Phased Character Creation

One of my favorite features of Chronica Feudalis is how quick and painless the character creation is. If you come to the process with a character concept in mind, the whole thing can take only a few minutes.

But in reading over Diaspora over the last couple of weeks, I find myself reminiscing over one of the key concepts of FATE that didn’t carry over into Chronica’s design: phased character creation. For those of you who are not familiar with this process, introduced in Spirit of the Century*, each player writes a paragraph of background material for each of several periods (phases) in their character’s life. These paragraphs then serve as inspiration for the character’s aspects.

So, I’d like to present an alternative protagonist creation method for use with Chronica Feudalis. This method utilizes three phases. In each phase you will write a paragraph about your character’s background, pick one mentor (and apply those benefits), and write one aspect (and, optionally, one background).

Phase One: Childhood

In one paragraph, describe your character’s early childhood — from birth until the age of ten years old. What class was she born into? Who were her parents and what did they do? Was she provided with any education (perhaps via a hired tutor) or was she brought up to learn the trade of her parents? Some children are betrothed when they are very young. Did this happen to your protagonist?

Pick a Mentor

Choose one mentor from the mentor list to represent your protagonist’s most influential teacher from this period in her life. For the three skills that mentor teaches, increase those on your character sheet by one step. Copy each of the mentor’s gifted tools to your tool list.

Write an Aspect

Using what we’ve discussed about aspects in the core rules, write one aspect that encapsulates your protagonist’s childhood. If your character was born with a particularly unique feature or inherits a particular status or title by blood, this aspect should be used to indicate such things.

Write a Background

You may optionally write one background that describes something about your protagonist’s childhood.

Phase Two: Apprenticeship

In one paragraph, describe your character’s introduction to their life’s trade and their subsequent education. A noble’s son might be made a page in another noble’s household. Many sons and daughters are sent to be novices in monasteries and convents. In a city you might become apprentice to an artisan, and in a village you might remain with your parents taking responsibilities on the farm. What happened to your protagonist? What kind of person is he shaping up to be? What do his parents want him to be? Is he willing to go along with that? Some young people are getting married at this phase in their life. Is that the case for your protagonist?

Pick a Mentor

Choose one mentor that stands out as your protagonist’s most influential teacher from this period in his life. For the three skills that mentor teaches, increase those on your character sheet by one step. Add each of the mentor’s gifted tools to your tool list.

Write an Aspect

Write one aspect that encapsulates your protagonist’s apprenticeship. If your character has professional skills that reach beyond adventuring, it might be a good idea to establish those with this aspect.

Write a Background

You may optionally write one background that describes something about your protagonist’s apprenticeship.

Phase Three: The Path to Adventure

You’re not likely to play a protagonist that stays on the farm or in the shop forever. Write one paragraph that describes how your protagonist transitioned from the mundane life that was planned out for her to the hero of the tales you will tell in your sessions. Did she run away to escape an arranged marriage? Does she display some unique skill that influenced her convent to use her as an emissary? Was there some crisis that interrupted her life and forced her to find her a new path? And in all this, what kind of adult is your protagonist turning out to be?

Pick a Mentor

Choose one mentor that proved to be your protagonist’s most influential teacher from this period in her life. For the three skills that mentor teaches, increase those on your character sheet by one step. Add each of the mentor’s gifted tools to your tool list.

Write an Aspect

Write one aspect that encapsulates your protagonist’s path to adventure. If your character has a major motivation that will drive her throughout the campaign, you may wish to establish it with this aspect.

Write a Background

You may optionally write one background that describes something about your protagonist’s path to adventure.

A Name

Likely you have already named your character in order to write about him. Fill this out on your character sheet and the process is complete.

You will note that is incredibly simple to make child or adolescent characters simply by limiting the number of phases you go through. 6 to 10 year old characters should only complete the first phase. 11 to 15 year olds should complete the first two phases. 16 years old and up protagonists should complete the full three phases of the procedure.

* True, there were phases in FATE 2.0 but they do not appear to be as fleshed out.

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