|Character Creation|| Details & Characteristics|
|Basic Traits|| Ability Scores|
A lot of details go into making your character more than just a collection of numbers, things like name, gender, age, appearance, and so forth help to define who he or she is. Take a moment, if you haven’t already, to consider the following things about your d20A character.
What is your character's name? You can give your character any name you like, based on a real-world name, one from fiction, or a name entirely of your own creation. Appropriate names depend on the kind of character and the type of story you’re telling, so consult with your group and your GM.
Is your character male or female? There's no requirement to play a character of the same gender as you. In fact, you may find it interesting to play a character of a different gender, to experience a little of what life is like from another perspective.
How old is your character? Characters tend to range from their teens to middle age, but some characters are older, depending on a character's background, possibly much older. Consider the effects of age on the characters. A teenager on her first adventure away from home isn't likely to have the same views as a mature adult. A character's age may influence the choice of certain traits. Older characters are likely to have lower physical ability scores, for example, while younger characters may have fewer skills (having had less time to train in them).
What does your character look like? Consider things like the character's race, sex, and other factors in appearance. Is the character short or tall? What about hair and eye color? Does the character have any distinguishing marks or unique features? What sort of wardrobe does the character prefer?
How would you describe your character's personality? While characters tend to share a desire to use their powers for good and uphold the law, they show a diverse range of attitudes. One character may be dedicated to the ideals of truth, justice, and equality, while another is willing to break the rules in order to ensure things get done. Some character are forthright and cheerful while others are grim and unrelenting. Consider your character's attitudes and personality traits, particularly in light of the character's nature.
All intelligent creatures make moral choices, to live according to their better nature or to give in to immoral impulses. Many walk a difficult line between the two. Each character in d20A has a particular nature, which is made up of a virtue and a vice.
During character creation, select a virtue and a vice to decide your character's nature. A list of examples is given below, but you can make up your own virtues and vices with the GM's permission. The key is to give your character one good quality (virtue) and one bad quality (vice).
Generally speaking, a person's nature is fixed. Virtue and vice are deep-seated facets of the character's personality; some might say the halves of the soul. So changing one's true nature is difficult. At the GM's discretion, certain major events in a character's life can lead to a change in nature (either virtue or vice or both), but these events are largely beyond the players' control. The GM shouldn't allow changes in nature to happen lightly; they're pivotal events in an individual's life.
|VICES AND VIRTUES|
Characters' beliefs and motivations are at least as important as their amazing abilities. These are reflected by their allegiances.
A character may have up to three allegiances, listed in order from most to least important. These allegiances are indications of what the character values. A character may have fewer allegiances, no allegiances (being either a free spirit or a loner), or may change allegiances over time. Also, just because the character fits into a certain category of people doesn't mean that category is necessarily an allegiance. Allegiances are things toward which a character feels an especially strong devotion.
If a character acts against an allegiance, the GM may choose to strip the character of that allegiance and assign one more suitable to those actions.
A character's allegiance can take the form of loyalty to a person, organization, belief system, nation, or an ethical or moral philosophy. Having an allegiance implies the ability to make moral or ethical choices. As a result, characters must have Intelligence and Awareness scores of -4 or higher in order to have allegiances. Creatures with lower scores (such as animals) have no allegiances.
Allegiances include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Person or Group: This includes a leader or superior, a family, a team or group, and so forth.
- Organization: This may be a company or corporation, a gathering of like-minded individuals, a fraternal brotherhood, a secret society, a branch of the armed forces, a local, state, or national government, a university, an employer, or an otherwise established authority.
- Nation: This may be the nation of the character's birth or an adopted nation. Patriotic characters typically have an allegiance to their nation (although not necessarily their nation’s government).
- Belief System: This is usually a particular faith or religion, but can also be a specific philosophy or school of thought. Belief systems also include political beliefs or philosophical outlooks.
- Ethical Philosophy: This describes how one feels about order, as represented by law and chaos. An individual with a lawful outlook tends to tell the truth, keep his or her word, respect authority, and honor tradition, and expects others to do likewise. An individual with a chaotic outlook tends to follow instincts and whims, favor new ideas and experiences, and behave in a subjective and open manner in dealings with others.
- Moral Philosophy: This describes one's attitude toward others, as represented by good and evil. An individual with a good allegiance tends to protect innocent life. This belief implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of other creatures. An evil allegiance shows a willingness to hurt, oppress, and kill others, and to debase or destroy innocent life. A good allegiance is especially common among heroic characters.
