Here’s the design sheet for the Federation Campaign. As a multiverse setting, it’s most notable for its general lack of restrictions. Characters could be virtually anything…
Characters from the recent Core are the beneficiaries of advanced social, educational, and medical systems, run by advanced expert systems with centuries of experience. They are healthy (including any necessary genetic, neurological, or psychological corrections as well as regeneration and life-extension techniques), sane, reasonable, and well-educated. They are used to computer systems which operate everything, have safe and healthy childhoods, and have plenty of leisure time for hobbies. They may or may not have genetic or cybrenetic enhancements. Interestingly, they normally have a firmly-grounded self-image: when they die, they continue in the manifold without much change.
Older characters, and those born in the Manifold, tend to be somewhat idealized and more experienced, but lack the benefits of the social systems of the recent core.
In game terms, both origins are comparable. Character attributes are rolled using 5d6/keep 3 and arranged as desired. Given centuries of both fantasy and genetic engineering, players may design their own +0 or +1 racial templates, although they should always be recognizable as being basically human.
There are additional benefits for attributes with positive attribute modifiers. Characters get (2x Cha Mod) free Contacts, get physical Damage Reduction of (Str Mod/-), gain a base defense score equal to their (Wis Mod) when unarmored or lightly armored and both aware of attacks and free to move, add their (Int Mod) to all skill scores on which they’ve spent at least 1 SP (yes, that means that intelligence-based skills add it twice), get (2x Dex Mod) free points worth of weapon proficiencies, and – once they’ve learned some magic – get (Con Mod) “spell points” each day (allowing them to draw on the energies of the manifold to get minor* magics to work in the inner circles),
*This is actually fairly complicated. You’re limited absolutely by the magic allowable in the realm you’re drawing on and by your own abilities and relatively by the local rules: “pushing” the local limits by one spell level (that’s usually L0-L1 in the Core and the First Circle) “costs” one of your daily uses. Each +2 levels costs another “use”. If you run out of uses to fuel a particular effect, you can give up this ability for the next day / week / month / season / year / etc to push things by up to two more spell levels per step up to a maximum of (Con Mod) steps.
If your magic is being powered by an entity from the outer circles, it can allow you to use its own “magic points” in addition to, or instead of, its own, but this is rare and usually requires a “faith” skill in the particular entity involved (it may be a narrow skill if its in a particular aspect of the entity involved).
In general, anything personal that works in the Core will work throughout the Manifold. External devices are always a bit iffy: they may be translated into local equivalents, left untouched (especially likely if they’re widely assumed in the core, such as smartclothes and personal computer systems) or simply fail to operate if they do not fit the “theme” of the world you’ve currently visiting.
Sadly, about the only things which work in the core reality are technology and basic Witchcraft (without pacts). Magical powers generally only work out in the Manifold, and the more potent ones normally only work out in the outer circles. Magical items, being less flexible than personal abilities, are even more restricted. Still, relics – being essentially a part of their users – usually translate well between worlds, while Charms and Talismans (from the Practical Enchanter) are so minor that they work in almost any magical realm.
The Federation Campaign uses relatively specific skills, and no skill synergies. For example, there is no universal “history” skill. A character could have a broad skill (Core Earth History) or a narrow one (History of China). Fortunately for specialists, the first skill point spent on a narrow skill also provides a +5 training bonus in addition to the base skill level.
Task Difficulties may be Trivial (10), Easy (15), Average (20), Difficult (25), Remarkable (30), Incredible (35), Extraordinary (40), Amazing (50), and Legendary (55-65). Impossible (70) tasks are just that unless the character has some supernatural enhancement that makes one possible. It is possible to substitute one skill for another: You can try to use a narrow skill in place of a broad one, but this increases the task DC by two levels and cannot be attempted on tasks with a base difficulty above “Difficult”
Broad skills cannot be used to attempt tasks of beyond Extraordinary difficulty. Narrow skills cannot be used to attempt tasks of above Legendary difficulty. No skill may be used to attempt a task of Impossible difficulty without supernatural augmentation.
Notable Special Skills include:
Gadgetry: Allows a character to keep (skill level) small devices of the appropriate type in good working order. A common skill for alchemists, gadgeteers, ninja, and similar types.
Faith: Measures a characters ability to invoke a particular higher power and (hopefully) to get it to aid you with a few spell points. The difficulty usually depends on how much the entity in question approves of your activities. This is the only way for a non-realmswalker to invoke magical effects in the core, and is rather rare, as the difficulty level of getting a particular beings attention is usually fairly high. It’s easier to specialize in a particular aspect of course.
Gathering: Allows a character to draw Mana from the environment. The difficulty depends on the local magic level, but each additional level of success provides an additional point of mana. Sadly, mana gathered in this fashion must be spent on the characters next action, otherwise it dissipates as quickly as it was collected.
Characters from the Core are normally equipped with Smartclothes and their various Modules, and personal computer systems. They may opt to equip themselves with high-tech weapons and armor as well. Characters from outside the core are normally equipped according to their world of origin (plus anything they pick up), but will often find that magical gear – while convenient at home – doesn’t work well in other realms.
Disallowed or Limited Abilities
Blood Curse, Deep Sleep (True Prophet), Dominion (special approval, effects normally limited to particular realms), Equipage (must be able to satisfactorily explain how this works), Immunity (Natural Laws), Lore (only covers a limited range of realms), Mindspeech (transdimensional range is very limited), Mystic Link (cannot transfer characters or magical effects in and out of Core), Rite of Chi (cannot restore personal mana), Fortune (may not be specialized or corrupted for increased effect), and Mystic Artist (The Great Summons: transdimensional range is limited. Martial Arts Skills are always treated as broad skills.
Unfortunately, all supernatural special abilities are subject to the local restrictions on magic. If you can’t come up with a good technological explanation, you’re out of luck with them.
Returning (Half cost. Note that, while all characters are immortal within the Manifold, they will often have a hard time getting back from whatever situations they find themselves in after being killed and usually cannot re-enter the worlds that they were actually killed in without a great deal of effort or assistance. Secondarily, there is always at least two “true deaths” available: one is dissolving yourself in a big bang or equivalent: this disrupts your structure so throughly that it may take millenia for you to pull yourself back together. The other is misbehaving so badly that the ultimate creator personally puts you on a time out for failure to play nicely with the other children. This is really, really, difficult) and Self-Development (Half Cost). Characters may opt to give up the base d4 HD at leveling in exchange for 4 CP, although they still gain (Con Mod) hit points. This really isn’t recommended.
During the first campaign, when the accumulated psychic pressure of the human race was opening the gates of the manifold, player characters and occasional non-player characters automatically gained a certain amount of Personal Mana with the Reality Editing option, along with an occult sense for dimensional balance points, allowing them to open dimensional pathways. These days that energy surge has dissipated – used up in opening the current selection of pathways. If you want to create new gateways, use the old ones without a guide, or navigate the manifold, you’ll have to actually pay for the privilege. Even opening the old gates requires some personal mana, although technological boosting devices can reduce the demand to a minimum. There is no known training regimen for personal mana: it seems to be a natural talent related to an inner awareness of the manifold. In general, player-characters are assumed to be able to develop the reality-editing talent if they so desire. Only about half a percent of the population at large is likely to do so, even with all possible encouragement.