Character Creation in GearHead 2

Step 1: Select ModeEdit

You have two options for mode, Basic and Advanced. As the help text at the bottom of the screen describes "In 'Basic Mode' the game picks stats and skill points for you, whereas in 'Advanced Mode' you have full manual control over the entire process. 'Basic' is strongly recommended for beginning players". Generally speaking, you can make a more combat effective character using 'Advanced Mode', as this guide will explain, but for a quick start, or a little extra challenge, 'Basic Mode' can also be a good choice.

Step 2: Select your GenderEdit

Character creation now proceeds to gender selection. This choice is fairly self explanatory. Aside from the aesthetic concerns, the only real effect that gender has on the game is the use of the Flirtation skill. In GearHead 1, many of the important NPCs were women, which gave a distinct advantage to male characters with the Flirtation skill. As GearHead 2 isn't complete yet, we can't say it only gender will outweigh the other, but for now, the difference between the genders is negligible.

Step 3: Select your AgeEdit

The society of GearHead 2 is fairly progressive with respect to age; as such age has little to no effect on your character's interaction with NPCs. Assuming you have selected 'Advanced Mode' earlier, you can select any age from 16 to 30. Your character's age determines his initial XP (equal to ( Age - 15 ) x 25 ) and cash (equal to a little more than 35000 - ( Age - 20 ) x 3000 ), both of which will increase later in the creation process. Many players choose to make younger characters, as it is fairly easy to earn XP early on, and early missions tend to pay poorly.

Step 4: Select your HometownEdit

With the basics out of the way, selection of a hometown represents the first significant decision that can limit your choices later on in character creation. For example, several jobs require that the character have a city for a hometown. As Cayley Rock and Gaos Spinner are not flagged as cities, characters with one these locations as their hometown will be unable to select that job later. Conversely, Cayley Rock is the only location flagged as 'mine' making it the only place a miner can come from. In addition, if you want your character to join a faction during character creation, that faction must be present in the hometown. For instance, if you want your character to start out in the Rocket Stars, you have to select Yatate Spinner or Galconde Spinner as a hometown.

Step 5: Character backgroundEdit

The game will assign your character's family background and personal history randomly at this point. While you can't make any direct input into this process, you can ask for a different background until you get one that you like. The first part of the character's background is his family's background. Some examples are "Your mother was a # and your father was a #.", and "You come from a middle class family." The second section is optional, appearing 1/3rd of the time, and details the character's personal background. For example "From the day you were born, you dreamt of becoming an adventurer.", and "You never formed a strong connection with your birth parents. Your school circle was trained to become #s". Aside from providing a little backstory for the character, the background provides additional XP and adjusts the character's traits. For every job listed in the background (i.e. "Your mother was a Lawyer and your father was an Arena Pilot." has two jobs listed), the character receives (210 / number of skills) skillXP in each of the skills associated with that job. For example, the job Explorer has four skills: Dodge, Awareness, Survival, and First Aid. If the character's father was an Explorer, the character would receive 52 skillXP in each of those four skills. If there are less than four jobs listed in the character's background, he receives (4 - no. jobs) x 140 XP. In addition to XP, the character may have his personality traits modified, for example the message "You never formed a strong connection with your birth parents, but had many friends in your school circle." results in a sociability increase of 15. Finally, whether or not your character was an orphan or lost his parents is recorded in your character's 'Context' which is used to generate story hooks during the game.

Step 6: Select a JobEdit

After accepting a character background, you are asked to select your character's job. The jobs available are determined by your character's hometown. Each job is associated with up to 5 skills, which your character will receive one point in for selecting that job. In addition, your character receives ( 6 - no. skills ) x 25000 credits. Some jobs carry adjustments to personality traits, the hacker job gives a character reduces Lawfulness by 5 and increases Pragmatism by 10. Also, jobs affect your character's ability to join a faction during creation. Each job has a designation such as FAITH or MILIT, which restricts the character to factions that have the same designation in their 'Context'. Further, some jobs are flagged a requiring a faction, in such case (i.e. Corporate Executive, Corporate Pilot); the character will be forced to join a faction. Finally, some jobs require that the character join a specific faction (i.e. a Knight must belong to the Silver Knights faction).