Allegiances and InfluenceEdit
An allegiance can create an empathic bond with others of the same allegiance. With the GM's permission, the character gains 1 bonus for positive conditions on interaction skill checks when dealing with someone of the same allegiance. Similarly, the character may suffer 1 penalty when dealing with characters of an opposing allegiance. The character must have some interaction with other characters to bring these modifiers into play.
Allegiances could also influence how NPCs view a character's Reputation.
Allegiances as DescriptorsEdit
At the GM's option allegiances can function as descriptors for FX, allowing character to have an FX affecting only subjects of a particular allegiance, for example, or the ability to detect characters with a particular allegiance (see Enhanced Senses). Gamemasters should be careful when applying power modifiers based on allegiance. An attack power affecting only "evil" targets, for example, is useless against inanimate objects, constructs, and animals (and other creatures or things with Int or Awe below -4). It also doesn't affect characters without a specific allegiance to evil (such as selfish mercenaries, violent vigilantes, or despots devoted solely to order, but not evil per se).
Allegiances in ConflictEdit
Characters with different allegiances may find them in conflict. Such conflicts provide roleplaying opportunities and complications for players and story hooks for the Gamemaster. For example, a character with allegiances to America, Truth, and Justice may discover a secret government agency acting against the interests of justice in the world. What is stronger, the hero’s patriotism or the desire to see the truth known and justice done? Some conflicts and complications may result in characters abandoning or changing allegiances, or reordering their priorities (and therefore allegiances).
One of the biggest parts of creating a character is the why. It's the fell swoop that defines you - whether you're a hero or a villain, good or bad, and more importantly, why you do what you do. Motivation, therefore, is something that's well worth contemplating as you create your character, wondering just who this character is, anyway. It can change the tone of your character dramatically.
- Acceptance: You're different. Like a teenager going through puberty, all you want is for somebody to understand you. To that end, you'll adventure, you'll fight the good fight, and you'll do whatever it takes...so long as somebody likes you!
- Goodness: You're a freakin' boy scout. Never mind the merit badges, all you want to do is help the weak, heal the sick, and do whatever it takes to make the bad guys learn their lesson. Whether you were raised to be a sucker... er, a good guy, or you have a mentor or inspiration, everyone agrees that there's nobody as upright as you.
- Greed: Money, cash, credit, gold. Nothing gets people off their butts like the promise of big bucks. Whether you're hunting down bad guys with a bounty hunting vengeance or prostrating yourself before a corporate altar, all you care about is the bottom line. Greed is a huge incentive in fantasy games especially ("Kill it! Loot it!"), but there's no reason a superhero or modern game couldn't include a hero kneeling in front of big business, slapping ads on his costume like a walking billboard.
- Justice: Characters motivated by justice walk a thin line between obsessive judgmental maniac with weapons or superpowers and heroic knight in shining armor defending the weak and punishing the guilty. Some campaigns are built around just such a line - it's up to the characters to decide where they fall, and Heaven help you, if they fall on the obsessive side of the line.
- Recognition: "Look at me!" is a pretty obvious cry for attention, right? Some people want nothing more than the sweet feeling of the spotlight. Characters motivated by a need to stand up and be recognized are often shallower than a puddle, but are nonetheless usually useful members of the team. Of course, that doesn't mean they're easily-tolerated members of the team, and a glory-hound can get on the nerves of the rest of the group pretty quickly.
- Responsibility: Some people feel a deep sense of satisfaction from using their super-abilities or mastery of magic, swords, or whatever they might have, responsibly. These poor foo...er...these fine, upstanding citizens are usually fairly moral about what they do. However, rare characters who do what they do because they must also exist - these people are usually driven by some sort of geas, curse, or mind control or obligation, rather than a moral urge.
- Thrills: Extreme action! Extreme danger! Extreme adrenaline! The only call these characters feel is the call to ACTION! Thrilling adventurers, battles, and dangers to get their hearts beating, these characters care nothing for the other motivations - they're in it for the sheer joy of the heart-pumping excitement. While they might be looked down upon by slightly more upstanding characters with more moral motives, nobody can dissuade the thrill-seekers from their cause - to get their blood boiling like never before!
Finally, what are your character's goals? All characters want things like peace and justice to one degree or another, but what other things does your character want? One character may want to find his long-lost family while another may want to avenge a terrible wrong done to her in the past. A monstrous or alien character may seek acceptance and a new home among humans, while a younger character may want to live up to the legacy of a mentor or ancestor. Giving your character a goal beyond simply "doing good" or "making money: can help give the character more depth and provide opportunities for roleplaying and complications during the game. Don't overlook it.