Chapter Three : Character Creation

"She's really a very sweet girl. It's just that she's a violent maniac."
- Tendo Kasumi, speaking of Akane

This chapter will detail the method of creating a character. To demonstrate the system I will actually create a character at each step and show how it is done. This system creates a basic level martial artist. To reach the level of proficiency possessed by most Ranma 1/2 characters from the anime and manga the role- playing character will need to earn a pretty good amount of experience. In many situations a beginning player is likely to feel inadequate compared to the Ranma 1/2 cast. Thus, they shouldn't interact with the Ranma 1/2 cast unless the Storyteller can juggle the balance. If a Storyteller wants to have players begin at a higher level than that presented here they can simply boost up the number of freebie points until it is adequate for their needs. Useful ideas might also be gained by reading the Character Creation chapter in the Street Fighter book.

Non - Combatants

A non-combatant is defined as someone who is unable to purchase special maneuvers. Thus a non-combatant may use combat as far as techniques and basic maneuvers will allow them. Those that study some martial art will usually have a skill in the appropriate form such as Karate or Judo.

Remember, not all characters have to be marital artists. Though the mainstay of Ranma 1/2 has been martial artists a few rare characters such as Nabiki have always managed to stay apace with and even ahead of their violent counter parts. Though Nabiki has always been more peripheral to the main plot your character doesn't have to be. The only requisite characteristic of any character is that you enjoy playing them.

Regardless of whether your character knows any combat skills the following rules apply to non-combatants : starting willpower is 7, chi 0, and since you have no starting technique or power points you start the game with 40 freebie points instead of 15. You can never buy special maneuvers or chi but you may buy techniques normally and learn basic martial arts forms. The vast majority of characters will undoubtly be combatants however so that is what is covered in the next section in detail.

Creating A Character

Step 1) Concept

The concept for a character can be anything about a character that catches your attention. I knew I wanted a martial artist but had no other preferences. I decided that I wanted him to be a Rhythmic Gymnastics artist and then everything else fell into place. He is from Tokyo, from the ward of Tomobiki, and is a counterpart to Kuno Kodachi. He is from the St. Angela-Puta School for Boys and wants a chance to match himself against Kodachi. Secretly he loves both her (who he has watched in matches) and Tendo Nabiki (who defeated him in an economics debate contest). I have somewhere to start.

Step 2) Name

Deciding upon a good Japanese name can be difficult. Eventually I decide on Sakakibara Tomoki. If I remember correctly the kanji for Sakakibara roughly translates as "grove of sacred trees." Tomoki was the name of a room mate from years past. Remember that in Japan the family name is given first and the personal name is given secondly. To my knowledge they do not have a "middle name." In some translations the names are altered to western forms but I prefer to use the native form since the game is taking place in Japan.

Step 3) Martial Arts Style

I already decided that it would be Rhythmic Gymnastics.

Step 4) Assigning Attribute Scores

Since he's a martial artist choosing the primary attribute, Physical, is easy. However, since he is an economics student and is on the debate team choosing between Social and Mental is difficult. Ultimately I decide that he has a lot of raw intelligence but tends to be awkward in social situations unless they are very formal which are a lot easier because etiquette dictates what is and isn't acceptable there. Thus, Mental becomes secondary and Social tertiary with a mental note to myself to buy a skill in etiquette later. The higher number of points available for attributes is due to the three new attributes and that unlike Street Fighter characters do not automatically receive one free point in each attribute. See chapter 4 for more information on this.

I assign the attributes these scores :

-- Physical, Primary (13 points)
Strength 2
Stamina 4
Agility 4
Quickness 3
The decision on this division is based on the idea that the strength of any given attack isn't too important so long as Tomoki can hit his opponent repeatedly, avoid damage and wear his enemy down.

-- Mental, Secondary (11 points)
Perception 3
Wits 1
Instincts 3
Intelligence 4
I decided to divide points fairly evenly, deciding that Tomoki was a fairly robust person mentally except for Wits, an area in which he lacks. He is smart but isn't very good at thinking on his feet.

