Late again

“Where was it you said you were from again?” The young man asked me as I glanced around the shop my partner next to me dressed in a stuffy looking suit, fedora on top of his head.

“We’re librarians, we work for the British Library.” Christopher, my partner, was looking tired again, probably up reading all night. “We’re looking for a book” he continued.

“So you said, well there are plenty of books here for you to look at I suppose.” The young man pushed a pair of spectacles up the bridge of his nose.

“It’s not just any book, it’s old, very old,” I said with a sigh, tilting my head to look at the door ajar behind the man.  “The cover is somewhat leathery.”

“Well this is a small library we wouldn’t, however, have anything of that sort.” I watched the young man shift in his seat, a thin sheen of sweat on his forehead.

“Really? It has some rather unnerving pictures in it, and the paper, well wouldn’t seem like paper from a mill.” I had been up all night chasing leads around while Christopher had no doubt been relaxing at home.

“We mean skin,” Christopher announced in a blunt tone. The man’s eyes went wide and a bead of sweat ran from his temple down into his sideburns.

“Sheepskin of course, very old,” I said leaning to the side a bit to see if I couldn’t get a better view through the door.

“We have it on good advice it was here.” Christopher hammered again, today it seemed was not a day for tact. I had had to talk to some very unsavoury, er, people to get the information that led us here.

“W w wu” The man stuttered.

“W w W Where is the damn journal, Cultist!” I snapped at him.

The man sneered at us as the building began to shake.

“I think we’ve found the journal.” Christopher quipped.

“Oh drat.”

“And I think we’re late again.”

“Oh shut up.” I placed my bag on the man’s table, opened it and pulled out a double-barreled shotgun and a stick of dynamite, Christopher already had his trusty service pistol and had already taken a brief moment to knock the young cultist out cold.

“Ladies first.” Christopher gestured towards the door, behind which and likely down into some kind of basement unspeakable horrors once again awaited.

“I hate chivalry,” I said strolling past him

The Concept of Understanding

There was once a time where a single man of average ability and intellect, given all required raw materials and written knowledge would be able to construct all the technology man possessed.

 

Towards the middle of the 20th century this was no longer the case, and by the end of the 20th century there were many individual technologies that were impossible. While a single man could craft all the items required for a steam engine, or an early automobile or a plane, with enough time and knowledge, in a single life time.

 

However the end of the 20th century saw such a vast wealth of new knowledge and most importantly its application in devices. It would take the expertise of a thousand human beings and the understanding of a hundred to construct a single device – of course with mass production those thousands could create millions of such devices. But it would still require those thousand to make one device or a million.

 

By the end of 26th century it would take the whole effort of humanity to produce the massive ships that sailed the skies, and the AIs produced technology as if they were a million Einsteins each in a single room, all communicating and debating. Mankind could never understand the devices they built again.

His Mountain of Death

“Alright squad we’re just going through the numbers, just like training, if you keep your head you’ll get to sleep in your bunk soon enough.” The sergeant’s voice came in clear over Simon’s headset, everywhere he looked a virtual hud was displayed with data feeds and gauges superimposed over the vid feeds from outside of his battlesuit. He was in a trench peaking out over a no-mans land of razor wire, mines and craters along with the other dozen troopers in his squad. He was wondering if any of the others were quaking in their boots.

The battlesuit was a standard model, he had a rocket pod and a rail gun and a good inch of super advanced armoured alloys and artificial muscles between him and the toxic smog of the battlefield, apparently someplace in what was once China. He checked the gauges for his ammo again, then the o2 scrubbers, and then the generator, it must have been the thousandth time today. All in the green. Besides the occasional uplifting speech from the sergeant, the troopers exchanged jokes and begged for the enemy to hurry up. How long had they been waiting for some action?

Then his recon gear lit up, his heart skipped a beat, then. “Sergeant, seismic just went off the chart.” his eyes flicked from menu to menu.

“Distance soldier.” The sergeant’s voice level and professional with a slice of lemon and ice.

