As promised to a couple of people on Twitter, and several who have requested it of me in e-mail, I hereby present a sample character for the Abney Park's Airship Pirates roleplaying game, using the character generation rules from that game system. It's taken a bit longer than I expected to transcribe the character and my character creation choices, but here is the sample of character creation. I hope everyone enjoys!
Game: Abney Park's Airship Pirates RPG
Publisher: Cubicle 7
Degree of Familiarity: Starting out. The game is just coming out now, though I've had a copy of the game since GenCon Indy of this year. So I have the familiarity of having read the game rulebook a couple of times, and have since generated characters with my players.
Books Required: The Abney Park's Airship Pirates rulebook.
For those who don't know, the Abney Park's Airship Pirates roleplaying game is a post-apocalyptic steampunk roleplaying game with elements of time travel and airships, based on the songs of steampunk band Abney Park. The game can be summed up by mentioning the following - "airships", "pirates", "steampunk cities", and "a wilderness full of beasts roamed by Neobedouin tribes". That doesn't do the game justice of course, but is a pretty good start. :)
We'll go through the Steps of character generation one step at a time, below.
Step 1. Decide on a Character Concept.
The first step of creating the character is to decide on the concept that I have for the character. Having listened to a good deal of Abney Park's music, I decide to create a character based on the song "Herr Drosselmeyer's Doll", and want to create a Doll, an automaton prostitute who worked at an establishment for the Upper Classes, and learned something she shouldn't have.
Step 2. Choose the group's Airship Schtick.
Each crew of airship pirates has a Schtick. This could be just a disguise for ports where piracy is frowned upon, or it could be a legitimate means by which the crew actually makes a living, or somewhere in between. I consult the various Schticks provided, and decide I like the Traders Schtick. This will give me some additional Skills down the road here, but for now I just note this down.
Step 3. Choose the character's Culture.
In the context of the game, there are three Cultures that are the main ones for the North American setting of the game - the Neobedouin, the Neovictorians, and the Skyfolk. If Neovictorian, one has to choose Class (Lower, Servant, Upper) or Automaton or Misbegotten. The Culture that one chooses provides modifiers to the character's Attributes, possibly Skills, and an Ability, depending on the Culture chosen, and also determines what Backgrounds (occupations) one can choose from (see below).
Since I want the character to be a prostitute (doll), she must be an Automaton. Since that implies she comes from the Neovictorian Culture, I jot both of these pieces of information down. The Prostitute (Doll) Background is acceptable, as it is one of the Backgrounds that Automata can take when creating characters. The Automata are created in the factories of Neovictorian cities and do not have a Class, nor are they considered to be people in any sense of the word, let alone sentient. They do, of course, far exceed their design parameters, but the Neovictorians are ignorant of this fact. All Automata start with the Mere Flesh Wounds Talent and the Mechanical Complication (the system term for Flaws), and since I am creating a Doll, starts with Strength +1, Dexterity +1, and Presence +1, as well as the Rock Your World Talent with 2 levels. (See more on this stuff below.)
Step 4. Determine the character's Attributes.
The Abney Park's Airship Pirates RPG uses a series of six (6) Attributes - Strength, Dexterity, Fortitude, Presence, Wits, and Resolve. The Derived Attributes include Initiative, Movement, and derived forms of movement (that you can see in the game stats below).
Player characters start with +1 ratings in each of the six Attributes mentioned above. Since I am creating an Automaton Doll, I gain the modifiers to her Attributes as noted above in Step 3, Culture, and thus have Strength +1, Dexterity +1, and Presence +1, making each of those Attributes a 2.
In addition to this, the player assigns three (3) additional Attribute points to these as they desire, and within the game rules as set out, and if they desire, add additional points by decreasing some Attributes and increasing others. I choose to add one more point to Dexterity, making it 3, and add one additional point to Presence, increasing it to 3, and a point to Wits, making it a 3.
I can determine the basic Initiative for the character now, which is based on Dex + Wits + Perception, so I have a base Initiative of 5, plus whatever I put into my Perception Skill. My basic Health, in dice with 2 pips (health points per die), is equal to Fortitude + 2, so I start with 6 Health pips (which are equal to 3 Health Dice. My basic Movement is equal to 5 + Dexterity in yards, giving me a Movement of 8. The rest of the derived Movement rates for various activities are based on that main value.
