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 Score 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 Scores

The Scores are the core of a character, representing their base ability level. Each character has ten Scores, outlined below.
Melee (Me) Determines your skill at hitting with melee weaponry, as well as parrying. The Score and its bonus are abbreviated as Ma and MB respectively.
Ballistic (Ba) Determined your skill with ballistic, ranged weaponry. The Score and its bonus are abbreviated as Ba and BB respectively.
Strength (Str) Determines your physical strength, carrying capacity, and adds Strength Bonus to melee damage. The Score and its bonus are abbreviated as Str and SB respectively.
Toughness (Tou) Determines your resilience, carrying capacity, and Toughness Bonus reduces damage. The Score 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 Score 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 Score 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 Score 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 Score 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 Score and its bonus are abbreviated as Fel and FB respectively.
Realisation (RL) A unique Score, 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 Scores, Realisation may not be increased through XP advances; rather it starts at 10, and adds 1 point for every Social Link rank you possess. The Score and its bonus are abbreviated as RL and RLB respectively.

Characters start with 25 in every Score 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: Score Bonuses, Character Aptitudes, Persona Aptitudes, Magic Score, Exemplaries and Persona List.

  • Score Bonus shows which Scores 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 Score lists one of the nine core Scores. Most magic spells refer to "Magic Score (MC)" or "Magic Score Bonus (MCB)"; what this means is that the character treats the listed Score as their Magic Score. For example, Lovers' Magic Score 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. You get a +10 bonus to Magic tests at Evoker Rank 4, and another +10 at Evoker Rank 7, for a total of +20.
  • 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 Score Bonuses and Aptitudes listed.
  • Your unique Personae always have your Primary Arcana's listed Persona Aptitudes.
  • Your Primary Arcana's Magic Score determines your Magic Score. Even if you use Personae from an Arcana with a different listed Magic Score, you still use your Primary Arcana's Magic Score.
  • 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 Score 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 Score.

After choosing your Arcanae, you should have a total of +20 in Score 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 Scores (WS, BS, Strength, Toughness, Agility, Intelligence, Perception, Willpower, Fellowship)

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Generating Scores

After choosing your three Arcanae and applying their Score Bonuses, you may now generate your Score 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 Scores.
    • Throughout the game, you will see terminology that refers to a Score's 'natural' attributes. This means the character's Score 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, Fate Points and Stress.

  • Wounds represent your character's general health, and act as a measure of damage. Each character has three types of Wound pools: Light Wounds, Heavy Wounds and Deadly Wounds.
    • Light Wounds are the most numerous and represent notable but non-lethal harm. Whenever you suffer a hit that has damage in excess of your defenses, you lose a Light Wound (unless the attack is special in some way) and take 1 Stress. If you have no Light Wounds left to lose, you instead take Heavy Wounds. Light Wounds can be restored with Medicine tests via First Aid; otherwise they are restored after a week of rest. You start with Light Wounds equal to your TB, and can increase this through improving your TB or via the Sound Constitution talent.
    • Heavy Wounds represent serious, major harm, the kind that causes a complicating injury. Whenever you take a wound but have no Light Wounds left, you lose a Heavy Wound and take 5 stress. You also suffer an injury, the severity of which depends on how many Heavy Wounds you have left. This injury remains for as long as your Heavy Wounds are below maximum. You restore Heavy Wounds in Personal Turns by receiving Extended Care. If you would lose a Heavy Wound but have none left, then you suffer a Deadly Wound instead. You have TB/2 Heavy Wounds, with a minimum of 1; you can increase this by improving your TB or by the True Grit talent.
    • Deadly Wounds represent lethal or near-lethal damage. You only ever have one, and if you lose it, you are out of the fight, with long term complications to ensue.
  • Fate Points is a resource that can be used to provide special benefits. You begin the game with a pool of 2 Fate Points, which replenishes up to your max at the start of each week. Your pool can be increased by achieving Rank 10 in your Secondary Arcana S-Links. Fate Points can be used in a number of ways outlined in the Tests and Actions section.
  • 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 combat, and reduced through other Personal Time Actions.

