Attributes represent who your character is on a fundamental level. It is represented by three categories: physical attributes (
Strength – Raw muscular power and physical prowess. Strength is composed of pure Body.
Agility – Ability to nimbly flex and move the body quickly. Agility is composed of the Mind interacting with the Body.
Endurance – Ability to push one’s physical limitations and endure. Endurance is composed of the Spirit interacting with the Body.
Coordination – Ability for manual dexterity and precise timing. Coordination is composed of the Body interacting with the Mind.
Intelligence – Ability for learning, reasoning, and understanding. Intelligence is composed of pure Mind.
Willpower – Ability to maintain focus despite pain, stress, or fear. Willpower is composed of the Spirit interacting with the Mind.
Charisma – Personal magnetism, charm, and the ability to influence others. Charisma is composed of the Body interacting with the Spirit.
Perception – Ability for intuition, recognition, and insight. Perception is composed of the Mind interacting with the Spirit.
Empathy – Ability to connect, understand, and communicate with others. Empathy is composed of pure Spirit.
A character’s attributes cannot be altered after the character creation process. This is representative of who they are on a fundamental level. It is what they will have to work with during their adventuring career. Any further improvements to the character are done by increasing their Skills, Resistances, and Tolerances. These are discussed later in this chapter.
Each Attribute has a Rank which ranges from 4 to 12. It is a measure of a character’s capacity for that ability. Rank 8 is an average value for a typical human.
For example, a character with a Rank of 6 in Strength would be considered physically weak. A character with Rank 10 would be considered to be quite strong. With a Rank of 12, a character would be considered one of the strongest people in the town.
During gameplay, most actions will be resolved by making a Test using a Skill (discussed below). However, sometimes it is appropriate to make a Test using an Attribute if there is no Skill Action or Skill that best represents what a character is attempting to accomplish. If the action a character is attempting is based purely on a character’s natural talent without regard for experience, then an Attribute Test may be appropriate. For instance, if your character is in an arm-wrestling match, the GM might have you roll an Opposed Test using Strength to determine who wins the contest.
Skills are how characters typically interact with the world. From investigating a murder to swinging a sword, there is a Skill associated with most actions in the game. Each character has a Rank for each Skill in the game. This is a measure of how capable a character is with the activities associated with that Skill. A Skill Rank is a combination of a character’s natural talent, represented by their Attributes, combined with any experience and training the character has accumulated. Each Skill has two attributes that are related to it.
Skill Ranks are calculated by taking the lowest of the two associated Attributes and then adding their
Skill Rank = (lowest of the associated Attributes) + Training Rank
For example, if your character had a Strength of 10 and an Agility of 8, your character would add 8 to their Training Rank to calculate their Skill Rank in Athletics. In this case, the character is quite strong, but has only average swiftness. It is their swiftness that is limiting their athletic ability. However, the limitations of your character’s natural ability can be overcome by training and experience, represented by Training Ranks.
Each character varies in their level of training and experience in a Skill. These are represented by a Training Rank. Training Ranks range from 0 to 8 and always start at a Training Rank of 0, meaning your character is Untrained in that skill. As the character’s Training Rank rises (by spending XP through Advancement), they are able to apply their training and experience for even better performance with that Skill.
Now that we have discussed the components of a character in World Saga, let’s go through the process of making your own character. As discussed in the previous chapter, it might be helpful to talk to your GM before going through this process. Knowing about the setting and the type of adventures you are playing will have a large impact on the type of character you may want to create.
Session Zero. Before everyone jumps into the process of creating a character, it’s helpful for all the players and the GM to talk about the details of the game’s setting and style. Many groups get together and have a “session zero”, where they create characters together as a group with the GM. They all go over how those characters fit into the world and the game’s setting, and how those characters might be connected or know each other in the game world.
Examples. Throughout this section you will find examples demonstrating each step as a fictional player named Olive creates her character for an upcoming game.
Olive has already talked to her GM and she knows their group will be playing an adventure on the high seas during the Age of Sail. She decides she wants to play a daring swashbuckler with a dashing smile and quick reflexes.
