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Creating a Character

Page history last edited by Adrian 10 years, 7 months ago

Creating a Character



Ideas and Concepts


Each character is created with 6 phases, each delivering 1 aspect and 4 skill ranks per phase - giving a total of 6 aspects and 24 skill ranks to spend. Unlike standard 2e FATE, there are no extras (but see Shieldbearers below) and characters are encouraged to buy skill-linked stunts.



Characters should fit in with the basic conceit of the game: that of an expedition to aid one of Arthur's allies. Consequently, concepts like farmers and thieves don't fit in so well. Having said that, we can discuss any concepts that seem unlikely and I'll try and accommodate you as much as possible. Below are several broad concept suggestions, but they need more fleshing out. Rather than a simple 'Spearman' concept think about 'Disgraced Warrior in Exile', 'Reluctant Soldier' or 'Bloodthirsty Killer'. If every player made a spearman what would distinguish yours?



Hailing from the noble line of one of Britain's many kingdoms, you are above all likely to hold wealth, land and status, probably commanding a warband or two and a host of servants, vassals and slaves. Perhaps you are a Chieftain or even a Prince or minor King. Your voice is respected and holds weight: as a Lord you are a 'Tongued-One', able to testify in the Court of Words without challenge by anyone but another Tongued One. You have access to finery most people only dream of - if a warrior, you're one of the few able to afford to enter the battlefield wearing mail and you can dispense armbands and torcs to reward your warriors.


Or perhaps you've come into hard times - exiled from your lands by Saxon incursions and forced to rely on the charity of distant relatives. Or your claim to your title is marred by the illegitimacy of your birth, an unwanted embarrasment that you must defend against your critics.



The mainstay of the shield wall, you make up the bulk of the British fighting forces. Standing shoulder to shoulder and locking shields with your brothers, you form a formidable barrier against Saxon, Irish or hostile Britons.


Clad in sturdy leather and a metal helm, every spearman carries a strong spear, shield and often another weapon such as a sword or battleaxe. Your fingers are adorned with warrior rings forged from the blades of defeated enemies and valuable armbands attest to your Lord's favour. You make your living from the spoils of victory, trusting to your Lord to bring you opportunities for spoils, slaves and land of your own.



The heyday of the druids is long past, snuffed out when Roman legionnaires destroyed the sacred island of Ynys Mon. So much knowledge has been lost over the intervening centuries of Roman occupation, and the Old Gods grow distant and uncaring. But Rome has gone now - if you can but overturn the Christian's hold on the people you can return to that long-ago age of plenty.


Respected by most, feared by all, the front half of your head is shaved in the tonsure of the druid and your prodigious memory contains the secrets of generations - for you are forbidden to write anything down. You have the power to lay a 'geas' on a person, a taboo based on omens read at birth. You are a 'Tongued One', able to testify in the Court of Words without challenge from anyone less than a Lord in most circumstances. Perhaps you bear some of the three wounds of wisdom: the wound to the body, to the pride or to the mind. Or perhaps you are a druid in name only, a pale shadow of the druids of old, desperate to track down and relearn the secrets of your faith.



Every Lord needs a champion, a warrior so intimidating and so reknown that no-one dare challenge the authority of his patron. A dangerous and often short career, champions live life to the fullest, boasting of their prowess and enjoying the spoils of victory while they last.


Trial by sword is a valid path to resolving disputes in these violent times, and you are the one to uphold the honour of your Lord and his people in these deadly duels. You are the one called upon to inspire your comrades before battle begins, challenging the enemy champion to single combat and with your victory or defeat bringing good or bad fortune to your cause. Clad in the finest clothes with a thick gold torc around your neck, you are the envy of your fellow warriors: you live a life of luxury and excess at the expense of its length.








