Chapter Two: Character Creation

Mortal heroes choose their own heroic roles, each according to or in spite of her natural talents. They do not have Castes or Aspects the way Exalted do. While not placing heroes into neat categories lends them additional flexibility, it also provides no direction in choosing character concepts, which are ordinarily suggested in the description of each Caste or Aspect. For that reason, attention has been given to traits like Nature, Abilities, and Virtues that are otherwise identical to those of the Exalted to provide potential character concepts based upon them. More than Edges, Heroics, or even spells, mundane traits are essential tools in describing a mortal hero, and this offers some direction to that end.

It is essential that the Storyteller and players work together during character generation. Very few mortal heroes are as well-traveled as Exalted often are, so a Circle made up of heroes from all four corners of Creation is going to come across as a bit contrived unless they have extraordinary motivation for converging on the place where the series begins. Some things to discuss before the first dots are placed on the page are what type of series the participants want to run and where the game will open.

One of the best things a group can do for the game, in our experience, is to have a meet a few days or a weeks before the game starts to consider how and why each character will join the Circle and what niche each will fill. You don't have to give away everything about your character, but a simple "My character is a soldier who saw his wife murdered by an evil magician, who he tracked to Nexus before losing. He has good combat skills and is also pretty good at sneaking around. He's been working as a mercenary, but what he really wants is revenge." can give the Storyteller a way to introduce the character to the Circle.

For example, "Well, the magician wants the book in her rival's stronghold, who just so happens to be the man who killed your wife. She could probably use some discrete muscle. Maybe your soldier did some work for her a few weeks ago and offered you the job, and you found out that the rival is the one you're looking for from his street urchin character. That gives you two a reason to work together, and the street urchin is just curious and greedy enough to follow you in hopes of finding some treasure in the stronghold. Since he's also a good sneak and can fast talk out of anything, he should be able to convince them to let him tag along once they catch him." The worst way to found a Circle is with the words "You meet in a bar."

A meeting of this sort also allows each player to find a niche for her character that isn't occupied by someone else. Two negotiator types in a group is well and good if one is a friendly diplomat and the other is a ruthless manipulator, but if both characters are ruthless diplomats, both players are likely to feel that their character is not as useful to the Circle. If two characters overlap too much, they can work together with the Storyteller to make a few modifications to their characters in order to make them more distinctive. An hour or two of discussion before the game begins can prevent many hours of frustration later on.

Step One: Choosing a Character Concept

This is the most important step in creating a mortal hero. It provides a starting point for the character from which all point assignments will naturally progress. This concept may change as you flesh out the hero, but a strong character concept makes for a stronger and far more interesting character.

Step Two: Choosing a Nature

Strongly related to character concept, this is one of the defining characteristics for determining your character's reason for choosing the life of a hero.

