Game: Sixcess Core RPG
Publisher: Harsh Realities
Degree of Familiarity: Somewhat familiar. I've only just gotten into the Sixcess game system the last month or so, but I've created a couple of sample characters, and have created player characters for stuff with my Friday and Sunday groups as of this writing. So I'm not totally familiar with the game system and it's rules yet, but am doing my best.
Books Required: Sixcess Core RPG book.
Please note that this post is extremely long, as I've gone into the game mechanics a bit in terms of character creation, and have provided background on the character and the choices. Hence the majority of this post is behind the cut. That said, there is some of the game mechanics and descriptions of game world elements that I've skimped on in this write-up, so if you want to know more, just drop me a line in the Comments.
For those who don't know, the Sixcess Core RPG is a generic roleplaying game system of mechanics that uses an Attribute + Skill system dice pool of D6s with its own terminology and language (which may put some players off the game) that is fast and easy to get a handle on. Each die roll that equals or exceeds the Target Number (TN) is a sixcess (sic), and rolls of "6" give even bigger benefits. Sixcess Core also incorporates a system for the players to take over the action from the GM to craft and mold the world in their own way somewhat, called Dissonance. Since Sixcess Core can be used for any genre, the game is set up in such a way that the GM and players can craft their mechanics and abilities around the genre that they intend to use. The first two settings for the Sixcess Core rules are Promised Sands and ElfWorld, both of which are due out in the near future.
For the purposes of this example of character creation, I will base the game in a post-apocalyptic setting (resulting from a combined plague of some sort and a possible nuclear confrontation between two great world powers some 300 years ago (I can be as vague as I like here, for obvious reasons); no one living in the present day knows the cause of the Great Catastrophe! To add to the flavour of it all, I'll say the game is set around the community of Odawa Falls (what used to be called Ottawa). The area around Odawa Falls is now largely forest that has overrun the urban ruins. Anyway, here's the character creation process. Bear in mind that this material is quite long, due to the way the background section is written up. I may forget to do certain aspects of the character generation system for this example, and some sequences may not be in the order recommended in the Sixcess Core rulebook.
Step 1: Come up with a Character Concept for the player character that you want to play.
The first step that I always include in my games is to have the player come up with a Character Concept for the character they want to play. This is basically a one- or two-sentence bit that gives you all the essentials about what the character in question is. Sixcess Core encourages this, but doesn't offer guidelines on how short or long the Character Concept should be.
Given that I've decided the character will be in a post-apocalyptic game, I decide right off the bat to stick with one of the conventions of the genre for this character. I decide that the character is a male scavenger of the "ancient" ruins who makes his living selling and bartering what he finds for the necessities of life. He's made a life for himself with a woman that he met 10 years ago. I decide to call the character Jakyb Hetrick.
Step 2: Determine the Priorities for the character.
To start character generation, the Sixcess Core system uses an interesting variant. Five areas of prioritisation affect the character, and each one needs to be prioritised by the player to determine the working stock he has to divide up in each area. The Priorities are called POWER - Powers, Order, Wealth, Essence, and Readiness.
Powers determine the extent to which the character is in touch with the world's power source, be it magic, psionics, miracles, crystal attunement or whatever. Order has nothing to do with Wealth (see the next one), but being born with a silver spoon in one's mouth or having social connections and status. Wealth is one's resources, be they actually wealthy, rich, otherwise flush with funds, well-connected, famous, or all of the above. Essence reflects the natural abilities that one is born with. It is reflected in game terms by the Attributes that one has. Finally, Readiness reflects mentally acquired or kinesthetially displayed abilities, and these are reflected in one's Skills.
Depending on how the player views the characters and sees their strengths and weaknesses, she assigns a priority (Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Average, and Below Average) to each of the five aspects of POWER for the character, and these determine what the player character starts with for each of them.
