give his companions an advantage, casts Plant Growth and causes part of the clearing to become just as overgrown and dense as the Tanglewood. This traps two of the wolves, but also Kisha. 

That makes the difference, though, and between Dobbin's arrows and Whirlpool's trident, they kill the unfortunate beasts. Arlen says a prayer for each wolf - he knows it isn't their fault. Whirlpool checks the area for relics or anything interesting that the wolves might have been guarding, but doesn't find anything. The party takes a breather and binds their wounds, and then sets off along the path, hoping to find the source of the distress call before nightfall. 

(NB: Shadows of Tanglewood is a sample adventure that appears in the Blue Rose book, but I liked it and it's easy to follow, so I'm using it as our jumping-off point.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Night's Black Agents: Chaos in the Underworld!

Over the weekend, we finally played Night's Black Agents (it had been a while). The agents scored a major victory. They are, perhaps, in the endgame now. We shall see.

Last time, the agents developed a projective model to figure out where Vilmos Hajnal might show up next. They narrowed it to Prague or Bratislava, and sent out feelers to await any word.

Parker returns from her trip to London, MacAteer continues to run tests on his blood. He discovers that if he introduces the serum that he created to his own blood, the cells mutate and explode, but if he introduces it to a sample of Parker or Hanover's blood, their blood becomes like his. This is...worrisome. He doesn't trust Carlsson (too paranoid) or Firinci (too new to this and too reactionary) with this information yet, though.

The data comes back - Prague is the most likely place. Firinci sends Berger on ahead to set up a safe house and scout a few things out, and then the agents do a little prep. They put their scientific samples and data, as well as personal effects and weapons, in stashes around Innsbruck, and shut down operations in their house. They argue a lot about the next step.

Hajnal is going to touch down at the airport in a flight on Rus-Bel air that probably contains a lot of his guys. Is it all his guys? They could RPG the plane as it lands, sure, but that would probably kill a lot of people, make for a lot of noise, and they couldn't be 100% sure that Hajnal wouldn't survive it. They ultimately agreed to have Firinci hack into the airport's systems and steer the plane to the runway they wanted, have Hanover and MacAteer in a baggage train to nail Hajnal with a dart, and then have Parker and Carlsson outside the airport in a field ready to snipe. The biggest hitch, here, of course, is getting out once the shit goes down.

The agents take their positions as the plane begins to land. Hajnal steps out onto the tarmac, and Hanover nails him with a dart (Shooting MOS). Hajnal yanks the dart out of his chest and collapses, and then starts to twitch. The folks around him start to go into crisis mode, but then Carlsson shoots him and folks scatter. Carlsson then shoots him twice more, and then hands the rifle over to Parker.

Hajnal, meanwhile, is shaking and convulsing, and then raises up a bit...just in time for Parker to shoot him in the back of the neck. He collapses, bleeding blue, and the agents bug out.

MacAteer and Hanover head towards the terminal in the baggage thing (which, unfortunately, Hajnal's guards have already noticed). They get out and split up, dipping into the crowd. Firinci, in the van, tries to put the airport's security systems into "AAAAAH" mode, but he's getting locked out, so he goes in and pulls the fire alarm instead. All of the agents fall back; Parker uses Preparedness to have a car stowed at this airport, and they all head back to Innsbruck rather than even bothering with their safe house here.

Which, as it turns out, is a good thing. As they're watching the coverage later ("Notorious Crimelord Assassinated at Prague Airport!") they discover that their safehouse exploded around the same time as their attack. No bodies were found, just one head...Lazlo Berger.

The agents have some questions, here. Who blew up the house? If the conspiracy knew about them, why didn't it stop their assault on Hajnal? The criminal underworld in Europe is in absolute chaos, so it doesn't look like they were decoyed, it looks like the really killed him.

In any case, by their calculations, that leaves only two known vampires - Ioan Koltay and Tesla himself. They have no idea where Tesla is, but they figure they can find Koltay easily enough. That's the next op.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Character Creation: Night Witches

Wanted to do a character in some way appropriate to the sub-sub-Arctic temps we have going on here, but I already did Ganakagok (a long time ago). But what's colder than Russia in WWII? Nothing, that's what.

The Game: Night Witches
The Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
Degree of Familiarity: I had the pleasure of playing this game at MidWinter, and I'm familiar with PbtA games in general.
Books Required: Just the one.

As usual for a PbtA game, this actually works better with a group, but since it's just me, I shall muddle through somehow. First step is to pick a Nature, which is based on a bird. I played a Hawk before; for this project I shall make an Owl.

