Game: Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space (DW: AiTaS)
Publisher: Cubicle 7 (licensed from the British Broadcasting Corporation
Degree of Familiarity: High. I've been running the game since I first got it in early February, and have a decent knowledge of the universe of Doctor Who, though not in terms of the novels, audio plays, etc. The canon is the tv series, for me, anyway.
Books Required: The Player's Guide that comes in the DW: AiTaS boxed set.
Please note that this is quite 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.
As a preface, this character was the first one that I had originally created back in the days of the FASA Doctor Who roleplaying game back in around 1985 or 1986. I thought that it would be neat to re-create the character (but not really using more than the basic concept to do so) with the DW: AiTaS rpg as a good test of whether I could create her.
Step 1: Decide on a character concept.
While this isn't necessary, it really helps. I decide that I don't want to play the Doctor or another Time Lord. A companion is a good fit for the game (assuming that we're going to be on a TARDIS in some capacity or another), so that's what I'm going to create. I could create a character from a different time period, but I've decided that I want a contemporary character, relatively speaking. The character is going to be a computer programmer, with a hobby - she's a member of the Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA)!
Born in the late 1960's, Katherine (sometimes Kate) Sharpe was a girl who grew up in the Boston suburbs, and never really had a good idea of what she wanted to do with her life. Early in life, she showed a remarkable keenness and adeptness with all things technical, and then came the age of the computer. Kate jumped into it for all she was worth, becoming a pretty good programmer and an expert at mediaeval reconstructions (a personal interest of hers). Her interest in all things mediaeval led her to join the Society for Creative Anachronisms, and she has since taken great joy in the physicality of swordsmanship and the like. She first encountered the Time Lord known as the Traveller when her work for a small company called Mondas Enterprises involved her with the Cybermen. Taken with the enigmatic stranger's tales of other worlds and times, Kate decided to accompany him on his voyages after dealing with the Cybermen, and has been with him ever since.
Katherine is very much a private person in many respects, but she opens up with those she considers friends, and shows a side of herself that few get to see to those who share her interests. Not outgoing by any means, Kate is fearless and sometimes gets involved in things that are over her head. She is quite bright, animated about things she is interested in and excited about, but has learned to be somewhat cautious in her travels with the Time Lord.
That's pretty much the character's background.
Step 2: Determine the character's Character Points.
The character receives a total of 24 Character Points. These points are assigned to Attributes and Traits.
There are a total of six Attributes in DW: AiTaS - Awareness, Coordination, Ingenuity, Presence, Resolve, and Strength. Most of these are pretty self-explanatory. Several need to be explained. Ingenuity is a measure of how smart the character is, but not necessarily how skilled or experienced they are. They can be brilliant at deducing mysteries, reprogramming computers, or identifying alien races, but if they're unskilled in something, no amount of brains will help. Ingenuity isn't related to education, either. You can be smart, but unschooled. Ingenuity is about inventiveness, lateral thinking, and one's overall intelligence. Resolve is a measure of the character's determination and general willpower. Whether it's as simple as resisting the urge to eat chips, or the ability to resist the need to blink when facing a Weeping Angel, it's also used to show your determination to do something, how convincing you can be, and how resolved to your cause you are.
Traits, on the other hand, are unique elements and abilities that the character might have. They come in Good (eg. Attractive), Bad (eg. Technically Inept), and Special (eg, Time Lord, Immortal) variations. They also come in a Minor or Major strength, and have a cost of 1 or 2 points, depending on the Trait and other factors. Some Traits, such as Time Lord, cost the player Story Points instead (more on them later).
The player receives a total of 24 points to assign to these Attributes and Traits. Attributes cost 1 point each, with the Human average being 3, and one cannot start with an Attribute of greater than 6 (although Time Lords and aliens can have Attributes higher than that). When it comes to the Traits, the player is usually buying only the Good and/or Special Traits that they want, as Bad Traits give Character Points back that can be used for other things, such as Skills and more Good or Special Traits.
Step 3: Purchase the character's Attributes and Traits, and assign Bad Traits.
I decide that the character is only average when it comes to her Awareness, Coordination, Presence, and Strength, so I put 3 points into each of these Attributes. However, she's a pretty smart cookie and has a good degree of Resolve, but nothing world shaking, so I assign a value of 4 to both Ingenuity and Resolve. This means that I have spent a total of 20 points on my Attributes, leaving 4 of my Character Points for Good and/or Special Traits. My Attributes are: Awareness 3, Coordination 3, Ingenuity 4, Presence 3, Resolve 4, and Strength 3.
Now for my Traits... I decide not to get carried away with my first character for the game system, so I take it easy on these. I decide that I want the character to be relatively attractive, so I take Attractive (which is a Minor Trait) for 1 point. The character will also have some friends in the SCA, so I decide that this is a good Trait to take, Friends (Minor) - SCA. It's a Minor Trait only in this case, costing 1 point, she knows one or two people in the SCA, but they don't have any real influence in the Society. I also want the character to be determined and with an iron will, and she can resist possession or hypnosis, so I give the character Indomitable (a Major Trait), that costs 2 points. Finally, I decide that the character is going to have good reflexes, fast to act when things happen, reacting to situations almost instinctively, and this is the Quick Reflexes Trait which is a Minor Trait, and costs me 1 point. This means I've spent 5 points on my Good Traits.
