Week 2: Character Creation
So with the rules read through the time has come for making characters and in all honesty I have never loved a character creation system as much as this. First of all everything is Point Buy which means everybody starts with the same potential and you don't have to worry about one player taking the spot light after amazing stat rolls or another forever hampered because he is less qualified to be a hero than the commoner NPCs. When you take that and the addition of "Templates" (more on them in a bit) everyone starts equal while still being able to guarantee no one feels like they are jsut a clone of someone else's character.
Speaking of Templates, I honestly LOVE these things. Basically they are the assumed form of selecting a character that is a combination of pre-made and player made. Basically the character already has it's theme (such as Bounty Hunter or Failed Jedi), gear, and Attributes selected. The player then gets to spend skills point as with normal character creation, but the skills most usedful to that theme are already listed. This really speeds up character creation and helps out new players that might not be sure what to prioritize or that might be easily over whelmed by too many selections from the start. For the more experienced players however, there are rules for building your own template which basically boils down to making a character from scratch rather than selecting something someone else has made. I would still say even for those players though the templates are immensely useful as they can inspire ideas and give great examples to tweak to their custom desires.
Fore those that aren't familiar with the D6 System characters have both Attributes and then Skills tied to those attributes all descried as pools of 6 sided dice. The "Point Buy" system is instead buying how many dice or any given pool with separate pools for Attribute and Skill dice. If a player wants the system also provides a couple added levels of depth. First any dice (attribute or skill) can be split into three separate +1 bonuses and can be stacked as high as +2 in any one location. +1 and +2 aren't nearly as large of a potential bonus as a D6, but they are flat numbers and also come into play once characters advance (more on that next week). Secondly Skill Dice can also be broken down into three Specialty Dice. Each skill has a pretty full list of specialties so the sky's the limit on selection. Having a specialty adds an extra dice when a skilled is used for that specific use (Ex: The Blasters skill can be specialized into Blaster Pistols or the Persuasion skill can specialize into Flirting). One thing I love is that there isn't a limit on how many specializations you can have tied to a skill so you Scoundrel might had a decent Hide skill and specialize in both Paling Items and Smuggling Compartments. There's also the added benefit that specialization are easier to level than full skills (also more on that next week). There is also a limit of how many dice can go into skills at character creation with only up to 2 dice going into any one skill and 1 dice into any single specialization. This limits players from pumping all their points into a single skill, however with only 7 starting points there isn't a lot of room to spread and in my opinion helps keep players from shooting themselves in the foot more than anything.
The last part of making a character is 100% Star Wars and that is deciding if you are or aren't Fore Sensitive. Obviously some templates (such as ANY Jedi) are already selected yes. A few such as the Bounty Hunter and other characters that are assumes to live in the darker side of grey are also pre-selected as NO. The rest however, are left blank and up to the player and GM to decide. Now being Fore Sensitive like a lot of things in this game is a double edged sword. First of all the character gets to start with 2 Force points (another mechanic left for another week) which can be game changers, however they are also much more susceptible to falling the Dark Side. A fate that can result in confiscation of character sheets and the addition of a new villain that knows WAY too much about the rest of the party. The other benefit to being having the Force is that a character can learn Force Skills. These skills also open up new force powers for every level of a skill learned. This is basically the magic system in the game and can be used to pull off some amazing things. The flip side to these skills though is at character creation they cost Attribute dice not Skill dice which also means unless you are playing a template that already has them you will need to make a custom template to move those attributes around. The other limit is that these skills don't have specializations and can only start with one dice in any single skill. There are also other limits such as requiring training and different costs for leveling, but like all the other mechanics that take place after character creation, those will be left for another week.
All in all I really found myself liking the way character creation is presented. Giving multiple options depending on expertise with the system seems to be a theme in this game as is grows in complexity as the GM feels able to handle it. The template model also has the added benefit of allowing a GM to make the type of story he wants to tell while still compromising with the players by letting them customize the options they are given. A GM could easily create a cast of characters knowing they will (potentially) fit the needs of his campaign while skill giving the players freedom to make each character their own from the start much more than pre-mades allow. Honestly, it almost feel like the route of a good RPG video game where programmers are limited in what they can provide while wanting players to build what they want. I find it odd a system like this has somehow faded out of more modern games as it actually feels like a more advanced and evolved concept than most of what is out there.