Respected Slave










  • British (Male)
Aron Annan Balig Bleiddig Caddan Caddwg Camran Celwin Conrad
Culhwch Culwas Cythryn Dafydd Dinas Ednywain Eilynon Einion Griffid
Gwlyddyn Gwydre Hygwydd Hywel Lladarn Lwellwyn Llywarch Lwyd Madog
Maelgwyn Meilyr Menw Minac Nabur Owain Pyrlig Tudwal Ystrwth


  • British (Female)
Branwen Cerys Cywwyllog Dian Ellin Guendoloen
Helledd Ladwys Morwenna Nwylle Olwen Rhiannon


  • Romanised British (Male)
Agricola Folant Geraint Grigor Gwythyr Iestyn Ilar Martyn Ofydd Tewdric


  • Romanised British (Female)
Enid Lleulu Lowri Maredudd


There's plenty more British names here including meanings, as long as you steer away from the modern names.


  • Saxon/Sais (Male)
Aesc Octha Wlenca


  • Saxon/Sais (Female)
Canna Erce Malla Sebile


  • Irish (Male)
Cavan Fionn Niall Oengus


  • Irish (Female)
Ailleann Argante Lunete Niamh



Flags are a clue to the GM as to what you, the player, want the game to be about. The primary way you flag your interests in FATE is through your choice of aspects and concept: don't pick the aspects that seem logical or necessary, pick the aspects that seem interesting to you - they're what I'll be basing much of the game on. And if I seem to overlook them, don't let me get away with it!





Nuts and Bolts



Now you've got a concept aspects are a great way of fleshing it out further. The aspect examples below lack a certain flair, but should give you a foundation to start thinking about your character, who he or she is and what you want to important about him or her. Each character gets 6 aspects.


Example Aspects

  • Culture: Briton, Romanised Briton, Saxon, Irish, Armorican Britain, Pict
  • Profession: Druid, Lord, Monk, Wise Woman, Priest, Slave, Champion, Spearman, Bard, Healer, Hunter, Farmer, Shepherd, Levy Warrior
  • Exotic: Fae-Touched, Geased, Saint, Prophet
  • Social: Oath-Bound, Exiled, Heir to a Kingdom, Reputation, Burning Ambition
  • Personal: Honourable, Proud, Cowardly,Towering, Lame, Too Smart For Your Own Good, Drinker
  • Relationship: Brother to-, Lover to-, Enemy of-, Veteran of-, Family Head


Plot Aspects

I have two in mind, intended to create conflict for your characters by testing their loyalties to their leader and beliefs. If you choose one or both of these you get 5 skill ranks that phase instead of 4. These are like my flags, telling you what I'm interested in exploring in this game.


  • Complicated Oaths: An aspect or aspects that bring in issues of honour and duty in a way that complicates life for your character - perhaps an oath to Arthur that's going to cause problems, a life-debt to Myrddin, or an oath given to both King Morcant and Arthur, with tension resulting. Examples could be 'Forced into Oath', 'Myrddin's Man', or just two mutually-exclusive promises to opposed Lords.
  • Faiths Collide: The old pagan beliefs of the Britons are dying, ripped out at the roots by the Roman sack of Ynys Mon centuries ago. The Celtic Church is ascendant, preaching Christ's message to the land. Where does your character stand on this issue? A Christian convert? A stalwart pagan? A follower of the foreign cults of Mithras or Isis? Example aspects include 'Secret Pagan', 'Fanatic (Pagan or Christian', 'Reformer', 'Blessed' or 'Favoured of Cernunnos'.



Below is a list of skills for this game, although players should feel free to suggest their own or modify the ones below. Each level of a skill - Average, Fair, Good, Great, etc. - costs 1 skill rank. The wrinkle is that skills must fit within the skill pyramid, meaning for every skill of a certain level there must be two skills at the level below.


For example, a character might have 5 Average skills, 3 Fair skills, 2 Good skills and 1 Great skill:


Good Good
Fair Fair Fair
Average Average Average Average Average


A character could have another Fair skill, since there are already 5 Average skills beneath it in the pyramid, but could not buy another Good or Great skill. The example skill pyramid above would cost 21 skill ranks: 1 each for the 5 Average skills (+5), 2 each for the 3 Fair skills (+6), 3 each for the 2 Good skills (+6) and 4 for the Great skill (+4 = 21 total).


