NaGa DeMon: A question of character

icon-play Due to some unforeseen family crisis progress on my NaGa DeMon project is much slower than I anticipated. Luckily it hasn’t come to a total standstill yet. Today I actually managed to finish the character creation section and what better way is there to present a new system than by going through its character creation process.

The character we want to create today could be a typical League Soldier who we will call Commander Shep… eh … Farmer. She’s part of the LDF’s marine corps and has already seen some action. Since we want to focus on the mechanical side of things we don’t need a fully-fledged out concept yet.

Galaxy Core (that’s what I called the system powering Galaxy Rising) is a rules-light d%-based system. Each character is described by three attributes (Physical, Mental, Social – each ranked from 1 to 20) and eight pretty broad skills that get some more granularity by player-defined specializations that grant bonuses from +10% to +30%. There are also three values directly derived from the attributes: body points, Initiative, and Damage Bonus. Last but not least each character has up to three “hooks” (think of FATE Aspects) that help to flesh out the character.

You can either randomly generate the three attributes by rolling 1d10+10 three times (a roll of 0 counts as a 0 here) and distributing these values among the attributes. Alternatively you distribute 45 points. For this demonstration I use the second method.

As a soldier Cmdr. Farmer needs good Physical and Mental abilities, so I put 18 in PHY, 15 in MEN, and 12 in SOC. This results in the following derived values: 46 body points, Initiative of 16, and a damage bonus of 4. This doesn’t look that bad. 🙂

Now lets calculate the skill base chances. Combat (PHY+MEN) is 33%, Communication (MEN+SOC) is 27%, Knowledge (MENx2) is 30%, Perception (MEN+SOC) is 27%, Physique (PHYx2) is 36%, Mechanics (PHY+MEN) is 33%, Technology (MENx2) is 30% and last but not least Stealth (PHY+SOC) is 30%.

The next step is selecting the character’s three primary skills. These are the skills most important to the character and get a +20% bonus each. For Cmdr. Farmer we pick Combat, Physique, and Mechanics.

After that we are ready to pick our character’s three specializations. Each specialization grants an additional +10% bonus but only on certain situations. A good choice of specializations would be Combat: Blaster Rifle, Physique: Dodging, and Mechanics: Drive Ground Vehicle. Specializations are player-defined by the way. The final game will probably have a long list of examples but the rules allow the players and GM to come up with their own ideas to best suit their campaign.

Last but not least each character needs up to three hooks. Hooks are short sentences like quotes, slogans etc. which describe a character’s motivations, goals, or character traits. I am not sure if the hooks are just something that helps the player roleplay his or her character and the GM to come up with adventure ideas, or if there should be mechanical aspects as well. But I guess I’ll find out during playtest. Good hooks for Cmdr. Farmer could be something like “Never give up, never surrender!” or “I still can’t forget the Jupiter incident!”.

In the final game you now pick your character’s gear, BUT I haven’t finished the gear lists yet, so this step will have to wait until another day. But let’s look at our character’s final stats:

Cmdr. Susan Farmer
PHY 18, MEN 15, SOC 12, Body points: 46, Initiative: 16, Damage Bonus: 4
Combat 53% (Specialization: Blaster Rifle), Communication 27%, Knowledge 30%, Perception 27%, Physique 56% (Specialization: Dodging), Mechanics 53% (Specialization: Drive Ground Vehicle), Technology 30%, Stealth 30%.
Hooks: “Never give up, never surrender!”, “I still can’t forget the Jupiter incident!”

Of course the system is still far from being completely finished, but I am quite happy how everything turned out so far. If you have any questions, advice, or criticism, feel free to post in the comments below. Any feedback is appreciated!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

7 thoughts on “NaGa DeMon: A question of character”

  1. Looks like as a starting character, you’d be lucky to have a better than 50/50 chance of success on skill checks, the few times you get higher being specializations. Sounds good to me, but my next question is; how easy is character advancement? I wouldn’t want to spend most of the game having such long odds when attempting almost anything unless I’d been trained in it during character gen.

    1. The way I plan things right now, players can advance their characters at the end of every session and after a couple of sessions the characters should actually be pretty competent. During advancement you can also pick new specializations and you can pick each specialization up to three times in order to get a hefty +30% bonus.

      1. Now that, is a damned fine idea. Reminds me a little of WFRP, but I imagine you won’t be worrying too much about career paths, concentrating more on what makes sense for the character.

  2. Reads quick and simple. The Specializations seem to really shape the character well and I really like that they are playerdefined. With the huge % bonus the three primary skills give you also define characters in functions and as such create specialists and niches, simple and elegant!

    Not sure about hooks, but I had a problem with Fate Aspects too so that is not surprising. 🙂 But I would give a tiny mechanical bonus when a hook applies 5-10%

    If you need playtesters let me know, I would like to try this in action.

    1. At the moment hooks are totally optional and have no mechanical effect. So if you don’t like them, you can easily throw them out.

      Regarding playtest: I might try to schedule a Hangout game for playtest. I’ll let you know when I actually do so.

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