In most games of World Saga, a character’s ancestry is assumed to be human. However, some fantasy games have elves, dwarves, and goblins as playable characters. In a science fiction setting, there might be alien species in the game world that your character can belong. In World Saga, there is no specific distinction between various ancestries. The process of creating your character is the same, regardless of the biological and cultural origins of your character. It is up to the player if they want to alter the Attributes of their character to fit within ancestral expectations. Characters that choose to break these expectations are often quite interesting as well.
If your character does belong to a specific ancestry that is important to your game’s setting, talk with your GM about any special traits or abilities they might have that might affect what that character can do. The GM might allow for some of these abilities to grant mechanical benefits in specific situations. For example, in a fantasy setting, the GM might rule that elves and dwarves are able to see in dim light, and characters of those ancestries can reduce the illumination penalties for attacks in dimly lit environments.
Since Olive’s game is set in Earth during the time of sailing ships and pirates, Olive writes down that her character is an everyday Human.
The first step to creating a new character, is choosing the character’s Attributes. When creating a new character, all nine Attributes are first set to a Rank of 4. You may then distribute 36 points to your character’s Attributes, increasing the associated Rank on a one-for-one basis. However, the total number of points may vary depending on the type of game you and your GM decided to play.
- For standard gameplay, players will have 36 Attribute points to spend.
- For a dark and deadly game, players will have 32 Attribute points to spend.
- For high fantasy gameplay, players will have 40 Attribute points to spend.
Players are encouraged to give their characters strengths and flaws by adjusting their attributes accordingly. Lower Attributes add depth and interest to your character. Few people are perfectly average at everything.
Olive’s GM informed the players that they would use the standard 36 Attribute points to create their characters. Olive sets all of her character’s Attributes to 8 (distributing the 36 points evenly between the nine scores). She then decides that her character should be quite agile and charismatic, to fit with her vision of a dashing and agile swashbuckler. So, she increases her character’s Agility and Charisma to 10 each. To compensate for these increases, Olive decides to decrease her character’s Willpower and Perception each to 6. She decides that her character has little tolerance for pain and his inflated ego often keeps him from paying attention to his surroundings. She then lowers his Strength to 7 and increases his Intelligence to 9, since she imagines him as somewhat thin and lithe with a slightly sharper wit.
Who is your character? Where did they come from? A character’s Background is a story of how they came to be where they are now. During their life so far, they might have picked up a few skills and knowledge along the way. There are two ways to create your character’s background: the Custom Path and the Life Path.
Custom Path. You might have a specific vision and story for your character’s background. If that is the case, then you can skip this section and add 20 XP for developing your character in the next section.
Life Path. If you are uncertain about your character’s Background, the following tables can help you generate their background randomly. Roll the indicated die on each table below, for each stage of life for your character, and look at the description for that result. These descriptions are starting points for creating an explanation and story surrounding the inflection points of your character’s story. Envision the circumstances of that result and elaborate on it.
After elaborating on the story around each life event, make note of the benefits listed, as you will be adding these to your character’s statistics as free Training Ranks for the listed Skill, Resistance, or Tolerance. Feel free to choose an option on the table instead of rolling if it better fits the emerging vision of your character as you generate their story. However, try not to focus on the listed benefits of a given option. If you want to build your character strictly based on mechanical benefits, use the Custom Path option instead.
Life Path Tables
The following tables represent various stages of life of your character so far. Roll on each table and envision the story of your character and how that stage of their life was shaped by the generated events. Some benefits listed below list a Skill with an asterisk (*), this indicates that the player must choose a subcategory for that Skill. Chapter 3 has more information about each Skill and the associated subcategories.