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Realisation and Stress

In addition to the standard Scores, all Evokers possess two extra features known as Realisation and Stress.

  • Realisation is a tenth Charactiristic that all the Evokers possess. Realisation represents the strength of the character's self-realisation and the power of their Social Links. Realisation is unique to Evokers.
  • Stress is a type of special damage that represents how worn down the Evoker is by recent actions. Stress can create fatigue and make a character sick, and can be removed through rest. NPCs can have Stress too.

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Realisation is a special tenth Score. Like all Scores it ranges from 1 to 100, and has a Bonus equal to the tens column of the Score.

  • Unlike other Scores Realisation is not increased through Advances.
  • Instead, Realisation begins at 10, and to this is added the sum of all the Evoker's Social Link ranks. So if a Evoker has three Social links at Rank 4, Rank 6, and Rank 1, their Realisation would be 21 (10+4+6+1).
  • Realisation generates Power Points. You gain a number of Power Points per week equal to your Realisation Bonus. Power Points are spent to surge Arts and Spells.

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Stress is a type of special damage representing a long-term physical and mental tiredness that is deeper than just the exhaustion one gets from physical exertion. It represents a level of weariness that builds up over time due to various responsibilities, stressors and incidents. Stress is accrued through taking physical damage as well as personal actions.

Stress is accumulated in a meter up to 100. If Stress ever exceeds your Toughness, you become Fatigued, taking a Disadvantage to all tests. If it ever reaches 20 points above your Toughness, then you become Exhausted instead, taking two Disadvantages to all tests. Should Stress hit 100, you fall unconscious for 24 hours.
Stress is primarily removed through Personal Actions.
*At the end of each day, you lose 2 Stress. This is known as the 'Night's Sleep' bonus, and can be modified through various items.
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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, when making a test, invoke an aspect that would naturally be involved in that test. If they do so, they may either gain an advantage to the test, or reroll the test and take the preferred result. However, aspects can also reflect downsides: if an aspect-boosted test loses, then the aspect becomes 'Broken' for the rest of the week. Whenever a Broken aspect is invoked in a test, the test instead gains either a disadvantage to the test, or rerolls the test and takes the worse result.

Related to above, a character's aspects can be invoked by other characters, including NPCs, if the GM believes the situation fits the aspect. If the aspect is broken, then this can represent someone exploiting a weakness. In most circumstances, if a character has just invoked an Aspect to boost themselves, then rivals who force them into an opposed test can usually force an invocation of the same Aspect, assuming the situation hasn't fundamentally changed. Whilst this will provide a bonus to the character's test, it nonetheless forces the Aspect to be used- which can lead to a Broken aspect if the test fails.

Conceptually, an aspect then should reflect an important facet of the character's personality, one that gives them strength, but when overexerted or over relied on, can lead to weaknesses and vulnerability.

In non-combat situations, both players and GMs can invoke Aspects to provide interesting solutions, resources, or circumstantial bonuses (or repercussions) outside of the scope of the advantage or reroll bonus or penalty. For example, an aspect around being good and popular at sports might allow characters to immediately succeed at tests with sports fans, or draw extra info from them, or offer up new options on how to deal with 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: Linguist Level 2 (English and Japanese focuses). On top of this, they start with Level 1 in four 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 Score 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.
Score Aptitudes These represent the nine Scores (bar Realisation, which cannot be expanded with XP) each Character possesses: Melee, Ballistic, 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.
Resolve 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.

You can find the rules for Skills and Talents below:

Scores possess the following Aptitudes:
Score Aptitude 1 Aptitude 2
Melee Melee Offense
Ballistic Ballistic Finesse
Strength Strength Offense
Toughness Toughness Defense
Agility Agility Finesse
Intelligence Intelligence Knowledge
Perception Perception Fieldcraft
Willpower Willpower Resolve
Fellowship Fellowship Social
Score Advances increase a Score by +5 per purchase.
Matching Aptitudes Simple Intermediate Trained Master
Two 100 200 400 800
One 150 300 600 1200
Zero 300 600 1200 2400

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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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