“Two klicks, closing fast, they’ll be here in moments.” His voice had a tinge of panic to it, slightly to shrill, he focused on the readouts to drown out the doubt in his mind.

“Well troopers, time to test your metal.” As the sergeant spoke the blinding white flash followed by deafening booms of tactical nuclear mines erupting in no-mans land. Cheers went up from his squad mates, chatter about the awesome might of the nuclear detonations. A second past as his vid feed regained clarity, another few moments passed, he began to smile, was that it? Then they began to emerge, probably ones from further back who had avoided the full blast of the mines.

Grotesque insect-like things, all claws, teeth and muscle.

“Raptors!” One of his comrades shouted.

“Let them eat tungsten kids.” Sergeant commanded. Everyone let loose, he wasn’t short on targets and fired into the swarm. Screeching sounds coming from the armoured monstrosities as they sped towards them at blistering speed. His could hear the roar of the rail guns and support Gatling cannons. The shouts and whoops of his team members. He glanced at the recon gear, 500 meters, laying down more fire, 400 meters, still firing, 300 meters, the hundreds had seemed to become thousands, the sounds of spent cartridges being expelled from cannons, the boastful shouts becoming more concerned, less chatter. More firing, 200 meters.

“Recon bring in fire on the line 50 meters!”

“Yes sir, fire support requesting fire at marked location, overwhelming swarm.” He shouted into the comms on the support channel.

“Fire support incoming trooper.”

Suddenly a blast of red and gore exploded from Anderson’s helmet, he twisted and could clearly see the gore oozing from what had been Anderson’s skull. He felt his trousers go damp and warm, the fear clenched around his every being.

“Fuck me.” He exclaimed to himself. Whizzing sounds were all around him now, the beasts were firing razor disks. He poured fire into the mass that was almost at the line, raptors leapt over the pilled corpses of their fellow beasts, bloodthirsty shrill screeches. Then the whistling of shells overhead and more blinding explosions. Peterson screamed a raptors claw wedged through his torso, its jaw closing over his battlesuits head. Simon turned and fired shredding the creature. Dozens more came over the top, he pulled out his powered chain sword, another beast landed on Peterson’s corpse and opened his suit like a can of tomatoes, guts, blood and shit spraying over the trench. The melee became a gruesome affair that they were sorely outmatched in, raptor gore oozed and mixed with the eviscerated remains of his comrades, limbs strewn left and right. The red mist of battle rage, he’d not noticed as the syringes sunk into his neck filling him with an uncontrolled bloodlust.

“KILL” was the only thing that flashed through his throbbing chaotic mind, beast after beast fell into the pit with him and he tore them limb by limb like a crazed child with a crane fly but the swarm didn’t slow. From his mountain of death, he turned to look out over no-mans land once more where he saw monstrous giants like titans of legend except formed of twisted flesh, faces of men and women in twisted agony across their bloated torsos. Then as the beasts fell upon him in a hateful frenzy the world went from red to white, then to black.

 

DevOps, Technical Principle or Institutional Discipline?

Work In Progress

DevOps as a term is seen to have emerged after a 2009 Velocity conference where John Allspaw and Paul Hammond gave their “10 Deploys per day: Dev and Ops Cooperation at Flickr” presentation. During which they described how they created shared goals between Dev and Ops to make deployment a part of everybody’s day job.

Later that year Patrick Debois excited by the idea went on to create the first DevOpsDay in Belgium where the term “DevOps” was born.

Source “DevOps Handbook p. 5” 

The DevOps and I

“To know where we’re going, we need to know from where we came”

I have no idea when I first came across the empty vessel widely referred to as devops but likely it was a couple of years after it’s inception as a thing over at “el Reg” and no doubt like many people from a technical operations and production support background I looked at it with something akin to dejection. “Another word to add to the lingo bingo of tech talk,” I thought. On the surface, the language used to describe devops function tends to revolve around the web, Greenfield deployments and startup ventures with nothing much to offer the enterprise. 10s (at the time) of deployments a day, globally distributed presence at a flick of a switch, self-service for developers so on and so forth, wicked but can you get Jenny in systems her new laptop on time and will the bacs system be up for payroll run? Can you tell me anything about how we get this monolithic java enterprise app running? No? Ah well.

