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Character Creation

There are three main parts to character creation, deciding what your character can do, what equipment your character has, and who your character is. These three parts each match a section of the Character Sheet that you fill out as you work through each step. The order of these three parts is designed to help people who don’t have a character idea put together a character that they will enjoy playing. However if you do have a character idea, working through them in a different order can also be effective.

This is a digital artwork of a yellow and green budgerigar sitting on a branch with a tiger head that is the same color as its yellow feathers.

This is a digital artwork of a yellow and green budgerigar sitting on a branch with a tiger head that is the same color as its yellow feathers.

 

 

What Your Character Can Do

This section starts with choosing broad, foundational traits and ends with choosing specific skills and abilities. This is best done in sequence. However if you don’t have a clear idea for what you want to choose in a certain step, it can be helpful to move on the next one and come back that step later.

 

Step 1: Character Class

Classes are broad thematic groupings of abilities. Much like a profession, a character’s class determines what they specialize in doing. Choose a class for your character. This will determine what sorts of abilities your character has access to. There are six classes to choose from.

  • Mages are mentally-focused characters who have an arcane connection that allows them to cast magic. Wizards, sorcerers, elemental magicians, nature mages, shapeshifters, illusionists, magical tricksters, psychics, necromancers, seers, enchanters, summoners, conjurers, arcane investigators, and mystical scholars can all be made using this class.
  • Athletes are physically-focused characters that excel at physical exertion and achievement. Those who pursue excellence in martial arts are athletes, but not all athletes are martial artists. Sports stars, swashbucklers, soldiers, superheroes, supernatural champions, improvisational fighters, knights, rage warriors, and expert animal handlers can all be made using this class.
  • Bards are entertainers who can imbue their performances with magic. Many bards have an artistic, social, or scholarly focus to their abilities. Minstrels, storytellers, swashbucklers, actors, adventurers, field medics, translators, lore masters, scholars, and diplomats can all be made using this class.
  • Clerics have a connection to a deity who grants them access to magic and other special abilities. Some clerics are physically focused, others are mentally focused, and still others pursue balance. Priests, healers, divine emissaries, paladins, supernatural champions, guardians, seers, necromancers, and scholars can all be made using this class.
  • Druids have a deep connection to nature. This connection can include both magical and physical abilities. Shapeshifters, healers, witches, warlocks, primal casters, beast tamers, wild riders, nature guardians, scouts, pathfinders, hunters, trackers, and rangers can all be made using this class.
  • Rogues are characters who specialize in solving problems with cleverness and skill. Agility, cunning, charm, versatility, and ingenuity are all common rogue traits. Thieves, locksmiths, spies, swashbucklers, escape artists, bandits, bounty hunters, con artists, adventurers, investigators, alchemists, inventors, scavengers, and tricksters can all be made using this class.

 

Step 2: Body and Mind Numbers

Choose numbers to represent your character’s ability to do body and mind tasks. Body represents physical capacities such as strength, dexterity, and endurance. Mind represents mental capacities like magic, knowledge, social skills, and awareness. The higher the number, the better you are at those tasks. You have three options for numbers.

  • Body 5, Mind 3
  • Body 4, Mind 4
  • Body 3, Mind 5

 

Step 3: Character Species

Choose a species for your character. Your options include, but are not limited to, human, elf, dwarf, gnome, halfling, orc, goblin, troll, werecreature, talking animal, birdfolk, merfolk, cat-person, lizard-person, slime-person, centaur, harpy, fairy, half-demon, half-angel, half-giant, dragon-descended, part-elemental, and magical machine.

 

Step 4: Species Trait

Species traits represent the unique capabilities of different species, such as shapeshifting, flight, and heightened senses. Choose one species trait off of the “Species Traits” list.

 

Step 5: Defense

Characters use their defense when protecting themselves from immediate harm. Choose one type of physical defense and one type of mental defense off the “Defense Options” list.

 

Step 6: Skills

Skills represent broad ranges of capability. Characters can attempt to do skills without training, but they are much more effective with training. Each class comes with training in one specific skill (listed below). Choose seven additional skills off the “Skills” list for your character to be trained in.

  • Mages have Arcana
  • Athletes have Athletics
  • Bards have Performance
  • Clerics have Culture
  • Druids have Nature
  • Rogues have Acrobatics

 

Step 7: Class Abilities

Abilities are specializations that allow characters to do unique things. Some abilities enhance skills, while others grant new capabilities. Choose four abilities off the list for your character’s class (links below).

If your character casts magic, you will also need to determine their magical connection. This is the way that they connect to their magic. Depending on your character’s class, this is called their Arcane Connection, Magical Performance, Divine Connection, or Natural Connection. Each type of magical connection comes with specific requirements which are given in the class description.

