Character Generation Example One – The Laundry


So I’m going to create a character for The Laundry, one of my favourite recent fictional universes. For those who are unaware The Laundry is a series of books by Charles Stross that tells the story of various individuals (and entities) who work for The Laundry; the part of the British Civil Service responsible for handling the Mythos and related events and keeping the Things that live in the angles of space & time from eating our world.

The Laundry is published by our friends at Cubicle 7 and uses a variant of the BRP system that standard CoC uses.

Much like traditional Call of Cthulhu your characters are drawn from a number of backgrounds and are not necessarily equipped for the role of fighting back the horrors of the Mythos; however it is now your job and your life, soul and pension all depend on how well you do your job.

Full character generation after the break point.

Step 1 – Identity

You need a name and a sex. So I’m going to go with…

Name: Declan Alexander
Sex: Male

Step 2 – Roll Stats

Yes people, this game uses dice rolls for stats. Normally with my group we allow roll and assign within systems like this, no one wants to get stuck with a set of stats that make their concept impossible. However for the sake of the experiment I will roll and assign in order. Lets see what we get:

STR, CON, POW, DEX & CHA are 3D6
INT & SIZ are 2D6+6
EDU is 3D6+3

CON 10
SIZ 13
INT 19
POW 18
DEX 12
CHA 14
EDU 20

So we’re looking at someone who is smart, well educated and physically average to below average.

Step 3 – Age

Characters in The Laundry are 17+2D6 years old, with a minimum age of EDU + 5. I roll 5 on 2D6, add 17 and that gives 22, that is less that 25 (EDU+5 Minimum) so we boost up to 25.

Now at this point I could choose to be older, which grants additional skill point later on. Given that this character looks like he’s going to be someone who thinks his way out of situations so I’ll go with that. Add +10 years to his starting age and then add +20 Professional Skill Points, used later.

Final Age: 35

Step 4 – Characteristic Rolls & Base Skills

Each stat (except for SIZ) has an associated characteristic roll, lets calculate those (Relevant stat x5):

Effort (STR) 45
Endurance (CON) 50
Idea (INT) 95
Luck (POW) 90
Agility (DEX) 60
Appearance (CHA) 70
Know (EDU) 100

Then we calculate the Dodge and Language (Native) bases:

Dodge Base (DEX x2): 24
Language Base (EDU x5): 100

Step 5 – Derived Characteristics

Next up we calculated Damage Bonus, Hit Points, Major Wound Threshold, Experience Bonus, Move & Sanity.

Damage Bonus (DB) = STR + SIZ then look up on a table. Our STR+SIZ puts us firmly in the no bonus category.
Hit Points (HP) = (CON+SIZ)/2. This gives us 11.5, in this case we round up to 12.
Major Wound Threshold = 1/2 HP Total rounded up. We have a Major Wound Threshold of 6.
Experience Bonus = INT/2 Round Up; so for us this is 10.
Move is always 10 for humans.
Sanity = POW x5. So we start off with an extremely well grounded 90.

Step 6 – Personality Type

Now we have to choose a personality type, this gives us some skill bonuses and helps us refine our characters approach to problems. You can choose or roll randomly. I’ll roll.

I get a 6, which means I roll ‘Nutter’:

Your character can safely be categorised as insane, though they are functional and able to work within the organisation of the Laundry. Rational thought and problem-solving methods are neglected: insane leaps of logic are the primary means of attaining goals.

Ok, so not really meshing with the 90 sanity, but I bet I can make it work. Being a ‘Nutter’ gives some skill bonuses though:

Command: +20
Fast Talk: +20
Hide: +20
Insight: +20
Any Two Knowledge Skills: +20
I’m going to take Business & Law.
Research: +20
Any Two Science Skills: +20
I’m going to take Mathematics & Psychology
Sense: +20
Spot: +20
Stealth: +20
Strategy: +20

Reduce starting sanity by 20 and choose an appropriate mental disorder. Your character may be in therapy or on medication to deal with the symptoms.

Ok, that sounds good to me. Reduces our Sanity from 90 to 70. We need to choose a mental disorder so lets roll D100 and look at the table. I get 71, that’s a Phobia, lets see of what…. A random roll gives me Thalassophobia, the fear of Oceans, the Sea or Open Water.

Step 7 – Profession & Skills

+20 Professional Skill Points from Age

Now we make a big choice, what was our profession was before we joined the Laundry. This will determine our starting skills and wealth level.

I take a look over the list of professional options and mull over the stats I’ve rolled and the personality type. Declan seems likes the smart but highly strung type to me, hence the nutter personality; given that I’ve worked in the corporate I.T. world Declan sounds like he’s a Consultant to me. More specifically he’s going to be a BSI (British Standards Institute) certified ISO Auditor who worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

So I take ‘Consultant’ as my Profession. This gives the following skills.

Computer Use (any)
Fast Talk
Language (Own)

Then I add 2 personal specialities. I’m going to take:

Knowledge (any)

Finally I note the Wealth level of Affluent.

Now we distribute (EDU x5) + 20 (from age) skill points between those skills. 120 skill points to spend, subject to these limitations though, no skill (including its base) can exceed 75%, unless that number is reached as a skill base. So lets note the skill bases. At the same time I may as well copy in the bases and skills from my personality.

