Sunday, June 9, 2013

Character Creation: hollowpoint

I do love the little indie games that only do one thing, but they support that one thing mechanically and make it all about that. (I also enjoy more traditional RPGs that do lots of things. Turn, turn turn.)


The Game: hollowpoint
The Publisher: VSCA
Degree of Familiarity: None.
Books Required: Just the one.

I haven't played hollowpoint, though it looks pretty cool. It's basically playing members of the shadowy agency, shooting lots of bullets - high action, high lethality, kinda Tarantino-esque. I can get behind that. Now, the first step in all this is generally to create the Agency - figure out who we work for, why we do what we do and generally what the parameters are (they give reference examples from James Bond, 100 Bullets and G.I. Joe), but honestly I think I can skip that for my purposes. Let's just assume Agency, shadowy governmental or quasi-governmental folks who do bad things what need doin'.

Step One: Rank. I start out at "Agent," so that's easy.

Step Two: Skills. There are six Skills (a game that used supernatural elements, f'rex, might add more, but six basics), and I get 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and 0 to put into them.

I find it useful to think about where my character is weak. So where do I put my zero? I think I'll put it into Terror. My character is just not a scary guy. He's skinny, and kind of frail-looking.

So, likewise, I think Con isn't his strong point. I'll put his 1 there, and his 2 into Take.

Now we're into the competent bits, and I've got Kill, Dig and Cool remaining. I'll put 3 into Cool - he can remain stony under fire. I'll put 4 into Kill, and 5 into Dig. If he wants to know about you, he knows.

Step Three: Name. It's not a real name, anyway, the book assures us. My character's name is Gillette (his first assignment, he had to generate an alias on the fly, panicked, glanced over at a TV playing a razor blade ad and, well, here we are).

I take a little time to flesh out a description, here, too. Gillette is only 5'6''. He's fairly well filled-out, but he's not muscular. He wears his black suit well, but he'll never look as cool as some of the other agents. But that's OK - his kind of cool is more the avuncular, knowledgeable, patient kind. He isn't the sort of agent to engage in acrobatic firefights. He's more the sort to make you realize you've fought your way to a room that's now locked and filling with nerve gas.

Step Four: Traits. Traits are kinda like aspects, they're material things or scars or just things about your character that you can burn to get bonuses. If it's a material thing, it's destroyed when you use it. If it's a scar or whatever, you just don't tell the story again.

The book gives a few different ways to generate them, but the one that works best for my purposes is by Q&A. So.

1) You wear a black suit over a clean white shirt and skinny black tie. No hat and well groomed. Nothing to make you stand out except for a gold wedding band, worn on the right hand. (Gillette was engaged once, but never married. He wears the ring on his right hand because of that.)

2) You don't have a lot of scruples, but you would never kill medical first responders. (Cops are one thing; they're corrupt as hell. EMTs, though, they don't deserve to be collateral damage.)

3) That one time in Utah you took a souvenir, it was a deck of cards with the Mormon Tabernacle on it. (Gillette likes the irony of gambling with Mormon cards.)

4) This is a hard job, but you love it because you get to watch people. (Gillette is a total voyeur.)

5) You're a pro and you know you're a pro because you always clean up after yourself. (If your picture winds up on the news, you did it wrong. In Gillette's case, it's more making sure his investigation doesn't get traced back to him.)

Step Five: Complications. Having a Complication is optional, but c'mon. I'd totally take one, but they have to relate to the mission at hand and I don't have a mission. So actually that puts me done.