Well, I had a four-week lead on my "once a week" resolution, and then foolishly squandered it...seeing movies? Gaming? I guess not all that foolish. Anyway, to maintain my pace I must make a character today, so let's do this!
The Game: Gaslight
The Publisher: Battlefield Press
Degree of Familiarity: None.
Books Required: Seems to be just the one.
This is an OGL book, which means it's (ugh) d20 system, which is not my favorite thing in the world. There's also a Savage Worlds version, but that's not the one that came in the bundle I bought (couldn't tell ya which bundle, it's been too long).
First thing we're met with (after the massive table of contents) is This is a Roleplaying Game. You don't say.
And then we get a list of potential concepts, one of which is "a theatrical star thrust into a real-life role as a hero." I kinda like that, actually. Let's see if it'll work as a character.
Well, first we get an explanation of all of the stats and the basic rules; it's pretty standard d20 stuff. And then we get a discussion of what "Victorian" means, both in terms of to this game and what's going on in the world. It's pretty accessible, actually, so thumbs up for that.
Wait, there's a secret society called the Culto de Ostras Azulos. C'mon, now.
Anyway, time to generate ability scores. I think I'll do it randomly, why not. 15, 16, 14, 15, 11, 11. Not shabby.
Gotta look at Occupations, which are later in the chapter. On the way I look at races; I think I want to be human. I note with some eye-rolling that "basic human language" is English.
Talent Trees. Hmm. I can take some of these, but taking them means giving up feats. I think I might want Legendary Beauty, though. I'll come back to it.
A million pages later, I hit Occupations, finally. My starting occupation is Artist (actor), so there's that. I get 4 skills (chosen from a set that includes Deception twice, for some reason) as permanent class skills, so I pick Deception, Notice, Perform (Act) and Perform (Dance). I also get +1 Reputation Bonus, so that's nice.
Now, because this is a d20 game and they approach game design innovation like I would approach a grumpy skunk (carefully and with my hand over face), I must pick a class. Hmm.
Well, Everyman or Rogue would be the obvious choice, but eh. I think I'd like to do something a little more interesting. I think I'll go with Martial Artist, making a kind of pugilist/actor type of fellow. That'll be fun. Of course, now I have to parse all this. Scuse me a moment.
OK, guess I should assign Ability scores, first. Also, as a human, I get a +2 to an Ability of my choice. Well, I think I'll put my 11s in Int and Str (gotta put them somewhere). I'll put my 16 in Dex, and my 15s in Cha and and Wis. That puts my 14 in Con. I'll put my bonus into...gosh. I think I'll say Dex and lean into the martial artist thing. That makes it 18.
I get a Talent at 1st level, so I'll take Fancy Footwork (plays into my character's theatrical life, and if I understand the system correctly it makes me harder to hit, which is always good; I'd rather affect an opponent's roll than bank on making mine).
I get 24 ranks of skills (because I get no Int bonus, because actors aren't very bright). I can take a max of 4 in a class skill and a max of 2 in a not-class skill (they also cost double, so it's not at all cost-effective to take them). Oh, wait, shit, I get 4 more because I'm human. Um. Current Events.
OK, so I want the max in Notice, Perform (Dance), Deception, Escape Artist, and Persuasion. I'll put 2 each into Act and Popular Culture, and that's me done with that.
I think that's everything except Feats and totaling up the math? Hang on. (Be nice if there were a fucking chart for chargen.) OK, so I get three Feats. I could take a talent from a talent tree if I wanted, but I'm going in a slightly different direction than I'd thought initially. Feats ahoy!
Well, I'll take Dodge, because nothing like doubling up on my bonuses. I'll take Fool's Fortune, which lets me reroll something once per day. And I'll take Renown, putting my Reputation up by 3, because why not.
Last thing would be Gear, but you know how I feel about that. I do need a bit of backstory, though.
Edward "Ted" Billings is the son of a professional soldier, and his father was perhaps a little disappointed when Ted took up dance rather than following in his footsteps. Ted didn't get much support from his family, and took up with a theatrical group. The choreographer noticed Ted's natural grace and trained him not only in dance, but in stage (and actual) combat. Ted doesn't hit very hard (he's not a violent guy by nature), but he's really fast and capable in a fight.
Edward Billings has gained quite a bit of renown for playing roles that require some physically demanding stuff (Shakespearean tragedies are his favorite, because then he gets to die, and that's fun). Of late, though, he's noticing people coming and going in the theatre, people he doesn't know but that seem to know the place very well (there's your hook, GM).