Drinking & Dragons

RPM:Rules/Character Creation and Advancement

From Drinking and Dragons


From Fate Accelerated, Aspects & Fate Points:

An aspect is a word or phrase that describes something special about a person, place, thing, situation, or group. Almost anything you can think of can have aspects. A person might be the Greatest Swordswoman on the Cloud Sea. A room might be On Fire after you knock over an oil lamp. After a time-travel encounter with a dinosaur, you might be Terrified. Aspects let you change the story in ways that go along with your character’s tendencies, skills, or problems.

Each character will have five aspects that describe them. We'll be writing a bunch of possibilities but if you don't like enough of them, you can start with just a high concept and a trouble aspect.

Here is an example of the aspect writing process.

High Concept
This aspect is the main concept of the character, e.g. Playboy Paladin, Punk Rock Ninja, Self-made Alchemist Wizard Apprentice.
This aspect is something that causes you problems. It can be internal or external, e.g. Lovesick Alcoholic or Disregarded and Ignored
Three more
These three aspects will be picked from the list of other aspects we'll be writing. This list of other aspects will include relationship aspects with some of the other characters as well as rolls on some random tables that have quirks, secrets, professions, etc.
... based on your relationship to each of the other PCs
... based on your relationship to the Sorcier
... based on your lineage/family
... something personal. What are you outside of the RPM? (Mother of three, journeyman baker, fencing instructor, advocate for the Wildbloods in the Senate etc.)
... based on some random tables that will be provided.

A note about Magic

In Fate there are many ways to handle magic—stunt powers, reducing refresh for access to a type of magical toolkit, etc. If your concept requires magic we will work together to get it built.


A note about skills and conflict resolution—don't pour everything into attacking skills. We will be focusing on action and thought instead of violence, so have a balanced mix. Take inspiration from Indiana Jones or The Mummy. A good rule of thumb is if you have more than one attack skill in your top three ranked skills you may want to move some of them around.

Each character began the campaign with a +4, +3, +3, +2, +2, +2, +1, +1, +1, +1 for skills. (You'll note that this is a pyramid shaped.) New characters who join the game later may start more advanced.

Base Skill List

  • Athletics (fitness and movement)
  • Burglary (stealing things and getting into places that are off-limits.)
  • Contacts (knowing and making connections with people)
  • Deceive (lying to and misdirecting people)
  • Empathy (knowing and being able to spot changes in a person’s mood or bearing)
  • Fight (unarmed strikes, fists, kicks, headbutts)
  • Lore, Arts & Sciences (knowledge and education with mundane applications)
  • Lore, Mythology (knowledge and education with magical applications)
  • Physique (raw strength and endurance)
  • Provoke (eliciting negative emotional responses)
  • Rapport (making positive connections to people and eliciting positive emotion)
  • Resources (general level of material wealth in the game world and ability to apply it)
  • Shoot (using ranged weaponry)
  • Stealth (allows you to avoid detection)
  • Survival (endure and physically thrive in the wilds)
  • Will (mental fortitude)
  • Weapons (like Fight except for attacks with melee weapons)
  • Ride (Mounted combat to endurance rides or horse races)

Omitted Skills

The keen-eyed may see that Notice is not on the list. The Notice skill was removed as perception-type skills are too much of a catch-all for throwing information at the players and a shortcut around good roleplaying. E.g. "I enter the waiting room and make a Notice roll to learn more about the Count," versus "I enter the room and examine the bookcase to see if I can figure out more about our host by their taste in books, so I'm going to roll Lore".

Adding Custom Skills

Perhaps there is a skill that isn't on the list that is important to your character concept. A mounted knight should have a Ride skill to demonstrate their skill with a lance and horse husbandry. For concepts like these, we can create custom skills.

Unless otherwise indicated, ranks in a custom skill are required to use it.

List of possible skill additions:

  • Medicine


  1. Read this primer on stunts, ignoring the fact that it talks about approaches and not skills.
  2. [Optional] More reading about stunts. Fate Core talks about Stunts, Advanced rubrics for stunts.
  3. Each player gets 3 free stunts
  4. Each player get 3 points of Refresh. In the game, Refresh is the number of Fate points you start a session with. You may spend up to 2 points of Refresh on stunts (cost of 1 point per stunt). If you are new to Fate, it is recommended that you not spend Refresh. (You'll be able to purchase new stunts with refresh between every session.)
  5. At the end your character will have between 3-5 stunts, with most characters having 3.

