Gear Antique: Character Creation and Action Resolution

I’ve moved into my new apartment in the port of Nagoya, and finally got the internet running.  Phew!

A few weeks back, a reader left a comment asking me to talk about Gear Antique, an early steampunk game from 1991.  It looks like I’ve got the first edition, so I won’t be able to talk about the Renaissance edition that came out in ’99.  Today I’ll discuss character creation and action checks.

Gear Antique is a pretty hardcore game that uses a pretty simple d100 system and has a complicated steampunk creation system.  The world is very similar to Europe at the turn of the century, except that there are monsters and low level steampunk machines all around.  Planes, steamcars, and flimsy guns are the order of the day; you won’t find steamcycles with drills or giant steam mechs here.  A character’s education is more important than the weapon they carry, and status is a character stat.

Character Creation

8 steps to creating a character:

  1. Determine a character’s 8 stats
  2. Determine a character’s Luck
  3. Write down basic action resolution values
  4. Write down the character’s HP
  5. Choose educational background and determine their profession
  6. Write down skills
  7. Determine the character’s name and age
  8. Get equipment

1) Determine 8 stats

The 8 defining statistics of a character (body, dexterity, reflex, nimbleness, intelligence, sense, charisma, status) can be determined in 2 ways: random and point buy.

To determine the stats randomly, the player rolls 3d6+5 for each stat in a row.  To use point buy, each stat starts at 15; the player may take points out of one skill and put points into another.  Stats max out at 50 and must have at least 8.

2) A character’s fate is determined by rolling 3d10.

3) A character’s basic action resolution values are derived by adding certain values together.  For example: Power checks use Body + Dexterity, and Move checks use Dexterity and Nimbleness, etc.

4) A character’s HP is determined by adding their Body + Reflex values together.  A character dies when their HP reaches 0, and are knocked out when it drops below 5.

5) Players must choose, in order from the time of their birth, which schools and subjects their character has studied.  Certain schools will teach certain skills and will take a certain number of years to graduate from.  This is important when figuring out your character’s age.

6) A character must meet the stat requirements in order to choose it.  For example, an engineer must have an intelligence of 20 and a status above commoner (note: I just made that up off the top of my head).  Specialities within occupations have stricter prerequisites.

7) Skills available to a character are determined by their job.  Skills allow a character to make action resolutions easier.

8) Names should be European and a character’s age must match their education history.  Adventurers are usually not older than 60.

Action Resolution

Gear Antique uses a pretty standard d100 roll under system.

A character will use the appropriate basic action resolution value determined by the GM, then attempt to succeed by rolling under the value; dodge rolls and shooting rolls have special fumble rules, usually by rolling over 90.

Easy checks are done by having the player roll twice (or more) and requiring 1 success or more.  Harder checks will have a player roll twice (or more) and succeed every time.

A special rule called Wind of Luck allows a player to attempt to roll under their Wind of Luck (WoL) skill when they fail to try again; whether or not they succeed this second attempt, they add 1d10 to their WoL skill (it starts at the same value as their Luck stat).  When it reaches 70, they roll on the Unfortune Chart, then the WoL score resets.

This is one of the first JTRPGs I’ve played, but I was pretty lost when I was playing it at the time.  I don’t think there was any combat during that entire session, but the friend that GMed it is still super excited about this game.  I’ll keep looking at it and report again soon.


~ by mattgsanchez on June 30, 2011.

5 Responses to “Gear Antique: Character Creation and Action Resolution”

  1. What is exactly the character’s fate? Is some kind of advantage/disadvantage or is more like “your character is destined to do X”?

    And yes, the game sounds exactly like the kind of game you could expect from 1991, percentile rolls included.

    • Oops, that’s a transcription error. It’s nothing so exciting as that. Instead, it’s the character’s Luck stat, which is simply a numerical value. It’s used to determine the initial Wind of Luck value and probably used during a scenario when a character is trying to get lucky.

  2. Does the Gear Antique 1st edition have a band around the book? I saw the Renaissance edition has one (from Yahoo Auctions).

  3. Where did you find a copy?

    • Mine was a gift from a Japanese friend. I haven’t seen any around for sale, though you might have some luck either on Ebay or at one of the Yellow Submarine stores in Tokyo.

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