Knowing that I want Jakyb to be a scavenger in this post-apocalyptic game, I decide that he's not psionic, mutant, or whatever, and determine that Powers is Below Average. I consider Jakyb to be connected, but not well connected, with one or two decent contacts, and thus set his Order at Tertiary. This leaves Wealth, Essence, and Readiness. I decide that he's not overly wealthy for this time, and thus set his Wealth at Average. That leaves the character's Essence and Readiness. I decide that his learned/kinesthetic abilities are more important than his natural abilities ones, and thus set Essence as Secondary and Readiness as Primary.
Thus, when all is said and done, this is how Jakyb's Priorities look:
Powers: Below Average - No powers/abilities.
Order: Tertiary - Business Leader, Status 2
Wealth: Average - Normal Wealth
Essence: Secondary - 16 Attribute Ranks
Readiness: Primary - 20 Skill Ranks.
Step 3: Choose the character's Race.
The next step in Character Creation is to choose a Race for the character. The Races available will depend on the game world that's been established.
Since I've not decided there are any other species for the post-apocalyptic game that I'm envisioning here, other than mutants of some sort, I decide that I will make the character male, and that he will be a Human. There are no specific Edges or Flaws to being a Human, so Jakyb's statistics aren't modified by his Race.
Step 4: Determine the character's Profession.
In Sixcess Core, players can pick and choose whatever Skills they like in any combination, mixed with Edges, Flaws, Backgrounds, and abilities. This gives the player complete versatility. Some game worlds, however, will have specific roles or define specific roles for the various character types. In such a case, the player might be required to choose a Profession.
Since I don't envision the post-apocalyptic game in too much detail at this point, there are no Professions though I could easy see some being designed and added to the game. Therefore, my character does have to choose a Profession here.
Step 5: Allocate the character's Attribute Ranks.
The next step is to determine the player character's Attribute Ranks. There are six (6) Attributes - Charisma (CHA), Intellect (INT), Perception (PER), Fitness (FIT), Reflexes (REF), and Will (WIL); two Derived Attributes - Drive (DRV) and Visage (VIS); and Special Attributes. Special Attributes can be things such as Power (POW), Magic (MAG), Sorcery (SOR), or Faith (FTH). Most of these are self-explanatory. Fitness (FIT) determines physical strength and endurance - including exerting physical force, resisting damage, lifting, and carrying - but it's also a measure of endurance and stamina. Reflexes (REF) determines how quickly a character can act, and react, to situations - but also includes manual dexterity, flinch responses, and finesse over brute power, accuracy, and delicacy. Drive (DRV) is the number of dice used to determine the order of combat, and is based on the average of PER and REF. Visage (VIS) determines the initial impression a person has of the character, and is directly related to his CHA Attribute. The Special Attributes in the game represent the ability to use magic, sorcery, super-powers, psionic abilities, or religious abilities. These are variable, and dependent on the genre being played.
The player has a number of Attribute Ranks equal to the value based on the manner in which she prioritised them (see Step 2). The Ranks are used at a 1 to 1 exchange, with Attributes ranging from 1 to 5 with a normal Rank of 2, and anything over Rank 5 being defined as "super human".
Looking back at the Priorities I assigned, I gave Essence Secondary priority, and thus have 16 Attribute Ranks to distribute for the character. Since I do not need to assign points into a Special Attribute for this purpose, I decide on the following Ranks. I want Jakyb to have a decent Willpower (WIL), and set that at 3. This leaves me with 13 points left. I decide his Intellect (INT) is Average, and assign it a 2; that leaves me 11 points left to play with. I also decide that he's not overly charismatic and assign a 2 to Charisma (CHA); there's 9 points left to go. I decide that he's quite fit and has some endurance and stamina, and set Fitness (FIT) at 3. 6 points to go. I assign a 3 to Reflexes (REF), and a 3 to Perception (PER). That accounts for all of my Attribute Ranks. The final Attribute Ranks look like this.
CHA 2, INT 2, PER 3, FIT 3, REF 3, WIL 3
I now calculate the Derived Attributes. My Drive (DRV) is the average of Perception (PER) and Reflexes (REF), giving me a 3. This gives me 3 dice during initiative. My Visage (VIS) starts equal to my Charisma (CHA) of 2, so it's also a 2.
