Saturday, May 14, 2016

Character Creation: A Dirty World

I wrote 3000 words of Changeling today, I can take a little time to make a character.

The Game: A Dirty World
The Publisher: Originally Cubicle 7, but now it seems to be available directly from the author, +Greg Stolze
Degree of Familiarity: None with the game as such, but I'm very familiar with the subject matter and I ran Better Angels, which uses essentially the same system.
Books Required: Just the one.

A Dirty World is a film noir RPG, full of gumshoes and PIs and snitches and femmes fatales and so on. I'm a big fan of noir. I'm not as big a fan of this iteration of the One Roll Engine; again, it's basically the same as Better Angels, in that your traits are personality and moralistic measures rather than the game being a physics emulator. I think, though, that it seems more intuitive here. In any case, the game is short and really easy to follow, so that's nice.

So! Character creation is pretty simple. You get 40 points to build the character; Identities, which are the more important, controlling traits cost 3, while Qualities, which are more specific, cost one. You get a Profession, and if you want to spend points on a Specialties, you can (but they're not really necessary and there's not even a slot for them on the character sheet).

Since I don't really have a concept in mind, I think I'll jump ahead to Profession to get me started. Professions don't have much in the way of mechanical effect, except that they allow a link between two Qualities. Normally, when you take "damage" you slide dots between two linked traits; if you get hurt in a fight, f'rex, you might slide a point of Courage into Wrath. If someone seduces you, you might have to slide Purity to Corruption. At the end of a scene, you can slide a trait how you wish. Profession links two traits that aren't on the same continuum; an Academic, for instance, can slide between Generosity and Determination.

Looking over the profession, I note that the Ingenue mentions that although cinematic examples are typically female, nothing says that these characters can't be men. And having been watching season two of Arrow (which has some noir elements, if you squint), I'm interested in playing a man who's pure of heart, but really in over his head and hasn't figured it out yet.

So: Clarence William Feldman III is the son of (duh) Clarence William Feldman II, the mayor of the city. Daddy Clarence got elected in lightning-in-a-bottle circumstances; he was a war hero with an impeccable record, he returned from war and joined the police force, and he was promoted up the ranks until, as a captain, he oversaw a major bust of organized crime that saw the former mayor indicted and jailed. Feldman ran for office off that momentum, and became the first honest politician in the city's history. His son, whom he'd dutifully shielded from the ugly parts of his job, enjoyed the fruits of all that work, and wound up well-educated, handsome, and the toast of the town.

But Clarence is about to get into trouble...and if I were going to play him, that'd be the GM's job to hook me, but my immediate preference would be a woman giving Clarence a sob story and leading him into a web of lies and murder. I think it would also be a lot of fun for him to discover that dear ol' Dad broke a few eggs making omelets for the whole city.

Anyway! Good enough for me to start on points. Ingenue, incidentally, lets me slide Purity to Honesty, which is pretty much perfect.

So, to start off, I get a free point in Vigor. I apparently need at least one point in all of the Identities, but not necessarily the Qualities. Putting 1 in every Identity (except Vigor, which has one) would cost me 15, leaving me 25 points (which makes me wonder why you just don't start with one in each Identity and 25 points, rather than 40 overall, but whatevs).

Well, I know I want to bump up Patience, Grace, and Understanding to 2. That eats 9 points, so I'm at 16. I'll put two into Generosity (money and means, man), two into Purity, and three into Honesty. That's 9 remaining. I guess I should put one into Deceit (he's not a total naif), and I'll put one more into Vigor (5 left), two into Courage, two into Endurance, and the last one into Demonstration.

Oh, I forgot, I get a secret. It's minor by default (embarrassing, but not life-altering), but if I make it more serious I get another point to throw around. Hmm. You know, I'm tempted to make him gay. I mean, if we're playing this game period (in the 40s or 50s), that'd be enough to screw with Dad's career. Actually, hell, let's make him bi, because that way the "lured into trouble by a woman with a story" still works as intended. I'll put that extra point into Observation.

And that's me done, actually (told you this was easy).