Fantastic Tales of Avalon City
Step 1) Origin
When you choose an Origin, you are essentially choosing the reason they became a superhero. The Origin Book is all about the motivation behind the character and why they do what they do. When reading the title of any Origin book, you’ll want to start off by reading “I became a Superhero because of…” and finish the sentence with the title of the Origin book. (p. 93)
- When you choose a single Origin book as your Origin you also get all the Moves associated with that book.
- If you choose to combine two Origins to make your own book, you may do so but you may only have a total of three Moves. This means you will have to choose which moves from which books you want to keep and which to discard.
Step 2) Nemesis
Since an Origin book is meant to say something about your background and motivation, it also lists some ideas for possible foes or enemies you have already made that you can further detail.
Step 3) Working Towards
A Drive Book is all about showing the current motivation of your hero, so you need to show your character working towards specific goals, as per the Drive book you choose for your hero. At Character Creation, the chosen Drive Book is available, but not open, until played out in the narrative. Players choose the Drive Book they want their character to work towards and once the narrative requirements have been made, the Drive Book is opened.
Look on the character sheet for a space, called Working Towards, with a little box to write in Achievement Points as well. Write in what Drive Book you’re working towards opening. When you meet the requirements for the Drive Book, you open it, and get an Achievement Point.
Likewise, when you meet the requirements to open a Move, you gain access to it and get an Achievement Point as well. There’s a space on the second character sheet to write in Drive Books that are opened, moves within them ([[Psychological Profile?]]). Always keep the Working Towards space filled in with what you’re aiming for next so keep it in mind for something to do whenever you get some downtime.
- Any Bonds awarded by a Drive Book are, by default, Rank 0. (p. 104)
- Note that if a more advanced character is desired, then a Drive Book can be opened, immediately, at character creation.
Step 4) Bonds & Bond Threshold
You automatically take a Bond with “Law Enforcement” and “The City”, respectively (Not yet defined, Default 0). After that, don’t forget to fill in any personal relationships your character has.
- The number of Bonds you have is equal to the number of PCs playing at the time of character creation other than you (Default 3, in our game).
Then, consult the chart below and add the number of bonus Bond Points you get, depending on how well your character Fits In (see Ease of Fitting In, below).
After adding those two numbers together, that number is both the number of Bonds you start with, and also the maximum number of Bonds you can have in total and is called your Bond Threshold. Mark how many Bonds you have total in the space for ‘Bond Threshold’ on your character sheet.
Distribute your Bonds between the player characters, any important NPCs, ‘The City’ and ‘Law Enforcement’. At least one Bond Point must be put into each player character (leaving only the number of Bonds you got depending on how your character fits in with those around them). Bonds with other player characters all start at one. Write a sentence to describe the relationship you have with them. If you have remaining Bond Points you may assign them anywhere you like.
- In our game, because of the rotating cast of heroes, it is only necessary to place at least 1 Bond in ‘Hero Corp’.
Since your character has a Bond with the city you serve and protect in, which signifies how the people and local government perceive and think of you, and a Bond with law enforcement, they are the easiest place to put Bonds if your character is more of a lone wolf. More often though, you’ll want to put your Bond Points into new Bonds with non-player characters as well, to show who your character cares about in the fiction — their romantic interest, family, or friends.
The higher the number is next to a character, the city or law enforcement, the more positive a relationship is. A Bond score of zero means the relationship is not yet defined and a negative Bond score means that relationship is toxic, dangerous or otherwise uncomfortable or unhealthy for your character.
Ease of Fitting In- The most important limitation is how easily they can socially interact with others. A hero’s powers, or the life they lead, might mean:
- Having to keep the rest of the world at arm’s length, like superheroes with super strength, razor-sharp skin, or the ability to absorb another’s energy.
- Simply not having the time and energy to pursue a career, family, or a normal life; having to exercise for, and recover from, fights with villains all the time can take a toll!
- Not being able to trust others with their secrets, or fearing for their lives if they do unburden themselves with them is burdensome.
- Needing or being dependent on, or particularly vulnerable to, something like alcohol, the sun’s radiation, the ocean’s depths, or pieces of their home world is a common way to make an ultra-powerful character more manageable.
When creating a hero you are tasked with assigning a number, or modifier, to each of these stats. Your hero’s powers will tell you what you can do in the game, but your stats and their modifiers with tell you how well, or how often you succeed at doing certain things. The numbers you need to assign to a modifier are: -1, 0, +1, +1, +2. (p. 83)
- The Smash stat is used whenever your character performs a forceful, direct action or a feat of strength.
- The Influence stat is used whenever your character performs an action to sway another character’s opinion or to get what you want from another person.
- The Maneuver stat is used whenever your character performs a stealthy, speedy or otherwise agile action.
- The Protect stat is used whenever your character performs any kind of defensive actions (Physical or Mental).
- The Investigate stat is used whenever your character performs an action that requires reasoning, deduction, or leaps of logic and knowledge.
Step 6) Powers
Your hero can have multiple types of powers. Coming up with your powers begins with a broad and general description, understanding, and summary of what a hero can do and then gradually becomes more and more specific as you continue on.