Another thing about these early years of mine and no doubt others exposure to the concept of devops was that a lot of it sounded like things we already did, using scripts to provision resources, having monitoring systems perform self-healing, trying to help developers with their local environment builds. Nothing I’d heard coming out of the devops space seemed like it wanted to solve these problems in an enterprise or legacy setting, often hand waving and the “let devs run wild on production” which would make most operations peoples blood run cold.  Now many of us are no fools, we know that if we get the dev some level of read access or a way to aggregate logs to them it’ll speed up resolution of issues, but actual production access is concerning on a number of levels particularly if you’ve been in the game for a number of decades. We’ve all had similar conversations to the below

Dev "It works on my local system"
Ops "But you don't run firewalls and everything is on the same system"
Dev "Sure it's quicker that way and it works"
Ops "You're supposed to use the test environment"
Dev "That things always broke, I raised a ticket a month ago to get it fixed"

As the years went by and nothing particularly insightful came on the overall principles around devops a number of really useful tools and concepts started to emerge namely central configuration management tools like puppet and chef allowing for “Infrastructure as code” and the idea of Test Driven Infrastructure. From an operations point of viewpoint, these technologies and ideas helped solve real problems and were a successor to the system administrators toolbox of bash, perl and powershell scripts operations had since the Unix days.

Roll forward again and everyone is talking about bots, and I get interested so go off to do a quick Microsoft academy session on bots as the framework had just come out and they recommended two books, “The Lean Enterprise” and “The Devops Handbook” okay I’ll bite. It may have been about azure container services actually, anyway if you’re bored I’d suggest going to have a look at the Microsoft academy it’s pretty good.

And Lo There were Principles!

Page XIV of the DevOps handbook preface, the following two and a half pages lay out the devops myths that permeated most of the blogs, consultants, management speak and, readily available online discussion I had encountered to that point.

“DevOps is only for startups”
“DevOps is incompatible with ITIL”
“DevOps is incompatible with security and regulatory compliance”
“DevOps means eliminating IT Operations”
“DevOps is just infrastructure as code”

There were two others but these were some of my main areas of interest, then the book in quick succession moves onto its introduction “Imagine a World Where Dev and Ops Become DevOps” the very first paragraph asking you to imagine a world where all the various main roles in the delivery of IT services to the customer all work together, not just to help each other out, but towards overarching organisational goals! Holy Mother I’m holding dynamite I thought, it then goes on to explain the IT Death Spiral (I’ll dive into these later) and I’m just going “Yep, I know this, I’ve seen this, are they in my office?” Of course, they weren’t it’s simply that the same story is being played out in organisations around the world all the time there are likely hundreds of thousands of organisations spiralling the drain as I write. I didn’t get much further into the book at that point but I came away with two things.
Number One, for the first time in well I can’t really say it felt like I had had an epiphany. This could really change things, for everyone, forever!
Number Two, I had to read more, I immediately picked up the Pheonix Project (a novel about a fictional organisation that finds DevOps) and Toyota Kata. Why Toyota Kata? Well because in Toyota lived the principles that the DevOps handbook and Pheonix Project alluded too.

For me, devops had become DevOps.

The Friction at the Heart of IT Services

I’ll use IT Services as a catch-all for the all-encompassing mass of an organisation’s various technology obligations including but not limited to security, projects, quality, testing, development, servicing systems that customers directly use, core and remote infrastructure, servicing systems required by end users to do their day job and generic support.

At the core of a non-DevOps organisation, there is an overwhelming friction between “development” and “operations” illustrated below

With these two major arms of the IT Service in a state of constant conflict, it’s not entirely surprising that heated confrontation is often routine and we end up in a state of cold war with the two sides often passively undermining one another.