Step 5. Choose the character's Background.
As noted earlier, the Culture that one chooses (see Step 3) determines what Backgrounds a character may choose from. The Background is what the character got up to before becoming an airship pirate. Think of them as jobs, and not all backgrounds are done or are available in all Cultures. Each Background has a number of Skills associated with it that the character must take (see Skill Point allocation below).
Looking over the list of Backgrounds available for the Automata in Neovictorian Culture, the Prostitute (Doll) is one of these. This is the one I take. The Prostitute Background gives me the following Skills for the character: Act, Charm, Dance, Empathy, Streetwise, Fashion, and Seduction.
Step 6. Allocate the Points.
Each player has 30 points that they can spend. The player must spend at least 20 points on the Skills associated with the character Background, and no starting Skill for a character can exceed 4. The remainder of the points may be spent on Skills or can be used to purchase Talents. If the player has overspent on Skills and Talents, the player can gain extra points by buying Complications - the first Complication is worth 5 points, the second is worth 3 points, and the third is worth 2 points, and you may not take more than one Mental Complication.
I start by allocating the minimum points I want to spend on my Background Skills, and assign them as follows: Act 3, Charm 3, Dance 4, Empathy 2, Streeetwise 2, Fashion 2, Seduction 4. I still have 10 extra points left over, so I spend them as follows: Perception 2, Athletics 1, Bull 1, Dodge 1, General Knowledge 2, Conversation 1, Instrument (Lute) 1, and Performance 1. This accounts for my starting 30 points, but I want to buy a few Talents here as well, and a couple of other Skills. So I'm going to need Complications.
I start by purchasing the Autograph Hunter Complication. I decide that this represents a fan of the ship's Schtick (Traders), and who turns up at inopportune times. I decide he's called Harry Bear, a Neobedouin. For the second Complication, I decide to take an Enemy. This enemy will be the Neovictorian who was dealing secrets to a Skyfolk contract in the establishment where she worked, and he's intent on hunting her down. We'll call him Horace Whitaker-Jones for now. These two Complications give the character an additional 8 points (5+3) for assigning to stuff. And don't forget, the character also starts with the Mechanical Complication, which means her Health can only be repaired using the Ad Hoc Skill. But that one doesn't give any points.
With those extra 8 points, I can now buy a Talent or two. I start with the Mere Flesh Wounds and Rock Your World Talents (the latter at two levels), due to the character being an Automaton Doll. Unless otherwise noted, Talents cost 3 points each, per level in applicable cases. I decide to purchase the Angel Face Talent; the character comes across trying to be innocent at times, and does a good job of it. as looking and being innocent. Furthermore, the character knows how to dazzle a crowd when performing before more than 5 people, and so I take the Knock 'Em Dead Talent as well. That covers six of my extra 8 points that I gained from Complications. With the final two points, I decide to increase Performance Skill from 1 to 2, and take the Medicine Skill at 1.
Step 7. Starting Fate Points, and determine the character's Name, Age, Looks, and Personality.
Each player character in the game starts off with a total of 8 Fate Points. These can be used for a variety of purposes in the game, but are also handled somewhat differently here than how their mechanics are worked in other game systems.
In terms of the character's Name, Automata have typical first names for Lower Class Neovictorian characters, followed by a number. I decide that the character's first name is Hannah-3. On her escape from the Neovictorian city, she made her name more exotic by adopting the German word for three... hence, her name: Hannah Drei.
From an Age point of view, Hannah has only been alive for about 10 years, but she has the appearance of a 22-year-old girl, with dark brown, waist-length hair, and hazel eyes with a hint of green to them. I'll decide on her personality a bit later, when I play her, but for now, she's got a dazzling smile, a relatively sweet voice, has a certain coldness to her eyes at times, and comes across as a prostitute with a heart of gold.
Step 8. Starting Cash and Equipment.
Each character starts with the amount of cash suitable to their Culture and Class, one suitable weapon, and five other items from the Equipment section of the book.
