Monday, January 22, 2018

The First Exemplar: A Hunger City Character

Really have to come up with a better name.

Let's start with a placeholder name for our new survivor, then: Page. Page's ability scores aren't called ability scores but that's what they are. This foundation determines a lot of things about him: how much damage he can endure/dish out, saving bonuses, pool size of Utility Dice, physical and psychic defense, and Appeal. Appeal is a big deal here; this isn't just how charming or attractive you are but how captivating you are, in the way that even a car fire or a gruesome beast is captivating. This force of personality is not just important for controlling underlings or making peace with a neighboring warlord, but also has other effects discussed below. This is how Page looks afterward:

POWER 13

  • RAD 16
  • Deal +2

TALENT 6

  • TEK 15
  • UD 6

MYSTIQUE 12

  • BIO 12
  • Appeal +1
Dodge 10
Psyche 12
Strikes 3


Time to see what kind of present we're unwrapping with a roll to determine our survivor's type. Turns out Page is a Gravedigger, a synthetic being engineered for a lost purpose who has repurposed themselves. Their frame is fixed so that their damage absorption doesn't increase with experience...the whole reason they are free is that there's no one left to re-engineer them. They do start with more of a threshold than normal, though not as high a threshold as a bio-engineered humanid. They get a bonus for physical defense, can get by with fewer resources, and have different styled saves. They roll 1 "mutation" at generation, and this represents some technologically engineered skill set for whatever their original purpose was. The campaign may lean toward discovering that. Figuring things out about yourself is a big part of it, as is transformation. Let's make those adjustment first before we do anything else or figure out their mutations.

POWER 13

  • RAD 16
  • Deal +2

TALENT 6

  • TEK 13
  • UD 6

MYSTIQUE 12

  • BIO 14
  • Appeal +1
Dodge 12



Psyche 12
Strikes 7

We'll check this on the "mutation" table. Right now the result I rolled is blank - it used to be "know one Hosannah at beginning of game" but I hate that. I've got maybe eight spaces to fill and I'm kind of waiting to fill those in through play. The next result down the list is Feral - you lose the ability to speak any language (though you understand them and can write/use technology to communicate if you find it) and behave at all times like someone wild and possessed, but get a 1/8 bonus to their rolls to survival and knowledge checks in the open wasteland wilderness.

We haven't gotten there yet so let's do something else before we make a bunch of character sheet changes. I'm going to determine Page's skill set now, which comes with a flat bonus and a Utility. I'll build on their resource austerity and choose an option that gives them a flat bonus for psychic defense and a Utility that (on a successful roll) lets them sort of center their cyber-chi and survive with even less. This is shaping up in a sort of Tarzan-meets-WALL-E vein....I'll lean into that. I sacrifice some diversity in my Utilities (dice I can roll for skill effects) and just give Page coin-toss odds at being able to survive on less and to forage and navigate in the wastes. When you have as few Utility Dice as Page does (6 per day) you need to make every one count.

POWER 13

  • RAD 16
  • Deal +2

TALENT 6

  • TEK 13
  • UD 6

MYSTIQUE 12

  • BIO 14
  • Appeal +1
Dodge 12



Psyche 12
Strikes 7

Feral
Sweet Thing

Legend 4
Harmony 4

Not needing to eat or drink much and not being able to communicate I'm going to decide that Page is down one lower jaw. I think apart from that they will look extremely human, though getting close enough to touch will reveal that their body hair is made of thin extruded rubber. I'll say that Page's eyes are especially expressive to account for their Appeal, with 100 more expressions programmed than a normal human eye. Their fingernails have peeled away, revealing a circuit board pattern, for no other reason than that sounds bad ass. I also want Page to be topless and in shredded Dark Sun pants so I'll say that Page at least presents as a human male. I'm going to take some of our rolls and decisions so far and give them a new name: Stray. I'll give them a dog license on a red nylon choker, though between that and the gluk-euch sound it makes the other players may just end up calling them Choker. When you can't tell someone your name you have to more or less settle for what everyone agrees to call you.

Stray's journey begins like many adventures through the City do: at a Revel, in this case put on by a bunch of low level desperadoes to celebrate finding an unclaimed water source. By morning everyone will be gone and this 'spring' will be hotly contested. Stray will not necessarily be welcome here but they don't have any active enemies here either, so as long as they abide by the rule of the day they should get by fine. In fact, Stray decides that getting in better with this band of survivors might be a good way to stay alive, so he'll attempt to ingratiate himself to those assembled. I don't have a lot of options to schmooze with but I can do decent damage so I'll improvise a weapon at the Revel and wait for someone to step out of line. The idea is I show my worth by putting a rowdy down but quick.

I roll for that.

I am unsuccessful. I take someone out all right, but it's the wrong person, a boy the chieftain was hoping to impress. The terms of my failure (roll result) means he gets to set the price for my offense and he opts for single combat. Great, now I'm in against a more powerful enemy. I have one advantage on my side, which is that my Appeal rating lets me act before he does. I don't have any armor or weapons - I will scrounge for equipment after this. Stray attempts to get the aggrieved captain in a headlock and snap his neck; their Deal bonus means that one-Touch kill maneuvers are potentially on the table at this level. Order or play is very important for this reason...

But if I do that I'm surrounded by his cronies and potentially fucked. I can try to get away but I have low Utility in Fitness so doubling my movement is unlikely. I certainly won't have the opportunity for a Loot roll on either of my kills. I'll be hoping to lose them in the ruins of the trains, which carries its own dangers. I can't talk my way out of this. These first four rolls of the game - two Revel rolls, a Combat roll, and a Utility roll - have potentially shaped my entire future in this campaign, assuming my high Strike count allows me to survive long enough to be chased across the whole City by these mongrel folk. Best case scenario is losing myself and starting over without any familiar faces or friendly resources, but even if I fall short of that I'll be halfway to Advancement and the rewards that brings.

This to me is Hunger City operating as intended.