Welcome to Lug Who. To date, there have been two officially licensed Doctor Who RPGs. The best of the two has always (in my mind) been the game published by FASA, based on their Star Trek RPG. So, when Last Unicorn Games published a new Star Trek RPG, I felt its system (with its highly detailed character stats) was ideally suited to a Doctor Who RPG. Alas, this never came to pass. So, after thinking about it all these years, I've decided to create this site. Here I will post original species templates, advantages, disadvantages, skills, equipment, ships, etc. I will be accepting submissions from anyone who might be interested in roleplaying with the Icon system.

To submit content send an email to:

P.S. Feel free to submit alternate ideas for things already posted.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Character Creation

Character Creation Basics
Characters are built using three basic elements: Attributes and edges, advantages and disadvantages and skills. When constructing your character, you will receive some attributes, skills and advantages and disadvantages for free, taken from the Template and Overlay you choose. You can purchase others with Development Points, which are discussed below.

Attributes represent the character's innate physical and mental characteristics - - everything from how much weight he can lift, to how quickly he reacts to how smart he is. Attribute scores are "openended," meaning there is no limit to how high they can go, though normally they range from 1 to 5. Your character's base attributes come from the Template, which represents your character's species/race.

Edges represent facets of an attribute. For example, two characters may both have Fitness 2, but one might be stronger, while the other character possesses greater stamina. Each attribute has two edges (as shown on the accompanying chart) which are expressed in terms of "+" or "-" values. Edges make the core attributes a bit more flexible. For characters, edges can only range from -2 to +2.

Skills represent a character's learned abilities and knowledge — everything from how to shoot a [gun] or use a computer, to speaking strange alien languages. Skills are rated from 1 to 5, representing how much your character knows about that skill. A Flight Control officer with Shipboard Systems (Flight Control) 2 (3) knows more about navigating in space than a Science Officer with (Flight Control) 1.

Attribute Scale
Here are some rough guidelines as to what the different levels of Attributes mean:

0 - Nonexisten
1 - Weak
2 - Average (for Humans)
3 - Good
4 - Excellent
5 - Legendary

Although Attributes normally can only go as high as 5, some races can go even higher.

Step One: The Template
Now that you have a character concept, it is time to choose a Template. The Template represents the character's species Human or [Time Lord], for example. It provides the character's innate qualities, inherited characteristics and cultural aspects. Each Template provides you with the attributes and skills for an average specimen of a particular species. After considering the type of character you want to play, choose one that fits your concept. Templates are free; they do not cost Development Points. The first thing the Template tells you are the character's basic attributes. They define who the character is: How strong is she? How fast are her reflexes? How intelligent? Every character possesses five basic attributes — Fitness, Coordination,
Intellect, Presence and Psi. The numbers appearing in brackets are the maximum levels a character of that race can possess. For example, Humans cannot possess a Fitness greater than 5. Record the numbers listed on the Template on your character sheet. Later on, you will be able to assign additional points to these attributes, to personalize your character further. Second, the Template provides you with a number of background skills and abilities. They define what your character knows; a [Draconian] character, for example, knows the history, customs and language of his people. Record the skills and skill levels listed on the Template on your character sheet. Some Templates list advantages or disadvantages common to the species. All [Cats], for example, have Excellent [Balance]. Record any advantages or disadvantages on your character sheet.

Step Two: Overlays
After deciding upon a Template, choose an Overlay. The Overlay represents your character's profession. If the Template represents who you are, the Overlay represents what you do. It defines what your character has learned, rather than his innate abilities. You should choose the appropriate Overlay for your character's conception. The Overlay provides players with a list of skills necessary for the character to complete his duties; every doctor knows how to perform surgery; every officer at Conn knows how to pilot a starship. The first group of skills listed on the Overlay are the primary skills for that profession. Overlays are free; they do not cost Development Points.

What If I Get the Same Skill Twice?
Sometimes, you will get the same skill from two different sources during the Character Creation process, for example, an Overlay might provide a character with a skill he already received from his Template.

