Chimera: Character Creation Process


Welcome back. 

In this article, we will go over the character creation process for Chimera: A Fantasy, Modern, & Sci-fi Roleplaying Engine by creating two characters. One will be an orc doctor, and another will be a sentient spellbook!

Before we get started, if you're unfamiliar with Chimera, make sure to read the preview of the "How to Play" chapter in drivethruRPG to understand better the options we will select for the characters we are making. Come back when you are ready.

Done reading? Good! Let's move right along.

Making a character is a 10 step process where we will:
  1. Create a Character Concept.
  2. Determine Abilities.
  3. Choose Race & Languages.
  4. Choose Perks.
  5. Determine Hit Points & Wounds.
  6. Set Our Initiative.
  7. Set Our Fate & Power Points.
  8. Choose Our Principles.
  9. Determine Our Goals.
  10. Determine Wealth & Equipment.
Character Creation Process Screenshot
Character Creation Process Screenshot

Step one requires that we think of a character concept based on the setting we will be playing in. 

We will be adventuring in post-apocalyptic moons where creatures across dimensions are abducted and brought there to live inside colonies designed for their kind, or at least that was the abductor's intention at first.

Our first character, the orc doctor, came from a fantasy world where they were the healer of their tribe. We will call our character, Mikuul.

Mikuul has been living in the colonies for more than a decade now, which has given them plenty of time to adapt and expand their knowledge of medicine. They are now the local doctor of their community.

We could create a ton of details for Mikuul, but we will keep it simple to expedite the demonstration of the character creation process.

Now that we have the bare bones of a character concept, let's move to step two: Determining Abilities.

 At the beginning of the game, all our abilities start with one rank. We then have...
• 5 points to increase the ranks of our actions.
• 5 points to increase the ranks of our approaches.
• 5 points to gain training in different skills.

After reading the description of each ability, we have spent our points as follows:

They represent Mikuul's past experiences in their fantasy world as a healer and what they have learned living in The Colonies.

Step 3. Choosing a race.

There are 22 races to choose from, but we already know what race we will make our first character, so let's look at orcs and see what traits we can select.

The first line of a race is its name. Next comes the race description, which gives a generalized summary of what they are all about. Then we have the inherent traits, which are traits that every member of that race shares. Each trait name appears in bold, followed by a short description. 
After inherent traits comes a section detailing optional traits members of that race are known to possess, but not everyone shares them.

For the inherent traits of our orc friend, we get its size and the Strong trait. We write those on our character sheet.

Now, for our inherent traits, we get to choose two of them. Mikuul's vast understanding of creatures, medicine, and science makes them Knowledgeable. We will select that trait.

Since Mikuul spent a lot of time in the woods gathering herbs for their poultices, they have the experience of traveling in the wild. We will select the Wanderer trait based on this piece of background information we created for our character.

None of the racial perks interest us; we will ignore them for now.

Step 4. Choosing perks.
We start the game with 3 points, which we can use to learn different perks. We have 149 perks to choose from, but we will concentrate on the Medic and Scholar paths that hold perks that align with Mikuul's background.

We like the Healer and Naturist perks from the Medic path, and from the Scholar path, we think the Researcher perk aligns well with our character.

Step 5: Determining Hit Points & Wounds.

HP measures the overall well being of a character and their ability to endure punishment while remaining functional. Our maximum and starting HP equals 25 + 1d10 per rank in Fight and Force. Whenever we roll to increase our maximum HP, increase it by five or the number on the die,
whichever is higher.  Our wound value will always be ½ of our maximum HP rounded down.

Between Fight & Force, we have a total of 3 ranks, so we roll 3d10 to add to the 25 we already have to determine our HP's total. 

We get 5 and 10 for a total of 40 HP, and a would value of 20.

Step 6: Setting Our Initiative.

This will greatly depend on if the GM chooses to use initiative to track the order of combat, but we will fill it anyway. Initiative = Move + Discern + Speed. Ours is 8. Despite their age, Mikuul is cunning and dexterous. 

Step 7: Setting Our Fate & Power Points

We start with and have a maximum of 1 Fate Point (FP). Some races and perks grant additional Fate Points (not ours, though, and that's fine). We can spend 1 FP to reroll any roll we just made, including damage rolls. We
can spend 1 FP per turn. Fate Points renew at the start of each session.

Since we do not have any powers, filling our power points is not necessary right now. We will see this when we make our sentient spellbook!

Step 8: Choosing Our Principles

Principles represent a character's inherent beliefs, morals, and individual attitudes towards the world. They are there to help us guide our character's actions and define what is important to them and what isn't. 