Next up, I do Name. There's a handy list of suggestions present. I like "Dasha" (full name, Dariya Yegorova) just fine.

Look & Background. Sex is female, obvs. Uniform is tattered, body is fragile. Face is scarred. Home town is Vladivostok (so way the hell east).

Who does she write to back home? I'm gonna say her grandfather. She hasn't gotten a letter in a while and isn't sure if he's still alive, but she keeps writing.

I pick Rank. I don't see Dasha as having risen through ranks yet, so I'll say she's a sergeant.

Stats! I have Skill, Guts, Luck, and Medals, but I start with 0 in Medals no matter what. I can start with 0, 0, 1 or 2, 0, -1. Hmm. I see Dasha as cautious and observant, so I'll go 2 in Skill, 0 in Luck, -1 in Guts. She's great at wayfinding, not so great at leading attack runs.

Role. If Nature is race, this is class. Kinda. Really it's almost the other way around. Never mind, comparing everything to D&D is dumb and a problem in this hobby. Hmm. I'm torn between Adventurer (I can bring planes down well, which is to say, non-fatally) or Dreamer (if I share a premonition and it comes true, I advance). The latter seems more in character for Dasha.

I'm a newbie, so I don't start with Moves or Regard. Normally my fellow players would ask me questions to help flesh out the character, but it's just me, y'know. So I shall randomly pick a couple of questions to answer.

Why does the NKVD already have a file on you, and how did you get around that black mark to join the Regiment? Ooh, jeez. We'll say that Dasha was part of a gang back in Vladivostok, and they escalated from occasional thievery to moving explosives at one point. Something blew up in their faces, killed most of them, and scarred up Dasha's face. The NKVD investigated, and Dasha managed to convince them that she'd tipped them off in the first place (she didn't, but the girl who did is dead). They're probably still keeping an eye on her.

What job - pilot of navigator - would you prefer? Why? Dasha prefers to navigate. When push comes to shove, she's afraid she'll panic, but if she's navigating, she's not responsible for the plane actually doing plane-things.

And that's it, I think!


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Blades in the Dark: Behind the Masks

Last night was Blades in the Dark, wherein the characters managed to go from bad to worse to escaping by the skin of their collective teeth, and now Duskwall has changed forever.

Last time, the characters were in (or, in one case, on) the Whitecrown home of the Master Warden. Cage is climbing down the wall, slowly, avoiding falling into the North Hook Channel.

Meanwhile, the horror that Cage let out of a bag is beating its way into the basement. Copper, figuring she doesn't want to fight this thing, instead focuses on the dumbwaiter, lowering One-Eye and Siren down. She messes up, though, and the cable snaps, sending the dumbwaiter plummeting. Copper throws caution to the wind (that's gonna be a recurring theme, y'all) and jumps into the shaft to catch the thing, and manages to get everyone out without serious injury. They decamp from the dumbwaiter as the horror finishes smashing open the door. Siren shoots it, but it's too heavily armored to care.

One-Eye opens the lock of the door leading out of this room, and the three scoundrels dip through, Siren not quite managing to slam the door behind them. The crab-thing pushes its way through. Copper blocks the passage with a wine rack, but the thing starts smashing through.

Cage, meanwhile, continues his climb down, but slips and winds up hanging by his fingers, dangling a bit too far above the ground.

The three scoundrels in the basement charge up the stairs and emerge in the kitchen, finding a maid. She screams and One-Eye darts her, but the damage is done, people are coming. Copper, throwing caution to the wind (told ya) leaps out the window and lands like a boss. Siren follows, and lands like a sack of flour. One-Eye tries to follow, but gets hung up plucking up the nerve to jump and something yanks her back.

She turns to find two Wardens, one holding a sword and the other holding a small silver chain. The sword-wielding one orders her to stand down. She responds in characteristic form; she grabs a pot of boiling liquid off the stove and flings it at them. It doesn't do much but make them wince, but just then, Cage flips around and ends up hanging upside down looking in the window. He fires two pistols and hits them both, dropping (but not killing) them. One-Eye and Cage both flee, and all of the scoundrels head for their boat.

Reinforcements are coming in, both from the island and from the mainland. Copper and One-Eye make it to the boat, but Siren and Cage lag behind. Siren fires a volley at their pursuers to slow them, and Cage, throwing caution to the wind (must be catching), flings a small bomb. The scoundrels hear a boom and then the deathseeker bells ringing - Cage killed someone with that blast.

