April 10, 2012

[Rule Test] [Necessary Evil] Character Creation

Last week we created the (pulp) superhero Jonathan Neutron, amazing explorer, with the Wild Talents Core Book and the result was really good if you are willing to endure the pain the core book will inflicts you the first time you'll use it.
Now it's time to test another game with the same character: Necessary Evil.
You can find the Wild Talent's Jonathan Neutron HERE and the starting premises HERE

Necessary Evil is powered by a Savage World Engine and the basic premise is that you play supervillains trying to reclaim Earth from an evil alien race.

As usual the character creation process is fractioned in steps, 7 in this case.

STEP 0: The base mechanic
All Attributes (read Stats) and skills assume, instead of a static value, a die type (es. d10). When you want to do a check, you roll the appropriate die and hope to do 4 or more to succeed. Implicitly as the die top value increase so does the chance of success.

STEP 1: Villain Concept
Fist up you have to came up with a concept for you villain answering to three questions:
How did your character get his powers? Easy, recovering ancient artifacts all around the world.
What sort of powers does your villain have? Jet boots, force field belt and an energy rifle as a starter kit.
Why did your character become a villain? I think Jonathan is not really a full fledged villain but more an adventurer not really caring for good or evil as long he can still explore ancient ruins discovering the hidden history of the world.

Comments: I like games that start from making you build a concept, especially if that concept is just a draft that can, and must, detailed. Starting impromptu with points distribution can lead to confusion but, on the other side, a too well defined concept can lead to utter disappointment.

STEP 2: Race
I can choose between three races: Human, Atlantean and Hybrid, but i think I will stick to the Human.
Race: Human (gain a free Edge)
Comment: I was hoping in more different races like cyborgs, aliens, robots, undead and so on, but the game makes you build races customizing powers. It's not fancy, but it's sure it will work.

STEP 3: Traits (Attributes & Skills)
Attributes are Agility, Smarts (intelligence and knowledge), Spirit (wisdom & willpower), Strength and Vigor and they start at d4 (no values but types of die, remember?) I can now spend 5 points raising up stats. Considered that d6 is the human average, I will go with a d6 everywhere.
Agility d6
Smarts d6
Spirit d6
Strength d6
Vigor d6
Skills are a little more edgy, considered that I have 15 points to spend in them.
Every point die type increase costs me 1 point, so if I want Stealth at d6 value, I have to spend 2 points, one from 0 to d4, the other from d4 to d6. The cost raises to 2 points if I want to surpass with a skill the attribute related to the skill. In the example above Stealth is linked to agility so if I want to go past d6, I have to spend 2 points for every step. I'll start making a list of interesting skill, then I will distribute the points. Climbing (St), Driving (A) Fighting (A), Guts (Sp), Investigation (Sm), Knowledge (Sm), Notice (Sm), Piloting (A), Repair (Sm), Shooting (A), Survival (Sm), Swimming (A), Tracking (Sm) all seems appropriate. Wow, that's a big list of 13 skills! Lets drop Tracking, Repair and Notice for now and distribute the 15 points among the remaining 10 skills. Five of them will be at d4, the other 5 at d6. At this point I don't know yet if my shooting skill will be used to shoot my energy rifle, so d6 is due.
Climbing (St) d4
Driving (A) d6
Fighting (A) d4
Guts (Sp) d6
Investigation (Sm) d4
Knowledge (Hidden History of the world) (Sm) d6
Piloting (A) d4
Shooting (A) d6
Survival (Sm) d6
Swimming (A) d4
Comments: Skills description are in the Savage World core book, so you must have both books with you while making characters. You can raise skills but you don't know yet if you'll have higher attributes in the end o if you'll be able to spend more points in Traits. That's confusing.

