The starting cast of premade RPG characters have finally been decided on. These characters are split across different mechanical roles to form a balanced party.

Time to Pick the Cast

After taking a detour into abilities, technology, and the RPG races, the brainstorm for the starting cast of characters has had almost two weeks to be thought about. Two weeks has been enough time to work through each idea and decide which ones are the best. There are other good, unchosen ideas in the brainstorm, which will be revisited at a later point. These five winners represent a solid starting point into the franchise.

RPG Race Breakdown

The overall goal for One Shot RPG is to have a diverse cast of characters, and this includes having diversity in alien species. However, the starting cast will be playable in the initial RPG one shot, and they’ll act as a customer’s first introduction to the franchise. In order to not overwhelm new customers, and to keep the series rooted in reality–which widens the audience—most of the starting premade characters should be human. I’ve already made the decision that there’ll be no reforged starters, and now I’ve made the decision that only one of the characters can be non-human.

Balanced Party

There are two types of damage roles in the sci-fi one shots, direct and indirect. Direct damage comes from physical impacts, such as swinging a blade. Indirect damage comes from a secondary effect, such as venoms. There are also two combat distances to consider, melee and ranged. When picking the starting cast, I have to split the party between the types of damage and ranges.

The Initial Cast

Cyborg Bodybuilder

  • Direct melee
  • Human cyborg female

A competition bodybuilder who was so obsessed with achieving the perfect body that she replaced most of hers with machines; a decision which disqualified her from ever competing again. When she didn’t find enlightenment with her transformation, she set out to find a new purpose. She heard one of her competition rivals went missing under mysterious circumstances, and her investigation led her to discover the scummed. She attacks in melee ranged by swinging a large, heavy weapon.

Venomous Bird Chimera

  • Indirect melee
  • Chimera female

A bird-headed chimera who applies venoms on her fierce claws. Years ago she lost her entire village in a civil war, leaving her alone in the world. She’s channeled her grief and anger into finding and taking down the strongest prey she can find. During her pursuit she heard a rumor about a community being terrorized by a monster with unexplainable powers. With her sights set on taking down this new type of prey, she’s stumbled into the world of a scum fighter.

Fallen Captain

  • Direct ranged
  • Human female

The military captain was well respected, well connected, and served as a role model. She cared about her soldiers, and vowed to keep them safe. She and her crew were performing a routine search and rescue operation when something unidentifiable appeared on the scanners. The captain gave the order to investigate the anomaly, which turned out to be a cosmic horror from the first wave. Her ship was attacked and she lost most of her soldiers. Wracked with guilt and grief she started to relentlessly investigate the new cosmic horror threat, which led her to scum. The military did not agree with her quest for knowledge so she was honorably discharged. She was betrayed by her own institution. She fights using a rifle similar to the standard issue military ones.

Flamethrower Arm

  • Indirect ranged
  • Human male

The flamethrower discovered the scummed firsthand, as victim of one’s twisted worldview. He managed to escape its clutches, but lost his arm in the process. He’s tight-lipped about the circumstances of how he managed to escape, but his knowledge of the cure suggests that he performed it. He replaced his lost arm with a flamethrower, the fire represents cleansing the world of scum.

Corporate R&D

  • Direct mixed melee / ranged
  • Human male

The corporate R&D character is employed by the corporation that owns the most popular body modification procedures and runs the healthcare system. His job is to develop new products and operations for the company. His research led him to rumors of scum. He’s become a scum fighter, not to protect, but to research the substance and the abilities it bestows with its corruption. After all, a procedure that grants people superpowers would make a killing on the market. He attacks from both melee and ranged with a short blade and a small handgun.

Character Prompts

What’s written above for each character is a starting point, and somewhat placeholder. The next step is to write a character prompt, a document that outlines everything about the person. This includes their background, their personality, what makes them unique, and what makes them visually stand out. Writing a prompt serves two purposes: it acts as a creative brief for artists, and it acts as the basis for the character going forward. Character artists should be able to read the prompt and create a design that fits the character. When media is created for the franchise, whether it’s a horror one shot, short story, or comic, the writer can refer to the character prompt to make sure the character’s personality and motivations match what was outlined.