The crew gets on the boat and heads the hell out, but despite One-Eye's best efforts, they wind up with boats closing in (Bluecoats, and probably Wardens). One-Eye treats the book she found and the one that Cage found with an alchemical preparation to waterproof them, just in case everyone winds up in the drink. Siren, throwing caution to the wind (getting real windy up in here), taps her forehead and tries to awaken the presence of Kotar for help.

Kotar answers. A wave of demonic energy emerges and sinks all of the boats within a short radius...including the crew's. They wind up swimming for it. Cage, Siren, and Copper make it to shore in the Docks, but One-Eye washes away. The crew flees - this is too much heat, and they just have to take it on faith that One-Eye survived.

A couple of hours later, one of the Widdershins' fleet picks One-Eye out of the drink and brings her back to the hideout. They call for Grull, but while they wait, One-Eye and Cage try to decipher the book. They come to the conclusion that the one Cage found is the genuine one (it has Cage in it, and, as a bonus, Cage's father, whom Cage came to Duskwall to find or follow in the footsteps of). One-Eye also rigs up a quick facsimile of the machine the crew used to take a picture of a map (back here), and copies some of the book.

Grull shows up and tosses them some money to start things out. They haggle a bit, but Grull says that until he authenticates the book there's no further payment. One-Eye finally agrees, and Grull checks the book and then asks the crew what they want (in addition to the money, obvs).

Cage asks that his father be spared whatever horrible shit is coming to the Wardens. Siren asks that whoever Grull works for takes care of the boat that the crew accidentally sank. One-Eye says that whoever Grull works for, she wants in - Grull says he'll arrange a meeting. Copper wants to start up a gambling concern - goat-racing in the streets of Duskwall. Grull says he could be into that.

The crew also asks that Grull take care of the little "Spirit Wardens have put hits out on them" issue. He says he can, but that's going to take some time, so lay low. He gives them a lot of money and departs.

It takes some time, but things change. Some high-profile Warden vanish, but then things just more or less go back to normal (there's obviously been a shift in the Wardens' leadership, though). Nyelle, the spirit trafficker and occasionally recreational drug user that sometimes works with the crew, is arrested, transported out of Duskwall, and executed for perpetrating theft and mayhem on Whitecrown (this is what's known as a "frame up", and the crew is a little sad about that, but they see the utility). One-Eye is taken to meet the Star, the captain of a group called the Unseen. The Star tells her that they're considering her, but she needs to be able to follow instructions and not take things so personally (this is hard for One-Eye, not least because she's become paranoid following her near-death experience).

The crew moves up in the world; they're now Tier III, and able to handle some pretty impressive jobs. The Unseen are their patrons, which is going to embroil them ever further in Duskwall politics and the underworld.

We'll see where that goes.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Character Creation: Blue Rose AGE Edition

Last night, my kids, Michelle, and Al made characters for a Blue Rose game. I'll do a post about that on its own at some point here soon, but since I went through the chargen system with them last night, I figure that's an easy segue into doing it for the project today. So here we are!

The Game: Blue Rose AGE Edition
The Publisher: Green Ronin
Degree of Familiarity: Not a heck of a lot. I don't think I played the previous edition (I actually can't remember), and I know I haven't played this one.
Books Required: Just the one. It's pretty and huge.

I made a character for the previous edition of this game just over four years ago (good grief). I like this edition so much more already. Character creation is an easy ten-step process, and I have some ideas already. Here we go!

Step One, predictably, is concept. Blue Rose makes it clear up front that characters are starting, relatively unknown adventurers, so your concept needs to pay homage to the fact that your character is a) an adventurer and b) just starting out. Making expectations clear is the key to good game design!

I think I want to play a refugee from Kern. He and his family (night-people) had their village razed and burned by zealots, and they fled to Aldis. His father didn't survive the trip, but his papa did, and raised the boy as best he could by himself. He forbade my character from learning martial things, figuring that war and battle were just good ways to bring violence to everything around you, but my character was fascinated with weapons and fighting. Killing, maybe not as much, but still, he wanted to be a warrior.

That's a good start, I think. Next, Step Two, is Abilities. I roll 3d6 nine times, and the default is to assign the bonuses to my nine Abilities in order and then swap any two, but I think I shall do what I let the players do last night and just assign them where they should go. My results are: 3, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 0, 3, 2. Wow, that's pretty damn good.

Well, I'll put my 3s into Fighting and Accuracy, since that's where the combat stuff lives. I'll put the 0 into Willpower, the 1 into Intelligence, and everything else gets a 2.

