If desired, write up two additional Aspects and choose up to two more stunts. Stunts cost one Refresh each.
Complete any additional information about your character
Each player portrays a character with their own nature, needs, desires, problems, strengths, weaknesses, and special abilities.
Choose a Mantle
The mantle you select for your character encompasses their character type, general role in the game, and place in the supernatural or mortal world. Each mantle comes with a package of stunts and conditions that help the character fulfill their role.
These two character aspects define the dramatic core of your character. In brief a character aspect is a word, phrase, or sentence that highlights something fundamental to your character’s portrayal.
In cinema, a high-concept film is based on a single, easily comprehensible idea. Similarly, your character’s high concept is one phrase or sentence that communicates their distilled essence. When formulating it, consider how your character’s high concept may both help you and complicate matters for you. The best high concept aspects do both. A high concept need not directly relate to the character’s mantle. Mantles cover story elements for each character type, but it is the high concept that distinguishes a character from all others sharing that mantle. Sanya Ivanovich and Michael Carpenter are both Knights of the Cross but could never be confused for each other: one is the Agnostic Bearer of Esperacchius and the other is The Fist of God. Analogously, if your group has more than one character with the same mantle, they must have high concepts that make them stand out from each other. Hot-Headed Maverick and Aging Veteran would, for example, be a classic pairing for cops. Examples: Cynical Blogger, Unwilling Prophet, Judgmental Warden of the White Council.
Your character’s trouble is a phrase or sentence describing a source of internal or external conﬂict: a personal weakness, recurring enemy, or important obligation, anything that complicates their existence. Closely relating your character’s trouble to their high concept—such as a Thieving Scoundrel with a Heart of Gold—can be gratifying, yes, but choosing unrelated high concept and trouble can add richness. Perhaps your Thieving Scoundrel has a Demanding Family Member instead. Examples: The Truth is Out There, Everyone Shoots the Messenger, You Can’t Make an Omelette…
The Third Aspect
Is your character the smartest person in their hometown? Do they possess a mighty artifact known throughout history? Are they taciturn or verbose? Are they egregiously wealthy or privileged? Pick something important or interesting about your character and describe it in a single phrase or sentence as a third character aspect.
If you have difficulty coming up with a third aspect, try ﬂeshing out your character’s background to discover an appropriate detail that may become an aspect. You may also ask the group what intrigues them about your character or prompts specific questions in their minds, or use your character’s third aspect to establish a prior connection with one or more of the other characters in the group. Examples: Skilled Hacker, Affinity For Cats, The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway
Choosing Name and Appearance
Now that your character has three aspects and a mantle, you know enough to name and describe them in general: how they look, how they move, what mannerisms they have, what they typically carry around with them, and so on.
Approaches are descriptions of how your character accomplishes tasks. Every character has the same six approaches: Careful, Clever, Flashy, Forceful, Quick, and Sneaky.
We use a ladder of adjectives and numbers (shown here to the left) to rate a character’s approaches, the result of a roll, the opposition against an action, etc. Each of your character’s approaches is rated on this ladder. Choose one approach at Good (+3), two at Fair (+2), two at Average (+1), and one at Mediocre (+0). You can improve these later, so you will not be locked into your choices forever.
Careful: A Careful action is when you pay close attention to detail and take your time to do the job right. Lining up a long-range arrow shot. Attentively standing watch. Disarming a bank’s alarm system.
Clever: A Clever action requires that you think fast, solve problems, or account for complex variables. Finding the weakness in an enemy swordsman’s style. Finding the weak point in a fortress wall. Fixing a computer.
Flashy: A Flashy action draws attention to you; it’s full of style and panache. Delivering an inspiring speech to your army. Embarrassing your opponent in a duel. Producing a magical fireworks display.
Forceful: A Forceful action isn’t subtle—it’s brute strength. Wrestling a bear. Staring down a thug. Casting a big, powerful magic spell.
Quick: A Quick action requires that you move quickly and with dexterity. Dodging an arrow. Getting in the first punch. Disarming a bomb as it ticks 3… 2… 1…
Sneaky: A Sneaky action is done with an emphasis on misdirection, stealth, or deceit. Talking your way out of getting arrested. Picking a pocket. Feinting in a sword fight.
Your refresh determines your minimum number of fate points received at the start of each game session. Spend these points to invoke aspects or to activate certain stunts. Everyone begins with three refresh but may spend refresh to purchase stunts in a later step. Your character’s refresh can never be allowed to go below one.
You begin every session with the fate points from the previous session’s conclusion or a number equal to your character’s refresh (if higher).
As the game progresses, your character gains additional points of refresh as a result of character development.
Choosing a Stunt
A stunt is a special trait that reﬂects one of your character’s specialties, a benefit of their mantle, or another factor that regularly gives them an advantage. A stunt generally provides a +2 bonus to a certain approach when used with a particular action under specific circumstances. Your character automatically receives all core stunts associated with their mantle. In addition, you may choose one additional stunt from what is available to their mantle or one you’ve created yourself.
Recording Stress and Conditions
Every character has six stress boxes to mark the specific amount of physical and mental duress they can endure before suﬀering lasting injury or mental trauma.
They also receive a number of conditions representing injuries, mental trauma, and persistent eﬀects from their mantle or other sources. Three conditions (In Peril, Doomed, and Indebted) are ascribed by default to each character, in addition to all unique conditions associated with the character’s mantle.
On your character sheet, place a box (or boxes, per the description) beside each condition, which you can mark when the condition is in eﬀect; allow some space to write notes about the circumstances in which you took the condition.
At this stage, you can define one or two more aspects that further define your character and/or buy up to two additional stunts. You may create stunts from scratch if you so desire, but you may also select from the stunts available to your character’s mantle. Each of these additional stunts reduces your refresh by one point.
If you decline to define additional aspects or buy additional stunts, you will have an opportunity to do so during character development.
Some mantles have conditions and stunts that require you to invent additional details about your character. If you have not yet done so, provide those details now.