• If both sources provide the same skill with different Specializations at the same level, the character simply knows two Specializations.
• If both sources provide the same skill with different Specializations at different levels, the character takes the higher level skill, and knows two Specializations.
• If both sources provide the same skill with the same Specialization at the same level, the character adds one point either to his skill or to the Specialization.
• If both sources provide the same skill with the same Specialization at different levels, the character takes the higher skill level, and can then add one point to either his skill or to the Specialization.
• Skills without specializations (such as Dodge) simply add.

Step Three: Background
After putting together a Template and Overlay, you should have a solid basis for a good character. You know how strong or smart he is, and what he can do. Yet not all [Human Torchwood Agents] are the same; one might be stronger than another, or faster than another. One may have specialized in exobiology, while another is an expert on nuclear physics. Players can personalize their characters through the Background History process. At this stage, you get to go back and add additional traits to your character, determining what she learned as a child or at [school, or some for of training]. Every character has a past. When your character was a child, did he learn to play a musical instrument? While at [school], did he take particle physics as an elective course? Did he pick up any new abilities during his early years in [training]? The Background History allows you to customize your characters, while at the same time building a past for them. Traits chosen at a specific stage in a character's past represent events and developments that occurred at that particular time. If your character learned to play the piano as a child, you would purchase the Artistic Expression (Piano) skill during the Early Youth stage in her Background History. You should explain how your character's various background elements fit together. They should form a story of the character's life up to the point of entering play. For example, you might choose the Sworn Enemy and Vengeful disadvantages for your character. You and the Narrator might put these traits together by saying that the character's home planet was attacked by an enemy who killed thousands of inhabitants, but who was driven off. The character has sworn revenge on the enemy leader, who in turn has vowed to kill the character. If you want to select a character element not listed for a particular stage, you should work with the Narrator to come up with a credible explanation. A character who learned particle physics while still a child might be a prodigy, while someone who learned [military] protocol could have been obsessed with [joining the military]. The Background History is designed to help you explore these aspects of your character by tracing his growth from early age to a [successful, or not so successful] career. At each stage, you receive a number of Development Points with which to purchase better attributes and edges, new skills, additional skill levels and other character creation elements. You can choose to spend a number of Development Points on the attributes, edges, skills, advantages and disadvantages listed in the Universal Background List. The number of points you have to spend depends on particular stages in the character's past. All Development Points must be spent for each stage of the Background History process; they cannot be "saved" or "carried over" for later stages. Throughout this process, additional ideas and refinements may occur to you. This is natural, and you should follow these instincts; you might end up with a more interesting character. Whereas before you had the bare bones of a character, at this stage you make decisions that make you care about your character more, and make the character better fit your initial conception.

Background History Stages
Early Life History:
The character receives 5 Development Points to spend during Early Life.
Education and Training: The Character receives 9 development points to spend during Education and Training.
Practical Experience: The Character receives 10 development points to spend during Practical Experience.

Development Point Costs
Attributes: 2 points
Edges: 1 point
Skill: 3 points
Specialization: 1 point
Advantages: Variable
Disadvantages: Variable

Background History Notes and Limitations
When spending Development Points, attributes cost 2 Development Points per attribute point; lowering your attribute from the starting value gives you 2 extra Development Points to spend per attribute point lowered.
Positive edges cost 1 Development Point for each point raised; negative edges give you 1 extra Development Point to spend per point lowered (to spend either on other edges or on attributes). (These costs include paying for the 0 level; for example, taking an edge from -1 to +1 costs 2 Development Points—one point to go from -1 to 0, and another point to go from 0 to +1.) Characters cannot make more than four changes to their edges during character development (not including changes from the character's Template). Each increase or decrease in an edge by a point counts as a "change." Thus, for example, raising a character's Dexterity and Vitality each by 1 counts as two changes, and decreasing that same character's Strength to -1 counts as a third change. That character can only make one more change to his edges during character development. (Characters can change their edges as much as they want after game play begins, provided the players get the Narrator's permission for all changes.) If as a result of choosing a Template or Overlay you make more than four changes to your edges, simply take the additional point and put it someplace else. Furthermore, characters who have Psi 0 are not allowed to lower their Range and Focus edges to gain extra Development Points. Each skill point costs 3 Development Points. The first Specialization in any skill is free; additional Specializations within skills cost 1 Development Point apiece. Improving an existing skill's level costs 3 Development Points per level; for example, improving from Dodge 2 to Dodge 3 costs 3 Development Points. A character may not start the game with a skill higher than 4 (5), except with the Narrator's permission. Advantages cost a-variable number of points, depending on the strength of the benefit, while disadvantages give a character more points to allocate, based on the severity of the flaw. These costs are listed [under each advantage or disadvantage]. Characters may only take a certain number of disadvantages at the start of the game. Typically, a character can have no more than eight points worth of disadvantages. Beginning Narrators may also want to restrict the number or degree of advantages that characters can start with, if only to keep the game balanced and fun for all players.

