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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.

1. Discuss

  1. Discuss the setting, party goal, and character limitations with the game group.
  2. This game is appropriate for characters who are highly skilled at one or two main skills.
  3. Additionally, it's strongly recommended to have characters be part of a team or organization with a firm bond and mutual goal.
  4. Therefore, good premises include the following:
  5. The game will not work as well to depict multitalented superheroes, so keep the stakes low, the pacing unhurried, and the characters mortal and hopeful.
  6. Then, get some paper or electronic character sheets together where everyone can see -- Google Sheets is a good choice for shared record-keeping.
  7. If you want to use a pregenerated character, click here. Otherwise, read on.

2. Lineage

3. Background

4. Paths

Fighter heroes begin with bonuses to hit and the ability to use creative tactics on any strike, along with a special fighting style. Advanced fighters can endure significant amounts of punishment, and master fighters are skilled with every type of attack and defense.

Path skills: Combat and Defense Skills
Fighter Path Features
  • Choose one combat skill you posess. You can always roll 3d6+skill for this skill.
  • Honed Technique: Each time you hit with a combat skill, apply one feasible technique, condition, or effect to your target, at no action cost.
  • You can always roll 3d6+skill for your Dodge skill.
  • You gain the option to roll 4d4+skill for any combat or defense skill.
  • Resolute Technique: Once per combat, guarantee a basic hit by you or a basic miss against you or an adjacent ally, before or after rolling.
  • +5 to your maximum health points.
  • You can roll 3d6+skill for all comb at and defense skills.
  • Nine Lives: Once per session, guarantee a critical success on a defense roll, before or after rolling.
  • Take an additional +5 to your maximum health points.

Having studied for many moons, adventuring mages gain access to powerful arcane arts, and the special Energy resource to spend on them. Advanced mages know multiple schools of arcana while master mages are unparalleled with casting skill.

Path skills: All Arcane Skills
Mage Path Features
  • Gain access to one arcane skill you choose. You can learn and advance this one arcane skill, but not yet others.
  • You gain current and maximum energy points equal to 5 + Arcane skill level.
  • You can now learn and advance any arcane skill.
  • Your maximum energy points are equal to 7 + your Arcane skill levels.
  • Twisting the Threads: Once per session, guarantee a spell's success of level 3 or lower, instead of rolling.
  • You can roll all of your arcane skills with 1d20+skill or 4d4+skill.
  • Your maximum energy points equal 10 + your Arcane skill levels.
  • Ethereal Control: Once per scene, you can guarantee a spell's success of level 3 or lower, instead of rolling.

Professional heroes, whether hackers, archaeologists, acrobats or thieves, have broader and stronger professional skills than other adventurers. Advanced professionals can focus in a crisis and learn faster than others. Master professionals can provide critical insights on a regular basis.

Path skills: All Professional and Social Skills
Professional Path Features
  • Choose one professional skill: You can always roll this skill with 3d6 + skill.
  • Expertise: You get 1 extra Professional Talent of Expert level. Your professional expert talents only require skill 1 instead of the usual 3.
  • Jack of all Trades: You take no penalties for being untrained in any non-arcane skill.
  • Choose another professional skill, you can always roll it with +1 advantage die.
  • You can always choose to roll any professional skill with 4d4 + skill.
  • Skilled: Each time the GM awards skill points or other advancements to the party, you get +1 extra XP.
  • Focus: Once per scene, you can roll any professional skill with +1 advantage die. You can activate this ability before or after the roll.
  • You can roll 2d10+skill for one professional skill you choose.
  • Talented: All Talent purchases have a 1-xp discount for you.
  • Spark of Genius: Once per session, you can guarantee a critical success on any professional skill.

5. Skills and Talents

In a standard game of CPA, after taking their starting 2 Paths, your character adds 2 Talent and 8 more skills with the following levels: (3,3,2,2,1,1,1,1).

6. Health and Energy

Assign your health points [HP].

Assign your Energy Points [EP].

7. Movement, Inventory, Initiative

8. Items and Money

9. The Fellowship

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Character Advancement

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After they are created, player characters (PCs) in CPA can grow in skills and talents as they gain experience, but they remain free to keep or change their motivations, flaws, goals and personality as fits the fun of the story.

This helps ensure that players always have a good reason to seize the moment and get into trouble in the game's story.

Examples of how to acquire experience points:

Note there is no need for advancement in this game. However, if you do use advancement, keep the following in mind:

How to spend experience points (XP):

  • Burning XP:At any time, a player may spend or "burn" 1 XP to reroll 1 skill check, or add +1 to a check. They must declare to the table when they are doing this.
  • Skill upgrades and new talents may be purchased with XP at any time. However:
    1. The player must declare to the group their intent to spend XP on a skill or talent, when they intend to do so.
    2. The player must give a reasonable an in-game explanation for the increase in the character's abilities.
    3. 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 bookish scientist learned kung-fu during a bus ride, then it cannot happen, and the player must choose another upgrade or save the points for later.
    4. Once approved, the player must tell the group about how they advanced, and note the advancement spending on their character sheet or log.

    Talent Advancement:

    To acquire a talent, after meeting requirements, 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.

    Statistic Advancement:

    Skill Advancement:

    You can improve skills by spending accumulated experience points. Note:
    1. The maximum level for any skill is 6 - this is the limit of mortal ability.
    2. In order to advance one arcane skill, the player character have the Arcane Initiate talent. To advance two or more, the Arcane Adept talent is required.
    3. 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 Unfamiliar, 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 Standard 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 mortal potential. You have a clear advantage (67%) on difficult risks (TN 14) and can attempt great works while unbothered.

      That's it!