A Step-by-Step Guide to Cybersphere Character Generation
Character Generation - you either love it or you hate it. We've all trundled through it countless times, and look upon it fondly (or not so fondly) as a necessary evil. For most new players it can be overwhelming, and some people may even go through it multiple times still feeling like they don't understand what they're looking at. Hopefully this guide will make things a little clearer and easier to understand.
First Things First
The first thing you'll need to do before you can actually enter chargen is to choose what type of character generation path you want to take. There are three choices: basic, standard, and advanced (also known at Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 respectively). Everything mentioned in the following brief summaries will be explained further on, so don't sweat it if you still feel confused.
- Basic - Basic Chargen is quick and easy. Character bio's, public histories, and other items aren't reviewed by GM's. No approval is required to enter the game. There is a small "cooling off" period required here if you've just died and wish to create a new character. On the other hand, Basic Characters start off with less advantages, stats, and skills.
Note: A basic character can be upgraded to a Standard character during the first 31 days of their play in game, type `help basic upgrade' once in the game for more info on this.
- Standard - Standard chargen is just that-- standard. You'll be asked to put an average amount of effort into creating a history and background for your character. You can't leave Standard chargen without an approved character profile, which includes a bio and a public history. Standard Characters receive the full amount of normal advantages, stats, and skills.
- Advanced - Advanced Chargen has the same stats, skills, advantages, and requirements of Standard, but asks you to demonstrate some roleplaying and creative writing skills. Your character is expected to be well developed, rich, and interesting. In return for your effort, the character is given expanded game options and support. While your ranks of stats and skills may not be higher than a Standard character, a well-crafted Advanced character will have more influence, resources, and support at their disposal.
Once you've chosen what kind of chargen you want to start off in, you'll find yourself in the character generation room. At the very top, in the middle, is the name of the character you're currently working on - don't worry if it says something like User4332 or the name of your last character, because you will be changing this very soon.
Underneath your character name is the list of your stats: Str (strength), End (endurance), Dex (dexterity), Agl (agility), Int (intelligence), Wil (willpower), Emp (empathy), and Pcn (perception). At the start of the generation process they'll all be listed as 'adequate'.
Below the list of stats will be a line summarising your current stat, skill, and advantage points. These are the three different sets of points that really help to define your character; you'll do best to spend as many as you can in character generation, because whilst you can still increase your stats and skills (and buy new advantages) outside of character generation, it can be more expensive.
Finally, you'll see the list of commands available to you.
At this point, the best plan of action is to take a moment and think about what kind of character you want to build (if you haven't already). One of the greatest things about Cybersphere is the stunningly broad scope of character types you can choose from - get rid of your inhibitions and pre-conceived notions and dig deep for something that you can relate to, something that you will enjoy playing, and something that other people will enjoy playing off of. Always keep the theme of the game in mind, naturally, but don't be afraid to push the boundaries a little.
Now that you've got the beginnings of a character in mind, let's begin.
Our first stop is the 'name' command, which you can reach by simply typing in 'name' and hitting enter. This doesn't necessarily have to be your characters first name, but this will be the name that is displayed on your complant. Numbers are discouraged, and you can only use one word - if you input more than one, it will shorten down to the first word.
Once you've set your name, it should now be displayed at the top of your character sheet.
Traits are the basic physical characteristics of your character, and will also be the foundation of your characters short description (how people will see you if they don't have you @remembered as anything). Your traits will also be displayed in your 'inspect' message.
- Gender: Available genders are neuter, female, male, and spivak. Spivaks are a combination of male and female, and neuters are neither.
- Height: This is how tall (or short) you are. Please use descriptive terms, rather than numeric; remember, this will form part of the description that other people see.
- Weight: Like height, weight can be set to whatever you desire. Fat; skinny; emaciated, etc. Try to avoid generic terms like 'average'. Be unique.
- Hair Length: The length of your hair.
- Hair Color: The color of your hair.
- Eye Color: The color of your eyes.
- Skin Tone: The color of your skin (dark; pale; swarthy; etc.).
- IC Age: For IC age, you can choose from the following options for the age of your character: child, teen, adult, and senior.
- Race: The race of your character (Caucasian; Japanese; etc.).
As mentioned before, some of these traits will be included in your short description, which is made up of a combination of gender, height, weight, IC age, and race. Example: If your gender is male, your height is tall, your weight is fat, your IC age is adult, and your race is Caucasian, your short description would be as follows: Tall, fat Caucasian man.
