First there were archetypes with limited skill choices. Then it was just skills. Now what remains are Interfaces. Today, how character sheets will work.
The initial plan for characters was that you’d pick one of two Archetypes (Civilian or Military) which would then define the skill choices you had access to. Military characters got more guns and armour and less science and medicine, and Civilian characters got more medicine and science, but less guns and armour. This is something from an early draft of the system, but it’s persisted right up until the last few weeks.
Having been throwing ideas for skills around, I came to the realisation that there wasn’t much point in restricting skills – there wasn’t enough value in it. So I scrapped it, and the character system became a much more traditional “pick X skills from this list”. It stayed like that for a while, until I started thinking on it again.
My plan was to try and finalise a list of skills and such that I could publish and give people some rules info they could gnaw on while we wrote some other stuff and I finished writing the other events I’m working on. This plan was probably a bit foolish, but I have come to decisions on how the character system works.
One of the earliest conceits I wanted to work with, and one I’ve been playing around with for a while, is that your latent nanotech connects with the nanotech in items to do things. Whether that’s connecting to your “tricorder” so you can scan things, or to nanotech systems so you can repair/build things, the idea was that your nanotech and the nanotech of objects would go hand-in-hand. It was earlier this week that things clicked and things fell into place.
Rather than having a skill system, we have “interfaces”. These are nanotech implants that allow characters to interface with certain kinds of technology so that they can perform special abilities.
An example interface is the Armour Interface, which allows your nanotech to coordinate with the armour’s nanotech for increased protection. This allows you to use the full extent of the armour’s capabilities – up to and including any special calls it has. The same idea extends to Melee and Ranged weapons as well – though in different fashions. Anyone will be able to use Melee weapons, but only someone with a Melee Interface will be able to make special calls with one. Anyone will be able to use civilian ranged weaponry (Nerf blasters) but military ranged weapons (Nerf Rival blasters) require a Ranged Interface to use.
The intent of Interfaces is that they should be enablers. There shouldn’t be any Interface (or any other kind of skill) that provides you with lore that’s publicly available. Every Interface should be useful at every event, and should assist you in moving the game forward.
Interfaces are currently divided into four categories: Combat, Science, Engineering, and Medical. Exactly what Interfaces there are is still in the works.
As soon as we start talking characters and “skills”, someone will start asking about advancement or progression. “How much XP do you get a session?” “How much do skills cost to buy?”
The answers there are simple: you don’t get any XP, and skills don’t cost anything.
Taking a leaf from Odysseya game by Profound Decisions, players will not gain XP from games, nor will there be traditional character advancement. Instead, players will have the opportunity to adjust their character’s Interfaces between games. The process of changing Interfaces will not be something that can be achieved at game (at least not under normal circumstances).
For anyone struggling with the concept, think of it this way: your body can only cope with X nanotech interfaces, so you are limited to X skills. However, you can swap your interfaces out for new ones between games, so while you can only have X skills at any one game, you can change which skills you have between games.
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