Character Creation

Step 1: Concept

Come up with a character concept that fits the setting. Talk to your fellow players about this if you're stuck on ideas. Jot something down on paper if you need to. The concept should be short - a few sentences at most. If a name comes to you right now, great - if not, make sure you name the character before you're done.

Example: Joel wants to play a vigilante type - a basically regular Joe who's been done wrong one too many times and has decided to take matters of protection into his own hands. He figures that he ended up in the Foundation because he got dragged into some case of theirs while he was doing the rounds in his neighborhood. He picks the name Bruce Whedon pretty much at random, because he likes Batman comics and was watching Firefly before heading over to the GM's house.

Step 2: Assign Skill Pools

This game has four skill pools:

  • Exertion - This is how adept the character is at physical pursuits.
  • Interaction - This is how adept the character is at social pursuits.
  • Learning - This is how adept the character is at discovering or knowing things.
  • Calling - This is how adept the character is at various trade, hobby, or professional skills.

Players divide 12 points among these four pools. Minimum rating is 1, maximum is 5. Therefore, the most extreme distribution is 5, 5, 1, 1 and the most balanced is 3, 3, 3, 3. You will use these ratings to determine your skills in a later section.

Example: Joel figures that as a vigilante, Bruce normally solves problems through force and intimidation. He also wants to emphasize the 'working man' nature of his character, so he decides on Exertion 4, Interaction 3, Learning 1, Calling 4.

Step 3: Establish Character Story

There are seven phases. Each phase is devoted to a particular facet of the character, and establishes one or more aspects tied to that facet of the character.

Background - This phase is about your character's past. Describe what your character did before joining the Foundation, and talk about who they were and what their circumstances were before their recruitment. Then, describe what that says about the character, and create an appropriate aspect for that.

Example: Joel already figured out that his character was going to be a working man turned local vigilante, so he drills that down to some detail. He decides that Bruce worked as an auto mechanic in a local garage in his neighborhood, having gone to a small vo-tech school after dropping out of a four-year college. He doesn't come from money, and probably has no ambitions to have it. He also decides that Bruce has probably been living in this area most of his life, and his vigilantism is partly a matter of civic pride. He leaves off here, saving some detail for the other phases, and picks Fixture in Camden Heights as the aspect, indicating his strong connection to the local area.

Recruitment - This phase is about the event that pushed your character to become a member of the Foundation cell he currently works for. Usually, it happens as an encounter with forces that can't be readily explained, be it human madness or cthonic predation. Describe this event and what it says about the character, and create an appropriate aspect.

Example: Joel already figured out that he joined the local Foundation cell after he got stuck in the middle of one of their cases. He describes how the head of a gang that had been terrorizing the area was dabbling in Mythos magic to extend the power and influence of its members, and he mistook the Burton field agents as a rival gang trying to spark a war. He ended up harrassing both sides until he figured out what was going on, and then chose sides at the last minute to help bring the gang leader down. He takes the aspect Proof Under Fire, to represent Bruce's tendency to seek situational clarity through confrontation.

Exertion - This phase is about a time of physical duress or conflict in your character's life. This can take place at any time, before or after recruitment. A character with low Exertion might have failed to catch up to a fleeing suspect during a case. A character with high Exertion might have gone toe-to-toe with a drugged-up lunatic to protect a wounded friend. Describe this event and what it says about the character, and create an appropriate aspect.

Example: Joel decides a good Exertion phase would be the story of how he became a vigilante. He tells everyone that the garage Bruce worked at was routinely vandalized by thugs, and the police would never do anything besides make infrequent patrols that were easily avoided. One day, a thug with a shotgun tried to rob the place while there was a cop on premises getting his car repaired. Despite being unarmed, Bruce managed to get close enough to disarm the thug while the cop cowered in the corner. After that, he started taking to the streets, breaking up criminal activity wherever he could find it. He takes the aspect "The law can't protect you, but I can." as his aspect, to reflect Bruce's vigilante mindset.

Interaction - This phase is about a time of social duress or conflict in your character's life. A character with low Interaction might describe how he was duped or betrayed by an informant, while a character with high Interaction might describe how he seduced a politician's daughter or lied his way out of trouble. Describe this event and what it says about the character, and create an appropriate aspect.

Example: For his Interaction phase, Joel describes a time where he was confronted by a group of six street toughs on the way back to his apartment. They encircled him and threatened him, and he looked the leader of the group right in the eye and said, "I have a knife in my pocket. You may get me in a rush, but I guarantee you, one of you will die first." He looked between them, and asked simply, "Who wants to be the one?" The toughs backed off. He takes "I'm scariest when the chips are down." as his aspect.

Learning - This phase is about a time when the character grappled with a mystery or puzzle. A character with low Learning might describe his sister being abducted in the middle of the night, leaving him clueless and bewildered as to the cause. A character with high Learning might describe uncovering his boss swindling finances from the company he once worked for, and getting that boss fired. Describe this event and what it says about the character, and create an appropriate aspect.

Example: Bruce has a really low Learning, so Joel decides he needs a massive failure here. He decides that one time, Bruce was trying to figure out the murder of a homeless man that the cops wouldn't touch. He ended up going after the wrong guy, and nearly got arrested and thrown in jail himself. Luckily, the locals pressured the man to drop the charges, and the event attracted the attention of a homicide detective who was sympathetic to Bruce's motives. He ended up helping to solve the case, but refused to let Bruce handle matters his own way. Joel sees a cool opportunity for a contact, and so he chooses Detective Wilson - the One Good Cop as his aspect.

