This section describes attributes and skills used in RIP system. A
character generation system is merged into it, and it is identical to
RIP General system, but any Syndicate special attributes and special
skill levels are directly merged to it for easier use. Note that
prices of various things may also differ from normal RIP to reflect
special nature of the corporate future.
When creating a new character, it all starts from the idea and history
of the character: what he (or she) is, why is he what he is currently,
what have he done earlier. All these named and numeric values in this
chapter are only used to giver something to compare to other
characters and persons of the world, but they do not flesh out the
character. So most of the work should go to free-form description of
A short introduction to Character Points: Character Points exist to
balance things for those, who either cannot do it themselves or who are
afraid that superior characters will dominate gameplay. For those who
have no problems with that player characters are not 'balanced', just
throw any character points to garbage bin and do whatever you want. You
may, however, want to use them as some guideline about how much cybernetic
systems might have costed or how much the character has learned in school
In normal cases, characters in RIP are made with character
(cp). The player has designed number (normally 20 for basic
powerful characters) of character points, which are then used to buy
better attributes, skill levels and background options. Unless noted
otherwise, 25% of original character points must
be used in
skills. A normal average human is about 5 character points.
Unless the gamemaster has judged otherwise, a standard RIP Syndicate
character is made with 20 cp, which are used to buy following things:
- Attributes, standard and special
- Skills (at least 5 cp must be used on these in normal cases)
- Background options, including augmentations
Note that this 20cp create quite a powerful characters, with most of
their attributes over normal level, with skill expertise in many
fields and lots of expensive equipment or valuable contacts and even
augmented systems. But this is intentional, this game is not normally
menat for low-level campaigns, but feel free to drop the
As base, character has following things for free:
- Native language at native (3) level, plus one extra language at
trained (1) level if the native language is not very common (depending
on the campaign area. English is always common, and Corporate China in
- Any number of free skills. These skills can be chosen quite freely,
but must be linked to the character's education and personal history.
- Some equipment. See background.
Depending on the campaign, these free things can be modified.
Attributes are character born or somehow enhanced physical and mental
Standard attributes are physical and mental
attributes possessed by each creature, and are strength, health,
agility, awareness, willpower and social.
Special attributes are creature or individual specialized
attributes like mental problems, physical disadvantages and
advantages, special powers etc..
All creatures in RIP have following attributes:
- This attribute resembles pure physical strength.
A character with superb (+2) strength is as strong as
world-class weight lifter, while inferior (-2)
character is like a few years old kid.
- This attribute reflects endurance and constitution of the
character. A character with high health can
go on longer while those ranked very low get exhausted very
fast. Health is also used when character is wounded or
suffers damage or poisoning, but note that muscle mass (i.e.
strength) usually determines how well the body of the
character can withstand damage. Typical sub-attributes
are endurance (how long the character can go on) and
resistance (poisons and toxins)
- Character speed, balance, agility and such things are
represented with agility attribute. High level attributes are
possessed by olympic athletics, while those with poor agility
stumble on stairs. Sub-attributes quickness and balance are
sometimes modified by certain augmentations; in such a case,
they replace normal agility in those areas.
- Character perception, sight and smell, but also a bit like
intelligence and ability to make fast observations.
It also tells about character speed to react to certain
situations, although agility is also important. See notes
on reaction, below.
- This attribute resembles how good will and self-control a
character has and how easily he is broken under stress. Those
with low levels are usually easily irritated and break easily.
Willpower can also tell something about the character's ability to
learn new things.
- General appearance, social skills, charisma and such things.
A character with high social is easily listened to and well
liked, while those with low levels stutter, get paralyzed in social
situations and do not have many friends.
All attributes are ranked from negative levels to positive, with +0
being the average for normal human beings. Any attribute over +2
(superb) level is classified as superhuman, and available only via
Reaction speed: in a world of guns where chivalry has died the
reaction speed is sometimes very crucial. In Syndicate,
reaction speed is linked to attrbiutes: Awareness and Agility
(or to be more specific, quickness, which is agility
sub-attribute). Awareness mainly tells how quickle the
character registers what is going on, and quickness tells how
fast he then acts.
