Step One: Basic Concept
Ever since reading the In Dark Alleys’ rulebook, I liked the idea of Outcasts, of people who can see things others just can’t. But I wanted to create a character that was different. Instead of just going insane from claiming to see and hear things that others can’t, I decided to give this character a different outlet – through art, allowing her to screech at the top of her lungs about the unseen evils of the world to an audience of malcontent and disturbed teens, eagerly eating up any dark vision of the world that is given to them.
This image somehow fits well with the image of an upper-class girl who’s parents regularly ignore, believing that their daughter is just crying out for attention – which she in fact is, but which doesn’t make the frightening images she sees any less real.
Step Two – Psychodynamics
Building on this basic concept, I decided that Debra should have a pretty strong Shadow (which she believes is the source of all the frightening things she sees) and a strong Stranger (which drives her to accept these visions). On the other hand, she should have an almost equally strong Super Ego (which represents her upbringing, which taught her to always be “proper” and lady-like). Being the disturbed young person she is, a slightly low Ego would suit her well, representing the fact that she has problems dealing with her conflicting impulses and feelings.
I’ll start off with assigning her SHAD 16, STRA 16, SEGO 15 and EGO 8, which will leave me with 25 points to assign to the four other psychodynamics. Following the upper class brat concept, I’d also like Debra to have a slightly higher than average Id, so I’ll assign her a score of ID 11.
I’ll distribute the remaining 14 points as equally as possible. A low Reptile score fits nicely with the upper-class brat that never had to care for herself concept. A low Animus can represent little empathy to men and a low Thanatos can represent a fear of death, both of which fit in nicely with the troubled childhood we’ve established for Debra. I’ll give her REPT 5, ANIM 5, and THAN 4, and record all of these values on her Character Sheet.
Step Three – Attributes
I’d like Debra to have a pretty high Awareness (contributing to her ability to notice the horror of the world around her) and Intelligence (to help her understand what she’s seeing). As a perform-artist, I’d like her to have a high Charm, and a moderately high Agility. I’ll start out by giving her AWR 16, INL 15 CHM 16 and AGY 13.
Since Willpower is a major part of most of the supernatural powers, I’ll give her a slightly elevated score of WIL 12, leaving me with 8 points to distribute among the other attributes. I’ll distribute them more-or-less equally, giving Debra scores of STH 2, END 3 and SPD 3.
Now, to round out her character, I’ll take some Sub-Attributes for her. I’ll start off with visioning Debra’s appearance. I see her as a petite girl, which still has a lot of childish features, even though she’s in her twenties. This physical build suggests the Poor Bulk, Poor Lung Capacity and Poor Sprinting negative Sub-Attributes for STH, END and SPD respectively. The Poor Temper Sub-Attribute for WIL fits nicely with her spoiled-brat concept. Being the lead singer of a goth-metal band, Good Seduction and Good with Outcasts seem to be appropriate Sub-Attributes for her CHM. Having selected four negative Sub-Attributes and only two positive ones, I’m left with two extra points, which I’ll use to increase her STH to 3 and her END to 4.
I don’t have any special preferences concerning Debra’s Health Attributes, so I’ll just distribute the 12 points evenly, giving her BLD 4, BDY 4 and INCY 4. I’ll record all of this information on her Character Sheet.
Step Four – Secret Life
As noted, Debra will be an Outcast. For her free supernatural skill, I’ll choose two levels of Visions, and document them on her Character Sheet, as well as the costs of any future supernatural costs I might like to buy for Debra.
I’ll also record her mandatory disadvantages at the right place on her Character Sheet. Since I want to take the Privileged Day Job, I’ll also buy one level of Act Normal, and record it under the Mundane Skills section on her Character Sheet. I’ll also remember that when I get to the skills section, I’ll only have 90 points at my disposal, since I’ve just spent 10 of them.
Step Fix – Day Job
As noted, the Privileged Day Job will fit perfectly with the spoiled brat concept I have in mind for Debra. I record her Skill Costs and Income, and also write it down as an advantage, so I don’t forget to pay it off with disadvantages later.
Step Six – Skills
To begin with, I’ll take a short deviation from the structured character creation process, and jump forward to the Advantages section, just to take the Private School advantage – not so much for the free skill levels, but since it fits Debra’s character concept perfectly. I’ll use the free skill levels gained from this advantage to flesh out Debra’s general knowledge, focusing on skills that she can use at her preferred occupation – a gothic singer/songwriter. Using these free levels, I’ll pick the following skills: History: Local (1), History: World (1), Religion (1), Mythology (1), Music – vocals (2), Performance (1), Seduction (1) and Fashion and Beauty (1). I’ll record these skills on her Character Sheet.
Now I need to spend the 90 points at my disposal. I’ll start off my making sure that Debra can really fit the irresistible gothic singer image I have in mind. First, I’ll buy an extra level of Music – vocals, which would cost 5 points, since it’s a Creative Skill. Next, I’ll buy two levels of Performance, Seduction and Fashion and Beauty, each. Since these are People Skills they cost 6 points each, for a total of 3=36 points. Together with the points spent of Music, I’m left with 90-36-5=49 points.
Next, I’d like to buy some more Supernatural Skills, so that Debra can have more scary things to sing about. I’d really like her to have See True Face (1), and since it requires three levels of Visions, I’ll also have to buy another level of that skill. A single level with Read Minds will wrap things up nicely. These skills cost me a sum of 40 points, leaving me with 49-40=9 points.
I’ll use 6 of those 9 points to buy Storytelling (1) to help Debra’s songs be more expressive, leaving me with 3 points I’ll set aside for future use. I’ll finish this step by recording all the relevant Mundane Skills and Supernatural Skills on Debra’s character sheet.
Step Seven – Equipment
This step should be fairly easy. Debra is still coming to grips with her powers and with the truth about the world around her, and doesn’t actively go looking for trouble. This is usually a pretty good idea, until trouble comes looking for her, in which case she’d probably be caught off guard.
Since Debra was born with a silver spoon (and, as noted, has a weekly income that exceeds $401), it’s safe to assume that she owns a car, an apartment, every conceivable appliance and several suits of cloths. The equipment I’ll purchase during this step (and document on her Character Sheet) should only represent the special equipment that isn’t usually owned by the average person of her social and economic stature.
Step Eight – Bonus Characteristics
Before I start assigning BPs, left recap – besides the mandatory disadvantages, I’ve already selected the advantages Privileged Day Job (8 BPs) and Private School (5 BPs), which brings me to a total of 13 BPs I’ll have to pay for with disadvantages. I’ll also take Physically Attractive: Minor for 2 BPs, and document it under Debra’s advantages. This will bring me to a total of 15 BPs.
Even though Debra projects a self-confident, sexy image, this is nothing but a thin fa鏰de that only barely hides her Self Hatred (-3), Loneliness (-2) and even Virginity (-1). The highly-emotional event that made her Outcast powers kick in most likely involved some sort of psychoactive drug use, making Drug Sensitivity (-2) a plausible reason why that event had such a profound effect on her. Smoking heavily since, as a socially acceptable way to calm her nerves would also fit Debra’s character. In game terms, this is translated to Addiction: Nicotine (-5). I record all of these decisions in the disadvantages section of her Character Sheet.
To finish things up, I’ll sell back the three extra skill points I had left over from Step Six, and trade them in for one attribute point, which I’ll use to buy an additional point of SPD.
Basically, I’m done. Now all I have to do is neatly record Debra’s history, personality, motivations, etc., and that’s it – here’s the final result.