Random Character Generation in Walkabout

I currently have a working document on my computer entitled "Walkabout Revision 2019". It includes a revision on the seven core cultures that make ip the world, and is gradually filling out with adaptions from The Law, along with other ideas that I'd like to see in this latest version of the game. I'm hoping it diesn't end up like the 2014 and 2017 revisions of the game that still linger on a hard drive somewhere but never got released.

At the moment I'm working on a new character generation system combining a character's randomised parents, giving them some automatic elements based on these, then giving them a series of potential life path options to flesh the character out as they get older. Young characters might have less of these advantages, older characters find it harder to heal their wounds and fatigue, but they start with more advantages from their lived experience.

I'm still not completely sure how it's all going to work, but hopefully I…


For those who are interested, I've put together a formal sheet of my commission prices for illustration or cartography.

Here's the sheet.

As I post this up, I can see a couple of grammatical errors, so it might change again soon, but it's basically the same prices I've been quoting to people for the past few years.

15 Upgrades

I've looked at the starting characters in "The Law".

If we assume the baseline for a named character is:
One point in each attributeNo skills/abilitiesOne defence in each abilityNo edges, advantages, or equipment ...and we assume that each type of upgrade is roughly equal...

...then a starting "Agent of the Law" has 15 upgrades.
They start with a total of:
Eight points spread across the attributes (that counts as 4 upgrades)Seven skills/abilities (that's another 7)One defence in each ability (but they may have forfeited skills to gain extra defences, at a 1-to-1 ratio)Four pieces of equipment (which is the final 4, adding up to a total of 15) The baseline character is below average, the die rolling system generally means they are more of a liability to their allies than an advantage. The starting "Agent of the Law" character is slightly more likely to succeed on actions, and slightly less likely to cause additional sacrifices. This is a good thing, …

Focusing in on the lifepath

(Yes, I've changed the format of the blog... there might be a few more changes oved the next few days as it settles into a new style.)

Numerous times over the years, I've commented on how I love the lifepath system in Cyberpunk 2020, and how I love the career progression system in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying. Trying to get a good hybrid between the two of them has been a long term goal for 20 odd years. Sure, I've done plenty of other things too, but this has always sat in the back of my mind as something I'd like to reconcile.

No game system is completely balanced. Even carefully designed point-buy games can't be completely or perfectly balanced because they don't (and arguably can't) take into account the nuances of activity as the game interacts with players at the table. A balanced point system sees a social butterfly character having more narrative agency than a lethal swordsman if the game revolves around political intrigue, while in a combat game t…

What makes a Walkabout Character?

The SNAFU system asks players to roll 2 or more input dice, then allocate the bast two results between the outputs of "success" and "sacrifice". Higher rolls are always better (more successes gained, less sacrifices required). The base dice used by characters are based on their attribute most applicable to the situation, and the die representing the strength of their calling. Skills and natural aptitudes apply a flat bonus to a die result of choice before the output is determined; having multiple skills applicable to a specific situation doesn't give more of a bonus, it just gives variable ways of addressing the matter at hand. Specific equipment, situations, and advantages are where players gain extra dice beyond the basic two.

When upgrades are made to a character, a die may be increased in size (where dice are used widely across a range of tasks), an ability may be added (which is narrower in scope, but offers a higher bonus), a defence may be gained (which …

The Calling

One of the fundamental things that has become integrated into the way I see the Walkabout RPG is the idea of "The Calling". This has come from both my work with indigenous communities in the last few years, and my development of the alternate game "The Law".

But what is "The Calling"?

Let's give the easy description first...

In "The Law", characters are given a rating in their Rank. The Rank is symbolic of how competent they are and how others view their degree of competency. When players can quickly reference the source material that inspired the game (Judge Dredd, Robocop, Ghost in the Shell, etc.) They can see specific examples of characters at different levels of competence and gain an understanding of how their character fits into the scale. Rank is designed to be something that increases gradually, perhaps a single increase at the end of a multi-session story arc. The ultimate embodiment of the law in Megacity One is Judge Dredd, he co…

Plug and play

When you start playing a game that uses a point buy system, it's a bit like playing with a pile of Lego. There are numerous ways to put things together, and you can probably make a wide variety of things that work with the constructions of the GM or the other players, but there is far more opportunity to make something that just doesn't make sense in the GMs intended story, or just doesn't work with the constructions devised by the other players.

That's where the "session zero" comes in. Everyone gets on the same page, characters are developed from a mutually understood set of ground rules. A part of the session zero is the choice of game being played, so this post is assuming that choice has been made and all the players are on board. But more of what I'm thinking about at the moment is the development of a series of template fragments that might be linked to a specific story concept. To follow the Lego analogy that started the post, it's equivalent …