What are stunts?

Stunts are analogous to Feats in d20 games. They are a circumstantial boon for your character. Unlike Feats in other systems, Stunts are completely custom written by the player for their character.

Example of some options for Firearms

How do I write a stunt?

Here is a great breakdown of what stunts can do. Don't worry if you aren't comfortable writing up your own stunts. It takes a little experience to get them just right. Randy will help you out.

Adding a little Magic to your character

You may spend stunts to gain a magical ability (or abilities) from this list of powers. When you buy a power you get the Basic Form of that power, a Drawback for that power, and a Collateral Damage effect. You may purchase Enhancements at the cost of 1 stunt per Enhancement. For now, we aren't using Special Effects. See Making Your Character and Powers

Stress, Consequences, and Conditions

Stress and Consequences

Each PC will have two stress tracks to absorb stress—Physical and Mental. Each track has two boxes that can absorb one point of stress each. When absorbing stress you may mark off any number of these boxes.

Each PC will have three consequences—Mild, Moderate, and Severe. These consequences may absorb any kind of stress. A mild consequence absorbs 2 stress, a moderate one 4, and a severe one 6.

If you have a Physique (Physical) or Will (Mental) skill ranked at +1 or +2, add one more box of the appropriate type. If the skill is ranked +3 or higher, add two boxes of the appropriate type. For example, if you have a Physique of +1 and a Will of +3, you would add one more Physical stress box that would absorb 2 stress and two Mental stress boxes that would absorb 2 stress and 3 stress.

Extreme Consequence

In dire circumstances, each PC has access to an Extreme Consequence that absorbs up to 8-shifts of a hit, but at a very serious cost—you must replace one of your aspects (except the high concept, that’s off limits) with the extreme consequence. That’s right, an extreme consequence is so serious that taking it literally changes who you are.

Condition track: Wealth and Favors

See RPM:Rules/Wealth and Favors

Future Character Progression

As the campaign goes on, we will mostly be using the typical milestones for advancement.

Minor Milestones (end of each session; ONE of the following)
Switch the rank values of any two skills, or replace one Average (+1) skill with one that isn’t on your sheet.
Change any single stunt for another stunt.
Purchase a new stunt, provided you have the refresh to do so. (Remember, you can’t go below 1 refresh.)
Rename one character aspect that isn’t your high concept.
Significant Milestones (end of a chunk of story; typically 3-4 sessions)
Benefit of a Minor Milestone, and
One additional skill point, which you can spend to buy a new skill at Average (+1) or increase an existing skill by one rank. We will be using skill columns to determine how many skills you can have at a certain rank.
If you have any severe consequences, you can rename them to begin the recovery process, if you haven’t already.
Major Milestones
If you have an extreme consequence, rename it to reflect that you’ve moved past its most debilitating effects. This allows you to take another extreme consequence in the future, if you desire.
Take an additional point of refresh, which allows you to immediately buy a new stunt or keep it in order to give yourself more fate points at the beginning of a session.
Advance a skill beyond the campaign’s current skill cap, if you’re able to, thus increasing the skill cap.
Rename your character’s high concept if you desire.

Possible deviations

The following are some things that I've either done in the past or would like to experiment with doing for milestones.

  • Recap aspects at every Minor Milestone. These are character specific aspects that are a boon to players who fill out the wiki in the timely fashion. (You were selected in part because of your willingness to contribute to the wiki as part of the game.)
  • Targeted skill bonuses. This means that bonuses to skills may apply to specific skills that relate to the story or bonuses may be limited in scope to prevent power creep, e.g. raising the skill cap is a significant thing that may not happen with every Major Milestone.
  • Bonus abilities. I'm quite enamored with tying new Fate abilities to conditions. Example, You gain a single box for Exhaustion. When you check this box you gain a +4 to your roll as long as it involves exertion of some sort. While Exhausted you may only spend Fate points for rerolls (you may not take the +2 option).
  • Mandatory aspect changes may be called for to represent your character's relationship to current events. For example if the city were under seige you may be called on to swap an aspect with a new one that relates to this profound event.