Calling - This phase is about a time when your character's formal training was put to the test. A character with low Calling might have had a terrible crash that forced him to retire from professional racing. A character with high Calling might have performed the first successful triple-bypass surgery in a new hospital. Describe this event and what it says about the character, and create an appropriate aspect.

Example: For Calling, Joel describes how Bruce often has to cosmetically alter his car and put on fake plates to avoid attention from both police and criminals looking for him. To that end, the garage he used to work for is now officially closed down, but operates as an illegal chop shop at night. He chooses Illegal Chop Shop as the aspect, too.

Connection - This phase is about establishing a connection between your character's story and another character's story. Each of the other characters has six events detailed now, so pick one of them and give your character a role in the event. Talk this over with the player of the other character until you come up with a good premise for your involvement. Describe this involvement and what it says about the character, and create an appropriate aspect.

Example: One of the other characters has a phase that involves her sister being murdered by cultists trying to get at her, and Joel decides that Bruce needs to have been involved there. He decides that Bruce probably frustrated her efforts to bring the killers to justice, instead dealing with them his own way. The other player agrees, and Joel takes the aspect Blind Justice to represent Bruce's unwavering belief in his concept of justice, putting an ironic twist on the phrase.

Step 4: Purchase Your Skills

Each skill pool (Exertion, Interaction, Learning, and Calling) is multiplied by 2 to yield the number of skill points that may be spent on skills of each type. For example, the Exertion skills are Athletics, Brawl, Endure, Shoot, and Wield. Someone with an Exertion pool of 4 would have 8 points to distribute among those five skills. In aggregate, this should mean the character has access to 24 skill points.

Spending one point on a skill gets you one rank in it, to a maximum of +5. That is the only limitation to purchasing skills. Skills which have no points assigned to them will default to Mediocre (+0), except for Mythos, which you cannot use unless you have ranks in it. The skill ratings are as follows:

  • 1 point = Average (+1) - minimal training or talent
  • 2 points = Fair (+2) - solid competence, minimum "professional-level" skill
  • 3 points = Good (+3) - exceptional competence or talent
  • 4 points = Great (+4) - potentially a recognized master in the field
  • 5 points = Superb (+5) - peak human potential

See the Skills page for the list of available skills.

Example: Bruce has Exertion 4, Interaction 3, Learning 1, Calling 4.

He has 8 points to spend on Exertion skills. He puts 3 in Endure immediately, knowing he wants a high capacity for damage. He puts 3 in Might, knowing he wants that to be his primary combat skill. This leaves him with 2 points, so he takes 1 in Athletics and 1 in Wield, deciding that his character is not a big fan of guns. His Exertion skills are Athletics at Average, Might and Endure at Good, Shoot at Mediocre, and Wield at Average.

He has 6 points to spend on Interaction skills, and knows that he wants Intimidate at the top of the list. He goes for broke and puts 4 points in it. This leaves him 2, and he decides on Will 2, figuring that he probably doesn't have the wherewithal to keep his cool that often. His Interaction skills are Cool at Mediocre, Deceive at Mediocre, Intimidate at Great, Persuade at Mediocre, and Will at Fair.

He has 2 points to spend on Learning skills, and decides that he relies mostly on informants for information, so he takes a point in Contacting to get it at Average. He also has some natural alertness, so he puts a point into Notice to make it Average. All the other skills stay at Mediocre.

He has 8 points to spend on Calling skills. He knows he wants Repair, so he puts that at Great with 4 points. He puts another 2 points in Drive, indicating his proficiency with cars, and decides he probably makes a professional-level wage from his endeavors, so he adds Resources at Fair.

Step 5: Create Your Stunts

Every character gets to make three stunts to further define their capabilities. Stunts either add a new function to a skill or give a bonus roughly equivalent to two shifts when using a skill existing function under a particular circumstance. Optionally, a stunt might break a single game rule instead of granting a bonus. Examples can be found in Spirit of the Century, but players are encouraged to come up with their own as is appropriate to the character concept.

Example: Bruce wants it to be easier for him to get info when he's on his home turf, so he decides on a stunt called Local Connections - anytime he's using Contacting in his home area of Camden Heights, he gets a +1 to his roll, and all inquires take one time increment less than normal. He also wants to use his Repair skill to disguise cars, something outside the scope of the skill, so he makes a stunt called Car Costuming for that. Finally, to match his Proof Under Fire aspect, he makes a stunt called Fists of Intent, which allows him to use Wield or Might to suss out a person's aspects ala an Empathy read, so long as he can get into a fight with that person.

Step 6: Determine Reserves - Health, Sanity, and Fate Points

Health and Sanity measure your character's capacity to take stress.

  • To get your Health score, take your Endure skill rating, divide it by 2, round up, and add 3.
  • To get your Sanity score, subtract your Mythos skill rating from your Will skill rating, divide the result by 2, round up, and add 3.

Example: Bruce's has Endure at Good (+3), so dividing that in half gets 1.5 rounded up to 2, and adding three more gets 5. His starting Health is 5. He has Will at Fair (+2), so dividing that in half gets 1, and adding three more gets 4. His starting Sanity is 4.

Each character also gets 5 fate points to start. That number resets at the beginning of each session, unless the player has more than 5 left over from the previous session.

That's it! You're done. Give your character a name if you haven't yet, and have a beer. You can check out the example character here.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.