Often a release into production becomes akin to throwing a ball over a wall… though as me and a friend in QA management often say it’s more like they polish up a turd and then throw that over the wall. But let us pretend it’s a ball.

"Development are idiots, they've shipped buggy code again!" Says Ops girl.
"Operation are idiots, they've deployed the wrong tar ball again!" Says Dev boy.

As a result of every failed release Operations add a new administrative step or an additional manual test to stop the problem from happening again while development gets dragged into trying to fix a problem they can only see in the rear glass mirror which with every new step gets smaller and smaller.  At the same time, the time that is supposed to be being used to develop the next feature is getting smaller which will lead to less testing time and increases the chance of new problems in production. Everything just keeps getting worse as pressure at both ends of the supply chain gets higher, downtime windows get longer, the frequency of releases drops, fear builds with each new deployment, fixes upon fixes, patches upon patches, bodges upon bodges, heroic firefighting from all sides, we are going down the drain faster and faster. Before you know it you’re down to two releases a year and months of planning before each one, invariably followed by months of firefighting and emergency out of order patching.

This is the conflict at the heart of most organisations IT Services and It is the source of the IT Death Spiral.

You know you’re in the death spiral if, tick as applicable:-

  • Every release is met with dread.
  • Development is producing dozens of pages of documentation detailing every tiny thing.
  • Release meetings that take hours spread over months.
  • Everybody and their grandmothers are in those meetings but rarely anyone from development or operations.
  • Operations spend weeks preparing their documentation and doing test runs.
  • Everyone is trying not to be part of the deployment team.
  • You need a deployment team!
  • Everything is done on site.
  • You do the release over a weekend (or even better, bank holiday weekend!)
  • You’ve got a change process even your auditors think is thorough.
  • The feature set of the release is likely a tenth of what it was supposed to be and you already know there are bugs in it.
  • Nobody really knows why you’re putting the release in.
  • Nobody in the business is excited or expects it to work.
  • The development cycle is shot to pieces.
  • The release window is guaranteed to overrun.

Now I’ve fallen into the old trap of only talking about releases, but I am attempting to highlight the core conflict, I shall get onto the mundane but critical items later on.

Lean and DevOps, Here to Help

Jeez, we having nightmares yet? Well, all hope is not lost!

“Start by getting the boring stuff right”

So let’s cut to the chase, in my opinion, DevOps is no more a technical skill set than the Toyota Production System is. In The Pheonix Project the first time we see the fruits of everyone’s labor is when Bill gets his laptop delivered to him, he can’t believe that his laptop could possibly have been replaced so he goes off to complain to Patty who points out that yes they’ve done all the laptops and that amazingly they can now accurately predict when they will get future laptops to users! What has this got to do with cloud deployment skills, continuous deployment or automated environment management? Nothing of course.

So what is DevOps? What do we need to reach DevOps and break the self-destructive IT death spiral?

One thing we need to do is we need to determine where we are and where we want to be. High-level organisational goals that are well understood should be by everyone and every project should be aligned with those goals this is part of understanding the current state. Once you have goals you can go through everything and check to see if it will affect those goals if it doesn’t then it should be considered for dumping. Having high-level ephemeral goal is also important for an organisation overall as it gives you a True North to align yourself towards when you’re wandering through the unknown territory that is the now.

Communication is key, break down barriers that inhibit the accurate transfer of knowledge and make sure everyone is on the same page and aligned with the organisational goals. It’s a lot easier to push a boulder if you’re all pushing from the same side.

 

 

That’s not an interrogation!

