For those not following our saga at home, Geodesic Gnomes is a free near-future RPG where the players take on the roles of the genetic rejects living in the walls of humanity’s great domed cities. The game mechanics are simple (roll 2d8 and try to roll under the appropriate stat, with bonuses for talents & equipment). You can download the game for free right here, along with a character sheet and an adventure.
The game appeals to me in a large part because of my love for rogue-ish characters and cyberpunk-styled settings. But that’s enough pimping of Geodesic Gnomes for this week (until the judging period for the 24 hour RPG contest comes up, at which point I’ll be back with more pimping to be sure) – let’s get on to my favourite part of any RPG, character creation.
We’ll be making a Gnome for the default setting of Dome City, USA (actually known as Gary Indiana, but since it was the first domed city in North America, it is known almost worldwide as Dome City). Characters in Geodesic Gnomes are defined by their six “T-Stats” – Tunnels, Tribe, Tools, Timing, Toughness and Tallness.
To determine a character’s starting stats, we find out what generational cohort he is from. Those gnomes who have been in the walls of the geodesic domes for multiple generations have evolved / devolved to be smaller, more cunning and more tribal-oriented than recent immigrants into the walls. A roll of 8 on 2d6 makes our Gnome a 3rd to 5th generational gnome. In reality he could be of a higher or lower generation, but have suffered more or less damage to his genes from his predecessor’s lives in the walls, but we’ll stick with a 5th generation gnome, so his great-great-great grandparents include the most recent non-dome dweller genetics in his family stock. This establishes that he is very Tribe oriented, although small and not very tough.
Gallen then gets 4 rolls on the Talents table to determine what he’s got that sets him apart from other gnomes. The first roll gives us 2 rolls on the chart, bringing us up to 5 starting talents. Two of his talents are Big and Skilled (which increase Tallness and Tools respectively) which don’t go on his character sheet since their effects just modify his starting stats. Gallen (our gnome) has quite the knack with tools – he’s got a Tools stat higher than most, and is also good at maintaining and acquiring hardware.
And speaking of Hardware, that’s our next step. Gallen starts with 1 piece of major hardware (that provides the same benefits as a talent, basically), and three pieces of minor junk (that also provide the same benefits as a talent, but only once). To make him a total Tool machine, his major hardware is a Repair Kit that provides the same bonus as his Frugal talent. His minor junk will be a throwing knife (allows him to use Tools in combat at range, once), a pipewrench club (allows him to use Tools in melee combat), and a frayed length of rope (+2 tunnels climbing and in ductwork, once).
Now it’s time to find out why he just got a note hand-delivered from Geordie, a gnome scavenger over in the South Dome…
Dome: Dome City, USA
Frugal: +2 Tools to maintain hardware
Connections: +2 Tribe looking for goods & information
Scrounger: +2 Tools to acquire Major Hardware
Repair Kit (+2 Tools to maintain hardware)
Frayed Rope (+2 Tunnels climbing and in ductwork)
Seized Pipewrench (Allows Tools to be used in combat)
Throwing Knife (Allows Tools to be used in ranged combat)