 

Step 8: Additional Mechanics

If your character has any traits that you want to be represented by a game mechanic that aren’t currently represented by a mechanic, this is a chance for you to work them out with the game master. The idea is that giving a mechanic to a trait makes it feel more real in the game. For example, a chronic illness that flares up unpredictably could be represented by a die roll at the start of each day within the game. If the player rolls a six, then their character has a flare up that day.

 

 

Equipment Your Character Has

A significant part of this section is writing down the equipment that your character gains from being trained their skills and abilities. This means that it is important to work through the “What Your Character Can Do” section before working through this one.

If you are someone who enjoys working out equipment in detail, there is a lot of room in this section for those details, with even more options available in the “Items” section. However if equipment feels a bit overwhelming to you, it is fine to keep things general and not worry about the details. If they come up, details can be worked out during play.

 

Step 1: Special Item

Every character has one special item. Choose one item off the following list.

  • Set of Books: Choose a Knowledge Skill. That is the topic of these books. Whenever you take the time to consult these books, you are prepared on one knowledge skill roll involving their topic.
  • Ring of Skill: Choose one skill. Three times a day you can use the magic in this ring to be prepared when using that skill.
  • Ring of Luck: Once per day you can reroll a single dice roll. This means that you reroll all of your dice. You must take the new result even if it is lower.
  • Enchanted Defensive Item: You have a magic item that enhances one type of defense that you have. Choose which defense you are enhancing. If this defense uses a piece of equipment, then that equipment is enchanted. If not, then you have a magical amulet. Either way, three times a day, you can call on the magic in this item to be prepared when using the defense that it enhances.
  • Enchanted Bag: This magic bag is considerably larger on the inside than it is on the outside. It is light and its weight is always the same, regardless of how much it is holding. In addition, the mouth of this bag can stretch wide enough to allow one medium-sized piece of furniture to be placed within the bag.
  • Boots of Flight: Once per day, these enchanted boots let their wearer fly for one scene. The aesthetics of this magical flight are up to you. If your character does not wear boots, choose a different garment or accessory to be enchanted.
  • Cloak of Many Garments: With a moment of concentration, the wearer of this cloak can transform their non-magical clothing and accessories into any non-magical outfit they desire. This cloak can transform itself, but it must stay as an outer garment. Because this is a full transformation, the transformed clothing is as sturdy, flimsy, warm, or cool as would be expected for their new forms. Any garment that is removed from the person wearing this cloak immediately returns to its original form. Removing the cloak ends the transformation.
  • Telepathic Lantern: This magically glowing lantern floats at a moderate speed through air or water. You have a telepathic link to it that allows you to control its movement, brightness, and color up to a mile away, though you do need to see it to have precise control over its movement.
  • Magical Adaptive Device: This adaptive device has been enchanted so that it has one magical property. This property can be related to the device’s function, such as a levitating wheelchair or a cane that prevents the holder from tripping. Alternatively, the property can be independent of the device’s main function, such as a prosthetic that allows its wearer to transform into an otter, or a hearing aid that grants the ability to speak with plants. Keep in mind that this device’s magical property should be specific and clearly defined.
  • Bag of Coin: This is enough money to buy one expensive item, throw a lavish party, or pay for a significant service, such as chartering a ship for a long journey.

 

Step 2: Equipment for Abilities

Some abilities, such as Alchemy and Animal Companion, come with equipment. Check over your chosen abilities and write down any special items or types of equipment that they give you. If your character has a magical connection that requires equipment, be sure to work out a few details about that.

 

Step 3: Tools for Skills

When characters are trained in certain skills, like Survival and Climbing, they get the tools needed to use that skill. Check over the skills that your character is trained in and record any tools that they come with. For skills like Performance that let you choose the exact equipment your character has, make that choice and write it down.

 

Step 4: Defensive Equipment

If your defense uses armor, a shield, a protective outfit, or a staff, take a moment to add that equipment to your character sheet and work out a few key details of what it looks like.

 

Step 5: Species Specific Equipment

If your species ability involves equipment, write that down. In addition, if you are someone who likes equipment and you want any species specific equipment, such as grooming tools, items specific to your dietary needs, or specialized clothing, this is a good time to figure that out.

 

Step 6: Assistive Devices

An assistive device is any device that is designed, made, or adapted to help a person perform a task that they would otherwise have difficulty doing. Wheelchairs, canes, prosthetic limbs, and hearing aids are all assistive devices, as are page turners, memory aids, magnifiers, grab bars, and ramps. In a world where there are a lot of different species that vary in size and physical capability, many characters will benefit from assistive devices.

Take a moment to think about the way your character accomplishes everyday tasks like opening doors, grocery shopping, preparing food, reading, and writing. Your character has any assistive devices that they need to accomplish these tasks. For example, a merperson could use a wheelchair to move around on land, a half-giant could use a magnifying glass to read small text, and a gnome could use a pair of wooden tongs to get objects off high shelves. Because some assistive devices, like ramps and grab bars, are part of the built environment, it can be helpful to talk with your game master about the accessibility of the setting.