|1-2||You were born strong and healthy.||+1 Stamina|
|3-4||You were born curious and eager.||+1 Attention|
|5-6||Your birth was an uncertain struggle, but you endured.||+1 Courage|
|1-2||You spent much of your childhood running and roaming, honing your reactions.||+1 Reflexes|
|3-4||Your childhood was a physical struggle, you had to toughen yourself. You might have performed physical labor.||+1 Resilience|
|5-6||Your childhood was full of strife and social conflict, you’ve had to steel your mind from difficult events.||+1 Resolve|
|1-5||You quickly learned that lies and deception are the best ways to get people to do what you want.||+2 Deceive,|
|6-10||You found that opening up to people and sharing your emotions was the best way to make friends.||+2 Inspire,|
|11-15||You became a bully, using the threat of violence to get your way and command others.||+2 Intimidate,|
|16-20||You learned that formal arguments and reason were the best ways to convince others.||+2 Persuade,|
|1-3||You honed your body performing much physical activity.||+1 Athletics,|
|4-6||You found yourself in many fights and learned to defend yourself||+1 Brawl,|
|7-9||You learned survival skills and how to survive in the wilderness.||+1 Healing,|
|10-12||You learned the art of subterfuge and the ways of a criminal.||+1 Stealth, +1 Thievery|
|13-15||You learned a trade and studied to become a better crafter.||+1 Craft*,|
|16-18||You were a scholar and spent much time studying and learning.||+1 Lore*,|
|1||Artisan. You learned a fine craft and honed your skills. You might have apprenticed to a guild master or other specialist.||+2 Craft*,|
+2 Lore (Culture),
|2||Caretaker. You learned how to care for others. You might have been a healer tending to the wounded, or a servant working at the behest of others.||+2 Healing,|
+2 Lore (Nature),
|3||Clergy. You were a member of a religious or philosophical organization. You learned how to inspire people and work towards your organization’s goals.||+2 Inspire,|
+2 Lore (Religion),
|4||Criminal. You were part of dark, underground economy. You might have been a thief, a fence, or involved in other elicit activities.||+2 Thievery,|
+2 Lore (Culture),
|5||Entertainer. You learned how to entertain others. You may have been part of a highly organized entertainment group, a small traveling show, or perhaps you performed in the streets.||+2 Perform,|
+2 Lore (Culture),
|6||Laborer. You performed physical labor. This might have been voluntary for a wage or involuntary as a slave or servant for another.||+2 Athletics,|
+2 Lore (Culture),
|7||Patrician. You had some connection to the rich and powerful and learned the ways of etiquette. You learned how to persuade and convince others.||+2 Persuade,|
+2 Lore (Culture),
|8||Scholar. You gathered knowledge and studied the ways of the world. You have focused on your particular interests and a specific area of study.||+2 Lore*,|
+2 Lore (Culture),
|9||Soldier. You have learned the ways of combat and battle. You may have served as a guardian at home or a soldier out on campaign in service to others.||+2 Fighting*,|
+2 Lore (Culture),
+1 Dodge, Block, or Parry
|10||Trader. You learned the ways of economics and trade. You might be a travelling merchant or a local trader who works at a nearby market.||+2 Persuade,|
+2 Lore (Culture),
|11||Traveler. You have traveled far and wide. You might be a wandering hermit or an eager explorer striking out into the unknown.||+2 Survival,|
+2 Lore (Nature),
I became an adventurer because…
|1-2||I want to prove my capability to myself or others.||+1 Stamina|
|3-4||I want to discover knowledge or see unknown places.||+1 Attention|
|5-6||It was forced upon me by circumstances beyond my control.||+1 Courage|
What motivates your character? What are they trying to accomplish? This might be clear based on the emerging backstory from the results above. Each motivation comes with a flaw, which can add exceptional depth to a character’s personality., Feel free to select or roll on the following list of options.
