Each player should have at least one PC. They should know what that PC is capable of and determine what actions that PC takes. You may follow along as our fictional player “Cassie” creates “Delilah” (a character from the as of yet, upcoming and unnamed novella series).
During character creation, you should determine your PC’s name, appearance, and personality. At the GM’s discretion, your character may gain advantage or disadvantage in interactions with others based on these qualities and following your character’s personality especially well—even to their own detriment—may gain them a Temporary Luck. These should often relate in some way to the character’s backgrounds.
Cassie writes the following description on her character sheet:
"Delilah is a muscular Santaari in her late-twenties, with black, braided hair and pale skin. Shorter than most, she stands up straight with her head held high, though her reddish-copper eyes constantly scan her surroundings. Above all she prioritizes grace and forgiveness, even if it ends with her being burned in the end."
Due to her short stature, the GM determines Delilah takes disadvantage when she needs to intimidating and advantage when she needs others to perceive her as non-threatening. As well, she gains temporary luck whenever she forgives people who probably don't deserve it.
Backgrounds & Turning Points
Every PC has 3 backgrounds—generally, cultural, social, and occupational—which should affect what a character knows and may provide a bonus on related actions. Each PC also has a turning point that set them on their path, from which they get their initial Luck. This needn’t be anything particularly extraordinary, just something that indicates the PC doesn’t just go through the motions; they have a vision of how the world ought to be (preferably for the better) and they’re going to make it that way. Whether the other players know a PC’s turning point or not is up to the player and the GM, though the dramatic irony of knowing is often more fun for everyone than the mystery created when keeping it a secret.
Delilah is a Santaari, raised as a priestess in the Church of the Makers, a profession affording her access to the nobles of the Santaari Empire. Thus, Cassie gives her the cultural background Santaari, the social background Noble, and the occupational background Priestess. Delilah's turning point was when she defected from the Church of the Makers to form a new order called The Paladins of the Crimson Cord. This tells the GM to include a running subplot of her being pursued by the Church.
Each PC is created with a Max Luck (ML) of 3. Luck can be spent to set any die roll for that PC’s action or directly affecting the PC (such as an opponent’s attack) to 1 or 6, even after the GM has already announced the result of the roll. Luck is restored by 1 every sunset, up to the PC’s ML.
A PC may gain Temporary Luck (TL), which functions similarly to normal Luck, save for each PC may have only one at a time, and it does not restore except at GM discretion.
Cassie notes that Delilah's Max Luck is 3 on her character sheet.
Every character has a set of things they excel at, called aptitudes. When an aptitude applies to an action the character is performing, add 1 to the die roll, for a maximum aptitude bonus of 3. Characters begin with 3 aptitudes.
Above all, Cassie wants Delilah to be kind and compassionate, but she also wants her to be well-coordinated. She takes the Aptitudes "Bravery," "Coordination," and "Empathy," and records them on her character sheet.
Gifts & Techniques
Gifts & Techniques offer characters new abilities they wouldn’t otherwise have access to or make it easier to perform certain actions, though they seldom provide numerical bonuses. Characters may begin with 2 Gifts, 3 Techniques, or 1 Gift and 2 Techniques.
Cassie takes option 3: 1 Gift and 2 Techniques. Given her role in forming the Paladins of the Crimson Cord (PotCC), she gives Delilah the "Champion" Gift; offering her advantage on all actions that further the Paladins' cause (preserving life in all its forms and the quality thereof). She also wants Delilah to be capable of keeping the party alive and takes the "First Aid" technique, alongside "Disarm" to help her be more effective in battle.
Every PC begins with clothing, a rucksack, a purse, and six or so pieces of gear as approved or determined by your GM; often, these should be based on the character’s backgrounds and the style of game you wish to play.
Cassie's GM determines that Delilah begins with the following additional equipment: a mace, basic armor, a buckler, a bedroll, and rations.
Additionally, her entire party begins with a set of 5 torches, 20 yds of rope, a small tent, a mess kit, and a firestarter. The party discusses who will carry what, and it's determined that Delilah will carry the torches and firestarter.
Thus, both Delilah's hands are taken up by her mace and buckler, her body wear slot is taken up by her armor, and four of her six rucksack slots are taken up by: her bedroll, rations, torches, and firestarter.
Advancement (Level/Linear Progression)
All players begin with a ML of 3 and may increase their ML at the GM’s discretion, generally when they have completed some personal goal or completed a task where the odds are stacked against them, without spending Luck in the process. Character’s gain 1 Aptitude every time their ML increases to an even number, 1 Technique every time their luck increases to an odd number, and 1 Gift at multiples of 3.
If playing with permanent injuries and DR, DR begins at 1 and increases every time ML goes up to a prime number (5 ML = DR 2; 7 ML = DR 3; 11 = 4; etc.).
It is generally recommended that characters be retired (either dying dramatically or becoming an NPC) around 12 max luck, but the GM and player’s may elect to continue a PC’s adventuring career beyond this point.
Alternate Advancement (Point/Dynamic Progression)
At the group’s determination, they may follow an alternate form of advancement that makes character progression feel steadier and allows the GM to raise Max Luck more frequently. Under this rule, PCs raise their max luck when they have completed some personal goal, completed a task where the odds are stacked against them, or completed some goal related to the main story of the campaign. At the player’s behest, they may lower their max luck by 1 to gain an Aptitude or Technique, or lower their max luck by 2 to gain a Gift or increase their DR. Under this rule, a PC’s ML may not fall below 3.
The following is an example of what a character sheet may look like, written into a text document:
Delilah is a muscular Santaari in her late-twenties, with black, braided hair and pale skin. Shorter than most, she stands up straight with her head held high, though her reddish-copper eyes constantly scan her surroundings. Above all she prioritizes grace and forgiveness, even if it ends with her being burned in the end.
- Luck: 3/3; DR: 1
- Inj/Fat/Str: 0/0/0
- Base/Arm/Man Defense: 3/5/4
Turning Point: Defected from the Church of the Makers to form the Paladins of the Crimson Cord
- Champion (Paladins of the Crimson Cord)
- First Aid
- Left: Buckler (+1 AD)
- Body: Armor (+1 AD)
- Mace (+0 ITM, +1 FTM)
- Rations (3/3)
- Torches (3/3), 5
- Firestarter (3/3)