Transhuman: The Threshold
The following steps will guide you on the process of creating a character for Transhuman: The Threshold
Step One: Character Concept
Concept is the stone from which well-developed characters are sculpted. Before thoughts of game mechanics focus a player’s attention on microcosmic details of his character’s personality, it is important to hammer out a rough-hewn form, seeing the whole before concentrating on the parts.
Concept needs only to be a general idea — renowned socialite, musical prodigy, heroic savior — but it should be enough to spawn ever more complex ideas about the character’s motives, environment and relationships. Of course, a concept can be far more complex and some players might want to include Motive and Method at this time. Information regarding Motive and Method is detailed in Step Five.
Step Two: Select Attributes
After the more qualitative aspects of a character have been solidified, players must assign numbers that support their decisions. The first step in determining a character’s numeric traits is to prioritize his Attributes. Attributes represent raw, natural ability. How strong is the character? How smart? How agile? What impression does he make as he enters a room?
Attributes take these questions and more into account, ultimately providing the foundation upon which a character is built. Characters have nine Attributes, divided into three categories: Mental (Intelligence, Wits, Resolve), Physical (Strength, Dexterity, Stamina) and Social (Presence, Manipulation, Composure).
First, you must decide in which of these categories your character excels the most (primary). You then select the group of Attributes in which your character is average (secondary). Finally, the remaining category is designated as the character’s weakest area of natural talent (tertiary). Is your character a scrawny intellectual, or possibly a brute lacking in social graces?
Your character concept should provide insight into where to assign your priorities, but you may decide to break with that mold — say, by creating a short, sinewy mob enforcer whose intensity and rage more than make up for his lack of size.
All characters begin with one dot in each Attribute, reflecting the basic capabilities of all human beings. The priorities established in the preceding paragraph determine how many dots are allocated for each Attribute cluster. Five additional dots are added to the primary group, four additional dots to the secondary group and three dots to the tertiary group.
For example, the scrawny intellectual mentioned previously would have five dots in his Mental category, four in his Social and three in his Physical category, while the tactless brute would have five dots in his Physical category, four in his Mental and only three in his Social category.
The fifth dot in any Attribute costs two dots to purchase. So, a player who wants his character to have a Dexterity of 5 needs to spend five dots. (He starts with one free dot, spends three more to achieve a score of 4, and then spends two more for the fifth dot.)
Step Three: Select Skills
Skills are divided into the same three subcategories as Attributes: Mental, Physical and Social. Mental Skills tend to relyon knowledge of the world and are improved through study and practical application. Physical Skills rely on training, improved mainly through practice and repetition. Finally, Social Skills rely heavily on interpersonal experience and improve through interaction with others or through trial and error.
Like Attributes, Skill groups must be prioritized during character creation. Players should select primary, secondary and tertiary categories for their Skills. The primary group receives 11 dots, the secondary group gets seven, and the tertiary group receives four. Note that, unlike Attributes, characters do not begin the game with an automatic dot in any Skill, as Skills dots are obtained through dedication to a field, not natural talent alone. As before, the fifth dot in any Skill costs two dots to purchase.
Step Four: Select Skill Specialties
While characters might have considerable training in Firearms or expertise in Medicine, they excel in certain aspects of these Skills more so than in others. For instance, Officer Grimes might have a special proficiency with his particular sidearm but not with rifles, shotguns or chain guns. He might understand the basic principles of using these firearms, but the bulk of his training has been with his pistol. Represented in game terms, such a character may have three dots in Firearms, with a Specialty in automatic pistols.
Players choose three Skill Specialties during character creation. These should be very specific, though players may choose more than one Specialty for any given Skill. So, using the previous example, Officer Grimes might have Specialties in both automatic pistols and shotguns.
Step Five: Add Transhuman Template
This is the step where an otherwise conventional World of Darkness character becomes Transhuman.
Select a Motive
Your Motive is the reason you chose to become transhuman in the first place. It forms a core of your personal history and can guide your interests and actions going forward.
However, do not feel shackled to your Motive. It has no game mechanic effect, and as an element of a person’s past it does not represent the whole of your future.
