Saturday, May 25, 2019

Twilight: 2000 Character Creation - Welcome to Hell? (Maximum Starting Terms)

In the first post of this series, I commented on the "Careers" section of the T2k v2.2 Character Generation process and posted an example of the spreadsheet tabs of "Skills by Term" I used to help develop the various pre-generated characters in line with the "archetype" concepts I wanted. To fully develop character concepts I determined the number of "Terms" in advance but realised that the random nature of the "War Breaks Out" mechanic Term by Term could be problematic, although for some this is a core part of the "randomness" and feel of the game. I have worked out a different way of determining Total Terms *before* Skill selection so that a player has more agency when developing their character as although in Twilight: 2000 the character won't die during character like in some GDW games, not knowing the total Terms at the start of skill selection has its drawback for some players nonetheless...

So When Does War Actually Break Out?

The War: At the end of each term, roll 1D10. If the roll is equal to or less than your current term number, war breaks out (i.e. war breaks out at the end of the first term on a roll of 1, at end of the second term on a roll of 1 or 2, etc.). - page 23, T2k v2.2 corebook

Looking at the cumulative probability from the table below, most starting characters generated using this default random method will have 2 or more career Terms (age 25+) and half will have at least 3 Terms. Only 15% of characters will be more than 5 Terms, the maximum number of Terms is 8 and the "average" character is around 3-4 Terms.

Cumulative Probabilities of War Breaking Out...

Apart from a couple of AGL ageing checks that have no major combat consequence even if failed, there's an inherent random difference in the power range (Skills) and resources (starting equipment) which can lead to an unbalanced player group. Of course, a Referee can always require players to create characters with a set number of terms or a range eg. 3-5 Terms to maintain a similar power level and age range across the group.

A Simplified Mechanic

Using the cumulative probabilities above, I calculated the below "single roll" table for either percentile roll or a single D10 roll - as constructed the latter provides a slightly higher chance of 6th and 7th Term starting characters but forgoes the possibility of an 8th term character:

Optional: Single Roll Starting Terms

This maintains the randomness of the original RAW but I think it adds value as a player knows at the start of the Career / skill selection section how many terms they have to realise their character.

Summary & Conclusion 

So taken together, we now have 3 potential character creation options:
  1. Classic: default "roll after each term" method 
  2. Modern: choose an arbitrary number of terms
  3. Revised: single roll for maximum terms 

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