CPA: Character Generation
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The character creation process is simple and straightforward.
To begin, grab a piece of blank paper, or a spreadsheet or .txt file.
- Discuss the setting, party goal, and character limitations with the game group. Then, get some paper or electronic character sheets together where everyone can see -- Google Sheets is a good choice for shared record-keeping.
- If you want to use a pregenerated character, click here. Otherwise, read on.
- Create your character's Lineage, also known as race, species or heritage, if allowed by the GM. This does not usually have any mechanical effect and is usually for roleplay purposes only.
- Races with special powers must earn those special powers by spending talents in step 6. For example:
- If you want to be an aquatic, flying, or digging creature, get GM approval and take the "Water/Air/Earth Affinity" talents respectively.
- If you want to be a metal robot or golem, take the "Robotic Body" talent.
- Talk with the GM to create how your people fit in to the setting. Were these robots former servants who rebelled? Do elves live in trees or in urban palaces?
- Next, create for your character a background. This can include a culture or upbringing, and at least three important parts as follows:
- Ally. A relative, friend, business partner, lover, family/team/faction, or mentor. Note their name and how you felt about them with a few words.
- Enemy. A rival, criminal, bully, evil organization or other antagonist from your past. Note their name and how you felt about them with a few words.
- Flaw. A part of your character's personality that gets them into trouble. They might be greedy, hot-headed, emotionally cold, or dangerously curious. To avoid discomfort, other players must consent for your character's flaw.
- Ambition. Something your character is strongly motivated to achieve. This is required to explain why they are adventuring. Be as ambitious as you can, even for a short campaign!
- Background and culture also determines what languages, songs, histories and legends your character knows.
- If it's not already established, work together with the GM to develop your characters' peoples' culture.
- Choose two Skills to be your Focus Skills. These are especially strong skills that define your character's role.
- For each of your two focus skills, you gain ALL of the Focus Abilities. Note these on your sheet.
- Set each of these two focus skills to level 3.
- Choose two other Skills to learn at level 2 and two at level 1. Note, these can only be arcane skills if both your focus skills are arcane.
- For a more challenging game, you can alternatively start with focus skills at 2 and all others at 1.
- Choose two starting Talents for which you qualify.
7. Assign Health
- Assign your health points [HP].
- The character's health points determine how much damage they can suffer before being defeated.
- Base HP is equal to 5 + Resilience + Athletics + Combat skills. Other features may add more.
- Health regenerates at a base rate of (1 + Resilience skill) per 8 hours of good comfortable rest and healthy food.
- You do not regenerate health if you rest while wounded, exhausted, uncomfortable, hungry, etc. Your GM will tell you when conditions are good for rest.
8. Initiative and Movement
- Assign your Initiative score, equal to [Leadership + Perception + Insight + Dodge + Athletics + Combat skills]. This score is used purely to decide who goes first in a combat, chase, evacuation, or other urgent scene.
- Assign your Movement, equal to 3 + your single highest skill of (Melee or Brawl or Athletics). The character's movement represents how many spaces you can move with one Action in combat.
9. Energy Points
- The character's maximum Energy Points are usually equal to 5 points + arcane skills.
- For example, if you have level 3 in Cryomancy and 4 in Metaphysics, you have 5 + (3 + 4) = 12 maximum Energy Points.
- If you spend your energy points, you recharge them at a base rate of [meditation skill] per 1 hour of rest or meditation, or 1 per 4 hours, whichever is greater.
10. The Fellowship
- Agree with the other players on why your character is committing to join them and entrust their life to these specific friends on an Adventure of Cosmic Peril.
- That's it! At this point, the GM will give you your starting equipment and money based on the context, and you can set out to join your party for their adventure!
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After they are created, player characters (PCs) in CPA can grow as they gain experience, but they are not limited by any classes, levels, playbooks or tropes.
Their motivations, flaws, and personality can change or remain constant as players enjoy.
Instead, they acquire experience points over time, which can be spent on skill and talent improvements, as described below.
This system allows for a lot of flexibility in the power level and scope of a story played with these rules--from ordinary workers in perilous disasters, to crafty detectives with a wide range of skills, to brutal warriors who can defeat multiple enemies with a single swing or shot--as well as tons of diversity for player characters.
How to acquire experience points:
- Firstly, whenever players roll a critical failure--two 1's on 2d8--and they accept its consequences, they immediately gain one experience point.
- Next, the GM may award some amount of XP on a regular basis.
- Typically this is 1 XP at the end of each session that a player participates in, for a mid-length campaign (20-40 sessions).
- For a more challenging, longer (50+ session) or character focused game, this could be 0 XP per session, only gaining them at milestones.
- For a more fast-paced power fantasy (5-12 sessions), this could be 2 or 3 XP per session.
- Third, characters may receive some XP as a reward for completing specific objectives, like rescuing hostages, discovering a secret location, capturing a villain, etc. Note there is no need for advancement in this game. However, if you do use advancement, keep in mind that a character will become akin to a city-level super-hero after accumulating about 50 total XP, including the starting points.
How to spend experience points:
- The player must declare to the group their intent to spend XP on a skill, focus skill or talent, when they intend to do so.
- The player must give a reasonable an in-game explanation for the increase in the character's abilities.
- If the GM asks, and the player can't coherently explain how their stone-age hunter gained computer programming skills in a steaming jungle, or how their nerdy scientist suddenly learned kung-fu while taking a nap, then it cannot happen, and the player must choose another upgrade or save the points for later.
Talent Advancement:To acquire a talent, after declaration and approval, a player simply spends 5 XP and then selects the desired talent from the talent list. Note that each talent may have its own special requirements.
- For example, before taking the "Sword Elite" talent, the player must have at least the "Sword Expert" talent.
- Health points, Energy Points, initiative and movement increase normally when you increase your skills according to the usual player character rules.
Skill Advancement:You can improve skills by spending accumulated experience points. Note:
- The maximum level for any skill is 6 - this is the limit of mortal ability.
- In order to acquire and advance arcane skills, the player character must already have at least one or two arcane focus skills.
- It is very rare to gain a new Focus Skill; to do so costs 20 XP. If player wants to gain an arcane focus skill after character creation, then their tutor must use the spell 'Arcane Training'.
Skill advancement costs are as follows:
|New Skill Level||XP Cost to Advance by 1 Level to this Level||XP Cost TOTAL for this level||Description|
|Untrained||0||0||No clue, you have a -2 penalty with this skill||1||1||1||Basic training. You can do the simplest type of work while calm, but mistakes are likely when pressured, and advanced projects are out of the question.|
|2||2||3||Employable worker. You usually succeed with few issues at basic (TN 10) risky challenges, but advanced techniques are beyond your grasp.|
|3||3||6||Reliable professional. You are cool under pressure for basic tasks, and can attempt advanced techniques while calm.|
|4||4||10||An expert that others rely upon. You usually succeed on advanced risky challenges (TN 12).|
|5||5||15||Elite skill. You have a slightly above-average chance on difficult challenges (TN 14) and anything below that is usually easy for you.|
|6||6||21||Maximum level. You have a clear advantage (67%) on difficult risks (TN 14) and can attempt great works while unpressured.|