Syndicate Characters


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 the character.

Character Points

In normal cases, characters in RIP are made with character points (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:

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 cp limit.

Free Stuff

As base, character has following things for free:

Depending on the campaign, these free things can be modified.


Attributes are character born or somehow enhanced physical and mental attributes.

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..

Standard Attributes

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 augmentations.

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 extraordinary.

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.

Special Attributes

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 all apply.
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 rejections etc.

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

Skill levels in RIP are very broad. They are used to easily distinguish the level of expertise.
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.
Effect of attributes: 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 him.

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.

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 combat skill.

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

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).

Free Skills

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 languages.

Background Options

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 cp!

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:

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 bad thing.

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 buy stuff.

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).

Optional Things

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.

Special Attributes

These optional characteristics are mainly for very cinematic campaigns.
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 situations.


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 rpr game license