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 choose their Assets and Drawbacks, 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, resist fear and compulsion, and manifest magical abilities. 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 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.
  • Persona Aptitudes lists two Aptitudes, drawn from the Persona Aptitude list. Although each Persona on the Persona List has its own Aptitudes, these two listed Aptitudes influence the character's unique Personae.
  • 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 three Exemplaries, 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 choose a single Exemplary from your Primary Arcana.
  • You gain access to all ten grades of your Primary Arcana's Persona List.
  • 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.
  • You gain access to the first nine grades of your Secondary Arcana's Persona List- but not the tenth.

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 Characteristics.

  • You gain 60 points to spend across your nine core Characteristics (ignoring Realisation). You may not increase a Characteristic above 50 at this stage.
  • Once all your points are spent, you finalise your characteristic line; this will be the starting line you use at the start of the game.
    • A note on Characteristics: 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 Characteristic'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, Realisation Points, Repression 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 Critical 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 Maneuvers, 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 a Maneuver, you subtract that power's Exertion amount from your stock; you can't activate the power if you can't pay for it! Exertion regenerates at a rate each round equal to your Evoker Rank. Furthermore, on your turn, as a free action, you can sacrifice as many wounds as you like (Drawn from you, not from your Persona) to replenish Exertion, at a rate of 1 wound per 2 Exertion.
  • Spell Points is a resource used to activate a Persona's Spells. Take your Magic Characteristic Bonus, add it to your Willpower Bonus (even if your Magic Characteristic is also Willpower), and multiply the result by your Evoker Rank (which starts at 1). When using a Spell, you subtract that power's SP amount from your stock; you can't activate the power if you can't pay for it! Regenerating SP requires items or other bonuses.
  • Fatigue Threshold measures how much Fatigue a character can take before they begin suffering from the Exhaustion Status Effect. If Fatigue is higher than the Threshold, the character suffers from Exhaustion until their fatigue drops to be equal or lower with the Threshold. Fatigue Threshold is equal to the character's natural TB, and can be increased with some talents.
  • Current Realisation measures how much Realisation the character has at current. Whilst Realisation is one of the character's ten Characteristics, the Realisation shown there is treated as a maximum, with your 'actual' Realisation being recorded as a Vital here. Realisation is spent to reduce Repression, and replenishes through spending time with friends.
  • Realisation Points are a special resource which may be used to grant yourself an edge or activate powerful talents. Realisation Points are spent to activate special actions outlined here: Action List. At the start of each Monday your pool of Realisation Points is replenished and recalculated, with you gaining 1 point per 10 points of Current Realisation. Unspent points do not carry over.
  • Repression is a type of special damage which is accumulated from exposure to the Sea of Chaos as well as from inner turmoil. It is reduced through spending Current Realisation. Rules for Repression can be found here: Rules for Repression.
  • Stress is a type of special damage, representing long-term accumulation of physical and mental weariness. It is increased primarily through Personal Actions, and reduced through other Personal 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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Assets and Drawbacks

