Choose one Attribute that represents your character’s natural aptitude in life. Attributes represent the competencies that make up the core of a character- the innate physical and mental capabilities that influence what skills a character may take and what they are intuitively talented in. Attributes range from -2 to 2 on characters, with 0 representing average human competency. All characters begin play with all their Attributes at 0 except one. That one Preferred Attribute is chosen to be +1, which represents something that the character is better at than most others. Characters may also take a -1 Attribute as a serious flaw for extra points in the Perks and Flaws section of Character Creation, or spend experience points to increase their other Attributes.
Skill Branches and the Self-Teach List
In Gothic: Age of Ashes, all skills require a teacher in order to learn them- excluding those skills that are within Skill Branches you have familiarity with due to your character’s upbringing. During Character Creation, you will choose Skill Branches based on your culture, environment, parents, and archetype. It is assumed that you have enough experience with these branches, or are close enough to someone who does, that you do not require a teacher to learn skills within them and can simply buy them with XP. For all other skills, you will require someone who already has the skill to teach you – either through using a downtime action or through an at game scene if they have the requisite Academics skill. Some books also can serve the role of teacher of a certain skill, and your character may read them over a downtime to unlock it.
For all Skill Branches you must buy skills in order, so the second level may only be bought after the first level, etc., and any fifth level skills may only be purchased after levels 1-4 are purchased. You must purchase fifth level fruits individually.
After you choose all your Skill Branches based on your culture, environment, parents, and archetype you will have the ability to spend your starting XP in these branches. The skill branches you select at character creation stay with you as self-teach options, and you can purchase skills in them later in game without a teacher with XP. The skill branches you choose at Character Creation remain on your “self-teach list”, regardless of whether or not you choose to spend XP in them at Character Creation. You may spend XP earned in game on these skills at a later time without a teacher.
Many Skill Branches in Age of Ashes are locked by a specific required Attribute and require at least one level in that Attribute in order to buy it with XP. These skills are noted by a parenthetical notation which contains the requisite Attribute. However, these skills may be acquired through Character Generation without the requisite Attribute if they are acquired through Cultural, Environment, Archetype, or Guardian skills. In order to further increase skills in these Skill Branches through XP purchases (including XP gained through flaws) you must first increase the requisite Attribute.
For the majority of the human population, the community they grew up with is the only one they know. Travel brings great unknown risk, and so many people choose the danger they know, and stay with what is familiar. While there are always exceptions to this, one’s culture still represents a great many things about how a person was raised and is an important part of who they are.
While it is not mandatory, we encourage players to read their chosen culture’s information packet so that they have a firmer grasp on what values, history, food, power structures, etc. they may have been exposed to.
When choosing a culture, you may choose 3 Skill Branches out of the list provided under the culture and 1 Skill Branch from your chosen starting environment.
Gothic – A people who are driven to endure by whatever means necessary. Theirs is a world of hard truths, hard living, and hard hearts. It is their duty to ensure that mankind lives on, and this means that survival of the fittest is the highest law. They exist within the bones of the old Empire, trying to compete over the scraps of its diseased and rotting entrails.
Gothics have the choice of Pugilism, Security, Legerdemain (Speed), Light Weapons (Speed), Streetwise, or Grit (Fortitude) as cultural skills. Their starting environments are:
Inner City – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Intimidate, Stealth, or Thrown Weapons.
Merchant Row – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Persuasion (Intellect), Medium Weapons, or Barber Surgeon (Faith).
Outskirts – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Traps, Foraging, or Discipline (Resolve).
A people who have sealed themselves away from the suffering masses. Through the power of faith and ingenuity, they have forged a refuge and sanctuary from the barbarous and evil world outside, but in so doing, have created their own prison. Surrounded by the relics and wealth of the past, they have learned that you cannot eat gold and jewels. And while they have worked so hard to keep out the monsters outside, they forgot what they had locked in with them.
Salgothics have a choice of Tailoring, Herbalism, Empathy, Alchemist, Academics (Intellect), or Occult (Faith) as cultural skills. Their starting environments are:
Lethia – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Metalsmithing, Commanding Presence (Resolve), or Advise.
