In the past 2 years I’ve been refining my style of gamemastering and one of the things I’ve discovered is my low-prep style works better with relationship-mapped games than location based ones. In fact I’ve come to the realization that it’s more important for the players to navigate the relationship map than defeat the game’s encounters. Unfortunately, I still see players creating characters focused solely on combat and whose life ambition is to get a higher rating on their commlink so below is a list of things that my players should consider important when creating a character.
- Contacts. They won’t always be telling the truth and have their own agendas but they have a loyalty rating where as NPCs don’t. On a side note it’s important to consider who else has your contact and what loyalty rating do they share.
- Commlinks and the ability to operate them at the user level (browse, edit, scan) is essential. You might not be the groups dedicated hacker but being able to use the matrix at the same level as you can use the internet is important.
- Social skills. It’s on every NPCs agenda not to die and being able to convince them to do something without resorting to violence is important. Often violence breaks out when the social path hasn’t been considered.
- Magical protection. Not everyone wants to play a mage and I understand that but back in the day not everyone wanted to play a cleric. If you’re the last one to show up and everyone else is playing a mundane seriously consider rolling a mage. While I consider magical ability to be extremely rare you’re leaving a gaping hole in your team’s defenses by not having at least one magical character.
- Stealth and perception. Being able to move around sight unseen and surprise your opponents is a force multipler. Being able to perceive an environment that is both covert and hostile doubly so.
- Combat ability is the least important area to focus on but you should still be capable of it. Keep in mind pistols and semi-auto shotguns are all that’s required in terms of firearms. If you see goons with assault rifles then you’ve done something wrong.
- Gear. Usually my games can be survived with just the old school gear kit, a commlink, a vehicle and a packet of cigarettes. Anything else usually defines your role in the party or is a superfluous extra.