Before you begin designing and developing your character, it’s helpful to have an idea of what your character is like. Your character’s concept may be as loosely or rigidly designed as you choose, but should always detail some important aspect of your character’s personality, background, or style. For example, Joe decides he’d like to make a “heavy weapons specialist.” He hasn’t considered his character’s background (and may wish to use the Character Questionnaire outlined at the end of this chapter to help him get a better sense of what his character’s personality is like) but at least he knows what types of traits he should be looking for when building his character.
On the other hand, Julia thinks she’d like to play a sneaky smuggler from Portland whose primary source of income is derived from stealing magic devices and transporting them out of town to fence in a nearby city. She knows she’ll need to be good at covert and stealth skills and may need to pick up some athletic skills as well.
- 1 Archetypes
- 1.1 Brenner
- 1.2 Changeling
- 1.3 Corporate Drone
- 1.4 Dealer
- 1.5 Fixer
- 1.6 Food Smuggler
- 1.7 Ganger
- 1.8 Ghost
- 1.9 Hacker
- 1.10 Handler
- 1.11 Monster
- 1.12 Psiborg
- 1.13 Psi-Hunter
- 1.14 Pugilist/Martial Artist
- 1.15 Soul Jacker
- 1.16 Street Banker
- 1.17 Street-Doc
- 1.18 Street Runner
- 1.19 Technomancer
- 1.20 Telepath
- 1.21 Weapons Specialist
- 1.22 Wheel Jockey
- 1.23 Wraith
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.
To see some of these archetypes discussed in depth, check out Psi-punk Archetypes. For more infor- mation, visit http://www.accessiblegames.biz/our-games/psi-punk/psi-punk-archetypes/
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 any- where from rising up against oppressive lawmakers to doing their bidding. Brenner often have a vari- ety of other skills and backgrounds in addition to being pyrokinetics.
Characters who 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.
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.
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. Also, when they need to know what someone is up to, they may hire runners to find out for them.
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, in- cluding cyberware and magic. Fixers are often corporate drones or weapon specialists with superior clearance to corporate or military goods.
With real food being so scarce, a few folks have chosen to make a living by stealing real food and sell- ing to the highest bidder. Food smugglers need to be covert, stealthy, manipulative, athletic, and have a lot of underground connections.
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 to deal with a variety of situations. These characters usually have few aspirations beyond eking out a living in any way they can.
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 even though their actions are definitely felt. Ghosts must be skilled in computer use and need to have some method of physically projecting themselves into the ‘Net, either psionically or magically.
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 sys- tems 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.
Handlers specialize in the use of psychometry, the ability to “read” an object’s past by simply touch- ing, or handling, the item. Handlers are employed by a variety of people, but are almost always in- volved in some kind of detective or spy work.
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 scarcely resemble a human being. Some 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.
Psiborgs are powerful mentals who have opted to replace a significant portion of their meatsack with
metal, making them physically superior to normals in addition to being more mentally powerful.
The first prominent group of psi-hunters was the Anti-Psi League, a group of hatemongers who deem it necessary to eradicate all mentals to ensure 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 cap- ture or kill powerful psychics. Psi-Hunters often employ magic and cyberware in their fight against the psi-freaks.
This archetype represents a fighting style more than a lifestyle, but many martial artists and box- ers 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 jackers exert mental dominance over those they encounter and command them to do their bid- ding. 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.
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-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?”
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 law is almost impossible to enforce, and many street runners feel that their motives are altru- istic and thus their ends justify the means.
Skilled with the mental art of cyberpsi, technomancers control machines and electronics with their minds. Many technomancers use their skills as Ghosts, but others prefer to control robots and even android-like bodies to do their bidding.
Simply another name for someone skilled in the use of telepathy, these characters are capable of con- tacting other beings over great distances using nothing but their thoughts. Many telepaths are em- ployed 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 communiqués via thought than through the ‘Net.
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 protect- ed. Weapon specialists are highly trained in a variety of combat methods, including both melee and ranged combat.
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.
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 re- connaissance missions since their ability to go virtually anywhere unseen makes them well-suited to the task. See Game Mastering for details on Astral projection.
Psi-punk Copyright 2012, Accessible Games; Author Jacob Wood