Fenristadt – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Mining, Persuasion (Intellect), or Plague Doctor (Fortitude).
Aquila – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Foraging, Information Gathering (Intellect), or Firearms (Speed).
A people habitated and socially inoculated to the threat of vampires, werewolves, monsters, and Malefic. The taint is in their land, and runs in their blood as well. Keepers of history, they dwell in soot-stained, foggy villages, lit by lamplight – where protection, power, and lore may be had, if one is willing to sacrifice. Here, the lines are blurred between who is the hunter and the hunted; who is the human and the beast.
Seravians have the choice of Woodworking, Gunsmithing, Forestry, Foraging, Firearms (Speed), or Discipline (Resolve) as cultural skills. Their starting environments are:
Vampire Court – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Gunsmithing, Heavy Weapons (Strength), or Academics (Intellect).
Villager – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Escape Artist (Fortitude), Forestry, or Mining.
Artisan – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Tailoring, Woodworking, or Metalsmithing.
A people living atop a sunken world, revering and respecting the sea’s gifts, but forever thirsty for more. They live by the rule of taking whatever they can until they are too weak to grasp. They strive for glory, fame, riches, and at the heart of it all, to be remembered; remembered longer than the flooded, ancient, long-abandoned cities they call home.
Hesha have the choice of Marital Arts (Speed), Tempt (Resolve), Performance (Faith), Medium Weapons, Barber Surgeon (Faith), or Thrown Weapons as cultural skills. Their starting environments are:
Landbound – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Woodworking, Foraging, or Archery (Strength).
Dock Rat – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Wrestling (Strength), Legerdemain (Speed), or Light Weapons (Speed).
On the Waves – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Pugilism, Oratory Presence (Faith), or Medium Weapons.
A people who always keep moving, following patterns and paths which make sense to them alone. They carry their stories on their lips and on their skin, leaving behind anything heavier than a song. Insular and spiritual, they forever journey on a road without end. They hope that someday, somehow, they will find what they abandoned long ago.
Nemien have the choice of Foraging, Herbalism, Empathy, Survivalist, Alchemist, or Thrown Weapons as cultural skills. Their starting environments are:
Spiritual – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Oratory Presence (Faith), Advise, or Occult (Faith).
Trader – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Tempt (Resolve), Information Gathering (Intellect), or Performance (Faith).
Warrior – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Martial Arts (Speed), Heavy Weapons (Strength), or Archery (Strength).
A people marked and cursed as unclean and untouchable, sent to live and die defending the borders of the world. Facing the non-men, the Malefic, plague,and wastelands, they protect those who would revile and scorn them. In so doing, have become some of the most deadly fighters in existence – at one with their environment. Outlanders have the choice of Wrestling (Strength), Metalsmithing, Intimidate, Mining, Foraging, or Heavy Weapons (Strength) as cultural skills. Their starting environments are:
Settlements – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Pugilism, Security, or Escape Artist (Fortitude).
Wastes – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Commanding Presence (Resolve), Medium Weapons, or Survivalist.
Swamps – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Traps, Stealth, or Grit (Fortitude).
A people who have not forgotten – who can trace their lines and beliefs back to the times before, back to when the world was younger and the gods had names with sharper edges. But they are relics, and thus the world has forgotten them. Isolated in their hidden forests and vales, they tend their own business, their own practices, and their own survival.
Forgotten Ones have the choice of Stealth, Foraging, Herbalism, Survivalist, Occult (Faith), and Discipline (Resolve) as cultural skills. Their starting environments are:
Island – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Persuasion (Intellect), Performance (Faith), or Alchemist.
Temperate Wilds – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Traps, Forestry, or Archery (Strength).
Rimeland – Choose 1 Skill Branch from Intimidate, Plague Doctor (Fortitude), or Grit (Fortitude).
Your archetype (Social, Mental, Physical, or Spiritual) represents what interests your character has had throughout their lives, and what aptitudes they have had an inclination towards in general terms. It reflects upon the way in which they live their lives in very broad strokes. When selecting an Archetype you select 1 Skill Branch offered by that Archetype as well.
