Damn it, I am never happy. While I love Risus, I think it may not mesh well with my style or something, just having a hard time getting my head around it. Or perhaps it is my ADD that makes me constatnly want to switch this, move that, tweak that part, and remove entire sections. I have been reading a few different systems lately and not being satisfied with all of any one, I have sort of thrown a couple into a bowl, shaken, added water, stirred and started working on something else (again). At the moment I am calling this kumquat for lack of a better term (it seems to be my stand-by, just-in-case name for everything. Don’t ask.
You may notice bits of Risus, Mouse Guard, and even some Fate thrown in there so far. I firmly plan on using the Belief and Instinct in the game big time to help drive the game and create interesting role-playing situations in the game.
Here is what I have on how characters are set up:
Every character has four main parts that define who they are: Belief, Instinct, Traits and State. A character may also carry gear. To begin developing a character, the most important thing is to develop a background of a character and then build the three parts of the character from the details of the background. Each character should have one Belief, one Instinct and up to four Traits.
Belief is a characters strongest personal motivator or a morale code that defines the ethical and moral stance of a character. A Belief is something the character would feel in their heart to be true, some internal underlying personal code that affects how they view the world. A Belief should be a catalyst to bring role-playing ideas to fruition. If you are struggling with a belief, ask the question “What drives you?” or “What is your higher purpose?” Good examples would be I will never give up on my friends, Always speak softly but carry a big stick, The ranger never leaves a friend behind, and The King is a servant of God and would never lead me astray.
This represents a core fact of the character’s personality; if someone was to describe the character this would surely be included. These can be positive and negative aspects of a personality. While the Belief is how the character might view the world around them, the Instinct is something about the character directly. Examples would be: Always goes with his gut, Always seems to know which way is north, Always draw my sword at first sign of trouble, Will never waste a moment when something useful could be accomplished, Never acts on rumors without first verifying their truth, Never wanted to be the hero but it keeps happening.
Traits are clichés that briefly describe what your character is or can do. These can be as brief or lengthy as the player and GM decide upon but should build a more in depth view of what is character is made of. Most often these should follow a pattern of adverb + noun such as Determined Warrior, Sharp-Eyed Scout, Fiery Tempered Youngling, Brave Guardsman of Heuren, or Fearless Defender of the Weak. Players are afforded a total of six points to purchase Traits, selecting one costs one point, raising it a point costs another, and no Trait may be raised above four points.
State is a classification of the current physical status of the character. The six States are: Healthy, Hungry/Thirsty, Angry, Tired, Injured and Sick. If a character has any State besides Healthy, the GM may include Penalty die (or dice) if he deems the State would have an effect on the character’s ability to perform the test.
As in life, having the appropriate gear can help you through some sticky situations. However, we do not want this to turn into a shopping list and so a character is assumed to carry what gear common any person in his situation would carry. Only in cases where a character carries particular gear should it be listed. A character with the Trait Knowledgeable Wildlands Guard (3) might be assumed to carry a cloak, wineskin, flint, rations. If the guard wished to include a particular weapon he might list Sword, Spear, or Bow under his Gear. In any test a player may add one item from his Gear and apply one bonus die to his pool. Remember, the Gear listing is not intended to turn into a shopping list; it should contain only a few items if any at all.