“No! Hitting him repeatedly on the head is not an interrogation Constable Tomato!” Seargent Campbell yelled at his young watchman.
“Well, sir, he wasn’t telling me what I wanted” the young chap muttered gesturing at the door behind him.
“That doesn’t mean you can just bash him with you truncheon!”
“I wasn’t using my truncheon, I was using that chair.” Tomato corrected.
“That doesn’t make a difference!”
“Really? Oh… well still, I know he has something to do with it!” Tomato said defensively.
The Seargent glared.
“Right, well I mean he’s a goblin.”
“Goblins have rights in this city you can’t just go clubbing them whenever you feel like it!”
“Sometimes I think this city is too liberal” Tomato muttered looking to his side.
A sudden scream from the room. Followed by a slamming sound. The Seargent raised his eyebrow, sadly he wasn’t able to see past the large bulk of Tomato… Tomato was six foot tall and a couple of foot wide. The Seargent meanwhile was two foot tall, and not particularly wide.
“Is there someone still in there with him?”
“Course not…” A moment passed and the door unlocked.
“The press is in the sewer, he drew us a map,” A young woman with a pale complexion said as she left the room.
“Violet what were you doing in there?!” The Seargent asked suspiciously.
“Just asking the chap nicely where the printing press was.”
“I hate you people.” The Seargent stormed off.

Some work I did on FATE character creation

Creating Good Characters

 

Goal

What’s your character attempting to achieve in life, what’s their end goal? It should be hard to achieve but possible, though maybe unlikely. Think about what you’d want to be able to achieve in a similar situation, time period and setting.

 

Some examples.

“I want to become King.”
“I want to own my own starship.”
“I want to build a legacy.”
“I want to be the greatest merchant in Venice.”
“I want a mountain of gold coins.”
“I want revenge on the man who killed my father.”
“I want to make my family great.”
“I want to protect the innocent.”
“I want my name to be sung in the halls of glory.”
“I want to be the greatest mage of our time.”
“I want to visit the plane of kittens.”
“I want to crush all the barbarians.”

A goal needs to work for the setting and importantly the other players in a party, there’s little point in deciding mutually exclusive goals unless there is a plan for conflict between players, so having one player who “wants to protect the kingdom against the demon hoards” and a player who “wants to see the kingdom burn” likely wouldn’t lead to a great play experience.

Try to pick ones that work well with each other, if for example you’re joining a mercenary company one person could have the goal “I want to bring down the Empire of Tau”, another could be “I want to create the greatest weapons science has ever seen” and a third could be “I want to run this outfit”, they all naturally pull in the same direction with opportunity for modest conflict, what if the Empire of Tau tries to hire the mercenaries?

A goal should make a player drive their character forward into the adventure, schemes and, conflict. A character that “wants to stay at home and drink” isn’t going to drive the story forward and is likely to be a simple victim of fate, funny maybe to watch their trials but possibly not much fun to play.

High Concept

We know what you want but who are you and what can you do, this is the high concept as per the standard FATE rules, it can be as simple as the title of a job, or more detailed. Again a short sentence will do, however, try to use it in a longer sentence with your goal.

“I am a knight who wants to become king.”
“I am a freighter pilot who wants to own my own starship.”
“I am a barbarian who wants to build a legacy.”
“I am a shopkeeper who wants to be the greatest merchant in Venice.”
“I am a thief who wants a mountain of gold coins.”
“I am a noble who wants revenge on the man who killed my father.”
“I am a banker who wants to make my family great.”
“I am a cleric that wants to protect the innocent.”
“I am a warrior; I want my name to be sung in the halls of glory.”
“I am a wizard’s apprentice; I want to be the greatest mage of our time.”
“I am a child, and I want to visit the plane of kittens.”
“I am a Roman and I want to crush all the barbarians.”

Now that’s a bit dull, so let us work at putting a bit more heart into it. Again you should discuss with your teammates what would go well together, it’s no use if you’re going to be flying a spaceship and all of you being ace pilots or joining the king’s army against the demon lord and all being thieves. Of course, you can make it work in situations, you could play a heavy magic game where all the characters are powerful magic users except different schools and demeanours.

