Character Creation

A modular rule to adjust the starting power tier for new characters.

Character creation refers to the rules that players use when creating characters for a new campaign, or for replacement characters when an existing character dies or is retired from an active campaign. Character creation is a modular rule to allow each group to pick options that support the story and group preferences.

The default starting rules for new characters are intended for low tier characters starting a typical campaign. For one-shots, shorter campaigns, or simply to start your characters at a higher tier to match the story genre and setting, there are a number of character options that can be adjusted.

  • Number of Skill Sets: The number of starting skill sets determine how versatile a starting character is. More skill sets mean characters will have more skills to choose from when overcoming challenges.

  • Skill Set Starting Rating: By default, skill sets start at Novice (d4). The initial power level of a character can be increased by allowing one or more skill sets to start at a higher rating.

  • Signature Skills: The number of signature skills for each skill set helps define how broad the skillset for a character can be. By default, each skill set starts with 3 signature skills, and additional skills can be added during character advancement. Changing the number of starting skills, or the character advancement rules to increase or decrease how additional skills are acquired can have a significant impact on the versatility of characters.

  • Specializations: Specializations are normally reserved for experienced characters. Allowing a starting character to have one or more specializations can significantly increase the power level of the character. Just remember that the associated skill set must also be adjusted to start at a d6.

  • Stress Points: Negative consequences (by default) are limited to conditions between 1 and 3 stress points, with the typical consequence strongly favoring 1 or 2 stress points. Adjusting the starting stress point maximum, or the stress point maximum increase provided during character advancement can significantly impact how deadly a game feels for players.

  • Grit Points: Grit points are used to soak harm and fuel boosts. Grit points are earned during game play so starting grit points have only a tiny impact for starting characters in terms of giving them a buffer for starting encounters.

  • Boosts: Boosts enhance a character's abilities to make them special and unique. Increasing the number of starting boosts help create unique and distinctive characters earlier without the need to wait for character progression.

  • Gear: Gear in the game grants narrative permission to perform certain actions. Modifying the number of gear slots or adding optional encumbrance rules turn gear into a resource that needs to be carefully managed by players and can provide limits on the utility that gear can provide an individual character.

Character Tiers

The game system doesn't have levels, but it does come with some recommended starting configurations that help establish the initial power level of characters to fit a specific setting or group preferences.

For example, the Survival tier is meant to be for specialized settings where players start in a very dangerous position relative to their environment, sometimes referred to as Level 0. The default starting tier for a campaign with characters that are just beginning an adventuring lifestyle is Local Hero, which in other gaming systems might be considered Level 1.

The following are some recommended character creation options for different starting tiers of game play.

TierStarting Options


1 skill set starting at Novice (d4), 3 signature skills, 2 stress points, 1 grit point, 1 boost, 4 items of starting gear.

Local Hero

2 skill sets starting at Novice (d4), 6 signature skills (3 per skill set), 4 stress points, 2 grit points, 2 boosts, 6 items of starting gear.


1 skill set starting at Novice (d4), 1 skill set starting at Proficient (d6), 7 signature skills (3 per skill set + 1 additional), 6 stress points, 3 grit points, 3 boosts, 8 items of starting gear.


1 skill set starting at Novice (d4), 2 skill sets starting at Proficient (d6), 11 signature skills (3 per skill set + 2 additional), 1 specialization starting at (d8), 8 stress points, 4 grit points, 4 boosts, 8 items of starting gear.


3 skill sets starting at Proficient (d6), 2 specializations with 1 starting at Master (d10) and 1 starting at Skilled (d8), 13 signature skills (3 per skill set + 4 additional), 10 stress points, 5 grit points, 6 boosts, 10 items of starting gear.

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