Imagining Your Character
There's no formal procedure for generating characters in Bad Apple, but this section will walk you through some questions that might help you get a handle on how to define your character in an interesting way.
First think about your character's backstory -- where does he or she come from, and how has that shaped your character's values, hang-ups, and interests? Then, try to pick some Characteristics that go with your backstory. The Characteristics are grouped into categories for easy reference; there are no hard-and-fast requirements, but you might try to pick out at least one Characteristic for your body, one for your mind, one for your personality, etc. Note that, all else being equal, Characteristics tend to offer you a net benefit, so the GM might specify a limit on how many 'uniqueness points' you have to spend on Characteristics.
Once you've chosen your Characteristics, you then have to fill in some of the gaps by electing certain talents. The database at the bottom of the page really helps with that. Try to strike a balance between choosing talents that enhance your character's story and choosing talents that will help your character get really good at strategically useful skills. The more talent you have in any given area, the cheaper it is to buy skill ranks using Experience Points (XP).
Finally, fill out your Skill table using the costs specified by your mix of talents. The GM will tell you how many experience points your character starts the adventure with, and you can earn more along the way by participating (plus a bonus for succeeding) in various episodes. The first few skill ranks might represent natural talent or ability, but, in general, you cannot gain significant skill ranks in a field unless your character has spent at least some time practicing or training in it, or at least 'learning by doing' at the school of hard knocks.
These questions will help you vividly imagine your character, get in touch with his or her motivations, and predict what your character will do next.
- What planet or space station does your character come from? Is it in the backwaters, or closer to the Inner Core? How large is the planet, and how densely populated is it? Are there any unusual climactic features or weather events there? High or low gravity? Who or what was the dominant power there when your character was growing up? How about now?
- What kinds of jobs has your character held? Was he/she any good at them? Were the jobs unusual for the area? For your character's age? Why did he/she choose those jobs? Did he/she enjoy them? Have the jobs left your character with any significant savings or debt? Any marketable skills or official credentials? Is anyone familiar with your character based on his/her professional reputation?
- Who are some of the most important people in your character's life? Does he/she have a strong relationship with family? old friends? new friends? a church or community group? a political movement? current or former employers? lovers? a hometown? a guild or professional association? co-workers or partners? a mentor? Keep in mind that characters can have very strong feelings about others that are positive, negative, or even (perhaps most realistically) some kind of twisted mix.
- What are some of the most important ideas or goals in your character's life? Is there anything he/she would be willing to fight for? To die for? To work hard at over a period of several years? What has your character learned the hard way, and what has he/she always believed without ever questioning? What makes your character happy? What does your character erroneously *think* will lead to happiness?
- What does your character do for fun? For exercise? To meet new people? To sort out his/her thoughts and feelings? Who does he/she do it with? Where does he/she do it? What kinds of people (if anyone) does your character find romantically or sexually attractive?
Note that the answers to each of these questions will generally suggest a formal Characteristic that can be selected from the Characteristics page.
- What kind of body does your character have? Tall or short? Skinny, muscular, curvy, flabby, or outright obese? Is your character healthy? If not, why not? What would be your characters' best sports?
- What kinds of things is your character naturally aware of? How are his/her senses? Keen eyes and ears, or deaf dumb and blind? Do you have a keen sense of direction? What about in three dimensions? In zero-gravity? In hyperspace? Do you notice when people around you behave differently? When they seem upset? Do you notice when an object is out of place? When a room is messy? Do people notice your character, or does he/she blend in?
- How does your character relate to others? Are you friendly, domineering, shy, or just indifferent? Does being around other people tend to drain you or refresh your energy? Do you make a few close friendships or try to get to know everybody? Are you unusually (un)attractive? How does your character get other people to do what he/she wants?
- How does your character's mind work? When faced with a problem, what is your character's first response? By temperament, are you calm, manic, lazy, or rigidly disciplined? Do you think in terms of concrete items or abstract ideas? Are you a powerful thinker? A fast thinker? A mad genius? A stubborn ideologue?
These questions will help you fill out your character's Skills table.
- What does your character need to be good at simply in order to have survived? Have you spent time around dangerous people? Dangerous machines? If so, how did you cope with them? Were you ever stuck in an economically depressed region, or in jail, or with a social stigma of some kind? How did you escape it and become a free adventurer?
- What is your character good at because he/she does it all the time? Do you have any weekly rituals? Anything that you grew up doing and never really stopped? Anything that you were obsessed with for months on end? Even minor hobbies can lead to significant points in a third-tier or forth-tier skill if you spend enough time on it over the years.
- What are the most statistically unusual features of your character's life? If you had to identify your character without using any proper nouns, what would you say? Do the adjectives you chose suggest any skills?
- What is your character afraid of? What kinds of things go against his/her moral code? What activities or equipment is taboo in your character's native culture? These questions might suggest where your character should put his/her negative points.
- What are the strongest positive and negative talents that emerge from your character's Characteristics?
Crunching the Numbers
- Manually enter Characteristics in the area at the right of the spreadsheet, each in their own
Each column has: Cost in points, Pool Modifiers, Characteristic title, then 1 for Minor affinity and 3 for Major affinity next to every related skill, then at the bottom, Non-Skill bonuses.
- (2) Enter number of ranks in column L, the cost will automatically appear (factoring in your aptitudes) in column M.
- Column E gives effective ranks in each skill (your die modifier, from
ranks and higher Tiers)
- Column N is the experience cost to buy one more rank in that skill.
- Cell E1 is the total cost of all current ranks, and Cell G1 is our
current experience to spend. Cell F1 is the difference (unspent experience)
The character spreadsheet was mostly automatically generated from the text of the skill list with a python script to make it easier to keep it up to date with skill changes. If you want to interact with the script, contact Tom and he will hook you up.
Here is a list of the changes that were made after running the script, if you make changes, add them to the list so we will know how to regenerate if the skill list changes and we rerun the script.
- Shrink columns e, f, and g to make the tree look prettier (leave just enough space for exp at top, skill names should spill into empty cells after them)
- Put boxes around Pool, Penalty and stability blocks
- Underline Header of main skill block
- Make backgrounds of editable cells blue gray (current stablity, pools, total exp, purchased ranks)