Step Three is race; I already know I want to be a night-person. That means I get +1 Strength (which puts it to 3). I can take a focus in Constitution (Stamina) or Strength (Might). I think I'll take the latter; he works out. I get Dark Sight to 30 yards, but bright light blinds me for a turn. Speed is 12, but I might have an armor penalty later. And then I get to roll twice on the Night Person Benefit chart. I get Weapon Group: Bludgeons and a Dexterity Focus in Stealth.

Step Four is Background, which is basically "where ya from?" My character is originally from Kern, but he grew up in Aldis, so I'll take Aldin. I choose a focus, and I think I'll take Artisan. I speak Aldin and Faento.

Step Five is class; I already know I want to be a warrior. Starting with the easy stuff, my Health is 30 plus my Constitution (2) plus a d6 (6!), 38. I get the Brawling Weapon Group, and I already have Bludgeon, so I'll take Axes, Bows, and Heavy Blades.

And then I get two Talents from a list. Hmm. Oh, wait, I get Armor Training, too. Cool. I'll take Weapon & Shield Style; seems nicely basic. I'll take Two-Handed Style, too, so I'm trained in larger weapons.

Step Six is equipment, and holy shit, I love the way this game handles this. Check it: I get three weapons to start ('cause I'm a warrior) from groups in which I'm trained. I'll take a great axe, a flail, and a short bow for huntin'. I get any armor I'm trained in (Light or Medium), so we'll say he wears his dad's old armor (it fits, mostly). It's thick hide with metal plating in strategic places. Oh, and I'm sure I have a light shield, too. Maybe he made it himself.

Other equipment? Basically, if it makes sense, I have it. Love it.

Step Seven is Defense, which is 10 + Dexterity + Shield, or 13.

Step Eight is name! There's no info on naming conventions in the book, at least not that I can find. The names that do exist seem pretty standard fantasy fare. Night People are depicted as having large fangs jutting up from their lower jaws, which would screw with certain sounds (like, you're not making bilabial sounds real easily, nor are you doing anything that requires you to purse your lips), but alveolar sounds are intact, so let's say his name is Sjedet.

Step Nine is Goals and Persona, and this is awesome because it involves a Tarot deck. First thing we do is find a Calling. This is the role in the story of life. I'll draw for it, but if I hate it I'll redraw. The Fool! That means my Calling is "adventure and excitement." Well, shit yeah.

Destiny and Fate are opposing forces; basically you can live up to your Destiny or succumb to your Fate. Same rules; draw and keep it unless I hate it. I get Open-Minded and Peevish. I can roll with that, I think.

And then Goals. My short-term goal is Vanquish a fearsome opponent. My long-term goal is Win Papa's respect. Sjedet really wants his Papa to recognize his talents as a warrior, rather than seeing him as a brute. There's a lot of cultural stuff in here, though - night people kinda have a bad rep as brutes, and Papa might see Sjedet as living down to that.

Anyway! If I wanted to I could establish Relationships; clearly I've got one with Papa, but I think I'm good.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Character Creation: AMP Year One

First character of the new year, and only...19 days in. Welp.

My goal for this year is 60 characters (I did 53 in 2018, which beats my goal by 1). I'm not off to a promising start, here, but this being a long weekend I can at least get caught up to one-a-week, and then maybe I can get ahead over spring break (or over snow days, if this weather continues).

The Game: AMP Year One
The Publisher: Third Eye Games
Degree of Familiarity: None, really, which is odd. I need to try and play this at some point.
Books Required: Just the one.

So, AMP takes place in a world (IN A WORLD WHERE...) where people are beginning to develop superpowers and go do super-stuff. There's a lot of government involvement and conspiracy; all the supers ("AMPs", for Accelerated Mutant Potential) are what the Marvel universe would consider "mutants."

The setting reminds me more than a little of Aberrant, though while that game tried to go satirical and focus on fame culture as much as super-hero tropes, AMP seems to play things a little straighter. Character creation looks a lot like what we've seen from other Third Eye games (Sins of the Father aside); we've got splats and a mostly point-based character build. Suits me.

Chargen is a five-step process, beginning, as is often the case, with Step One: Concept (but also including some other things that are all concept-adjacent). As is often the case for me, I shall start with a theme song.

I haven't made a ice-controller, and this is a song I enjoy, particularly the line "If I freeze, I can't decay." Suggests to me someone who shuts off his emotions because of past trauma, and maybe his powers tie into that. There is plenty of AMP-related stuff in the setting to cause trauma, so I think I'll go the Jessica Jones route and say that his parents and younger brothers were killed in collateral damage during the Battle of Reno. My character, Brett Voss, lost everything at 17 and became an "adult" five months later.