Make sure that you keep your traits in mind for your @nudities.
The number one thing to remember when writing your description is that there is a difference between your description and your @nudities. Your description is basically the first impression of your character - avoid mentioning physical features, clothing, gear, etc. Focus on things like the way your character carries him/herself, the way they speak, how they interact with other people. Do they have a stutter? Are they shy? Do they avoid conflict? This is what your description is about. Some descriptions are lengthy, others are only one or two lines. It's up to you.
Example: While he is tall and tends to stand out some in a crowd, he doesn't seem to like to gravitate towards the forefront of the area. When he walks, it seems like every step is planned, even if he stumbles on a piece of raised pavement. When sitting or standing idle, he seems to keep his eyes moving around, not watching any one thing for very long. Even in conversation, he doesn't keep his eyes on his company all of the time, but he seems to do it in a way which doesn't come off as rude or uninterested. He occasionally pushes back his long hair, but it seems well behaved most of the time. Upon closer inspection, a few slight scars are evident on exposed tissue, but nothing very noticeable. He seems generally content and at ease as a person. He definitely looks to be too clean and kept up to be a native west sider. It is obvious he at least has a reasonably clean place to sleep at night. All in all, he seems like a well adjusted citizen of New Carthage.
Example: This attractive young woman appears chatty and outgoing, though a bit slow on the uptake. Several of the statements that come out of her mouth lend to the impression that there are some things, simple things, that she just doesn't fathom.
This command just gives you a few pieces of clothing to come into the game with. You can customize them later on, and some people prefer to come into the game with fully-customized clothing. Check out clothing if you want to play around with this.
Everyone likes @nudities, especially on other players. @Nudities give us a much clearer idea of what your character looks like. To see a list of nude areas that you can set, hit @nudity and go at it. The command is very simple.
Example: To set the nudity of your head, use the command: ##@naked head me is "A round marble."## Make sure you get your nudities done, especially if you're in advanced chargen. Nudities will only show if you aren't wearing clothing over them - to see what's covered and what's exposed, hit @clothing.
If you are in advanced chargen, you are required to complete the @nudities for your character. Please make sure that you do not wear any clothing during the chargen process. Once you have completed the creation of any clothing, please remove them so we can see if you have completed your @nudities.
Here's where things start to get a little complicated. Advantage points (APs), also known as Character Points (CPs), are used to buy certain combat and roleplaying advantages for your character that can't be bought with money. Available advantages include a variety of different things - cyberware, property ownership, languages, clones, etc. When you buy an Advantage, the cost is subtracted from your total APs and you enter the game with the advantages that you have chosen.
Some of the advantages that are available in chargen can later be purchased in-game, but the list is limited. There are also advantages that are not available in chargen but can be purchased in-game. For each day you connect and play CS, you will earn one AP, and these can be used to purchase the advantages that are available (so long as they fit your character). APs cannot be bought, or transferred to other players.
~Disadvantages: In addition to the general character advantages, there is also an option to take a 'disadvantage'. Taking a disadvantage will give you more advantage points to spend, but more often than not will negatively affect your character. "For example": Adding the 'Inability to Have Implants' disadvantage will add 20 APs to your total amount of available APs, but your character will not be able to use cyberware implants.
If you go ahead an add an advantage or a disadvantage, you will be given an explanation of what the particular advantage is or does. Example: Advantage WEAPONSMITH - Weaponsmiths are masters of firearm and melee weapon construction. Their talents allow custom firearms to be built from stock components, and stylish mods on existing blades and swords. Their artwork, when completed, is both lethal and beautiful. For complex jobs, weaponsmiths will need access to a weapon or gunshop with assembly equipment. Command: ##@weaponmodify ##
Keep in mind that some advantages are related to and even essential for the implementation of certain skills. For instance, if you want your character to be a cyberdoc, you would need both the cyberdoc advantage and the cyberdoc skill. Some advantages also require the addition of other advantages first - for instance, the gang biker advantage must be added before you can stack the combat biker advantage on top of it.
An important thing to remember is that advantages must fit your character, and will need to be explained in your history. Naturally, you can build a character around advantages as well, so don't feel limited. (see Advantages).
As with advantages, you have a variety of skills to choose from and a set number of skills points (SPs) to spend on them. The maximum amount of SPs that you can spend on one skill is 100 - this is called 'chargen maxing' or 'capping' a skill. Raising a skill in-game that has been capped out in character generation, or 'over-capping' a skill, will cost many more SPs than if you hadn't maxed it in chargen.
