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Character Creation 
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Post Character Creation
When creating a character in Penetrator, the first step in the proccess is to assign priorities to your character. These priorities are divided into 4 categories to rate in order: Attributes, Skills, Wealth and Connections.

You should, during this step, take the time to think about what sort of character you're creating and what sort of things they would have spent the majority of their time in their background. The priority you rate Attributes at determines how much your character has trained their mind and body generally, as well as how much innate talent they have genetically. Skills determines how much time and effort your character has spent developing their talents into actual abilities and knowledge. Wealth simple shows how much material earnings and trappings your character has managed to acquire and Connections rounds it off with a measure of how well off your character is, socially-speaking.

So, with background and plans for your character in mind, order Attributes, SKills, Wealth and Connections from 1 to 4. Once your priorities have been chosen, refer to the following chart to determine how many build points you have for each area.
Code:
                Priority 1             Priority 2             Priority 3             Priority 4
Attributes           40                     35                     30                     25
Skills               50                     40                     30                     20
Wealth               15                     12                      9                      6
Connections          12                     10                      8                      6


Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:13 pm
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Post Re: Character Creation
Now that you have your points, the next step is to actually spend them. For any rating in Penetrator, the scale used is 1-6. 1 representing a bare understanding or slim talent, 2 being a reasonable grasp of concept, or slightly-below-average ability, 3 being average, 4 is somewhat about average, 5 is world-class and 6 is truly legendary expertise. For purchasing these ratings, the general cost is 1 point each for levels 1-3, 2 points each for levels 4 and 5, and finally, 3 points for level 6. The order in which you do the next 4 steps is entirely unimportant, as long as they all get done. So, simply in the order already presented:

1. Attributes
There are 8 attributes in Penetrator. They are arranged so that the attribute directly preceding and following an attribute are related to that attribute. The list is, starting from the 4 physical Attributes:

Vigor - Your physical fortitude. Your ability to take a hit, run a long distance or otherwise exhibit stamina and good health.
Might - You physical strength. Your ability to lift and throw and climb and otherwise perform feats of strength.
Speed - Your physical speed. Your ability to move quickly, either in terms of land-speed or bodily movements.
Reflex - Your physical reaction time. Your ability to quickly respond to stimuli and to some extent how dexterous you are.
Wits - Your mental reaction time. Your ability to absorb what's going on around you and formulate a response.
Intelligence - Your effective intelligence. Your capability to muddle through problems and find solutions to complex puzzles.
Charisma - Your personal social charisma. Your ability to both understand others and to exert yourself in social situations.
Discipline - Your personal strength of character. Your ability to overcome and endure mental stress, or to keep going in times of pain or fatigue.

When buying ratings here, no attribute's score can be more than 2 above it's adjacent scores, nor can it be lower than 2 below them. Vigor and Discipline are considered adjacent.

For Attributes, the ratings represent your capabilities as follows:
1 - Well below average. You are pitiful in this capability by any standard.
2 - Below average. You're not very good in this area, but you COULD be worse.
3 - Average. 'Nuff said.
4 - Above Average. You stand above the crowd here. Not by much, but you're an achiever.
5 - Excellent. You are pretty damn good here. A leader of the pack. People take note of your abilities.
6 - EPIC. You are a LEGEND in this regard. People make movies and write poetry about your capabilities.


Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:28 pm
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Post Re: Character Creation
2. Skills
Skills in Penetrator work differently than most games. Rather than a specific skill list, Penetrator has only a list of skill categories. For each skill you choose for your character, choose a category for that skill, and a specific skill usage. The specific use is what you'll be primarily using the skill for and it's what you'll receive your full dot rating in the skill for when used. You will get a partial score from that in any other skill in that category, though, with a penalty based on how different your current task is from your skill's specific use. Specific uses are entirely up to the player, but as the name suggests, they should be fairly specific, and they should fit into the chosen category without too much cajoling. The categories are:

