Dang you @Rogar and showing me how things could be better .... , grumble, grumble, grumble.....
I've decided to adopt a more "Traveller"-esk Character creation, mainly because it solves my Young vs Old dilemma and well it IS pretty nifty. This means an expansion of the time the player will spend in Chapter 1, but it means I don't have to do a story dump at the beginning to establish the setting. (all stats are subject to change, as I work out how well the system works, and I'll probably be editing it as I go so as not to fill the board with repeat posts)
It is now more of a linear questionnaire format.
I do make an assumption in that only skills and abilities needed for the Phoenix Project would be selected. However, this should not mean a Farmer from Mars would not be considered if they happened to be an Experimental Farmer on Mars that created a new Plant with say 2% efficiency photosynthesis, (vs the current 1% efficiency rate)
So How I'm thinking of handling it now, is by dividing the character creation into 4-year blocks. these are the Events that make up the MC's Backstory. At each step you gain a Trait, These traits will be balanced internally, So If it gives you +1 Biology it may give you - 1 Chemistry.
Chapters 1-3 Stats
The stats you have in the first four chapters are replaced after you Arrive at your destination, this is to reflect your new body. But your stats during this time period determine your ship, so they are important. I wanted to keep it as simple as I can but I now realize it just won't do it justice.
the New Stats
Agility: This is how well you move and is used in personal combat. Starts at 5
Endurance: This is your general health. Within the Republic, health care is free and mandatory for those under the age of Majority (22). Endurance is decreased as time goes by and can be further reduced by events it can also be increased by events. it is also used in Chapter 2 to determine how many actions you get per 3 month period. Starts at 10
Charisma: This is how well you communicate and how well you read people, it is used when you need to convince someone of something. Starts at 5
IQ: IQ is handled differently than the Other stats because I now intent that it will come into play in later chapters (mostly as part of a Hint system). Having a high IQ will also make stat switching possible in the events (using Agility instead of Charisma or Endurance for instance) as you can see other ways of doing things. It starts at 7
Rank: You gain a rank via the different careers, Military, Science, or Commercial. All Ranks will come into play in Chapter 2, (you get different bonuses based on those ranks, but collectively they are used to create your budget)
Weapon Skills: I was initially opposed to adding weapon skills since I thought they would have limited utility but the more I look at how I want the stories in the Ages to go the more I realize they could have an impact so I'm including them here.
Guns, Blades, Long Blades, Power Armor, AI Warfare.
You Age now Starts at 14.
You get to select your Gender:
Male or Female.
You get to select your Race:
Human, that's baseline Humanity, more or less what we are today. They select one of four genetic heritages, (essentially getting +1 Agility, +1 Endurance, +1 Charisma, or +1 IQ)
Human Enhanced, That a genetically superior version of humanity. Their genetic code has been "cleaned" by removing many genetic diseases and strengthening positive traits, they also need to eat less because their digestive track has been tailored to favor processed foods (they have a strong dislike to raw foods like carrots or apples), tend to get sick less, and will live longer. They also tend to be more intelligent +1 IQ and get along better with people +1 Charisma. But they tend to be slower to move because of their diet and because they have a habit of overthinking their actions -1 Agility.
Cybernetic, At a young age you suffered a mishap, either an accident or an untreatable condition, and you required replacement organs or limbs. (a Selection is available) but you take anti-rejection drugs or have had your immune system adjusted to accept the implants -1 Endurance
Legs: Your legs were crushed in an accident, your new legs are much stronger than your old ones +2 Agility
Arms: Your Arms were crushed in an accident, Your new arms are much more useful, Stronger +1 Agility, and can have so many useful tools and gadgets built in +1 Robotics.
Heart: You had a congenital heart defect that went undetected, through malice or mistake. when you were Ten you were implanted with an experimental Bio-Heart Implant, +1 Agility since it works better than a natural heart, it also manufactures its own anti-rejection drug. You learned all about the science behind behind your new heart, +1 Biology.
Lungs: An accidental radiation exposure left you with an extremely aggressive form of cancer, while normally easily treatable with nanites, your cancer was systemic and quite advanced before anyone realized what it was (radiation treatments are considered routine, and they thought that was all you were suffering from). While they saved your life your lungs were destroyed. They were replaced with an experimental Bio-mechanical Nano-hive. it is capable of storing oxygen and filtering contaminates much, much better than natural lungs. +1 Agility. and an added bonus by the time you were 14 you realized you could exert some control over the Nano-hive and create pheromone clouds that helped you influence others +1 Charisma.
You get to select your Origin:
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Luna, Mars, Belter, Jovian, or Saturn. There is no Neptune origin since it would be functionally identical to the Jovian origin
Each Origin affects things in chapter 2 and gives you a slight bonus and bias in the sciences.
