You are agents of the International Settlement Commission, the (barely) cooperative trouble-shooting force maintained by the various foreign powers that rule over splintered Shanghai.
While the Shanghai Municipal Council does a magnificently corrupt job of running local law enforcement, the ISC is a catspaw of its sponsor powers, dealing with “extraordinary threats to Shanghai and Our Interests Therein.” The ISC employs mercenaries, soldiers, private eyes, trusted criminals and dilettantes on a case by case basis. Some are paid, some are working off debts, some are full-fledged spies of their patron governments …
… all are disreputable.
The setting uses standard Savage Worlds character generation as detailed in the SWD book. There are some setting rules used from the upcoming spy setting AGENTS OF OBLIVION from Reality Blurs.
We’ll do character generation on a slightly more role-playing oriented path than laid out in the book.
1.) Pick a character concept. A nice shorthand way of doing this is from the game Spycraft: use the Adjective/Noun system. “Rowdy Reporter.” “Plucky Orphan”. “Relentless Gunslinger.” That sort of thing.
2.) Build your Attributes. Each Attribute starts at d4, with d6 being the baseline for an average human.
d6 Normal. A d6 Smarts is considered bright by his friends, a d6 Vigor is fit, a d6 Spirit is a young priest, etc …
d8 Probably the Attribute you use in your profession. A d8 Smarts is a professional scientist. A d8 Agility is a talented cat burglar. d8 Strength is a football player.
d10 One of the best in the country.
d12 Pulp level of Ability.
You have 5 points to use to advance your Attributes, 1 point per die type. Rember, even a d4 gets a Wild Die, so you still have good odds of succeeding. Also, you can still improve them in the next step.
3.) Pick up to one Major and two Minor Hindrances. You can then spend those Hindrances in the following ways:
a.) One Major Hindrance = Improve an Attribute a die type (e.g.) from d6 to d8
b.) One Major Hindrance = Get one more Edge (see below)
c.) One Major Hindrance = 2 skill points for skill building
e.) Two Minor Hindrances = One Major Hindrance.
d.) Each Minor Hindrance = 1 skill point
4.) Choose your skills.
The Shanghai Campaign uses a slightly altered skill list from the base rules:
- Knowledge (x)
- Tradecraft (spy game expertise)
- Thievery (Lockpicking, pickpocketing, etc)
The scale for skills is slightly different than Attributes. A d4 indicates basic training, d6 professional facility (most soldiers would have Shooting d6, for example). d8 indicates expertise, d10 means you’re one of the best in your field, d12 means you’re one of the best in the world.
You have 15 points to raise your skills as described in the SDW, plus any extra points from Hindrances.
Remember, even if you’re not trained, you can still roll a d4-2, with your Wild Die to try anything. So don’t spread the points out too thin.
6. Pick your Edges. You have one free Edge for being human, and probably have at least one from your Hindrances, unless you used both those points to raise your Abilities.
If you’re playing someone with Powers, consult me. The AoO rules are slightly different.
7. Shanghai is an international city. You speak 1/2 your Smarts Die in languages, not counting your native tongue. You speak with an obvious accent.
8. You have 1/2 your Smarts die in Defining Interests. Hobby-level interests.
9. Pick equipment. It’s assumed you’ve been active for a while, so gear up with anything reasonable.
The result so far is your NOVICE CHARACTER. You will, however, be starting as SEASONED CHARACTERS. That means taking 3 Novice Advances and one Seasoned Advance.
The rulebook has all the information you need on advancing a character.