Character Creation Primer

Acronyms to Know:
GM – Game Master (the person writing this guide) =)
PC – Player Character (that’s you guys reading the guide)
NPC – Non-Player Character (everybody who isn’t a PC; the GM controls them)
PL – Power Level
DC- Difficulty Class
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The following is a list of points to consider for character creation, as stated from Mutants and Masterminds (the name of our currently-used system)

GM’s recommended order for character creation

  1. Background
  2. Complications
  3. Receive Starting Power Level
  4. Assign Ability Ranks
  5. Assign Advantages and Ranks
  6. Assign Powers and Ranks
  7. Assign Skills and Ranks
  8. Acquire Gadgets and Gear (see section for details)
  9. Assign Defense Ranks

BACKGROUND

-Name A public name and/or assumed code name, secret identity, etc. Be sure to list all known aliases you want to have for the character.
-Origin Where the character came from and how they acquired their abilities, identity, etc. Origins may include the following: character’s powers gained from an accident, character is a non-human or a metahuman (mutant), character’s powers are “given” to them by some other being, or they are acquired from training.
-Age This will have a profound effect on your character. Traits will be greatly based on what is appropriate for a typical person of a particular physical (and mental) age group.
-Appearance This will also affect character creation. Different complications and advantages (such as Attractive) can be attributed to your character’s appearance.
-Personality This will help players determine their character’s motivations, as well as have a profound effect on the overall chemistry of the adventure group itself.
-Goals The objectives that your character strive for in their lives. They will be significant aids to giving your character depth.

COMPLICATIONS

-Complications are a helpful tool for GMs to create challenges for your character to deal with. The more complications, the better, and the more interesting the gaming experience will be in general. In addition, there are many opportunities to earn Hero Points whenever complication-hindered players overcome certain challenges.

-Every player should choose a minimum of two complications for their character. At least one complication must be a Motivation, a prime directive that your character abides by (or strives for most of the time) no matter what the situation may be. Playing out your character’s Motivation can sometimes earn you a Hero Point (see Hero Point page), especially in situations where doing so isn’t your “best option”.
-Examples of Motivations:

  • Moral/Honor Code
  • Greed
  • Sense of Justice
  • Patriotism/Nationalism
  • Recognition/Fame
  • Responsibility/Obligation
  • Thrills

-If one character’s motivations are shared by another, a circumstance bonus may be applied by the GM on interaction skill checks when interacting with said character. Circumstantial penalties also may apply when interacting with people of strongly-opposed motivations.
-Motivations can be used as a descriptor for certain powers (i.e. a power that only affects “good” or “evil” targets)
-Some powers can be linked to a character’s motivation (ex. someone who draws strength from their convictions, faith, morality, etc.). However, characters may lose their powers via Power Loss (see below) if they change or waver in their motivation.
-Characters with multiple motivations may encounter situations where one will be in conflict with another. Such events can allow for motivations to be dropped or changed as deemed by the player.
-Other examples of Complications:

  • Accident
  • Addiction
  • Disability
  • Enemy
  • Fame
  • Hatred (irrational hatred for something or someone, racism, sexism, etc.)
  • Honor
  • Identity
  • Obsession
  • Phobia
  • Power Loss (circumstances cause your powers to fail or stop working, or rob you of them altogether)
  • Prejudice (a member of an oppressed minority; a person on the receiving end of racism, sexism, etc.)
  • Quirk (a personality quirk; certain likes, dislikes, hobbies, neuroses, etc)
  • Relationship
  • Responsibility
  • Rivalry
  • Secret (you are trying to hide something from the world that might embarrass or damage your reputation)
  • Temper
  • Weakness (a particular thing that makes a character vulnerable that others would otherwise be able to resist)

-The maximum number of complications one can have at one time will be designated by the GM
-Complications can be changed during the course of the game as new experiences or events occur. So, if a certain complication has been resolved or overcome by a character, new ones can be added later on to replace them

POWER LEVEL

The GM assigns the starting PL for all members of the group at the beginning of the adventure.
The level dictates how many power points you have to start and how you can spend them.

