I have had a few questions about character creation in Neon City Overdrive, about the process, triggers, edges and gear. I thought the best solution would be to write an example of character creation. I will make a new character and explain the process as I go. If you have any other questions about how the game plays, shoot me an email, a message on Facebook or leave a comment below.
Step 1: Visualise your character
I have an idea in my head for a new cyberpunk character – a bad-ass killer who makes it his business to defend the weak and clean up the streets of his neighbourhood. I am not exactly sure why has taken on this guardian role, but I am sure a spark will come as I fill out the details.
Step 2: Choose or create three trademarks
Trademarks are the meat of your character. They describe who or what the character is, and with the triggers they define the scope of your skills or abilities. Looking over the example trademarks in the rulebook, several jump out at me. While they have been organised in categories, like “background” and “role” there are no restrictions on what types of trademarks I can choose.
Still, I like thinking about my character from past to present, so begin by considering what their childhood or early years were like. Since I want my character to defend a local area I figure they probably have an attachment to the place that is stricken by crime or mistreated by the corps. The Metroplexer background trademark stands out and I am now thinking that my character might eventually become a protector or avenging angel of the massive tower-block that they grew up in. I note Metroplexer as my first trademark.
I am using the form-fillable character sheet and it has a space to also note all the triggers for the trademark, so I write them down too. Triggers are like a skill list of the stuff that trademark is good at – you automatically get them all. If you are using the character sheet from the back of the rule book, there isn’t space for this, so just remember that your character is good at everything that is listed under triggers.
I now need to get my character from metroplexer to bad-ass killer status. I imagine that my character joined some military outfit to escape the metroplex in a moment of youthful rebelliousness, but later returned to find his home in a terrible state. There is no trademark for “soldier” or “mercenary”, but I could create my own. However, there is a skin trademark for Mil-Spec Grunt and I like the idea of being a cyber-enhanced killer – I note it down as my second trademark. For my third trademark I choose Paladin. This was always my plan – a cool defender of the streets, armed and ready to deal justice as he sees fit.
Step 3: Pick four edges
Now I get to choose what four things my character is really good at. Each edge must be “attached” to a specific trademark. Think of trademarks and edges a bit like a skill tree in a video game; “I have the Metroplexer trademark and the brawling specialisation that falls under it.” You can make up your own edges, but the easiest option is to pick some triggers to become these focused special abilities.
I look over the triggers for each of my three trademarks and take some time to think about how I intend to use each in play. There is some cross over – Metroplexer has “brawling” listed as a trigger, while Paladin has “kick ass”, for example. Since I can usually only gain a bonus from an edge attached to the trademark I am using in a check, there are a few options. I can “double up” on edges (like brawling and kick ass), so no matter what trademark I am using I will have a useful combat skill to add into the dice pool. A better option, however, is making each trademark useful in a specific situation. This is the approach I intend to take.
As a metroplexer I imagine my character knows how things are done in such places, and is good at getting by when needed. Under the Metroplexer trademark I write the edge Haggle to represent that I am not easily duped by the con-men and swindlers that play goods in the massive tenements.
Mil-Spec Grunt has a broad range of triggers related to combat, with a focus on either avoiding harm, resisting it, or recovering from it. I think my character will need to regularly heal so decide to note the edge Rapid healing. I might later add some more edges to improve my ability to resist injuries.
To truly make my cyberpunk the killing machine I imagine them to be, I decide to put my last two edges in Paladin. I really like the idea of being a modern-day knight, complete with lethal monofilament-edged blade, so focus on making my character excellent in close combat. I note down the edges Kick ass and Swords.
That’s my four edges chosen – though I could add some more later.
Step 4: Write two flaws
Okay, what troubles, drawbacks or problems make life more difficult for my character? I can make up anything I like, but for inspiration I look over each of my trademark descriptions. There are a few good options there, such as “I owe the block gang”, “Has a code”, “Secret vice” and “Blood thirsty”. In the end I decide on:
- I trust the citizens of my block too much
- The guilty must pay in blood
I think both of these will present interesting problems for my character to deal with. The trust for “his people” is a great weakness for my altruistic defender, but is only really a hindrance when scenes have some relationship to my home metroplex. That makes the flaw a big flag for the GM to incorporate that location into stories. The second flaw is broader and can be incorporated into any situation where it might be better to not go on a blood-thirsty rampage!
Remember, you get to choose when flaws come into play, so make them something you want to incorporate into the games you play.
Step 5: Choose or randomly determine your drive
A character’s drive is the reason they go out every night and risk their lives. I already know that my character has a desire to protect his home metroplex, so I craft that into something more specific and actionable. I think about what threats a metroplex might face and go for the big obvious – a megacorp wants to do something bad to the block. Probably bulldoze it and build some elite corp arcology. I craft this into a statement for my drive:
Stop Sable Dynamics from taking over Block 216-East.
It’s still vague at the moment, but I can build on the back story through play.
Step 6: Write your gear
This is pretty straightforward, as my character can have anything that makes sense. At this stage i just note down the obvious stuff that I know I want my character to regularly have, like a monofilament sword, leather jacket, shotgun, mirror shades and motorcycle.
At the start of each job I can roll for special gear, and I will probably focus on a cool sword and some kind of armor. They might look something like this:
- Mono-sword (razor sharp, quick draw)
- Tactical vest (bullet proof)
Step 7: Round out your character
Finally, I round out my character by giving them a name, description and any other details I think are cool. I think the nickname Rook sounds pretty cool, so I note that as my character’s name. I then use the random tables on page 22 for a little inspiration before writing a description of my cyberpunk. I roll “designer grunge” for style and “physical” for affectations and decide that my character attempts to dress and look like an average metroplexer, but the quality and expense of his letter outfit set him apart a little bit too much.
Rook is a physically imposing man with a short military haircut and neon tattoos that run the length of both arms. These are from his mercenary days and identify the crew he used to run with. He wears a designer black leather jacket in a retro-cut meant to fit in with the cheaper fashion common in the metroplexes. It clearly doesn’t. A chrome broadsword sits on his hip.
Finally, i note my stunt points and hits. I can also take up to four additional edges, at the cost of either crossing off my drive track or reducing my stunt point maximum. Some more edges would be helpful! I don’t want to reduce my stunt points, but am willing to cross my drive track. I imagine that Sable Dynamics have already made reasonable progress in getting citizens to move out, or purchasing parts of the metroplex. I cross off two boxes on the drive track and pick two more edges.
Meet “Rook” Jones
With my extra edges chosen, and everything recorded on my character sheet, my character is done. You can check out the finished character sheet below!