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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

2. Lineage

3. Background

4. Skills

6. Talents

7. Assign Health

8. Initiative and Movement

9. Energy Points

10. The Fellowship

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Character Advancement

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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:

  1. Firstly, whenever players roll a critical failure--two 1's on 2d8--and they accept its consequences, they immediately gain one experience point.
  2. 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.
  3. Third, characters may receive some XP as a reward for completing specific objectives, like rescuing hostages, discovering a secret location, capturing a villain, etc.
  4. 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:

  • Skill upgrades and new talents may be purchased with XP at any time. You can also save up the points to buy something more expensive like a higher level upgrade.
    1. 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.
    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 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.
    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 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 acquire and advance arcane skills, the player character must already have at least one or two arcane focus skills.
    3. 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'.
    4. 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.

      That's it!