What They Can Do
Now that we have an in depth understanding of who the character is, what they believe, and how they act, all we need to do is assign ranks to the mechanical features of the character. This section of character creation can be a bit more challenging as it involves more math and keeping track of Character Point expenditures. That said, players more used to other roleplaying games may find themselves more at home here.
In some genres, like superheroes or fantasy, the character will need to define a Power Source where their abilities, powers, magic, and the like come from. For instance, our paladin character would have a power source of “Divinity” or “Faith” because all of their special abilities would relate to that in some way. This is both a roleplaying aide and a mechanical benefit to the character.
On the roleplaying side it informs how society perceives his gifts and also how he understands them. Thus a character whose abilities come from a deity revered by the local populace would be seen as an exemplar and be much beloved. A character whose abilities came from alien genetic tampering may be seen as unnatural and even hated by certain groups. These characters would also, perhaps, have their own attitudes and notions related to this, such as the paladin being more “holier-than-thou” or perhaps extremely compassionate, depending on the player’s desires, or the character with spliced genes might feel very conscious about their powers and try to hide them.
From a mechanical side, this allows other abilities to target certain types of power sources, such as magic that only affects Negative Energy creatures or weapons that only affect those with mutant DNA. This will be touched on more in the Abilities section, but you can think of power source as similar to an Ability’s Property.
Some common power sources are magic, technology, divinity, training, psychic, alien, mutant, and martial arts.
|Power Level and Character Creation|
|1||10||7||0||Teenage PCs, Adventuring NPCs|
|3||20||10||7||Standard PC, Important NPC|
|4||25||13||10||Veteran PC, Teen Superhero|
|5||30||15||15||Low Level Superhero, Legendary NPC|
|6||35||20||25||Superhero, Mythic NPC|
|10||55||40||80||Practically a deity|
VERS is a free form system, which means that it does not use a class or level structure to build characters. Instead, every player can create exactly the character they want to play. This freedom comes at a price, however, and balancing characters to make sure that no one has a boring mess with no relevant skills or an overpowered, scene stealing munchkin is difficult, especially to inexperienced players and GMs.
To help with this, the GM needs to determine the Power Level of the game she wants to run. Power level is a method of somewhat constraining the experience of the characters so that the GM can more easily tune the opposition to be appropriate to their skill. Unlike levels in some other rpg systems, however, that is all these power levels do, they provide a suggestion of how powerful the character should be.
A character's Attributes and Skills combined should have less than or equal ranks to twice the power level, while Abilities should equal or have fewer ranks than the base power level. In other words, a power level of 3 means that the combined ranks of a skill and its connected attribute should be no more than 6, while an ability for that character should have no more than 3 ranks. These are just guidelines and it is ultimately up to the GM to approve any character build, built to respect power level or not.
Most VERS games start out at a Power Level of 3. Those wishing to make younger characters going on their first adventures should build characters at Power Level 2, while veterans with a long history should build at Power Level 4. In the chart below the columns for "starting ranks" for both attributes and skills are indicating the total number of ranks that can be distributed at that PL at character creation, while general is an amount of CP that can be spent on advantages, and abilities, or even on more ranks of attributes and skills, if desired. Also note that the following chart is for basic games. Some settings, such as a super-heroic setting or high fantasy, which use many more abilities and Advantages, may have different guidelines like doubling the general CP.
Attributes are the most basic building block of any character and represent the inborn aptitude a character has without regard to what the character may have learned throughout her life. Altogether there are nine attributes which are split into a three by three matrix based on whether they are physical, mental, or social (the columns) or whether they represent power, finesse, or resistance in those categories (the rows).
If attributes are the character’s inborn talents, then Skills are the development and specialization of those talents. Each skill is based on an attribute, although these are not set in stone. While Deception is normally based on Charisma, the GM may decide that in a particular interaction Intuition may be better, such as a phony psychic trying to pass off clever observations as legitimate messages from a dead relative.
Advantages are a third type of characteristic, defining the little things that make a character unique and give them an edge. Some advantages represent intense training, while others simply represent quirks of personality or chances of nature, out of the control of the character and at the whims of fate. Regardless of the source, however, advantages represent a powerful tool in any character’s arsenal.
Take note that some advantages, primarily physical, are required to be purchased at character creation. This is not because of the cost but because the advantage in question is something intrinsic to the character, like their height, that they were either born with or they weren’t.
Abilities are the part of the character that make he or she unique, representing either special powers beyond the grasp of the average person, advanced or specialized weaponry, or even just the benefits of extreme training. While not all character’s need abilities, for many characters in most settings, the abilities are the most memorable or important part.
Gear is one of the pillars of non-superhero games, and while everything that gear can do is possible with the existing Ability rules, the following optional system makes creating gear streamlined and simple at the cost of certain fringe case scenarios. Note that weapons need a functional range (grappling, close, or ranged), decided at creation. To create a weapon or other piece of gear simply add together all of the positive components and then subtract all the negative components. To see example gear please see the Appendices. Below are a list of costs and modifiers.