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RPG: Character Creation and Stats

Posted by The Iron Toa , in RPG system Oct 13 2012 · 487 views

generation attributes PC rolling
RPG: Character Creation and Stats Character Creation and Stats

All of this is subject to change, but red font indicates where I know further work is needed. For example, values I'm not confident are appropriate, or parts that incorporate aspects of the project we have not yet gotten to.

So with that out of the way, I will get to the six main Attributes:

Charisma (Cha) – both a mental and a physical attribute – Charisma represents a character's ability to lead, persuade, and befriend others. It is based on both personality and physical appearance (for example, the Charisma of the Barraki was greatly reduced when they were mutated from magnificent warlords to creepy sea creatures). This Attribute is especially important to deceptive and manipulative characters, as well as ones that seek to gather allies and get them to work together, but any adventurer might find it useful when another character must be persuaded.

Dexterity (Dex) – a physical attribute – Dexterity represents a character's agility, reflexes, and coordination. This is considered a physical value, for reflexes are instinctive. This Attribute is important for all characters, especially ones that rely on dodging and ranged attacks, and those that must move through difficult terrain.

Intelligence (Int) – a mental attribute – Intelligence, in our case, includes both cleverness and wisdom. An intelligent character can figure puzzling things out, has enough wisdom or common sense to make good choices, and can learn skills more easily and achieve a higher level of mastery. Intelligence is especially important to characters that focus on honing their skills instead of merely using what abilities come to them naturally. But any adventurer is likely to occasionally encounter puzzles, which will be easier to solve with a higher Int score.

Strength (Str) – a physical attribute – Strength, of course, represents a character's muscle and raw physical might. Strength is important in melee combat, and is important to characters that focus on such a discipline, as well as characters that do heavy labor. Strength is also important for such common uses as moving obstacles adventurers might encounter.

Toughness (Tou) – a physical attribute – Toughness determines a character's ability to survive injury, as well as endure mental stress and suffering. These two qualities are represented by two sub-attributes: Vitality and Endurance, which I will explain in more detail shortly. Toughness is important to all characters, not only because one can't always avoid taking damage, but also because most Powers are mentally taxing – and so cost Endurance.

Will (Wil) – a mental attribute – Will measures the a character's raw mental power. To clarify, Will is to Intelligence as Strength is to Dexterity. Will determines a character's control over his or her natural Powers, as well as any mind-activated items such as Kanohi. It also affects the rate at which Endurance is drained by things such as suffering pain and using powers. A character with higher will can endure more discomfort, and so this Attribute is important even to characters that do not use Powers.

With that out of the way, we can get started. So, you want to make a character? I hope you have some details in mind. A character is a lot more than just a bunch of numbers. And yet it's these numbers that set this system apart from other Bionicle RPGs – the numbers help build a world that's not entirely in the control of those imagining it. The right use of these numbers – and enough luck – will make your character succeed. But have fun from your failures, too – misadventures are at least as entertaining as stories of success, aren't they? But anyway, to get started you will need to decide on a few things:

  • A name, of course! Or at least an alias, but you should probably have a real name for your character in mind anyway.

  • A race, sub-race, and gender. If you're sticking to the canon, the latter two will be linked for Matoran, Toa, and Turaga, naturally. See here for a list of races.

  • An alignment: good, neutral, or evil. This is really only important for the Moral Light stat, which I will explain later, and will not show up often. But you should have a good enough idea of your character to know if he or she is more like Lhikan or more like Teridax, or if he's somewhere in between – looking out for himself but not out to hurt anyone.

  • Previous experiences your character has – if we're going to have something for this, like what skills your character starts with... we still need to work on this. Hence the red font.