Animal Handling
Artistic Expression
Athletics
Brawling
Crafting
Design
Drive / Pilot
Grappling
Groundfighting
Instruction
Investigation
Knowledge
Language
Medicine
Navigation
Negotiation
Operations
Ride
Sleight of Hand
Socialize
Stealth
Survival
Weaponry-Melee
Weaponry-Ranged
Weaponry-Thrown/Manpowered

There are 6 skills which break the usual mold somewhat:

Brawling, Grappling and Groundfighting
For these 3 skills instead of picking one specific use, you instead pick a fighting style. You may assign a name to your fighting style, or pick one already well-known, such as "Karate", "Tae Kwon Do", "Jujitsu", "Boxing" or anything else. You then, must define your style by use of 2 descriptors.

For the first descriptor, choose from "Hard" or "Soft". Hard styles focus on strong violent movements, blocking and striking, breaking and submissions. They're generally considered more violent, more manly and more dangerous. Soft style utilize more flowing motions, strikes that are more speed and finesse than brute force, wide circular motions, misdirection, parries and pins.

For the next descriptor, choose from "Internal" or "External". Internal styles are popularized by many Hollywood movies and feature, usually, somewhat philosophical approaches to fighting and include occult principles such as chi and meditation. They're notable in their focus on correct posture and breathing, mental accuity and clear-mindedness while fighting. They tend to focus on strikes to pressure points, delicate organs, joints and other weak spots. They develop power through proper stance and trained explosive striking. Famous expert practictioners of these arts have been noted for being able to perform stunts and feats bordering on the supernatural.

External martial arts however, are considered more modern, more practical and more 'real'. They focus on understood principles of fitness, strength and speed to generate power alongside strong stances and trained endurance to produce an effective fighter. The strikes tend to aim for points designed to break bones, cripple a fighter's ability to continue fighting or even to kill. Most self-defense martial arts, military fighting styles and exhibition fighting types such as boxing fall under this category. One notable and nearly undeniable advantage to External styles is they, almost categorically, take much less time to learn to be effective with than Internal styles.

The effects of these descriptors in play relate to how the skill is used:

Hard - Hard style martial artists will receive a bonus as if using a specialty when using a technique that meets force with force, or uses the character's force directly against an opponent. This includes direct blocks, counter-attacks, punches, kicks, head-buts and brute-force-based take-downs.

Soft - Soft stylists will receive a specialty bonus towards any attack involving a technique used to redirect or escape from the opponent's use of force, or to use the opponent's mass, speed or power against them. This includes parries, ripostes, joint locks, throws and finesse-based take-downs.

Internal - Training in internal arts focuses on coordination, agility and and bodily awareness. This is often achieved through repetitive, controlled, slow training via katas, relaxation techniques, and a high focus on things like leverage, meditation and even esoteric concepts like chi. This gives practitioners of these arts an advantage in situations where they can focus their Speed, Reflex and Wits through their art. This lets them count their Speed, Reflex and Wits as 1 higher for any rolls involved in a round of activity using their skills in their martial art.

External - External martial training relies on more traditional methods of training such as weight, speed and cross-training. There is usually a high focus on practical application of technique and sparring. This gives practitioners of these arts an advantage in situations where they can focus their Vigor, Might and Discipline through their art. This lets them count their Vigor, Might and Discipline as 1 higher for any rolls involved in a round of activity using their skills in their martial art.

Weaponry-Melee, Weaponry-Ranged and Weaponry-Thrown/Manpowered
For weapons-based skills, the changes are a lot less involved. It's just a matter of what sort of weapon you're using. For this, simply note the type and size of the weapon you're primarily trained in. Type should be based on the weapon's shape and can be anything from "Club" to "Pistol" to "Sword" or whatever you can think of. Size will generally be along the lines of "light", "medium" or "heavy", such as "Medium Club", "Heavy Pistol" or "Light Sword".


