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.
- Character flavor aspects which do not have a mechanical effect also go in this category - scars, a hook-hand, wooden leg etc.
- Talk with the other players to create how your people fit in to the setting. Were these robots former servants who rebelled? Are you the last elf in the galaxy? To keep the setting's secrets, the GM has veto power here.
- 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 skills empowered with extra features that define your character's role in the party.
- For each focus skill, you get ALL of the Focus Abilities. Note these on your sheet.
- For Arcane focus skills, having 1 allows you to train that skill and having 2 allows you to train any arcane skill.
- Set each of your 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 two focus skills at 2 and all others at 1.
- Choose two starting Talents for which you qualify.
7. Health and EnergyAssign your health points [HP].
- The character's health points determine how much damage they can suffer before being defeated.
- Base HP is equal to 10 + 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 are resting in poor conditions (tents, cramped bunks, poor food, etc). Your GM will tell you when conditions are good for rest.
- Only characters with arcane focus skills (or Meditation focus) get 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.
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.
- In case of a tie, the player with fewer health points goes first.
- 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.
- Your carrying capacity is 10 items + 5 * Athletics skill. It applies to all items worn, held, or carried in packs or pockets. Each stack of up to 1000 physical cash units is one item.
9. Items and Money
- The GM will assign your character some cash and starting equipment.
- For each of your 2 focus skills, you should get 1 basic item related to it, and 1 additional basic item.
- For a fantasy game, starting cash is generally 25 gold coins. For scifi, $300 is a good starting point.
- These values are low because they provide a good incentive to adventure and encourage tradeoff decisions.
10. The Fellowship
- Agree with the other players on why your character is committing wholeheartedly to join them and entrust their life to these specific friends on an Adventure of Cosmic Peril.
- That's it! At this point, 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 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.
- When CPA characters complete one specific mission objective in the adventure, they acquire 1 experience point (XP), which can be saved or spent on skill and talent improvements, as described below.
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:
- If players are an enforcer squad charged with rescuing hostages from terrorists over a 5-session mission, then when the action is complete, the GM might award them 1 XP for each hostage rescued.
- If players are archaeologists on a mission to locate traces of ancient artifacts from unknown planets, the GM might award them 1 point for each alien artifact recovered.
- If players are refugees fleeing an apocalypse, the GM might award them 1 point each time they find a new vehicle, food source, fuel cache, or ally.
- A character who maximizes their main combat & defense skill and talents will become akin to a city-level super-hero (able to fight six TN12 thugs single handed) after about 25 xp post-character creation.
How to spend experience points (XP):
- 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 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.
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 listed above.
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 they must be both approved and trained by an expert in Metaphysics.
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.|