Thursday, July 9, 2015

Character Creation: One Shot (Also, Why I Chargen)

So, back when I started this project, I was doing a character a day. That was in June 2008 (yep, seven years!), and that was the month Cael was born. It was also the year I graduated from grad school, meaning it was the first year I worked at Gallagher. Work from White Wolf was in something of a dry spell; I was working, but it didn't have nearly the pace or load of my current work. And of course, curse the darkness was but a twinkle in my brain, so no Growling Door stuff.

Over the years, I've gone through various degrees of productivity with this project. The people that started it with me back in the day (+John Kennedy+Stew Wilson+Mark Stone) have all let it lapse. BUT NOT ME.

I'll never finish. But this chargen project does a couple of important things.

One, it keeps me aware of my biases. I get trends in the characters I'm making, and that shows me where my brain is. Two, it makes me do research. I don't really know shit about shit, but a few minutes on Wiki and I can bluff it, and that's useful to me as a GM and a writer. Three, it keeps me reading games. I can't tell you how many people I see who have never played anything but d20/GURPS/Fate/WoD, and man, broaden your goddamn horizons. A friend of mine started a thread on saying that his group wanted to play Night's Black Agents, but that they refuse to learn any new systems so he wanted advice on converting it into (hurl) Spycraft 2.0. I couldn't post my response, which was "don't."

Anyway! Yesterday I told +Michelle to say "stop" at a random point while I ran my hand over one of my bookshelves, and we stopped on...

The Game: One Shot
The Publisher: Sand & Steam, now reborn as Exploding Rogue
Degree of Familiarity: None.
Books Required: Just the one.

One Shot is a game designed for two people, a player and a GM. That's a style of gaming that I very much see the need for, but that I personally don't have much use for. I feel weird roleplaying with just one person; I've done it, but usually in the context of a Seeking for Mage: The Ascension or something similar.

One Shot asks you to create a Shooter, a person who has been wronged and has been given the opportunity by the otherworldly Forces to right that wrong by shooting someone. It's a story of revenge and blind rage, and it's a really cool, simple, idea. I think it works perfectly with the notion of a single player and a GM. Again, not my thing, but this expression of it is a great idea.

The implementation, to my mind, is a little lacking. The book is all of 22 pages (6x9). It doesn't include an example of play, and while there is a fiction example running through the book that's pretty nice, I don't come away with a solid idea of how the game would run. The GM (or "Forces") gets very generalized advice, mostly "put obstacles in the Shooter's way" and "relationships are important," but there's very little concrete instruction on how any of that should look in play at a table.

With that in mind, I think the idea of putting a group of Shooters together (having already fulfilled their obligation to the Forces) and having the Forces use them as a kind of hollowpoint-esque strike team would be pretty badass. Great, like I need another game idea.

Anyway, character creation is simple (has to be, game's only 20 pages long). We start with Name, which is usually where I end, but I'm good either way. My guy's name is John Blaisdale, aka "Blaze." Blaze is a former MMA fighter, so that can be his Expertise. He's studied jiu jitsu, Krav Maga, karate, and whatever else would look cool. I get a +2 whenever my Expertise applies.

I get three Tags, which are little details and aspects about the character. They can apply positive or negatively. Blaze is Inked (lots of tats, which I promise won't become a theme); Hot-Tempered, and Quick.

Now I get three Relationships. These are supposed to be relationships that stand in the way of Blaze getting his revenge. Well, shit, let's make this hard. First up is his daughter Amethyst "Amy" Blaisdale. Amy lives with her mother most of the year, but was staying with Dad when it happened (what happened? I'll get to that). She's 12.

Next, Rodrigo Montes, his trainer and manager. Rodrigo is half-Brazilian, and was a contender himself until his knee got broken in a car accident. He took Blaze on as a pupil.

Finally, Dr. Christie Mayer. Christie lost her license a few years back after she got caught selling prescription pads, but does underground work for fighters and gangsters and so on. She and Blaze had an affair, and that was what ended his marriage.

Now the Target. Who is Blaze gonna kill? Hmm. The obvious choice would be, like, a drug dealer or a rival fighter or something. But I keep thinking, what if this were a movie? I'd want to see Blaze beat ass before he gets to the Big Bad, and the final fight with said Big Bad could either be a final fight with some serious bone crunching, or it could be a Kill Bill-esque conversation-followed-by-one-strike. So I'm gonna say my Target is a fight promoter. Her name is Glasia "Glacier" Erlington. She was a fighter herself, and retired before she got her brain knocked loose to become a fight promoter and arranger. She was called "Glacier" partially as a play on her name, but also because she was slow and patient in the ring, but solid and strong like whoa.

She tried to recruit Blaze, and she wasn't nice about it. Blaze refused; he liked his arrangement with Montes and he was thinking about getting out anyway. She got insistent and talked some shit about his daughter, and Blaze (hot-tempered as always) got in her face. Her boys grabbed him and threw him out a window into a dumpster.

(And now Background, but I'm already rolling, here.)

Blaze woke up on Dr. Christie's table. His legs were broken, so were his wrists. But then a man walked in the door with pretty blue eyes and a bullet, and offered Blaze the deal - take the bullet, be healed, and kill Glacia Erlington.

Glacia is behind a phalanx of experienced fighters. Blaze doesn't care. He's got one bullet in a revolver, and that's the only shot he's going to take.

Of course, Christie thinks he's nuts. Montes wants him to go to the police. And his daughter just wants him to come home.