In addition to these basic attributes, special targets like
very big or otherwise tough creatures (or very small or fragile)
creatures can have one extra special attribute:
- General resistance against all kind of physical damage, from
punches to cuts.
Note that this attribute cannot be modified! It is only used for
comparative purposes and to show that the target is simply so
much larger than small cuts and wounds have no same effect on it as it
does on normal human-sized targets. Normally the toughness level can
be handled like armor padding except that it is always applied,
regardless of attack penetration power.
Standard Attribute Levels
- Superb (+2) (3 cp)
- The character has top value in attribute. He might be
world-class weight lifter, athletic or marathon runner,
professional detective, have a will of iron or be a
very successful journalist. Only one per mil is that
- Good (+1) (1 cp)
- Character has an attribute better than most average, but not
very exceptional. He is good shape, fast or most of the time
very calm and relaxed. A few percent of the population has
this high level.
- Average (+0)
- This is the average level.
- Poor (-1) (-1 cp)
- Character is obviously inferior to average people. He almost
always loses any appropriate physical effort, is easily
irritated or cannot converse with people.
- Inferior (-2) (-3 cp)
- Character is clearly inferior to any other. He is easily
pushed around, stumbles in stairs or is irritated and
nervous all the time. In social situations, he gets frozen and
stutters. Not recommended level for any attribute, people
with inferior attributes can be considered as handicapped
Characters with augmentations (or entirely technological constructs!)
may have higher (or lower) attribute levels. In
general, each level is quite clearly superior to lower one.
In rare cases, gamemaster may allow that character has different
sub-attribute than main attribute, without augmentations. This
is usually limited to one level difference and costs half the
price to modify main attribute that much. Thus, if character
has agility +1 (1 cp), to have quickness +2 would cost 1 cp more (3-1
/ 2). Ask from gamemaster before doing this.
Here is a list of standard special attributes. A campaign may have
alter these a bit or add new ones, but unless noted otherwise, these
- Addiction (nuisance -1 cp, severe -2 cp)
- Character is severely addicted to some substance or possibly
an action. Typical addictions are various drug addictions. A
character may have drug addiction because of nerve breakdown
which led to use of narcotics, cheap cyber- or bioware that
requires antidotes and healing drugs to prevent tissue
- Mental Problem (nuisance -1, severe -2 cp)
- Some psychological quirk, like paranoia, over-confidence,
arrogance, stubborness... Especially various hallucinations,
phobias, scitzhophrenia and similar mental illnesses are
common in a dark, poisoned and sick future. Years of various
cheap drugs and synthetic food make people mad, and especially
people with cyberware need various drugs to reduce rejections
of the tissue, causing mental problems and addictions (see
above). Or the character might have experienced a wetware recording
which left a permanent scar in his brain. Note: cannot kill is a
psychological limitation very common to most people. As
nuisance, cold-blooded kills are problematic. With severe,
even warm-blooded kills.
- Physical Disadvantage (varies)
- For missing limb or similar things, character gains more CPs.
Apply -1 cp for retricted sight or hearing, -2 cp for missing
hand, -3 cp for missing entire arm, others handicaps as
determined by the GM. The loss is partly in brain, so this
handicap cannot be removed with appropriate augmentation.
Likewise, any bad allergy and rash can be considered as a
physical disadvantage. Various skin diseases and body disfunctions
caused by bad synthetic food and drugs or by radiation or
chemical weapons of the corp-war zones. Alternatively a
prototype of some new augmented systems can have similar
problems. These physical disadvantages are usually
worth 1 or 2 cps, see addictions and mental problems.
