Mortal Character Creation
From WoD Gotham
We recommend that you use the Mortal New Player Quick Start as a supplemental guide to these rules. Also it's worth mentioning that MtR in WoDG is a suitable venue for all player types. The venue contains a range of hardened veterans to cWoD and newbies. Mortals in WoDG are important characters in their own right and have been integral participants in major storylines.
Though some may write off the every day mortal character as unglamourous when compared to the supernatural venues, rest assured that in World of Darkness: Gotham mortals are relevant.
That aside, it's an ideal venue for players completely new to WoDG and to the World of Darkness RPGs as they can learn mechanics as they role play and acclimate themselves to WoDG's culture and the game's Mood and Theme.
Now, before you continue to reading on the particulars of character creation take this rule of thumb and apply it to the entire process: Traits are not the core of the character. They are a way to express your character's concept and motivation.You tailor your character's traits to express what you envisioned your character to be and not vice versa.
Step 1. Character Concept
Name, Age, Sex, Date of Birth
Ok. Self-explanatory. Please fill it in. Minimum age is 18. Recommended age is 21 and over.
Note: At 18 in the United States, the character is still a minor in some respects. He can go to jail as an adult. He can vote. He can go to war. He can buy tobacco. He is just old enough to have consensual sex. He can purchase a firearm. He cannot gamble, loiter on a casino floor, drink, purchase alcohol, or get into a nightclub. He will be still seen as a child in society as few people tend to think that 18 year olds are more than children. This means that he will have negative adjustments to his social dealings and be excluded from settings. Flinging Disciplines around constantly to avoid these sort of annoyances can draw unwanted attention. So while we understand that some people have a fetish for playing barely-legal characters, we don’t recommend it.
If you still have questions after reading the Character Creation Rules, place a post in the Poke a ST forum and the ST team will have a look. Please do not send private messages in the forums.
Character concept is the core of what your character is in a brief declarative statement or descriptor. It can be occupation, but usually that’s just part of it. Who you are isn’t just what you do. Most of us hate our jobs we don’t like to think of ourselves as the job title. It functions as the skeleton framework on which all other aspects of your character is built and is the core theme of your character, so take a moment as this definition will guide the entire rest of the character creation process.
You may want to take a look at the PC Census early on to see what is over or under represented in the chronicle already. All concepts and related characters to that concept must be your original creations.
Concepts that do well are concepts that don't require a lot of ST maintenance. Uncompromising and loner concepts tend to do poorly because players end up writing themselves into a corner and leave little room for other players to hook into your character and develop a connection. If your character has little motivation to connect with other characters, the other characters are not likely to chase yours for RP. They will just seek a connection elsewhere and you'll be left with little to RP.
Sample concepts include:
There will be no Character Concepts allowed that involve the player character starting with any lore or even the knowledge of the existence of supernaturals. Even the remote connection to the supernatural will not be considered. This is a vanilla mortal that is being created.
On a final note, if your concept has anything to do with working as an officer of a law enforcement agency of any kind (local, state, or federal), then you will need to refer to the Law Enforcement Character Creation. Supporting staff to agencies such as analysts, lab technicians, clerks, assistant district attorneys, mental health professionals, medical personnel, etc. are created using the guidelines on this page.
Nature and Demeanor
These are personality archetypes that function a lot like a general psychological guide for your character. They are another measuring stick and descriptor of your character’s personality, behavior, goals, motivations, and general direction. A list of them can be found in all core books for cWoD venues. Alternatively, players can create their own.
We Are The Champions!
Recognize that you are creating a starting character. Characters that are at the peak of success are not appropriate. Leave room for growth.
Once your concept has been determined you are ready to start on your character's meat and potatoes.
Your character history should be in line with your concept. When fleshing out the history, please be mindful of your character's motivations.
Many people are not writers by trade and find writing a history to be a grueling process, they simply have their own way of working a history out, or perhaps they flesh things out as they go. So to streamline the process, we require one small paragraph or a bulleted list similar to a timeline for a character history at a bare minimum. The most important thing about your character's history is that it functions as a means to communicate to the STs and to yourself who and what your character is and why is he driven to do the things he does. For some people all it takes to do that is a well constructed and thoughtful paragraph or timeline. For others it may take several paragraphs.
Don't be intimidated by the process if writing histories isn't your thing, just get your point across well and that should be enough.
A good rule of thumb is to include a bit about your character's origins, recent past, and present day circumstances. Details on key figures in your character's life is also helpful (Retainers, Allies, etc).
We do require that any unusual Traits like Merits and Flaws be explained.
