Character Creation

Creating a Character

Characters in Persona are generated over a series of steps: firstly they choose one Primary Arcana and two Secondary Arcanae. Secondly, they generate their final characteristic line. Thirdly they generate their Vitals. Fourthly they design their Aspects and may take a Drawback, and finally they pick their starting skills and spend their starting experience.

Setup: Starting Characteristics

The Characteristics are the core of a character, representing their base ability level. Each character has ten Characteristics, outlined below.
Weapon Skill (WS) Determines your skill at hitting with melee weaponry, as well as parrying. The characteristic and its bonus are abbreviated as WS and WSB respectively.
Ballistic Skill (BS) Determined your skill with ranged weaponry. The characteristic and its bonus are abbreviated as BS and BSB respectively.
Strength (Str) Determines your physical strength, carrying capacity, and adds Strength Bonus to melee damage. The characteristic and its bonus are abbreviated as Str and SB respectively.
Toughness (Tou) Determines your resilience, carrying capacity, and Toughness Bonus reduces damage. The characteristic and its bonus are abbreviated as Tou and TB respectively.
Agility (Ag) Determines your speed and grace, your initiative, and is used for many skills related to movement, carefulness and stealth. The characteristic and its bonus are abbreviated as Ag and AB respectively.
Intelligence (Int) Determines your character's intellect and memory abilities, and is used for many skills related to knowledge and problem-solving. The characteristic and its bonus are abbreviated as Int and IB respectively.
Perception (Per) Determines your character's awareness and their sensory acuity, and is used for many skills related to extracting information from the environment. The characteristic and its bonus are abbreviated as Per and PB respectively.
Willpower (WP) Determines your character's ability to control their own actions and resist fear and compulsion. The characteristic and its bonus are abbreviated as WP and WPB respectively.
Fellowship (Fel) Determines your character's ability to interact with others, either as a leader or as an equal, and is used for many social skills. The characteristic and its bonus are abbreviated as Fel and FB respectively.
Realisation (RL) A unique characteristic, Realisation represents an abstract mix of your character's sense of self, their awareness and acceptance of their emotions and their personal enlightenment. Unlike other characteristics, Realisation may not be increased through XP advances; rather it fluctuates depending on social links and other modifiers. The characteristic and its bonus are abbreviated as RL and RLB respectively.

Characters start with 25 in every characteristic except for Realisation, in which they start with 10.

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Choosing Arcanae

Arcanae are possibly the most important mechanical part of character generation. Arcanae determine your character's aptitudes, starting skills and their Persona lists.

Each Arcana has the following fields: Characteristic Bonuses, Character Aptitudes, Persona Aptitudes, Magic Characteristic, Exemplaries and Persona List.

  • Characteristic Bonus shows which Characteristics this Arcana modifies. Eg. An Arcana with "+5 Agility, +5 Intelligence" adds +5 to Agility and Intelligence.
  • Character Aptitudes shows which Aptitudes this Arcana grants to your character. Aptitudes will be covered later, but they affect how the character grows by determining discounts to certain talents and skills.
  • Magic Characteristic lists one of the nine core Characteristics. Most magic spells refer to "Magic Characteristic (MC)" or "Magic Characteristic Bonus (MCB)"; what this means is that the character treats the listed Characteristic as their Magic Characteristic. For example, Lovers' Magic Characteristic is Fellowship, which means that when using magic, a Lovers character makes tests with Fellowship and uses their Fellowship Bonus to calculate any MCB effects, such as damage.
  • Exemplaries are special, unique powers attached to the Arcana. Each Arcana has a single Exemplary, and each Exemplary powers up over time.
  • Persona List lists the ten Personae that Arcana accesses.

When choosing Arcanae, you choose three: one of which is your Primary Arcana, the other two of which are your Secondary Arcanae.
Your Primary Arcana…

  • Grants you all Characteristic Bonuses and Aptitudes listed.
  • Your unique Personae always have your Primary Arcana's listed Persona Aptitudes.
  • Your Primary Arcana's Magic Characteristic determines your Magic Characteristic. Even if you use Personae from an Arcana with a different listed Magic Characteristic, you still use your Primary Arcana's Magic Characteristic.
  • You gain an Exemplary from your Primary Arcana.
  • You are the only person who can have your Primary Arcana as your Primary! Other people may choose your Arcana as a Secondary, but they can never choose yours as a Primary.

Your Secondary Arcanae…

  • Grant you only one of their Characteristic Bonuses each. If the Bonus is a +10, then make it a +5 instead.
  • Grant you two of three Aptitudes each, which you may choose.
  • You do not take any Exemplaries from Secondary Arcanae, and you do not use their Magic Characteristic.

After choosing your Arcanae, you should have a total of +20 in Characteristic Modifiers and seven Aptitudes.