However, principles are also there to be challenged. In play, we get rewarded if we stick to our principles by earning Milestones.

Since we start the game with up to 3 principles, let's choose three from the example list we feel fits our character. In your games, you will be able to create your own if none of the ones on the list suit your character.

For Mikuul we are going to choose these 3:

I think they go well with Mikuul's background, don't you think?

Step 9: Determining Goals

Goals help us define the needs and wants of our character. 
They also help us establish how our character relates to others in the group and the initial relationship between them. A Good GM will consider our goals and weave them into the current campaign, so we need to keep our goals meaningful and challenging for our character. They can be either personal, about relationships, or related to an ongoing mission or quest. A character cannot have more than two goals at once.

At the end of a session, go over our goals and figure out if those goals are still relevant. If one of those goals no longer applies, be it because we achieved our goals during a session or our character's feelings have changed. We can erase that goal and write a new one based on recent events during the game. For each resolved goal, we get to mark a milestone in our character sheet.

Since we get two goals, we will choose a personal goal as our first one:

•"I will better the living conditions of those who live in my colony."

The physical health of the colony has increased with Mikuul there. However, other areas still need improvements, such as getting better medical equipment and most of its citizens' mental well-being.

We will reserve our second goal for when we meet the other characters we will be playing with.

Step 10: Determine Wealth & Equipment

We have over 100 items to buy between armor, weapons, and gear. But, what do we use to buy stuff?

Chimera splits a character's economic power between Wealth and Resources.

Wealth is an abstract mechanic where the minutiae of keeping
track of everything owned, bought, and how much money we have left isn't essential. Wealth measures the overall lifestyle we can sustain based on what we own, while resources are our immediate expendable income. 

We start the game with 100 resources to buy equipment, so let's buy some!

Let's start with armor. For Mikuul, we will buy the following armor and these modifications that will help us protect our character from bullets and energy weapons.

For weapons, we will buy the following:

And for gear, we will buy these:

And with this, we are done with our first character.

We will follow the same steps as our previous one for our second character, but there's a tiny problem. There are no races for a sentient spellbook.

What could we do in this case? One option would be to talk with our GM to create a race for us and hope the traits they select match what we had in mind for our character.

OR we could ask the GM to allow us to use the variant rule on page 233 that eliminates inherent traits and will enable us to choose a size and 3 traits of our liking that fit our character.

We will go with the latter.

Boek-Liber — that's our character's name — awoken when their former owner died trying to cast a spell to return to his homeworld. Forward 50 years, Boek-Liber is rescued by Mikuul from the wreckage of a building our orc doctor now calls home.

Boek-Liber has a vague recollection of their time as a book and is trying REALLY hard to become proficient with the spells they contain, just like their master did.

Now that we have something to work with, let's choose our abilities:

Let's choose our traits. 

I would say that Boek is just slightly larger than a pixy. Taking tiny as a size seems appropriate.

Since we are a magical book, we need a way to communicate. Let's choose the Telepath trait.

I don't think a book needs to breathe, eat, or sleep. In fact, there are a lot of things a book should be impervious to. What trait could we choose to represent all of this?

Well, we can take a look at the Golem — one of the available races — for inspiration.

The construct and immunities traits from the Golem fit very well with Boek-Liber since they are both artificially created creatures lets write those down in our character sheet.

We got movement covered, but what about interacting with the world around us? We will need magic for this. There are over 100 perks to choose from, but the Wielder path has all the perks related to powers. Let's look at those first.

We will choose the Manifest Power perk, which will allow us to use magic.

We need to follow some steps to learn powers. First, we need to choose a power source, then we choose a power group, and then select a power on that list to learn it.

Our first power will be Hover since we need a way to get around. Since powers have a cost, it means eventually we won't be able to manifest the power. Luckily there's a perk that can help:

Let's take it.

We still have one more perk left. The rules for powers state that whenever we can get a perk we can choose to select a power instead. We will choose this one:

We now have to set up our hit points, wounds, initiative, fate points, & power points. Let's do that real quick.

For our principles, we will choose these:

And for our goals, we will choose this one.

We will reserve our second goal for when we meet the other characters we will be playing with.

It's time to buy our gear, but we don't need much to survive. We will reinforce the leather and metal components of our body to make ourselves more durable. We will spend the rest to increase our wealth to at least 1. We cannot have Boek-Liber and Mikuul living on the streets.

With this, we complete the preview of the character creation process for Chimera: A Fantasy, Modern, & Sci-FI Roleplaying Engine.

If you want to read an example gameplay featuring our two characters, or take a closer look at their character sheets, stay tuned for our next post.