STEP 4: Hindrances & Edges
Now it's time to choose hindrances that will grant me more points that I can spend in Superpowers and such. I can add to Jonathan up to 2 minor hindrances and up to 1 Major Hindrance (+1 more Major hindrance that I can only spend if I want to to get 5 more Power Points). First of all I can use my free Edge ('cause I'm human) and get Arcane Background (Superpowers) and then consider further hindrances.
Arcane Background (Superpowers) + 10 Power Points
Now I scoop the Savage world core book highlighting the hindrances that are plausible for my character. the first one that comes to mind to me is a peculiar form of addiction. Jonathan Neutron is a Thrillseeker, a daredevil, maybe for the kick he gets from this kind of situations. So here I get
Habit: Thrillseeker (Major)
if my life does not get dangerous very often I'll get very sick and/or really depressed.
the other logical hindrance that my hero/villain is made to have is
Curious (Major)
I cannot picture him turning his back from a mystery.
The first minor hindrance that I can consider is logically derived from my old age. I'm a man out of his time, listening the wrong kind of music, liking the wrong kind of things, trying to live as a gentleman in the future. So...
Outsider (Minor)
Last but not least my gentleman adventurer is also a pacifist and will not kill if he can avoid it.
Pacifist (Minor)
With this I've topped my allowed hindrances. considered that I've chosen 2 Major hindrances, I'm forced to use one of them to get the "super Karma" bonus for my Arcane Background
Arcane Background (Superpowers) with Super Karma +15 Power Points
The other hindrances grant me 4 points that I can use to buy edges, money, attribute dice or skill dice.
I will start with powers, 'cause I've already a good idea of what I want.
First power: Flight. flight is a simple power that can cost from 2 to 15 points. Flying at the same seed of myself walking is a 1 point power (there is a discount for being in a device). Double that is a 3 PP Power and it's fine with me. Note that for 1 point more i could have doubled that value again. let's see if I'll have a point left at the end to do that.
Flight (device) 3PP
The second power I'm needing is the force field belt. The powers are really wide in scope so I'll go with the Armor power. The armor power is easy but can be tweaked a little.
Armor (6)
Requires Activation (-1)
Device (-1)
The armor is purchased at max value with the device discount and the fact that I need to activate the belt to be protected. The Device discount is always the last thing to be calculated because depends from the total point cost of the power. from a mathematical point of view not taking the "Requires Activation" modifier would have left unmodified the total cost of the armor power.
Armor (device, requires activation) 4PP
The last core power is the Energy Rifle that starts from the Attack, ranged power
Attack, ranged (3)
Extra damage +1d6 (3)
Armor piercing (2)
Device (-2)
The result is a little rough but acceptable.
Attack, ranged (extra damage +1d6, armor piercing 4, device) 6PP
Last power that I want is Ageless. This is not embedded in a device and so no modifiers for me.
Ageless 1PP
At this point I've spent 14 of my 15 points. Time to use the remaining point to buy skills.
Super skill 1PP
I've decided not to increase attributes anymore. It's really expensive and not so rewarding for the character I have in mind.
Skills on the contrary are really something I need to invest in.
Super skill: Shooting d6->d10 1PP
Now I have still to spend 4 points gained with hindrances. I will buy the Rich edge, just for flavor sake, but I'll use the remaining 2 points to increase my
Vigor d6 -> d8.
Comments: Powers are nice. Tweaking them is easy and satisfying, even if you cannot build them in a really detailed way. The real issue is that in Necessary evil you are supposed to create a minor villain, and the lack of points can be a little frustrating. Consider that you can build Pyro, not Wolverine.

STEP 5: Gear
Due to my Rich edge, I have at my disposal a 3.000$ to buy equipment. With 40$ I've brought some clothing and a cellphone and don't need anything more than that. For my personal safety I could buy a .50 pistol ad a Flack Jacket (530$ total)

Necessary Evil Explorer's Edition
Necessary Evil Explorer's Edition
STEP 6: Secondary statistics
Time to calculate some fixed values.
Charisma +0 (fixed)
Pace 6" (fixed)
Parry 4 (2+half my fighting)
Toughness 6 (2+half my Vigor)
Comments: Necessary Evil is a nice game, mostly 'cause makes you play the supervillain. The rule set is solid and fun to play, but you have to be prepared to impersonate a villain like Electro, not Loki. The biggest flaw is that the character creation process is not easily scalable and just raising the starting points won't do the trick. Powers are fast to assemble and versatile enough to make you simulate everything but you have to cope with powers similar to the desired effect. Building, for example, a force field tied to a specific situation or that activates only in a certain condition is not possible.


  1. According to the setting rules pg 20 NE players start with the arcane background "Super Powers" free. Also you are supposed to be able to by a power point edge for more power points once per level starting at first

    1. Just clarifying. 'Power Points' can be bought once per rank. Like novice, seasoned, etc.

  2. Taking that extra Major Hindrance gives you an extra 2 freebie points, for a total of 6.