  • If, due to Arcana picks, you gain an Aptitude multiple times, then you may swap the duplicates out for any of the nine Aptitudes named after the core Characteristics (WS, BS, Strength, Toughness, Agility, Intelligence, Perception, Willpower, Fellowship)

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Generating Characteristics

After choosing your three Arcanae and applying their Characteristic Bonuses, you may now generate your Characteristic Scores.

  • You gain 60 points to spend across your nine core Scores (ignoring Realisation). You may not increase a Score above 50 at this stage.
  • Once all your points are spent, you finalise your Score line; this will be the starting line you use at the start of the game.
    • A note on Scores: over the course of the game you will be able to gain a maximum of +25 permanent growth in lots of 5 to each of the nine core Characteristics.
    • Throughout the game, you will see terminology that refers to a Score's 'natural' attributes. This means the character's characteristic before any modifiers from, for example, equipment, traits or Personae.

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Generating Vitals

Every character has a set of important stats known as Vitals. These are their Wounds, Exertion, Spell Points, Fatigue Threshold, Current Realisation and Stress.

  • Wounds represent your character's general health, and act as a buffer for damage. Once they run out of wounds, damage inflicts dangerous Lethal Damage effects. All characters begin with 8+TB wounds, and if their TB increases, this is recalculated appropriately. Wounds can be increased with the 'Sound Constitution' talent.
  • Exertion is a resource used to activate a Persona's Arts, their physical powers. Take the highest value of your natural, unmodified WSB, BSB, SB or TB, and multiply it by your Evoker Rank (starting at 1). When using an Art, you subtract that power's Exertion amount from your stock; you can't activate the power if you can't pay for it! Regenerating Exertion quickly requires items or traits or certain other bonuses. A full night's rest restores Exertion.
  • Spirit is a resource used to activate a Persona's Spells. Take your Magic Characteristic Bonus and multiply the result by your Evoker Rank (which starts at 1). When using a Spell, you subtract that power's Spirit amount from your stock; you can't activate the power if you can't pay for it! Regenerating Spirit quickly requires items or traits or certain other bonuses. A full night's rest restores Spirit.
  • Fatigue Threshold is equal to your TB. It measures how much Fatigue a character can take before they start to collapse. If Fatigue is higher than the Threshold, the character suffers a -20 penalty to all tests; if their Fatigue is twice as high as the Threshold, they collapse for 10-TB minutes. Removing Fatigue is difficult and requires extended periods of rest.
  • Realisation is a Characteristic, but its main value is that it can be 'spent' to activate special actions outlined here: Action List. The Realisation measured on your Characteristics list is the maximum, but this lists your current. Spent realisation can be regained through social actions.
  • Stress is a type of special damage, representing long-term accumulation of physical and mental weariness. It is increased primarily through Personal Time Actions, and reduced through other Personal Time Actions. For each 10 points of stress you have, you gain a level of fatigue that cannot be removed until Stress is decreased. Rules for Stress can be found here: Rules for Stress.

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Aspects are a special element to a character that strongly reflects their personality, background, a belief, relationship or something similar to those. They are defined by you, the player, via working out with the GM (and other players!) what they are and what they mean.

All PCs begin with two Aspects and may gain more as time goes on. They may also change over time.

Aspects are more than character traits: they also inform a mechanic. During gameplay, a character may spend Realisation (with them determining how much) and invoke an aspect to gain a benefit from it, one stronger than a usual Realisation spend use.

Aspects can also be used to complicate a situation. For example, an aspect may lead a character into doing an action they might not want to do. This is called a 'compel'. Any players- including the GM, who has the last say- can call for a compel when a situation arises for a specific character. If the GM (and the player) agree, then a consequence falls on that character. In return, however, the character either regains Realisation, or gains an Epiphany.

Aspects work best, then, when they have both positive and detrimental elements to them.
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PCs may choose to take a Drawback at creation. Drawbacks are major traits that have notable mechanical drawbacks. For example, an allergy, or possessing a feature that permanently penalises all of your social interactions.

PCs may only take a single Drawback at creation, and determine its nature with the GM. A player who takes on a Drawback may request a boon from the GM in return. Some examples are:

  • An extra starting 1,000 XP.
  • Another Aspect, perhaps one tied to their Drawback, or alternatively one with less of a downside
  • A stronger piece of Metagear, or a Persona with a stronger starting ability

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Aptitudes, Experience, Advancements and Starting Skills

At this point the character is all but finished. All that's left is to determine their starting skills and spending their starting experience.

Characters start the game with the following skills: Literacy, Linguist (English, one other) and Lore (Home Country). On top of this, they may gain five free different skills of their choice, which may only be chosen from skills with which they share at least one aptitude.

Once this is done, the character is given 1,000 starting XP to spend on advances.

