Monday, February 15, 2016

Another Time of War Character --- Marik Merchant

Haven't done one of these in a long while, so here's another A Time of War NPC for your RPG. This time I added a basic seed idea to use with this character.

Concept: Free Worlds League Merchant

Miles is from a merchant family, but never wanted to be one He tried his hand at being an artist in his youth, but while he was a competent painter and sculptor, he realized that he wasn't good enough to make a living at it. He was drawn back into the family business, taking it over when his father died.

Miles makes regular visits into the Confederation, Magistracy, and Lyran Commonwealth. He deals mostly in art and other valuable items. He is smart, and uses his experience as a young artist to uncover fakes. He is also a tough negotiator and hard to fool. He is extremely wealthy and has a wife and three children. He has worked hard to earn a reputation as a fair merchant. His oldest son, Damion, is now accompanying him on trips to learn the business.

While Miles is't a fighter, he always has 1d6+2 bodyguards around him (Use the thug template, AToW, p.337 +1 to both career/bodyguard and small arms skills listed in the template)  His home is a fortress, with 2d6+4 guards and 1d6+2 guard dogs.

Seed: The PCs are approached by Miles. He needs extra security for a trip into the Magistracy. He  is in pursuit of a valuable object, and needs the extra protection for him, his party and the object, once they buy it. He figures a few mercenaries and their BattleMechs might make any thieves think twice about interfering.

Name: Miles Novloceck
Age: 49 
Height: 163cm 
Weight: 75kg 
Hair: Brown 
Eyes: Gray 
Affiliation: Free Worlds league (Marik Commonwealth)

Attributes          Link           Movement(Meters Per Turn)
STR    3               -1              Walk 6       Climb 3
BOD   3               -1              Run 17        Crawl 2
RFL    3               -1              Sprint 34     Swim 8
DEX   4               +0
INT     8               +1
WIL    7               +1
CHA   6               +0
EDG   6               +0 

Traits                          Rules           Traits                     Rules 
Combat Paralysis(-4)   p. 108          Equipped (+3)        p. 116
Connections (+7)         p. 111          Extra Income (+3)  p. 116
Dependent: Wife (-1)   p. 113         Gregarious (+1)      p. 118
Dependent: Child (-1)  p. 113         Property (+5)          p. 123
Dependent: Child (-2)  p. 113         Reputation (+3)      p. 124
Dependent: Child (-2)  p. 113         Wealth (+7)            p. 128
Enemy (-3)                   p. 113 

Skills                                                          TN/C                               Level
Acting                                    CHA            8/CB                                  +5
Administration                   INT+WIL        7/SA                                  +3
Appraisal                                INT             8/CB                                  +4
Archery                                  DEX            7/SB                                  +0
Art/Cooking                           DEX            8/CB                                  +2
Art/Painting                           DEX             8/CB                                  +2
Art/Sculpture                         DEX             8/CB                                  +2
Career/Merchant                    INT              7/SB                                  +4
Comm./Conventional             INT              7/SB                                  +1
Computers*                      DEX+INT          8/CB                                 +3
Cryptography                    INT+WIL          9/CA                                 +1
Drive/Ground Vehicles     RFL+DEX        8/SA                                  +2
Interests/History                     INT              8/CB                                  +1
Interests/History (Inner Sphere) INT          8/CB                                  +2
Interests/History (Periphery)   INT             8/CB                                  +3
Interests/History (Terran)        INT             8/CB                                  +1
Interests/Law                           INT              8/CB                                 +1
Interests/Literature*            INT+WIL        9/CA                                 +4
Language/Cantonese           INT+CHA       8/SA                                  +1
Language/English                INT+CHA       8/SA                                 +3
Language/German               INT+CHA        8/SA                                +2
Language/Greek                  INT+CHA        8/SA                                +1
Language/Mandarin            INT+CHA         8/SA                               +2
Language/Romanian           INT+CHA         8/SA                               +2
Leadership                          WIL+CHA        8/SA                                +1
Martial Arts                        RFL+DEX         9/CA                               +1
Melee Weapons                  RFL+DEX         7/SB                               +1
Negotiation                            CHA               8/CB                               +5
Perception                               INT               7/SB                                +5
Prestidigitation                   RFL+DEX         7/SB                               +1  
Protocol/Magistracy           WIL+CHA         9/CA                               +2
Protocol/Capellan              WIL+CHA          9/CA                               +3
Protocol/Free Worlds         WIL+CHA         9/CA                                +3
Protocol/Lyran                   WIL+CHA          9/CA                               +4
Running                                  RFL                7/SB                                +1 
Streetwise/Capellan               CHA                8/CB                                +1
Streetwise/FreeWorlds          CHA                8/CB                                +1
Streetwise/Lyran                   CHA                 8/CB                                +1
Survival/Forests                BOD+INT            9/CA                                +2
Swimming                              STR                 7/SB                                +2
Zero-G Operations                  RFL                7/SB                                 +3
*Advance tier 