CHA 2, INT 2, PER 3, FIT 3, REF 3, WIL 3
DRV 3, VIS 2
Step 5a: Determine the character's Fatigue and Vitality values.
Each player character has a Fatigue and Vitality track with different Ranks for each based on WIL and FIT respectively. The player determines the values for their Fatigue and Vitality based on set values determined in the game system.
I determine Jakyb Hetrick's values for his Fatigue and Vitality, and get these results:
Slight 7, Major 6, Exhausted 5, Unconsciousness 1
Slight 7, Major 6, Lethal 5, Fatal 1.
Step 6: Determine the player character's Skill Ranks.
The palyer now divides up the Skill Ranks that he starts with. The player has a number of Skill Ranks equal to the value based on the manner in which he prioritised them (see Step 2). The Ranks are used at a 1 to 1 exchange, with Skills ranging from 1 to 5 with a normal Rank of 2, and anything over Rank 5 being defined as "super human". In addition, the player receives (INT X 3) Ranks for Knowledge, Languages, and Professional Skills, as well as INT Ranks for the character's native tongue, INT Ranks in reading/writing the native tongue, and INT Ranks in additional Language Skills.
Looking back at the Priorities I assigned, I gave Readiness Primary priority, and thus have 20 Skill Ranks to distribute for the character. Looking over the Skills list for the game, I decide on the following allocations. Since I do not need to assign points into a Special Attribute for this purpose, I decide on the following Ranks. I want Jakyb to be able to survive in the Odawa Falls area, so start with Climb 1, Dodge 2, Observation 2, Orienteering 2, Run 1, and Survival (Forest) 2. That's a total of 10 Ranks of Skills. I add 1 Rank of Brawl, 1 Rank of Melee, and 1 Rank of Pistols, for a total of 13 Ranks. I add in 2 Ranks of Negotiation, 3 Ranks of Scavenge, and 2 Ranks of Stealth, bringing me up to a total of 20 Ranks. Those are my basic Skills for the game.
I start with the default Language Skills I receive for the character. I envision Jakyb as being Canadian, from the Ottawa valley, and so start with English at 2, R/W English at 2, French at 1, and Greek at 1. Then I start in on the Skill Ranks for Knowledge, Languages, and Professional Skills, having 6 Skill Ranks to assign. Looking at the appropriate Skill Lists, I give Jakob Geography at 2, Research at 1, Herbology 1, French 1, and R/W French 1.
Therefore, Jakyb's final Skill List looks like this:
Survival (Forest) 2
R/W English 2
R/W French 1
Step 7: Determine the player character's Edges and Flaws.
The player determines the Edges and Flaws with which the character starts. Edges are benefits or special abilities that are part and parcel of the character's being. Some Edges can only be acquired through birth and heritage. They set the character apart from others who have similar skills, and provide a uniqueness that makes the character special. They are usually very specific and are useful only in a small set of circumstances. Edges are categorised as Negligible (N), Slight (S), Medium (M), Large (L), and Extra Large (XL).
Looking over the various Edges, I find some that make sense to take and others that are inappropriate to the character. When it comes right down to the nitty gritty, I settle on the Quickness Edge, which gains him a +1 to Movement, and is a Medium (M) Edge. I also take the Wary Edge, which gives a -1 TN to all Observation tests, and is a Small (S) Edge. These are written out as:
Now that I've got my Edges for the character, they must be balanced out with Flaws. Flaws are disadvantages or defects in the character. Some Flaws can only be acquired through birth and heritage. Flaws provide uniqueness to the character and roleplaying opportunities. They are usually quite specific, although some can be rather ubiquitous. Flaws are categorised as Negligible (N), Slight (S), Medium (M), Large (L), and Extra Large (XL).