As an Automaton, Hannah starts with no cash. Since she has no starting weapon skills listed as yet (but see below), I decide that a Neobedouin whom she became friendly with after leaving the city was kind enough to give her a small knife. She's also got a very strong corset that serves as 2 AP armour, a dark blue working girl's dress with crinoline, a lady's fan, some silk stockings, and her prized lute that she has somehow managed to keep intact.
Step 9. Choose Airship Skills
Since not all player characters who join an airship crew for the first time will have the requisite Skills, it's assumed that at the beginning of play the characters have been with an airship for several months, and have picked up some knowledge of the skyways. Each player chooses three skills from a list provided, and gains a single point in each of those skills.
For her Airship skills, I choose to give Hannah the following Skills: Perception, Medicine, and Navigation. She gains 1 point in each Skill. Thus, with her Perception at 3, we can now determine from Step 4 that the character's Initiative is 8 (3+2+3). In the game stats below, I've noted with an "A" that the character has taken these three Skills as her Airship Skills.
Step 10. Choose Schtick Skills
See Step 2. Each character may now choose three Skills from the Shctick Skills list for the appropriate Schtick chosen earlier, and gain 1 point in each Skill.
Since the airship in question has the Schtick of Traders, I decide on the following Skills for Hannah: Etiquette, Culture, and Streetwise. I take Neobedouin as the Culture specialization. So Hannah gains 1 point in each of these Skills. In the game stats below, I've noted with an "S" that the character has taken these three SDkills as her Schtick Skills.
Step 11. Choose Resources, and customize the Airship.
Since I'm merely creating the character here, I've not created or customised the Airship that the player characters would have. Perhaps if enough folks want to know more about that process, I can do a second Character Creation post for the game, just doing up an Airship for the player characters.
So, when all is said and done, Hannah Drei looks something like this...
Name: Hannah Drei (Hannah-3) Player: JMK Culture: Neovictorian Race: Automaton Background: Prostitute (Doll) Class: -- Gender: Female Age: 10 (looks 22) Hair: Dark brown Eyes: Hazel with green flecks Airship: Pick a Name Schtick: Traders Captain: Pick a Name ATTRIBUTES Strength 2 Presence 3 Dexterity 3 Wits 2 Fortitude 1 Resolve 1 Initiative 8 Movement 8 Sneak 4 Run 24 Swim 8 Leap Horizontal 4 Jump Vertical 2 Health 3 Dice SKILLS Act 3 Athletics 1 Bull 1 Charm 3 Dance 4 Dodge 1 Empathy 2 S Etiquette 1 General Knowlege 2 A Perception 3 S Streetwise 3 Conversation 1 S Culture (Neobedouin) 1 Fashion 2 Instrument (Lute) 1 A Medicine 2 A Navigation 1 Performance 2 Seduction 4 TALENTS Angel Face (Adds +2 modifier to rolls if actively seeking to appear innocent) Mere Flesh Wounds (Penalties from wounds are reduced by 1 point) Knock 'Em Dead (Gain +2 dice to Performance Skill roll when playing in front of more than 5 people) Rock Your World 2 (Adds +4 dice to any relevant social interactions, such as when using the Seduction Skill) COMPLICATIONS Autograph Hunter (Harry Bear) Enemy (Horace Whitaker-Jones) Contacts: Harry Bear (Neobedouin trader, who is impressed with her trading prowess, and constantly shows up at inopportune moments) Contact: Horace Whitaker-Jones (Neovictorian of the Upper Class who was dealing secrets to a Skyfolk contact in the establishment where she worked, and he's intent on hunting her down) Fate Points: 8 Armour: Armoured corset (2 APs) Weapons: Small knife (Damage 4) Helios: 0 Equipment: Working girl's dress (dark blue, with crinoline); lady's fan; silk stockings; musical instrument (lute; in case)
And there you have the character that I created for the first time with the Abney Park's Airship Pirates RPG. An experienced player can likely create a character for the system in around 20 minutes; a newbie to the game might take a good hour for the first time, maybe longer, depending on how much background information to the game they need to start with.
Anyway, I hope this encourages you to take a look at the game system.