You have always had an aptitude for delving deeper into things, maybe even when you were not supposed to. Or perhaps especially when you were not supposed to. People, machines, and the written word offer countless puzzles to be uncovered and solved. You think critically and see connections where others, perhaps, do not.
Skill Branches: Security, Traps, Advise, Information Gathering (Intellect), Plague Doctor (Fortitude), Academics (Intellect)
You have found that all problems at their core are people problems, and communication is the primary means of solving whatever ails any form of human relationship. Thankfully, you thrive in social situations, and always seem to be able to determine the right thing to say in order to get the desired result.
Skill Branches: Tailoring, Intimidate, Foraging, Tempt (Resolve), Empathy, Streetwise
You know there is a greater purpose that each human life carries, and you feel more in touch with your calling than others. The deeper mysteries of the world beyond the mundane are where your fascination lies, and you have a gift for understanding the enigmas of life, belief, and what lies beyond our senses.
Skill Branches: Commanding Presence (Resolve), Oratory Presence (Faith), Barber Surgeon (Faith), Alchemist, Occult (Faith), Discipline (Resolve)
You have gotten to where you are today by the training and honing of your body into the tool it needs to be to get the required job done. Most all problems can be solved by the quick and firm application of hands and muscle, and you have made sure that you have developed control of your body to be at the ready with such a solution.
Skill Branches: Pugilism, Metalsmithing, Forestry, Mining, Medium Weapons, Thrown
Children are like sponges, and no matter the state of your childhood, those that raised you provided you with the base of knowledge that you build upon throughout the rest of your life. Who raised you? What did they do? What did they teach you? Choose 2 Skill Branches that represents the skills they passed along to you.
Now that you have considered the foundation of your character’s past, such as how and where they were raised, where they come from, and where their talents lie, it is time to choose what the major driving and motivating factor in their current life is. A character’s Devotion is intended to be a core part of who they are; it is what they would live and die for. It is a touchstone to the motivations of your character, and the more they act in accordance with it, the stronger their sense of self and power is. Conversely, when a character goes against their Devotion, they can be devastated, lost, and out of touch with who or what they have become. See the full description of Devotions and their mechanics here.
The general types of Devotion your character may choose from are: Order, Chaos, Love, Hate, Self, Passion. After you choose the type of Devotion, you must further choose an Object of that Devotion, such as an institution, lover, or ideal. Examples of “Common Devotions” are detailed in the full description of Devotions. It is not enough to be a character driven by Love. You must choose who your character Loves so much that it fuels their drive for continuing to fight each day.
Faith in Self/Faith in Higher Powers
Now that you have considered your devotion, it is time to figure out your perspective on the world. In Age of Ashes, there are two different perspectives on the world: whether one believes that they are ultimately responsible for their own fate, or one believes that higher powers than they have control over their destiny. This choice in viewpoint affects how characters interpret and find meaning in the world, and how the rituals of cultists interact with them. Read up on Faith in Self/Faith in Higher Powers here and figure out which works for your character.
The time has come to choose your character’s name and give them the breath of life. Naming conventions vary from culture to culture. See some of the notes below, and the appropriate Culture Packet for more details on naming and other cultural points.
Only actual family members of the Houses have surnames, with the appropriate honorific attached. For men, it is Primo (later Dominus upon marriage), for women it is Prima (and later Domina upon marriage), for Heirs it is Heredis and for the heads of the house it is Sacra (Sacrae is the plural word).
After the given name, or House surname, you list out your most intimate familial tie. For women they say they are the daughter of their mother, and for men the son of the father. For example: Hildegard Domina Wolfram felia Clara, or if she was not of a House it would be Hildegard felia Clara.
The Salgothic also have preserved the practice of the Old Empire of taking on a holy name – a special name meant to convey your adoption of the Benali faith. Once a person has taken a holy name, that is included at the end. Holy names are only used during religious ceremonies or by the priesthood as their new name once they take their oath.