|1||Achievement. You seek personal success through competence and ambition. Flaw: You are often arrogant and overly proud.|
|2||Benevolence. You desire to earnestly help others and foster happiness. Flaw: You are often exploited by others, taking responsibility for others’ problems.|
|3||Connection. You seek to create connections with others and create a sense of belongingness. Flaw: You are often eager to earn others approval and do not accept rejection easily.|
|4||Creation. You seek to create and express yourself and your talents. You might be an artist, crafter, or performer. Flaw: You often fall into perfectionism, being overly critical of both your work and others’.|
|5||Discovery. You seek to explore the world and see things no one else has seen before. Flaw: You often grow restless and don’t like staying in one place for long.|
|6||Enlightenment. You seek to experience and understand the metaphysical and spiritual, the power of the gods and faith. Flaw: You tend to be a zealot in your beliefs, preaching to anyone, whether they wish to listen or not.|
|7||Excitement. You prefer to live in the moment, seeking novelty and new challenges. Flaw: You often fail to follow through with your choices and are typically seen as unreliable.|
|8||Honor. You focus on respect, self-discipline, honesty, and etiquette. You present a humble attitude, often being overly polite and obedient. Flaw: You cannot bring yourself to disrupt tradition or question legitimate authority.|
|9||Independence. You desire freedom and independent thought and action. Flaw: You often have trouble working with others and taking orders.|
|10||Intimacy. You seek romance, love, and affection. You look for someone to share your life with and perhaps start your own family. Flaw: You often are desperate to please others and prove your worthiness.|
|11||Justice. You seek to right a wrong at any cost. You cannot let the harmful actions of others go unquestioned. Flaw: You often seek vengeance for those that have wronged you or your friends.|
|12||Knowledge. You seek learning and understanding above all else, searching for the truth of the universe. Flaw: You are often too thoughtful and methodical; you are often too hesitant to take immediate action.|
|13||Power. You seek social status and prestige, hoping to control things around you. Flaw: You are often dominating and authoritarian.|
|14||Revolution. You seek liberation and freedom at all costs, hoping to disrupt the status quo. Flaw: You often ignore laws and authority, often finding yourself labeled a criminal.|
|15||Security. You seek peace, stability, and order in society, perhaps by preserving the social order. Flaw: You are often afraid of change and anything that disrupts the status quo.|
|16||Stimulation. You prefer to prioritize your own self-enjoyment and pleasure over anything else. Flaw: You are often careless and lazy.|
|17||Understanding. You desire to understand others, preach tolerance, and advance equity. Flaw: You are often manipulative, preaching to advance the greater good.|
|18||Wealth. You seek riches and wealth to make your life more comfortable and easier. Flaw: You are often seen as petty and greedy, valuing fortune over the needs of other people.|
|19 – 20||Roll again|
Olive goes through the Life Path option for her character’s background. She writes down all of her results from the tables in her notes and makes a list of all the benefits as well. She formulates a story for her character based on the results from the Life Path. She decides her character was born to a poor and struggling family (+1 Courage) and spent his youth running around the streets of a port city (+1 Reflexes). He started running around with a bad crowd and began to rely on lies and deception (+2 Deceive, +1 Perform). Running around the streets kept him fit and agile (+1 Athletics, +1 Dodge). He then began performing comedy and simple magic tricks in the street to distract townsfolk as his criminal friends would pick their pockets (+2 Perform, +2 Lore (Culture), +1 Athletics). He eventually longed for the sea, to prove to himself that he could be a capable sailor (+1 Stamina).
Olive writes down all of these free training ranks on her character sheet.
The next stage of character creation is to decide on your character’s training and experience since becoming an adventurer. This is done by spending XP on whatever Skills, Tolerances, and Resistances you like. Each character receives 20 XP to spend on immediate Advancement (see the following section). If you took the Custom Path for your Background, then you will have an additional 20 XP to spend. If you took the Life Path for your Background, that XP is incorporated into the benefits you received at each Life Path stage. Unlike normal Advancement, characters can increase their Training Ranks by more than 1 rank at a time during the development stage of character creation.
The number of XP received for development might vary depending on the type of game your GM is running. 20 XP is the typically amount for a standard novice adventurer. If you are playing as a regular person, a true neophyte, you might not receive any XP for development. On the other hand, if you are playing as a veteran adventurer, you might receive 40 XP. Talk with your GM to see how much XP you will receive for the development stage of character creation.
- Neophyte – 0 XP – Unskilled regular people.
- Novice – 20 XP (Standard) – Novice adventurers.
- Veteran – 40 XP – Seasoned adventurers.
- Some players may want to adjust their Attributes as they begin to see how their character’s Attributes affect their Skills.
