|Character Creation|| Details & Characteristics|
|Basic Traits|| Ability Scores|
You create your d20A character by spending character points on different traits. Each ability, skill, feat, FX, and other trait has a character point cost. In some cases, you can lower your abilities to gain character points back towards character creation.
Starting Character PointsEdit
The campaign’s power level and which modules are in use provides a guideline for how many character points you get to create your character, as shown on the Power Level table. The GM can vary the starting character points as desired to suit the campaign. You can find more on this in the Gamemastering section.
Spending Character PointsEdit
Each trait costs a certain number of character points. You “spend” or allocate your character points to give your character different traits. Once spent, character points cannot be re-allocated without the use of a particular FX or the GM’s permission. The basic costs of various traits are given on the Basic Trait Costs table, with specific costs for FX given in the FX Module.
|BASIC TRAIT COSTS|
|Trait||Cost in Character Points|
|Ability Score||2 per ability score point above +0|
|Skills||1 per 1 skill rank|
|Feats||1 per 1 feat rank|
|FX||base cost x rank + fixed cost|
Power Level is an overall measure of effectiveness and power, primarily combat ability, but also generally what sort of tasks a character can be expected to accomplish on a regular basis, assuming the ability to take 10 and take 20. A higher-level character is more capable of changing the world around him. A higher-level character is more capable of changing the world around him than a lower-level character.
|Power Level||Character Points|
|Character Core||Skills Module||Feats Module||FX Module and/or Gear Module||Total|
Power level is a value set by the GM for the campaign. It places certain limits on where and how players can spend points when creating characters. Power level affects the following things:
|POWER LEVEL CAPS|
|Power Level Cap= Power Level x 2|
|Power Level Cap= Power Level + 10|
|All Other Skill Modifiers (Skill Rank + Ability Score + Feats + FX Bonuses)|
|No Power Level Cap|
|FX which do not target a character's resistances|
Note that there is some flexibility built into the power level system: two traits may together be limited to twice the game's power level, but they need not necessarily be of equal value. So a character who wanted to be exceptionally hard to hit may have a higher Defense than Toughness.
No limit can be reduced to less than 0 in this way and the GM must approve all such trade-offs. A good rule of thumb is to limit trade-offs to no more than half of the campaign's power level to keep things at a relatively manageable level (so a power level 10 character could have a Defense of 15 and a Toughness of 5).
Power Level and NPCsEdit
While the GM should keep the power level guidelines and suggested starting power points of the campaign in mind while creating villains and members of the supporting cast, such non-player characters are not restricted by the campaign's power level and may have as many character points as the GM wants to give them.
Instead, determine an NPC's power level based on the character's highest appropriate trait(s). This power level is simply an approximation to show what level of challenge that NPC offers, and is not necessarily related to the NPC's character point total, which may be greater than or less than the recommended starting power points for that power level. NPCs are often designed to fill a particular niche in the campaign and do not need to be as well rounded or balanced as characters.
Likewise, NPCs may have whatever traits the GM wishes to assign them. In fact, some non-player characters are better treated as plot devices; giving them game stats may limit them too much! For example, an omnipotent cosmic entity doesn't need a comprehensive list of traits; neither does a mysterious alien artifact with vast and unknown powers. They serve whatever dramatic needs the GM wishes. You can find more about creating non-player characters and plot devices in Gamemastering.
Re-Allocating Character PointsEdit
Normally a character's traits are relatively fixed. Once character points are spent on traits, they remain there. In some cases, however, the GM may allow players to re-allocate their characters' points, changing their traits within the limits of the campaign's power level, perhaps even losing some traits and gaining entirely new ones. This change may come about as the result of events in the game, such as a character encountering something that alters her abilities (intense radiation, mutagenic chemicals, magic energy, and so forth). It's up to the GM when these character-altering events occur, but they should be fairly rare unless their effects are intended to be strictly temporary complications. Very few players enjoy changes to their characters made without their consent, so GMs should be very careful when implementing this type of change.
Power Level and Character GrowthEdit
As the characters earn additional character points through adventuring, the GM may wish to increase the campaign's power level, allowing players to spend some of their earned character points to improve traits already at the campaign's limit. Not raising the power level forces player characters to diversify, improving their less powerful or effective traits, and acquiring new ones, but it can make the players feel constrained and the characters to start looking the same if it isn't raised occasionally. Increasing power level by one for every 15 earned character points is a good rule of thumb, depending on how quickly the GM wants the player characters to improve in overall power.
Bigger Guns and Power LevelEdit
There is one problem with Power Level limits: what do you do when you want your character to run over and grab the big gun that a higher-PL NPC enemy just dropped? Is there some magic barrier which prevents you from using it until you're at a higher PL? Do they all suddenly malfunction and stop working? Should the GM even allow the looting of corpses and the like?
It really depends on the genre of the game and the intent of the players. For fantasy games, where killing things and taking their stuff is a staple of the genre (and has been literally since the birth of roleplaying games), this is probably something you want to allow. If, on the other hand, you're running a four-color superheroes game, looting a fallen enemy for profit is stealing, something no righteous do-gooder would ever stoop to. You also want to be aware of whether or not the player is picking up the gear just for one fight because he needs it to stay alive, or if he wants to add it to his cache of weapons permanently.
There are a few different, relatively simple ways to handle grabbing the bigger gun:
- The Recoil is Unbelievable: The piece of gear is unwieldy for the character, whether because of massive recoil from the giant gun, or a strange balance on the two-handed sword, or simply because the character hasn't attuned properly to the magic in the wand. The character can use the item at full effect, but in order to do so, the character's attack roll suffers, as if using a trade-off to allow for use of the device normally. So if a PL 6 PC with a +6 Ranged Attack picks up a gun which does +8 Damage, then his attack bonus with that exceptionally heavy gun is only +4 (essentially a +2 Effect Modifier/-2 Attack trade-off).
- Paying Up-Front: Alternatively, you may want to charge the player one hero die for each scene the character uses the item in. It's not easy to wrestle an ancient, cursed sword under your control instantly, so it takes a little luck and a whole lot of guts to use it.
- If You Didn't Pay, You Can't Play: Finally, whether for a specific instance or just in general, the GM might rule that a particular item is just too advanced or unwieldy or bizarre for a PC to use effectively, at least until he's spent the character points to buy it normally (representing training to use the item, or maybe undergoing a ritual to magically attune oneself to the mana flowing through it).