Sat Dec 26, 2009 7:04 pm
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Post Re: Character Creation
Skills - Continued
When purchasing skills you may also purchase, instead of individual skills, skill groups. A skill group is a set of 4 skills that are linked by activity. 4 skills that would primarily be used as part of the same activity, profession or training regimen may comprise a skill group. The benefit to a skillgroup is that when you raise all 4 skills' levels simultaneously, you may decrease the cost of doing so by 1 point. The drawback is you must only raise all 4 skills' levels simultaneously. If you raise one skill's level alone, it breaks the skill group. During character creation, you may not break skill groups. After character creation to gain or re-acquire a skill-group, you must have all skills at the same level and then raise them as a group at least once. When you acquire a skill group, you must add a short description of how the 4 skills complement each other.

In addition to skill groups, there is also the option of skill specialties. Specific uses shows what sort of skill your character has an generally how they may use that skill, but a skill specialty goes deeper, showing a specific action or type of situation that your character excells at. In those specific situations, your character gains 1 bonus die to their pool. Perhaps your character has "Weaponry-Ranged: Medium Pistol", but furthermore, your character is a competition shooting expert has has specialized in "Competition Shooting". So, whenever your character is able to take a comfortable position, aim at their leisure and take a careful shot, they'll get an additional die due to this focus in their training. Each specializations always cost 1 point to add to a skill. The skill to gain the specialization must be at least level 3, though a skill can have as many specializations as wanted. Skills in skill groups may receive specializations without breaking the skill group.

Your level in a skill represents your skill in that field as such:
1 - You have very rudimentary training or experience in this task.
2 - You've got a bit of experience doing this task, or you've had some focused training.
3 - You have a basic professional level of training with this skill. You could be an entry-level employee with this skillset.
4 - Your skills are starting to show some promise. Perhaps you're a senior-level employee or just have a lot of experience, now.
5 - You are head-and-shoulders above the crowd. A true professional. Senior management or a world-class competitor.
6 - You invented this skill. When people write books about this skill, they consult you. Your name is synonymous with this skillset.


Sat Dec 26, 2009 7:29 pm
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Post Re: Character Creation
3. Wealth
The points awarded in wealth are spent on gear just like the points spent on skills and Attributes. Gear is rated 1-6 based on how expensive, hard to find, prestigious and/or illegal it is. When purchasing levels for an item, it remains 1 point for levels 1-3, 2 for 4 and 5 and 3 for 6. Level 1 gear is cheap, easy to acquire items like a civilian model pistol or hunting rifle and some run-of-the-mill ammunition, a nice change of clothes, a home electronics kit including a computer cellphones and some other toys. A 2 would be a slightly nicer firearm, or a firearm from level 1 with some slightly nicer ammunition, a used car, a nice business suit, or such. 3s would include upgrades and packages from 2 and 1, as well as nicer cars, very well made suits and possibly reinforced or bulletproof clothing. Level 4 gear would get into the rather expensive range with luxury cars, civilian aircraft, top of the line suits and home electronics, firearms and ammunition requiring special permits and more. Level 5 gear includes a lot of toys usually reserved for the rich and famous, as well as extensive, comprehensive packages of lower-level tools and toys. The only things reminaing in level 6 are extremely pricey or hard-to-get items like hyperspace vessels, military-grade arms and armor, packages of lower-level gear extensive enough to set someone up as a dealer of those goods, or establish someone very nicely as a well-to-do gentleman or lady.

In addition to out-and-out gear, these points may also be spent on lifestyle. Lifestyle is categorized 1-6 just like other gear expenditures and illustrates exactly how your character fits in to society in terms of income, recreation, living arangements and the other little minutiae too petty to enumerate in individual gear items.

Level 0 lifestyle, or lack of a purchased lifestyle, signifes that your character is low class, poor or homeless. You have no spending cash, are either living paycheck to paycheck, or you've actually hit rock bottom. Maybe you're getting by comfortably off your friends and connections, or maybe things are rough. Either way, you have no income and you're certainly not spending any money on anything.

