Character design comes down to three essential parts; concept, story, and stats. The concept is the most important aspect as a player needs to know what they want to play. The story is the most valuable to the GM and the other players as it tells them who your character is. Some thought should go into this even if you don’t feel comfortable with naming specific areas or people give some thought into parents, mentors, experience, and education as the typical PC is far above average. Stats for character statistics come down to Attributes, Skills, Assets, Species, and Advantages.
Characters for Maltese are designed with a priority system. The player has 10 points to spend in 5 categories. The maximum that can go into any of the categories is 4 and the minimum is 0. The points are enough to have 2 in each, a split of 4,3,2,1, and 0 or a variety of other combinations. Game Master characters don’t need to use the system as they can be weaker or more powerful and the player characters will develop different skills over time although attributes don’t change and Advantages and Lifestyle rarely do.
The chart shows the results of various choices with a 0 priority being the lowest ability in the category and a 4 being the highest or best result in a category. Once a choice has been made for all five categories a player may choose how to divide the points/money/dice within that category.
|Priority||Attributes||Skills (max)||Assets (Income)||Species||Advantages|
|4||36D||60D (6D)||2,500,000 (10,000)||4 Priority||5|
|3||33D||48D (5D)||500,000 (5,000)||3 Priority||4|
|2||30D||36D (4D)||100,000 (2,000)||2 Priority||3|
|1||27D||24D (3D)||25,000 (1,000)||1 Priority||2|
|0||24D||12D (2D)||5,000 (500)||0 Priority||1|
There are nine basic attributes: Body, Composure, Empathy, Intelligence, Movement, Reflexes, Style, Technical, and Essence.
Essence can be 0D, all other attributes must be at least 1D (2D is average) and cannot be more than 5D.
The character gets the number of skill dice indicated to split up among the skills they want to be good at. The number in parenthesis is the maximum amount that can be placed in any one skill. The skill dice are added to the controlling attribute to form the base, so a character with a 3D Body that decided to put 2D into toughness would start the game with a 5D toughness skill. As a rough guideline the minimum experience a character should have in their field would be Skill priority squared (a priority 0-1 could be an exceptionally skilled beginner, but those with priority 4 in skills should have 16+ years experience).
The character starts with the listed amount in credits or gear. The lifestyle is the assumed lifestyle the character lives which also determines the amount of money the character gets automatically as part of lifestyle in monthly installments.
Characters living at a particular lifestyle are expected to have a certain look and fashion level to their belongings as well the overall lifestyle. When interacting in an environment of expected fashion level a character will suffer a penalty in dice equal to the difference between the expected style and the lowest style equipment they have with them squared on social skills. Recycled to Luxury is 4 levels so 16D, Generic to Luxury or Recycled to High is 3 levels for 9D, A shift of 2 levels is 4D, and for a 1 level shift it is only a 1D penalty. In some situations the reverse discrimination applies as well.
The cost of lifestyle involves more than just an exchange of money, a portion of it comes from knowing how to interact with the other members of society and perhaps the perks of birth or any number of other factors. Amount of skill has very little to do with income and lifestyle. To account for all these various factors the Asset priority is used to determine a character’s base lifestyle and income.
|0||Street||5,000 CR||500 CR||Recycled|
|1||Low||25,000 CR||1,000 CR||Generic|
|2||Middle||100,000 CR||2,000 CR||Name Brand|
|3||High||500,000 CR||5,000 CR||High|
|4||Luxury||2,500,000 CR||10,000 CR||Luxury|
The initial funds are what the character has to use when the character is first made, and income is money the character is assumed to accumulate over living expenses and routine expenditures each month.
A character needing more money than is provided monthly can spend a character point to gain a one time payment of 5,000 Credits. The money can be used as the character likes without having to repay it, but the character point is permanently lost. For story purposes the money can come from any source the GM chooses, but it should be legal such as an inheritance, settlement, gambling winnings, or side job.
