Sunday, September 20, 2015

Character Creation: Starchildren

Well, since we watched Labyrinth the other night, and got to see David Bowie as the Codpiece King, it seems fitting I should finally get around to make this character today.

The Game: Starchildren: The Velvet Generation
The Publisher: XIG Games
Degree of Familiarity: None, really. I've read it.
Books Required: Just the one.

So, Starchildren is a game in which rock n' roll was outlawed; people need permits just to own instruments and play music. This is about the time that the Starchildren - aliens who were sent to Earth because we know how to rock - arrived, to find out that we'd pissed away all our rockin' proclivities to be boring. So you're trying to become famous, subvert the Man, fun stuff like that.

The first thing I'm asked to choose is Descent, which is basically "am I a Starchild or an earthling?" Well, gee, that's not a tough choice.

Next I choose Backgrounds. They're basically packages for Skills (much like in Night's Black Agents). I get three, because I haven't been on Earth all that long. Guess I should think about concept a little. I find it a little sad that "DJ" isn't on the list of Backgrounds, 'cause I could totally play a Jam Master Jay kind of character. Hmm. There's plenty of room for other Skills, though...

Well, let's assume "Turntables" would be a Skill in the same vein as Keyboards, meaning it would key off of Speed. I'll build my own damn Background, with blackjack, and hookers. Backgrounds have five Skills attached, so my DJ Background will have:


Sounds good. I get two more Backgrounds. I want my guy to be pretty tech savvy, so as to be able to drop the bass at maximum efficiency. I'll take Technician. And then...hmm. I'd love the free skills that Freelancer would give me, but I like the idea that this guy is the frontman of the band, even if he rarely says anything; he writes the lyrics, he rigs the light show, he produces the sounds. Yeah, I think I'll take Frontman.

For each Background, I get five Skills: One at 9, two at 7 and two at 5. So between my three Backgrounds, I get a bunch of Skills, a few of which come up twice. If I double up on a Skill, it goes up one rank (5 to 6). I can also save points to take Edges later, or to take Mojos (alien magic), and I know I want some of that.

Well, obviously Turntables is a 9. I'll put another 9 into Computer (from Technician) and another into Lyrics (from Frontman). For my six 7s, I'll put them into Vocals, Impress, Compose, and Repair, and save two for later. For my six 5s, I'll put them into Fashion, Drive, and Knowledge, and put two of the remaining ones into Impress and Repair (knocking them up to 8). That leaves me with two 7s and one 5 to spend on Edges.

Now we do Attributes. There are eight of them, and I get Jack,10, 8, 7, 7, 7, 6, 5 to assign to them (this game uses cards).

Well, I guess the immediate question is where I want to put my low score. I think I'll put it in Body. I'll put the six into Agility; this guy is dexterous, but not graceful. I'll put my 7s into Appearance (he's homely for a Starchild), Wit and Will. That leaves 8, 10, and Jack. Hmm. I'll put the 8 into Speed, the 10 into Presence, and the Jack into Perception; hopefully that all combines to make a DJ who can scratch a record and mix in a sample in lightning-quick real time.

Now, some secondary traits. I get three action cards, which I'd get from the Man (assigned, not drawn), so I'll skip that. My Walk is 4, and my Run is 8. I get some Damage Thresholds, too, but I don't know what they mean, really, so I just write them down and move on with my life.

OK, finally, Edges and Flaws. They work like in any other game; I take Flaws, I get more points to spend. Let's see, now. I'll take Usual Suspect; my guy has a criminal record (making music is a crime, after all), and he's not shy about his beliefs. I'll take Obvious for the same reason. Finally, I'll take Vice at 5. Starchildren react in weird ways to human drugs, and my character has a fondness - but not an outright addiction - to something mind-altering. Some future mild hallucinogen, I think.

Well, that gives me four 7s and two 5s to buy Edges and so on with. First thing, though, I want Mojo. I'll take Sparkle, which allows me to see into non-visible spectra of light, and to create dazzling light if I need to. I'll put that at 7. I think I do want Alertness, too, so I'll put a 7 there.

OK, two 7s and two 5s left. Let's look at Edges. Oh, hang on, maybe I should take one combat skill? Fine, I'll put a 5 in Shoot.

Now, Edges. I guess I better take Contraband so I can have my turntables. I'll put a 7 and both my 5s there, so I can have a sweet (and rare) setup. That leaves me one 7. I'll put it in Fans. My guy has a following.

Next thing would be shopping, but you know I hate that, so I'm gonna skip it. A bit of history, though. My character joined the rock scene, but had a fondness of technology and computers, and for the written and spoken word. Joining those proclivities, he became a mixer and a DJ, and joined a band that was lacking some oomph. The reviews the next day (in the, like, underground newspapers?) were that the band "brought the walls down like Jericho." My alien DJ liked that, so he calls himself Jericho. The rest of that band got arrested, incidentally, and he doesn't know what happened to them.

Jericho is lean and wispy, like most Starchildren. He dresses in heavy clothes and isn't as flashy as a lot of his ilk, until the party gets going and he takes off the hoodie to reveal the colorful tattoos over his arms and chest. His hair changes color depending on the day, but it always has some blue in it. He wears a Hulk t-shirt a lot of the time.