Character History Notes
Just like the character concept, there should be no reference to the supernatural in the character history. Please don't leave ambiguous plot hooks that could be construed as having a tie to the supernatural. For example, having your character haunted by the murder of a family member is fine. Having that same character haunted by the murder of a family member that was drained of all their blood or ripped to shreds is not.
Histories where your character has come to NYC to follow up a lead on a person from their past that has gone missing, done them wrong, been murdered, etc. is not appreciated by staff nor are they appropriate agendas to maintain. It requires staff to create a special SL for your character alone and that's not a good use of ST time. Also, when your character finally achieves that objective it leaves little room for his story to continue.
When you are creating your character history remember your audience. You are creating a history and that audience is comprised of the ST and you. These histories should convey your character's main idea and motivation.
This is a breakdown of your character's personality and what influences and shapes that personality. It's a more in depth study than what Nature and Demeanor provide. Please use this as an opportunity to flesh out your character and pay particular attention to how your character's history has shaped his personality.
STs consider this section to be one of the three most important areas of the sheet so make certain to spend some time on it without getting too clinical. We're not looking for clinical, we're looking for what he's like and why.
So some things that you may want to spend some time thinking about could include:
- What was his childhood like and what kind of impression did it make on the character?
- What sort of impact do his family and friends have on him?
- What sort of things inspire the character? Perhaps he has a childhood hero, mentor, colleague?
- What inner demons haunt the character?
- Who is the central figure in your character's life and how do they impact your character's personality?
- If you have taken the Derangement flaw then you should spend some time mentioning how that affects his personality as well.
Did you know that you can save your progress by hitting submit on your character sheet form at any time? We understand that the process is lengthy and you might not have the time to get through it all in one sitting, so for your convenience you can save your character sheet and then return to the Character Dossier at any time to continue working on your character sheet.
Next of Kin
No man is an island and mortals have ties to their families. Writing out all the family a character has ever had is not an option in WoDG. No matter how tragic the circumstances, your character likely has some relative somewhere. Please list them. Include information such as their names, relation to your character, occupations, ages, and locations.
This is an area that will be available for editing post-sanctioning and it's viewable to all players in the chat. Therefore, you should limit the description to what one would gather from a first impression or meeting. Some players use it to describe what their character is currently wearing or their general appearance within a scene.
This form field is easily the most important part of your character's sheet and you will not be sanctioned without having it fully developed.
A character motivation tells you and the ST what makes your character tick and why. It's the engine of your character. The reason he gets up each night and does what he does. Each night he wakes and you wonder what you should be RPing, you can look back to your motivation and use that to help you get into character and know what he would do in a scene. Actors and writers both use motivation to connect with their characters, explore them, and inhabit their skins - so will you.
We've found that players who don't have a thoughtful motivation on their sheet end up not knowing what to do with their character once in game. They are unconnected to their character because of it and the quality of their RP suffers. Essentially they are like ships without a rudder.
Players with strong, well thought out motivations tend to hit the ground running after sanctioning and have no shortage of ideas to bring to the game which in turn tends to help them work off other player characters much better than those with bland motivations. They find it easier to become their characters while in game and they are better actors and writers for it.
You will want to revisit what you wrote in the history and the psychological profile and see how those tie into his motivations. If your concept, history, and psychological profile were solid, writing a character motivation should be pretty intuitive. Just as in the psychological profile, you will want to pay attention his character history and any influences that have inspired or shaped his personality.
This motivation will serve as a guide to your character's development and his activities both in scene and in downtime. It will also change as your character grows and need to be updated periodically as events in the game will affect him.
Goals: Short and Long Term
Both goal form fields are milestones that your character has and is very much guided by his motivation. It's his strategy to fulfill his motivation.
If say your character craves respect and recognition and that's his primary motivation so he must become powerful and influential, then it goes to follow what does he think he needs to do to get that power and influence? What is a measure of power and influence in his mind? At what point is he sated? Will he ever be sated?
These goal form fields are a way to express things he wants to achieve to feel fulfilled and respected - to have that power and influence. Maybe his measure of power and influence is to become so stinking rich, that he can sprinkle endowments and donations everywhere. Maybe a big goal is to get a building or college named after him. So in the form fields you'd want to sketch out some ideas of how he's going to get that power and influence to feel respected.
Like motivation, goals change as your character grows and is changed by his experiences and the effects of events around him. So you should spend time updating them periodically as you develop your character over the course of RP.