Mercury: +1 Geology, +1 Engineering, -1 Chemistry (Subject to change I'm not entirely happy with this one)
Those that grew up on the Mercury dark-side habitat were the children of Geologists and Engineers and learned about extreme mining from an early age, but because everything was controlled and most goods imported (such as food) they learned that "Chemistry" was someone else's job.
Venus: +1 Robotics, +1 Engineering, -1 Physics
Those that grew up in the Venusian Habitats learned that Robotics was life, with the extreme temperatures of Venus' surface failures in the robotic miners were distressing common. as a Child they spent a lot of time helping fix and build new miners for the surface operations. However, because of the substantial orbital infrastructure leftover from the terraforming project, they tend to have a skewed view of physics.
Earth: +1 Biology, +1 Chemistry, -1 Physics
The Human Homeworld. Those that grew up here had a life most like us today. Unlike their cousins in space, they lived and breathed in a very active world. Most notably is the abundance of nonhuman life (animals). Children from Earth gain an innate understanding of animals and weather. But because Earth has a relatively high natural gravity (unlike say the Moon or Mars) children here don't see Physics the same way... more of an up and down force.
Luna: +2 Engineering, - 1 Geology
The Moon is heavily colonized by this point, and the only thing holding the domes up are a few tons of steel and glass. Children of the Moon are taught how to react to and how to fix problems with their aging life support systems, and as the busiest port of call in the solar system, they also learn a lot about the ships that make their world possible. Unfortunately, the Moons Geology isn't all that exciting, and this tends you color your view that all worlds are like this.
Mars: + 2 Biology, -1 Engineering
Mars hosts the Second largest human population in the solar system, and close to two-thirds of it are involved in farming. With the successful terraforming of mars, it's considered a Paradise... if you're a plant. Animal life is strictly controlled, in fact, the entire global biosphere is strictly controlled, and you learn about the whys, whens, and hows of these systems from a young age. However, with the 0.376g gravity, the importance of engineering is lessened.
Belter: +1 Robotics, +1 Physics, -1 Biology
Those that live in the Belt, are called Belters, (or Rock Rats, if your feeling derogatory) live a hard and fast life. unless you live in one of the stable colonies on an asteroid like Ceres, your habitat is always under threat from stray rocks, and some are smaller than a penny. Children here learn the importance of relying on their machines and learn very quickly in properly judge the course of an object taking into account even microgravity. However, their habitats rarely have room for more then Hydroponic farming. This means there is little rooms for animals even pets, which means a lack biology training since largely the hydroponic systems are too important to allow untrained individuals to meddle with.
Jovian: +2 Chemistry, -1 Geology
The Jovian Gas mines are legendary in the solar system. Originating in Pre-Machines times and collecting the fuels for humanities expansion into space, After two thousand years we still rely on the gasses harvested here. Children learn from their parents all about Chemistry and how important it is to the rest of the solar system. however, Jupiter which everyone focuses on has no Geology, at least until you get to the Metallic Hydrogen core.
Saturn: Random Education +4, -2 spread randomly
The Saturn Labs, have been in operation since the Alliance of Worlds was formed. for Hundreds of years it has been the home of the Sol's Fleet Science Corps, and while there are many, many, many independent labs and facilities in the area most children here are born to the staff in the labs. They tend to have an ecliptic mix of education, mostly depending on the lab-hab they were raised on. They may have a broad range of science or one really good one, but they tend to specialize early, developing a bias against other one or more sciences as "Less important"
Family: You get to choose your level of Family. Family can also come into play in Chapter 2.
Extensive Family: This means you come from a big family, and more than that you actually like them. This is the typical Nukular family. This applies a -2 Endurance penalty because you are more likely to avoid dangerous situations that could affect your family, but you get a +1 Agility and +1 Charisma,
Family: This means you have family somewhere in the solar system, they may be the kind you like or not, but it usually indicates a single parent or unusual family situation. No bonus or penalties.
Ward of the State: Ward of the state is a nicer name than "Orphan". Yet that is what this means, you grew up in a group home, you get +2 Endurance and +1 Agility as it took a lot of both to thrive in that environment. However, you have no family connections to speak of.
Each Event contains a series of choices for each of the four years you spent there. There will be a risk/reward mechanic in place, you can take greater risks, but if you do and fail you suffer greater penalties. Example, you volunteer to be a team leader in the Marines. The Next page will tell you how you did, and there will be a slight randomization, it will roll from -1 to 1, I'm calling this the Luck Roll, and add it to your stat necessary to complete the event. Options you don't qualify for will be grayed out, and you qualify for the choice when your stat is the same as the difficulty. Some events will also use multiple stats, as well as some sciences (sciences don't get a luck roll they either help or don't). Each time a stat is used it gets a Luck Roll. so events that take use multiple stats are harder, with a greater chance of failure. Meaning there is a 66% chance of succeeding any choice you make in a given event. with a 33% of Failure, and 33% chance of doing exceptional. (requirements will be listed in the Choice) for multiple Stat events, there is a chance for a greater degree of failure. Failures (-1) give penalties and spectacular failures (-2 or more) even more so, success gives rewards (0) and exceptional successes (1 or More) give better rewards. The last "year" is always the hardest. the Choices for the last year get replaced based on how many Spectacular Failures, Failures, Successes, and Exceptional Successes, as they expect more... or less of you depending on your Career so far. The last year can also unlock a bonus for the following year.
