Characters I've Played: TJ

TJ is a character I've come back to a few times over.  Like some other characters I've played (funny how it's happened), she started out as a character for a zombie horror game that didn't last terribly long.  But when Sunday Game Group was discussing having regular roleplaying for the first time (which was maybe 4 or 5 years ago, now!) we discussed starting off with the Cortex System from Margret Weis Productions using the Supernatural setting.  So TJ seemed like a natural fit for an update into Evil Hat's Fate Core.

So a first thing to throw out there is that TJ is what's generally called a "crossplay" character.  I've actually seen the topic of "is it possible for guys to play girls in RPGs?" come up quite a bit lately, so I feel like it's important to acknowledge the discussion.  Personally, I've never seen much of an issue.  The characters I play aren't me and as a writer I tend to make characters based on what fits the story I want to tell.  So in this instance, TJ just fit.  Do I play her as a woman would play her?  I have no idea, to be honest.  But I try and keep in mind that TJ should be a complete person with opinions and feelings.

That means that TJ has a sexual orientation (which is bisexual) and standards as to what she wants in that orientation.  I have the list of what she likes in my head and I can use that list to go back an assess things from her viewpoint.  Which, I think, is the value of roleplaying to me.  I know what I'd do, or would like to do, in a lot of life situations.  It's far more interesting to see if I can build a story for someone else and carry that to outcomes.  It's a test of my writing/creating skills and a test of my ability to create logical reasonings for things.  In that sense playing a girl, for me, isn't really all that different from playing a Tauren.

So that all said, a bit of story about TJ.  TJ was born in the Portland, Oregon and was a gearhead from a young age.  She has a number of tattoos, which reflect successful missions as a hunter.  She is strong but still has a figure rather than an overly-muscled frame and she cares deeply about people and the environment, but is fairly apolitical.  There's a couple of secret bits of information about here that I'll try to hint at here, but not reveal.

TJ's original system was D20 Modern, then she rolled over into Cortex, and then from there we did manage to briefly continue our Supernatural game in the version of Fate used in Strands of Fate.  As a reminder, I'll be going over TJ's High Concept, her Trouble, 3 Phase Aspects, her Skills, and her Stunts.

TJ's High Concept is an easy one for me, because it was the first set of words I came up with when I was first creating her.  She's a biker, a girl, she's got tattoos, and she hunts the supernatural.  All that rolls together well.
High Concept: Tattooed Biker and Huntress

TJ's Trouble is similarly fairly straightforward.  She's a striking woman, with all the tattoos.  She's not gorgeous or hideous, but she's fit and has strong features.  She dresses in a tomboy fashion and doesn't do "meek and demure."  Add to that a loud motorcycle and a penchant for baseball bats and shotguns and she's pretty hard not to notice.
Trouble:  Hard to Forget

The first phase aspect is usually the background for my characters.  In the Supernatural setting I like to make this about what made them a Hunter.  For TJ, this goes back to when she was visiting a friend in Santa Cruz and an angry ghost decided to crash their party.  It turned out the ghost was haunting the locket TJ's friend had picked up at an antique store and assumed the girl had gotten the locket from the ghosts' husband, who'd cheated on the ghost so many years ago.  TJ stopped the ghost by destroying the locket, making a pretty clear aspect.
Phase One (Background): Ghost Lock-down

The second phase is a situation in which the characters form some of their initial connections.  One of the main characters that TJ has had repeated adventures with is named Jane, who is a bookish, smaller, quiet hunter, which serves as a good foil for big, loud TJ.  We've never quite fleshed out their first meeting, but it's been hinted at that TJ saved Jane from some monster and Jane saved TJ from the cops.  TJ also showed a penchant for breaking down the obstacles in her way.
Phase Two (Jane Guest Star): Break Stuff

Third phase, like second, should be another guest starring situation.  I don't know that at this point any of the characters I've played with in the past fit particularly strongly for this slot, so I'll leave it open for the day we play again and I need to fill in.  A key feature of TJ's persona is the fact that she uses her tattoos to record her hunts, so it's an easy choice to make this aspect about that.
Phase Three: Stories in Ink

Skills wise, TJ is fairly straightforward.  Her key ability would probably be fight, as that's where she makes her living.  Beneath that would be the drive skill (for her motorcycle) and the craft skill for her mechanical inclination.  Following that would be physique (because she's got the ability for a lot of stamina), athletics (because she works out regularly), and shoot (because it's her other key mode of combat).  Filling out her skills would be rapport, empathy, notice, and contacts.

Great(+4): Fight
Good(+3): Drive, Craft
Fair(+2): Physique, Athletics, Shoot
Average(+1): Rapport, Empathy, Notice, Contacts

In terms of stunts, TJ uses them to fill in a bit of her weak areas.  She has a strength with shotguns, but relative inexperience with other guns, so I give her a shoot stunt that boosts her shotgun skills.  I've called this "Buckshot Blast" in the past and I'll stick with that here.  Similarly, TJ isn't a great investigator, but sometimes can make leaps of insight that get her where she needs to be.  I'll make a stunt in this case that plays off her empathy to take on a trapping of investigation.  This, I think, should be called "Seeing the Pattern."  Finally, TJ is fairly intimidating and can get what she wants out of people using her looks or her brawn.  Both of these fit in with physique, so I'll give her an ability to use physique to intimidate or charm over rapport.  I'll call this "Woman of Note."
Buckshot Blast
Seeing the Pattern
Woman of Note

So that's TJ.  Feels good to update her though she's less out of date than others I might do in this series.  Hopefully another chance to play her will come up soon.

Previous in this series: Thorren