Welcome back to a series of posts on how to create characters in UNBOUND through the lens of Gelt Dimespinner, a fabulous sci-fi gunfighter. Our previous entry focused around Cores, the fundamental building blocks of the character – and today, we’re going to look at Roles, which form the crux of a character’s power in battle scenes.
There are five roles: Brawler, which focuses on being at the centre of big melees; Deadeye, which focuses on ranged combat and mobility; Striker, which focuses on hitting hard and fast; Protector, which focuses on healing and supporting their allies; and Warden, which focuses on defending their allies and engaging dangerous foes.
Gelt seems like a natural fit for Deadeye, on account of the whole “gunfighter” thing, but let’s consider the others. Protector doesn’t fit so well – Gelt doesn’t feel like a leader, or a support character – but Warden could work, if think about Gelt’s fighting style as an Equilibrium-style gun kata paired with bodyguard duty. It would limit Gelt’s effective range, but up the effectiveness of close attacks.
(Because there’s no descriptive limit on what a close attack or a ranged attack are in UNBOUND, players are free to determine what their weapons are in the fiction without worrying about optimal mechanics. So close attacks could just as easily be punches and kicks, or point-blank pistol shots, or sword strikes, or clubs wielded by your gang of toughs as you stand immobile at the back of the room, smoking a cigar. Or whatever. We’ll describe combat in a bit more detail later on.)
Gelt as a Striker could be a John Wick-style gunfighter, hitting hard and fast up-close, and moving on before enemies can summon a proper retaliation – or as a Brawler, Gelt could be a rough-and-tumble, bravura pistolier, risking safety for effectiveness.
We’re going to pick Warden to mix things up a bit. We’ve attached the Warden role sheet to this post so you can get a look at the whole thing. Click here to download the Warden role as a PDF
WHAT DOES A ROLE GET YOU?
As you can see, there are three main parts to to a Role: proficiencies, boosts, and powers.
Proficiencies let you treat any card with an equal or lower value than the proficiency as if it were a 10 when you’re performing the chosen action. The Warden has STRIKE 2 and DEFEND 3 – so, for example, if an adversary attacks them and they draw a 3 of Diamonds in response, it’s treated as though it were a 10 of Diamonds and is much more likely to be higher than the GM’s card.
Boosts trigger when you play a face card – a king, queen or jack – on an action. While some classes inflict more damage on boosts, or add mobility, the Warden’s boosts focus on tactical positioning and absorbing damage. We can spin these as Gelt using arcane alien technology and also being in possession of a sound tactical knowledge.
Powers give the character additional abilities in combat. There are three kinds of powers – always-on, which are usually triggered by another action; boost, which add another boost to the character’s repertoire; or limited, which are powerful but can only be used once before they have to recharge. The vast majority of limited powers are recharged when a player plays a low card (so it’s not all bad news) but some of them have other triggers to recharge, such as when the character moves or takes a wound.
We get to pick one power from Warden for Gelt. CENTRE OF ATTENTION could act as a big pull, focusing the enemies where Gelt needs them to be, and also meshes well with the idea of a flashy maverick gunfighter enraging their enemies. MARKED fits nicely with a gunslinger’s pride, and GET DOWN! ties in nicely with the idea that Gelt is a bodyguard. Neither IRON CONSTITUTION nor LINE IN THE SAND really grab us for the character, so we’ll move past those.
Eventually, we settle on CENTRE OF ATTENTION. There’s something about Gelt that just upsets people – too good-looking, too flashy, too fancy of a coat – whatever it is, it leaves enemies piling over each other to get a punch in.
Seeing as the Warden doesn’t focus on dealing damage (although they can certainly fight, they’re more concerned with battlefield control and negating incoming attacks) we rethink the Xenorian pistols that Gelt carries a little. They function like non-lethal sawn-off shotguns, sending out short-ranged pulses of cobalt blue energy with a distinctive thumping noise.
Reskinning and designing characters as we go is all part of the creation process in UNBOUND. It doesn’t pay to stick rigidly to one original concept as the world changes around you – far better to be flexible and twist your character to better slot into the universe as it develops.
So – we know that Gelt is a bodyguard, now, and uses short-range, non-lethal weapons from an advanced alien civilisation. Join us next time when we’ll take a look at Traits, an additional source of powers that flavour the character’s actions and help describe the rest of the world.