Street level characters tend to look dirty and have no real personal space. They may live in a vehicle if they have one, but rarely have fuel so may not be able to travel. Food is generally scrounged or eaten at a soup kitchen. (Characters working for Oracle will have a company apartment as well as food and uniform).
Low class characters usually have a small apartment or other more permanent space, they have access to public transportation or enough money to fuel a vehicle for at least limited travel if they have one. Food is usually store bought, often generic and sometimes they can afford some fast food or take-out.
Middle Class characters have a relatively secure apartment or house and can afford to eat a mix of packaged foods and fresh prepared as well as going out to a moderate establishment for food once in while without breaking the budget. They can afford to travel, either in a personal car or using a mix of public transport and taxi or airline service.
High class characters either have a luxurious apartment or a large house and robots or a service contract to take care of mundane tasks. They can afford to eat out or have well prepared foods for every meal and travel is rarely an issue. They tend to use rental cars or shuttle service instead of public transport if they don’t own a vehicle.
Luxury Class is the top of the scale with an estate or a few houses and apartments in different areas. Eating is done at fine restaurants or professional chefs come to the character’s house to make it. The living area is staffed with at least one full time servant and a number of robots or on call servants. Transport is usually by personal shuttle or limousine.
A character wishing to increase lifestyle must have appropriate fashion level equipment, invest an amount of money equal to the starting funds of the level they want to advance to which is then gone and cannot be used, and finally spend a number of character points. No level can be skipped, so a street level character would have to buy up to low class before buying up to middle class. The Points needed are Street-Low: 42 Points, Low to Middle: 48 Points, Middle to High: 54 points, and High to Luxury would be 60 points. In general most people do not move up the social ladder, so in game it is very difficult but the possibility remains for the player dedicated to moving upward.
Routine Expenses: Lifestyle covers the costs of the character’s day to day life so the players and GM don’t need to worry about little things like if a character is able to eat or has clothes. Any character can be assumed to have eaten, be dressed in lifestyle appropriate attire, and be able to show up at the adventure start location without worry. Adventuring is not covered under lifestyle, so while going to a bar might not be a place for the GM to tally every drink something like buying a round for the house, bribes, and fuel for an exceptionally long trip should be considered.
GMs may allow custom species, otherwise choose from the following;
Advantages are perks that set the character apart, but aren’t something inherent to the character or their genetics. Advantages are things you have like friends, respect, or even a big robot.
Factions (1 to 5 advantage points)
A faction grants a bonus to 6 skills off the faction list. The amount is 1D more than the points spent to be part of the faction so a 1 point faction gives a 2D bonus while a 5 point faction grants a 6D bonus. Each level of faction adds 1,000 credits to monthly income.
Faction types are Syndicate, Government, Military, Police, and Corporation. A specific organization should be named such as Salvatore Syndicate, Magitech Corporation, Metro Police Force, etc. The factions are not the character’s current placement, but represents their history.
Syndicate Skills: Intimidation, Willpower, Streetwise, Wardrobe, Leadership, Gambling
Government skills: Bureaucracy, Etiquette, Human Perception, Education, Grooming, Wardrobe
Military skills: Strategy/Tactics, Survival, Leadership, Melee, Firearms, Awareness
Police skills: Intimidation, Interrogation, Security, Drive, Firearms, Awareness
Corporation skills: Bureaucracy, Business, Education, Grooming, Etiquette, Wardrobe
Contacts is a broad range advantage representing the character knowing lots of people around the metropolis, but not having close ties. (2D bonus with Bureaucracy, Etiquette, Streetwise, Persuasion, Grooming, and Wardrobe).
Special Item: This character has some piece of equipment which is out of reach for starting characters. It could be simply too expensive, or it could be highly restricted. This item doesn’t need to be paid for, but there should be a story explaining how the character acquired it. The value of the item shouldn’t exceed 2.5 million credits.