That's 25 points between my Attributes and Good Traits. I only need to buy 1 point worth of Bad Traits to balance that out. Looking at the Bad Traits material, I decide that I'll give Kate a Code of Conduct, pertaining to the sort of code of honour that chivalrous characters of old had. I take it as a Minor Trait, as I don't want to have her live by this code to the letter, so that is Code of Conduct (Minor), and gives me back a point. I also decide the character wears glasses for corrective vision, and thus give her Impaired Senses (Minor) for her eyesight requiring her to wear glasses. This gives me another point back. Her joy at life and her time with the SCA has also made her a bit reckless at times, and so I give her the Impulsive Minor Trait, and so gain another 1 point. Finally, I decide to give her a minor phobia. Ever since her days in a grungy apartment in Boston, she has had a fear of mice for reasons that I'll come up with later. This means I take the Phobia (Minor) - Mice Trait, and this gives me another point. This means I've gained 4 Character Points from the Bad Traits, one of which has to go to pay off the extra Character Point from the Attributes and Good Traits. That means I've got 3 extra points to spend on my Skills.
Step 4: Purchase the character's Skills.
The player receives 18 Skill Points to assign to their purchases. These are in addition to any additional points gained from taking Bad Traits and/or leftover Character Points.
There are a total of twelve Skills in the DW: AiTaS game system - Athletics, Convince, Craft, Fighting, Knowledge, Marksman, Medicine, Science, Subterfuge, Survival, Technology, and Transport. The skills are generalized, and Skills cost 1 point per point of the Skill, with the Human average being a 2 or 3, and one likely should not start with a Skill greater than 6 (although there are exceptions to this rule). In addition, a player can choose to purchase an Area of Expertise (AoE) for any given Skill at an extra cost of 1 point, but the character must have the Skill at 3 or higher to do so. This provides the character an extra +2 to their dice roll when using the AoE.
I have 21 Skill Points to play with for the character. For the skills, since Kate is a computer expert, I decide to give her a Technology Skill of 4, and furthermore buy an AoE of Computers, so this costs me 5 points. Since she's into the swordfighting stuff with the SCA, I also purchase Fighting at 3, with an AoE of swords, for a cost of 4 points. Tha's 9 of my Skill Points gone. I give Kate an Athletics of 3 for another 3 points, as she's got to be pretty skilled for the stuff she does in the SCA, and that means my costs are up to 12. To finish off the Skills, I give her a Convince of 1, a Craft of 1 (she's gotten handy with stuff for the SCA in this regard!), Knowlege of 2, Science of 3, a Subterfuge of 1, and a Survival of 1. This brings my Skills to a total of 21 points, so I've spent them all.
Step 5: Determine Story Points
Story Points are the equivalent of Hero Points, Drama Points, Fate Points, and so forth found in other systems, but are more along the lines of Style Points from the Hollow Earth Expedition game system. A character in the game will start with 12 Story Points, and that is the maximum that you can have once the adventure ends, but the character can be holding any number of Story Points during the course of the adventure. Certain Traits cost the character Story Points in character creation (such as Time Lord), but others can give a player charcter more Story Points (such as Inexperienced), thus increasing or reducing the maximum number of Story Points the character has. In DW: AiTaS, Story Points are used to heal damage, get a plot nudge from the GM, add extra dice to the roll, change the outcome of a failed result on the task by modifying it up by levels of success (but no higher than a basic success), and all manner of other ways. Furthermore, a character gains Story Points by doing the heroic thing, by playing their Traits and personalities out, by adding complications to the story or the character's sub-plot, and the like.
Since I did not purchase or take a Trait or ability that reduced my number of Story Points, Katherine Sharpe starts with 12 Story Points.
Step 6: Determine the Tech Level
Each character starts with a Technology Level, which represents the level of technology in the home time period of the character. The Tech Level of your time period and the Tech Level of equipment you are working with gives a penalty to rolling tasks involving repair, use, and the like. Characters can gain new Tech Level knowledge by taking the Time Traveller Trait, which represents periods the character has spent time in.
Katherine Sharpe's Tech Level is 5, representing the late 20th Century on Earth.
Step 7: Determining Starting Equipment and Items
This is pretty much self-explanatory, other than to point out that characters in Doctor Who very rarely carry a lot of stuff around with them. See the equipment for Katherine Sharpe below.
So, when all is said and done, Katherine Sharpe looks something like this...
Friends (Minor) - SCA
Quick Reflexes (Minor)
Code of Conduct (Minor)
Impaired Senses (Minor) - Vision; wears glasses
Phobia (Minor) - Mice
Fighting 3 (+2 swords)
Technology 4 (+2 computers)
Cell phone, laptop, computer repair kit, purse, glasses (for seeing), picture of her mother.
Tech Level 5 - 20th Century Earth
Story Points: 12
And there you have the very first character I created for the DW: AiTaS game. An experienced player can create a character for the system in around 10 to 15 minutes; a newbie to the game might take a good 30 to 40 minutes or so, but I suspect it could be done in much less time than that. This doesn't necessarily include the character background material and all that stuff. I hope this encourages you to take a look at the game system.