There are 5 Motives in Transhuman: The Threshold
- The Stricken: Those with physical disabilities or illnesses
- The Lost: Those with mental illnesses, deficiencies, or brain injuries
- The Penitent: Those who are imprisoned or otherwise in a desperate situation
- The Seekers: Those who wish to augment themselves for their own goals
- The Agents: Those who are part of a government or military program
Select a Patron
Your Patron is the organization, corporation, agency, or other faction that is responsible for how you acquired your augments and became transhuman.
While 5 Patrons are listed below for the sake of completeness, in this particular campaign Primacy Medical Technologies will be the Patron for all player characters.
- Primacy Medical Technologies: A powerful international corporation with strong ties to the US government and military.
Select a Method
Your Method is an important selection. It determines what is your Native Augment (a unique Augment that is the signature of that Method) and in general determines what type of Augments and Plugins are available to you.
There are 5 Methods in Transhuman: The Threshold.
- Chimeras: Hybrids of human and animal DNA
- Vitruvians: Improving the human form through biological augmentation
- Bionics: Integrating cybernetic technology into their bodies
- Mentats: Increasing the power of the human brain with genetics and pharmaceuticals
- Neurotechs: Replacing and upgrading parts of the brain with computer technology
Select Favored Attribute
Even without their augments, transhumans are a cut above in terms of mental fortitude. Select either Resolve or Composure as a Favored Attribute. Add a dot to your Favored Attribute. This will also effectively raise your Willpower dots by one when you determine your Advantages later. If your Favored Attribute is at 4 dots, you ignore the normal requirement of the fifth dot in an Attribute costing double. If your Favored Attribute is already at 5 dots, you cannot increase it further.
Augments are what make transhumans truly different from the rest of humanity. They are cybernetic implants, genetic enhancements, and other incredible technological advancements that push transhumans beyond what was once thought physically possible.
You begin play with 3 dots of Augments, at least one dot of which must be spent on your Native Augment for your Method, as shown below:
Neurotechs utilize Teleinformatics – Mental access and interaction with machines
Chimeras have Exogenetics – Animalistic traits added to the body
Bionics carry cybernetic Integration – Including artificial devices and components into the body
Mentats use Neocognizants – Mental process upgrades via brain alteration
Vitruvians amplify themselves with Vitatropics – Body enhancement from gene therapy and biological alteration
See the section on Augments and Plugins for more information and selections.
Pinnacle is a special characteristic for transhumans. It determines the upper limits of their capabilities, and has special effects on augments and the usage of Willpower.
See the section on Pinnacle for more information on how it is utilized in Transhuman: The Threshold.
Characters begin play with one dot of Pinnacle for free. Further dots can be purchased during character creation by spending Merit dots at a 3:1 ratio. That is, for 3 dots of Merits you may begin play with 2 dots of Pinnacle, and for 6 dots of Merits you may begin play with 3 dots of Pinnacle. Pinnacle is improved during the campaign by the expenditure of Experience Points.
Step Six: Select Merits
You begin play with seven dots of Merits to distribute. See the section on Merits for which Merits are available in Transhuman: The Threshold and information on new Merits unique to this game.
Step Seven: Determine Advantages
Rules regarding advantages can be found on pages 90-105 of the World of Darkness Rulebook. What follows concerns itself less with game mechanics and more with the importance of certain advantages to transhuman characters.
Willpower is extremely important to transhumans, as it is utilized heavily in the course of activating and utilizing many Augments and Plugins.
Additionally, Willpower interacts with a character’s Pinnacle in specific ways, as detailed in that section, giving the character extra Health and other advantages.
Unlike other World of Darkness characters, transhumans do not have normal Morality concerns. Instead, their Morality score is replaced with an Alienation score, to replicate the sort of psychological and ethical challenges transhumans face.
See the section on Alienation for more information on Alienation, how it impacts your character, and how it increases or decreases.
Characters begin play with an Alienation of 7, although up to two dots may be sacrificed in character creation in order to gain an additional 5 experience points per dot (for a total of 10 experience if the character’s Alienation is lowered to 5). This represents a character whose augmentation process was especially troublesome, traumatic, or deeply affecting, or a character who was already on a disconnected and callous road to their human nature.
Step Eight: Finishing Touches
You should now apply any finishing touches to your character and fill in any details you have yet to decide upon, like your name, physical appearance, and similar details.
- Assets and Faults
Step Eight: Finishing Touches