Tag Archives: Character Creation

On Creation, Part 2

…and we’re back!


Each of the three core books has a unique mechanic for player characters, intended to guide their actions in subtle and sometimes not-subtle ways. Age of Rebellion uses Duty, to represent your affiliation with the rebellion. Force and Destiny uses Morality, which tracks where you stand with respect to the Light or Dark side of the force. Edge of the Empire Uses Obligation, which is a representation of the debt (real or figurative) that your character owes. This could be actual debt, or a price on your head, or even something like a strong sense of accountability to something. In addition to a description, it also has magnitude that may have mechanical effects. Higher values mean you’re more worried about whatever it is, and it’s more likely to come up in play.

The suggested order of character creation has you determine your obligation as the first step, which can be chosen or rolled randomly. We’re going to go with the Dutybound obligation for Aragos, representing the bounties he is supposed to be out pursuing while the party’s interests may or may not align with this goal. The starting obligation value for a group of 4-5 players is 10, but that number isn’t necessarily fixed. For additional XP or credits at character creation, you can take additional obligation, up to your starting value. The starting value of 500 credits is rather low, so for Aragos we’ll take 5 more obligation for 1000 more credits.

As for your character’s specific motivation, there is a mechanic to roll this randomly if you wish. I personally would rather just build it into the background of the character. This is really the only part that varies depending on the core book you’re using.

Starting Gear

Unless you take additional obligation (or make similar decisions re: Duty or Morality), you’ll start with 500 credits, which really isn’t a lot. It’s somewhat unlikely that your character will be able to avoid conflict altogether, so you may want to put some of this into a weapon. Armor is more optional, as it tends to be heavy, expensive, and of questionable effectiveness, but you’ll probably want at least basic clothing. (Some specializations can use armor more effectively, however.) A comlink is also suggested, as it’s cheap and very useful. From there you can take other things that suit your character.

For Aragos, we’ll keep it relatively simple. A Blaster Rifle is 900, Heavy Clothing is 50, a Comlink is 25, and a Combat Knife is another 25 (I started with one of these and never used it). For other gear we’ll take 2 sets of Binders (50), A utility belt (25), Extra Reloads (25), a Datapad (75), a few Glowrods (30), Scanner Goggles (150), and a Backpack in case I have to carry all of that at once (50). That still leaves 95 credits for anything that might come up. You will also start with 1d100 additional credits that can’t be spent on starting gear, and whatever miscellaneous small items that you might think of that aren’t large enough to be tracked on your character sheet.

Finishing Touches

To finish up, a character needs a name, a description, and a personality. The Obligation and Motivation steps are actually somewhat helpful at filling in the gaps here, but this is really up to you. As mentioned, I tend to do that in reverse.

There’s also a group component, in that you can start with a particular resource that also varies by books. I’m not sure how this would be handled in a case where a group had mixed characters, but this is usually either a ship of questionable quality (except for maybe the YT-1300 in Edge of the Empire, and even then you’re gonna want a mechanic) or a justification for a party bonus (which may have other benefits). Decide among your group and GM what you’re going to take here.

On Creation, Part 1

Star Wars Fever seems to be going around the Aggrochat crew, and we’re all dealing with it in different ways.SWTOR has been a thing for several of us, as has Disney Infinity 3.0 (AKA the one that added Star Wars characters). Another thing is that because we’re about to hit a point of relative calm in Shadowrun, we’re looking at spinning up a Star Wars game. Character Creation is interesting here, so let’s take a look:


I’m going to cheat a bit here and just use the character I played in the Saga Edition. For some background, Aragos was a bounty hunter who was first and foremost, a sniper. Thanks to background, he was also a bit of a survivalist and big game hunter. As the game went on, he acquired more technical ability and eventually silly movement tricks. (In a game where standard movement was 6 squares, Aragos could move about 30 in a turn and still act.) But for now, we’ll start with the base. Our Saga Edition game used rolled stats, and Aragos ended up with all of his stats in the 11-15 range, so I was able to get fairly well-rounded despite the racial -2 INT.


There’s a suggested order for character creation that I’ll be largely ignoring, it’s more helpful when you don’t have a concrete concept in mind. As such I’ll be starting with species. I didn’t stat out a Cathar for nothing, so we’ll be going with that. Edge of the Empire also provides the useful Bounty Hunter career. Aragos had a bit of both the Survivalist and Assassin specializations, but Assassin fits better as the starting one. Skills come along with this: 4 from career, 2 from specialization, and one from species. These are going to be Perception (career), Streetwise (career), Vigilance(career), Ranged (Heavy) x2 (career, specialization), Stealth (specialization), and Athletics (species). It’s worth noting that the second rank in a skill is normally more expensive if taken later, so any ability to double up like this can save you XP in the long run, at the cost of reducing the breadth of your starting abilities.

