Last character of 2018. I would like to say that I chose this game based on something in particular, but the truth of the matter is that I spent two hours organization my PDF game folders and then told Michelle to pick a number. The game I would up with is a far-future sci-fi game about folks working for a Patent Office in a universe where ideas and intellectual property are the only real currency. It's an interesting idea, and what the heck, it's a good enough game to end the year on.
The Game: Sufficiently Advanced
The Publisher: Valent Games
Degree of Familiarity: None. I'm reading it (there's a second edition, BTW, but that's not the one I have)
Books Required: Just the one.
In SA, you're playing Inspectors going on missions, which can vary pretty widely in their scope and tone, it looks like. Likewise, in different civilizations the Inspectors have different levels of authority, which is interesting; in one civilization you're like an FBI agent, in another you're just an observer.
First thing I need to do is pick a civilization. Hmm.
Oh, lord. One of the civilizations here was descended from the SCA. The one I was interested in (the Stardwellers) was descended from science fiction geeks. Ugh. OK, I think I'm gonna stick with this one, but I'll pretend I didn't read that goobery shit.
Well, I like this civilization, anyway. They alter their bodies to be more comfortable in zero-g, and they've got some weird modifications to themselves and their tech going on, and that's fun to think about.
So now I do Core Values. I get two from my civilization (Freedom and Diversity, so I guess the boring-ass white-guy side of sci-fi fandom died out, which is good), and then I pick two more (there's a list, but I can make them up). I then set their values at 0 to 10, my choice, which is cool.
Well, let's see. There's a mention of some Stardwellers never setting foot on a planet, and I don't think that's necessarily plausible for an Inspector, but I think my guy lived most of his life without going planetside. His feeling is that human beings tend to skew the atmosphere and ecology of whatever planet they're on, so it's more responsible to create whatever "planets" they want out of asteroids or artificial structures and ruin those (the thinking is that if you make a world, you can break it).
I'm getting a kind of self-righteous vibe, here. Entitlement is a value, so I think I'll pick that, but I also want one that shows off his commitment to letting planets and ecologies develop and change without screwing them up. I'll say "Non-Interference".
For the values (of the Values, can you dig it), they're arranged by what you're willing to do to preserve them. Like, at 6, you're willing to organize and even suffer jail time for others' rights. I'll put Freedom at 6, Diversity at 3, Entitlement at 6, and Non-Interference at 7 (he's very big on the whole "we have enough tech to build our own worlds, stop burning existing ones" thing).
Next up, we have Themes, which look really interesting. But, in order to give them scores, I need to know my Import (which is the number points I have to split between Themes), and I derive that from my Capabilities, which are the next step. Gargh.
Well, skipping ahead to Capabilities, then, I find that everyone has the same five (Biotech, Cognitech, Metatech, Nanotech, and Stringtech), but the ranges are determined by civilization. I'll take 5 in Biotech (I can lift half a ton, regenerate nerves and muscles - the thinking here is that I've got some bio-impacts), 3 in Cognitech, +1 in Metatech, 3 in Nanotech, and 3 in Stringtech.
So that puts my highest Capability at 5, which means my Import is 8, so I have 8 points to split up into my Themes. There are 6, so I can't make it even, but life's like that.
Oh, these get descriptors, too. I'll take Plot Immunity 1, with "Careful" as a descriptor). I don't see this guy as great with Intrigue, either, so I'll keep that at 1 and take Eavesdropper as the descriptor. Empathy, oy. Again, not something I see as this dude's strong point. I'll take it at 1 and take Honest as my descriptor. I'll take 2 in Magnetism - he's convincing and steadfast in his beliefs, and that's attractive (I'll take "Ideological" as my descriptor).
Oh, hang on, I don't have to take a rating in these. Um. Well, I'll skip Romance and take 3 in Comprehension, and take "Intuitive" as my descriptor.
All right! Then I have Professions. As with much of this chargen system, I get to choose my ratings, but the higher the ratings, the older I am. Of course, with my implants I'll live to be 200, so. I get a free Locality Profession at 3, too, because of my civilization. Cool.
So I'll take my Locality 3 as Offworlder (it's one of the civilizations). I'll take Engineer (Biotech) and Research (Biotech) both at 3; my guy is an expert at creating organisms and the biomes they love. I'll take Explorer at 2 and Outdoorsman at 1 (limited experience on-planet, but some) and Spacer at 2 (grew up in zero-g). I start at 10 years old and that's 29 years worth of training, so I'm 39.
I fill in my Reserve scores (twice the given trait), and then that's pretty much it! I need a name and so on, though.
Stardweller names tend to be invented or descriptive. My guy's name is Bestow (his parents were a little more religious than he is). Bestow is in perfect physical health, muscular, lush hair, perfect vision and teeth. He's aggressively human - a lot of Stardwellers have tentacles and other non-human traits, but Bestow figures that it's better to change the environment than oneself (I mean, in extremis; obviously he's got no problem with bio-implants). He's cool and quiet in demeanor, and maybe a little severe, but he's a good listener and he's not unkind, he's just not what you'd call friendly.
And that's it! Happy New Year!