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> Background Based Character Creation Method, That is, borrowing Traveller's chargen.
Draco18s
post Jun 16 2009, 08:03 PM
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Having only recently been introduced to Traveller I rolled up a character last night, it was actually a lot of fun, and I thought to myself, "How feasible could this be to adapt to ShadowRun?"

I'm contemplating the method in two fashions, one which actually builds the character, like Traveller, and the other which guides a character's background without getting in the way of a BP or Karma build, other than possibly suggesting diversification in skills or a history behind a particular implant.

For example, if the character had spent some time as part of a illegal gambling ring he could have picked up Slight of Hand just from being around card sharks. Sure, he might be a gun-bunney with a brain like a bear trap (rusty and illegal in 47 states), but it guides the character to a slightly more organic state, having some related, but off-build skill at a rank or two.

It's this second method I want to try and develop first, although the first will be easier to create, one where live events happen but don't grant any changes to the character sheet--at least not any farther than a few BP ("Acquire a small gambling debt and 1 subterfuge skill for getting caught cheating at poker and learning from your mistake" for example).

I also will want to use the Traveller method for the dice rolls themselves (primarily 2d6 with 11 outcomes, or 1d6 and 6 outcomes) rather than the ShadowRun method, as it generally has fewer likely outcomes and far more exceedingly unlikely ones. Ex. a dice pool of 9 has 10 possible outcomes, but rolling 9 successes is lower than 0.01%.

Anyway, to get this started we need a collection of career choices (not classes! I rolled up a Scientist/Naval Gunner last night in the interest of creating a gunslinger/tinkerer, sure ended up with Mechanics, Engineering (Jump Drives,Electronics), Vac-Suit, and Computers, but that's what life as a gunnery officer does: fires the big guns and repairs them!)

Each career path should have 3 or so specializations (Scholar was broken down into Field Researcher, Scientist, and Physician). Each path has 6 skills, and each specialization has 6 skills (they can overlap, the scientist has Any Science twice and the base skills also include Any Science). Each path also needs an event table (2d6 for 11 outcomes), a survival and promotion table, and a rank benefits table (not all entries need to be filled), a Mishaps table (mishaps generally eject you from a career and can lead to injury; 1d6 6 outcomes).

I'll try and come up with an example here.
It should be noted that I'm using Traveller's rules for advancement, which is a 2d6 roll plus mods (from indicated stat) against the listed target number.
Ex. Str 8+ means roll 2d6 add bonus* (or penalty) from strength and you need an 8 or higher.
[ Spoiler ]


For those unfamiliar with Traveler, a quick rundown on how to use the tables, plus a note on skills.
[ Spoiler ]


As always, thoughts, comments, help, and such appreciated.



*Traveller uses 2d6 for stats, meaning average is 7. Every 2 points above is +1, every 2 points below is a -1
Shadowrun being a 1-6(9) system this needs to be changed, I'm thinking:
CODE
1     -2
2     -1
3-4   0
5-6   +1
7-8   +2
9+    +3

As most PCs will have a 5 or better in their primary stat, and 3-4 is average.

**Not included here...yet

***Traveller starts you at 18 and every term of service is 4 years. I'm more inclined to start SR characters at 16 and increase their age by 2 years each time (all characters must serve 1 term in some profession, though there is no maximum, though aging does take its toll and will kill you at some point).
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Synner667
post Jun 16 2009, 08:20 PM
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Interesting idea.

The Traveller generation system provides well rounded characters, and is almost impossible to create the outrageous/over-specialised/unreasonable videogame characters that you get with player-driven points based systems.

I prefer something along the lines of the lifepath from CP2020, though I think rolling for every year is a little too time consuming.


I do think you have an interesting idea, with some great potential, and I'd really like to see what this leads to.
But, I think you should take step back and try for the essence of what you're trying for - rather than doing a brute-force conversion.

