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2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 14: Ninjas & Superspies

And welcome to Day 14 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge. Today we will be using Ninjas & Superspies Revised that was writen by Erick Wujick and published by Palladium Books in 1990. I picked up this book at a gaming swap meet at SaltCON-End of Summer for a decent price.

I saw several friends play a lot of the different Palladium games in the 90’s. I don’t know why I never got into those games. I’m sure they would have let me join the table if I had asked. I think it was a time that they were playing when I was working the graveyard shift. So let’s pretend that I’m not being hit by the dreaded scheduling curse and I can finally make a character for a game.

The physical book has 176 pages and is softbound. The ISBN number is 0-916211-31-2 with the original cover price of $14.95. The character creation steps start on page eight. The character sheet is one page long and can be found on page 173.

So I don’t have a concept for this character yet. No, he won’t be based on Jeremy Clarkson. The first step is to generate scores for the eight attributes. These are Intelligent Quotient (I.Q.), Mental Endurance (M.E.) which helps vs hypnotism, Mental Affinity (M.A.) which is charm and charisma, Physical Strength (P.S.), Physical Prowess (P.P.) which is dexterity, Physical Endurance (P.E.), Physical Beauty (P.B.) and Speed (Spd). I roll 3d6 to determine these scores. It doesn’t say I pick which score goes with which attribute so I’ll do them in order. One item of note, if I roll a 16, 17 or 18, I get to roll one more d6 and add the number. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any rolls in that range.

On step two we select the character’s O.C.C. aka Occupational Character Class. They are not listed here nor is there a referenced page number. Flipping through the book I found them on page 47. I like how these are broken down into five categories with several sub-categories each. Martial Artist, Espionage Agent, Free Agent, Gizmoteer and Mercenary. Of course I want to make an Espionage Agent, with Gadgeteer Agent being the final decision.

Step three, what martial arts forms and skills do I want to select for the character. According to the RAW the Gagetter Agent can choose any except for exclusive forms. I’m not a big martial arts aficionado so I stuck with Basic Hand-to-Hand. The O.C.C. gives a list of basic minimum skills. Then it lists the number of skills from different categories to choose from. There was quite a bit to write down, and I don’t know if I understand how the skill scores are generated. I had to do a lot of page hopping and I may have missed something.

Step four is listed as optional, but I’m going to use it because it involves dice rolling. It is the character’s background. I already know he’s going to be American (make it easy for me), but the rest I’m going to roll. So he’s 6’2″ and weighs 172 lbs. He is straight. No not the sexual orientation, straight as in he’s a “true believer” of his side. He was the third of five kids in his family. Apparently the GM rolls to see if the family is still alive or not. So I’ll skip that for now.

On step five we calculate the Hit Points, SDC (aka Structural Damage Capacity) and Chi. Wow, could they have made this any more complicated. You don’t just get a basic HP, you have to calculate your PE with your martial arts form with additional skills. He only has basic hand-to-hand. Nothing is listed in the Martial Arts Forms on page 83. Come on guys, this should be a simple step and not needing a masters degree. I really would have been leaning on an experienced GM here to help explain what this mess is. I think it’s the character’s P.E. score plus a D6 since he’s 1st level. Screw it, I’m going with that. SDC wasn’t any better. It’s the physical toughness of the body. Huh? Why separate these two? At least the score was determined by your OCC and not some unexplained mathematical formula. This character has a 10 SDC. And now the Chi, or living energy. (suddenly I’m hearing Yoda in my head) Perhaps this is something more on the martial arts side of the game that I have little interest in. It appears that since I didn’t take anything more than a basic hand-to-hand, the Chi score is the character’s Physical Endurance (PE) score.

Mercifully we are now to step six. Attribute bonuses (why this couldn’t have been next to the generate attributes step, I don’t know). Since this character had no attributes 16 or higher, he had no bonuses. That was quick.

Step seven is Buy Equipment. There is a starting cash listed in your OCC. Looking over at the equipment and weapons section, when I finally found it, was heavy on the martial arts side, not so heavy on the other equipment. I decided to skip it. Had this been an actual game I would have written something down, but I’m annoyed right now so this guy is going to have a weapon and some electronic doodads to help him do his job.

Step eight and we are selecting the alignment (good) and discipline (used if you are not using the basic alignments. Nope, not diving into that one, he’s just a good guy.

I think we are done because there are no more step listed (after going through pages 8 through 20 for the character creation process, not counting all of the page flipping to look up different items). I made another attempt to confirm what my skill scores would be (I was only provided with additions that was given to me in my skill programs) and there wasn’t even enough slots to write down all of these skills from my notes. So he’s good with electronics and gadgets but not much of a martial arts guy. Go figure.

Yea I guess I should pick a name. Quickly pulls up a random name generator. Luke Ward. Spy-guy. Here’s the character sheet.


I had to chuckle at the disclaimers at the start of the book. Don’t think because your character knows Kung-Fu that you do. Yea, I’ve seen plenty of Mall Ninjas in my day.

So the character creation process started out good, then quickly descended into a quagmire of crunchiness. And not even the good kind. I wonder if I had seen the same thing when I first encountered the game and made a dodge roll then? When I was getting into what should have been basic calculations (like hit points), I was getting ready to throw the book away. While I may try to create a specific type of character in this game for an upcoming project, I doubt I’ll use this system or try to homebrew for it. I’m glad that I didn’t pay too much for the book.

Additional Notes:

There is one reader/participant out there who has been making Character Creation threads on various message boards out on the internet. I found another in my visitor’s history that I can see. If I can confirm it’s for the challenge, I add it to the links section on the Character Creation Challenge page. This latest one has been added. Thank you for attempting to get other RPGers involved. I see your efforts.

Coming Up Next:

Conan: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of

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