Brett is thin, but filling out. He buzzes his hair because he hates the smell of barbershops. He wears t-shirts and jeans, and cleans up nicely, but doesn't shave his face often. Brett has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, but he doesn't lash out of act angry, he just shuts himself off. That's going to become bad at some point.

Loyalties! There are actually more like ideals (Justice, Family, Self) than loyalties, I think, but whatevs. I get 10 points, and I can go 0 to 5 on these. Let's see. I think I'll Truth 3, Self 3, Perfection 3, and Humanity 1. He's still got some love left for humanity, it's just weak.

And then I choose Affiliation. Oh, this is interesting. AMPs have a natural instinct to fight each other, so the game actually bakes superheroes' tendency to kick the snot out of one another into the setting. If I join Seekers of Enlightenment, I get a bonus to resist that. It's either that or unaffiliated, and I can totally see Doctor Luminous deciding to recruit this kid before, say, UHF did.

Step Two: Skills. 35 points here. The book recommends that if we're making inexperienced characters to cap skills at 5 (Expert), but they go as high as 10. I'll try and keep everything under 6, then, but if I think Brett would have something higher I'll make break that rule.

Oh, and there's a handy chart for the skills, and they're listed on the character sheet. Hallelujah.

Well, I think Athletics is appropriate, so I'll dump 5 into that. Deception, sure, 2 points. Discipline, holy shit, yes. I'll start with 5, but that's one I might boost. Fighting, 2. Fortitude, 4. 18 spent so far, 17 to go.

Intimidation makes sense, so I'll put 3 there. 2 into Intuition. Perception is always a good choice, 3 points. 9 points left. I'll put 3 into Speed, 3 into Stealth, 1 into Technology, and the remaining 2 into Discipline. Done!

Step Three: The Fun Shit. Powerz n' so on. First up I pick a Strain, which is kinda my inborn splat. I think Brett is pretty clearly...well, I was gonna say Shaper, but it looks like most of the Cold stuff is bound up under Blaster. Hang on. Yeah, looks like if I want ice powers I'm a Blaster, but I can take secondary and tertiary powers outside my Strain. Cool. OK, for my Primary power I want Flux; if I take the right Augments, I can do the Iceman thing where I cover myself in ice. I'll put 3 points there for now. Oh, wait, I get Augments at even levels, so maybe I should bump up to 4. I kinda wanted to take more powers, though. Can I do that? I can by taking Drawbacks. Groovy. OK, I'll dump 4 points into Flux, and that gives me two Augments. I'll take Ice Form (the aforementioned Iceman effect) and Energy Effect.

Two more points. I'll take, as my secondary power, Heartstrings, which lets me manipulate emotions. I'm putting two points there, because I want the Apathy Augment, which lets me shut off emotions I don't want in myself.

No tertiary power, at least not yet.

Step Four: Bonus Points. This is the standard Merits/Flaws, Ads/Disads, Edges/Drawbacks kind of thing. I get 12 points to throw around, and I can of course take Drawbacks to get more.

Well, right off, I want to spend 3 to buy a level of Bolt as a Tertiary power. Actually I want 2 levels, because I want the Encase Augment. I think that's legal, I just can't have a secondary power higher than my tertiary. Lemme check. Yeah, seems fine if they're equal. So I spend 6 to buy Bolt 2.

I use Marksmanship to use Bolt, so I better, uh, buy some. Skills are 1 each, that's handy. I'll buy Marksmanship up to 3, and spend a fourth point to buy a Specialty in Bolts. I've spend 10 of my 12. Lemme check for Drawbacks I might like. I'll take Shy - Brett isn't actually shy, but the effect is much the same. I also want Limitation for Heartstrings - Brett can remove emotions, but not cause them. That seems pretty severe to me, so I'll call it a 5-pointer. That gives me 8 more. I'll spend 3 and buy up Flux to 5. I'll buy Empathy 2 for 2 points. 5 points left.

I'll take Pain Resistant at 4, and with my last point, I'll take one point of Untraceable.

And, finally, Step Five: Derived Shit. Integrity is how much wear and tear you can take; it starts at Fortitude + 10, or 14 in my case. Juice is 10 to start. Base Movement is 13, top speed is 195, etc. There's no formula in this section for some of the stuff on the sheet. I'm sure it's in the book somewhere, though. Oh, wait, it's all on the character sheet, glorious.

I think that's about it! Oh, other than a handle Brett calls himself Rime when he's doing super-stuff. His costume, such as it is, is a constantly-refreshing coating of ice and mist. It obscures his face because it pours out of his mouth and eyes, and he crackles a little when he moves. I think he'd be fun to play.