April 18, 2011

Vivid 3.0: Roles & Assets

I’ve been thinking of how I represent characters in Vivid.  I want to end up with a character creation system that requires very little player learning to use, can easily create a wide variety of characters, and doesn’t encourage excessive number crunching.  I’m going to change character makeup somewhat to make it easier.

The first thing you define about your character is a set of Roles.  Roles are words or phrases describing what your character is, and so function as a shorthand listing of the character’s skillsets.  I’ll also encourage qualifying Roles with adjectives, for better flavor and character individuality.

Fighter is a Role.  Inveterate Skirt-Chaser is a Role.  Two-Fisted Bush Pilot is a Role. 

Wait, isn’t this the same thing I was calling Traits in previous Vivid versions?  Yes, mostly – but simply by changing the term for it I think I’ve finally focused on what I want to happen here.  Roles don’t just establish ability, they establish identity and roleplaying directions.

When a player writes down a Role on his character sheet, he’s telling me he wants his character to do that.  It’ll be my job as GM to give him opportunities in that direction, because that’s what that player will enjoy. 

Assets remain pretty much the same as in previous Vivid versions.  Assets can be physical or mental qualities, possessions, wealth, authority, social affiliations, even followers and pets.

Now I plan to give only 10 dice worth of Assets just as there are 10 dice worth of Roles.  I can imagine some players complaining this is too little.  Should I increase it?  I’ll make that decision after some more playtesting, but so far it feels right.  It makes players focus on what they really want for their characters. 

It also serves as a sort of hidden niche protection device.  If you invested 5 of your 10 dice in an Asset like ‘Bulging Muscles,’ chances are no other player will have done the same.  And if you choose something more unusual as your highest Asset, chances are even higher no other player will have it too.


  1. As a Risus guy, I heartily approve of cliches...er, Roles. :)

  2. Yes, they're so ... cliched, aren't they? ^_^


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