Last weekend my group of players and I decided to give the PDQ system a try. We’ll be using it to run my “Ad Astra” campaign. At first I thought about using the PDQ# rules, that are used for “Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies“, but then I decided to stick to the PDQ core rules. This has a couple of reasons: PDQ# was created with swashbuckling in mind. Especially the whole style dice mechanic revolves around that concept. But for my Ad Astra game I prefer a more subdued tone. It will have action, but it will be grittier and you won’t see any fencing duels, that’s for sure.
Both the free PDQ core rules PDF and the PDQ# PDF don’t come with any magic or psionics rules, but I own both Quester of the Middle Realms and S7S, that come with some additional PDQ rules like magic, vehicular combat (in the case of S/S) and more. But again I won’t just copy the rules from those books. But there is a nice table of modifiers for magic effects that I can use for psionic effects, too.
So, let’s talk about character creation for Ad Astra works. Every character consists of a name, a description (including such things like looks, biography, etc.), a weakness and a couple of qualities. Each character also starts with a fate point and 0 experience points. Currently I plan to use fate points mainly to allow players to save their characters in situations they usually would have died (like when they botched a climbing wall, hundreds of meters above ground for example), but perhaps I will allow more uses when I get more comfortable with the system.
Every character starts with a Past, Motivation and Nationality quality. That’s something I took from PDQ# and it helps fleshing out the character tremendously. My players where quite creative when they came up with their pasts and motivations, so this will surely be a very exciting campaign. All those qualities start on Good [+2].
The eligible Nationalities are Gaian Republic, Tovenaar Empire, Akkathon Federation, Venshran Principality and SpaceCorp Corporate State. The Nationality quality gives the character a bit more background and allows him access to a wide range of knowledge about their home planet, home region, local politics, et cetera. Nationality starts on Good [+2], too.
Aside from Past, Motivation and Nationality, my players were allowed to choose four additional qualities at Good [+2]. A special quality is Esper, since it gives access to psionic abilities. Esper starts a Average [+0], thus making esper characters a bit weaker than their mundane counterparts. But since the psionic talent is very versatile, I think it’s fair. Esper can be used to use such powers as telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation, psychometry, far seeing and many more.
In order to start with a quality higher than Good [+2] you have to forfeit one of the other qualities. For example: You want to start with Good [+2] Esper, so you have only two additional qualities left to choose (in addition to your Past, Motivation and Nationality) of course).
Another important character aspect is his weakness. Every character has one weakness quality and it starts at Poor [-2]. The weakness is a constant story hook and usually leads to downshifts when a characters weakness hampers his actions. But there may be cases when the weakness could also be a strength of a character. For example a curious character may overhear a conversation someone else would have missed.
Alas I forgot to copy my player’s characters, so I will have to post their stats after our next session. So stay tuned for that!
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