In N-Dimensional Tourists, each major character is defined by:
- A Card, which is used during improv.
- Any number of Aspects, which determine what the character can do;
- 5 Attributes, which determine how good a character is at their tasks;
- Any number of Specialties, which let them use Attributes in unusual manners;
- At least one Weakness, which makes their life more complicated.
Minor non-player characters are typically described in even broader strokes, at least until the story calls upon them to be defined in more details.
Oh, and one last thing: a character isn’t necessarily a human being. It can just as well be a seven-headed alien, a religion, a mountain, a battlestation or a conspiracy. As long as it’s a major character, the rules are exactly the same.
A Figure is just any card in the Space·Time Deck. Whenever your Figure is drawn by any player, for any reason, whatever happened is strongly related to you.
The Space·Time Deck is provided with a number of blank cards designed to be customized. Do not hesitate to add your character to one of these cards.
You can think of an Aspect as of something that would be written on your police record, or any equivalent in your setting. An Aspect consists in a few words.
By describing your character, Aspects enable you to do things that you would otherwise not be able to do. For instance, a Boy Magician will be both a Boy (with all the knowledge that children have, and also forbidden from going into the girl’s dormitories) and a Magician (with the ability to cast spells). By opposition, a Gender-ambiguous Knight and Plenipotentiary Emissary of His Majesty King Louis XV will have a very different set of skills, equipment, knowledge, limitations and certainly objectives.
Just by having this Aspect, the Boy Magician will be able to cast spell where the Gender-ambiguous Knight and Plenipotentiary Emissary of His Majesty King Louis XV won’t. On the other hand, the latter will have the authority to speak in the name of the King, while the former will generally be ignored by adults.
Aspects do not have to be qualities. You can be an Ill-tempered Pirate Princess, a Lazy Ninja Student or a Good-for-nothing Vampire Dandy.
Note that Aspects are not reserved to characters. Places or Situations commonly have Aspects.
Weaknesses are special Aspects. Every character has at least one Weakness.
Being harmed during a Conflict, physically, socially or mentally, will give you additional Weaknesses. Whether these Weaknesses may be eventually cured depends on their gravity.
You could be Physically weak, or On the run from the Queen, or Branded with infamy, or Obsessed with Justice. You could have a Broken arm or be a PTSD Patient – either of which might or might not heal, depending on the gravity and your setting’s ability to deal with such trauma.
The Attributes are:
- Rock (stability, authority, power, physical strength);
- Paper (knowledge, deduction, riches);
- Blades (violence, ability to effect change);
- Serpent (speed, survival, stealth, deception);
- Unknown (imagination, intuition, perception).
Whether you’re a Human Being, a Goddess of Olympus, or a Lemming, you have the same Attributes and their values range between 1 and 5.
Human Beings, Gods of Olympus and Lemmings are differentiated by their Aspects, their Specialties and their haircut.
If you wonder how good a Serpent of 3 is, look at the following scale:
- Mythic (9)
- Legendary (8)
- Epic (7)
- Fantastic (6)
- Superb (5)
- Great (4)
- Good (3)
- Fair (2)
- Average (1)
- Mediocre (0)
Of course, Good for the Lord of Forges is not the same thing as Good for a lowly rodent, but they can both have a Serpent of 3.
Whenever you’re attempting to Meet a Challenge in your favor, your Attributes will increase your chances of succeeding without Cost.
Specialties are where the rules are customized to fit your character.
Each Specialty looks like:
- *Because I’m a Vampire, I can perform physical attacks with my gaze, using Rock.*
- *Because I’m a Time-Hopping Paradox Freak, whenever I’m stuck, I can often count on my Future Self to have already helped me when I was looking away, without damaging space-time.*
Or, more generally,
- Because I am/I have [something pretty unique], whenever [some condition is met], I can [do something out of the ordinary]/[tweak the rules somehow].
Let’s face it, you are here to play major characters, not extras. The Sleeve is where you put cards that give you this extra edge, making sure that you’re not going to disappear from the story as easily as an extra.
Beginning characters have a Sleeve of 3 Cards. This means that at the beginning of a gaming session, they draw 3 cards from the Space·Time Deck.
More experienced characters may have a higher Sleeve.
That’s all. We’ll see later how to use your Aspects, Attributes/Weaknesses, Specialties and Reserve.