Characters are a composite of background descriptions, abilities, skills and personality for an individual in the game simulation. They are usually represented by a game piece such as pewter miniature or a plastic figurine. Each player takes on the role of a single character for whom he directs all actions and decisions; this is known as a player character (PC). The player’s actions and decisions help to develop the personae of his PC, which should be consistent with the character’s background, abilities and skills.
Non player characters (NPCs) are used for supporting roles in the game drama and can be anything from loyal followers, to unbiased bureaucrats to sworn adversaries. The Game Master (GM) may allow a player to actually move, fight, roll dice and make decisions for an NPC, but the final decision regarding a non-player character’s actions or obedience belongs to the game master.
It is the task of the GM to balance the number of NPCs in the player’s adventuring group or party against the experience of the players and the difficulties of the challenges to be faced. The more experienced the players and the fewer NPCs in the players’ party, the faster that game play will proceed. Optimal party size is 3 to 5 player characters. Because of their limited reasoning and intellectual capacity, beasts or monsters are not considered to be characters; however, they are handled by the GM in the same manner as NPCs.
The first step in generating a character is to determine the character’s background information.
There are five basic background descriptions;
Race, Gender, Class, Level and Age.
Race refers to a group of people related by birth who share a common appearance and culture. Although technically incorrect, many RPGs use the term race when species would be more precise, for convenience, we shall use the terms race and species interchangeably thru out this text. Members of different species produce either no or infertile (horse + donkey = mule) offspring; while members of the same species, yet different race, produce fertile progeny.
There are five principal races on the Red Planet. The race of a player character may be selected by the player or randomly determined by rolling d12 and consulting the following table. There are other intelligent species which are small in number that might be found in isolated or exotic locations.