From Post-Apocalyptic RPG wiki
Players will chose from a limited sets of "origins", which are then used to balance/assign costs for their character (primarily skills). "Oldster" vs . "New Blood". How old were you when the T72s rolled and the bombs fell? 20? 30? Or were you raised as a kid in the brave new cold world??
For some discussion of this: Character Origins forum thread
These types of characters are primarily survival oriented. They don't got no readin' or writin' (well usually) and they live under a different moral code. They understand old world technology, but they know all the good ice fishing spots, and can move without leaving tracks in the snow. Variants: Hunter, Scavenger, Predator, Trader, others. They can be one of the following:
- Townie brats (children - adopted or natural of Oldsters who are civilized)
- Tribals (children of Oldsters who went native, or are 20-30 y.o. "elders" of new tribes)
- Wild (literally raised by wolves)
These folks have a history. They remember the good old days. They are suckers for pre-war items and nostalgia. They are still tough, hardened survivors, but they are getting to the point where they have to rely more or their wits than their physical attributes. They have all the same types as the New Blood, but will always have some kind of back ground skills ("word processing" anyone??). They are familiar with the technology that still works, even if they can't repair it: In addition there are mechanic, scientist and trained solider types. I assume there will be an large number of War Veterans. They can also be one of the following:
- Civilized (they formed or are part of a group of oldster survivors)
- Tribals (they went native, but not alone)
- Lone Wolves (they feel the best way to succeed in this cold world is to live only for themselves).
Example origin/background ideas:
- Freezing homeland: Somewhere in Lapland or further to the north. Temperatures continue to fall and eventually sea ice did not melt even during summer. Elders decide it is time to move village and PC is sent to find new place.
- Destroyed homeland: Village is located near some abandoned chemical factory. Eventually something breaks and most of village dies. Survivors flee "cursed" place.
- Raided homeland: raiders wipe out village while PC is away.
- Wiped out clan: raiders, which PC joins for some reason, are wiped out by villagers
- PC is part of merchant family. They are attacked during travels and killed with only PC surviving.
- Exile: PC committed some crime and is exiled.
- Hunted: home is conquered by faction that wishes PC dead.
- Secret Agent: PC is sent by some major faction to gather information and fulfill different tasks.
- Orphan: PC has no family and works at some farm. After reaching adulthood he decides to leave the farm.
- Adopted beggar: PC was taken in by beggars in some city. After reaching adulthood he is not pitied as a "poor boy/girl" enough to create income and is sent away.
Origins allow the player character to have unique opportunities for training and missions (because they are connected through their background). There should be no more than one or two of such opportunities per background.
Character "Types" or "Professions"
Distinct from, but certainly related to your character origin and generation is what you will be doing in the game to keep yourself alive and hopefully garner a little surplus. Generally speaking, a character is going to be playing as part of a (small) group, or alone. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. More characters means more skills and more firepower, but some politics as well. A "party leader" needs to focus his character (at least partially) on social skills, leaving less bandwidth for more useful stuff. A group is never as stealthy as a single person, and you never have to split the loot with yourself. It is expected and intended that a player flit between these various "jobs" as the game goes on (but they will obviously be better at some than others). To clarify - you can think of these "professions" as the "filler" between actual "plot" moments as well as methods to refine skills and connections needed to get into the plot lines/quests in the first place. Game play for these kind of tasks should either be "fun" (i.e, combat or exploration or some kind of mini-game) or "instantaneous" (you expend "game" time but no player time or effort if you need to, say, fix a bicycle)
The professions are not really meant to be character classes. They are just "ways to survive" in the game while you are not actively questing. So, you don't really CHOOSE a profession, or if you do it's non-binding and non-permanent.
Let's say you want to travel. Maybe you have some quest to do far away, or maybe you are just bored of your area, or maybe you are being run out of town on a rail for some "anti-social" behavior. You will need to travel several days (maybe even a week or two) in the wilderness.
