A character, in the context of role-playing games, generally refers to a player's alter ego inside the fictional world in which the game takes place. The characters are created using the rules in this text. Collaboration is generally beneficial - characters created at the same time are more likely to fit in with the rest of the group. All characters must be approved by the Game Master (GM) before the game starts.
All persons in the game world which are not controlled by a player are referred to as “NPC's”, which is traditional shorthand for “non-player character”. These are created and controlled by the GM. In creating them, the GM may use these rules, or just make up whatever values that fit the NPC in question.
Before the process of assigning numbers and spending points begins, the nature of the character should at least be somewhat fleshed out. Think about the character's background, occupation, personality, family and main areas of expertise. These are the meat of the character, that which makes it a person rather than mere statistics.
Points are used to measure a character's general competence, and also to show how that competence is divided. The GM decides how many points the players should use to build their characters. The exact number depends on what kind of a campaign the GM had in mind:
20 points each, Unskilled: A gang of teenage street brats, a pack of malnourished slaves with no education.
30 points each, Average Joe: farmers, librarians, electricians, nurses and cab drivers - ordinary people, typically with very little combat training and few extraordinary traits.
40 points each, Competent: A team of some renown - top investigators, a prestigious military unit, the most respected scientist in a particular field, or the like.
A story about a group of heroes might call for 50 or even 60 points each.
It is customary (but not necessary) to award additional points during the campaigns. The GM decides what rate of progression is appropriate for the campaign; one point after each session is generous, one for every two or three sessions is more common. The players spend these points freely, but should focus on areas which have been relevant since the last time points were spent. If there has been no combat nor contact with firearms, then spending points on Ranged Combat is probably inappropriate and may be vetoed against by the GM.
Since the purpose of the point system is to maintain a balance of power within the group, it is recommended to give the same number of points to every player. If a new player joins an ongoing campaign, the number of points should be set reasonably close to that of the older characters, or the new character should progress faster until balance is achieved. The same goes for characters whose players have been absent for a while.
The character creation process follows these simple steps:
In step 2, the order in which the purchases are made is not set; one may begin with Traits, move on to Attributes, and then purchase Backgrounds - and then go back to spend any unspent points on Attributes or Traits.
The Attributes are used to measure the character's competence and skill in different areas. The 16 most common attributes are listed on the character sheet. There is also some room for custom Attributes. One point can be used to fill in one field of one circle of one Attribute. A circle divided into two fields costs two points to fill completely. The value of the Attribute is the number above the last circle to be completely filled.
For more information, see Attributes.
Backgrounds describe what a character has been spending his or her time on before the game begins. They are bought like regular (custom) Attributes and are given suitable names such as “Mechanic”, “Vagabond”, “Psychologist” or “Redneck”. For more information regarding Backgrounds, see Background.
Traits are properties of the character which cannot be accurately described as part of an Attribute. They can either be advantages or disadvantages. Advantages cost points, while disadvantages give points. For more information on Traits, as well as a list of examples, see Traits.
Together with the GM, the player decided which, if any, weapons, armour or other equipment the character starts the game with. Often, the players can be assigned a set sum of resources that can be used to purchase weapons, armor and other types of equipment. Rules regarding equipment are found under Equipment and lists of weapons and armor under Tables.
The character sheet can be downloaded at
(Illustration: An example character's character sheet, with explanations)