Step 7: Buy StatsEdit

With a job selected, you will continue to buying your character's stats. There are 8 stats: Reflexes (Re), Body (Bo), Speed (Sp), Perception (Pe), Ego (Eg), Stats:Craft (Cr), Knowledge (Kn) and Charm (Ch). You are given 80 points to distribute among the stats. The minimum value is 1; the maximum is 20 and each level over 15 costs two points instead of 1. Each stat is linked to a number of skills, and provides bonuses to rolls for tasks using those skills. Every three points of a skill, rounded up, adds one skill level during skill rolls. You will be able to increase your characters stats during the game, and many stats serve more than one purpose (Body determines HP, Knowledge determines skill slots). Stats are also important for Talents. Many talents require a stat at 15 to select. For example, the popular talent Stunt Driving requires a Speed of 15.

Step 8: Buy SkillsEdit

The next step is to choose your character's initial skills. Your character starts out one skill level in each of the skills associated with the job you selected, and possibly a skill level in some of the skills associated with the jobs in your character's background. You are given 50 points to add to your character's skills. Buying a new skill costs 1 point, and increasing a skill costs as many points as your current level excluding level gained through jobs (i.e. increasing a skill from 3 to 4 costs 2 points for a job skill and 3 points otherwise). Most skills can be increased to level 5; job related skills can be increased to level 6. Unspent points are exchanged for 80 XP each. The skills you choose determine the capabilities of your character, and advice on creating the "perfect character" is beyond the scope of this guide. It is important to remember that your character has skill slots equal to ( 5 + ( Kn x 6 ) / 5 ), so choosing too many skills will impair your character's future development. Certain skills are also associated with Talents, increasing the associated skill to level 5 will allow you to select that Talent next.

Step 9: Select a TalentEdit

Based on your character's stats and skills, and to limited extents traits, you may have the option to select an initial Talent for your character. Talents offer many advantages that can provide a significant boost to a new character's combat potential. Some popular choices are Stunt Driving and Tech Vulture but others might be more useful depending on your character concept.

Step 10: Select a MechaEdit

All characters start with a combat ready Mecha which you can select from a list based on your character's hometown, faction, and cash. The list generated includes all mecha that are all-terrain (i.e. can move in space and on land), are available to the character's faction or a faction in their hometown, and cost less than 250,000 credits. If your character's cash so far is greater than 10,000 credits, the cost limit is raised by ( cash / 2 ) - 5,000 credits up to a max cost of 350,000 credits. After selecting a mecha, if it costs more than 250,000 credits, the excess will be subtracted from your character's cash.

Step 11: Select a Focus and GoalEdit

Next, you are asked to select a Focus and then a Goal for your character. His focus adjusts one of his personality traits and his Goal can affect both a personality trait and the 'Goal' section of the character's Context.

Step 12: Select Colors and ImageEdit

In both ASCII and SDL modes, you are required to choose a skin color, hair color and clothing color. If you are playing the SDL version, you also need to choose a picture. These choices have no effect other on the character creation process.

Step 13: Reputation CompensationEdit

At this point, if your character has a negative value in the Heroic, Lawful, or Renown personality trait, he will receive some XP and credits.

Step 14: Choose a NameEdit

As the last step in the process, you are asked to give your character a name. Failure to enter a name will quit character creation and return the game to the start menu.

Differences between Basic and Advanced modesEdit

The process above is specific to the 'Advanced' mode of character creation. The 'Basic' mode automates this process, making decisions randomly when needed. There are a few specific differences between the processes that are important:

  • Basic stats will be set according to the designation of the job, and randomly increased from there.
  • Skills will be slanted to produce a character that is competent in battle.
  • No talent will be selected; instead the character will receive 800 XP.
  • No Focus or Goal will be selected for the character.