Step Four: Finishing Touches
By this point, you should have a well developed character, complete with attributes, skills, advantages, disadvantages and a fairly detailed background. In this final step, you calculate the few finishing touches needed prior to entering play, such as your character's starting Courage and Renown.

Courage Points
Each character receives 3 Courage Points, Courage can be spent to increase a character's chance to succeed at actions during dramatic situations, thus allowing characters to perform heroic feats in times of stress. Record
your Courage Points on your character sheet,

Renown is a measure of your character's fame or reputation. The higher your character's Renown, the more people have heard of him or his exploits. For example, a character with a low Renown might only be known to crewmen in the same deck of his Starship, while one with a high Renown has made a name for himself throughout the [Galaxy]. In addition to representing general fame or notoriety, Renown is divided into five Aspects: Initiative, Aggression, Skill, Discipline and Openness. Characters gain Renown in those individual Aspects; the total of these Aspects is the character's overall Renown. Starting characters begin play with 1 Renown, in any Aspect of your choosing. Aspect Renown can be positive or negative. A character with a -5 Skill Renown is known for his incompetence; a character with a +5 Skill Renown is just as widely known for her ability. When calculating a character's total Renown for any reason (such as Renown Tests), only the degree of Renown is considered, not whether it is positive or negative.

Renown Aspects
Initiative: Initiative covers risk-taking, experimentalism, boldness; and willingness to disobey others. Characters with high Initiative Renown are seen as mavericks or daredevils.

: Agression covers the willingness to resort to violence or the threat of violence to solve a problem. Characters with high Aggression Renown are seen as hotheads or warmongers. Negative Aggression Renown conveys a sense of pacifism

: Skill covers personal skill, ability, competence, resourcefulness, and similar traits. It is not necessary actually to be particularly skilled to possess Renown for personal Skill; a consistently lucky character or a fraud might gain a high Skill Renown.

Discipline: Discipline covers the character's conformity to and consideration for the larger group, and for its rules and restrictions. Repeatedly violating orders for selfish personal gain is usually perceived as negative Discipline, although if such violation results in a success for others or for the group, negative Discipline can be
tied to positive Initiative.

Openness: Openness is the willingness to consider and adapt to tie views of others, to invite external input, and to be influenced by foreign influence. Negative Openness Renown connotes xenophobia, chauvinism, or cultural conservatism.

Wound Levels
Every character can resist a number of points of damage equal to their Fitness + Vitality. This is called the character's Resistance. Additionally, every character has seven Wound Levels to describe the effects of damage (usually as a result of combat). At each level, a character can take damage equal to their resistance. Calculate your Wound Levels and write them on your character sheet in the space provided.

Advanced Character Creation
The Character creation rules presented above are sufficient to create virtually any type of Doctor Who RPG character. When you become more comfortable with the rules, or if you are an experienced role-player, going through all the character creation steps described above may not be necessary. Instead, you can simply take a certain amount of Development Points (the number depends upon how effective and capable you want starting characters to be) and spend them. For starting characters similar to characters built with the Basic Character Creation Process, allocate 125 points among the Attributes, Edges, Skills, advantages and disadvantages you desire for your character. Just make sure you figure out when the various advancements or changes in the character's life took place.

Excerpted from the Star Trek: The Next Generation Roleplaying Game by Last Unicorn Games and modified by Noah Soudrette.

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