"In the late 21st century a growing madness of plagues, wars, terrorism and environmental collapse led to the rushed terraforming of the colonies by the major corporations, an exodus from Earth and the final cataclysmic nuclear war. It takes hundreds of years to re-establish life as we know it on the inner worlds of our solar system. Imperial, Capitol, Bauhaus and Mishima now rule from their homes in the steaming jungles of Venus, the caverns of Mercury, the deserts of Mars and the many orbitals and asteroid homes of the solar system. Luna City is a vast neutral sprawl, many hundreds of years old, built up and over the first colony and mines.
A fateful exploratory mission to Pluto unleashes an ancient evil force 'The Dark Symmetry' upon the thinking machines of man. As technology fails (and even fights back), mankind is beset with conspiracy and corporate intrigue from within. Dark things gather on the edges of the colonies and whilst corporate war consumes the greatest armies of man, the Dark Legion’s citadels rise up throughout the worlds of the solar system and terrifying armies march out to consume all. They were defeated long ago, they will not be defeated this time..."
So I now own this, since it appeals to my complete and utter lack of subtlety:
- Dystopian future? - Check!
- Dark threat from the beyond looking to drag the warring fragments of humanity off to hell? - Check!
- People running around with giant shoulder pads for no apparent reason - Check!
- All AI and Expert Systems made illegal due to the Dark Symmetry corrupting them? - Check!
- Lifepath character creation with an online character generator? - Check!
So let's make a character and help justify my purchase!
For the purpose of this we will walk through the online character generator, located here: http://mc3.modiphiusapps.hostinguk.org/. We will also stick to choices available in the core book for the sake of simplicity as well as my not owning them... ;P
0) Timeline. To start we select whether this is First Dark Legion War, Second Dark Legion War or Dark Eden. It does not appear to support 'Dark Symmetry' era campaigns taking place right after the the Conquistadors broke the ancient seal on Pluto.
We will go with the 'First Dark Legion War' option, and leave everything else at default which will give us 5 'Life Points' to use as we walk the lifepath and discover who this character is.
That's right, by default we have no idea right now, but we get to make choices along the way as his or her story starts to emerge. (There is also a straight point buy option as well, but this is more fun...)
1) Attributes: All start at 5, and we can now choose to drop 1 attribute by 1 to increase another. Attributes in this system are Agility, Awareness,Coordination,Intelligence, Mental Strength, Personality, Physique and Strength.
After this you may spend life points to increase your attributes at a one to one ratio. You have 5 for the entire process, so I will spend two here: Mental Strength (hello dark forces from beyond..) and Awareness. So this character has a slight edge at finding things and not going insane when he or she does...
2) Birth Faction: Roll for free, or pay 1 Life Point to select. We are rolling...
And we get Microcorp, which means this character is an employee of one of the many 'small' companies that have not yet come to the attention of the Megacorps to be acquired.
3) Family Heritage: Again roll for free or pay to select, we will roll...
Capitol, so we are part of a Microcorp that is culturally similar to Capitol... Aka 'Merka as seen through Swedish eyes plus a dose of 'Team America World Police' thrown in for good measure.
We get to begin selection of some Faction and Heritage skills. Skills can increase in Expertise (chance of doing it) or Focus (Chance of getting additional successes when you do it). Basically to get a success, you roll under your Attribute + Expertise, and if you roll at or under that skill's focus, you get 2 successes instead of just one.
Faction skill is 'Lifestyle' which gets one expertise point.
Heritage skills are Ranged Weapons (Because Capitol is big on everyone being able to own guns) and Persuade (presumably because Capitol is Wall Street X 10000 plus the aforementioned 'everyone has guns')
We get one point for the Heritage skill, so we choose Ranged Weapons, because that is always handy.
We also get to declare one of these a Signature Skill (Any we placed a point into at this point, so Lifestyle or Ranged Weapons) which bumps its skill cap, and gets us another point... Let's go with Ranged Weapons as that seems prudent in this universe. This point we will put into Focus.
We also learn that we understand Capitol and Luna Patois for Languages, have the Talent 'Under the Radar' which reduces restriction ratings on all items, but they get the 'black market' quality, and we gain 1 'Asset' (abstract wealth) as our Faction Event.
4) Status. What class did our character grow up in? We can roll, pay 1 life-point to choose, or pay 2 to get 'Capitalist Class' status... I have no idea what that is and only 3 lifepoints left, so I will of course choose it.
