After discussions with both friends and professional designers, I’ve reworked my goals, plans, and outline for the system I’m going to use for both DarkFall and Xenomega. As both are somewhat connected, it makes sense to use the same rules for both settings with some minor modifications or add-ons for each setting. Its a solid core though and while it needs to be written out in its entirety, it should function as we need it and cover all the bases.
Character Creation Outline with some other insight
- Character Concept: Before rolling any dice or making any concrete decisions, determine what kind of character you want to play. Do you want a sword-swinging warrior who wades through enemies? An expert with a variety of skills who can crack codes, break locks, or influence nobles? A spellcaster throwing fireballs and summoning creatures from far off lands to do your bidding? Or maybe something that combines several ideas into one; a character who dabbles as a priest while working as an enforcer of their god? These are the decisions to make now both so you can build your character at first level and give yourself a rough outline of where you want to take that character as they grow in experience. While there is no reason to fully plan out every single level as gameplay will affect how the character grows, it still may help to have a rough idea of what kind of person you want them to be.
- Determine Ability Scores: Ability scores are the most basic measure of a character. All creatures in the world have these ability scores (though some are 0 or non-existent) and it is an easy way to rank yourself against enemies and allies alike. The Ability scores are broken down in a 3×3 grid. Along the top axis is Physical, Mental, and Soul. Along the side axis is Power, Finesse, and Toughness.
Physical Mental Soul Power Strength Intelligence Psyche Finesse Agility Wisdom Charisma Toughness Vitality Will Spirit
While a warrior may greatly benefit from high Strength, other Ability scores should not be ignored. Each Ability score ranges from 0-5 for normal humans, though there really is no limit to how high they may go. Other races may have higher starting abilities and things like Augments can increase Abilities above the normal limits.
- Choose a Species: While humans are common both in DarkFall and Xenomega, they are far from alone on their respective worlds. Fantasy races such as elves, dwarves and halflings exist as well as more alien races like v’reen, arcanix, synths. Choosing a race determines many factors for your character, from their starting Ability score bonuses, special abilities and gameplay interactions with other races and even the other characters in the party. Each race is detailed with generalizations about their physical appearance, path affinities, personalities, allegiances, and even how they congregate together and work with other races. These are not hard line, set in stone rules though but ideas to help you flesh out your character’s individual personality.
- Choose a Path: There are five Paths in Transcendence: Arcanist, Expert, Priest, Psychic, and Warrior. Paths are similar to character classes in other games, but not as restrictive. At first level in a Path, the character is granted a few unique talents and also given access to feats specific to each Path. There are feats that can be taken by any Path at any levels, but each Path also has its own subset of feats that can only be taken when a new level is achieved in that Path. For example, Weapon Focus is only a Warrior feat, while Skill Focus is only an Expert feat. Arcanist, Priest, and Psychic feats typically focus on special abilities for those classes, whether arcane, divine, or psychic powers, while Warrior feats are usually combat oriented and Expert feats deal with skills.
Skill points are also distributed at this point with each Path having a different amount of skill points to allocate. Experts, in particular, have more skill points to work with while magic using Paths have far less.
- Determine Allegiances: Allegiances are strong in Transcendence. Though different from DarkFall to Xenomega, allegiances set guides for the character on how they behave towards others and can be loose code of ethics towards good or evil, law or chaos, or more specific things like organizations and communities in the world. An allegiance is not a strict adherence or devotion to an ideal though, except in the case of most priests towards their god.
- Determine Character Statistics: These are the characteristics that have little mechanical impact in the game, but set your character apart from every other creature in the world of the same race and Path. Vital statistics include:
- Physical Appearance
- Equip the Character: Using the set amount of starting gold (it is the same for every class), purchase things like weapons and armor, clothing and mounts or vehicles. It may be possible to purchase non-mundane items at first level, but it will require a sacrifice of other items.
- Overview: Check your math and see if there is anything that was missed. Fill in the details by adding up the Ability scores and skills, plus any bonuses from feats, to determine numbers that will be commonly used. For example, if your warrior will nearly always be using his longsword, figure out the total dice you’ll need to roll to swing that sword since it won’t change until he reaches a new level.
- Background: Some GMs will want a long, detailed, written history of how your character became who they are now. Others just want a simple, basic idea of what made them become adventurers. At the least, have a rough idea of how and where your character learned their Path, if they have any living family members, any ties they might have to people in power, and how they deal with other races and allegiances. Note: If you are making a first level character, they most likely were not a great hero in an epic battle and survived fighting dragons and demons. Start small, the game will determine their story and make them legends.