  • (Optionally) A Destiny. Now this isn't as concrete, and not completely in your hands. The basic idea is the Game Master is encouraged to bend the rules to help your character meet some predetermined fate. He should have some idea for every major character, and even if you tell him what you have in mind for yours, he has final say, and his decision will be kept secret. This Destiny will not always be achieved – meaning either it wasn't your character's destiny in the first place or he or she failed to achieve it, depending on how you interpret it. Just because you tell the GM 'I think my character should die heroically while vanquishing the Makuta that enslaved his people!' and he nods, heck, even if he says outright 'I'll try to make it happen' (which he shouldn't – he should keep his decision to himself), don't assume you have nothing to worry about from a horde of rampaging Protocairns.

  • Traits/Feats. We still need to come up with these.

Once you've chosen those things, the next step is to roll to determine your six main Attributes.

Most biomechanical beings have little difference in physique from the rest of their race. In addition, mental strength is greatly depended on race. Some Matoran might have stronger wills than others, but none ever have the ability to use Kanohi powers. And yet one can find a wide range of personalities and levels of intelligence among a particular race. Therefore, characters' initial Charisma and Intelligence values will be based on a larger roll – and so more varied – while Dexterity, Strength, Toughness, and Will will be determined by a smaller roll and more affected by racial modifiers. To determine the initial values for Charisma and Intelligence, roll four d6 die, discard the lowest value, and add up the values of the remaining three. For the other four Attributes, roll two d6 die and take the value of the higher roll.

To determine your character's final stats, apply the racial modifiers listed below, then any Subtypical modifiers (for elemental tribes, etc), then any modifiers from traits and feats. Consult the list of races linked to above to determine your racial modifiers.

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Now for the two sub-attributes of Toughness. These two values are similar to the Hitpoints of D&D – indeed, that is basically what Vitality is – but for us it works a little bit differently:

Vitality determines a character's physical health, and how much injury he or she can suffer before dying. A character with 0 is immobilized by injury, a character with -1 to -9 inclusive is dying or recovering from near-death, and a character with -10 is dead. Just like D&D Hitpoints, except a character that is between -1 and -9 is not necessarily unconscious.

Endurance is what determines if a character is conscious. It determines how much discomfort a character can suffer before passing out. A character with 0 cannot attack, a character with -1 to -9 must sit or lie down, and a character with -10 is unconscious.

Characters' maximum Vitality and Endurance can be affected by outside modifiers, but as a baseline, each point of Toughness contributes 10 points to Vitality and Endurance.

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Now, we will define Moral Light. It is greatly tied to a Matoran Universe inhabitant's morality – indeed, some say it defines it completely. In any case, we use it for but two purposes. Firstly, there is the rare ability to measure a being's Moral Light to determine if he or she is good or evil. Keetongu has this ability. Secondly, characters that have high enough Will and know the technique can channel their inner Light or Shadow into attacks. Using one's light in such a manner takes extreme purity of spirit and discipline, and as such as never been achieved in the main universe. How this will work is not yet determined – we may have a Good-Neutral-Evil scale, or just ask whether a character is evil enough to call upon this inner darkness.

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Resistances do just what it sounds like they do – they help your character resist damage and other negative effects he or she did not avoid completely. They are represented as percentages, for the value of the resistance is the percentage of damage that is mitigated. (In the case of negative resistances, that much extra damage is added.) For example, if a fireball that would normally do 20 damage hits a Ta-Matoran, who has a natural +50% Heat resistance, it would do only 10 damage to both Endurance and Vitality. If a sonic attack that also normally did 20 damage hits a De-Matoran, whose sensitive hearing gives him a huge -300% resistance to Endurance damage from Sonics, he would take 20 Vitality damage but 60 Endurance damage. By default, characters have 0% in resistances – these values are changed by racial modifiers, traits, and equipment. Here is the list of damage and resistance types, along with examples of what can deal each type of damage:

Acid – natural acid sources as well as attacks such as the Rhotuka of Keelerak deal Acid damage. Acid is also commonly found in heavily polluted places such as Xia.
Cold – extremely cold weather, elemental Ice users, and Toa of Fire absorbing a great deal of heat can all deal Cold damage.
Crushing – one of the three physical damage types. Blunt weapons such as hammers, falling rocks, and most kinetic force launchers deal Crushing damage.
Electric – Rahkshi of Electricity, Toa of Lightning, and some energy weapons deal Electric damage.
Elemental – Elemental damage is an unusual case. It applies to powers based on Elemental Energy, and in most cases comes along with whatever sort of damage that elemental attack otherwise does. For example, a normal fire would be considered to only deal Heat damage, while a fire directly from a Toa of Fire would be considered to do both Heat and Elemental damage. A character with 25% Heat resistance or Elemental resistance would take 25% less damage from such an elemental attack, while a character with 25% resistance to both damage types would suffer 50% less damage.
Energy – technically, all these damage types are based on some sort of energy, whether it is radiation, kinetic energy, or chemical energy. This damage type, however, refers to powers that are not linked to any element or physical damage type. For example, Axonn's hand blasts, most Rhotuka, and a Rahkshi of Disintegration's power are all mitigated by Energy resistance.
Heat – Rahkshi of Heat vision and a Toa of Fire's fire do Heat damage, of course, as well as natural fires and heat sources such as lava and unbearable hot desert days.
Light – one of the rarer damage types, Light is especially strong against creatures of Shadow and is dealt by Av-Matoran as well as some weapons such as Lightstone rifles and light launchers. Light resistance may also effect your chance to be blinded by bright lights.
Mental – Psychic attacks from Makuta, Toa of Psionics, and other beings with such abilities deal mental damage. In most cases, such attacks affect the mind directly, and so Mental damage usually or always affects only Endurance.
Piercing – the second of the physical damage types. Weapons such as daggers, arrows and fangs deal piercing damage, as do spikes materialized by Toa of elements such as Iron, Stone, Ice, or the Green.
Poison – some beings have natural poison-based abilities, such as Rahkshi of Poison. Many plants are also poisonous, and a Toa of the Green that knows how to do so can create these plants. Poisons can also be concocted and added to weapons.
Shadow – Makuta are the most famous wielders of Shadow, with elemental Shadow powers, but non-elemental Shadow damage can also be dealt by an evil character calling upon his or her inner darkness.
Slashing – the third of the physical damage types. Bladed weapons such as swords deal slashing damage.
Sonic – extremely loud sounds can incapacitate and even injure. Rahkshi of Power Scream, Toa of Sonics, and some Rahi and weapons are capable of dealing Sonic damage. Hearing sensitivity affects Endurance damage received from Sonic attacks – characters with very sensitive hearing suffer more from such attacks, while deaf characters suffer less. In either case, however, the Vitality damage done remains the same, for hearing ability does not affect how much damage sonic vibrations do to one's body.

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Elemental Energy is a value possessed by only some beings, and is used for Elemental powers. It recharges over time, and characters that have depleted their Elemental Energy cannot use Elemental attacks until some of it recharges. Beings that have Elemental Energy include:

Av-Matoran – a very small amount
Toa – a large amount
Turaga – a small amount
Skakdi – a large amount
Makuta – a large amount

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Toa Energy is a unique type of power only Toa have. Most characters will never have to worry about it, but it is an important value for those it applies to.

Matoran with the potential to become Toa have 0, as do Turaga. All other beings have -1. In most cases, whether a Matoran has the potential is randomly generated by the GM and unknown to the player. In some settings you can choose to play as a Matoran with the potential (though keep in mind your character would most likely not know this) or start as a Toa, and in other settings playing as a Toa will not be an option. For a destined Matoran to become a Toa, he or she must come into contact with an object imbued with at least 10 points of Toa Energy. Often, the GM will also choose a special circumstance that must also happen, such as placing the imbued objects into a Suva. Toa most often use fist-sized stones for such vessels, and decorate them with carvings, but they are also known to use their weapons and tools instead.

Upon becoming a Toa, a character's TE is raised to 60. Besides transforming other Matoran into Toa – which costs 10 TE each – Toa Energy can also be channeled into very strong – some call it miraculous – healing power. When their Toa Energy value reaches 0 again and they have completed their Toa Destiny, they become a Turaga. Toa Energy never regenerates, and expending it does not weaken a Toa in any way until they become a Turaga.

