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How good is a starting character?

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Thantrax Thantrax's picture
How good is a starting character?
Just how capable is a starting character? Various games I've played seem to have different answers to this question. In Legend of the Five Rings, a starting character was most likely a fifteen year old who had just passed their graduation ceremonies. They were skilled in profound fighting arts, but a road bandit still represented a significant danger to them. In Dungeons and Dragons, a first level character seems to be about as capable as a regular soldier in the army. They are a bit better trained and have more tricks up their sleeves, but their hit points, defenses, and equipment were only about as good as a local town soldier. In Shadowrun, a starting character is a wildly capable character. If you were a Corp and had this person working for you, you'd be wasting your money to sit them behind a desk. Shadowrunners have at their disposal significantly more firepower than most first line security units they come across. In the New World of Darkness, a new character seems to be about as capable as a university graduate. Quite capable in their field of expertise, but not yet really capable enough to pull off a convincing astronaut or detective. How capable do you see Eclipse Phase characters being right out of the gate? Is the Brinker Genehacker a morph designer, a morph designer of some note, or a highly sought after morph designer people get on waiting lists to use their services? Is the Ultimates Merc the answer to all your bodyguarding needs, or do you need to hire a group of them to protect you while you do your Petal deal?
TBRMInsanity TBRMInsanity's picture
Re: How good is a starting character?
Given that your suppose to be part of a solar wide elite group that is fighting for the survival of transhumanity, I would guess that the average EP Character is on the same level as say the standard Shadowrun Character. You can really specialize your character so that you are really good in one area but suck otherwise (that is why you form groups to cover each other's weaknesses) and you will be fine. I find in any gaming system that allows a high level of customization of your character, that you tend to have stronger out of the gate characters. These characters are highly specialized and character improvement is more about beefing up your weaknesses rather then making yourself more powerful in your specialization.
Jovian Motto: Your mind is original. Preserve it. Your body is a temple. Maintain it. Immortality is an illusion. Forget it.
Sepherim Sepherim's picture
Re: How good is a starting character?
Depends on how focused you make him. If you go for paying twice but having skills above 60 he will be very capable in his areas of expertise. If not, he won't be so capable in anything, but be able to do lots of things with a decent chance (60%) even probably obtaining the MoS 30+ needed for some things. So I'd say they are pretty capable, maybe not as much as Shadowrun, where characters can easily be part of the "elite" in their field, but on the opposite, probably capable of doing more things with decent and even good chances of success.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: How good is a starting character?
I concur. It is not hard to make a character who seems to be significantly powerful. If everybody is as good as beginning characters I would expect a second singularity before the end of the year... Actually, having a lot of competent people around is an interesting challenge. While the characters are doing stuff, solving problems and saving the world lots of other people are doing the same. So during an adventure they might hear about how how some of their Firewall friends ganged up with Action Direct to wipe out an exurgent hive, discover that the anarcho-physicists down the hallway have come up with what could be an entirely new energy source (and now all hell is breaking loose as every faction shows up to woo them) and come across an entirely new kind of social-networking conspiracy that just got invented... Hard work for the GM, but makes the game world even more dynamic.
jackgraham jackgraham's picture
Re: How good is a starting character?
We view PCs as they are viewed in most RPGs -- a cut above the general population, but not superheroes, either. I think the real answer to this is in your campaign style. I always carefully track how many points I'm spending on an NPC build relative to the party. I usually put them up against enemies who are around their own level in terms of points. This is not as easy to do as something like D&D's level/challenge rating system, but if you're building your NPCs in a spread sheet that calculates CP expenditure, it's not too hard. I generally have them be a little better at stuff than the average non-antagonist NPC.
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