If you don't have good "survival" skills and tools, then you are in trouble (all characters should have some "basic" survival skills, like for a couple of days) ... you need to find some civilization. If you have a proper vehicle, then maybe your travel is faster and you need less food. If you find a town - you need to pick up enough rations / fuel to carry you through to your next way point. Basically, you need money. The "professions" listed there are just ways where you can make "money" (or whatever the equivalent) - essentially by selling your skills (or stealing, or living off the land). Now, most characters will be pretty good at only a couple things, and depending on the needs of the community, you might have to take your 2nd or 3rd (or 4th! favorite job for a bit).
You (or your group) are predators. You kill people and take their stuff. You are outlaw. Along with actual assault and battery, terror and intimidation are your weapons. Your life will probably end in violence, but at least you lived it your own way. You could either be a lone
Rather than mugging and ambush, you sneak around and pilfer stuff. Less likely to attract attention, but you are in more trouble if you get caught because you might not be able to shoot your way out. Not very practical in groups.
You (or your group) are finders of things. Diggers in the rubble. You can tell the desired from the trash, the practical from the useless junk. You either sell the stuff you find, or process it/manufacture it into something even more valuable (at the cost of your precious time, however).
Basically the same as a scavenger, but instead of looting the bones of the old world, you are the exploiter of natures's bounty. You know the trails of the reindeer, where the best ice fishing is, which plants are good to eat... and which will slay an enemy. This is the only (honest) job where you are guaranteed to be able to eat (without a pesky middleman taking his cut), and if you are good or lucky, you might have some surplus to barter.
Oh, so sleeping out of doors or running from lynchmobs not your style? Well, what can you do? Everyone has a skill... or at least something that someone will pay for.
(Variant) Thug / Guard / Watchman / Police
When communications breakdown, sometimes even civilized folk resort to violence. And sometimes, they hire a big bad, dude, to do a dirty job. You are that dude. As for uncivilized folk, well, they just call you "brother". Like a bandit, but with, you know, dignity. The higher up your boss, the more likely you are considered a "Cop" rather than just muscle.
It's a dangerous world, and people are getting hurt. Everyone needs to get healthy.
Manufacturing has taken something of a downturn since, you know, all the factories and workers were destroyed. All this old tech stuff keeps breaking, and you can fix it. And come to think of it, this "new tech" stuff is a little shoddy as well. Or maybe you are the guy who can take a pile of junk and turn it into a some actually functioning junk.
(Variant) Scientist/Witch Doctor
Hey, exactly what DO You do around here anyway, four-eyes? Oh, you're the smart guy everyone asks when they don't understand something.
What do you mean "no speakee Estonian". If you know 2 languages or more, someone can probably use you.
In a prosperous community there are always the elite which have surplus to "spend". And, hey, everyone likes a good laugh, or song... or roll in the hay.
Some people have stuff to sell, some people have stuff to buy. You help them both. For a small fee. You bring people together! You are a fixer. The morter that holds the bricks together. The grease the keeps the wheels running. Everyone hates you on the inside, but you are smooth enough to make them feel like they like you for a few minutes. Or maybe just need you.
Where there's contraband, there's buyers and sellers. You are a seller. And maybe a buyer too, as long as there's a profit in reselling it.
(Variant) Scam artist or Grifter
Like a Bandit, but with social instead of stealth skills. You might make an honest pound (of flour) or too here and there, but it's always a little tastier when you flat out ripping off the dumb yokels or even the local aristocracy. Something for nothing is your motto.
"You're laborers. Shouldn't you be laboring? That's what you get for not having a college education?". Everyone needs to eat, and sometimes there is isn't a market for what you are good at. But showing up on time with a strong back is a useful trade too, and that city wall isn't going to build itself.
You may not be one for lifting boxes, but you are good with figures and unlike the rest of these savages, YOU can read and write. It's not the most exciting job, but at least no one's shooting at you and sizing you up for the stew pot.