That still leaves 90 XP to spend on attributes, skills, and talents. It’s worth noting that the only time you can spend XP on attributes is character creation, so you may want to dedicate a decent portion of your XP to this. Attributes aren’t cheap, at 10 times the new value. They’re also limited to 5 at creation. Career skills are 5 times new value, but cannot go above 2 at creation. Non-career skills cost 5 extra points per rank, so you should think long and hard if you want to take any of these (especially if you intend to take a specialization that includes them as career skills later, or you’re in one of the specializations that contains the “Well Rounded” talent). An exception might be for a combat skill if you are in one of the careers that doesn’t have one. For Aragos, we’ll buy off that intellect penalty and then some, spending 50 XP to get Intellect up to 3. 40 XP goes into putting more eggs in the “solve problems by shooting things” basket and raising Agility to 4. (Aragos did not start as a nuanced character.)

More to come…

I’ll go into Obligation and starting gear next time. From here, character creation diverges a bit depending on which book you’re starting with. The “mechanic” for Edge of the Empire is Obligation, so we’ll see what impacts that has on creation.

On Fires, Part 2

Blaugust Post #30

A major part of what makes Burning Wheel interesting to me is the character creation. The Lifepath system is really a modified version of point-buy, but you have the character’s entire backstory built-in to the process. It’s got some… balance issues, but it makes the actual process of creating a character rather fun.

The basics are that you determine the various professions and/or roles that your character follows through life. Each one adds Time (measured in years), Resources, Skill Points, and Trait Points, some of which will automatically be spoken for in the way of required skills/traits. They’re divided into settings, such as City Dweller, Noble Court, etc. Your next lifepath can be any that you qualify for in your current setting, or a setting specified by the last lifepath you took. Moving to some settings (such as Noble Court) is fairly difficult, but some settings (such as Outcast) can be entered from almost anything.

Learn by Doing

To demonstrate the process, I’ll start with a character concept from the first RPG I played where I was more focused on the character than the character’s combat effectiveness. (The fact that the setting was modified World of Darkness helped this a lot.) Zane Dimetrius was a sorcerous professor with a decent bit of martial ability. He specialized in earth spells, but that doesn’t really seem to be an option in this system. In Burning Wheel, this means he’ll need to pick up lifepaths along the way that enable magic and some bit of physical ability, while I’d like to end at Scholar (which is in City Dweller).

Looking at Scholar, it informs some other requirements by itself. It requires either one of a number of related academic lifepaths or any sorcerous one. Since this character is intended to be a spellcaster anyway, that requirement shouldn’t be too hard to meet. You have to start with a “Born” lifepath, and I decided to go for Born Noble. Being born noble gives you the required trait “Mark of Privilege” (which may or may not be good depending on where you find yourself). The bit of martial ability is covered by becoming a Page. Page is normally the start of the path to Knight (you also have to go through Squire), but Zane decided that wasn’t for him and moves off to Arcane Devotee. This is the Noble version of the “starter” spellcaster lifepath; it grants the “gifted” trait required to actually cast spells.

From there we move out of the Noble setting. Arcane Devotee can lead to the City Dweller setting, which contains Sorcerer. (It can alternately lead to the Noble Court setting, which contains the somewhat different Court Sorcerer). Having finally picked up the sorcery skill, we finish at Scholar.

Preliminary Results

Tallying up everything gained in this process, we have a character who is 37 years old, with the required traits Base Humility, Mark of Privilege, and Know-it-All. Gifted is also a requirement, but doesn’t come automatically, one of the remaining 3 trait points must be spent on it. For skills, Riding, Calligraphy, Sorcery, and Read are required; many optional ones can come along with this choice of lifepaths like Write, Sword, and Instruction. The skill system is interesting enough to be expanded on in its own post, but there are a lot of skills listed in the book.

The number of stat points you have to spend is based on your final age, with some bonuses for various paths along the way. Generally starting older will give you more points for mental stats and fewer for physical stats, although starting younger than 15 will make you a bit short on both. While there are still plenty of decisions to make about where to spend all of the resulting points, the framework of the character is here. This is a lot more than you can get out of a lot of other systems, and it also makes the creation process itself interesting. Using a session to create characters while in a group seems like it would add some fun as well.