Concepts by Nature
Architect Rebel leader, city defender, politician, educator, artist, family supporter, craftsman
Bravo Gladiator, gambler, thug, ruthless politician, cutthroat merchant, military officer
Bureaucrat Magistrate, watchperson, bureaucrat, Immaculate monk, career soldier
Caregiver Healer, wise councilor, friendly diplomat, defender of the innocent, well-meaning matron, enlightened official
Conniver Con man, manipulative diplomat, ruthless bureaucrat, decadent educator, conspirator
Critic Veteran warrior, skeptical scholar, shrewd merchant, cynical writer, master craftsman
Explorer Rescuer, scavenger son, adventurer, well-traveled sailor, First Age scholar, spy, wandering scholar
Follower Dutiful soldier, loyal bodyguard, field surgeon, researcher, apprentice, Immaculate monk, simple-minded thug
Gallant Wandering entertainer, prima donna, flashy swordsman, pit fighter, social butterfly, flirtateous courtier
Hedonist Decadent noble, lusty entertainer, worldly merchant, roving pleasure-seeker
Jester Light-hearted soldier, easygoing scholar, quick-witted entertainer, roguish trickster, eternal optimist
Judge Diplomat, magistrate, lawyer, mediator, reformer, cool-headed leader
Leader Charismatic officer, narrow-minded educator, strict sea captain, disciplinarian officer, bossy noble, veteran guide
Martyr Religious fanatic, courageous rebel, selflesss bodyguard, tireless healer, career soldier, long-suffering leader
Paragon Vigilante, naive bureaucrat, benevolent healer, philantropic noble, selfless priest, kindly inventor
Rebel Cultist of the Illuminated, rebel, rogue scholar, wanted criminal, disillusioned adherant, countercultural artist, partisan
Savant Obsessed scholar, meticulous researcher, wandering cartographer, spy, perfectionist craftsman, questing philosopher
Survivor Refugee, shameless vagabond, desperate cutpurse, impoverished professional, displaced farmer, escaped slave, opportunistic soldier
Thrillseeker Adreneline junkie, compulsive gambler, travelling ringfighter, adventurer, assassin, professional burglar, fate-tempting magician
Visionary Inventor, fate-aiding seer, missionary, obsessed scholar, driven merchant, deposed heir, idealistic rebel, reformer

Step Three: Choosing Attributes

As with all characters, mortal heroes begin with each Attribute at one dot. Being mortal, heroes are not as naturally capable as the Exalted. A mortal hero has six (6) dots to divide among her primary Attributes, four (4) dots to divide among her secondary Attributes, and three (3) dots to divide among her tertiary Attributes. Characters are not limited in how many dots they may assign to each Attribute. Attributes may not be raised above five dots.

Step Four: Choosing Abilities

Abilities begin with a rating of zero and are alphabetized. Mortal heroes do not have Caste or Aspect Abilities. A character selects one (1) Ability as her Favored Ability. This is an Ability with which the hero is talented or well-practiced and receives a discount on bonus and experience points to increase this Ability, but no other Ability may have a higher rating than the hero has in her Favored Ability. Mortal heroes have 22 points to spend on any Abilities they wish. You may not assign more than three dots to any Ability, but you can increase Abilities to four or five dots with bonus points. Bonus points may be used to purchase Ability specialties in the same manner as detailed in Exalted. The character's Favored Ability, like his Nature, is often one of the defining characteristics of a character and often has a strong link to the overall character concept.

Concepts by Favored Ability
Archery Wilderness guide, soldier, sniping assassin, archery entertainer, tracker, hunt-loving noble
Athletics Athlete, strongman, acrobat, contortionist, juggler, courier
Awareness Scout, observant spy, bodyguard, food taster, sensualist, tracker, night watchman
Brawl Boxer, wrestler, thug, bouncer
Bureaucracy Problem solver, merchant prince, deft bureaucrat, recordskeeper, politician
Craft Professional craftsperson, architect, engineer, repairman, siege engineer, sculptor, inventor, master of improvisation
Dodge Immaculate monk, mercenary, self-preserving soldier, acrobat
Endurance Tough soldier, pit fighter, Immaculate monk, sensualist, village magistrate, athlete, courier, laborer, armored warrior
Investigation Private detective, watchman, secret police, searcher spy, librarian, savant, rumormonger
Larceny Burglar, cutpurse, bandit king, locksmith, fence, smuggler, disguised spy, assassin, master of disguise
Linguistics Diplomat, scholar, educator, wandering entertainer, explorer, translator, scribe
Lore Scholar, priest, scavenger son, ghost hunter, magician, alchemist, herbalist
MartialArts Immaculate monk, Illuminated cultist, light infantryman, meditative scholar, noble, bare hands assassin, bouncer, skirmisher
Medicine Doctor, hedge magician, career soldier, field surgeon, midwife, barber surgeon, herbalist
Melee Soldier, mercenary, watchman, pit fighter, noble, vigilante, criminal
Occult Magician, scholar, seer, astrologer, Manse architect, spirit diplomat, fortune-teller, hedge wizard, medium, priest
Performance Musician, general, captain of the guard, storyteller, traveling player, charismatic rebel, zealous priest, educator
Presence Military officer, political leader, thug, fanatical priest, good-natured gossip, courtisan, missionary, infiltrator spy, noble
Resistance Plague survivor, hedonist, tough warrior, pearl diver, fire-walking mystic, healer of plagues
Ride Scout, courier, horse racer, horse breeder, nomad, cavalryman, circus rider
Sail Sailor, merchant, pirate, marine, explorer
Socialize Shrewd diplomat, ruthless politician, born courtier, infiltrator spy, con man, blackmail dealer
Stealth Sneaky assassin, burglar, pickpocket, wilderness scout, tracker, sneaky spy
Survival Hunter-gatherer, vagabond, explorer, wilderness guide, quartermaster, woodsman
Thrown Soldier, mercenary, rogue, knife-throwing entertainer, spear fisher, sniping assassin, hunter-gatherer