 

Step 7: Standard Supplies

All characters start with a standard set of adventuring supplies: an everyday outfit, sturdy backpack, waterproof tarp, towel, bedroll, fire-starting kit, lantern with oil, portable cooking pot, wooden dishes and utensils, utility knife, waterskin, travel rations, rope, twine, chalk, soap, and a handful of coins in a pouch. Make adjustments to this list of supplies as needed to match the setting and your character’s needs.

 

 

Who Your Character Is

Everything in this section is about getting to know your character, what their history is, and how they behave. You only need to put in as much detail as is helpful and fun. Also, this section can be filled out in any order. My recommendation is to start with a step that you have an idea for because fleshing out the ideas you already have can spark additional ideas.

 

Step 1: Name

Name your character. If you are looking for name inspiration, one of my favorite name websites is Behind the Name. It is a database of given names that has a lot of European, Middle Eastern, and Asian names, with some names from other regions. I particularly like their list of nature names. They also have a surname database.

 

Step 2: Important Identities

There are a number of identities that have a big impact on a person’s experiences. Some common ones are age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, culture, class, and education. Take a moment to write out some important identities that your character has.

 

Step 3: Manner

This is a short summary of how your character usually behaves. It can be a single word like “brash,” a couple of words like “friendly and talkative,” or a short phrase like “shy but enthusiastic about plants.” Choose a manner for your character. Here are some words to help get you started: absent-minded, aloof, awkward, bold, brash, calm, cautious, cheerful, confident, determined, diplomatic, earnest, enthusiastic, excitable, flamboyant, focused, friendly, innocent, helpful, inquisitive, jovial, mischievous, naive, nervous, passionate, pompous, practical, prickly, reserved, serious, shy, snarky, talkative, thoughtful, and vigilant.

 

Step 4: Goal

This is what drives your character. It can be something personal like “proving yourself,” or something more selfless like “stopping injustice.” Choose a goal for your character. Here are some ideas to help get you started: changing something, fighting for a cause, helping others, creating something, pursuing an ideal, earning a reward, learning an area of knowledge, protecting something, developing a skill, surviving hardship, enjoying something, solving a problem, teaching others, discovering something, and acquiring money, status, or power.

 

Step 5: Backstory 

Decide where your character came from and what shaped them. Are there any people, places, or events that were particularly significant? This can be detailed, but it doesn’t have to be. Also, it is fine to leave some areas of your character’s past open. Many people like to do this so that they can add in additional pieces of backstory during game play.

 

Step 6: Daily Life 

Working out a few details of your character’s daily life adds depth. This can be figuring out where they live, deciding what they do for fun, working out some specific behaviors that they do, fleshing out the ways their important identities have shaped their lives, and establishing who your character spends time with. If your character has a disability, I suggest talking through how it impacts their daily life and how they deal with their access needs.

There are a lot of options for what you can do in this section, so only do as much as is fun and useful. When in doubt, it can help to focus on what is unique about your character. Also, since many of these things are affected by the setting, it can be helpful to discuss them with the other members of your gaming group.

Step 7: Companion Animal Details

If your character has a familiar, animal companion, service animal, mount, or pet, decide on their name and a few details about them, such as their appearance, history, and personality. Characters that could benefit from a service animal start out with one.

 

Step 8: Appearance 

Decide on a physical appearance for your character. What are their most notable features? What are they wearing? Are they carrying any items of particular significance?

 

Step 9: Relationships 

Work with the other members of your group to decide what relationships the different player characters have with each other. Figuring out the type and tone of each relationship provides useful role-playing information. The following list has some examples to get you started.

  • Relationship Type: Sibling, cousin, stepfamily, neighbor, friend, comrade, romantic partner, roommate, mentor, student, colleague, employer, employee, protector, ally, rival, acquaintance, and stranger.
  • Relationship Tone: New, uncertain, awkward, cautious, respectful, trusting, loving, supportive, competitive, distrustful, jovial, playful, and superficial.

Keep in mind that relationships are not always symmetric. For example, one character could consider someone to be a friend, while the other person thinks of them as a rival. For types of relationships that are likely to cause conflict between characters, please be sure that everyone is comfortable with player character conflicts before choosing those options.

For those who want to go deeper, it is helpful to work out one memorable detail for each relationship. This can be an aspect of how the characters interact or a part of their shared history. The following list has some prompts to get you started.

  • Current Dynamic: You share a mutual value. They admire you. You idolize them. Both of you have the same hobby. One of you is teaching the other something. You have a crush on them. They are trying to impress you.
  • Shared Past: You grew up together. One of you owes the other a debt. You’ve been on a previous adventure together. One of you knows the other’s secret. You have a shared joke. They had your back in a bad situation.
  • Conflicts: They have been acting suspiciously. One of you thinks the other is misguided. There is an unresolved misunderstanding between you. You are exes. One of you has an ongoing frustration about the other’s behavior. You have conflicting values.

 

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