- Quirk (-0.25 cp)
- Means that the character has a peculiar habit that passes for an
identifying feature, like always wearing red-tinted mirrored
sunglasses, or leaving a playing card on the chest of his
victims. A character can have as many quirks as the player
likes, but only the first four (4) are worth any points.
The most important thing in dark future characters is the skills they
know. You can always find a poor soul with desired physical attributes
or fit him with cyberware needed, but skills are expensive and thing
that makes professionals valuable.
Skill levels in RIP are very broad. They are used to easily
distinguish the level of expertise.
Effect of attributes:
- Non-skilled (level 0)
- Character has no training with the skill. Depending on the
skill, the character may or may not do anything related to
it. For example, a gun can be fired without training and
most people can drive a car even if they have not ever done it
before - assuming someone starts it for them. On the other
hand, helicopter flight is a different matter...
- Skilled (level 1)
- Character has basic training and some experience with given
skill or expertise. He can handle rush hour in a major city
while driving or land a plane.
- Expert (level 2)
- Character in an expert in his area. He can fight several
opponents at the same time, land a plane in a storm or
charm everyone with his manners in royal banquet. He also
knows publicly known masters in his field of expertise.
- Master (level 3)
- Character is simply a master in tasks concerning his area.
He can drive car in reverse in rush hour without colliding or
speak completely fluently. He is usually well known by the
other people dedicated to this area.
- Grand Master (level 4)
- Character is simple a grand master in his area. He is world
famous and his guidelines are followed by hundred followers,
or he might be a world-top acrobat. This level is available
for player character only by GM permission.
in Syndicate, character attribute levels
rarely affect final skill levels. Thus, character with agility +2 and
gun(pistols) as skilled is as good shot is character with agility -1
and gun(pistols) as skilled.
Specialization and training: Practically all skills must be specialized
and trained to certain sub-areas. There is no limitations or accurate
guidelines for that, so use common sense. A etiquette(royal and streets)
is a good example, while gun(any) is not... When a situation arises, a
character is down in skill levels if the sub-area is unfamiliar to
'Skilled' levels are sufficient unless you really had to be an
expert in your field.
Primary skills are frequently used skills, which should cover most
activities done by the characters. If the skill needed is very narrow
or not useful in a typical campaign, use secondary skills.
Most frequently used skills are listed here, but as noted earlier,
players are free to invent new ones needed by their characters.
Primary skills cost 1 cp for skilled (1), 3 cp for expert (2), 6 cp
for master (3) and 10 cp for grand master (4, only with permission
from the GM).
- Skill to control own body, from climbing and swimming to flips
and tightrope walking. High agility (or balance) is
very important, too, to some sub-areas, like is strength and
health. Trained areas should be marked (climbing, swimming,
acrobatics, throwing etc.)
- This skill is both coolness under fire, telling how
well the character can handle firefight situations, and
general knowledge and skill to analyze and handle combat
situations. In general, no skill can be used in higher level than combat
skill while in firefight. Note that combat skill itself gives
no close or ranged combat competence, nor is needed when
sniping, for example. This skill can also tell how ready the
character is to kill a person.
If you want to be of any use in a firefight, you must have
- The skill to use computers effectually. A skilled (1)
character is able to do all basic and some advanced operations with
a computer, but for unauthorized work, expert level at least is
normally needed. Having proper equipment is also very important thing.
The character may specialize in networks, security
or other aspects if need be. Otherwise, general knowledge
especially about programs is attained.
To break into a corporate network, you must normally go into their
building. Few really important systems are connected to GlobalNet.
- Skill to fluently speak about subjects not known to character
or to get victim to do things he would not normally do. Can
also be used to inspire troops and to lead them to some
extent, without proper knowledge of long-term leadership.
- Ability to manipulate, fix and modify
electronic devices like security cameras, electronic locks or
other similar devices. Expert level knowledge is usually
needed for any professional illegal work, but in any case,
tools are very important.
- Skill to act properly in trained social environments. Includes
leadership of certain trained environments, like army units,
providing the character is trained in that.