In your Powers Summary (Powers- Character Sheet p.2), you detail your hero’s powers in very general terms (Shape-Shifting, Super Strength, and the like) and then, in your Powers Profile (Character Sheet- p. 1), you detail specific things they have learned to do with those powers and how hard they are to do for your character by setting up some boundaries between what is easy or difficult to do, and what is impossible.
Power Limitations and Drawbacks- If you want to have more control over the fiction; to have the power to succeed on the rolls that are important to you, then you will want to take some limitations for your power so that you will have more Bonds to Burn when the time comes for those important rolls.
Take some time to detail limitations and drawbacks to the powers your character has and how it affects their life. The more powerful a character is, the more powers you can add to your Powers Profile. However, it means it will be more difficult for them to fit in, and the less Bonds they have so they won’t have as many Bonds as others.
Powers Summary- Your hero’s Power Summary is where you will want to write what your hero is capable of doing in broad terms. List absolutely everything you will want them to be able to do in the future. Starting out, they will not be able to do everything, but your Powers Summary is where you look to see if you have the justification to do something in the fiction or not. Try to be as broad as you can and speak to abilities rather than specific actions. Anything that goes beyond the abilities of a normal human being should go here.
An important thing to note is that even if you want to create a hero that has no actual superpowers in terms of heat vision, super strength or super speed and reflexes, you still use this section to detail what they can do above and beyond a normal human being. If a hero does not have super powers to enhance them or make them better than normal, they might use Advantages to give them the leg up they need.
So anything that a hero can do with just their body alone and without anything else should go under the Powers Summary and anything they can do with the help of something else, like gadgets and technology, for example, should go under “Powers that are Advantages” immediately below in the Powers Summary.
Powers Profile- Once you are satisfied with everything in your Powers Summary, it is time to move on to your Powers Profile, where you will detail what specific things your hero can actually do with those powers — or at least, what they can do so far. Remember that your Powers Summary represents anything and everything you have the capability of doing. For now, fill in one thing they can do in each category. While you can only fill in one thing for each category to start, you will be building your hero’s Powers Profile as you play the game. Everything you write down should be specific actions and uses for your powers.
- Simple — what can you do with ease and so most often use your powers to do?
- Difficult — what is something that you are capable of and often use your powers to do, but requires concentration and control?
- Borderline — what are some things that you have used your powers to do in the past, during times where you feared for your life or were pushed beyond your limit?
- Possible — what are some things that you could probably do, or at least haven’t ruled out being able to do, in the future considering what you’ve already been able to do with your powers?
- Impossible — what are you some things that you definitely would never be able to do, just beyond the limits of what you can do with your power no matter what?
- Lost — is there anything you used to be able to do, but no longer can? This would not be the default for every character, but could make for some interesting background if you want to add it to your character sheet
The easiest way to envision the scale of difficulty is to choose one type of action and then just scale it upward.
For example, a simple action could be “hit with enough force to knock out a normal man”; the difficult one could be, “hit with enough force to punch through brick or concrete”; the borderline could be “hit with enough force to punch through steel.” This is helpful because it establishes some clear guidelines for strength, but is limiting if you have more than one power and plan on doing more than punch things inanimate objects the whole game.
Push- The things you write above are what they can do without you having to roll the dice to Push. When a hero wants to do something outside the range of things they have written in their Powers Summary, the Push move is triggered.
Whether a hero uses inherent superpowers or uses Advantages to do what they do best, whenever they need to expand their repertoire or perform certain actions that are not yet listed on their Powers Profile, the Push move is the way to do it. In this way, you can break out of your character’s wheel house and not be limited by what you start out listing on your Powers Profile.
Your Powers Profile acts as the guideline to determine future actions in addition to what you can do and how difficult it is to do it. If you want to do something in the future, you will decide and gauge if that action is simple, difficult, borderline, possible or impossible for you to do. It is very important to have this rough outline and ceiling set for yourself to help gauge the difficulty of certain actions later on.
The main thing you’re looking to do with your Powers Profile is to set boundaries for yourself . When you want to do something later in the game and it’s not on your Powers Profile, you’ll need to place it on the scale of Simple-Difficult-Borderline-Possible so you know what your character can and cannot do . The Impossible section is there to set a ceiling and to help define where your character cannot go .
More than that though, they have no real mechanical meaning beyond them showing you how easy or hard it is for your character to do something . However, just knowing the difficulty doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to do anything on your Powers Profile in the Simple, Difficult or Borderline categories though — you’ll still need to justify doing it in the fiction, as always . What simple, difficult and borderline mean will certainly be different for each character, but something difficult will usually require concentration, time, energy, effort or preparation compared to something simple, which can probably be done without thought or too much effort — it might even be an automatic reaction . Borderline is for things that heroes can only do by pushing against the boundaries of what they’ve learned and know about their powers, whereas the possible category is for things that they’ve only done once or twice, or that is theoretically possible, judging from what they know of their powers — they are pushing themselves past what they know to be their limitations . To do it, do it — just remember to justify and honestly portray those varying levels of difficulty in the fiction .
If it’s on your Powers Profile, all you need to do is justify it in the fiction. If it’s not on your Powers Profile then you’ll probably be triggering the Push move and the Push move has consequences built into it depending on how hard you’re pushing. To do something really extreme, things will probably have to be pretty dire, because you could end up dead at the end of a Burnout.