Level 1 lifestyle shows that your character manages to get a enough money into his or her possession that they can cover modest rent, some groceries and maybe even gas money or bus fare. You're not going out to eat at fancy restaurants or staying at the ritz, but you're not on the street, either.

Characters with level 2 lifestyles are fairly comfortable. They manage the rent, get to go out a few times a month and they can probably afford some reasonable recreational expenses. They probably get little or no vacation, though, and there's an economy car in the driveway, rather than a sports car.

Level 3 lifestyle is your typical middle-class budget. Vacation in the summer, maybe at Christmas, plenty of recreation, but nothing too expensive. Still working the old 9-5 40 a week, but life seems peachy.

Level 4 shows that your character actually has a little money, now. You've got the sports car, a nice house, maybe a wife with some fake boobs. You've got the widescreen and you take nice long leisurely vacations.

Level 5 though, is where you really take off. You probably spend more time playing than working, you've got a sizeable amount in the bank, a fancy car, you stay at the Ritz and you relax in the Bahamas.

Level 6, you own the Ritz, you own the factory that makes the sports cars. You have a summer home in the Bahamas, Cancuun and Italy. You generally only wear a suit once before ditching it and more than just your wife's boobs are fake. You don't know how much money you actually have, as you pay lesser people for the privledge of managing those numbers for you.


Sat Dec 26, 2009 8:07 pm
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Post Re: Character Creation
4. Connections
In the Connections section, you enumerate the social power and reputation your character has, in terms of important or powerful people they know, organizations they have some interest or control in as well as any sort of reputation or fame they may have garnered.

For each sort of social connection you'd like to buy to show off your character's social flair and background, you first need to describe, usually in a line or two, what the connection is and perhaps how your character acquired it.

Next, you need to spend points on the 2 stats that define each of your character's connections: Power and Influence. Power, for a connection to a person, shows how powerful, skillful, well connected or otherwise useful the person your character is connected to is. For a organization or company, Power acts roughly the same, showing how wide-spread, wealthy and influential that company or organization is. For a reputation-type connection, it's slightly different and mainly just shows how widely-known your character is for the particular reputation you're stating out.

The scale runs as such:
1: An average person/A small company/A reputation heard around town.
2: A person with a few skills or friends/A company with a few employees and some assets/A reputation well-known within a small field or niche.
3: A person with reasonable skills within a field and a couple friends/A company with maybe a hundred or two employees, and multiple locations/A reputation well know within a broad field or a large region.
4: A person with established skills a bit of money and some influential friends/A company with a reasonable amount of employees, some possible influence and multiple holdings/A reputation known in an entire country or field. Very well known.
5: A person who is an expert in their field, is fairly well off or has a network of influential friends/A company well established as a leader in their field with enough holdings and influence to stay there/A reputation known throughout a world and somewhat beyond.
6: A person who's an expert in their field, well practiced in others, well off, influential in several social networks. A man amongst men/A company that leads several fields with vast wealth and influence and holdings in nearly any established community/A reputation known universe wide, backed up with urban legends and tall tales. Part fact, part fiction.

For the Influence stat for each connection it's a bit more straightforward. Influence simply represents, on a scale of 1-6, how much sway your character hold over the person represented by the connection, the organization represented by the connection, or the people who know of you through your reputation, represented by the connection.

For personal connections, this will serve as a dice bonus towards interacting with this person and a modifier to the NPC's reaction and deference to your character from a role-playing perspective.

For corporate entities Influence is a measure of how much of the company's assets and employees the character has access to and gives a dice bonus when trying to use the company to accomplish things for the character, such as acquiring items, help or information.

For a reputation, Influence give bonus dice to interactions with people who know of your character and see their reputation in a positive light. You're more likely to receive favors, be treated well in business dealings and take home that pretty girl at the bar. On the other hand, not everyone will see your character's reputation in a positive light, necessarily.

Power and Influence for connections you buy must be at least 1 each.


Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:16 pm
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