“I am a proud knight of the order of Sons who wants to become king.”
“I am a cunning freighter pilot who wants to own my own starship.”
“I am a wild barbarian warrior who wants to build a legacy.”
“I am a quick-witted shopkeeper who wants to be the greatest merchant in Venice.”
“I am a willy thief who wants a mountain of gold coins.”
“I am a villainous noble who wants revenge on the man who killed my father.”
“I am a cautious banker who wants to make my family great.”
“I am a pious cleric of Her Lady Li that wants to protect the innocent.”
“I am a bold warrior; I want my name to be sung in the halls of glory.”
“I am a well-studied wizard’s apprentice; I want to be the greatest mage of our time.”
“I am a curious child, and I want to visit the plane of kittens.”
“I am the last Roman and I want to crush all the barbarians.”

Wrapping Up

Now we have some more depth to the characters, we should look at their trouble. It’s nice if it can fit in with the rest of the sentence.

“I am a proud knight of the order of Sons who wants to become king despite the fact the king is my brother.”
“I am a cunning freighter pilot who wants to own my own starship, if only I weren’t in debt to the Galactic Trading Company”
“I am a wild barbarian warrior who wants to build a legacy, but first I must overcome the greatest demon.”
“I am a quick-witted shopkeeper who wants to be the greatest merchant in Venice if only my family name weren’t so tarnished.”
“I am a willy thief who wants a mountain of gold coins, sadly the guild and I don’t see eye to eye.”
“I am a villainous noble who wants revenge on the man who killed my father, except that man is the Pope.”
“I am a cautious banker who wants to make my family great, unfortunately, nobody likes a banker”
“I am a pious cleric of Her Lady Li that wants to protect the innocent, unfortunately, the holy order has cast me out.”
“I am a bold warrior; I want my name to be sung in the halls of glory. Sadly, a warrior as great as me has upset a person or ten.”
“I am a well-studied wizard’s apprentice; I want to be the greatest mage of our time. Things tend to explode.”
“I am a curious child, and I want to visit the plane of kittens. But kittens make me sneeze.”
“I am the last Roman and I want to crush all the barbarians. The world hates us, but we will show it.”

Zweihander Characters Pt1

Let’s go through the character creation process for Zweihander and throw together an NPC or two.

Excerpt from the book. I’ll go through these in stages.

So Step 1, Begin basic tier
Okay, this just seems to be an overview of the process. Spend points, get prizes.
Step 2 Primary Attributes
So Combat Bonus, Brawn Bonus, Agility Bonus, Perception Bonus, Intelligence Bonus, is the bonus bit really required? Willpower Bonus, Fellowship Bonus, oh right it’s a bit confused giving me the names of the random bonuses before it’s given me that stats, let me guess, the stats are the thing without the word “bonus” right they are… So the stats are actually in the table below, now apparently the best way to do this is 25 + 3D10. So let’s roll.  14, 13, 14, 9, 20, 11, 18 for, 39%, 38%, 39%, 34%, 45%, 36%, 43% (hope I did that right…). I’m feeling something of a brutish thug, a former soldier turned mercenary. Apparently at the end of character creation I we get to change one value to 42%

Statistic Bonus Value
Combat 4 45%
Brawn 4 43%
Agility 3 39%
Perception 3 39%
Intelligence 3 34%
Willpower 3 38%
Fellowship 3 36%

Step 3, Sex & Race

While in the game world I imagine there are some other races they have been pushed to the edges of the world and the darkest depths of the forests. This is going to be somewhat closer to the real world, so while possible to have a female warrior she would have to hide the fact she was a woman during the army and likely would be widely shunned as a sell sword or other vagabonds. So Human male, for simplicities sake.

Racial Modifier,
The vanilla seem to be +1 to cb, ib & pb, -1 to ab, fb & wb, think I’ll need to work on that a lot.

 

Statistic Bonus Value
Combat 5 45%
Brawn 4 43%
Agility 2 39%
Perception 4 39%
Intelligence 4 34%
Willpower 2 38%
Fellowship 2 36%

Racial Trait (or cultural or ethnic by the sounds of it)
This is a d100 roll, so “Grim Resolve” may spend a fate point to ignore a melee or ranged weapon attack after suffering damage.

