So, roleplaying games are a method to create stories in a collaborative environment. What is the most important thing in a story, at least to most people? Characters! To help facilitate this ever changing story, each character has a description (usually referred to as a “Character Sheet”) that features both numeric measurements and other details relating who a character is and what they are capable of. This character sheet forms the framework by which the GM and players build the narrative and make decisions for that character.
These numeric measurements are called ranks, and the more ranks in one category the more talented, well-trained, or powerful the character is in that area. The deeper details of those categories will be explained in Chapters 2 and 3, but for now just think of them in the abstract. These ranks are purchased at character creation and can be upgraded as the game goes on.
|Rank 0 Examples|
|Rank 0||Measurement||Equivalent to|
|Mass||16 kg||A huge bag of dog food|
|Distance||2 m||A tall adult male|
|Volume||0.2 m³||A book shelf|
|Density||1,024 kg/m³||Water, or the human body|
|Time||2 sec||A simple action|
|Speed||1 m/sec||3.6 km/h (a slow walk)|
Ranks do not always correspond to exact numbers. Somethings, like how strong a character is, can be estimated or simplified down in a rational manner into a rank system, while other things like how smart or charming the character is cannot be easily boiled down in such a way. To achieve this, these components are abstracted out into a system of relative values. These attributes are given an average rank of zero, with people who are more intelligent, strong, etc getting higher ranks and those who are less intelligent get negative ranks.
Each rank is double the value of the last, so a character with rank of 1 is twice as good in that area as a character with a rank of 0, which is itself twice as good as a rank of -1. Or to look at it from the other direction, a -1 is half as good as a 0, which is in turn half as good as a 1. Some attributes, like Strength, are tied to more concrete and measurable things. However, even this does not change how the ranks are used, each doubling the last, etc.
This ranking structure underlies all measurements in VERS, with the following table laying out what rank 0 is for the major physical measurements the character is likely to encounter or need to know.
Character points (or CP) are the units of measure of a character’s growth after character creation. They are the currency used to purchase Attributes, Skills, and Advantages as the character learns lessons and becomes more experienced. As time goes on in the game, the character will accumulate more character points with which to grow their abilities, emulating the way that real people grow over time.
There are two very important rules regarding character points: One, finalize all CP expenditures before the game session begins, and two, the character may only advance an attribute, skill or advantage by 1 rank at a time. Of course, this is up to GM discretion. GMs may, as an optional rule, only allow upgrades to something your character has actually used in recent game sessions; progress doesn’t come from not using those skills, after all! It is also recommended that the GM require certain periods of training time to upgrade skills or even regular practice to keep them from degrading.
There is no “best by” date on character points. Saving CP for a larger purchase is a great idea. Just keep in mind that stashing them for longer means being less on par with other characters and the GM’s enemies. CP is for spending!