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Mechajammer Kickstarter Update #30: Character Creation Beta Update

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Mechajammer Kickstarter Update #30: Character Creation Beta Update

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 1 October 2020, 13:00:36

Tags: Mechajammer; Whalenought Studios

In the months that have passed since Copper Dreams became Mechajammer, the formerly moribund game has suddenly exploded with activity, with numerous tweets from Whalenought showcasing what appears to be rapid development. Some of those tweets were compiled in a Kickstarter update in early August. In a second update published shortly afterwards, Whalenought announced that they would be updating the beta build with the game's first actual area "later that week". In typical Whalenought fashion, they finally released said update yesterday. The highlight of the update seems to be the new character creation sequence, which is the main topic of today's new Kickstarter update. It also has some details about how the game's narrative has evolved. Your character is now a Ci-War trooper who has crashlanded on the planet with some of his comrades. Here's an excerpt from the update:

Hope this reaches everyone safe and sound. For those with test builds, there's a new update with character creation and an area to run around and punt mutants. The community site is fixed and back up as well, and we’ll have the death matches in the beta back in good order shortly — some pathfinding stuff changed in this last update and we need refresh some maps, add some driving combat ones, etc.

In this post we wanted to dive into character creation. Grab your dice and beer, let's grognard up!

Character Creation

We originally ordered character creation into a step-by-step process, aptly starting with your birth kit, then jobs, which then determine your age, and finally being able to distribute accrued points to Studies/Virtues.

This made sense on paper, but in practice turned out to be tedious, especially if you want to try out different skills and advantages. Since we’re all here to min/max murder-hobos, we wanted to optimize for that.

We start you with set pools of D6 to distribute to learned Studies and Virtues. You can toss these in as you see fit, and they’ll just turn red if you exceed a maximum. (Some background traits can reduce or increase your starting pools.)

You can start selecting jobs anytime after you select a birth kit, genetic enhancements given to unborn children, which will filter the pool of jobs available to you. In a future update, birth kits will change the number of Virtue vs. Studies dice you have to work with, as those with natural births have fewer inborn abilities, while those with premium birth kits do not have to have as many learned skills, having few deficiencies to make up for.

Jobs determine your age (each job adds 9 years) and give bonuses from work knowledge (represented by pips to Studies). Each job you choose also comes with a list of Disadvantages that you have to pick between, since no experience in life is a completely positive one. Most of these disadvantages are minor, like a two turns wait at the beginning of combat (Coward) or always eating food as soon as you put it in your inventory (Hungry).

Your character’s job retention also lets advanced versions of the job become available, netting better benefits, like from Lab Assistant to Doctor. However, varied jobs get a bigger variety of modifiers (and Disadvantages).

Adding more jobs is an easy way to gain Studies pips, but as you get on in years you become more fragile, and caps are placed on the number of die you can add to Virtues like Grace, Muscle Mass and Sight, while youth has only limits to the brain noodle and caps your Occult and Learning.

After your jobs history is complete you can slide to an exact age within your bracket.

Your Character's Origin

Through this development cycle we've played with the concept of your character and how they landed on this hostile space colony. One of our early ideas involved CYOA screens showing you shipping off to the colony as a worker, working in a syndicate (character age + 2-5 years), and eventually have a classic scene of you and some trusted coworkers sitting around a bar, one revealing they have a way out, and you scheme your campaign to flee the colony. We rolled with that concept for a while, with some adaptations like your syndicate getting attacked and then meeting after, but didn't love how much of a slog it was to set up all these disparate exposition pieces, especially since the beginning of the game needs to also introduce core game systems like your base of operations, the squad system that will encompass your companions through the game, and the perma-life healing system that is rooted into the base itself.

Eventually we streamlined the concept to focus more on the surrounding setting of the game. You still have trusted comrades, but you're conscripted Ci-War troopers, mind-hacked and powerless, and you've escaped a hopeless bloodbath by stealing a shuttle to find refuge elsewhere on the planet. You and your two companions set up a base of operations in the abandoned warehouse district you crash down into, and with significantly less exposition you can get rolling on adventuring. Grab a junker bike and drive through the city or outlying jungles, or check out the polluted coastal marshes!
This is finally starting to feel like a real game. Be sure to check out the full update for lots of cool animated GIFs.

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