For instance, determine the main "classes" [warrior, techie, mage, law enforcement, face, gangboy - for instance] in SR, determine results based on number hits from dice rolls [rather than a table-based result], etc.
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Synner667
post Jun 16 2009, 08:28 PM
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You might also want to have a look at the GURPS Traveller, since that's a point based system and they should already have done the d6/table-based system to point-based system conversion in some way.
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Draco18s
post Jun 16 2009, 08:56 PM
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QUOTE (Synner667 @ Jun 16 2009, 04:20 PM) *
For instance, determine the main "classes" [warrior, techie, mage, law enforcement, face, gangboy - for instance] in SR, determine results based on number hits from dice rolls [rather than a table-based result], etc.


I'm not sure about that. The problem is the low number of common results.

Personally the Events Table really shouldn't change in format, it covers a wide variety of things, the most common result (a 7) referrs to common events in life, regardless of "class" (getting into a romantic relationship was the one I rolled when fiddling around with Traveller--we're using the Mongoose 2008 printing, btw).

I could see the standard SR success system for the other things though: survival, advancement, other tests (such as the gambling one, or court one above).

I'll see if I can find the GURPS book, though I have never previously used GURPS. The book I do have does offer a "point based" build system (number of points based on number of terms severed), though based on my quick glance you buy (instead of rolling) your six stats and skills and then spend points to get ranks and benefit rolls, but cuts out the Events table entirely, which is one thing I want to keep around.

CP2020 is a game I've never heard of before.
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Synner667
post Jun 16 2009, 09:16 PM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Jun 16 2009, 09:56 PM) *
I'm not sure about that. The problem is the low number of common results.

Personally the Events Table really shouldn't change in format, it covers a wide variety of things, the most common result (a 7) referrs to common events in life, regardless of "class" (getting into a romantic relationship was the one I rolled when fiddling around with Traveller--we're using the Mongoose 2008 printing, btw).

I could see the standard SR success system for the other things though: survival, advancement, other tests (such as the gambling one, or court one above).

I'll see if I can find the GURPS book, though I have never previously used GURPS. The book I do have does offer a "point based" build system (number of points based on number of terms severed), though based on my quick glance you buy (instead of rolling) your six stats and skills and then spend points to get ranks and benefit rolls, but cuts out the Events table entirely, which is one thing I want to keep around.

CP2020 is a game I've never heard of before.

Hmmm, sounds like you have all you need for a good start.

The events [good and bad] are what makes a character "interesting", so it's good that you want to leave that in [it's that randomness and chance to have negative things happen to the character that annoys the points-based crowd]...
...Not sure how I'd do it, myself - though I do think you could use 6 dice, using the number of hits to replicate the d6-ness of Traveller.

CP2020 = Cyberpunk v2.0.2.0 = the other main cyberpunk system that people tend to know about.
Character generation involves rolling once/year and using the results to gain enemies, extra skills, enemies, contacts, gear, lifestyle, etc.
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Chrysalis
post Jun 16 2009, 10:04 PM
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The Central Casting series of books by Task Force Games are worth looking into, or look at Warhammer FRP for quidelines. Although the traveller background works, but then you have tables which need to be changed.
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Draco18s
post Jun 16 2009, 11:37 PM
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"FRP"?

QUOTE
The events [good and bad] are what makes a character "interesting", so it's good that you want to leave that in [it's that randomness and chance to have negative things happen to the character that annoys the points-based crowd]...


True, but I'm doing this for myself. Once I have something down that works like Traveller I can pare down and find the things that make no stat-wise difference (or minor, less than 20 BP in either direction net) and then it could be used with point-based and offer a little more flavor. The no-BP method wouldn't be something I'd stick to religiously ("oh, that doesn't quite fit with what I had in mind, but that does," etc)
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Draco18s
post Jun 17 2009, 02:22 AM
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QUOTE (Synner667 @ Jun 16 2009, 05:16 PM) *
Not sure how I'd do it, myself - though I do think you could use 6 dice, using the number of hits to replicate the d6-ness of Traveller.


