Congratulations on your decision to enter the world of the Machine Chronicles. Creating a character is the first step towards a simulated lifetime of adventure and mayhem. If you’ve never made a roleplaying character before, don’t panic! It’s fun, and easier than it seems. There are two popular approaches to the character creation process:
- Decide your character’s important details — like their name, personality, background — then roll up your stats.
- Roll your numbers first, then use those to form a character.
The first method is great if you already know what sort of person you want to play, but you can find yourself stuck with a warrior that couldn’t punch their way out of a paper bag. That’s its own kind of fun, of course. The second is good if you have no idea what you’re going for. Or you could mix them up, or do neither!
Making a character goes like this:
- Roll primary attributes (important stuff like strength, stamina and intelligence).
- Calculate secondary attributes like luck and damage bonus.
- Pick your job and hobby skills and allocate points.
- Fill in the sexy details.
NB: A lot of the wording in the following sections is lifted from Call of Cthulhu for the sake of speed. I’ll be rewriting it soon. The actual systems are rather different, although it is still based on the BRP system overall.
Strength (STR) – measures the raw physical power your character can bring to bear. It influences the amount of damage he can deliver with a punch or kick, as well as his grip, or ability to lift heavy items. Roll 4 six sided dice, drop the lowest, and add the remaining dice together to determine the value for STR.
Constitution (CON) – is a measure of the hardiness of your character. It influences the amount of damage you can take before going unconscious or dying as well as how resistant you are to diseases and poison. Roll 4 six-sided dice, drop the lowest, and add the remaining dice together to determine the value for CON.
Dexterity (DEX) – is a measure of your character’s agility and speed. Roll 4 six-sided dice, drop the lowest, and add the remaining dice together to determine the value for DEX.
Power (POW) – is a combination of personal magnetism, spirit, and mental stability. It influences your character’s ability to cast magical spells, as well as his resistance to the sanity-blasting horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos. Roll 4 six-sided dice, drop the lowest, and add the remaining dice together to determine the value for POW.
Size (SIZ) – is a measure of your character’s physical mass. It influences how much damage you can take, as well as how much you can deliver. Also, as a measure of your character’s weight, it influences the ability of horrible monsters to pick him up and toss him around the room. Roll 3 six sided dice, drop the lowest, add the remaining dice together and add 6 to that total to determine the value for SIZ.
Intelligence (INT) – is a rough guide to your character’s cunning and ability to make leaps of logic and intuition. Roll 3 six-sided dice, drop the lowest, add the remaining dice together and add 6 to that total to determine the value for INT.
Appearance (APP) – measures the charm and physical appeal of your character. Roll 4 six-sided dice, drop the lowest, and add the remaining dice together to determine the value for APP.
Education (EDU) – is a measure of the knowledge which your character has accumulated through formal education, or the venerated “School of Hard Knocks.” Roll 4 six-sided dice, drop the lowest, add the remaining together and add 3 to the total to determine the value for EDU.
Before play begins, you may swap around any attributes which use the same dice to determine their value. In other words, you could swap any of the values for Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Appearance or Power with each other. You could only swap Size and Intelligence with each other. Education remains static.
You can also move 3 points from any one attribute to another, repeating the procedure twice. Be advised though that you cannot raise the attributes beyond their natural maximum, so that Education can’t be raised beyond 21, and the other attributes can’t be raised over 18.
There are a number of attributes which are determined after you have figured the attributes above. These are Idea, Knowledge, Luck, Damage Bonus, Magic Points, and Hit Points.
Idea is simply your INT score multiplied by 5. This score is used as a percentile roll to give your character information, or to make leaps of deduction in certain situations. Percentile rolls will be explained further down.
Knowledge is your EDU score multiplied by 5. This score is used as a percentile roll to show how your character’s education and training gives insight certain situations.
Luck is your POW score multiplied by 5. This score is used as a percentile roll to give your character gleans of insight in certain situations. The Luck roll is often used to give your character a last chance in a crisis situation, or to cause bad things to happen to the only character in the group to fail the roll.
Damage Bonus is how much extra damage your character does with a successful close-combat attack. Add your STR and SIZ and consult the table* to find your damage bonus.
Jobs and Hobbies
At this point, you should have an idea of what your adventurer does for a living. This choice of occupation will influence the selection of skills for your character. To begin with, choose an occupation. Anything you think would be interesting to play is valid, but you should confirm this with your GM. The occupations are only limited by your imagination.
Once you have select the occupation, you should look at the list of skills on you character sheet. Choose 8 skills which are appropriate for your character’s chosen occupation. These are your “Occupation Skills.” You now have to assign percentile points to the skills on the character sheet. Before you do so, please note that no skill can start play with a rating higher than 75. You multiply your EDU score by 20 to get the number of points to spread amongst your Occupation Skills. Add any number of these points to the eight skills you chose. Each skill on the character sheet also has a number in parenthesis next to it. This is the “Base Chance” that every investigator has with that skill. Any points you add to a skill stack with its Base Chance. For example, if you add 15 points to the “Conceal” skill (Base Chance of 15) you would have “Conceal: 30”. After selecting the Occupation Skills, select your Hobby Skills. These are skills that your character has acquired over the course of his life. To determine how many points you have to spend on them, multiply your INT score by 10. Divide those points amongst any skills on the sheet you would like. Note that you may wish to save a few skill points to buy combat skills such as “Gun,” “Sword,” etc.
And The Rest
Once all that is under control, give it a final look over and then fill in the definitely-not-incidental details like physical appearance, character history, possessions and known affiliations. A lot of this will be kind of empty for a new character, but you’ll be filling in details as the game develops.
Now you’ve got a Machine Chronicles adventurer, ready for action!