Planetfall is the name of the science fiction roleplaying campaign I have recently begun. With the setting decided upon, it was time for players to create their characters. We had already decided that it would be human-centric, and we didn’t want to go down the “transhuman path” (we had done that with Eclipse Phase already), but humans and mutants were fine. Before we met to create characters I put together a short document that explained how characters would be generated (everyone has their preferred method, right?), and outlined the race and class options. As well as a core group of players, it was likely that we would have other people drop in and out of play, and it is just easier for me to keep notes like this so everything is “fair”. As I was putting the campaign material together and delving deeper into the d20 Modern rules I decided to make a couple of tweaks, the most significant being to the action points rules. I wanted players to to use and regain their action points on a regular basis, in a similar fashion to the “fate point economy” of games like Spirit of the Century. So I outlined those changes in the document too.

When we got together to create characters we spent a good portion of the time talking about the setting, what Earth might have been like, why thecolonists might have left Earth, what nations still existed and what languages were common, and the kinds of roles that would most likely be needed in the fledgling colony. We decided soldiers, medics, scientists and engineers were likely candidates, as were politicians, explorers, horticulturalists, support personnel, and their less skilled family members. Then, we rolled dice and things went pair shaped! At some point in our group’s history we got in the habit of making everyone roll their characters up with the same set of dice. (For instance, when we play D&D, we use Jason’s decade old purple dice.) I decided to bring along the GenCon Oz dice I picked up a few years ago, forgetting why I had relegated them to a bottom draw. After Brendan and Mark had rolled their characters, and the top result was 14, I realised I may need to make an adjustment! In the end the players rolled their set of 6 attribute scores twice and chose which set they wanted to keep. This meant most of the characters had scores ranging from about 8 to 16, with the notable exception of Brendan who had a 4.

The characters we ended up with are;

  • Jayden – a career soldier who was the unfortunate victim of a cryogenic chamber malfunction, leaving him in a less than peak condition
  • Tom – an expert transporter, able to drive or pilot just about anything, and a pretty good mechanic too
  • Trish – a former police negotiator, brought out of cryogenic sleep in order to help liase with the “native” communities
  • Dexter – a botanist, chemist, and the rich, privileged son of a minor Earth nobleman
  • Monty – the only Founder in the crew, the horribly mutated Monty is a hunter and tracker employed for his familiarity with the local environment

The character generation document also provided equipment “kits” for the players to choose from. This was to speed up play, and to stop payers buying everything on the equipment list. The d20 Modern rules allow you to “take 20” when making wealth checks (rather than track currency, credit rating, etc. the wealth system abstracts it all). This means that it is possible for wealthy character’s (like Michael’s rich nobleman, Dexter), to start really loaded up with gear. And that just didn’t seem right for a bunch of people that fund themselves in a new colony with limited resources.

You can get the character generation and equipment info here.

I also created a custom character sheet for the campaign.

What kind of character would you play in the Planetfall campaign?