Personality Skills

Command: 25%
Fast Talk: 25%
Hide: 30%
Insight: 25%
Knowledge (Politics): 25%
Knowledge (Law): 25%
Research: 45%
Science (Mathematics): 30%
Science (Psychology): 25%
Sense: 30%
Spot: 45%
Stealth: 30%
Strategy: 25%

Profession Skills (Base)

Bureaucracy (5%):
Computer Use (Programming, 5%)
Fast Talk: *
Insight: *
Listen (25%):
Language (English, 100%)
Persuade (15%):
Research: *
Etiquette (5%):
Knowledge (Business, 1%)

Skills marked with a * are repeated from the Personality Skills list. So the points I spend are:

30 on Bureaucracy, 25 on Computer Use (Programming), 5 on Listen, 5 on Persuade, 6 on Etiquette, 49 on Knowledge (Business).

Step Eight: Assignment and Training

By this point we now know Declans previous profession and some about his personality. He was a highly strung but smart consultant working for PWC. Something brought him to the attention of the Laundry and they then ‘recruited’ him. The Laundry is famously random about where it assigns people so lets see what their HR department has in store for Declan. I roll 1D10 for the assignment and get 10. That means Declan was assigned to The Plumbers (the Laundry equivalent of the Cleaners, they disappear messes and deal with outbreaks and infestations), at this point I wonder what Declan did to get assigned there, given his obvious physical unsuitability.

It gives me skill bonuses though. +10 to the following:

Firearms (any), Knowledge (Occult), Science (Thaumaturgy), Sorcery & Stealth

Finally we add the Laundry basic training, +5 to the following skills:

Bureaucracy, Computer Use, Fine Manipulation, Firearm (any, usually Pistol or Esoteric), Knowledge (Accounting), Knowledge
(Espionage), Knowledge (Law), Knowledge (Occult), Knowledge (Politics) and Spot.

That’s it for skills.

Step 9 – Possessions

Declan starts the game with the basics, clothing, money, secure phone & Warrant Card. However he doesn’t have high enough ratings in any of the relevant skills to qualify for any of the Laundry special toys (beyond the Warrant Card).

Declans Summary

Declan has always been smart, add to that well educated and throw in a privileged upbringing and you have a recipe for a mental breakdown by 20. Not in this case though, Declan graduated a couple of years ahead of most of his peers and an almost criminal lack of imagination funnelled him towards a life working for PWC as a business consultant, helping his clients prepare for BSI audits.

Declan came to the attention of the Laundry when he was contracted to provide business consultancy services to a number of financial investment funds run in coastal areas of the United Kingdom; it turns out that these funds were in fact fronts for BLUE HADES cultists who were attempting to legitimise some of their oceanic bounty and turn it into political contributions with which they could buy themselves a politician.

Everything came to a head for Declan when he was being shown a near shore fish farm that was a proposed area of investment, the head of the Cult was intending to put the whammy of Declan, the Laundry team following him intervened. The situation was resolved with the loss of the cult leader and Declan almost drowning at the hands of a BLUE HADES Hybrid.

Following that and a brief stay in at the Funny Farm Declan was brought on board as a Laundry employee, his extensive background in business processes and standards put him in the perfect position to fit into the Media Relations or Contracts & Bindings divisions, however due to a spectacularly botched employee induction process he ended up being assigned to the Plumbers. He, just, survived the Plumbers basic traning and induction and has managed to convince his boss that he is much more valuable to the department on the planning end of the process than the sharp end.

Recently rumours have been circulating with the terrifying phrase ‘Cross Disciplinary Task Force’ attached to Declan and a few other notable newbies in the great game of the Laundry accountability and organisation.

Full Character Sheet Below.

Name: Declan Alexander
Player: Steve Mortimer
Age: 35
Position: Seriously out of his depth consultant
Assignment: Plumbers
Personality: Nutter
Profession: BSI Consultant

Wealth Level: Affluent

Primary Statistics

CON 10
SIZ 13
INT 19
POW 18
DEX 12
CHA 14
EDU 20

Secondary Statistics

Effort (STR) 45
Endurance (CON) 50
Idea (INT) 95
Luck (POW) 90
Agility (DEX) 60
Appearance (CHA) 70
Know (EDU) 100

Sanity: 70
Hit Points: 12
Major Wound: 6
Experience Bonus: 10
Move: 10

Mental Disorders: Thalassophobia (Fear of Oceans, Seas and Open Water)


Bureaucracy: 40%
Command: 25%
Computer Use (Programming): 35%
Dodge: 24%
Etiquette: 11%
Fast Talk: 25%
Fine Manipulation: 10%
Firearms (Pistol): 35%
Hide: 30%
Insight: 25%
Knowledge (Accounting): 15%
Knowledge (Business): 50%
Knowledge (Espionage): 5%
Knowledge (Law): 30%
Knowledge (Occult): 20%
Knowledge (Politics): 30%
Listen (25%): 30%
Language (English): 100%
Persuade (15%): 20%
Research: 45%
Science (Mathematics): 30%
Science (Psychology): 25%
Science (Thaumaturgy): 10%
Sense: 30%
Sorcery: 10%
Spot: 50%
Stealth: 40%
Strategy: 25%

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