3 Syndicate Characters

This chapter describes how various attributes, skills and quirks of the player and non-player characters are expressed and determined in Syndicate, and how they are created.

3.1 Character Creation

Characters in Syndicate are made with Character Points (CPs). A standard player character is made of 20 CPs, but the GM is free to modify this. Because these creation rules are not very strict, the GM is encouraged to always check out characters before accepting them. Note that an average person is worth something like 5 CPs, so this expresses quite clearly how special and professional player characters are.

CPs are used to 'buy' better attributes, skills and equipment. If CPs run out (they always do), characters can gain more points by lowering basic attributes below normal level or by taking various disadvantages. Prices for each attribute, skill and other characteristics are given in an appropriate place. They are also listed in appendix A.

Characteristics are divided into 4 parts:

Note: There may be some loopholes in character creation system. Players are not encouraged to use these, for the reach of the gamemaster is long and merciless.

3.1.1 Free Characteristics

As noted above, the standard Syndicate player character is made with 20 CPs (character points). In addition to that each character has, for free, the following things:

3.1.2 Character Creation Steps

When creating a character for Syndicate, you can follow these steps:

1. Describe your character in general terms
2. Determine suitable attributes for him or her
3. Find or invent suitable skills for his or her education
4. Balance and fix everything out

Of course, the character's personal history is important, but how superficially or deeply they are described depends on the player and the requirements of the campaign.

Character creation example available

3.2 Attributes

Attributes represent each character's physical and mental characteristics, which are not learned (in the same way skills are) nor gained like the equipment or social contacts.

3.2.1 Basic Attributes

Basic attributes are used to represent the characters' various physical and mental abilities, which all individuals have.

All attributes are assumed to have the level equal to common people, unless some special characteristic advantages or disadvantages are taken. So, some characters can have good endurance or poor agility. Such attributes are usually clearly superior (or inferior) to common people and should be treated as such. Modified attributes should be expressed as good (+1) or by other similar methods, in order to make some kind of numeric comparison possible.

Attributes are usually classified into the following areas. If needed, new attributes can be invented, but they should not cover 'wider' areas than these.

Some guidelines for attribute levels: Note that there is no such basic attribute as intelligence. Use Mental Problem like 'dumb' to cover any bad problems with wits.

Basic attribute subclasses: If desired, a character can be extraordinary only in an attribute subclass. Such subclasses are, for example, sight (awareness subclass) and balance (agility subclass). Subclasses cost only half the attribute level CPs.

3.2.2 Miscellaneous Attributes

These attributes cover all special physical and mental quirks of the character, which cannot be expressed with basic attributes. They are mainly used to increase the number of CPs available for other characteristics.

3.3 Skills

Unlike attributes, skills are abilities that the character has learned through his studies, hobbies or career.

The skill levels in Syndicate are very simplified and general, and the skills normally indicate very comprehensive learning. The skill levels are explained in numbers or terms.

All characters must have skills worth at least 5 CPs. The number of their level one primary skills must be at least equal to the total of all higher level primary skills.

The skills in Syndicate are very general. Most frequently taken skills are explained below, but players are free to invent new skills as required. There is no point in trying to list all various science and physical skills.

All skills can be specialized, and it is required in some skills (marked as (spec) after the skill name). Specialization may be as focused as the player wants it to be, but the overall information is reduced while the specialization becomes more intense.

In most skills, if not specialized, the character must still specify the main fields in that skill he is concentrated at. For example, a character with Gun skill must specify types of guns he has training at. Using the skill with other kind of guns is not as effective, but possible. The actual limit of specifications in each skill is not limited by anything else than common sense.

3.3.1 Primary Skills

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 (see below)

Most frequently used skills are listed here, but as noted earlier, players are free to invent new ones needed by their characters.

3.3.2 Secondary Skills

Secondary skills are skills rarely used in Syndicate sessions, or are simply very narrow and thus not worth the same price as primary skills.

3.3.4 Free Skills

Characters can take, for free, any number of almost useless skills at suitable levels to enrich their past and education. Such skills include, but are not limited to the following: Ancient History, Artistry, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Cliff Climbing, Complex Mathematics, Cooking, Dancing, Physics, Rappelling, Scuba Diving, Swimming, Weight Lifting

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.

3.4 Background Options

Background options include all equipment, friends, contacts and other 'material' things the character has acquired in his past. Most of them are advantageous, and thus cost CPs, 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 CPs!

Standard equipment and stuff for the character include some equipment will less than $2000. He also has a nice, rented apartment (if appropriate) and $50-2000 of cash (most of it in electronic currency). Standard equipment can be, for example:

In addition, the character automatically has one free contact (see below) related to his former or current job.

For further background options, the character is (quite) free to select from the following list. Note that almost any advantage or disadvantage can be lost later on.

3.5 Cyber and Bioware

Cyberware is expensive, and not available to most people. If the character needs cyberware, he must pay a high price for it. To gain cyberware, CPs must be used for the right to take it. This CP cost reflects the unavailability and surgical costs of installing the cyberware. After that initial cost, most cyberware is available for given CP price. Note that some cyberware could be illegal in some countries and no entry to them is allowed while cyberware is still functional.

3.5.1 General rules of Cyberware in Syndicate

3.5.2 Bioware

Bioware is even more expensive, rare and experimental than cyberware. It has some major advantages over cyberware, like being more natural to body and not shown in metal detectors nor affected by EMP, but is very expensive and harder to fix if damaged very extensively. Minor damage is healed as with normal body, but quicker and more effective because of more effective body cells.

All modifications are given as cybernetic versions. Bioware versions are basically available from any modification or system, but cost double or +1 CPs (whicever is less). In addition, to have bioware, 2 CPs must be paid as an initial cost in addition to basic cyberware costs.

3.5.3 Cyber Modifications

Some Cyberware does not have very dramatic effects. For most of the time, cybermodifications (cybermods for short) in Syndicate are cyberware with little effect, and thus cost less than other systems. It costs 3 CPs to allow the character to have cyber modifications, in addition to the cost of the cyber system itself.

Head Systems

Cyber Eye Systems Cyber Ear Systems Bodyware

3.5.4 Cyber Systems

While cyber modifications are usually very small and cosmetic, cyber systems are most of the time very big modifications and completely alter the body of the character. It costs 5 CPs to have a possibility to have cyber systems. This cost includes access to cyber modifications.

General Notes about Cyber Limbs

Note that there are no bioware versions of most of the systems here. Body Parts Armor and Structure

3.5.5 Cyberware and Damage

Rules how different cyberware affects normal damage system.

Bioware is treated as normal human tissue, but repairs itself faster than normal cells. Halve all healing times.

3.6 Optional Character Options

Note: These skills, advantages and disadvantages are only available if approved by the Game Master! They are mostly heavily linked to played campaign or more specifically, atmosphere on it.

3.6.1 Optional Skills

3.6.2 Optional Attributes

These optional characteristics are mainly for very cinematic campaigns

3.6.3 Contributions

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. All these must be approved by the GM
Syndicate - The Dark Era (c) Kalle Marjola 1996. All rights reserved.