Looking at the various Flaws and determining how I want the character to come across, I find that certain Flaws are inappropriate for the character. I finally settle on Bad Eyesight, the character having to wear glasses, and this makes it a Slight (S) Flaw. Jakyb also has an Intolerance of mutants, taking a +2 to TN when interacting with mutants and a +1 TN to anyone who is a mutant sympathiser. This is a Slight (S) Flaw. In addition, the character has an Adversary by the name of Edwik, who dislikes Jakyb for reasons that are unclear, and the feeling is mutual. This is a Slight (S) Flaw. These are written out as:
Bad Eyesight (wears glasses) (S)
Intolerance (mutants) (S)
Enemy (Adversary - Edwik) (S)
Since two Small Flaws equal a Medium Flaw, there is balance between the Edges and the Flaws.
Step 8: Get the player character ready for Prime Time.
Once the character game numbers are done, it's time to get the player character ready for play. We start with a name for the player character, and describe the character.
I already have a name for the character - Jakyb Hetrick. I decide, based on his Attributes, that Jakyb stand 1.87m (6'2") tall, and weighs some 86.1 kilos (190 lbs.). He has dark brown eyes, and short, neat black hair.
The player then comes up with some background and history for the character.
Jakyb was born in the ruins of Odawa Falls some 24 years ago, and was raised a member of the Chaudiere tribe. The tribe makes its home among the ruins, ekeing out an existence by hunting and gathering, and trading with the nearby Gatin tribe. Jakyb was raised to believe that humans are better off in the world they now live in, even though they face attacks from the Diseased and there are strange animals that have appeared in this new world that the shamans tell never existed before. A curious boy by nature, Jakyb liked to explore and it was while exploring one of the ruins of something called a batub that he came upon the remnants of a photo of a young man and woman in something called a "Lobby" that he discovered the love of old things and discovered there were people, the Librarians, who would pay for these items. The pay was mostly in food and other such materials, but occasionally he would obtain a rare item that was paid for in kind, or perhaps knowledge. Jakyb has been a scavenger of the ruins now for almost twelve years, and has never had a big score. He's learned how to defend himself in the wilderness, some survival skills (including a bit of herbal lore), and how to fight with a spear and with a pistol (inherited from his father). Ten years ago, he met a woman from the Gatin tribe named Gabi, and two have settled down together. He loves Gabi with all his heart, but still feels the excitement of finding some new trinket or remnant in the ruins of the ancient city.
Finally, the player equips the character with gear.
I decide, after looking over the basic gear presented in the rulebook, to keep Jakyb's gear simple. He has a hunting knife inherited from his father, a 9mm pistol with a small barrel of bullets (500 left, but some may be duds), a coil of braided rope, and a water gourd. He also wears a token ring given to him by Gabi of a yellowish green metal (it may be gold, but he's not sure), and has a rugged set of clothing, and a set of good, leather boots. He also has a worn duffel bag that he uses to hold any items of value that he finds in the ruins, and several leather pouches that he uses to carry herbs and other plants.
When it's all said and done, this is what the character looks like.
Charisma 2 Visage 2
Intellect 2 Power na
Perception 3 Drive 3
Fitness 3 Dissonance 1
Slight 7, Major 6, Exhausted 5, Unconsciousness 1
Slight 7, Major 6, Lethal 5, Fatal 1.</i>
Survival (Forest) 2
R/W English 2
R/W French 1
Edges: Quickness (M), Wary (S)
Flaws: Bad Eyesight (wears glasses) (S), Intolerance (mutants) (S), Enemy (Adversary - Edwik) (S)
Set of rugged clothes
Hunting Knife (3M4)
9 mm pistol (4M5)
Coil of braided rope
Worn duffel bag
Several trinkets for trade (10 kilos worth)
Several pouches (to carry plants)
Token ring (from Gabi)
And there you have the character that I created for the Sixcess Core Roleplaying Game. This character took me about an hour of work, plus I would say another half-hour of leafing through the material in the rulebook. Character generation in Sixcess Core can definitely take a while, especially if it's your first time, as there are some choices that need to be made in character creation that require information about the (specific) game world to be given to the player. If one has an idea of what one wants in the player character, the process can definitely take less time, but to be honest, this is a game system that is extremely fun to work with and gives an incredibly wide variation on characters.
Comments and feedback are welcome. :)