Character creation will use point buy. Players start with either 25 or 50 points. Haven’t quite decided on that yet.
All characters have four ability stats: Cunning, Brawn, Dexterity and Charisma. When making an ability check, roll a d20 and add whatever your bonus to that ability is. Unlike D&D, you don’t have a static number that you derive a bonus from–rather, you buy the bonus directly during character creation. Buying a +1 in an ability costs 4 points. Taking a penalty in an ability gives you back 2 points.
Skills are made up. When buying a skill you define what the skill is—pickpocket, lockpicking, being all chill, whatever. If you have points in a skill, you can add those points to any roll where you can make a reasonable argument that it would help with whatever you’re doing. You can do the same with abilities.
You can also buy Advantages, and get points back to buy other things by taking Disadvantages. Any Advantage costs 5 points. Disadvantages will give you three points back.
Magic: Buying the ability to cast spells counts as an advantage.
Combat Stats: Dodge, Armed, Unarmed, and Ranged. Dodge makes you less likely to be hit in combat, armed is your bonus to fighting with melee weapons, unarmed is your bonus to fighting hand-to-hand, and ranged is your bonus to fighting with bows or guns.
Everything you need to know in a simple table:
|Ability points||4||+1 to ability rolls|
|Skill points||2||+1 to skill rolls|
|Advantage||5||Whatever the advantage says|
|Disadvantage||-3||Whatever the disadvantage says||Gives points back|
|Ability penalty||-2||-1 to ability rolls||Gives points back|
|Combat attributes||3||Shoot, stab, punch and dodge|
The following lists of advantages and disadvantages are woefully incomplete. I’m expecting to have my players make suggestions during character creation that I’ll add to this list.
Mage: You can cast and interpret spells.
Connection to the Divine: You can petition the gods for aid.
Tough: It takes four hits to kill this character. The first hit has half the effect it would normally have, the second has the usual effect of the first, and the third has the usual effect of the second.
Demon Name: You know the true name of EITHER: 1 demon that you actually know what it looks like, what it’s powers are, etc, OR: 2d4 unknown demons.
Forbidden Knowledge: You have knowledge of demon summoning, the inner workings of the city government, illegal drugs, smuggling routes, or something equally dangerous to know.
Cripple: Choose a target area. Whenever you are hit in the target area, you are affected as though you had taken two hits. It still takes two more hits to kill you outright, but the ill-effects come on sooner if you’ve got a bad leg or something like that.
Magic is split into High Magic and Low Magic. High Magic is things like fireballs, sundering walls, killing a man with a glance, etc. Low Magic is things like temporary illusions, snuffing a torch, tripping people up, etc.
Casting a High Magic spell deals one hit to the caster’s head. This hit cannot be healed by magic or first-aid. Casting a second before the first is healed by a full night of rest will knock the character unconscious.
You can cast three Low Magic spells before suffering the same effects; the fourth deals a hit to the caster’s head, and the fifth renders them unconscious. Again, these hits cannot be healed by magic or first-aid.
Hits dealt by casting of spells will go away with a night’s rest.
PETITIONING THE DIVINE
Characters have the option to associate themselves strongly with a particular deity. Every time the character performs an action in honor of their deity (what they have to do varies depending on the specific god) they gain access to the traditional clerical powers: healing, turning undead, smiting of enemies, etc. If they don’t have enough karma points or whatever saved up when they’re asking for divine intervention, they will be given either something that they must do after the miracle occurs (offering at the temple, destruction of the deity’s enemies, etc) or something they must do beforehand. For example:
Player: “Jojo McMotherfucker, I pray to you, turn back these skeletons before they tear me, your loyal servant, into tiny pieces.”
Jojo: “You’ve been kind of skimping on the temple tribute plate recently, my son. Prove your worthiness of my miracles. Kill the necromancer with your bare hands, and you will see the skeletons rebuked.”
Player, casting his sword aside and cracking his knuckles: “Thy will be done.”
EQUIPMENT AND MONEY
Since Gutterpunk is focused pretty heavily on street-level action, money is going to be important. Every copper you can scrape out of the gutter gives you another bite of bread, another moment of not starving to death. I’m going to have to have some easy way of tracking food and money: getting money for food might be an important driving force in early-game play, leading to all sorts of desperate plots. Players will be low on cash, low on supplies, low on everything except their own talents and cunning.
I may end up using the equipment list from the standard D&D Player’s Handbook, just to keep things simple. With my own additions, of course–it wouldn’t be my world without flintlocks, gunpowder and grenades. For starting equipment, however, I think I might go random. Characters can choose a certain amount of their starting equipment–two items, let’s say–and then they roll on the random starting equipment table. This represents what they have when they’re coming over on the boat, the random detritus of previous lives, or what they’ve managed to scrounge out of the gutters in the Lower City.
Nothing really solid here yet. I just needed a place to brainstorm. Equipment and money will be explored in more detail in a subsequent post.