Right before Gen Con Wildfire released two new books for their Cthulhu inspired space horror the Void, Characters Unbound I: Players Guide and Horrors of the Void I: Body Horrors. Between getting through the PHB and now Destiny I was able to take some time to read the Players Guide and for the most part I’m glad I did.
So the guide is broken down into 7 chapters spread over 100 pages. So by all accounts it’s a small and quick read. The first three chapters are all character creation related. The first chapter offers a different take on the standard character creation process. It’s longer and more involved than what you find in the core book but it has the advantage of letting you make any kind of character to play. Since one of my critiques of the core book was that there were only three classes to choose from I found this to be awesome. In my opinion it’s better than what you found in the core book.
At it basically takes you through a process of creating a character from birth to the moment just before game starts. Along the way you’re asked to think about where the character was born, what kind of lifestyle he grew up in, education and even the types of jobs he had before (and currently). Each step gives you skills and points to spend on the character as you build him up. The second chapter then covers fleshing out details in your characters past and his personality. Kinda like the 20 questions you see in World of Darkness. And then finally a chapter on zodiac signs (both east and west) to help round things out.
Next the book introduces some new/updated systems. The Talent chapter revises some of the Talents from the core book and also introduces Advanced Talents and Team Talents. Advanced Talents combine two Talents for a greater effect (the advanced replaces the two basic) and Team Talents pretty much are talents that the team takes and gives team based advantages. At least two people need the Talent and only those who have it gain the benefits.
Empathy is a new optional system. I tend to think of it akin to Humanity from World of Darkness. Characters start at 8 and go as high as 10 or as low as 1. As your Empathy drops the character becomes less humane. This has some mechanical ups and downs. On the one hand you do gain boost to Horror checks and Intimidation checks. On the flip side you begin to increase our Madness. It’s a nice system, though the only downfall I see with it is that there is no mechanical way for a loss to happen. Instead the GM judges when its appropriate for a character to lose Empathy. Something like this really requires a saving throw of some sort in my opinion.
There is also a chapter that reinvisions the skill system. Instead of buying individual skills a character buys skill groups. This is similar in practice to Shadowruns group system with the exception that you also can gain specialties in skills of a group. This system is meant to replace the normal skill system though.