I may add a trait system to this post later, or include it in a future blog update.

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The Mask of Ice
Oct 14 2012 12:19 AM
Let's add and ethical axis to the alignment system along with the moral axis: Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic. So you can be Lawful, Chaotic or Neutral Good, Lawful Chaotic or Neutral (True) Neutral and Lawful, Chaotic and Neutral Evil. Also, I think having a Destiny encourages player favoritism by the GM and railroads characters, thus defeating the purpose of the game.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 14 2012 11:11 AM
Other people that were contributing to the project earlier were against a complex alignment system. I like the D&D axes, but there's really no game mechanics reason to have Lawful and Chaotic, so let's not make things more complicated. Good/neutral/evil should be easy enough to keep track of, though, and fit right into the Moral Light concept.

I don't want to encourage player favoritism, but I do think some sort of destiny system would fit well with the theme of Bionicle. I guess it requires some more thought. Any ideas?

As for the Perception stat I mentioned on the other post -- if we don't have it, should Spot, Search, and Listen checks all be based on Intelligence?
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The Mask of Ice
Oct 14 2012 12:23 PM
Nope. Let's say we want to play a very absentminded character; we'll need a Wisdom stat so that he'll have low insight, perception, etc.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 14 2012 02:48 PM
Good point.

I think we're doing this wrong, though. It's only you, me, and hopefully still makuta_icarax working on this. We lost a bunch of people along the way, while we should have even more. I say we need to take a step back and find out how to get people interested in this. Perhaps a different system would be more popular.

I don't intend to quit or give up on what we have so far, though. We should be able to adapt a lot of what we've already come up with.

I will also look for an existing Bionicle RPG I like and try it out so I get an idea of what we'll be adding a rule system to.

Edit: If we stay with this system, but make some more changes, how about if we had more sub-stats? Wisdom and Vision could go under Intelligence, while we could have things like Agility, Balance, and Manual Dexterity under Dexterity. I don't want to make things too hard, but if these changes make sense...
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The Mask of Ice
Oct 14 2012 11:55 PM
You mean having stats like World of Darkness? Nice idea.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 15 2012 08:24 AM
I don't know. Could you explain World of Darkness?
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The Mask of Ice
Oct 15 2012 02:39 PM
It's a horror system, but the stat system's nice and could fit into Bionicle. So basically, you have 3 categories of stats, Physical, Mental, and something else I forgot about which was similar to Will. These were in turn divided into three additional categories: Strength, Finesse and Defense. So your physical stats were: Strength (Strength), Dexterity (Finesse) and Toughness (Defense).
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The Iron Toa
Oct 15 2012 09:47 PM
That's sort of the idea I want, but I think it's too simple. Dexterity itself, for example, can be split into sub-attributes.
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The Mask of Ice
Oct 15 2012 11:45 PM
Oh, I remembered the last category of stats: Interaction.

Remember, with this system we already have 9 stats. So no need to complicate it further. Those types of things are for skills anyway.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 18 2012 09:57 AM
So what are the 9 stats then? Like what are the substats of Mental and Interaction?
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The Mask of Ice
Oct 18 2012 12:02 PM
Mental: Intelligence (Accuracy), Wisdom (Finesse), Will (Defense)
Interaction: Charisma (Accuracy), Comeliness (Finesse), Reputation (Defense)
Physical: Strength (Accuracy), Dexterity (Finesse), Toughness (Defense)

You have the values 5, 4 and 3, which you assign to stat categories and distribute within them. You then have a certain amount of skill points which you assign to skills, which are based on either a specific stat or a stat category.
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The Iron Toa
Oct 20 2012 11:59 AM
I'll get back to this in a little bit, I need to work on homework this weekend, and this update in the game I've been playing has me occupied.
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Falcon Lord
May 22 2013 05:42 AM
I am very interested in helping out with this, is there anything I could do?
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