Equipment                       Cost                Weight                       Stats 
Formal suit                       575                   3.0kg                    see p. 299
Shoes                                  50                     .8kg                    see p. 299
Coat                                    55                   1.1kg                    see p. 299
Civilian Comm.                  45                     .1kg                    see p. 301
          Hold-out pistol                   20                      200g                   see p. 265
          Reload (HO pistol)               1                       20g                    see p. 265
          Compad                            150                     200g                    see p. 303
          Noteputer                          500                    500g                     see p.303
          AV chips  (5)                       5                      25g                     see p. 302
          White noise generator     400                      2kg                      see p.304
         Clan power packs ( 2)        50                    550g                     see p.306
         Clan Micro-power pack (2) 100                 30g                       see p.306
         Counter forgery kit, basic 900                   4kg                        see p.308
        Avanti Luxury Sedan        70,000                                            see p.324

Monday, February 8, 2016

Writing for Factions

(Another image from HBS for their Battletech computer game. Appropriate for this blog entry)

Writing for Battletech mean writing from more than one faction's viewpoint. At any one time period, there will be anywhere between a dozen to more than two dozen factions I can choose from and write for.

I have my favorite faction, but writing for just one faction is not only limiting, but can be boring after a while. Each faction has their own set of history, values, and beliefs unique to them. It would be limiting to ignore them, just because I don't like the faction.

It's the challenge of reading about the faction (Be it one of the major interstellar states, one of the minor ones, a clan, or even a named Merc unit), finding the right plot that fits that faction, a time, a place and mixing them all together to create the story. It's establishing the characters and their motivations, which are tied to their faction. Their background backgrounds are formed from their factions, from a Combine soldier squaring off against a relative to reclaim the family's honor, to a civilian leading his town's population to attack an invading enemy, to a WOB agent defending an HPG station against a mob. The character must reflect their faction's POV (Or have a good reason not to --- in either case the faction's POV is the starting point for the character, and it goes from there.)

A word about POV: When I use the term "Faction's POV" (Point of view) I mean what does the normal character from that faction (Interstellar State, Clan, Comstar/WOB) believes in. For example, the Combine has a neo-samurai worldview, while the later Confederation has Xin Sheng, The Free Words League has local concerns and less interstellar unity. The Outworld Alliance has a strong pacifist streak, while the Concordant is fearful of the FedSuns. It is the generally accepted views of the factions majority. 

Looking back over the Battlecorps stories that I have published, I see that six of them have a strong FedSun/FedCom POV, while five others are from a Combine POV. Four have a strong WOB POV, four more with a Commonwealth/Alliance viewpoint, while only one of those stories has a FWL POV. Two Clan-centric stories (each from a different Clans), a single Outworlds POV, and three that have a Confederation POV as part of the story (but one one is what I would considered the main POV for the story)

So, I have plenty of other factions that I can still explore.

Word of Advice For Writers: When writing a character from their POV, be sure to know that character's faction mindset. It will form the base of the character, and from there, the character can be shaped. A Combine soldier will react differently to some situations than a FedSuns soldier would.

But it doesn't mean every character is 100% locked into their faction's mindset 100% all the time. A Confederation soldier is going to have a different level of intensity of mindset as compared to a Death Commando --- not that the soldier is disloyal to the Confederation, but compared to a Death Commando, his mindset is less set. Playing with different levels of the POV will help develop the character to be more fully realized, even if the evidence never appears in the story itself.

That's all for tonight.