Monday, March 6, 2017

The RPG Character Library: Lords of Creation

Lords of Creation is a role-playing game that I purchased thanks to something that combined an idle whim and bit of the butterfly effect. To wit: I was looking up funny gaming stories on the internet and found a whole bunch written by a gentleman, whose name escapes me, but who is quite an excellent writer. The games he described were singularly awful occurrences--involving an adventure in which the players were supposed to help Hitler, truly psychotic fellow players, and a basement covered in toxic mold--so bad and distasteful that I really, really hope he was making them up.

Anyway, he mentioned in these stories that he played Lords of Creation quite a bit (in fact, many of the gaming stories centered around LoC games). I had never heard of this game, but it sounded interesting. And so, I proceeded to buy the entirety of the game line from a seller on Ebay (it includes a box set for the rules, as well as three boxed sets for each of the game modules, including: The Horn of Roland, The Yeti Sanction, and Omegakron).

I read it and really liked what I found. The game is somewhat universal, very flexible, and has a lot of interesting ideas and mechanics sprinkled throughout. It is laid out somewhat poorly, but that has more to do with the technological limitations of the time than it does with any failure on the part of the game designer. 

The premise is simple: You are a normal person from late-20th century Earth. You go on adventures, as is typical, gaining experience and treasure and all that fun stuff. Over time, you begin to discover that you have strange powers--powers that allow you to travel to different times and dimensions. You will eventually master these powers, ascending to semi-demi-godhood as a Lord of Creation (title drop!), able to build worlds and shape reality to your whim!


As is typical with my play-style, I went in without a character concept and just started rolling. The game has five stats, each of which are rolled on 2d10. The higher your stats, the bigger your modifiers to your secondary stats. Most secondary stats start out at 1 or 2, but could conceivably get a lot bigger once your stats go up as you ascend to godhood. The only one that's slightly different is Luck Roll, which is the modifier + a 1d6 roll.

My Physical Score is the average of my three physical stats, and is my base chance to hit in combat (1d20 roll, roll under).  

My Physical Force appears to be the most important of my stats, as it determines when I get special powers, how far I can drop to negative Life Points without dying, and how many skill ranks I start with. It's the total of my stats, divided by ten, round up.

I get to roll 1d100x10 for my starting cash, which is, I think, the most I've been allowed to roll for cash thus far (and it's still not enough!). The equipment tables, I soon discovered, are divided in to three time periods: Modern, in which all prices are listed in dollars; Futuristic, in which all prices are listed in credits; and Antique, in which all prices are listed in silver centums (a coin, not a multivitamin). To make things easy, the game says that all money is equal (so $50 = 50 c = 50SC). As most of the futuristic gear costs many thousands of credits, that doesn't help me much. Still, good to know.

My Life Points are a total of my Stamina + 1d10 per level. Since I'm first level, I get one die roll. And I rolled really well! How about that!

As a first level Lords of Creation character, I get the title of Neophyte. I don't have the option to get powers yet (that happens at second level) and above, but I do get an ability called Dimensional Sight. This ability allows me to see other-dimensional creatures that are otherwise invisible, such as ghosts and certain monsters. So, even though I am effectively a normal person, I can already see and do some weird things.

On to skills! This is my favorite part of the rules system and something I may steal for one of my own games in the future (sorry, Mr. Moldvay!). There are 20 or so skill professions, each of which have five skill ranks. Some ranks are marked with a *, which means that I can't take them to start. As most of those skills are listed as futuristic or magical, this is another way that the game forces players to start as a normie, unaware of the vast weirdness of the cosmos. All skill ranks cost 1 point, but I have to buy them in order. I can o

For example, the Detective Profession looks like this:
  1. Police Connections
  2. Basic Criminology
  3. Wiretapping
  4. Advanced Criminology
  5. Futuristic/Magical*
In most cases, if I have a skill, I can use it and it works automatically. "I talk to my Police Connections!" "Great, you sure do!" In the event that I'm using a skill in an unorthodox way, or I'm using it in difficult circumstances, the GM will have me roll. In familiar circumstances, my percentage chance to succeed is 20% x my top rank in my profession (so, if I was Detective -- 4, I'd have an 80% chance to succeed). In very weird circumstances, it's 10% x top rank (same example, 40%).

Combat skills are the only skills that work differently. You have to buy combat skills in specific weapons and they range from 1-5. I could have Sword -- 2, or Ray Gun --3, or similar. This adds to my base chance to hit (determined by my Physical Score).

At this point, I had looked at all the professions and decided that I would make a character who was as unlike me as possible. Thus was born Jeff Barton, Handsome Male Secretary! I spread my six stats out between Bureaucracy, Computer, Espionage, and Pilot (Jeff Barton, HMS, has some interesting skeletons in his closet, for sure!) and was just about ready to go.

Then I decided to buy some gear, just so I could show you how weapons and armor work. I decided that, unlike me, Jeff Barton is interested in medieval fighting styles, so I spent a good chunk of his money on a sword and a steel cuirass. As mentioned above, my weapon skill (IF I HAD ONE!!!) would improve my chances to hit. As you'd expect, my armor reduces my opponent's chance to hit me, giving them a -4 to their base chance.

And thus a mild-mannered, but very handsome, secretary is ready to take his first steps into a larger, weirder world.

Jeff Barton, Handsome Male Secretary
Level 1 Neophyte

Close Com Dmg
Initiative Bonus
Power Mod
Luck Roll

Life Points: 23
Personal Force: 6
Physical Score: 12
Base Move: 60’/turn 


Dimensional Sight

Skill Professions
Bureaucracy – 3
1.      Record Keeping
2.      Record Tracking
3.      Bribery

Computer – 1
1.      Computer Operation

Espionage – 1
1.      Government Connections

Pilot – 1
1.      Land Vehicle

Steel Cuirass (Armor Protection -4), Sword (Regular Weapon; Damage: 1d10; Initiative: +2)

Money: $320

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