Characters are representations of an individual or creature in the game. Character creation follows the basics outlined in ©Players Handbook, which follows common statistics which express them in game terms, each character being a unique representation of the powers and effects they may enact through their Actions. Character facets at the time of creation are chosen by the Player, the rest are gained through game play. Character facets are most often expressed in “levels” of achievement (skill, class, etc.).
In Incarna, level advancement is based on story, not Experience Points. Levels are awarded by the Game Master to match the pace and flow of the story. 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.
Rewards are also given in the form of such things as Inspiration, Blessings, Boons, as well as Character Points (CP). Character Points can be used to gain knowledge (Lores, languages, literacy), skills, and Traits in between levels that serve to customize a character.
- CP should never be given to characters starting at higher levels. They are actual play rewards and unlike class and level abilities, not something “accounted” for when making a starting character of higher than 1st level.
Incarna character are different from DnD characters in several ways. Character Tools
- Classes: While any class is possible in the right situation/background, race, culture, gender, regional issues, and social norms all factor into what path a character is able to take. A full Background and Perspective Stories can explain anything, even complete deviation from any setting or rule restrictions. However, it is also these constraining elements that give the most role-play challenge (and reward). Multi-classing requires that the character have a 15 minimum in the ability of their new class (unless they have Aptitude); other than this it is limited by the story and setting.
- Essence: All characters have Essence; Essence is a measure of the strength of your life force signal in The Pattern. It is used in several aspects.
- Affinity and Aptitude: Affinity (starting affinity with a pillar of The Pattern) and Aptitude can be decided at the time of character creation, both require Essence.
- Ability: There are 7 – Sanity is added. Affinity attunement is free (14+D4 in your primary ability – if you generate a higher value with other ability, swap them); Six others 3D6, re-roll lowest (take best of the 2) + adjust for race and level.
- Codes of Conduct: Alignment and beyond – Not that the more codes a character has, the more they can be tested, and the more Inspiration they can have.
- Story: Incarna demands player participation, a key part of this is story. Players make up stories for their characters, adding unique flavor to their characters.
Required Historical Stories: New character will not be allowed in without these; these can be a few sentences or multi-page.
- General – Family, place, etc. This must include how the character got their Background.
- A story of what made the character become an Adventurer
- A story of growing up – What was the character like as a child? Their environment? Was there defining moment where they “grew up”?
- A story of exemplifying beliefs – Tell a story about how they were tested and kept to or developed their alignment or code of conduct
- A story of how the character came to be in the group – What circumstances lead to the character being introduced to the group?
- All Feats should have a explanatory story…
- All instances of characters “seeking their path” (3rd level paths, multi-classing switches) should have a story…
Yer killing me! This is a lot of story, but it helps the players and GM be more vested in the characters.
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 “Total Newby” 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.
Converting Characters from iCore
Attributes to 5th Edition Abilities
Generally, double and add 2, and add the skill CS bonus. GM can work to offset based on character emphasis since you would need a 8 to get to 18 in DnD which you could get in DnD to start but not in Incarna. No matter what, a 4 in Incarna is the maximum non-bonus rating in DnD.
CHA = CHA; INT = WIS; STR = STR; RSN = INT; RCT = DEX; SAN = SAN;
PER = If you have a 6+ you get to add 1 to your Perception skill (including passive)
VGR = CON; Incarna adaptations of +1 large, -1 small impact