One of the things I enjoy about learning new systems is to take an existing character and see how it can be shoed-into the new system. I’ve decided that my victims for this article will be the Tephra RPG from Cracked Monocle, and the Final Fantasy X-2 character Yuna. I’ve used Yuna as a steampunk character before, and her basic traits, that of a twin-pistol-wielding guncaster, are fairly easily-modeled in most games. Before I begin to put her into the Tephra system, however, let’s quickly look at what the character of Yuna is really all about.
History: Yuna is a mixed-heritage woman in a world where such relationships are heavily frowned upon. Her upbringing was strict and religious, giving her both an honorable and noble bearing and belief system, but also forcing her into the role of a would-be martyr. In her first exposure to the world at large, she began the question the need for martyrs at all and eventually rejected much of the trappings of her upbringing, while keeping her own faith and beliefs intact. As she’s gotten a little older, she’s adopted an adventurer’s lifestyle outright, doing what good she can while undergoing a quest for something far more personal, while using the singing skills she acquired in her former life to gain some fame, notoriety, and much-needed income.
Personality: Though she’s largely come out of her shell, Yuna is a quiet, slightly-submissive woman in her behavior and attitudes. She seeks always to do the right thing, even though it can cause her serious internal conflict and emotional stress when the right thing to do isn’t an obvious choice. While it’s common to see Yuna frustrated by others and in bad situations, it’s exceedingly rare to see her outright angry.
Appearance: Yuna is an attractive, mostly demure, young woman of slight frame and short build. She generally possesses cropped brown hair. Yuna is visually unusual in that she each of her eyes is a slightly different color. Both eyes are a color of aqua, with her left eye trending more bright blue and her right eye trending more green.
Equipment: Yuna doesn’t wear any notable armor, and her clothes, while stylish, are a bit to the ‘revealing’ side for polite society (she keeps more formal attire for these purposes). She carries two “Twin Bee” light box-pistols which have been modified for automatic fire and can house unique bullets of unusual properties.
For obvious reasons, I’ve skipped a lot of the specifics of the Final Fantasy X and X-2 setting and well as details on her previous role as a summoner. After all, we’re putting her into the Tephra setting and system, and she had abandoned her earlier powers outright at the end of Final Fantasy X anyway. So what we’re going to focus on is her Gunner form.
All right, so now we crack open the Tephra manual to get started, keeping in mind that we’re modeling a character rather than just rolling one up.
To keep things simple at this point, we’re going to assume that Yuna’s mixed heritage is only an ethnic one, and for game mechanics she’s simply a human with an unusual physical trait, her eyes.
As a human, Yuna gets to choose two racial traits and roll one random one. We’ll give her the “Favored Attribute” of Dexterity, the “Peerless” trait, to let her win ties, and, since we’re modeling a character rather than outright creating one, we’ll give her the “Emotionally Driven” attribute as well.
Though Yuna becomes a free spirit, she begins life as a noblewoman and uses that to her advantage at times. To keep things a little simple, we’ll assign Yuna to the Evanglessians and list her as a noble of that empire. Her mother was Paldoran, causing her father to be a subject of scandal for some time.
Now we start to choose her skills. Yuna, as a starting character, gets one skill at three points (her primary skill). She gets two skills at two points each, and three skills at one point each. We’ll chose the “Agility” skill as Yuna’s primary, given how she’s known for her grace and dynamic movements. As a gunner, she’ll also get the obvious “Marksmanship” skill, and we’ll give her the “Showmanship” skill to fill in for her singing prowess. These two will be her secondary, or two-point, skills.
Yuna’s background has also given her a bit of the “Faith” and “Grace” skills, gaining one point each in them. Lastly, her adventures thus far have given her a little bit of general “Expertise”, so we’ll wrap up her skill allocation with that.
Tephra determines attributes by adding together each of the skills taken in each attribute category. We’ve taken three points in “Cunning” skills, giving us a “Cunning” of three. So Yuna’s Tephra statistics are Brute:0, Cunning: 3, Science: 0, Dexterity: 5, and Spirit: 2.
Yuna gains three specialties at first level. Since we’re really going to focus on her relative speed and gracefulness rather than her firepower, we’ll start off with the “Free Movement” specialty. This lets her act more quickly (and slightly more often) in combat. She gains a +2 priority, a +5 speed, and a +6 HP bonus for this.
We’ll also give her “Instant Draw”, so that she can pull her two box-pistols out as needed. This gives her a +1 Accuracy, another +3 on her priority, and a +7 HP.
Lastly, just to keep with her ‘healer’ background, we’ll give her “Patch the Bleeding” which will allow her to treat wounds in the field. This also gives her a +2 DEF, +2 PRI, and a much-needed +11 to her HP.
All right, we’re nearly done now. Yuna gets 18 HP and 12 wound points as a starting character. She also starts with three action points, a 7 total priority, a 2 defense, and a 30 base speed.
Remember how I said we would get back to these? The Twin Bees are weapons that I tend to call “Guncasters”. In essence, they’re guns that shoot magic rather than bullets. This might be the trickiest part to convert to Tephra, so let’s get started.
Yuna’s guns are light, accurate, and automatic. They also can deliver magical effects such as fire, ice, and so on. This means, in Tephra terms, they’re accurate, crank-free weapons with the delivery attribute. Despite being ‘light’ pistols, they’re not derringers, so they fall under the “Medium Firearm” category.
So, computing the prices for each Twin Bee is just taking the market price for the gun, 5p, then adding the costs of its crafting modifiers. These come out to a substantial 175p. So, we’re at 180p for each Twin Bee, making Yuna packing seriously-expensive heat at a cost of 360p on the outset!
This pretty much wraps it up for our modeling experiment. Yuna isn’t known for armor (or much in the way of clothes, for that matter), so at best we’ll just give her ‘light’ armor for the time being. Other gear will be left up to the player’s imagination.
So Tephra can effectively handle making Yuna in her Gunner form, though it’s understandably not a perfect fit. Her Twin Bee guns are fairly expensive toys, which isn’t too surprising, and have to be somewhat kludged into the game. But it’s still a passable representation.
So how does Tephra stand up for character creation? It’s fairly simple to get together a character but it does involve a great deal of flipping around in the book to find everything. An ‘as you go’ character-building example would have gone a long way to help, if only to show where to find all your options. Mechanically it’s simple and elegant, if not innovative. The numbers and powers given give a good indication of what your character can do without being mired in gaming arcana.
Overall a fairly solid effort, and one worth revisiting, which I plan to do soon enough.