Holy names are inspired by ancient Roman and Greek names.
Secondary names, or surnames, are typically professional in nature, and are only granted to those who are raised in families who carry on a craft or trade.
Only those who are in a Count or Countess’s household or specific service are permitted honorific titles.
The traditional Hesha surname is the name of the first ship sailed on, followed by the names of the ships the individual has served on since then.
Hesha also attach grandiose titles and deed names granted to them to their name as well. These highlight accomplishments and can be fantastical and evocative.
Most Nemien names start with the name of their particular tribe, followed by their given name, and then the name of their father or mother, prefixed by “ibn” meaning “son of” or “ibnat” meaning “daughter of.”
Given names often have familial significance, with Nemien naming their children after well-known ancestors or relatives.
Surnames do not tend to be used, though at times a Deed-name may be used if it was given to you after a noteworthy accomplishment.
Forgotten Ones Names
Every character begins with 35 Experience points to spend as they desire within their Self-Teach List and starting glory concepts. You may spend these on skills or other abilities, or you may purchase Perks for the listed value. You may also choose to select some Flaws in order to acquire additional experience points. After character creation, Perks can only be bought for twice the cost as well as relevant in-game roleplay justification. Flaws, once bought, cost twice as many experience points as they granted to remove them as well as relevant in-game story and justification.
All XP, either starting XP or Flaw XP must be spent on character creation. Only 3 XP may enter your XP bank from character creation.
To purchase or increase a skill rank, the cost is 2 times the new rank. So a new rank in a skill tree is two points, the second rank is four points, etc. To purchase or increase an attribute the cost is 5 times the new rank.
At this point, please look at the Perks and Flaws page and select the ones you would like. You may take as many Flaws as you want, but you may only earn 20 XP through Flaws.
Some Perks and Flaws are bound to a specific Culture. Only characters of the appropriate Culture may choose these. It is possible to purchase Perks or Flaws from another group by paying an additional glory cost, for 3 times the XP price. For example, if an out-of-culture perk costs 3xp, you would pay 3xp and 9 glory to purchase it at character creation.
If your character is special character concept such as being a Cultist, a Triumverati Cultist, a Paladin, a Seer, a Ranger, a Dhampir, or a Magician, you will now build out this part of your sheet. If you would like to add a villian concept to your sheet, please build out your sheet as normal but open a ticket with staff to discuss.
Special character concepts have access to skills and specialties that are not available to the rest of humanity, whether from innate gifts of birth or from membership or conversion to a specialized organization. Special concepts are in two groups:
- Those that can be purchased at character creation only and cannot be earned in game nor stacked with each-other. This includes paladins, seers, and rangers. A character may only ever be one of these concepts at a time.
- Those that may either be purchased at character creation or be earned in game through roleplay and story justification. To enter the game as a member of one of these groups represents an amount of power and ability that costs glory. Becoming one of these character concepts after character creation does not cost glory, but does cost XP and requires story justification. These may be stacked with other glory concepts, but be mindful that there is only so much XP to spend. This includes dhampirs, cultists, triumverati cultists, and magicians.
It is only possible to enter play as one glory concept, although there is no limit to the number of concepts that can be achieved in play, assuming they are concepts that are able to be earned in-game. Only the first level of any glory concept may be purchased at character creation, with the exception of dedicated Guild NPCs entering play after a year, and only at its most basic level- see below for additional details about what that means for each concept.
If, while designing your character, you choose any overlapping concepts, such as a Villain Concept Ranger you must pay the glory cost for each of those individual concepts.
Cultists and Triumverati Cultists
Coming into play as a Rank 1 Cultist marks you as having advanced beyond the stage of Neophyte to become fully recognized as a Cultist of your faith. As such, you enter play with 3 Rank 1 rituals available to you of your choice and a copy of your faith’s Holy Writ. It costs 10 glory and 3 XP to start play as an ordinary Rank 1 Cultist.
It costs 20 glory and 3 XP to start play as a Triumverati Cultist, and they enter play with all of their Rank 0 rituals as well as 3 Rank 1 rituals of their choice. Triumverati Cultists who enter play as such also have a copy of their faith’s Holy Writ.
