Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Character Generation Project: All Flesh Must Be Eaten

A slight change in how I'll be doing these (based on feedback): I'm not going to bother making characters for myself unless I think I have something to add to what Stephanie did. I'm also going to tack my analysis (if any) to the end of Stephanie's questionnaire. My commentary will be italicized until the very end of the questionnaire.

Those of you who are new to the blog will find what this project is all about here, and my wife's process is here.

Without further ado, here is Stephanie's character (and questionnaire) for All Flesh Must Be Eaten (It's worth noting that I don't have the Revised Edition, which may clear up some of the issues Stephanie had):

CGP: AFMBE FrontWhich game is this for?
All Flesh Must Be Eaten

How long did it take you to generate the character?
A good chunk of a day, off and on - I kept getting distracted and irritated by the system.
She's not joking. It took her close to eight hours to finish this one.

What was your character concept going into generation?
Jayne from Firefly - I wanted someone who could fight and shoot but who wasn't much of a thinker.

Did you feel like character generation captured the flavor of the setting? Did this influence your decision-making process during character generation?
Yes and no - I felt like it was driving me toward a rather bland, average character.
Much like with Fvlminata, the dedicated pool of attribute points tripped her up.

CGP: AFMBE BackHow much control did you feel like you had during character generation?
I felt like I could use the skills to flesh out the character, and the qualities and drawbacks would help in the role-playing experience beyond just the die rolls.

Did the game help you make the character you wanted, or did it feel like you were fighting the game?
I fought the game, and the game won. I wanted to create a character that was more heavily into fighting and not much of a thinker, and it was hard to get something that wasn't balanced.

Do you like the character you ended up with?
Eh. Not a huge fan, but I think I could play him.

Do you think your character fits your concept?
Sort of - he's pretty beefy as a fighter, I think, and only an average thinker.

Do you feel like your character would be effective and/or useful in a game?

Was there anything in particular that you struggled with mechanically?
Figuring out the mechanics in general - they were buried pretty far in the book, and the character generation section only said that high numbers were good.
Adding to the fun: AFMBE's system chapter starts with several optional rolling methods before explaining the basic method of play.

Did anything run more smoothly than you had expected?

What changes would you have made to the character generation process?
Making the range of attributes a bit broader, so that it's possible for even a survivor-level character to have a noticeable advantage in one area and a disadvantage in another area.
I think we had a similar issue in Fvlminata, where the number of points for attributes had a similar impact on character generation.

Did anything leap out at you as obviously broken or unbalanced?
Not really - it was very easy to create a balanced character that isn't awful at anything.

What led you to choose this game as the next one to make a character for?
I was in a zombie frame of mind.
It's true.  She'd been reading a lot of zombie fiction.  Most notably, Feed, Boneshaker, and The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I was not surprised at all when she moved AFMBE to the front of the list. I recently acquired Shambles, and I expect it won't sit idle for long.

How would you compare your experience with this game to your experience with other games?
I kept having to walk away from the generation process to keep from getting completely frustrated, which I'm not used to having to do.
In the spreadsheet we're using for the project, I'd rated this as Medium/Medium Heavy.  I'm terrified of how she will handle Blood of Heroes or even GURPS.

Is this a character you would be willing to play in a campaign?
Possibly, but I feel like he might be kind of boring.
I think this is a strength of GURPS - the "Quirks."  There's not really anything similar in AFMBE.

Does this character make you want to play this game?
No - it seems like this game would be full of characters that are roughly the same, attribute-wise.
If no-one is playing an Inspired and it's a Survivor-Level game, this complaint makes complete sense - 20 points split among 6 attributes are not going to lead to a huge amount of diversity.

Do you have any other questions, comments, etc.?
Seriously, a snapshot of "you will need to roll this and add this to let your character do this" in the character generation section is a good thing. Or at least explaining the mechanics clearly in the mechanics section, because this game buried the basics big time.
I have a lot of AFMBE books.  I LIKE the game - but this is a valid point.  I wonder if the revised edition has a better layout.

Looking at the character, I see that you only bought two points in Qualities - Survivors get 15 points. Were there just no good Qualities?
Sort of. There wasn't anything that really fit the character concept. So I left it as unspent points.

What game do you think you'll be doing next?
Something simpler. Or something that guides you through a bit better.  Or both.  We'll see.

For now, at least, I think All Flesh Must Be Eaten is headed back to the shelf.

1 comment:

  1. It helps to read the book before starting the chargen process, that way you aren't looking for something that you already know. Also, having the DM help with picking qualities, or even helping to come up with something new that fits your concept will help you stand out from the rest of the party in one or two special ways.