-1 PL = 15 starting power points
-When all characters have accumulated 15 power points each, the party’s PL will be raised
-GM will award an additional 5 starting power points for characters that have an extensive background
-Power points are awarded to players at the GM’s discretion during the course of the adventure.

Basic Trait Costs (What you spend your power points on)
Ability (the main stats) – 2 points per 1 ability rank
Defense – 1 point per 1 defense rank
Skill – 1 point per 2 skill ranks
Advantage – 1 point per advantage or 1 advantage rank

Rules for Assigning Points (Value limitations)

Skill Modifier Your character’s total skill modifier cannot exceed your PL +10.
Skill modifier equation is as follows: (ability rank + skill rank + advantage modifier). For example, a level 8 character cannot use a skill where the total value will exceed 18 (level 8 + 10). This applies to trained AND untrained skill modifiers.

Attack & Effect Your character’s attack bonus and effect rank can’t exceed your PL * 2 (twice your PL). If an effect rank requires a resistance check and not an attack check, it cannot exceed the power level.

Dodge & Toughness The sum of your character’s Dodge and Toughness can’t exceed your PL * 2

Parry & Toughness The sum of your character’s Parry and Toughness can’t exceed your PL * 2

Fortitude & Will The sum of your character’s Fortitude and Will can’t exceed your PL * 2

Reallocating Power Points Character traits are normally fixed at the start of the adventure. However, there some cases where the GM can allow for changes to be made, such as the result of a significant event (exposure to radiation or chemicals, etc)

ABILITIES

GM’s Note: The basics on Abilities have been covered already. Anybody who still needs an explanation, let me know and I’ll fill this section out more later.

ABILITY BENCHMARKS

RANKS
-5 Completely inept/disabled
-4 Weak; infant
-3 Younger child
-2 Child; elderly, impaired
-1 Below average; teenager
0 Average adult
+1 Above Average
+2 Well Above Average
+3 Gifted
+4 Highly Gifted
+5 Best in a Nation
+6 One of the Best in the World
+7 Best Ever; Peak of Human Achievement
+8 Low superhuman
+9 Moderate Superhuman
+13 High Superhuman
+15 Very High Superhuman
+20 COSMIC; We are Moved to Tears by the Scope of your Ability!!! (T_T)

-All benchmarks are not to be conceived literally; they are to be applied in comparison to an average human being. High-ranking humans can be considered well-trained or amazingly-talented as justification for high-numbered abilities. Remember that this is a rating of how adept a character is in GENERAL, not counting the added benefits of skills, powers, complications, motivations, offense, defense, equipment, etc.

ADVANTAGES

GM’s Note: The Advantages category is very extensive and exhausting. Therefore, I will not be listing every single advantage here in detail. Instead, I will create another page to include a descriptive list of Advantages that certain players can use for quick reference, which can be added on as needed. Send your requests to the GM, and it will be added. During our character creation planning sessions, I will aid you in choosing advantages for your character based on your descriptions and requests. Another thing to note: Advantages are NOT set in stone! If a situation presents itself that a player wishes he had a certain ability, advantage, etc., and such a trait is appropriate for that character, I can allow for permanent modifications at the cost of a Hero Point. Be mindful that Hero Points are rare and valuable, so take caution in using them.

