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Creating a character

Characters have 6 Attributes. These Attributes are the building blocks of their numerical form.  All of the character’s other statistical information is based on these six abilities.

Charisma: the character’s personal magnetism

Size: the character’s physical bulk and ability to shrug off damage

Willpower: the character’s mental fortitude.  For Freeminds, it also covers their ability to bend the rules of the Matrix

Memory: the character’s ability to organise and utilise stored facts.  It also factors in Freemind characters’ Flash Memory abilities

Intuition: the character’s ‘common sense’; the ability to notice things

Dexterity: the character’s hand-eye coordination, and how fast they react

No character can possess and unaugmented Attribute score of more than 6 or less than one.  They may be increased by Real World technology, or Hacking Abilities in the Matrix.   Each Attribute starts off at 3, and each player has a pool of 4 points which they can use to augment these starting values.  Note that a player may reduce one ability in order to increase another.

 

After the player has determined their character’s Attributes, there are several other sundry scores the player must calculate.

 

Speed (Dexterity plus Intuition)/2

Speed is equal to the average of the character’s Dexterity and Intuition, rounded down.  When a Combat Round starts, each participant draws one card, and adds it to their Speed score.  The highest total goes first, followed by the next highest, and so on.  After the first Turn, 10 is subtracted from the total, and the process begins again with anyone who still has a positive score.  This continues until there is no-one left to act; when this happens, all people still involved in the combat shuffle their decks, and start the process again.

Mary, Crunch, and two Marines are locked in combat.  Mary has Speed 10, Crunch Speed 6, and the two marines 4 each.  Mary also has Increased Reaction at level 4, allowing her to draw two cards instead of one.  Mary draws first, getting a 7 and an 8, for a total score of 25.  Crunch draws a 9, for a score of 15.  The Marines draw a 7 and a 2, giving them totals of 11 and 6 respectively.  The Combat Turns progress as follows: 

Turn

Mary

Crunch

Marine 1

Marine 2

One

25

15

11

6

Two

15

5

1

No Action

Three

5

No Action

No Action

No Action

 

In the event of a tie, the person with the highest Speed goes first.  If the Speeds are equal, draw again; high card goes first.

A player may elect to hold their action, and act at some other time in that same turn instead.  This held action must be used before the character acts again in sequence, or it is lost.  In the above example, for instance, Mary could act before Crunch, or before either of the Marines, without losing that action.

 

Damage Levels

Green: Size×3

Yellow: Size×2

Red: Size×1˝ 

Black: Size

Each character has four damage bands, each colour-coded in order of severity.  Green damage is minor cuts and bruises; Yellow is melee and light gunfire, Red is medium and heavy damage, and Black is life-threatening.  For each level of damage a character has attained, they must add a 1-point negative modifier to the Target of all draws.  See the section on Combat for how damage works.

 

Flash Memory

Freeminds have Flash Memory, a specialised cluster of bio-organic memory which allows them to upload skills into their brain.  The character may load in skill levels equal to the sum of their Memory and Willpower Attributes; however, they may not have more than (Memory) skills at once – the brain cannot handle it.  These limits may be improved with the Hacking Ability Increased Flash Memory.  If slots are full, or there isn’t enough room, the player must decide which skill is lost. Skills cannot be ‘downgraded’ to make room for another skill; it is either known at the level uploaded, or not known at all.

Any skills uploaded into Flash Memory that the character already has are considered to have a Level equal to the Level uploaded minus the Level of the original skill. It takes 5 seconds per Level to upload a Skill; in the case of augmenting a skill the character already has, the Level of the skill is the total Level that the player asked for.  During this upload time, the character suffers a +1 penalty to all Targets, as they are distracted somewhat from the real world.  So if a character with Hovercraft: 2 wanted to boost their score to Hovercraft: 5, they would only use up 3 levels of Flash Memory, but it would still take (5×5=)20 seconds to upload.

Engel, with Willpower: 6, and Memory: 4, has a total of 10 levels at her disposal, but she may only know 4 skills at a time.  While trapped on a building, she needs a Rotorcraft skill.  She asks her Operator to upload Rotorcraft at level 4: the uploaded skill takes 4 of the available levels, leaving her with 8 levels to use.  After (4×5=) 20 seconds (during which time Engel is at +1 to any Targets she may have to draw against), Engel is ready to rock and roll.  Unfortunately, this isn’t Engel’s day: a SWAT helicopter comes after her.  She needs to fight them off using the rocket launchers mounted on her ride – this requires Gunnery, a skill Engel has at Level 3.  She wants to end this quick, so she contacts her operator again and asks him for a Gunnery program at level 7.  After (7×10=) 70 seconds (during which time Engel is at +1 again to any Targets she may have to draw against), Engel knows how to use the launcher’s guidance systems.  With her Gunnery skill jacked up to level 7, Engel is left with (10-4-7+3=) 2 levels of Flash Memory to play with if she can’t shoot down her chasers.

There are some skills that the character cannot load into Flash Memory; these are noted in the skill description.

 

Skills

Players have a pool of 20 points that they can use to purchase skills for their character.  See the section on skills for a full list and descriptions.

 

FLESHING OUT THE CHARACTER

Now that you know what your character is and does, it’s time to give them a name and face.  Spaces are provided on the Character Sheet for the following:

Name
The player puts their name here.

Character
The player chooses the name of his character and puts it here.  Like most slaves, Freeminds tend to abandon their Machine-given name when they are freed, preferring instead to go by a pseudonym.  Because most Freeminds are hackers, this pseudonym is usually their hacker alias.  Most Freeborn are given a name by their parents, and have the option of changing it when they are older.

Age
Most characters will be about 18 to 25 years old.  The life expectancy for Freeborns is 50 to 60 years; for Freeminds, it is about ten years less, due to the hazardous nature of their job.  If the player so wishes, they may also decide when their Freemind character was liberated from the Matrix; usually, this occurs before the age of 20, although some special cases have been recorded.

Sex
Male or Female.  No hermaphrodites or eunuchs, please.

Eye Colour, Hair Colour and Style, Complexion, Build

These are all arbitrary values. Be creative; make your own appearance, or borrow one from a picture of someone.  Generally most Freeminds keep their hair short, or at least shaved around the jack ports at the back of their heads.

Height and Weight

These values do have a minor impact on the way a character interacts with the environment.  The weight of a character in kilograms is equal to the character’s Size attribute times 15, plus 20; female characters multiply this result by .9.  This is the median weight of people like the character; the player may modify this score by 10 percent either way – so the average male character (Size: 3) will weigh between 59 and 72 kilograms, while the average female will weigh between 53 and 64 kilograms.  Note that these averages are smaller than the average weights for a person in, say, the late 90s; this is due to a combination of hard living, frequent exercise, and barely adequate food.  Most Desert-dwellers have little or no fat on their body.

A character’s height has more bearing on the character’s interactions.  In centimetres, it is equal to the character’s Size multiplied by 14, plus 120. Once again, this can be modified by 10 percent either way.  The average character will be between 146cm and 178cm tall.

Note that a character’s persona may be totally different in appearance, height, weight, even sex, to their physical makeup in the Matrix.  To simulate this, the character may sway their height and weight a further 10 percent either way when determining what the character looks like in the Matrix.

 

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