Alternate Character Creation

This system replaces the process of character creation with an entirely different set of rules, designed to make sure starting characters are well balanced with each other, have plenty of interesting options, and clear directions in which to grow. A starting character has the following traits and characteristics:


  • Primary Attributes: Two Attributes at 5, one Attribute at 2
  • Secondary Attributes: One Attribute at 5, one Attribute at 3, one Attribute at 2
  • Tertiary Attributes: One Attribute at 5, two Attributes at 2
  • Dexterity must always be one of the attributes rated at 5


  • Caste Abilities: One Ability at 5, one Ability at 2, one Ability at 1
  • Favored Abilities: Five Abilities at 5, each of these Abilities Favored
    • Archery, Martial Arts, Melee, or Thrown must be rated at 5
    • No more than one offensive combat ability may be rated at 5
    • If Archery or Thrown is rated at 5, Dodge must be rated at 5
    • At least one strategically oriented Ability must be rated at 5
    • At most one of these 5s may be a caste Ability instead of Favored
  • Other Abilities: One Ability at 2, one Ability at 1
    • If more than one caste Ability is rated at 5, one of these is Favored
  • Specialties: Four Specialties in four different Abilities
    • One Specialty must apply to the character’s primary attack roll
    • One Specialty must apply to the character’s strategic ability


  • All characters begin with an Essence rating of 3
  • All characters begin with a Willpower rating of 10
  • All characters begin with a total of 8 dots to increase Virtues
  • All characters begin with one Background at 3, two Backgrounds at 2
    • No more than one Background should be Artifact or Manse


  • All Abilities rated 5 come with choice of First or Second Excellency
    • Attribute based characters gain equivalents for Attributes rated 5
    • Excellencies cannot be selected outside of those conferred here
  • Select a total of four directly combat related charms
    • Select charms to be within two charms of getting a perfect defense
  • Select two charms from each of two dramatic type Abilities
  • Select two charms from the character’s strategic Ability

A strategic Ability is one which the character will use in the longer term and grander scale, such as by crafting powerful artifacts or manses, building or overthrowing an empire, or leading an army. It should represent the means by which the character aims to achieve his epic motivation and change the world.

Alchemical characters created using this system select any combination of six charms from the First, Second, and Fourth Augmentations instead of Excellencies. They may pick more than one charm for the same Attribute, but all must be associated with an Attribute that is rated at 5. Additionally, they may give up up to two charm selections from any two categories, gaining 10xp worth of submodules for each charm sacrificed.

Design Impact

This takes some guidance from standard character creation, but structures things much more strictly so as to insure that players end up with characters at a similar level of effectiveness, and that every character has a part to play in various types of scenes. It is more generous than standard creation, to be sure, but mostly in that it pays up front for a lot of the taxes that come with optimized character building.

The same scheme can be applied with a starting Essence rating of 2 rather than 3 if desired. Starting at Essence 3 has the advantage of expanding the variety of valid starting characters significantly – characters that start at Essence 2 are effectively cut off from a variety of staple choices, such a sorcery, meaningful Craft charms, etc.

This system is designed to be used with Alternate Character Advancement and More Generous Sorcery. If not using the later, players should be permitted to select spells instead of charms where appropriate. Otherwise, the starting spells provided there should be sufficient.

Alternate Character Creation

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