ADVANTAGE LIST (ABRIDGED)

COMBAT
Accurate Attack
All-Out Attack
Chokehold
Close Attack
Defensive Attack
Defensive Roll
Evasion
Fast Grab
Favored Environment
Grabbing Finesse
Great Endurance
Improved Aim
Improved Defense
Improved Disarm
Improved Grab
Improved Initiative
Improved Hold
Improved Smash
Improved Trip
Improvised Weapon
Move-by Action
Power Attack
Precise Attack
Prone Fighting
Quick Draw
Ranged Attack
Redirect
Set-Up
Takedown
Throwing Mastery
Uncanny Dodge
Weapon Bind
Weapon Break

SKILL
Agile Feint
Animal Empathy
Artificer
Attractive
Connected
Contacts
Daze
Fascinate
Favored Foe
Hide in Plain Sight
Improvised Tools
Inventor
Jack-of-all-trades
Languages
Ritualist
Skill Mastery
Startle
Taunt
Tracking
Well-Informed

FORTUNE
Beginner’s Luck
Inspire
Leadership
Luck
Seize Initiative
Ultimate Effort

GENERAL
Assessment
Benefit
Diehard
Eidetic Memory
Equipment
Extraordinary Effort
Fearless
Instant Up
Interpose
Minion
Second Chance
Sidekick
Teamwork
Trance

POWERS

GM’s Note: The use of powers for our games may be limited or non-existent, depending on what the group decides on. As of now, the decision to use powers is still waiting to be voted on. Therefore, this section will be elaborated on more later.

-Powers are basically abilities that a character possesses that would generally be considered “superhuman”.
-Powers are made up of one or more effects and can be shaped using modifiers (see modifiers below), which can increase or decrease the power point cost for each effect
-Some powers have a specific list of extras and flaws which can be chosen to change the power’s effectiveness and the total power point cost to use said power.
-Power Cost Equation:
Effect Cost = [(Base Effect Cost + Extras – Flaws) * Rank] + Flat Modifiers
-When creating adventure settings where superhuman powers are non-existent, devices (i.e. powers with the Removable flaw modifier) can be used as a substitute (See Gadgets and Gear section).

Modifiers
GM’s note: To be added later

SKILLS

How a skill check works:

D20 + SKILL RANK + ABILITY MODIFIER + MISC. MODIFIERS
-The higher the total, the better the result. If the check equals or exceeds the Difficulty Class (DC), the skill is generally considered successful.

Untrained Skill Checks- attempts by an untrained character to use a trained skill will result in automatic failure. Some skills, however, may have elements of both trained and untrained qualities, which are explained in the skill description.

Types of Skills
Interaction – skills dealing in social interaction
Manipulation – skills that require physical manipulation

SKILL LIST

Example Skill:
SKILL NAME
Ability-Trained Only-Interaction-Manipulation-Requires Tools

Skill Name- what the skill is called
Ability- what is applied as the modifier for a skill check
Trained Only- if the skill has “Trained Only” listed, you must have at least 1 rank in the skill to use it. If absent, then untrained characters may use it. Some skills have elements of both, which are explained in the skill description.
Interaction – Skill is interaction-based
Manipulation – Skill is manipulation-based
Requires Tools – may need to have proper tools equipped to use this skill

ACROBATICS
Agility-Trained Only

ATHLETICS
Strength

CLOSE COMBAT
Fighting

DECEPTION
Presence-Interaction

EXPERTISE
Intellect-Trained Only
INSIGHT
Awareness

INTIMIDATION
Presence-Interaction

INVESTIGATION
Intellect-Trained Only

PERCEPTION
Awareness

PERSUASION
Presence-Interaction

RANGED COMBAT
Dexterity

SLEIGHT OF HAND
Dexterity-Manipulation

STEALTH
Agility

TECHNOLOGY
Intellect-Trained Only-Requires Tools
TREATMENT
Intellect-Trained Only-Manipulation-Requires Tools

VEHICLES
Dexterity-Trained Only-Manipulation

GADGETS AND GEAR

GM’s Note: Like the Powers section, this is something best left to deal with for when we meet together for the planning session. A separate page on items, weapons, armor, vehicles, devices, etc. will be produced later on for reference.

DEVICES
- These are basically considered “powers” with the Removable flaw applied to them; the power or effect is external to the character using it.

EQUIPMENT
-Ordinary everyday items that are used by characters. Some types of equipment are needed as a requirement to use specific skills.

Character Creation Primer

Lion and Dragon - Rebel Yell Dr_Magnanimus