Character Creation #
Follow the steps below in making a character.
Constraints. Your GM (with the consent of your group) might come up with constraints for characters in the game. Any given game will have an intended setting and starting level as a constraint, but based on the game there may be other qualifications on Concepts, Backgrounds, Skills, or Classes you should consider. At this stage you should also consider any safety concerns as a group - go over anything that anyone doesn’t want in the game.
Concept. Come up with a basic concept for your character. This should be able to be summarized into 1-2 sentences and One Unique Thing, which grants a Skill.
Background. This outlines the character’s upbringing or past, depending on what makes the most thematic sense with your Concept. This grants a Skill and an ability that can be used once per encounter.
Class, Class Attribute choice, and Skill Priority. This outlines the character’s current capabilities and role, as well as default attributes and a Skill. Pick your priorities for Class, Background, and One Unique Thing.
Talents, Perks, and Abilities: These are mechanical customizations and active abilities dependent on your Background and Class that define or change ways in which the character interacts with the setting and narrative.
Relationships. These tie into your Concept to define your relations to the Icons and Factions that have shaped the setting.
These steps will be outlined with two sample characters, Felix and Maia. They will be assumed to not be operating under any particular Constraints mechanically, but are being built at level 1. The constraints of the setting are that it’s some brand of standard fantasy.
Concept and One Unique Thing #
Think of a Concept for your character. Where are they from? What do they believe in? Who do they believe in? Write down a 1-2 sentence summary of the most important aspects.
During this step, consider what the most relevant Background for the character would be. You can figure out the mechanical end later, just get a concept in mind.
Every character has a One Unique Thing related to their concept. This can be fairly low-key or can be something that says something about the setting, but generally can’t have mechanical effects (though it might have an effect on your Background). The One Unique Thing does, however, grant your character a Skill, so take that into consideration: be sure to pick a One Unique Thing that can be tapped to fuel future actions.
Felix is a half-elf former gladiator who hails from a rough area. He’s heavily scarred and has a laconic manner, but has a propensity towards kindness that shines through to anyone who understands his mannerisms. His One Unique thing is: I am the only gladiator with Elvish blood.
Maia doesn’t seem to have any truly identifiable ancestry, and her appearance is unmistakably bestial. She doesn’t remember any parents, or much before adolescence. Her One Unique Thing is: I am the only person with antlers.
When coming up with a One Unique Thing, you and your GM should sort out at least three implications of its uniqueness or twists based on it. If you can’t think of at least three together, it’s probably not Unique enough.
- This implies there are other gladiators if this is unique enough to be interesting. Are there still active gladiators or has that been ended? Is it just in one location?
- Have the other Elvish-blooded gladiators simply died? Or do people with Elvish blood normally not become gladiators? If so, why not?
- Why is Felix different in that regard?
- What kind of antlers does she have? Have they always been the same since she got them? Does she remember getting them or were they always there?
- Does she know why she has antlers, or anything about her ancestry that others don’t?
- Does this let her do anything that people normally can’t do? Are the antlers hard enough to use as a tool? Are her senses any different as a result?
Think of a defining feature of your character’s past. This is a feature that defines something that’s what they are or what they used to do, but not necessarily what they currently do. Examples include:
- A character’s culture or location of origin (dwarven society, a mountain stronghold, a port city)
- A character’s profession or former profession (soldier, woodworker, farmer)
- A character’s status or former status (street thief, disgraced noble)
The idea is to pick a Background that adds another, broader dimension to your character. If your character’s Background and One Unique Thing overlap very strongly, try to think of a different Background from their past.
A character’s Background provides another Skill. After choosing a class, it also provides a combat ability that can be used once per Encounter.
For Felix, Gladiator might be an obvious one, but it overlaps too strongly with his One Unique Thing. Something to do with being half-elven might work if there was enough there to make something out of with the culture he grew up in, but we’re not going to assume that. Given his One Unique Thing, it’s possible he was orphaned somewhere elves don’t typically go - maybe a harsh border settlement where gladiatorial games still happen. His Background is Badlands Orphan, representing childhood necessities like scrounging for necessities or enduring harsh conditions.
Maia only remembers her adolescence onwards, so perhaps until adulthood she grew up among wild animals before discovering other people. Her Background is Raised by Nature, representing flora/fauna knowledge and understanding ecosystems.
Class, Class Attribute Choice, and Skill Priority #
Pick a Class. This represents the character’s core combat and noncombat skillset. They gain a Class Skill from this. Each Class has some suggestions (and suggestions for things that the Skill might be used to do) listed for how to style the Class Skill to make it something more specific.
At this point, the character will have all three skills. Assign one of them +4, another +3, and another +2. When you use those Skills, these will be added to a 3d6 roll and your level to determine if you succeed at using it or not.
Felix is a Fighter, as his concept lends itself to a highly trained warrior. He chooses +1 Volition over +1 Vitality and AC, owing to an offense-oriented fighting style. His Class Skill is styled as Mercenary. For skill priorities, Mercenary is +4, Badlands Orphan is +3, and his One Unique Thing is +2. He’s out of the gladiatorial circuit, so his skills specific to that are rusty, but he’s a fine mercenary and remembers his childhood well.
Maia is a Druid, as her concept is closely tied with the manipulation of nature. She picks +1 Save Bonus over +1 MD and PD, owing to a semi-magical nature. Her Class Skill is styled as Forestchild. For skill priorities, her One Unique Thing is +4, Forestchild is +3, and Raised by Nature is +2. Her mysterious past and uncanny ability to influence nature take precedence over her general knowledge.
Talents, Perks, and Abilities #
Each Class has various choices to be made in character creation. At level 1, all classes have three Talents and one Perk. Some classes can choose a certain number of Abilities as well.
Felix fights with two weapons, though he’s a master of many fighting styles, and so his class abilities are chosen to emphasize that fact. He chooses Comeback Strike, Surge, and Style Master, and chooses the Adventurer Perk for Showstopper. Fighter gains two Maneuvers (and he can pick four thanks to Style Master), so he chooses Pierce, Press, Slash, and Sweep. He picks Elusive as his Background Ability.
Maia is very oriented towards animals and plants, so her class abilities are chosen to emphasize that fact. She chooses Animal Caller, Primal Shifter, and Plant Tamer, and chooses the Adventurer Perk for Primal Shifter. She picks Graceful as her Background Ability.
Finally, consider which Icons or Factions might have taken notice of your character. At level 1, all classes have three Relationships. These represent lasting reputations, for better or for worse. Each Relationship provides a Relationship Die.
Felix’s Relationships probably have to do with his claim to fame. Maybe he’s beloved by an Icon who values prowess in the arena, or perhaps he’s loathed by an Icon whose beloved champion was struck down by his hand.
Maia’s Relationships probably have to do with her relationship to civilization in the way that the rest of the people in the setting understand it. Maybe she’s beloved by an Icon who’s very in tune with nature, or perhaps she’s disliked by an Icon who cares deeply about laws that she flouts.