- Skill to fire accurately with trained weapons. Some repair
and basic maintenance is also possible.
- Skill to treat wounds, bind them and avoid infections. Also
includes long term healing and analyzing the
patient. Knowledge about modern medical nanotechnology and
bioware (in medical sense) is covered if applicable.
- Skill to fight effectually in melee. Character is
trained in appropriate weapons and technics; use of any
other may give penalties for combat.
- General professionalism. The character has trained himself to
remember little details and has certain unconscious knack to
do appropriate things, like to take those night vision goggles
with him or not to jump in front of video cameras.
Secondary skills are skills rarely used in Syndicate sessions, or are
simply very narrow and thus not worth the same price as primary
skills. Any special skills used mainly by the character but very
useful in their narrow area also fall to this area, like throwing
knives, using bows, setting explosives (demolitions), disguise
(camouflage and changing own appearance) and similar skills.
Secondary skills cost 0.5 cp for skilled (1), 1.5 cp for expert (2), 3 cp
for master (3) and 5 cp for grand master (4, only with permission
from the GM).
- Various dexterous maneuvers in trained areas like picking the
pockets or mechanical locks, building card buildings and doing
magic tricks. The must skill for any pickpockets.
- Skill to drive a selected vehicle, like a car, bike,
helicopter, turbine plane, jet fighter or vectored
thrust. Without the skill you can still operate the autopilot (if
present), and can drive common land vehicle until gears
etc. are needed. Must be selected to a certain vehicle.
- Ability to dig out information from subject, using various methods
from psychological to physical. Willpower attribute of the
interrogator and subject is important, as is health.
- Ability to fix, repair and modify
mechanical devices like different machines. Must be
specialized to some specific machine like cars, trucks,
helicopters or hydraulic compressors.
- Skill to move silently and hide effectually in trained
environments. Typical places are rural, street and indoor areas.
Also includes general knowledge of that area - where to find
places to hide and to climb.
Languages are handled a bit differently to other skills. A character
with selected language as a skill is trained in that language and can
read and write it, but rarely can handle dialects nor handle very
quickly speaking native person. Those with expert level (2) are
classified to speak the
language fluently, knowing most dialects and able to get at
least non-native people fooled. Master level (3) is equal to
native (or similar training to fool even native speakers). Any grand
master levels are reserved for language specialists. Prices
are 0.5 cp (trained), 1 cp (fluent) and 2 cp (native).
Each language must be learnt separately, not as specialization
for this skill. Specialization can be taken into certain
dialect or area, like English (American).
Characters can take, for free, any number of almost useless
skills or knowledge areas at suitable levels to enrich their
past and education. Such
skills include, but are not limited to the following:
Ancient History, Artistry, Biochemistry, Chemistry,
Complex Mathematics, Cooking, Dancing, Physics, Sculpting
These skills can be added to character profile when needed later
during game, if approved by the GM. No character should have many free
skills at higher level than skilled (1), especially if character has
not studied for many years.
Even primary and secondary skills can be taken as free skills
if the given subclass is very limited. If taken so, other
specializations cannot be taken without first learning the skill
properly. Some good examples are like Military knowledge (including
etiquette), various athletics (scuba diving, weight lifting) or rare
Background options are things that the character has acquired in his
past. Most of them are advantageous, and thus cost character points,
while some of them are disadvantages
, and the character having them
gets more points to be used on other things. Note that
if a disadvantage is not a disadvantage, it is worth no
Standard equipment and stuff for the character include some
equipment will less than 3000e (see equipment).
He can also have a nice, rented
apartment (if appropriate) and 50-2000e of cash (most of it in
electronic currency). Standard equipment can be, for example:
A cheap gun with many boxes of standard ammunition, various
basic home electronics (music playback system, simple PDA)
and equipment suitable to (former) job.
For further background options, these can be selected from the
following list. However, most of them are tied to played campaign so
consult your gamemaster first. Further background advantages can be
added as need to, for example various local contacts can be added.