Step Five: Choose Edge and Identify Available Heroics

Mortal heroes begin play with one (1) Edge, chosen from their Favored Ability. Additional Edges may be purchased with bonus points and from any Ability for which the hero meets the requirements.

Heroes who begin play with magic (see Occult Edges) may purchase additional spells with bonus points.

Anyone who meets the Ability and Heroism requirements for a Heroic may attempt to use it. It is to the character's benefit if you identify and possibly write down the Heroics of which your hero is capable.

Step Six: Choose Backgrounds

All mortals receive 5 dots for Backgrounds. These Backgrounds are similar to those of the Exalted, but are geared toward the lower power level of mortal heroes. These alterations are detailed in Chapter Three.

Step Seven: Choose Primary Virtue and Distribute Virtues

Each hero has one Primary Virtue, chosen when the character is created. No Virtue may be higher than the hero's Primary Virtue. This Virtue is especially important to the hero because it is what drives and sustains her in spite of the trials she faces.

Each of a mortal hero's Virtues begin at a rating of one, and the hero may distribute five additional dots among the four Virtues. You cannot raise Virtues above 3 without the use of bonus points. Mortals do not suffer from Virtue Flaws or Limit Breaks.

Step Eight: Finishing Touches

Calculate the hero's starting Willpower by adding together her two highest Virtues.

Mortals are not Exalted or God-Blooded, so they always begin with a Permanent Essence of 1. This cannot be raised by means of bonus points or experience. It should be noted that while the gods often choose to Exalt mortal heroes, this should not happen in a mortals game except at the conclusion of the chronicle unless all the heroes are Exalted in rapid succession or simultaneously. The intended purpose of creating rules for mortal heroes is to provide options for groups interested in playing a lower-powered game.

If the hero is a magician (has the First Circle Magic Occult Edge), his maximum Essence pool is equal to the sum of his Willpower, Primary Virtue, and Permanent Essence. The magician may only increase this by taking on Quirks. Magicians begin the game with a full Essence pool.

Mortals begin play with a Heroism of 2. This may be raised with bonus points, but characters may not start the game with a Heroism above 4.

Heroes begin play with a number of feats of Heroics equal to (Heroism x Primary Virtue). This trait is used to fuel Heroics. Heroics are measured in feats, and each use of a Heroic costs 1 feat of Heroic.

Mortal heroes have the usual seven health levels - a -0 health level, two -1 health levels, two -2 health levels, a -4 health level, and an Incapacitated health level.

Mortal heroes have 21 bonus points that may be spent at any time during character creation.

The Spark of Life

You should answer the same questions about your mortal hero character as you would for an Exalted character. What doees he look like? What are his motivations? What are his habits and quirks? Who is he close to? Who are his enemies and rivals? How and why did he become a hero? What is his family life like? What is his role in society?

Chapter One Character Creation Summary Chapter Three