Beyond the Sea
Character Creation: Values
Each character gets between 2 and 6 Values points. To reflect typical tendencies in different age groups, the default is 4 Value points while those with the Young hindrance get 2, and those with the Elderly hindrance get 6. Additionally, each character receives an additional Value point for each rank achieved.
The most typical Values are people (parents, children, boyhood friends, mentors, etc), places (where one works, grew up, went to school, etc), things (Grandma’s heirloom ring, dad’s urn, the only picture of a missing relative, etc), and ideas (Religious tenets, personal philosophies, and goals). These should be defined in loose terms, a simple short sentence describing that Value. This is a collaborative process and the entire group and GM should be present. Competing Values are perfectly OK, but players and GM may need to collaborate if they want to be inter-dependent.
We recommend each starting PC have at least one Value related to at least one other character or even an NPC. It is important for GMs to ensure these Values are both general enough to be brought into play regularly, and specific enough to show exactly when it is really important to that character. Everyone wants World Peace, but people die for the cause of peace in Darfur.
Each Value can have a rating of one or more, showing just HOW important it is to the character (and also showing the GM how much the player would like to focus some of the storyline on that aspect of the character). Each point in a Value decreases the total available Value points by 1.
Care should be taken that Values of Hindrances don’t overlap too much, although that too could be interesting in game play.
There are three ways for a player to use Values, each subject to GM approval before use. Values can be spent before a roll to increase one of the dice by one step. Values can be spent after a roll to either re-roll one die, or add +1 to the final result. And finally, a Value can be used to automatically throw off the effects of being Shaken, instantaneously.
After each use of a Value, check off one of the points assigned to it. When all the points are used, no more are received except by GM action (see below), or at the end of the session.
Note that the GM must determine the task at hand somehow directly relates to the character’s values, and only those Values can be checked off (used).
GMs can also use a character’s Values. The GM can compel the PC to follow its Values in a given
situation by offering a benny; if the player takes the benny, the PC must stick to its guns on the issue. Alternatively, the player can sacrifice a benny they already have, to deny the compulsion – taking the easy way out, but sapping the character’s human spirit at the same time.
This use of Values by the GM should be limited to important decisions and character-defining moments.
After each major campaign segment is completed, players and GMs should sit down to redefine Values by either moving 1 Value point between two existing Values or one existing value and another, new Value. Or, by changing one Value to something else. For example, a character may decide they aren’t so loyal to Uncle Bert after all, but have a newfound loyalty to another PC; a point would be removed from “Looking Out for Uncle Bert” to the new Value, “Always Has to Rescue Lisa” (another PC).
With the addition of a few sentences about what the character values, a lot of depth can be added to the character and to the game play. PCs can be engaged with the plotline in a more “personal” way.