Sunday, March 4, 2012

Character Archetypes

To get an idea of what sorts of characters one might encounter in the world of Psi-punk, we've included a list of common character archetypes in Chapter 2 of the book.  It isn't intended to be a comprehensive list, but a jumping-off point to get the imagination started.  Here's a peak at the list of character archetypes you'll find detailed in Psi-punk.


Archetypes

Listed below are some common character archetypes that may be found in this world.  You don’t need to pick a specific one – you may blend or ignore them as you see fit – but they should help inspire you to decide the type of character you wish to play.  This section is also helpful for GMs trying to create non-player characters with some personality.

Brenner

Taken from the German word for “burner,” brenner are pyrokineticists, skilled in the art of setting things on fire with their minds.  These characters use their gifts for a variety of reasons, ranging anywhere from rising up against oppressive lawmakers to doing their bidding.  Brenner often have a variety of other skills and backgrounds in addition to being pyrokinetics.

Changeling

Characters that employ psychometabolism powers or magics for the purpose of altering their own features are referred to as “changelings.”  These characters are experts at disguising their appearance, voice, and even the very nature of their being (some powerful changelings can go so far as to shape shift into animals or other creatures).  It can be hard to track down a changeling, which is why their expertise is coveted by criminal organizations as well as intelligence networks.

Corporate Drone

Few players wind up as corporate drones, and those that do often use their rank and status in their company for nefarious purposes.  Drones do a company’s bidding, usually without question, but aren’t necessarily above taking a little back for themselves.

Dealer

Not necessarily in the drug business, dealers are “information brokers” who make it their business to know everything that is happening in their city or other chosen sphere of influence.  Dealers pay handsomely to acquire useful information and charge even more to part with it.  Dealers are often the source of jobs for illegal street runners; when they need to know what someone is up to, they may hire runners to find out for them.

Fixer

A fixer’s job is to find, acquire, and distribute gear through any channel they can access, legally or otherwise.  Fixers are the go-to guys when characters need to get their hands on rare or illicit gear, including cyberware and magic.  Fixers are often corporate drones or weapon specialists with superior clearance to corporate or military goods.

Food Smuggler

With real food being so scarce, a few folks have chosen to make a living by stealing real food and selling to the highest bidder.  Food smugglers need to be covert, stealthy, manipulative, athletic, and have a lot of underground connections.

Ganger

Street gangs are as old as time; every city has had its share of ruffians and thugs who prey on the weak and exploit anyone they can.  Gangers often carry both non-lethal and lethal weapons so as to deal with a variety of situations.  These characters usually have few aspirations except to eke out a living in any way they can.

Ghost

Characters skilled at the art of hacking into computers using electrokinesis and cyberpsi are often referred to as “ghosts” because nobody can see their presence, but their actions are definitely felt.  Ghosts must be skilled in computer use and need to have some method of physically projecting himself into the ‘Net, either psionically or magically.

Hacker

An old but still-relevant term, hackers specialize in getting into places and doing things that others don’t want them to.  Hackers are security experts and tinkerers, often breaking into high clearance systems just to see if they can.  The term applies to hacking more than just computer systems; anything with a microchip (including humans) can potentially be hacked.

Handler

Handlers specialize in the use of psychometry, the ability to “read” an object’s past by simply touching, or handling, the item.  Handlers are employed by a variety of peoples, but are almost always involved in some kind of detective or spy work.

Monster

Monsters are living examples of what it’s like to have too much metal crammed into one meat sack.  These characters have significantly more cyberware than the average person and they scarcely resemble a human being.  They may have implants to aid them in a variety of skills, or they may have a variety of skill chips that allow them to do just about anything.  In either case, they’ve paid the price by removing most of what’s left of their soul and replacing it with chrome.

Psi-Hunter

The first prominent group of psi-hunters was the Anti-Psi League, a group of hatemongers who deem it necessary to eradicate mentals to ensure the safety of their own continued existence.  As an occupation, psi-hunting is strictly illegal, but that doesn’t stop people from doing anything in their power to capture or kill powerful psychics.  Psi-Hunters often employ magic and cyberware in their fight against the psi-freaks.

Pugilist/Martial Artist

This archetype represents a fighting style more so than a lifestyle, but many martial artists and boxers treat their craft as a way of life.  Skilled in one or more of the many arts of hand-to-hand combat, these characters are a good addition to nearly any team.  Many martial artists are also skilled at being stealthy, covert, and athletic, making them useful as scouts or infiltration specialists.

Soul Jacker

Soul jackers exert mental dominance over those they encounter and command others to do their bidding.  These characters are often powerful psychics with the mind control power, but a few wealthy soul jackers establish control by using high-powered magic devices designed to break mental barriers and allow the user to implant suggestions.

Street Banker

A street banker by any other name would be a loan shark.  These characters are the ones to turn to for emergency funding, but they take great pains to ensure that their investments are returned promptly and with all of the interest paid.  Street brokers usually have a number of hired thugs in their employ.

Street-Doc

Street-Docs are medical experts who make a living patching up people outside of the relative comfort of a hospital.  These characters may be former doctors whose clinic was shut down for malpractice, current doctors looking to make a little extra on the side, or simply a guy skilled with a scalpel.  Street-Docs are not always reputable, but they often come cheap and don’t ask annoying questions like “Can I see some ID before I give you that new implant?”

Street Runner

Many, but not all, player characters fall into this category.  Street runners are mercenaries, selling their skills to the highest bidder so they can earn enough cash to upgrade their implants, computer hardware, magic, and other gear.  They come from all walks of life, but often find themselves in the business because they’ve lost the ability, or the will, to work traditional jobs.  Street running is illegal but the crime is almost impossible to enforce, and many street runners feel that their motives are altruistic and thus their ends justify the means.

Telepath

Simply another name for someone skilled in the use of telepathy, these characters are capable of contacting other beings over great distances using nothing but their thoughts.  Many telepaths are employed as spies since they are equally as skilled at reading minds as they are at communicating with them, and it is far more difficult to intercept communiques via thought than it is via the ‘Net.

Weapons Specialist

In this day and age, it pays to be the one carrying the big guns.  Weapon specialists make a living by selling their skills to those who need protection and those who need to kill someone being protected.  Weapon specialists are highly trained in a variety of combat methods, including both melee and ranged combat.

Wheel Jockey

Wheel jockeys are adept at driving or flying anything with wheels (and even some things without).  Pilots, racecar drivers, tank experts, and motor boaters are all examples of wheel jockeys, but the best of them are capable of driving and piloting a wide variety of vehicles.

Wraith

Wraiths are the Astral Plane’s equivalent of a ghost.  While ghosts project themselves into the ‘Net, wraiths project their souls into the Astral.  Their powers are suited for intelligence gathering and reconnaissance missions since their ability to go virtually anywhere unseen makes them well-suited to the task.  See Chapter 6: When Worlds Diverge for details on astral projection.

We hope you enjoyed this look at the character archetypes section of our upcoming book.  As always, feel free to post any questions or comments you might have and check back in a week or so for more updates.