Let me try this on for size:

For char-gen based tests, roll 6+Attribute dice, looking for N successes.
Trivial tasks have a threshhold of 1
Easy tasks have a threshhold of 2
Moderate tasks have a threshhold of 3
Hard tasks have a threshhold of 4
Impossible tasks have a threshhold of 5+

So I'm looking at aquiring a job at a Moderate task (someone with a 4 attribute has a 70% chance of landing the job--Traveler has an average of a 6+ to get a job--there are some 4+ and Nobility is a 10+ and you should have a +1 from stat, meaning that you need a 5 on 2d6, which is 83%).

We're a little low on our Finding Job chances. I could drop Jobs down to a 2+ or I could raise the base dice pool to 9 (your average Joe has 12 dice, needs 3 successes--81.8% chance). I'd prefer the latter, having only +/- 1 around the average job qualifications isn't wide enough.

So to fix the above, with realtivistic statistics

For char-gen based tests, roll 9+Attribute dice, looking for N or more successes.
Trivial tasks have a threshhold of 1 (average Joe: 99%) [Traveller equiv of 3+ (with average Joe +0 bonus)]
Easy tasks have a threshhold of 2 (average Joe: 94%) [Traveller equiv of 4+]
Moderate tasks have a threshhold of 3 (average Joe: 81%) [Traveller equiv of 5+]
Difficult tasks have a threshhold of 4 (average Joe: 60%) [Traveller equiv of 7+]
Hard tasks have a threshhold of 5 (average Joe: 36%) [Traveller equiv of 8.5+]
Impossible tasks have a threshhold of 6+ (average Joe: 17%) [Traveller equiv of 10+]

Not too shabby.

Class list so far:
Tech Junkie (hackers, mechanics, doctors)
Mage (summoners, conjurers, shamans)
Law Enforcement (lone star, PI)
Gang Member (grunt, shark, thief)
Entertainer (trid personality, escort)
Enlisted Man* (army)
Corporate Wage Slave* (accountant)
Entrepreneur* (small business owner)
Woodsman*,** (Back to nature liver,Wild Shapeshifter)
Street Urchin* (Traveller's Drifter)

*Needs more specializations

**I think I need a better name.

Edit:
Event tables will still be 2d6:sum, as you need a bell curve distribution of events and Nd6:success can't do that.
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Draco18s
post Jun 18 2009, 06:41 AM
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Notes:

+2 bonus to Qualification roll (Traveller) is equivalent to a -2 threshold (ShadowRun).
+4 bonus to Advancement roll (Traveller) is equivalent to a -3 threshold (ShadowRun).

The unusual event (roll a 12 on life events) needs to be replaced in entirety.

Healer/Medic/Doctor doesn't fit under the "techie" superclass. Not enough skills; First Aid, Medicine, and Cybertechnology, of which you only really want one (First Aid), plus it differs too much from the others (Hacker and Mechanic, with Technomancer as the "advanced") to have any skills in a common pool, or any "other stuff" benefits.
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Synner667
post Jun 18 2009, 07:45 PM
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Careerwise, I think you should add :-
Doctor as a separate [or subset of Scientist]
Politician/Noble [high ranker in a hierarchy]
Dilettante [rich traveller - often a patron]
Barbarian [social misfit, such as a Luddite or Amish]
Merchant [crossover with Entrepreneur]
Journalist

However, I'd start with "basic" careers and let the dicerolls/choices determine career specialisations to determine the final career.


I think you need to go back to basics - decide what you want, without numbers :-
Character generation by table, each roll determining 'x' years of life and achievements
Character gains skill, promotion, bonus for later
At the end, Character leaves and starts the game, gaining benefits according to what's been accrued.


However, remember Traveller careers are subject to background/planet/etc.
SR doesn't really do Social Classes, or childhood - not in an Attribute way, so that might be something to think about.

I might have to dig out my copy of Black Book Traveller, because I don't remember much about the Traveller tables.

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Draco18s
post Jun 18 2009, 08:26 PM
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Career specializations shouldn't be random.

For ShadowRun I see each (set of) rolls being 2 years worth (vs. Traveller's four), as typically runners are younger, while still maintaining a highly skilled level of...skill. Eg. how often do you see a 20-something runner with a skill at 6 and at least one stat at 6?

