Creating Personae Characters

All characters are identities, but not all identities are characters. Characters are identical to identities from a game mechanics perspective, with the only exceptions being (1) that they are subject to the attribute order of importance, (2) how they begin play through the creation process, and (3) that they have the potential stat. Identities that are not characters may be introduced or controlled by either players or the chorus, as guided by group consensus and sense within the fiction.

Character Concept

Before play begins, the group should decide on the cast of characters that the players will portray. This should be a dialogue where the entire group, both players and the chorus, are involved. Once this is decided, and before characters are expressed in statistical terms through creation, then each player should start by defining their main character's concept. Concept includes, but isn’t limited to, the character’s physical description, personality, morality, allegiance, motives, and background. Once this is established, it helps both the chorus and players to distill this information into a few keywords that sum up the concept: “Post Civil War Entrepreneur”, “Desert Elf Singing Warrior”, and “Merchant, Privateer, Scoundrel” are good examples of this. Once each player has decided upon their character's concept, then the characters' stats can be established for the beginning of play.

Creation Points

Creation points are the source of the characters' attribute values when play begins. At creation, you have a pool of creation points, determined by the party's starting potential, that you will allocate to your character's attributes in keeping with order of importance. As the story progresses, the characters' growth will be further quantified through advancement, where each player will receive development points to increase their characters' attributes with.

At Creation

At creation, attributes are given a value of zero (0) or greater by the allotment of creation points to each attribute. The resulting attribute value determines the maximum number of traits (vitality, powers, skills, enhancements and talents) that the character will begin play with.

AttributeMaximum # Of
CompetenceUnlocked skills
ProwessProwess pool (PRO × 3)
StatureVitality (1 + STA)

During Play

Once play begins, attributes are added to the result of skill rolls when a challenge must be resolved. Every skill will have a default attribute that is added, but depending on the type of skill being rolled, one attribute may be more appropriate to add to the die roll than another.

  • Attributes can be increased once play begins through advancement, receiving development points;
  • Development points are similar to creation points used in identity creation, only they may be spent either to increase attributes or acquire new traits. This is explained in greater detail under "advancement" below.

Character Creation Process

By default, PCs start with ten(10) creation points, a potential of 1 (sum of attribute values ÷ 10), and a potential threshold of 3 (potential +2).

Potential and Creation Points: When the group sits down to play for the first time, everyone should determine what sort of story or stories will be told with the characters that everyone will play. Will the characters just be starting out, taking their first steps into a world of adventure? Or will they be more experienced, elite participants? This discussion, and ultimate consensus, should determine how many Creation Points each player will allocate to their attributes.

For example, a group decides that their characters will begin play with thirty(30) Creation Points to allocate to their attributes at Character Creation: the characters have some more experience as adventurers, but aren't quite at the pinnacle of their capabilities. The number of Creation Points characters begin play with will determine their starting potential.

Establish Order of Importance: Because no one can be good at everything, players must rank their character's attributes in order of importance as it’s relevant to the character’s overall concept. Order of importance helps to shape the direction a character can choose to head with regard to future development, and at the same time ensure that no one attribute vastly outpaces any of the others.

  • A character's attributes are ranked by first, second, third and hindrance priority.
  • At creation, two attributes are given highest, or first priority. Two attributes are given second priority, and one attribute is given third priority. The one attribute left remaining is the character's hindrance, the one area that the character's just not very good at.
  • First-priority attributes are characteristics that outshine the rest, capstones which should help guide players to better flesh out their characters' concepts.
  • First-priority attributes will, as listed above, always be the highest, succeeded in decreasing order by second-priority, third-priority, and hindrance attributes.
  • Players may not change their characters' attribute priorities after play begins unless there are powers or enhancements that dictate otherwise.

Attribute Maximums: Attribute values of priority x cannot exceed attribute values of priority x-1 by more than the character’s Potential, e.g. a character with Potential 3 cannot have 1st-priority attributes whose value exceeds any 2nd-priority attributes by more than 3. If there’s a difference, take the least of the two.


A character's potential reflects a threshold for a character as it journeys through life. Potential acts both as a yardstick that measures the number of a character’s experiences against other characters and identities, as well as a bar that the character cannot surpass without further advancement. This bar represents the upper limit for some of the character’s traits, increasing as the character progresses through events in the fiction. Just like the character's attributes, potential is a whole number, only it cannot be less than one. Potential is directly proportional to the character’s attributes; it is equal to the sum of the values of their attributes divided by five, ignoring the remainder.

Potential = (sum of attribute values) ÷ 10, ignore the remainder

A potential 2 character, for example, has a sum of attribute values ranging from twenty (20) to twenty-nine (29). A character whose attribute values total thirty-seven (37) is a potential 3 character (30 / 10 = 3 remainder 7). The sum of a character's attributes cannot be less than ten, as that would result in their potential being less than 1.

The “Traits” section discusses vitality, powers, skills, enhancements, and talents in greater detail.