Example: You put 100 points into thievery and 50 points into first-aid. When you first enter the game, the cost to raise thievery will be 11 skill points because it was maxed in character generation. First-aid, however, will only cost 1 skill point to raise until you raise it up to 100. Also, remember - once you spend enough skill points in-game, the base cost to raise any skill
The `skills` command in character generation can be used to give you a description of each skill. Along with the description, you will see that each skill has a list of stats, some of which will have numbers against - these are the governing stats that affect that skill. The higher the number, the more influence that the stat has on that particular skill.
These influences are averaged out, so just because a skill has a higher influence from one particular stat does not mean that it ends up with a higher bonus. Skills with a broader range of governing stats are harder to raise via stats.
Example: The governing stats for dodge are AGL (agility) and PCN (perception). Because of the '4x' under AGL, you know that each point you put into AGL raises your dodge skill more than an increase to PCN, as PCN only has '1x'.
When adding skills, you will be better served by focusing on a few core skills and pushing them to the maximum before diversifying.
ADMIN NOTE: Please remember that all skills must be justified in your character's history. If we see ANY skills that are not justified your application may be disapproved. We need to get some idea when reading your character's history of where and how the skills were acquired.
Once you understand how governing stats work, putting points into stats becomes a lot easier and more beneficial to your character build. To cap out a stat in character generation requires 30 stat points (also known as SPs). I don't recommend capping out stats, though, since you only have 120 stat points to start with. Again, the balancing comes into play. Concentrate on the stats that will improve your skills, but don't completely ignore the ones that are left out. You can always lower the amount of points in any stat and move them into another stat, so play around and see what kind of results you get.
A large part of putting points into stats is realizing that every stat is equally important. Sacrificing one stat in order to increase another will have an affect on your character at some point in the future. I can't say it enough - balance, balance, balance. Just keep repeating this phrase: stats are today, but style is forever.
Your history is really the meat of your character, much more so than your stats, skills, or advantages. The history of your character defines who he/she is as a person. Motivations, quirks, etc. A well-developed history makes a well-developed character.
There are two types of histories required for Standard and Advanced character generation: ~Public history is the history that is accessible to the public. Your file is updated in-game by things that your character does - for instance, if you get hired or fired from a job it shows up on your public history. Other characters in-game may possibly see your file, so make it interesting. ADMIN NOTE: Please make SURE you put some time into this history. It doesn't matter if a field applies to your particular character, there are creative ways in which you can let us know. Also, the "other" field should be used to give other players a bit more development as to who your character is. It can be anything from "when his/her mother died" to any random bit of information you think others players should know. ~Biographical history is the background of your character. This will only be seen by you and staff, so make sure you include everything that you feel is pertinent to your character. There is no expected format for your history, so write it out however you feel comfortable. Your history must explain the skills/advantages that your character has. Other things that should be included are familial relationships, education, important life events, relationships, and goals/beliefs/motivations. At the end of each Tier 3 history should be a summary of your character (which is explained in Tier3's in-game help file). You can check out examples of histories on the game, or in the History Guide.
If a staff member comments on your history, you can read them under the 'comments' path in CharGen.
A role playing sample is only required for advanced character generation, and is quite simple. This is your chance to demonstrate your role playing skill, and also shows that you have created a well-defined, playable character. The role playing command is simple - you choose the scenario you want to role play, and write it out. I recommend using a text editor so that you can format easier.
Very simple - you choose how you want to arrive. Are you a nomad? A traveler? This does not have much of an affect on your character except where you enter the game from.
Talk simply explains the talk system used in character generation. Very useful at times. 'Talk who' shows you who's on the channel at the time.
Once you've made sure that your history is sparkling and your stats and skills are exactly how you want them, you can submit your character for approval. You can always go back later (so long as you haven't been approved) and withdraw your submission to make further changes. When you submit, the game will check to make sure that everything has been completed. It will also inform you that any stat, skill, or advantage points left over will not transfer over once you've left chargen.
Trash everything and begin from scratch. Useful for when you've become so frustrated with a character sheet you just can't stand to look at it anymore.
I've been approved! Now what?
Get in the game! Enjoy it. Remember to have fun, and don't be afraid to ask questions - however, remember that some information is strictly OOC and some information is strictly IC. Try to find things out for yourself sometimes - it's well worth it.