Step 4: Archetype & Profession
Well, I’m not rolling for this, Warrior archetype, got Man at Arms. A professional soldier.

Step 5 Secondary Attributes
Well that willpower reduction due to the racial traits gives this chap a Peril Threshold of 5 (3+ WB) so it’s 5 (11/17/23). Damage Threshold this is  BB plus your armour’s damage threshold modifier. Well, I don’t have any armour atm so that is 4. Encumbrance limit is 3+ BB so 7. Initiative is 3+PB so 7. Movement is 3+AB so 5.

Derived Statistic Formula Value
Peril Threshold 3+wb(+6/12/18) 5(11/17/23)
Damage Threshold BB+Armour damage threshold(+6/+12/+18) 4(10/16/22)
Encomrance Limit 3+BB 7
Initiative 3+PB 7
Movement 3+AB 5

Step 6: Background
Season of Birth – rolled 79 which is winter.
Dooming – Dooming of Winter – 76 which gives him “Fear change, as it changes you”
Age group – rolled 20 which is young so no distinguishin marks. Now I wonder if the character gets a modifier to the number of creation points they get due to this, because they should.
Body Type – 100 – Corpulent, well it just says you’re a  fatty, but given “husky” means you can be well muscled I am going to say that this doesn’t mean the chap is fat but very tall with a broad muscular build. +20% price modifier for armour and clothes.
Height/Weight 6.2″ 301 lb I’ve got no idea what that kind of weight looks like… which is a general issue with these kinds of random rolls plus random weights. I’ll just ignore the number.
Hair – 37 – Light Brown, Eyes – Dark brown
Upbringing – 88 – Reverent, my old man was a mad priest of some sort.
Social Class – 53 – Lowborn
Drawback – apparently you get a fate point for these 10 Branded
Step 7 – Hand of Fate
By default you start with 1 fate point, if you took a drawback you get 2. So we start with 2 fate points.
Step 8 Alignment
Order Alignment : Pride
Chaos Alignment : Arrogance
I’ll insert the game text for that here.

Character Name, I’ll get to that later
Step 9 Build your profession
So you get 1000 points to spend on things from your character profession that we picked like 7 steps ago, see imo I’d give older characters probably 20% extra starting points for each bracket they were above young.

So we need to spend 100 reward points to enter the first profession, with this you gain the professional trait, and an iconic trapping.

The man at arms gets “Shield Wall” which sounds pretty useless, “when engaged with an ally and they fail to parry or cannot do so, you may immediately parry in their stead for 1AP.”

Now I’ve gotta say, that this is probably the most confusing esgment of the character creation, after reading it a few times I’m guessing you you can spend the last 900 points on the things listed in the profession however you like, and you must purchase all of those things before you move to the intermediate tier. I think that’s it.

So the advances book is below

Guess we will, purchase an extra rank of BB and CB,  Sword & Board, Martial Melee, Simple Melee, Awareness, Ride, Toughness & Simple Ranged. That comes to 100 points.

Final Stat blocks look like

Statistic Bonus Value
Combat 6 45%
Brawn 5 43%
Agility 2 39%
Perception 4 39%
Intelligence 4 34%
Willpower 2 38%
Fellowship 2 36%
Derived Statistic Formula Value
Peril Threshold 3+wb(+6/12/18) 5(11/17/23)
Damage Threshold BB+Armour damage threshold(+6/+12/+18) 5(11/17/23)
Encomrance Limit 3+BB 8
Initiative 3+PB 7
Movement 3+AB 5

Skills

Stat
Martial Melee C Apprentice 1
Simple Melee C Apprentice 1
Simple Ranged C Apprentice 1
Awareness P Apprentice 1
Ride A Apprentice 1
Toughness B Apprentice 1

Quick and Dirty Systems – Tri Stats Basics

Now I know that tri-stat was a system back in the day but well as a name it describes what I always have in mind and that being a game with three core statistics that nicely describe all the most important things about a character without becoming horribly specific. Those stats are Body, Mind and, Spirit, I tend to think that these cover more or less everything you’ll ever need to know about a character. Other meters, gauges and pools can be created around them or as additional advantages based off of other purchases.