Step 2. Select Attributes
|Mortal Starting Stats|
|Attributes 6/4/3||Abilities 11/7/4|
|Backgrounds 5.||Willpower = Courage. Never over 5.|
|Virtues 7. None over 4.||Humanity = Conscience + Self-Control|
|Blood Pool 10||Freebies 21|
|All Virtues and Attributes start with a rating of 1. Players then add their expenditures to that rating. So if you spend 2 dots in Dexterity, you would end up with a rating of 3. 2+1=3.|
Attributes have not been modified in WoDG. However as with any other Trait on your character sheet, the dots must be supported by the character concept and history. If it doesn’t jive, it’s going to get sent back.
Mortals should not have a starting specialty unless makes sense given your character concept.
You will note that there is a corresponding Attribute explanation form field supplied on the character sheet. This field can be left blank if there are no questionable Attribute ratings that need to be explained. If you start with a specialty or if think you chose something that might cause the STs to raise their eyebrows, then go ahead and detail why you feel the rating supports the overall character concept.
Step 3. Abilities
Abilities should never go above 3 for starting characters unless there’s a character concept that supports an expertise of some sort. For instance, if you are playing a medical doctor it’s perfectly logical to have Medicine at 4.
No specialties at all for starting characters in Combat Abilities. If you’re concept denotes an ex-military type or a mercenary or a veteran, we’ll allow you to specialize in a non-combative support function. For instance, a sniper might specialize in Stealth. A former Army Ranger might have Survival at 4. A former spy might have Subterfuge at 4.
You will note that there is a corresponding Ability explanation form field supplied on the character sheet. This field can be left blank if there are no questionable Abilities or Ability ratings that need to be explained. If you think you chose something that might cause the STs to raise their eyebrows, then go ahead and detail why you feel the trait supports the overall character concept.
One thing that I should point out is that think carefully where to spend your points. Your abilities need to support your concept and so you need to ask yourself what abilities your character would have in order to pull off his concept.
Remember you can't roll any pools using Knowledges in which your rating is 0. Pools with Skills at 0 will always have a +1 Difficulty to them before any other adjustments required by the scene.
Note: We've depreciated Dodge and Linguistics though both abilities are still present on the character sheet forms. We will not be updating those forms until 4th Edition is published. Dodge is expressed by Athletics and can be a specialty of Athletics or it can be taken as a Secondary Combat Talent. Linguistics is now a specialty of Academics or can be taken as a Secondary Ability on its own. Linguistics applies to scholars of languages. If your character is not a scholar and only fluent in one or more languages, then use the Language Merit. This merit does not count towards your 7 point maximum in merits.
Step 4. Advantages
You have 5 dots in Backgrounds to spend. All of these points must make sense with your character concept and history.
There are some Backgrounds which we limit at the start and some we disallow completely.
- Resources: may not be above 4 to start. 2 if the only source of income is from a settlement, award, investment, trust fund, etc.
- Contacts: Specify the name, ages, occupations (Include company name), marital status, and locations of each Major Contact. Include Minor Contact types.
- Allies: Specify the name, ages, occupations (Include company name), marital status, and locations of each Ally.
- Retainers: No more than 3 to start. 5 is the maximum. These would all be mortal Retainers, obviously.
- Followers: Not to be over 3 to start.
- Influence: No influence to start.
There is an explanation form field just as with Attributes and Abilities for Backgrounds. Here you would specify Backgrounds not specified elsewhere. For instance, you would use the field to specify your character's Contacts and Allies, but not his Resources as that's covered elsewhere in the Character Sheet.
On Backgrounds and Adversarial Backgrounds that give your character access to NPCs, you will need to make a Character Sheet for them if you intend to use these NPCs for any reason in a scene or in downtime. NPCs with no character sheets creates awkward situations when there is no opposing dice pool or traits that set difficulties.
These supporting Character Sheets do not require lengthy histories. Their associations to your player character will be dealt with in your player character’s history.
7 points in Virtues. You get 1 dot free in each Virtue. No virtue should exceed a rating of 4.
Humanity = Conscience + Self-Control.
Willpower = Courage. No Willpower above 5 to start.
Step 5. Last Touches
Merits and Flaws
Merits and Flaws should not exceed 7 points each. Mortal characters can use Merits and Flaws from any venue so long as it is not specific to that venue or supernatural. For instance, a mortal could not take Beacon of the Unholy!
The Language Merit is the only merit that will not count towards your 7 point maximum.
Also if you have not already, it might be worth it for you to take a look at Backgrounds again and look at Adversarial Backgrounds. These special backgrounds function like Flaws and may be appropriate for your character concept.
There is a corresponding form field for Merit and Flaw explanations.