Determine Maximum Number of Traits: At creation, the maximum number of each trait that a character begins play with is equal to one of their attributes (trait maximums are explained in greater detail above). A character is not required to start play with a number of traits equal to the appropriate attribute value. Just because your CMP might be 8, for example, doesn't mean you must begin play with eight skills. The only caveat is that you not exceed your appropriate attribute's number of a given trait (no more than seven powers for a POW of 7, for example). This puts less pressure on a player to fill in every trait “slot” before play begins, and allows for the possibility, depending on player-chorus consensus, that the player might discover other traits that weren't thought of before (the group should decide whether or not it’s acceptable to define these “unspent” during a session, or if they can only be defined in-between play sessions).

Define Traits: Knowing how many skills, enhancements, powers and talents the character has, the player can now define these traits. traits are always defined in the player's own words, as agreed upon between the player and the chorus. They should always be described, to the best of the player’s ability, in an active, present-tense voice, as actions that the character can perform or things that the character can do:

  • A skill called "Strike": “My character is particularly good at attacking foes”

  • A power called "Fireball": Issue a power challenge to an opponent with your Channel skill (the opponent answers with Steel); if you succeed, the opponent sustains one hit.

By expressing traits in active voice, it helps to clarify the goal(s) of a challenge, and the trait's role in the character's success. It's not necessary, however, to establish the exact wording of how a trait works in advance: the mechanical effect of the trait should always be understood, but flexibility should be available for the player to richly describe the use of a trait in any given set of circumstances.

Enhancements as Superior: If you wish to improve one of your enhancements to superior, it is treated as if it were double in quantity—two enhancements instead of one—when you first take it. It still requires one creation point for every time you wish to upgrade the enhancement, unless player-chorus consensus dictates otherwise.

Enhancements as Exceptional: If you wish to define one of your enhancements as exceptional, you must also at the same time define it as superior.

Using Power to Upgrade Enhancements: Given the fiction and a character’s concept, their player might decide that it won't use powers in the course of play. However, neither player nor character should ever be penalized for staying true to the character's concept. If the player feels it's still important for their character to have a POW greater than one(1), to help adjust Steel rolls when answering power challenges, for example, or to represent an item that's exceptional by supernatural means, that concern is valid. A player may instead use creation points assigned to their character's power attribute to upgrade the character's enhancements, or to represent the powers that have been imbued into an item that's exceptional by supernatural means. A player whose character has a POW of 3 decides that their character will not have powers—their character grew up in a society where no one has ever known how to tap into the supernatural. The player may use the three points they would have normally used to acquire powers in creation to instead upgrade enhancements, or to decide that the character is benefiting from an item that's exceptional by supernatural means.

Vitality, Shock, Inoperative/Negated:
  • A character can sustain a number of hits equal to their vitality (1 + STA) before sustaining shock level 1
  • Each shock level imposes a penalty of x dice on all challenges issued or answered, where x is equal to the level
  • Dice can’t ever be reduced below two(2) for challenges where a skill is involved, or one(1) when unskilled
  • Upon suffering shock level 3, an identity is rendered inoperative
  • Upon suffering shock level 4, an identity is negated; can be either temporary or permanent depending on the fiction

Determine Starting Gear: Characters begin play with whatever gear that their character owns, as agreed upon between player and chorus, the table consensus, and what makes sense within the fiction. Characters begin play with gear that makes sense for them to be able to use their skills.

Gear And Equipment

All characters have the basic tools they need on hand: Do you have a Strike skill? You have a weapon to strike with. Have a Pick Lock skill? You have lockpicks. In their adventures, characters will come across items that help even more so than their average counterparts.

For example:

  • a portable hole
  • a handheld spectral analyzer from an advanced civilization
  • a bag that always has just the right item when you reach inside
  • a ring that turns its wearer invisible

It's not just about merely possessing the item—it's the character's familiarity with the item that results in the character’s benefitting from it. The only way a character can benefit from a piece of above average gear– whether found in the course of play, acquired through purchase or trade, or created from scratch by the character–is for the player to choose one or more powers or enhancements that represent the benefit offered by the gear.

Weapons, armor, or other items that are above average are because of

  • craftsmanship, a physical characteristic that sets it apart from others like it
  • by supernatural means, meaning that the item has been imbued with extraordinary properties
  • or both

Regardless of which of these three cases the item falls under, a character cannot simply pick up a magic sword, for example, and expect that magic to work immediately; the player must invest in traits for the PC either at creation, or through advancement, in order to mechanically benefit from an item.

CRAFT: Advanced tech, extraordinary craftsmanship. For every such property the player must assign a enhancement during creation or spend one or more development points earned from advancement to acquire the enhancement(s) that the item offers. This represents the character learning how to take advantage of the item's benefits.

SUPERNATURAL MEANS: Magical, physics-bending, unexplained. For every such property the player must assign a power during creation, upgrade an existing E, or spend one or more development points earned from advancement to unlock the powers that the item offers. This represents the character investing a portion of their capacity for the supernatural into the item in order to take advantage of its benefits.

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