Advances in Persona refer primarily to one of three things: Skill Advances, Talent Advances and Characteristic Advances. Every aptitude has an XP cost, but it also has two Aptitudes. If your character shares an Aptitude with that Advance, then the cost is discounted; if they share both Aptitudes then they get a larger discount.

Here is a list of Aptitudes, with a small description of what they do.
Aptitude Name Description
General Advances with this Aptitude are simple or easy to learn, accessible to just about everyone. For this reason, everyone is treated as having the General Aptitude.
Characteristic Aptitudes These represent the nine Characteristics (bar Realisation, which cannot be expanded with XP) each Character possesses: Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill, Strength, Toughness, Agility, Intelligence, Perception, Willpower and Fellowship.
Offense This aptitude represents a focus on the attack and is often tied with brute force and superior force of arms. Characters with this aptitude often excel at dealing damage, particularly in melee.
Finesse This aptitude represents careful planning, use of sophisticated skills and precision. These kinds of characters excel with precision weaponry and agility.
Defense This aptitude represents a knowledge of how to keep oneself alive whilst in the swirling storm of brutal combat.
Knowledge This aptitude represents an ability to acquire knowledge, whether it be through the written word, through the stories of orators and storytellers, or through ancient fragments of lost civilizations.
Fieldcraft This aptitude represents the ability to survive in many types of environments or to perform behaviours that would assist in that.
Resolution This aptitude represents the ability to manifest resolve and 'inner character'. It is key in mental defense as well as leadership.
Social This aptitude represents one's ability to understand and use the dangerous and subtle arts of social grace and knowledge to further their own gains.

Skill Advances represent one of the many skills characters can use. Skills represent a character's expertise and capability within a certain area. Every skill has four levels, each representing a greater level of expertise within that skill.

  • Level 1, 'Known', allows you to use the skill without the -20 penalty for not knowing it.
  • Level 2, 'Trained', allows you to use the skill with a +10 bonus.
  • Level 3, 'Experienced', increases the bonus with this skill to +20.
  • Level 4, 'Master', increases the bonus with this skill to +30.
  • Each level of a skill has the previous level as a prerequisite, so you must progress through each level one after the other.
  • Some skills are Specialist Skills; when you purchase them, you actually purchase a specialisation within them- for example, the Operate skill has the specialisations "Wheeled" and "Fixed Wing". Purchasing Operate (Wheeled) allows you to operate wheeled vehicles, but not fixed wing aircraft. You may purchase Specialist skills more than once, each time choosing a different specialisation. These specialisations are treated as separate skills and must be advanced separately.
    • A note on Skills: it is possible that in the course of character generation, you end up gaining a skill multiple times. In this case, you 'stack' the skill, increasing its level of advancement by one per duplicate.

Talent Advances enhance your character, proividing them with special bonuses in certain circumstances- they're powerful and form an important core of character experience. Every talent is divided into one of three tiers, with each tier being more expensive and more powerful. Talents often have prerequisites that you must meet before you can purchase it.

Characteristic Advances increase one of your character's nine characteristics. Each Characteristic has five Advances, and each time you purchase an Advance for that Characteristic you permanently increase it by +5.

  • Characteristic Advances must be purchased in order, going: Simple, Intermediate, Trained, Proficient and Expert. Each advancement is more expensive than the last.
Skills come in four ranks- Known (1), Trained (2), Experienced (3) and Master (4).
Known allows you to test a Skill without taking a -20 penalty (note that a Specialist Skill may never be attempted without training)
Trained allows you to make that test with a +10 bonus.
Experienced allows you to make that test with a +20 bonus.
Master allows you to make that test with a +30 bonus.
Matching Aptitudes Known Trained Experienced Master
Two 100 XP 200 XP 300 XP 400 XP
One 200 XP 400 XP 600 XP 800 XP
Zero 300 XP 600 XP 900 XP 1200 XP

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Personal Details

In this section, you work out the character's personal details: their family, their background, what food they like, their favourite colour, so on and so forth. Realistically, this step will be performed throughout the entirety of the character creation process. However, there are two points here that have to be addressed: the Five Questions and their Major Persona.

The Five Questions

Every player must answer the following five questions. The character themselves may not know the answer. The player is encouraged to only share these answers with the GM and not with other players, who should discover them naturally through the course of play. The answers, too, can change with time. The questions are:

  • What do you want more than anything?
  • What do you fear more than anything? (It's not recommended to insert a phobia or something similar in here.)
  • What do you hate more than anything?
  • Someone- you forget who or when- told you a phrase, and whenever you think about it, it makes you a little happier or calmer. What's the phrase?
  • What, more than anything, is something that you wish you (and everyone else, maybe) could permanently forget?

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Major Persona

Each player must also decide a Major Persona for their characters. The rules on those may be found here: major-persona-generation
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