Your character's Merits and Flaws should be pretty easy to pick out. Often times when players write their character histories, the Merits and Flaws just jump out and players then write them on the sheet. Regardless, they need to be fully documented and grounded in your character's history. There is a corresponding form field for Merits and Flaws explanations where you can summarize what you had fully explained in the character history. This helps STs quickly look up the Merits and Flaws without having to hunt and peck through the history while trying to work with you.
Warning: Players must be prepared to play out all their stats in this Chronicle. With respect to Flaws, we will enforce them regularly. Don't take them if you're not willing to RP them.
Equipment Owned, Carried, Created
The equipment form fields are used for listing equipment that your character owns and carries. These are possessions of relatively low worth or that would come standard based on your character's Resource Rating and the lifestyle that that Resource Rating can afford. Valuables like jewels, collectibles, etc are described further down the sheet in the Financial Assets area.
We don't require a complete inventory of every item a character possesses right down to the amount of hair ties and perfumes. However, items that can be relevant to a scene need to be listed. Carried items should be a more complete list.
The rule of thumb is that if you may use it in a scene, it must be on the list. Mobile phones, identification, business cards, etc should be listed. We don't really care to know about your character's personal grooming arsenal, but if you ever think you are going to McGuyver something out of a tube of lipstick, dental floss, and hair spray, you are better off listing everything.
Created equipment are articles your character has made and should be left blank at Character Creation.
Weapons and Armor
Fill in the form fields for any weapons or armor your character possesses. Make sure that you have indicated if it is owned or carried in either the item's name field. For melee weapons just put the base damage modifier of the weapon. This is usually a number between 1 and 3.
Note on Firearms: To have a Carry and Conceal permit in WoDG, your character must either purchase the Firearms License Merit (2 pts. HtR PG pg. 112) or you may buy 2 dots in the Background Certification. The presence of neither on a character sheet will indicate that any firearms carried are carried illegally. Premises permits will cost 1 point in Certification.
Furthermore, all firearms licenses will require that your character have an occupation that would meet the standards for a Carry and Conceal permit for NYC. Careers where being armed is part of the job is essentially the only way a person can carry a concealed weapon in NYC legally.
Your character can possess a number of assets according to his Resource Rating. When detailing assets, please list the estimated value of the individual asset and who is the owner of record of that asset. The owner of record will usually be your character's name unless you have the Alt ID background at rating 3 or more and for some reason have it set up where your character's assets are held under an alias.
Please take a moment to detail your character's residence which should be in accordance with your character's Resources rating. Give a physical address if you can and a street view link.
A good rule of thumb is to have a description that could be copied and pasted into the chat as a scene set up. You can then have another area below that for any security measures or mechanics you want STs to consider when using your character's home for a scene.
Alternatively, you can create a wiki page for your setting and use that in lieu of scene set ups and leave the mechanics on your character sheet.
You only have access to standard security measures for your character's dwelling type. Anything custom, enhanced, or modified also requires the Countermeasures Background.
This is fairly straightforward. However, it's worth noting that keeping some vehicles within the city can be quite costly and therefore require an appropriate Resources rating. The level of Resources required varies from borough to borough and vehicle type. For example, keeping a car in Staten Island is no more expensive than in your average American suburb and is required due to sprawl and less robust public transportation coverage whilst keeping a car in Manhattan is extremely costly and impractical.
This area is for players to describe other valuable property their character's own. This might be income property, jewelry, a collection of rare stamps, a collection of antiques, paintings, etc. When describing the property, please include estimated value.
These are usually liquid assets like bank accounts, stocks, funds, bonds, etc. Please include the value of the account, the name of the account holder, and which financial institution or brokerage manages the account.
Insurance doesn't typically count against your character's Resources rating's total asset amount unless you have purchased certain life insurance products. However, some may carry insurance on vehicles, havens, and personal property.
Please include the policy type, name of the insurance company, and the name on the policy.
Step 6. Sanctioning and Getting in Game!
After entering all your character information click submit.
You can then go to your Character Dossier to review your sheet and correct any boo boos. When you are satisfied, you can CREATE A SANCTIONING TICKET which will notify STs that your sheet is ready for review.
At this point you and the ST will begin a dialogue in the ticket if you've not Poked a ST before. The ST will give feedback and request any changes if applicable. You can expect some collaboration with the ST. This is entirely normal.
Once everything is settled, the ST will let you know that you are sanctioned in the ticket and provide any additional information if applicable. As a finishing touch and you'll be asked to create a character wiki page like the Character Profiles located in the Player's Portal. The ticket then will be closed out and you'll be ready to RP and GAME ON!