Breakthrough in Character Creation

I was running Alpha Blue last night and wanted to try something that I'd been thinking about for awhile - the next stage of character creation.

Want to read the session report? Here it is!

As many of you know, I'm more about story, words, and feel than numbers, complicated mechanics, and playing by the book. The method of generating characters in Alpha Blue is already simple and intuitive... one might also describe it as "narrative" in the sense that it focuses more on who that character is in the story, rather than a collection of raw and refined numbers on a sheet of paper that hopefully becomes more than the sum of its parts.

So, I went a step further - deconstructing character creation as much as possible. The following is what I came up with.

Think of 7 words that describe your character. Whatever is mentioned gets a dice pool of 3d6 when it comes to attempting actions. Otherwise, everything else gets a dice pool of 1d6.

During the process, I allowed both words and phrases in order to better accommodate the ideas trying t0 be expressed. Once we had finished and went around voicing our picks, I allowed everyone to make changes to fit in (or the opposite of such) with the rest of the group... or if a better idea came to them.

I'll give you three example characters to give you an idea. The first is a character I made myself, an NPC in case I needed one later in the adventure.

Name: Rigger
Seven Descriptors: human (I later changed this to purple-skinned Klyngon since no one picked an alien species), pilot, starship (meaning that he has his own), ruggedly handsome (I later changed this to telepathic link with his k'walik), laser-hand, gambler, and k'walik (an alien cat that was Rigger's sidekick/pet).

Name: Hung-Solo
Seven Descriptors: punches, suave, mega-penis, pistolier, dextrous, nasalphiliac, and techie.

Name: Ginger Roots
Seven Descriptors: navigator, contemplative, hand-to-hand (as in combat), laser, wealthy, healthy, and wise.


Obviously, this alternative to traditional character creation can present challenges - what's too powerful? One player chose "planet," as in, he owns an entire planet. What's too vague, too specific, or too game-breaking?

In future, I think I'll include suggestions, like one of those should incorporate a character's species/race/core identity (mutant, droid, alien, etc.) And perhaps over-powered things (like an entire planet) might count as two words. And at least one word should go towards a profession. But there's something about the open road of creativity that appeals to me. So, suggestions will have to suffice. I don't want to tell someone they can't think outside the box, when thinking outside the box is exactly what we should be looking for.

Just thought of this - why not "purchase" an 8th word in exchange for being indebted to someone or something? Fits with the genre and gives players a little more room to maneuver. ;)

Regardless, it was a fun and fruitful exercise that just might precipitate a revolution in character creation for Kort'thalis Publishing's VSd6 system. I urge those willing to experiment to give this new method * a try and let me know how it goes!


Before I forget, please check out my latest Kickstarter Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars. It's three Alpha Blue scenarios plus other awesomeness.

* Obviously, this is a new method to me, not for the entire RPG world. I've heard of other games doing stuff like that, just never played any of them myself.


Authored by Venger Satanis


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