Body covers a character’s physical prowess.
Mind covers the character’s intellect and perception.
Spirit covers the character’s tenacity and willpower.

Now I’m also a big fan of the FATE system and the three stats above are a bit woolly so I feel it best that the player adds a brief description to each of their stats that describes how their character represents their scores.

Let’s say Wei Yun is a great-axe wielding soldier in an Eastern Epic of some sort

Body 4 – A strong barrel like physique strong and enduring as a mountain.
Mind 2 – Some would say a great common wit, but little in the way of knowledge.
Spirit 3 – His iron will is indomitable yet he has little stomach for spiritual matters

Cao Lon is Wei Yun’s martial ally, an expert with the bow

Body 4 – Lithe and tall, like a coiled spring his delicate movements make him seem like a dancer
Mind 2 – Spent his time drinking beneath the peach blossoms charming the ladies but would sooner avoid tricky debate.
Spirit 3 – Since his youth, he was attuned to the spirit world and is sensitive to motions of both the heavens and the earth.

So here we have two characters with the same stats but with different descriptions, these then can be used by the player, other players or the law bringer to give bonuses or negatives to rolls.

 

Cyberpunk 2120 Character Crime Examples

So the characters are convicts so the first thing they need to do is come up with their crimes and background, here are some examples I was thinking about.

Many characters will be significantly older than the normal starting areas, it’s likely they have children, wives, families and colleagues in many cases. It’s important to remember that all the characters have an immensly strong drive to survive.

Booster gang enforcer, you grew up on the streets and joined the gang with your local lads eventually your gang managed to take over half the city thanks to your never ceasing ultraviolence their success was built on your monstrous fighting ability. You were into every aspect of enforcing the gang’s claims drugs, prostitution, gun running and extortion. Eventually, you were taken down surrounded by a dozen heavily armoured members of the peace corp you surrendered.

You were drafted into the Euro Zone military to fight in Africa when you came back you lived in a cube complex, hand to mouth, eventually you ended up joining the ELF and fighting a campaign of terror against the Peace Corp, maybe it was patriotism or maybe you just wanted to do something to punish the Euroboys for leaving you out to dry. In the end, your cell got taken down and only you survived, a chain of murders and bombings as long as your arm behind you.

Mafia hitman, you worked for a family killing their enemies for a fine fee, you lived the high life, nobody was safe, politicians, generals, gangsters, families. You had no qualms about killing, it was business. Eventually, the family turned you in and after a few months on the run you were finally cornered.

Organ harvester, you were a med tech, one of the best, a glorious future, sadly you had debts to pay and started illegally collecting organs from people, eventually, you made the conclusion it was more effective to capture people and harvest all their organs making sport of it while earning a small fortune. Your reign of terror lasted a few years before finally being captured. A modern-day Jack.

A good cop who turned bad after his daughter was killed by a criminal that had been set free due to a technicality, you decided everyone was guilty, first you killed the criminal then you hunted down and eliminated the judge responsible. As the months went on you became a living embodiment of revenge killing and beating people for crimes across the city. You handed yourself in after killing a child by accident and you decided that you could not be redeemed.

You’d been shunned your whole life computers were an escape you found yourself an apt netrunner but vengeance burnt deep within you, after one last insult in life you decided to take revenge, you created a new form of black ic and released it into the wild, hundreds died and you took great pleasure in it.

A genius you have no empathy you took to watching them through the multitude of computer systems, then after that became boring you would stalk them and use the systems to trap and taunt them. Eventually, that became boring so you started to kill them, the looks on their faces trapped in a lift plummeting 50 stories, or trapped in a room with flames all around fascinated you.