Asset Name Subname Character Implications Effect Special Requirements Depth Cost
Catlike - You are gifted with unusual grace and skill at moving quietly. Gain the Stealth skill, and you gain a Conditional Realisation Point that may only be spent to reroll or add Degrees of Success to Stealth tests. - Agility 30 5
Charming - You're unusually attractive, not always in a way related to looks; it could be how you speak, smell, or act in some way. Gain +10 to Fellowship skill tests toward those who would be attracted to you. - Fellowship 30 5
Common Sense - You're not an idiot, and will probably recognise when things could go bad. You may, once per session, consult with a GM about a specific action, and be told if and how the idea is inherently flawed, in the context of what the character would be expected to know. - - 5
Duelist - Years of practice and experience- or perhaps a natural knack- have made you accomplished at dealing with a foe, one on one, weapon to weapon You begin with the Duelist talent. - Weapon Skill 30 5
Eidetic Memory - You have a nearly flawless memory. You gain the Total Recall talent. - Intelligence 30, no 'Forgetful' Drawback 5
Egghead Chosen Skill You profess a great and focused interest in a particular intellectual pursuit. Choose one Intelligence-based skill; you now gain that skill and, whenever you test against that skill, you may reroll and take the preferred result. May be taken a number of times up to your IB. Intelligence 30 5
Good History 1-4 You're popular amongst a certain group. Perhaps you're a celebrity, or you have some family ties in some way. Select a single group. You now gain the Peer (1) trait with them. May be taken multiple times- you may choose the same group twice. - 5
Healer - For whatever reason you've picked up some medical ability, maybe from a family member, upbringing or as a pure hobby. You gain the Medical Skill and the Master Chirurgeon talent. - Intelligence 30 5
Hedonist - You party hard in the pursuit of pleasure (or to forget); at this point you've built up a type of immunity to intoxicants. You gain the Carouse skill and the Decadence talent. - - 5
Hobbyist Chosen Skill You have a hobby, something you've pursued with an amateur's focus and love for many years. You're good at it! And furthermore you enjoy it. Common examples are cooking, writing and singing. Choose one Trade skill; you now gain that skill and, whenever you test against that skill, you may reroll and take the preferred result. When you perform Locale Activities related to your hobby, you lose one stress. - - 5
Incredible Sense Sense You possess, either through birth or through training, an extremely well-developed sense. Choose one sense (sight, hearing, touch, taste+smell); take a +20 bonus to Perception tests relying only on that sense. Stacks with Heightened Senses. - No 'Poor Vision' Drawback if Vision is chosen 5
Innovative - You're highly innovative, capable of unorthodox thinking and bursts of creativity. Gain one conditional Realisation Point to be used when attempting a creative plan or unorthodox use of a skill. Furthermore, you take a +10 bonus to tests related with inventing or creativity. - Intelligence 30 5
Military Enthusiast Chosen Skills You're always willing to listen and pay attention when the word is about war. You may be a scholar who has read deeply on the topic, or you may have done some fighting yourself and picked up some things, or you just pay a lot of attention to war stories. You gain two Common or Scholastic Lores related to war; whenever you test these skills, you may reroll and take the preferred result. - - 5
Mimic - You have a knack at mimicing the voices of others. You gain the Mimic talent. - Perception 30 5
Natural Leader - You're a natural leader, either due to use of authority from birth, from experience, or just some sense of charisma you possess. You gain the Command skill, and may use the Inspire special use of Command as a Half Action. - Requires the Resolution or Social Aptitude 5
Paranoia - You're always suspecting an ambush or a trap or some threat to come out of nowhere. Perhaps you grew up somewhere weird or dangerous, or maybe there's something terrible in your history that's made you like this. You gain the Paranoia talent. - No "Inattentive" Drawback 5
Platonic - You're a stone wall when it comes to romance. You may simply not be interested, or you're too devoted to one particular person, or you're just shockingly dense at taking the thing. Seduction attempts against you automatically fail, and Charm tests against you take a -10 penalty. If you willingly enter into a romantic relationship, then this is waived for that one individual. - - 5
Polyglot - You have a natural knack for languages. You may be a traveler, or you grew up in a particularly cosmopolitan environment. You reduce the cost of Linguistics skill purchases by half. Furthermore, you may test Intelligence-20 to glean basic understanding of an unknown language. - - 5
Privileged Background - Your background is one of privilege. This varies from place to place and culture to culture, and in some cases it might just mean great wealth whilst in other places it's often attached to a prestigious name or heritage. You gain an extra $100 at the start of each week. Furthermore, when dealing with people who might have reason to know, respect or fear your name, you can lean on the name in some ways to gain a bit of leverage when dealing with them. - - 5
