Characters are representations of an individual or creature in the game. Each character being a unique representation of the powers and effects they may evince through their Actions. Generally, most mechanics are addressed though the lens of the core Character Emphasis. Character facets at the time of creation are chosen by the Player, the rest are gained through game play. Character development is measured in Challenge Rankings. The emphasis is on story, intrigue, and then combat using tactics and knowledge. Awards by the Game Master match the pace and flow of the story, allowing players to develop their characters appropriately. They are based on game time spent, encounters and experiences, and benchmarks achieved in an adventure or campaign. Players are encouraged to advocate for their characters.
Story is critical to the Incarna perspective, though it is not required as part of the basic mechanics of creating characters. Character Concept is where character stories begin – defining the basics. A concept can be pulled from literary (ex: “a powerful leader like Boudica“), historical (ex: “a heavy infantryman like a Greek Hoplite“), or any other source, or just completely made up by you. You have a vision in your head of a character, and its about making that come to life. Robust Character Stories adds a whole new dimension to character crafting. There are specific rewards to encourage you do engage in a deep dive of story at the time of character creation. Do not let strict rules dictate your crafting of characters. Backgrounds, traits, and skills should be able to be modified to support most character concepts. A good Game Master can generally work with players to tweak any basic character starting aspect to match the concept.
Use the ©Players Handbook. In Incarna, level advancement is based on story, not Experience Points.
Incarna character are different from DnD characters in several ways. Character Tools
Individual Flavor: Start with a concept – an idea of the personality and values they have and the Point of View they express in thought and action – perhaps it fits within one of the existing Alignment or a prime creed. The Incarna character process is constrained, but has a lot of options. Read through the ©Players Handbook and your setting materials (like Steel Realms) and decide what race and class you want to start with. You will be focusing your Essence and powers on that. Your race and place constrain your class and/or class path choice – there are cultural and social fabric which just does not produce certain classes or paths. Additionally, there are a great deal of upbringing and character trait options. Most players will choose and develop a character down one of the dominant 4 pillars of The Pattern – affinity and aptitude paths (divine, kinetic, occult, and psychic).
Group Flavor: For example, perhaps they desire to be the leader of a group; this is a sacrifice a player makes to use their own character’s experience to directly improve the group’s efficacy. Although they add depth and present a good role-playing challenge, behavior compulsions should only be considered by those willing to expose the party to a vulnerability.
A “Zero Level” or “Neophyte” character has only a race and a background and nothing else; they begin with the Wonderment trait. This option starts characters out younger than normal with a few CP and these small powers and extends the character development cycle by making them find their class direction as part of game-play.
When a character prepares to embark down their chosen path at 3rd level of any class, and while they are preparing to switch classes the character is said to be “seeking their path”. Any CP must go towards acquiring abilities and powers which are related to this new direction.