I've got a few tables down, they just aren't easily posted to the forums. The math on the dice rolls was pretty easy to work out, I had a spreadsheet left over from the OR Threshold argument for determining the probability of N or more successes on Y dice, I just had to add columns for 1 success to 3 successes and find some base value that had results close to Traveller's 2d6 method.

Skills gained are dependent on "class" and a random factor, though due to the nature of some skills being unwanted (cough, banishing, cough) and the lower number of skills nature of ShadowRun I may have to introduce a higher degree of choice in the matter (such as rolling twice and picking one result).

And true, SR doesn't have a childhood or social standing in any way, though we do have Street Cred, Notoriety, and Public Awareness. I can easily see those being modified slightly by events, for example on the Life Events table of Traveller you can be accused of a crime (whether you did it or not) and lose social standing. IN SR terms it'd be gaining Notoriety (as runners commit crimes all the time, this event would be more breaking the gentleman's agreement of runners kind of thing).

I've thought about separating out Doctor, but there's nothing else to combine with it (SR doesn't really have scientist types) and it'd be rather sparce alone. Your Barbarian fits in under my Woodsman category--low/no-tech, rugged, etc. Dilettante, noble, and politician are even harder to squeeze into ShadowRun in this method as there are no High Society skills like Carouse, Steward, Admin, or Gambling.

That's part of the reason I need help. Breaking down ShadowRun into classes and subclasses is relatively easy. Giving each class a set of six different skills and then each subclass another set of skills unique from each other is extremely difficult.
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Synner667
post Jun 18 2009, 08:51 PM
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I wouldn't see careers as random, more "guided" by the dicerolls

Not sure why SR Characters have to be "younger" - much of the fiction that SR derives from has middle-aged Characters [none of the Characters in Neuromancer or Bladerunner or Robocop are young, for instance]...
...But then, maybe that can be tweaked according to the campaign - young, starting outs get 1 year per roll, middle aged and more settled characterd get 4 years per roll.

As for skills at 6 ??
That's the equivalent to fulltime training for years - "athletic superstar", "superstar amongst elite forces", "president:, "has patent to their name", "stunt pilot", "doctorate" [as per the SR v4 rulebook, at skill:6]...
...Not really the province of young people.

The gunbunny, mercenary criminals of SR are really not the characters of Traveller, which creates characters from a much broader spectrum...
...Much more like real life.

As in reallife, most Nobles/Politicians do things other than their job, and need relevant skills...
...Nobles/Politician have "soft" skills - riding, fencing, sports, administration, general knowledge, psychology, hunting, survival, finance, etc...
...Lots of skills, from the other 70% of skills that SR rarely focuses on.

If you want to recreate the Traveller "feel" with SR, you'll end up with characters having a much broader variety of skills...
...Skill gaining is different when you have to do it bit-by-bit, rather than all-at-once.


As a disclaimer, I ought to mention that I'm writing up my own system and am having to sort out character generation. So I'm finding this discussion interesting and a sounding board for me.
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Draco18s
post Jun 18 2009, 10:16 PM
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Points taken.

I do however mean younger than Traveller. In Traveler I made a character who served 6 terms (age 42) who didn't have any skills higher than 2, except one at 3 (Gunner aka Ship Mounted Weapons)).

Runners that should come out of this system should have their primary skills around 3 to 5 and be around the same age.

In any case, I don't mind a broader variety of skills, the problem is the lack of skills to have a variety in.
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Synner667
post Jun 18 2009, 10:40 PM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Jun 18 2009, 11:16 PM) *
I do however mean younger than Traveller. In Traveler I made a character who served 6 terms (age 42) who didn't have any skills higher than 2, except one at 3 (Gunner aka Ship Mounted Weapons)).

Runners that should come out of this system should have their primary skills around 3 to 5 and be around the same age.

In any case, I don't mind a broader variety of skills, the problem is the lack of skills to have a variety in.

Ahhh, I see [referring to "youth" and "not youth"]

Part of the difference is that in Traveller, Pistol:0 = familiar, Pistol:1 = competent, Pistol:2 = good, Pistol:3 = very good, Pistol:4 = amazing...
...So most people had skills in the 0-2 range [if I remember right]
Even though it's not accurate, doubling a Traveller skill level should give an approximate SR skill level.


