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Character Creation

The players receive a number points, for example 30, to spend on their characters’ backgrounds, attributes and traits.

4.0 Character sheet

Backgrounds and Attributes

All characters have a personal history, represented by at least one background. A background often corresponds to a profession, like Soldier, Mechanic or Physician. Write down the character's background(s) on the empty lines in the backgrounds section.

To the right of each background you choose, and of each attribute, there are a number of squares. Each point fills one area in one square. If a square is divided into two parts then filling that square costs two points. Squares are filled from left to right, and the value of the background or attribute equals the number printed above the last square to be completely filled. For example, spending 5 points on Strength would give the character Strength 9.

Backgrounds and attributes normally range from 4 to 12, with 8 (that is 3 points spent) roughly representing what you'd expect from a professional - someone who relies on that ability quite often. A character may take any number of backgrounds, but must spend at least one point on each one.


The character's backgrounds are used when two conditions are met:

  • The background is commonly associated with this type of action; the Soldier digs a trench, the Mechanic fixes an engine, the Physician treats a wound etc.
  • None of the attributes fully applies. While a Soldier does fight, there are attributes for doing that.

A few examples of background uses:

  • Thief: pick someone's pockets
  • Hunter: tracking in the appropriate terrain
  • Private eye: check a room for bugs

Backgrounds also determine what the attributes encompass. For a character with only the Hunter background, Ranged combat applies to hunting rifles and shotguns, but not to a machine gun. Attempting tasks outside of your area of expertise results in penalties.

A lot of settings have numerous quite similar backgrounds arranged in groups, for example different kinds of scientists or a different type of hunter for each major geographical region. When this is the case, you may expand your knowledge to related fields by spending a single point on a Background within the same group. Your highest Background in that group applies to all the fields you've spent a point on.


Some attributes are pretty self-explanatory, but others might warrant further clarification: Presence sets a tone of voice and a body language that inspires trust, respect, fear or loyalty. It's used to look honest or scary and for generally keeping your poker-face in a bluff. Persuasion, on the other hand, is used for any longer discussion, manipulation or haggling. Agility is quickness and precision in large movements, like running, jumping, rolling or climbing.

The combat attributes, Close and Ranged combat, have their own scales and start out negative. If you don't spend any points on them, you have -5. Professionals that use a combat attribute typically have 0 in it.


Traits describe various positive, negative and neutral aspects of a character that cannot be described by high or low attribute values. The cost of a trait depends on its usefulness. If the trait is an advantage, it has a positive cost stated next to its name. If the trait is a disadvantage, selecting it means the player gains points to spend on other things; its cost is negative.

Derived stats

These values are based on the character's attributes.


The Wounds column on the right hand side of the character sheet features series of numbered rows. Some of those are filled with a set of numbers, depending on your Willpower attribute:

Willpower Penalties
0: xx55443322
4: x55443
6: 55443
8: 5433
9: 4432
10: 433
11: 422
12+: 42

Write the first number in this series on the row marked 10. For example, if you have Willpower 8, you write a '5' on the row marked 10, a '4' on row 9, and finally a '3' on rows 8 and 7. These numbers will be your penalties for trying to act while wounded. A high willpower means lower penalties. An 'x' means the character is incapable of constructive actions.

On the second and fourth line down, counting from your highest penalty, draw a circle around the printed number. In the example above, that'd be numbers 9 and 7. This will be important in the Wounds chapter.

Some traits may instruct you to start writing on a different row than 10. The procedure is the same: always write the next number in the series directly below the last one.

Damage modifier

Some characters hit harder than others. This is represented by a Damage modifier, equal to the character’s Strength -8.


It is customary, but not necessary, to award additional points during 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. These points are spent the same way as the ones used in character creation.

en4.0/character_creation.txt · Last modified: 2015/04/02 21:24 (external edit)