The Basics - Character Creation
How Do I Make a Character?
You can download and print a character sheet, use a note card, a fillable PDF on a phone, or of course the official Trilogy character sheet here on WorldAnvil. As long as you can both write and erase, you're set.
The first thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the sheet is optional. The most vital parts of your character are a High Concept (the basis of your character) and Trouble (the defining struggle of the character). A name is probably a good idea. You can start the game with these and nothing else on the sheet!
Sometimes it can be difficult to really get a handle on a character before you get to know them and within the the story can be the best way to do that. As you play, just keep in mind the missing details on your sheet and fill them in when you understand your character better. If you discover you're really Forceful in your Approach to most situations, that might be your +3.
Write it down!
Aspects in a Nutshell
An aspect is a word, phrase, or sentence that describes something centrally important to your character. It can be a motto your character lives by, a personality quirk, a description of a relationship you have with another character, an important possession or bit of equipment your character has, or any other part of your character that is vitally important.
Aspects allow you to change the story in ways that tie in with your character’s tendencies, skills, or problems. You can also use them to establish facts about the setting, such as the presence of magic or the existence of a useful ally, dangerous enemy, or secret organization.
Your character will have a handful of aspects (between three and five), including a high concept and a trouble. We discuss aspects in more detail, including how to use them, in Aspects—but for now, this should help you get the idea.
First, decide on your character’s high concept. This is a single phrase or sentence that neatly sums up your character, saying who you are, what you do, what your “deal” is. When you think about your high concept, try to think of two things: how this aspect could help you, and how it might make things harder for you. Good high concept aspects do both.
Next, decide on the thing that always gets you into trouble. It could be a personal weakness, or a recurring enemy, or an important obligation—anything that makes your life complicated.
Now compose another aspect. Think of something really important or interesting about your character. Are they the strongest person in their hometown? Do they carry a mighty sword known through history? Do they talk too much? Are they filthy rich?
Optional: One or Two Additional Aspects
If you wish, you may create one or two more aspects. These aspects might describe your character’s relationship with other player characters or with an NPC. Or, like the third aspect you composed above, it might describe something especially interesting about your character.
If you prefer, you can leave one or both of these aspects blank right now and fill them in later, after the game has started.
2. Name and Appearance
Describe your character’s appearance and give them a name.
Approaches are descriptions of how you accomplish tasks. Each approach is rated with a bonus. Choose one at Good (+3), two at Fair (+2), two at Average (+1), and one at Mediocre (+0). You can improve these later. For more details on how these work, see the Mechanics section. Everyone has the same six approaches:
A Careful action is when you pay close attention to detail and take your time to do the job right. Lining up a long-range arrow shot. Attentively standing watch. Disarming a bank’s alarm system.
A Clever action requires that you think fast, solve problems, or account for complex variables. Finding the weakness in an enemy swordsman’s style. Finding the weak point in a fortress wall. Fixing a computer.
A Flashy action draws attention to you; it’s full of style and panache. Delivering an inspiring speech to your army. Embarrassing your opponent in a duel. Producing a magical fireworks display.
A Forceful action isn’t subtle—it’s brute strength. Wrestling a bear. Staring down a thug. Casting a big, powerful magic spell.
A Quick action requires that you move quickly and with dexterity. Dodging an arrow. Getting in the first punch. Disarming a bomb as it ticks 3… 2… 1…
A Sneaky action is done with an emphasis on misdirection, stealth, or deceit. Talking your way out of getting arrested. Picking a pocket. Feinting in a sword fight.
In Trilogy we use a ladder of adjectives and numbers to rate a character’s approaches, the result of a roll, difficulty ratings for simple checks, etc.
Here’s the ladder:
4. Stunts and Refresh
A stunt is a special trait that changes the way an approach works for your character. Generally, stunts give you a bonus (almost always +2) to a certain approach when used with a particular action under specific circumstances. We’ll talk more about stunts in Stunts. Choose one stunt to start, or you can wait and add a stunt during the game. Later, when your character advances, you can choose more.
Your refresh is the number of fate points you begin each game session with—unless you ended the previous session with more unspent Fate Points than your refresh, in which case you start with the number you had left last time. By default, your refresh starts at three and is reduced by one for each stunt after the first six you choose—essentially, your first six stunts are free! As your character advances, you’ll get opportunities to add to your refresh. Your refresh may never go below one.
5. Powers and Extras
These extra special abilities are exhibited by those that are just a little more human than Human, such as Avatars, or sometimes Species other than Humankind imbued with Defining Features that differentiate such people from the indigenous people of Earth's modern world. You can find out all about these amazing abilities in the Powers section.
Extras may describe many different things from high tech gear, a particularly notable access to money, a vehicle of note or some form of lair. These may also act as additional dimensions to a character outside of things like genetic heritage, superpowers, and origins, which are all covered elsewhere. Extras can have costs associated with them or might have prerequisites to their use. The Fate System refers to these as Permissions.
CREATING CHARACTERS: THE 30-SECOND VERSION
- Optionally choose Species, Type, and Origin. Species defaults to Human.
- Write two Aspects: a high concept and a trouble.
- Write another aspect.
- Give your character a name and describe their appearance.
- Choose Approaches. One at +3, Two at +2, Two at +1, One at +0.
- Set your refresh to 3.
- You may write up to two more aspects and choose a stunt if you wish, or you may do that during play.
- All player characters start with 6 Stunt points. Supers may use these to buy Powers.
- Non-human Species may cost some or all of these starting points.