I'm surprised that you don't know enough skills for your tables ??
I'm sorry, but I'm assuming you're relatively experienced RPG-er. Forgive me, if I'm bamboozling you


This website has some stuff about converting skills and attributes between different RPGs, success probabilities - interesting stuff, and useful !!

You can grab the GURPS Lite rules for free, and that includes more skills than most people even want to know about !!
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Draco18s
post Jun 18 2009, 11:34 PM
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QUOTE (Synner667 @ Jun 18 2009, 05:40 PM) *
I'm surprised that you don't know enough skills for your tables ??
I'm sorry, but I'm assuming you're relatively experienced RPG-er. Forgive me, if I'm bamboozling you


Carouse is not an active skill in ShadowRun. I'm not even sure it has an equivalent. Even as a knowledge skill it comes off as being borderline useless.

Gambling isn't an active skill either, and would fall under a use of an Edge Pool and maybe some diverse knowledge skills (each game).
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Ghantu
post Jun 19 2009, 07:07 PM
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I don't know how helpful you'd find it, but FASA actually made a lifepath generation system... for Mechwarrior (which I guess is "Classic Battletech RPG" now?). It's in the Mechwarrior 3rd book, and if I remember right, it's actually kind of a lifepath-point buy hybrid. It resulted in an awfully complicated skill process, though.

If I remember right, Twilight:2000 also had a lifepath system, but only in the second edition? It's easier for them, though, since all their characters had a military background anyway. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Draco18s
post Jun 23 2009, 05:14 AM
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I think I came up with a resolution for skills between Traveller (40 some skills, 90% of which have some use) and ShadowRun (20 some skills, many of which are situationally useful).

Take 6 skills, chosen thus:

1 Knowledge skill (any)
1 Knowledge skill (related to career path)
1 Active Skill (any)
3 Active Skills (related to career path)

Number from one to six

Roll 1d6 twice, taking that result both times.

Of the skills related to the career path, those must be the same four skills (3 active, 1 knowledge) for as long as you are in that career.

This gives you 4 potential active skills which you are training at any given time, every 2 years worth nets you 1 rank in 2 skills.*

Advancement in rank could either be 2 more rolls or roll twice and take your choice of the two (symbolizing training choices, "Do I want to take a class on combat medicine (First Aid rank), or do I want to hit the shooting range and get better using my gun?"). I'm leaning towards the latter, which increases total skill ranks by 50% (going from Traveller's 4ish to ShadowRun's 6ish) as well as reintroducing more player choice.**

Rank benefits could be reduced to "raise any career skill or knowledge skill with fewer than N ranks by 1." The first (Rank 2) would probably have an N of 1, Rank 4 would have N of 2, and Rank 6 would have an N of 3, filling out your training so that your skill set is balanced such that you should always be capable of performing the basic tasks required.

Wordy footnotes
[ Spoiler ]
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risingstar
post Jul 11 2009, 03:02 PM
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Not to be a downer on this, but couldn't someone just update the background generator from SR2/3?

If you can't find a copy of Shadowrun Supplement Issue #8, let me know and I can email it to you.
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Draco18s
post Jul 12 2009, 06:26 PM
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QUOTE (risingstar @ Jul 11 2009, 11:02 AM) *
Not to be a downer on this, but couldn't someone just update the background generator from SR2/3?

If you can't find a copy of Shadowrun Supplement Issue #8, let me know and I can email it to you.


I didn't know it existed.
Go ahead and email it to me. @gmail.com
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risingstar
post Jul 20 2009, 06:29 AM
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I sent the file to you. Have you received it?
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Stahlseele
post Jul 20 2009, 08:30 AM
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As i am having trouble with coming up with a background and the such, i would be interested in the background generator.
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Draco18s
post Jul 26 2009, 05:05 AM
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QUOTE (risingstar @ Jul 20 2009, 02:29 AM) *
I sent the file to you. Have you received it?


I did. Haven't had a chance to go over it yet.
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