Project Fantasy Ubiquity: Character Gen

This is part of a series about making a D&D-esque version of Ubiquity.

This week, let’s go over the steps to character creation. It is pretty much the same as it is presented in Hollow Earth Expedition, but with the addition of one extra step for choosing species. There are 11 steps outlined here, and some of them I will elaborate on in future posts.

Note: As Ubiquity has no core rule book, I treat Hollow Earth Expedition (HEX) as the core rules, as it was the first implementation of the rules. Unless otherwise noted, any changes are to the rules as written in HEX.

  • Step One: Choose an Archetype. I pulled archetypes from all the different Ubiquity books. You can also add ones that specifically mimic D&D classes like Cleric and Rogue. Ultimately, a player can create their own Archetype–its only purpose is to help shape the character conceptually and has no game mechanics effect.
  • Step Two: Choose a Motivation. Again, I use the Motivations listed in the various books. Players can also create their own.
  • Step Three: Assign Scores to Primary Attributes. This is done under the same rules and restrictions as found in HEX.
  • Step Four: Calculate Secondary Attributes. These are calculated the same way as always, except now there is an additional Secondary Attribute: Psi.

Psi

Psi represents represents your character’s mental resilience and resistance to stress and emotional trauma. Your character can take up to his Psi rating in Horror and Psychic Damage without suffering any ill effects. Each point of damage temporarily lowers your character’s Psi rating; If the rating drops below zero, he will become increasingly impaired and may fall unconscious. If Psi is reduced to -5, your character’s mind is utterly shattered, leaving him in a permanent and irreversible vegetative state.

Your character’s Psi rating is calculated as follows:

Psi = Charisma + Willpower

This is essentially the Sanity rules laid out in Perils of the Surface World, but more broadly defined because psionicists will use their Psi to activate their mental abilities. Check out Perils for the descriptions of what happens to a character when their Psi drops below zero.

  • Step Five: Choose a species. The Hollow Earth Expedition books Mysteries of the Hollow Earth and Revelations of Mars are great resources for species that may be used in a fantasy setting. I use the following from the books: Apemen (Simians), Beetlemen (Chitik), Dinomen (Sauren), Gillmen (Piscine), Greenmen (Arborian), Humans, Hawkmen (Avian), Lizardmen (Shokera), Mantismen (Mantid), Molemen (Volian), Panthermen (Felid), Titans, and Shardmen (Vrii). Additionally, I have added Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings. I’ll cover the Species Templates of these three in a separate post.
  • Step Six: Spend points in Skills of your choice. This works just as it does in HEX. However, due to the classic fantasy setting, some Skills have been added or removed. Note: I renamed “Specialized Skills” as “Broad Skills” to prevent confusion with the rule of Specialization. I do use the optional rules of Zero Level skills. I assign these based on the suggested ones paired with the species from the various books.

Skill List

  • Academics (Broad Skill) same focuses as listed in HEX
  • Acrobatics
  • Alchemy (From Mysteries of the Hollow Earth)
  • Animal Handling
  • Archery
  • Art (Broad Skill) Same focuses as listed in HEX, except Photography
  • Athletics
  • Brawl
  • Bureaucracy
  • Con
  • Craft (Broad Skill) Focuses are Apothecary, Bowyer/Fletching, Carpentry, Mining, Smithing, Stonecutting, Tailoring, and Trap-smithing.
  • Diplomacy
  • Empathy
  • Farming (From Desolation: Survivors)
  • Focus (From Secret of the Surface World)
  • Gambling
  • Intimidation
  • Investigation
  • Larceny
  • Linguistics
  • Magic (Broad Skill) Focuses are Chimeric, Elemental, Warding, Ecomancy, and Sorcery.
  • Medicine –Focuses from Desolation
  • Melee
  • Merchant (From Desolation: Survivors)
  • Performance
  • Ride
  • Seamanship –Focuses are Knots, Navigation, Pilot, Rigging, and Sea Lore. (Base Attribute: Intelligence)
  • Spying (From Leagues of Adventure)
  • Stealth
  • Survival
  • Warfare (From Secrets of the Service World)
  • Step Seven: Choose a Talent or Resource. These deserve their own blog post.
  • Step Eight: Choose Flaws. Simply choose setting appropriate Flaws from the various book (or make your own!)
  • Step Nine: Spend starting Experience Points. This step is just like it is presented in HEX, including the costs of Talents, Resources, and raising Attributes and Skills.
  • Step Ten: Finishing Touches. Just as HEX describes.
  • Step Eleven: Assign Style Points. I give three Style Points at the beginning of each session of play, assuming the previous session ended at a logical stopping point.

Addendum

Some of the focuses of Crafting are covered in Desolation. Here are the descriptions for those that are not:

Mining: The ability to extract precious metals and gems through mining.

Stonecutting: The ability to work stone and properly cut gems.

Tailoring: The ability to design and sew clothing or other items that can be stitched.

Trap-smithing: The ability to design and construct various traps.

The Seamanship focus descriptions:

Knots: Skill at tying complex knots.

Navigation: Knowledge of charts, maps, and rudders, how to plot a course using the sun and stars, and how to measure one’s position on a map.

Pilot: Your character knows how to steer a ship and use the wind to his advantage.

Rigging: Your character’s ability to set the sails and operate the rigging.

Sea Lore: An understanding of the tides, how to detect reefs, and spot changes in the weather.

2 Thoughts

  1. Psi seems like an unexpected choice as an addition – will it also double as a “magic points” attribute, or are you taking the “Burn” approach from Desolation?

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    1. I am using a version of Burn for magic. The Psi stat, however, sort of functions the same way–it’s a way to put some limits on Psionics, which I think can be just as powerful as magic. Plus, if anyone wants to play with Horror and Shock rules, they would need this secondary attribute anyway. I see it as killing two birds with one stone.

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