Resilient Metabolism - Hard or desperate living, or just a fluke of nature, either way you have an admirable resistance to poisons and toxins. Gain the Carouse skill, the Resistance (Poison) talent, a +20 bonus to resist illness, and reroll toughness tests when hit with a Toxic weapon. - Toughness 30 5
Rugged - Long exposure to rough terrain has made you a master of it, and the envy of the clumsy and foreign. Choose one type of environment (eg urban, rural). You take a +20 to Survival tests and reduce the DTV of Difficult Terrain by 2. - - 5
Shrewd - You're a shrewd and cunning negotiator. You gain one conditional Realisation Point to be used in negotiations or social interactions or Social Conflicts. The Point may not be used to heal wounds. - Fellowship 30 5
Streetwise - Either due to your own circumstances or your nature, you're able to communicate freely with those who society has marginalised. Gain a +10 bonus to Social Skill tests made when dealing with the socially excluded or those living informally outside of the system. - No "Pompous" Drawback 5
Studious - Whether it's because you have a natural love of the act, or just years of grinding education has streamlined the process for you, you're much more comfortable and successful with school and schoolwork than your peers. Gain a +10 bonus to rolls for the Study and Attend School Personal Actions. Furthermore, you take 1 less stress from these actions. - No "Delinquent" Drawback 5
Thrill Seeker - You're either addicted to thrills, or whenever you find yourself in dangerous situations, you just switch on. Whenever you spend a Realisation Point in dangerous situtations where you are outmatched or performing an exceptionally brave feat, roll a 1d10. On a 10, the Point is regained. Furthermore, if you engaged in dangerous activities during the day, you lose one point of stress. - No "Coward" Drawback 5
Uncanny Luck - Things just, sometimes, go your way, often in highly unusual or unlikely ways. Once per session, you may subtract an already rolled test result by 2d10. - No "Cursed" Drawabck 5
Unremarkable - You're not remarkable to look at. In fact you're actively forgetful. People trying to remember your face have a genuine problem doing so. You gain the Unremarkable talent. - - 5
Urbane - You're at home in urbane situations, when dealing with those in power or prestige. Gain a +10 bonus to Charm, Deceive, Scrutiny and Inquiry tests made when dealing with the authorities, socialite classes and in formal situations. - No "Coarse" Drawback 5
Athlete - You are quite fit and spend a good deal of time being physically active. You begin with the Athletics skill. You automatically gain an extra success when using Characteristic Training to improve Strength, Toughness or Agility, or Skill Training to improve Strength, Toughness or Agility skills. - Strength 30, Toughness 30, Agility 30 10
Cynic - You're naturally suspicious of others, or maybe you have experience dealing with cons, lies and cheats. You don't have to be actually genuinely cynical. Gain the Scrutiny skill and +20 to Scrutiny tests to resist Charm or Deceive. - - 10
Driven - You're the sort of person who fights harder the more the odds are stacked against them. Gain one conditional Realisation Point to be used in any way you prefer when facing a superior foe or exceptionally bad odds. - Willpower 30 10
Fast - You're unusually fast; this asset goes well with the Athlete skill thematically. You count your Agility Bonus as one higher for the purposes of movement. - Agility Aptitude 10
Fearless - You're either recklessly brave, suicidal, or an idiot. Increase your Fearless trait by 1. - Willpower 30 10
High Endurance - You're highly tough, capable of taking blows and working hard hours without collapse. You may test Toughness when incurring fatigue. On a success, you reduce the fatigue taken by 1, minimum zero. Increase fatigue threshold by 1. - Toughness 30, no Chronic Pain Drawback 10
Hyperactive - You act and think fast in a crisis, faster than most people do. You may spend a Realisation Point in order to perform a single Half Action as a Reaction instead. This may be before or after someone else's turn, but not during. - - 10
Quick Healer - You're unusually quick to heal from injuries. Whenever you recover wounds, no matter what the source, you regain one extra. When you spend a Realisation Point to heal wounds, you may add your TB to the amount healed. - Toughness 30, no Slow Healer Drawback 10
Sociable - You have a way with people- perhaps you're just the master of first impressions, but once you 'know' someone you're particularly good at leveraging that small bond to your favour. You treat all existing forms of the Peer trait as being one rank higher than they really are. - No "Shy" Drawback, Fellowship or Social Aptitude 10
Troublemaker - You're not comfortable with authority, and you wriggle and worm and squeeze your way out of it whenever possible. You gain two of the following skills: Stealth, Security, Sleight of Hand. Authority figures take a -20 penalty to Charm or Command tests against you if attempting to make you do something. - No "Submissive" Drawback 10

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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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Character Examples

Below are examples of what a finished character looks like, using my own designed template:
Minato Arisato
Junpei Iori
Yukari Takeba

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