Those who wish to enter play as a cultist of a smaller cult must pay the necessary glory to enter play as a cultist of the parent religion (such as the Benalian for the Broken Bough, or a cultist of the Spirits for the Glimmering Lady) as well as 2 glory come in as a cultist of the smaller cult and to enter play with a copy of its Holy Writ and already beholden to the necessary vows. If the parent religion has different types of cultists, they may enter play as one of those specific types, as well as a cultist of the small cult, assuming that the vows of each do not interfere. For example, a cultist could spend 10 glory and 3 XP to enter play as a Benalian Lurite as well as spending 2 glory to a member of the cult of Mama Mort, for a total of 12 glory and 3 XP. Any character can only enter play belonging to one small cult.
Cultists who enter play as Totemic cultist may come into game with a totem, although they must describe whether the totem is one of Might, Life, or Guile, and submit details about the totem to staff in order to receive a proper item tag.
As long as a Cultist possesses a copy of their faith’s Holy Writ, they do not require a teacher to learn new rituals. Cultists may be Faith in Self or Faith in Higher Power, but it is unusual for Cultists to be Faith in Self, given the vulgarity handicap of casting rituals as a Faith in Self individual.
Starting play as a Paladin costs 30 glory and 10 XP, and all Paladins start with two gifts that are included in the XP cost to start as a Paladin: Charismata and Righteous Purpose. They may also choose 1 Tier Level 1 gift of their choice to start play with if they pay the requisite XP as if they had performed the unlocks required for those powers before the start of play. All other gifts must be acquired in game after completing the requisite number of Paladin achievements and spending the required XP. Paladin gifts do not require a teacher, as they are part of the Paladin’s intuitive understanding of their own divine connection.
They also start play with the sacred energy that Paladins draw on and expend when they use their gifts, called Empyria. Empyria and Depravity are intertwined, with each Paladin having the same amount of Empyria as their Depravity threshold. This means that most Paladins have 5 Empyria, while those with the Faith Attribute at 2 have 7 Empyria. Empyria refreshes with the dawn.
Despite their prominence in the Benalian faith, a Paladin can be of any faith, although all Paladins share the same Sins: the universal five sins, Passion, and Pride. Committing sins from these categories will cause them to acquire Depravity. At the beginning of play these Empyria are all clean, unless the Paladin enters play with Wicked.
Starting play as a Ranger costs 30 glory and 10 XP, and all Rangers start with two basic powers that are included in the XP cost to start as a Ranger: Sympathy and Dark Harvest. They may also choose 1 Spring Evocation of their choice to start play with if they pay the requisite XP as if they had performed the unlocks required for those powers before the start of play. All other evocations must be acquired in game after acquiring the requisite number of essences and spending the required XP. Ranger evocations do not require a teacher to acquire, as they are part of the Ranger’s intuitive understanding of their own connection with the world.
Rangers also enter play with the power of their own internal essences and innate connection to the wilds, which allows them to use three Evocations a day without the need for consumption of additional essences. The Ranger’s own internal essences are refreshed each dawn.
As a Ranger progresses through their seasons, their Evocations grow in potency, but also carry with them some drawback or negative effect. This is called the ‘price’ of an Evocation. If someone cures a Ranger of the price of an Evocation, they lose access to that Evocation until they go through the initial ritual again, finding and consuming both essences as they did when they first unlocked the Evocation.
While many think of Rangers as tied to the religion of Vecatra, those who possess these powers can be born anywhere in the world- and may belong to any religion or culture.
Starting play as a Magician costs 15 glory and 8 XP, and all Magicians come into play in service to one of the four great guilds at Rank 1. As part of character creation, a Magician choose three domains within their school of magic and three spells within those domains. Most Magicians choose three different domains, but that is not required, and you may choose the same domain up to three times if you wish.
A Magician who is released from her Guild’s tutelage and granted Journeyman status, starts with 3 Rank 1 spells that their Guild has chosen for them based on their selected domains.Beyond that, they are limited in gaining new spells by sending requests back to the Guild for services rendered and proving of their worth.