Some players may want to adjust their Attributes as they begin to see how their character’s Attributes affect their Skills.
Olive now gets to spend 20 XP to further develop her character. She wants her character to be a decent swordfighter, so she increases his Fighting (Dueling Blades) to Rank 3, costing 6 XP; and she increases his Parry to Rank 2, costing 3 XP. To improve her character’s social skills, Olive adds 1 Rank each to Inspire and Persuade, costing 2 XP total. To round out her character’s skills, Olive increases his Investigate and Survival each to Rank 2, costing 6 XP total. With her last 3 XP, she increases his Athletics to Rank 3.
Olive then fills in the attributes section of each Skill and Resistance, adding her Training Ranks and her lowest attribute to calculate her final Rank for each Skill and Resistance.
Every new adventurer begins play with some basic camping gear and survival supplies. This includes a backpack, a bedroll, a blanket, a waterskin, and a fire kit for lighting fires. They also begin with 5 dry rations and a coil of rope. Players can also spend any remaining coins on other basic supplies.
Starting Coin: Each new character starts with 100 silver pieces to purchase any additional starting gear. Characters typically purchase at least one weapon, and perhaps a set of armor or a shield. There are also many useful items in the Gear section.
Olive wants her swashbuckler to wield a Rapier, so she adds that to her character sheet and deducts 20 sp from her starting coin. Olive adds the Rapier’s item bonus to her Parry rank. She then adds the Rapier’s statistics to the Weapons section of her character sheet.
Olive then picks out a Padded armor for her character, deciding that he wears a puffy doublet with quilted padding. She adds the armor’s information to her character sheet’s Armaments section.
She also outfits him with a Buckler to help him with his Parry skill. She adds the information to the Armaments section of her character sheet. Since a Buckler adds a situation bonus to Parry rolls, Olive makes an extra note on her character sheet and updates her Parry skill again.
Olive fills in her character’s Hardiness Rank. She notes that her character’s low Willpower makes his Hardiness a bit low. But she is glad his armor helps a little.
Olive fills in her character’s Speed. She is glad that her character is quite fast, it should help him run from trouble.
After filling in the derived statistics, you can fill in every Skill, Resistance, and Tolerance by adding the appropriate bonuses and penalties for the final Rank.
Olive then fills in each of her Tolerances. She is regretting her character’s low Willpower as she sees the effect on his Attention. But she accepts this flaw as part of the challenge and is at least reassured by his strong Courage.
Now that the statistics of your character are complete, be sure to fill in their final details. Give them a name, a physical description, and perhaps even a short description of their personality and mannerisms. What are their strengths and their weaknesses? How are they connected to the larger community and world? These types of details can really help a character come to life. You can work with your GM to help fill in the details about your character’s place in the world. Also, talk to your fellow players and see who their characters are. Do your characters know each other and to what capacity? Or is the meeting of these characters going to be part of the opening scene?
Olive names her swashbuckler, Talidor Raven. She writes down a physical description, describing his tall and lithe appearance and flowing dark hair. Olive and her GM decide together that Talidor has spent a couple years as a sailor and has recently found a better crew position on a new merchant vessel. The vessel’s maiden voyage will be how they begin their story during their first session of gameplay.
Olive’s character sheet is all filled out and she is eager to play.
After your character has gone on an adventure or two, they might take some time during Sojourn mode to go through
To increase a Skill, it costs a number of XP equal to the new desired Rank of the Skill. For instance, if your Training Rank in Healing was 3 (Proficient) and you wanted to increase it to 4 (Expert), it would cost you 4 XP to increase it.
It costs twice as much XP to increase a Tolerance or Resistance. The following tables can be used to quickly discern how much XP is required to increase your Training Ranks. The Total column lists the total amount of XP required for the desired rank (starting from Rank 0) and can be quite useful for the development phase of character creation.
Normally, during an Advancement, you can only increase the Training Rank for any Skill, Resistance or Tolerance by one Rank. The exception to this rule is during the development stage of character creation. The GM might also allow increasing by more than one Rank if your game is using the optional training rules and your character is spending a particularly long time working with a trainer or mentor.