Characters in action movies generally conform to a number of basic types: the maverick cop, the stalwart young kung fu student, the crusty old kung fu master, and on and on. So do characters in a Feng Shui game. Each of these is presented as a type, which provides you with a numerical starting point foryour character as well as ideas that will help you portray your character in play. Starting on p 44. we present the various types available as player characters. Pick the one you think is coolest.
Once you've picked a type, then you should think of all of the things that makes your character unique. Pick a name for her. Figure out what her past history is. Decide on her basic personality traits--is she humble. boastful, obnoxious, witty, bitter? Pick a couple of catch phrases she uses in conversation.
Each Feng Shui character must have a melodramatic hook. This is a fact about your character that the GM can use to create storylines. It should be a classic staple of adventure fiction, one that motivates or haunts the character. Whenever this hook comes up in the story, your character should have a strong emotional reaction to it.
Attributes are numbers that measure the character's innate physical, mental and spiritual abilities. These are all natural talents or aptitudes rather than learned capabilities. There are four primary attributes: each of these can, if you want, be broken down into three or four secondary attributes. This allows you to refine your notion of what your character is talented at. A character's score in all secondary attributes is the same as the relevant primary attribute unless otherwise specified.
Skills are things thatyour character has learned to do. They are measured by Skill Bonuses, which reflect the level of training thatyour character has invested in a skill. The Action Value for each skill is based on a secondary attribute (such as Fortune or Perception), which is called the Base Attribute for that skill. To get your Action Value for a given skill, you add the Skill Bonus to the Base Attribute.
If an attribute or skill appears after an '=' sign on your type, you can't increase that number at all during character creation.
After the type's starting attributes, you are given some changes you can make to attributes that don't appear after an '=' sign. Some attributes also give you a Maximum Action Value, abbreviated as Max. You may not increase an attribute beyond its max during character creation.
Example: The Big Bruiser type's starting attributes are: Bod =11 (Tgh =12), Chi 0, Mnd 5, Ref 5. This type allows you to "Add 2 to one primary attribute." You could therefore increase Chi to 2, Mnd to 7, or Ref to 7. (Bod can't be changed here.)
For each skill,you are given a Skill Bonus and an Action Value.
Changes you make in your character's attributes affect the character's skills, also. Before you start changing your skills around, note which skills have increased because the secondary attribute on which they are based has increased.
Below the skill listing for each type, you are given a number of skill bonuses you can use to customize your character. You can add these to the existing skills, or use them to start new skills. Adding a new skill doesn't cost you any extra. You just spend one of the skill bonuses you have available, and you get that skill at +1.
Skills may have Maximum Action Values, in which case you can't raise them above that number. If you add a skill that does not appear on your type, it automatically has a Max of 12.
Most characters come with schticks--particular nifty things associated with their character types. For example, many martial artist types can perform a number of Fu schticks. described in detail in Chapter 5.
Some characters are given Unique Schticks that apply only to their types. You can decide not to take a Unique Schtick if it doesn't fit your character conception, but you can't trade it for something else.
In game terms, schticks operate differently from type to type. Some schticks use skills as a base number, while other schticks use an attribute. such as Kung Fu or Chi. Still other schticks don't have a base skill or attribute. For some types, such as a Martial Artist, you might use your Kung Fu or Chi rating at times while using your Martial Arts skill at other times when you use a Fu Schtick. Look over the descriptions of each ability, andyou'll be able to tell soon just how that schtick works.
For each type, we provide a number of quick schtick picks. These are good choices if you're in a hurry to create a character and want to get started right away. You're not obligated to take them, though, so if you have the time, feel free to look over the relevant chapters and pick the schticks you like best. If you don't have time and the GM wants to get started quickly take the schticks given for your first session. Like attributes and skills, you can always choose different ones before the next session if you don't like the ones you've chosen.
Copyright 1996 by Robin D. Laws.
Used by kind permission.
Permission granted to print and photocopy for your personal use.