A Magician may attempt to cast any Arcanum scroll that they possess as long as it is within their school of magic and they have the requisite fallacies. Magicians do not have to buy additional scrolls through XP, but rather progress in their circle Rank. In order to increase in rank, a Magician must spend 4 times the rank of the circle in XP and request a test from their guild- which after fulfilling they may be promoted in game by their guild and have access to spells of a higher rank. While some Magicians are gifted spells from the Ranks above their own, it is uncommon, and those are more likely found or stolen from others who weren’t paying enough attention. A Magician cannot enter play at a level above Rank 1.
A Magician is always in possession of 12 Sigils of Power, one 12-sided Fate die, her school’s sigil wheel, and her spell indicators.
Entering play as a Seer costs 20 glory and 3 XP. Seers are born rather than created, and a character cannot become a Seer after character creation. They automatically start with their first ability, “Star Sense”, and after that, Seer abilities cost 3 times their level in XP. They may buy up to and including their level-two power at character creation if they choose. Abilities must be bought in order, and to buy a higher ranked ability from one of the three paths, you must have the lower level abilities below it in the same path. As most Seer abilities tend to be staff-involvement intensive, Seers should expect to work with staff by letting them know when they will be interested in using a Seer power.
Seer practices vary by culture and personal preference. Wherever it is noted that the Seer meditates, communes, or performs a divination technique, the player is given license to add their own roleplay flavor to the activity.
Entering play as a Dhampir costs 30 glory and 3 XP. Dhampir are created, though their ultimate origin remains a mystery.
Dhampir begin play with Sanguine thirst, a beginning ability that branches into ever-more potent expressions of specialized vampiric power and which may be performed at any time with no cost. Dhampirs may use Sanguine Thirst to take blood from any sentient target that is willing, helpless, or incapacitated by making a Bite call. If the target is not willing or incapacitated, then a Dhampir may make a Grab call assuming they have that ability, followed by the call Bite, and then feed. They may buy up to and including their level-two power at character creation if they choose, and if they do so they are assumed to have performed their second level unlock before the start of play.
All other Dhampir powers must be unlocked in game by a ritual act or sacrifice in addition to the typical XP costs. This rite leaves its mark, however, for each level power that a Dhampir has unlocked, they gain a flaw as well. This is typically a compulsion or a minor costuming requirement.
Most Dhampirs hail from Seravia for the obvious reason that it is the seat of power and protection for vampires, and it’s there that their distinction can be felt most keenly. They can, however, be from any culture given story justification.
Every character begins with 350 grams of salt with which they can trade for anything off the following list. Any leftover salt will be added to the character’s starting items. Two grams of salt is enough to trade for enough one unit of vegetables in areas where vegetables are not scarce.
In order to help expedite and standardize the process of character creation, we have created a Character Builder and Form for our Age of Ashes Characters. You can start the process here.
This initial builder is designed to help guide you through the process of creating a character. The steps are as follows:
- Fill out the Form – taking note of the name of your submission and the email you use. A copy of your character will be sent to you, along with a link to edit it should you find it lacking. You may make multiple characters using this jotform if you so please.
- Once you have completed step 1 and confirmed that this is the character you will be attending beta with, you may proceed to the Equipment Purchasing Form. Please only fill this out once for your final character build! It, too, will send you an edit link if you regret decisions.
This system will take you through the steps necessary to create your Age of Ashes character. Throughout the process you will not only be adding skills to your character, you will also be asked to consider your characters life before this moment. What have they done to get here? What kind of life have they led? What kind of person have they become? As you decide on these backstory details, your character will be awarded talents that represent their unique history and the skills that they can learn without a teacher.
The Builder encompasses the following steps:
- Self-Taught Skills
- Attributes, Devotions, Faith, & Names
- Glory Concepts
- Experience Spending
- Character Background
You may rewrite your character a single time within two games of creating the character, as long as said rewrite does not dramatically change or effect established storylines and plot that involve other players.