Thursday, 25 June 2020

Character-Delivered Setting

If you've looked at Electric Bastionland at all you'll know that I think a good character creation process can give your game a jump-start that helps all the other pieces fall into place. If you do it well you might not even need to explain the setting to your players beyond what they've already picked up from rolling a character.

Mothership does an excellent job of this, as I've written about before. The classes are clearly designed to come with interesting relationships baked-in. We can all imagine how the Scientist and Marine might interact in that sort of sci-fi-horror universe. Likewise the Teamster and the Android. 

I wanted to tap into this and expand it for the characters in Voidheist.

The plan was to take Mothership's four highly evocative, archetypal characters, and blow them up to a two-axis grid based on Origin and Occupation.

The Android is clearly an Origin. They exist outside of the assumed humanity of the other three classes, so it got me thinking about what other Origins would exist. These would be applied onto the occupations, so in Mothership terms you might have four androids that all have different functions, or four scientists that all come from different backgrounds.

I wanted these Origins to key into the major elements of the implied setting and give the GM inspiration for creating scenarios, but also wanted them archetypal enough that you almost don't need any explanation beyond their name. 

Corporations represent the full embrace of Capitalism with some cyberpunk splashes. A lot of the equipment they get is tied to their Personal Devices, or uses portable printers that let you keep your own resources separate to the group. It's an individualist society, and when your Instinct kicks in (when your Stress Gauge is full) you'll default to shunning even your closest allies.

Colonials are a clear opposite to the Corporates. Their Instinct is almost an exact mirror of the Corporate instinct, and some of their equipment links to the idea of self sacrifice for the greater good. It's far too easy to paint these as the "Good Guys" of the setting, but I don't want things to be that clean, so they get some pretty nasty pieces of get that might be seen as necessary for a community's survival in harsh conditions.