- Agent (1 cp)
- The character is backed up by some organization, which
provides various backup (transportation, equipment) and
might get him out of trouble when in need. In return, the
character is expected to pursue the assignment he has been given.
And if the character double-crosses them, do not expect to get
away too easily.
- Augmentations (1 cp first generation, 3 cp second
generation, plus the price of augmentations)
- Character is fitted with special augmentations. All characters
can have normal augmentations (publicware), but this character
can have special classified augmentations, which are only
bought with character points. See augmentations chapter for
details. Any augmentations must be explained in the
character history and always include some high-tech
corporation. Any number of augmentations can be taken.
Any possible special physical side-effects caused by the
augmentations can be covered by physical disadvantages, see
special attributes, above. Note that some augmentations
automatically have side-effects.
- Corporate Project (-5 cp)
- The character is a creation of a some powerful corporation
(or possibly government).
This means that he has some augmentations (pick either one -
you must pay for it normally), is possibly laboratory grown
and has a corporate logo encrypted to his spine. The character
most certainly has various built-in hidden systems inside him
and the past of his life is unknown. The character usually
starts as an agent of the same corporation (see above). In any
case, the corporation takes a very close look at the
character and if the character has somehow managed to escape
them, is hunted very extinsively and has to live underground.
- Local Knowledge (1 cp)
- Normally characters are supposed to come from different region
than where the campaign takes place. This background option
means that they know the current campaign area - they can have
a free skill of that area, know local people and can get
around. They are also recognized, and that can sometimes be a
- Net Contacts (1 cp normal, 2 cp experts)
- The character knows people all over the world who can possibly
search information for him and do various helpful tasks. The
area of expertiseor help can be specialized or otherwise it is
just all kind of generic help like finding people and places to
- Obvious Augmentations (-2 cp, see notes)
- This disadvantage is only available for those with
augmentations. The character either has some very crude first
generation cyberware systems, like cyborg eye and cables
between upper body muscles (usually known as Mecha),
or as second generation augmented person, have strange colored
eyes, hair or skin color. Althought any of these do not
confer any penalties to normal action, it is very obvious
(extra work must be done to hide them) and thus can cause lots
of problems, especially if the character tries to disguise
himself or hide into crowds.
- Superior Items (0.5 cp)
- The character has a very expensive and/or illegal
item or items worth less than 10000e (or one quite expensive vehicle).
No optional things can be taken unless approved by the GM. These
usually require some special campaign or setting, they are not
appropriate for normal game.
These optional characteristics are mainly for very
- Ammo Hog (-2 cp)
This one is only for Hong Kong style cinematic campaigns,
where no one has to change clips very often - maybe every now and
then, but nonetheless far less often than in the ordinary world. This
disadvantage forces the character to change clips almost as usually as in the
ordinary world, and becomes often very irritating!
- Classic Villain (-2 cp, NPCs only)
This is a classic supervillain disadvantage: when he has
caught the player characters, he simply must tell his clever plans to
them, and then leave them to a certain death they miraculously escape.
- Lucky (lucky 1 cp, very lucky 3 cp)
This is a bit similar advantage like the pro skill is:
The character can 'find' missing stuff ('ah, luckily I took this
with me') but the GM should not warn about stupid tactical decisions;
instead, the character has an amazing knack to survive from such
These disadvantages have nothing to do with the actual
characters. Instead, they are ways to earn more points by agreeing
to do something that enriches the campaign.
- Campaign Log (-2 cp)
- The player keeps a log of events in the campaign, and writes it to
some place agreed with the GM.
- Character Diary (-2 cp)
- The player keeps some kind of diary of actions of his character and
events around him. It is like a campaign log, but
personalized and subjective. Should be placed to a
place where it is readable by anyone.
Syndicate V: The
Corporate Future (c) Kalle Marjola 2001-2002. See generic