This gives me Earnings: 5 (In Trump terms, this is Bigly!) Fame: 3
Attribute bonuses are Mental Strength +1, Personality +1, Skills: Persuade +1 Expertise and a photo of the character or family member with the President.
This character is starting to come together... not sure as what...
5) Environment: What type of environment was the character raised in? Well I'm rolling as I have one lifepoint left:
Sequestered... so in a remote location. From the faction list I will go with "Mars - Trans-Martian Railroad Outpost"
We get Attribute bonuses of 1 to either Physique or Coordination. Let's go with Coordination.
Skill bonuses are +1 to Willpower, and since we have no points we need to buy 1 in Expertise.
We also apparently get High Society Clothing, a notable object of personal significance a meditation room and a personal library.
I'm picturing a rich kid growing up on Mars with a personal Ayn Rand library consigned to memory because there is nothing else to do but read and attend corporate functions and take pot shots in the wilds.
6) Education: I'm going to burn my last life point here and select 'select basic education'
Let's go with 'Managerial Experience'. This does nothing to help our physique or strength, but we get boosts everywhere else, particularly to personality, mental strength and awareness.
Mandatory Skills: We get +1 to Education, Lifestyle, Observation, Willpower and Persuade.
Elective skills: We can choose two: Command and Thievery. (He is loud and apparently really greedy.)
We will start down a persuade 'tree' herewith Charismatic. We get additional dice added to Influence.
We also get a Free Career choice of 'Corporate (Executive management)' and Good-quality smart business attire,
7) Adolescence Event: Anti-Religious. Sick of the Brotherhood. You were dragged to services every week and now the sight of the Brotherhood makes you sick. Your resentment reduces your Corruption Soak by one.
Yeah his life is probably going to end predictably in this universe...
8) Career. We can roll career (and also take the free one), select unemployment to get a lifepoint back, or join the Brotherhood. Given he is anti-religious, that seems unlikely.
Rolling gives me the choice of unemployed, or corporate executive (the free choice earned by being a management wonk earlier.) Let's go to the executive level.
"You’re climbing the food chain and have so much opportunity. You’re moving in the right circles, and this is just the beginning. A desk with a view, a phone book full of contacts and an office ready to do your bidding."
(Remember, 'thinking machines' and the like are a problem... unless you are part of Cybertronic.)
Mandatory Skills: Persuade, Lifestyle and Command.
Elective: Let's go with Willpower and Education.
We also select another 'Signature Skill' which will be Persuade, and we add 1 Focus to it.
Talent: Strong Armed Tactics 1 - Additional d20s to persuade tests when intimidating.
Equipment: Fashionable quality corporate suit.
"You survived a serious disaster where something horrendous went wrong and you got out with your skin intact. You gain 1 favour from a useful contact, 1 enemy made during the disaster and 1 Asset as compensation for undergoing the trauma. You also have a tendency for nasty sleep depriving nightmares.
I'm guessing this disaster would be something he had a hand in ordering... This is good GM fodder.
9) Career. You can progress through several career steps, join the brotherhood, select an 'iconic career' or finish. Each time you go through this you get more skills, but you also age.
Our character is now 23 and Executive management.
Mandatory Skills: Persuade, Lifestyle and Command.
Elective: Let's go with Lifestyle and Willpower.
We also select another 'Signature Skill' which will be Command, and we add 1 Focus to it.
Talent: Professional - Reroll one d20 when making command tests. (Chose this one as it ties nicely to his disaster event preceding this. Maybe he learned something?)
Equipment: Fashionable quality corporate suit.
Career Event: Paranoia!
They're on to you!
My only choice now is to join the Brotherhood that he hates, or Finish... Heck let's make him seek sanctuary in the Brotherhood from demons that may or may not exist.
10) Life point spend on skills/attributes/chronicle points. Well we are finished with careers, and have no Life Points, so we skip this step.
11) Add 2 to attributes (Physique and Strength). Skills we get to add a couple and we go with 1 point in psychotherapy and mysticism.
Last Talent: Air of Authority - Pay DSP to distract a group of people.
And we will select Tithed which means we reduce our earnings, but allows us to petition the Brotherhood for certain supplies... Also appropriate since we joined the Brotherhood.
So what we end up with is a former corporate success story that is haunted by nightmares, and has joined a (militant) religious order that he despises...