Sunday, September 26, 2010

Traits Part I

I will be writing a series of articles about Traits, and how I thought about them.

In many systems, an Atlantean character is likely to have swimming, the ability to breathe underwater, maybe even super-strength.

And of course, they have spent a bunch of their points on these Traits, merely so they can mutter “And I’ll scour the world’s oceans.” Now… some folks may dig this kind of action, but I think most folks would rather avoid such a task, and would rather not spend points on something that is very rarely going to come up (Costner inspired campaign aside). In CC&VF, Atlantean would cover all these things, plus whatever else being Atlantean means in that particular world. Thus, in combat, a character can use Atlantean to attack, using the super-strength implied aspect of it, but... if there is a need to scour the world’s oceans, well, hot diggity dog!

I also thought of Superman, and his plethora of effects that might come into play once or twice an issue: x-ray vision, heat vision, cold breath, etc, etc. Kryptonian covers all these things, and the character can focus on what they want to focus on, having covered all those qualities with just one Trait.

As always, feel free to comment, criticize, question.

Next Up: Versatile Traits: or How I Imagined Iron Man and His Many Suits of Armor.


  1. I have to say, after having bought a few superhero games over the years, this one actually seems like it may truly capture the genre, rather than be an exercise in accounting and picking powers from a shopping list. I like the open ended nature of traits. From my understanding of the rules, the advantage from choosing more specific traits is that you can link them with other traits, or use them more often. So Spiderman could have Webshooters, which could do everything from swinging into battle, creating nets to trap foes or entangling a foe, and then take Bitten by radioactive Spider, to cover his enhanced reflexes, wallcrawling and strength. Possibly throw in Spidey sense, Grade A Science student, Witty Comeback, and Daily Bugle Photographer and he is pretty much done, and i didnt even need to work out how many metres he can swing! I am really looking forward to this game!
    Praise aside, are you going to be including a few sample heroes/villains and a setting with the rulebook, and if not, will those be in the pipeline?

  2. Yes, there will be several characters in the main book, annotated as well, to explain how and why they were created they were.

    For Spidey, my broad advice would be, making Traits too broad can also be limiting, due to usages. I'd give him Super-Strength and Super-Agility on their own likely, as a single Trait will get used up pretty darned quickly.

  3. Thanks- I think those sample characters will help a lot. I guess I shall have to be patient on all of this, but so far, it all sounds pretty cool. Having effectively no limit on traits is a lot easier than the normal 10001 powers list, and I really like the fact that it is narratively driven.

  4. I can see how the trait system is going to be really useful in getting a good grasp of characters, yet allow alot of freedom in their use. This is what has captured my imagination the most about this game. I'm already imagining how to use it in my own gaming groups, and I think they are going to really enjoy it,

  5. Character creation is much more cerebral process, as opposed to a mathematical one.
    Think of the Traits you want, narrow it down, expand it, and start assigning numbers.

  6. So, how soon are there going to be more columns on how to best design Traits, so as to make the character as well-rounded as possible?

  7. The character will be what you make it, kind of an aloof professorial answer, only through actual play can you get a feel for what works and doesn't work in your character build.
    The core book will include several characters with notes and annotations about how they were built and why.
    However, with that said, I'm not totally adverse to statting up a character or two right here, based on submissions.