Skills should ideally grow out of an aspect as each phase gives you 1 aspect and 4 skill ranks. For example, say you took an 'Ambitious Noble' aspect this phase - skills that make sense could be Status, Presence, Battle or Persuade.


General Skills

Alertness Animal Handling Athletics Craft Deceive Fine Crafts Healing Lore/Knowledge Melee
Missile Persuade Presence Resolve Social Perception Stealth Theft Woodcraft Vigour


  • Presence: The ability to boast, make an entrance, perform or orate to an audience.
  • Resolve covers will, bravery, and feats requiring determination.
  • Social Perception is used both to interrogate and to counsel a grieving person, as well as discern an individual's true feelings.
  • Vigour covers feats of strength and endurance. The physical counterpart to Resolve.


Setting-Specific Skills

  • Battle: Leading a warband, inspiring courage and using strategy and tactics.
  • Church Lore: Knowledge of the Celtic Church, theology and general learning.
  • Magic: Pagan magic, whether Druidic or otherwise.
  • Old Ways: Knowledge of the pagan gods, oral history and general learning.
  • Piety: The source of Christian magic and miracles.
  • Status: Your character's overall ranking in British society - a respected warlord, druid, or a member of the nobility - even a powerful slave. The table below provides a rough guide to status, with perhaps a level added for particular fame: Arthur has Legendary Status as a particularly great Pendragon and High King.


Status Layperson Priest Druid/Priestess
Mediocre Peasant Lay person -
Average Warrior, Head of an important family Priest or Monk Apprentice, Accolate or Bard
Fair Conn, a leader of a sept/family branch Abbott Druid or Priestess, Accomplished Bard
Good Chieftain or Warlord Bishop Respected Druid or Priestess
Great Prince or Client King - -
Superb King - -
Epic High King or Pendragon - -



Stunts cost 1 skill rank each, are attached to a specific skill and fall outside of the skill pyramid. You also can't have more stunts attached to a skill than that skill has levels (eg. An Average skill allows only one attached stunt) and you can't 'stack' stunts - in any given situation only one stunt can apply, so a variety is good. Finally, stunts must be narrow: if they are broad enough to apply in practically any situation where the skill is to be used, they're too broad.


Stunts either allow a skill to be used in a situation where it normally couldn't, widening its scope, or add a +1 edge.


Example Stunts



  • Ear of the Hare: allows either +1 to Alertness rolls or Alertness rolls to hear something normally outside the range of human hearing.
  • Sleeps with One Eye Open: +1 to notice something hostile when asleep or in a situation where most people relax their guard.


Animal Handling

  • Rhiannon's Blessing: +1 to pull off daredevil stunts on horseback - leaping from the saddle or off a cliff.



  • Salmon Leap: An almost lost feat from legend, this allows either much higher leaps than usual or +1 to appropriate situations - for example, dodging an attack by leaping into the air.



  • Cattle Raider: Thanks to much practice at the respected tradition of cattle raider, your character gets a +1 edge whenever engaged in small unit, hit and run guerilla battles.


Church Lore

  • Literate: Few can read and write in these dark times. You're one of the priveleged few able to read and write a language, perhaps British, Latin or Greek.



  • Weyland's Blood: The influence of the Saxon deity allows you to forge a weapon of power, imbued with its own aspect or even a stunt.



  • Better Left Unsaid: By omitting crucial information rather than outright lying, you gain a +1 edge in deception.
  • Riddler: By talking in cryptic riddles you manage to confound and confuse your audience, gaining a +1 edge. Myrddin would be proud.



  • Blood Must Spill: Magic just works so much better for you if someone or something suffers for it. A +1 edge or wider scope can be achieved for your spells provided you prepare a suitably bloody sacrifice beforehand.



  • Man to Man: Your gain a +1 edge whenever engaged in a one-on-one duel - it must be a least semi-formal, and fighting a single opponent during a wild brawl doesn't count.
  • Hardened on the Shield Wall: Practice gives you a +1 edge whenever fighting as part of a shield wall with your comrades on either side.
  • Never Cornered: Whenever outnumbered by opponents your character cancels their Superior Numbers edge.



