Technoir is another roleplaying game that I gave a home to after a friend was trying to clear out his bookshelves last year (thank you Stan) so I thought I’d use it in the 2022 Character Creation Challenge. This game was published by Cellar Games in 2011 and was written by Jeremy Keller. It printed in the 5.5 x 8.5 digest size. According to the Technoir website, the game was taken over by Dream Machine Publications around 2018/2019 with plans for new expansions. The site lists a companion called Morenoir, mech supplement called Mechnoir and several location settings.
In Technoir, the player character is called the protagonist. The generation steps are laid out both in the book or as a free download from the website. The first thing they have you do is select three training programs. These are basically jobs that your character can do. Each program increases a Verb by one and you get to pick one Adjective. The Verbs appear to be the stats of the character. They are Coax (a form of intimidation, manipulation or seduction), Detect, Fight (hand to hand), Hack, Move, Operate (also driving and repair), Prowl, Shoot and Treat (healing). Adjectives look like basic descriptions about your character (agile, obsessive, sexy, tough, etc.). For your first three Programs, you can select two of the same (selecting different Adjectives with each one) but you can’t use all three in the same program.
So this guy is going to take Bodyguard (alert), Pilot (quick) and Soldier (tough). I filled in the verbs (including the 1 free one at the start of creation) each program came with and wrote down the adjectives.
Now the protagonists get to choose three Connections from the Transmissions (series of adventures) chosen by the Game Master. There is one in the back of the book for Los Angeles so I selected three connections from there. If the GM changes Transmission is a new game started with new protagonists or does the existing protagonist select new contacts? Some of the steps with the contacts require participation by your fellow players, so be prepared for a solid session zero dealing with character creation. I used one of the voices in my head for one of them but this part was quite difficult by myself. You pick your contacts, your fellow players select how they are connected to you (respectful, lustful, dependent, etc.)
Kreds are the currency used in Technoir. For step five you would purchase your objects. These are equipment, cybernetics, weapons all with their own adjectives. You can also buy upgrades for your objects which adds additional adjectives. A new protagonist starts with 10 kreds to buy stuff. The equipment was pretty basic and straightforward, which was quite a relief from some of the previous character creations where equipment allocation turned into a nightmare.
The final step is to select the protagonist’s name, handle (nickname) and description of what they would look like on the street. Then each protagonists starts with three push dice that I believe are placed on the character sheet in play. Basically the character is done except for what would have been needed from your fellow players.
This protagonist is going to be Aaron Chambers aka “Trench” because of the trench-coat he always wears.
The example of three different characters being created in the book helped me follow the process. I tried reading the basic system for the system and it just seemed to confuse me at first. There is something about Push Dice (I think it’s a dice pool) and other D6’s that you would use to determine random results.
While I appreciated how quickly the character creation process was, the explanation of the system was not listed in or near creation. I really appreciate the writers who give a basis for the game before the character is create. This helps with the character creation process. Once I understand how Technoir works (if I ever do), then I may have changed a few tings in my character.
Kudos for having the character creation process available as a free download from the publisher’s website.
I really don’t see myself playing or homebrewing for this game.
I really shouldn’t create characters when I’m hungry. My lovely wife is making dinner upstairs and I can smell it all the way down here in the office. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go see what she made.
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