While the first is mandatory, then the MC can select their path. At any time after the first two events, they can Join the Phoenix Project to end the character creation process and begin chapter two.
The First Event is the mandatory boot camp. Everyone does it. No exceptions, even if they come from a "rich" family or if they are geniuses that are better off in a lab. Universal health care and advanced cybernetics mean there is no physical reason to be excluded. Every person becomes a ward of the State officially at this point. Each "Path" will have a requirement (Dang you @Rogar!!! ) so your Race and Origin helps determine your Career.
There is a Choice between paths, All give you your basic equipment (what kind of weapons you know how to use) and story hooks that are used later.
Flight school: Fancy yourself a Flight jock eh? Requires Physics 1
Navy officer School: Command school. Requires Charisma 6
Marines: No matter how far we go we still need boots to hit the ground at some point. Requires Agility 6
Administration: Support Command positions, Police, and investigative techniques. Requires IQ 8
Logistics: Cooking, Cleaning, Driving Miss Daisy Crazy.... Requires Chemistry 1 Or Biology 1
Robotics Corps: Building and Destroying Robots, what more do you need? Requires Robotics 1
Science Corps: Lab work more your thing? Join the Science Corps now! Requires Geology 1 or Chemistry 1
Engineering Corps: Building space elevators for dummies. Requires Engineering 1
After Basic training, you move on to your mandatory enlistment period. (since your still under 20 and considered a ward of the state at this point, despite still having contact with your family if any) Like boot camp, you get to choose where you are posted, but each one has a requirement for entrance. Also, each Career listed here is essentially the first level in their associated military careers,
Pilot: You have become a Pilot usually only a shuttle or fighter pilot at this point but you rack up hundreds of hours in the cockpit of various small crafts. Military Rank +1, Requires Physics 3, and Flight School, Logistics, or Officer School.
Officer: You have become a Navy Officer, working on one of the many ships that patrol the Sol system and you "Captian" your own Sloop (a small independent MP Transport, the Republic's equivalent of a space police cruiser) Military Rank +2, Requires Charisma 7 and Officer School, or Administration
Marine: You're a Certified ground pounder, this is one of the most dangerous Careers, but it also the only Career that gets the Power Armor skill. Requires Endurance 6
Police: You're an MP, you can be stationed aboard a ship or at a colony, or even on Earth. Requires Endurance 5, and Admin School, or Officer School.
Transport Duty: You work on one of the thousands of supply ships maintained by the Sol's Fleet. Duties include Lifting.... and setting things down again in a slightly different spot.... and then doing it again. Requires Flight School or Logistics School
Robotics Overseer: You work at one of the Republics many robotic/automated facilities as a supervisor. Requires Robotics Corps, Science Corps or Engineering Corps.
Saturn Labs: You work at one of the Lab-Habs in the Saturn system, Requires Robotics Corps, Science Corps or Engineering Corps.
Ship Yard Duty: You work at one of the Belt shipyards as an engineer. Requires Robotics Corps, Science Corps or Engineering Corps.
After which, you can begin to choose your own path. You can continue the above military paths or join the ranks of Civilian Science and Economy
Earth University: You have been accepted at the Prestigious Earth University! over the Next four years you will be working to get your bachelor's in the Sciences, Here at Earth University we offer many programs but we are most well known for our Physics and Geology Departments. Science Rank +1, Requires Physics and Geology 2
Luna University: You have been accepted at the Prestigious Luna University! over the Next four years you will be working to get your bachelor's in the Sciences, Here at Luna University we offer many programs but we are most well known for our Engineering and Robotics Departments. Science Rank +1, Requires Engineering and Robotics 2
Mars University: You have been accepted at the Prestigious Mars University! over the Next four years you will be working to get your bachelor's in the Sciences, Here at Mars University we offer many programs but we are most well known for our Biology and Chemistry Departments. Science Rank +1, Requires Biology and Chemistry 2
Saturn Solar Labs: Welcome to the Saturn Solar Labs family! over the next four years, you will be helping us make a better tomorrow. Saturn Solar Labs is a prime mover in all the fields of science, as currently understood by Mankind. Requires any 2 Sciences at 2.
Jupiter Energy: Welcome to Jupiter Energy, We make Gas. Requires Chemistry 2
Mars Food and Supplies: Welcome to Mars, the shead is over there. We start at 6 am. Requires Biology 2
Venus Ship Maker Company: Makers of the Tough Little Ship TM. Requires Engineering 2
Mercury Metals: Providing Rare minerals since 3402! Requires Robotics 2 or Geology 2