  • Ascetic: You gain either a +1 edge or a wider scope for your miraculous works after a period of several nights fasting and meditating alone on the Lord's majesty.



  • Seducer: Whenever the manner of persuasion involves the promise or the act of sex, you get a +1 edge.
  • Casual Attitude to Violence: Applies when direct physical force is used to persuade someone. And it needs to leave a mark...



  • Honey Tongue: Like the famous Taliesen, you are able to woo your audiences through the sound of your voice, gaining a +1 edge when employing song or poetry.



  • Heart of the Stag: Whenever a situation requires physical bravery, you gain a +1 edge.


Social Perception

  • Good Counsel: You gain a +1 edge provided you are able to engage your target in a private heart to heart chat.



  • The Good Shepherd: Your status is particularly prominent with the Christian community, giving you a +1 edge when interacting with others of your faith.



  • The Night Shadow: As long as your character is sneaking after nightfall you gain a +1 edge.
  • Cat's Step: You do not leave footprints and cannot be tracked no matter the skill of the hunter.



  • Fae Stalker: You can track more than just animal and man: spirits of the dead and the fae can be tracked by you just as easily.



  • Strength of the Bull: As long as the situation requires brute strength, you get a +1 edge or are able to lift weights far beyond a normal person.


Shield Bearers, Warbands and Swords of Power

As well as aspects, skills and stunts characters can normally have extras to represent things such as sidekicks, night vision or notable items. However, I don't like extras and they don't mesh well with the aspect-as-fate-point-lens approach so here's an alternative.


  • Intrinsic extras like Spirit Sight are handled by stunts attached to the most appropriate skill - Alertness in this case. Powerful intrinsic extras become powerful stunts: Invisibility for example, is a Stealth-attached stunt that costs a fate point to do more than add a +1 situational modifier to the conflict. In cases where a player wants the effect to affect more than just the sphere of the skill it is attached to, an aspect would be more appropriate to represent the ability - allowing Invisibility to aid in combat and Spirit Sight to aid in casting spells.


  • Personal extras like equipment and servants are handled differently. Equipment is best represented as an aspect (like Caledfwlch, Arthur's sword) and there are no more aspects-within-aspects as described in 2e FATE. Servants are represented by a skill, the level of skill representing the apex of the servant's skill pyramid. For example, having the 'Hywel, Loyal Bodyguard' skill at Fair means Hywel has one Fair skill and two Average skills in his pyramid. If wanted, Hywel could also be represented with an aspect.


  • Other characters important to the player-character but not always relegated to a subservient relations - say a mentor or ally - can have the relationship represented by aspects.


  • Extras such as resources or contacts are either skills or aspects at the player's preference.


  • Warbands are kind of like FATE's minions. A warband is represented by a skill as long as the character has an appropriate aspect to justify them - 'Warlord' for example. The skill represents around 50 spearmen fighting at the level of the skill. If the player wants a greater number of men, he or she can trade competency levels for size. For example, the character could command 50 Good spearmen, 100 Fair spearmen or 200 Average spearmen for the equivalent of a Good skill. These men do not have the flexibility nor the loyalty of a servant - the player should be aware they are really only of use in battle. If called upon to perform a task outside of their description, assume a skill level of Mediocre. Of course other large groups can be similarly represented: the monks of a character's abbey, the peasants in a character's village, and so on.


Finishing Touches

Just about done - but there are a couple of issues still to think about.


  • What does your character look like?
  • What possessions does your character carry or have access to?


An idea is to look at your character's aspects and skills and decide on 'tells' that communicate these strengths and weaknesses to an observer. For example, a character with a Good Melee skill might carry a much-notched and battered shield, a character with Fair Status might wear a silver torc to illustrate the wealth that accompanies her position, while a character with a 'Cernunnos' Favour' aspect might have a tatoo of the Horned God on his forearm.



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