-- Social, Tertiary (9 points)
Appearance 2
Communication 1
Charisma 3
Manipulation 3
One of Tomoki's curses (figuratively speaking) is his inability to communicate with people. He has a lot of raw skill in influencing people but he doesn't seem to understand how to relate on a personal level with others. Despite being a martial artist he has a low appearance as his emphasis on flexibility has kept him more lean than robust.

Step 5) Abilities

As per the Street Fighter rules you must prioritize your abilities and assign them values using the 9 / 7 / 4 split.

It doesn't take me long to decide that Skills will be his primary, knowledge secondary (uncommon for martial artists) and talents his tertiary. I have no precise reason for these decision other than they seem right for the character.

I chose the following :

Skills    : Swimming    1
            Etiquette   2
            Meditation  2
            Acrobatics  3
            Cooking     1

Knowledge : Style Lore  2
            Economics   2
            French      1
            Mathematics 1
            Chinese     1

Talents   : Alertness   1
            Balance     2
            Jumping     1

Step 6) Choose Techniques - 8 points

Since Tomoki is a rhythmic gymnast I decide that the armed martial arts as well as athletics and focus are all good purchase items. Quickly I decide to give him Thrust 3 for strong damage maneuvers; Athletics 2, Slash 1 for variety and Entangle 2 to allow use of some of the good strategy maneuvers.

Step 7) Record Willpower and Chi

Beginning Willpower and Chi are based upon a person's martial arts style unless you are a non-combatant. In that case you begin seven Willpower and no Chi. Tomoki is a martial artist so I look in the martial arts chapter under Rhythmic Gymnastics and find that his beginning Willpower is 4 and beginning Chi 3.

Step 8) Choose Special Maneuvers - 7 points

This can be tricky with the few techniques you presently have. Once players get used to the character creation system many choose to begin spending their freebie points on extra techniques they want before choosing Special Maneuvers as it will allow them to fulfill the prerequisites for maneuvers they especially want.

I turn to Chapter Eight to look at the maneuvers and begin purchasing (I'm not messing with freebie points just yet). I finally settle on the following :

Hoop Sweep (1)
Sucker Strike (1)
Strike of Twenty Clubs (3)
Drunken Monkey Roll (2)

Unfortunately the Maneuvers selection is still fairly meek. Hopefully that will be corrected in future additions. Players should be encouraged to create their own.

Step 9) Choose Backgrounds - 5 points

For backgrounds I decide to spend three points on Resources since Tomoki is a hard worker and has saved up a lot of money from part time jobs. Additionally he has invested in a limited stock portfolio. In addition, I spend two points on Contacts. He has to keep tabs on Nabiki and Kodachi after all.

Step 10) Freebie Points - 15

Various useful information on spending Freebie Points and other miscellaneous character creation information is on pages 38 - 39 of the Street Fighter book. I first spend five points on one level in the Throwing Technique which leaves me with ten. I then decide to boost by Chi up by three points and my willpower by two, thus taking another five points and leaving me with five. I spend this on one more level of health and two levels in a Sensei background, deciding that Tomoki's high school coach is an accomplished martial artist as well.

This example only covers use of the basic traits of course. If you are using the advanced traits option step ten becomes a bit more complicated but also more fun. For example :

I spend five points on three Chi and two Willpower. Five more points goes into a throwing technique. Then I decide to get a few points by taking a one point Meddling Sire flaw (a mother who constantly wants to know what he doing and hurry him up to get her grandchildren) and a one point Reputation flaw (people think he's gay which complicates his life). Now I have seven points. Four points buy me two levels of a Chivalry passion, which is perfect for his mentality. With three points left I grab a Code of Honor merit (1 pt) and Calm Heart merit (2 pt).

Beyond Step 10

So far I've assigned numerous values to traits and briefly mentioned appearance, personality and background. Beyond step ten you want to go into more detail about appearance, what his normal day is like, what he thinks of various people, or anything else that fleshes him out as a real character and takes him beyond a bunch of numbers on a page.