Character Generation

20 Questions - A list of questions for you to ponder to get a better grasp of your character's background and personality.

Step 1: Getting Started

There are some things you need to know before you ever look at your character's Skills and other abilities. First and foremost, every character possesses five Rings, which are explained here. Each Ring represents one aspect of the character's mental and physical abilities. As a reminder, they are:

  • Air: Reflexes and Awareness
  • Earth: Stamina and Willpower
  • Fire: Agility and Intelligence
  • Water: Strength and Perception
  • Void: Void has no Traits, but instead produces Void Points. A character has a number of Void Points equal to his Void Ring.

A character's Rings all begin at 2. When the individual Traits that make up the Rings are increased, a Ring always remains equal to the lower of the two. For example, if a character had Agility 4 and Intelligence 2, his Fire Ring would be 2. If the character increased his Intelligence to 3, his Fire Ring would become 3 as well.
Also, by this stage you are probably aware of what clan and family you wish your character to be from. In this case, note both on your character sheet, and then determine what Trait bonus you receive from the family in question. this represents the family's legacy of training, bloodline, and expertise. That Trait begins at 3 instead of 2. For example, if your character is from the Mirumoto family of the Dragon Clan, he gains +1 Agility and thus begins with Agility 3.

Step 2: The Basics

With your character established as part of a clan and family, it's time to get a little bit more specific about what kind of character he is going to be. You should by this point know whether you character will be a bushi, a courtier, a shugenja, or one of the few other Schools that have different descriptors (such as Monk or Ninja) or that has no descriptor. These descriptors affect what kind of abilities your character can learn later, including certain Advantages or Disadvantages, as well as optional mechanics.
When you have chosen the School you wish your character to attend, you gain numerous benefits. First, a second Trait gains a bonus of +1. If this is the same trait that your family granted a bonus to, then that Trait is now a 4 instead of the normal starting 2. Most combinations do not double up, however, and so your character will most likely have two Traits that begin at 3 instead of 2. For example, if a character from the Mirumoto family joined the Mirumoto Bushi School, he would begin with Agility 3 (from the family's +1 Agility benefit) and Stamina 3 (from the School's +1 Stamina benefit). In addition to the Trait bonus, your character's School determines his starting Honor Rank, which should also be noted in the appropriate place on your character sheet.
Every School teaches its students seven Rank of Skills. Unless otherwise specified, these Skills all begin at Rank 1. Many Schools allow a character to choose one or more of these Skills from a larger group (such as Lore Skills) to represent the diverse training available at most dojo. Obviously, this chosen Skill cannot be one already taught by the School. Record all the Skills granted as part of your character's School on the character sheet. For example, the character joining the Mirumoto Bushi School would enter the following Skills on his sheet (because they are listed in the School's description): Defense, Iaujutsu, Kenjutsu, Lore: Shugenja, Lore: Theology, Meditation, and one other Skill of the player's choosing.
With the inherent benefits and Skills taken care of, you now must be sure to include your character's Outfit, which is all of his starting equipment, and his Technique. Techniques are powerful abilities taught by individual Schools that are kept secret at all costs from other clans and sometimes even from other families within the same clan. They represent perhaps the character's most potent advantage against his opponents, and should be listed on the character sheet for ease of use.

Step 3: Customization

Once all of the starting aspects a character receives from his clan, family, and School have been noted, it's time to customize the character so that he is not exactly the same as every other member of his school. This is done by purchasing additional abilities, including more Ranks in Traits or Skills, to represent the character's life up until the time the campaign begins. These abilities are purchased using Experience Points. A starting character has 40 Experience points to use for additional abilities. These points may be spent in any of the following manners:

  • A character may increase a Trait by paying a number of Experience Points equal to four times the next rank. For example, increasing a character's Reflexes from 2 to 3 would cost 12 Experience Points. Remember to check and see if your Ring increases when you purchase additional ranks in your Traits.
  • Because it has no Traits, the Void Ring may be increased on its own. This is more expensive, however, because the Void Ring contributes directly to a character's Insight Rank. Increasing a character's Void Ring costs a number of points equal to six times the new rank. For example, increasing a character's Void Ring from 2 to 3 would cost 18 Experience Points.
  • Skills may be purchased for a number of Experience Points equal to the next rank in Skill. To purchase a Skill the character does not already possess cost 1 Experience Point to gain that Skill at Rank 1. Increasing a Skill from 2 to 3 would cost 3 Experience Points. An Emphasis may be purchased for a Skill by spending 2 Experience Points.
  • Advantages and Disadvantages may be purchased for the cost listed in their description. An Advantage that specifies it costs 3 points, for example, requires 3 Experience Points to add it to your character. Disadvantages function similarly, except that characters gain additional Experience Points for taking them, up to a maximum of 10 extra points. For example, a character with 40 Experience Points who takes a Disadvantage worth 4 points now has 44 Experience Points to spend on improvements.
  • Kata may be purchased for a number of Experience Points equal to the Mastery Level of the kata.
  • Kiho may be purchased as well with Experience Points. Brotherhood of Shinsei monks may purchase kiho for a number of points equal to its mastery level. Non-brotherhood monks, such as the Dragon tattooed monks, may purchase kiho for one and a half times the Mastery Level in Experienced Points. Shugenja characters may purchase kiho for a number of Experience Points equal to twice the mastery level.
  • When spending Experience Points, please remember that no starting character may begin play with any ability, whether a Trait or a Skill, above 4.
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