There are two methods, the Rolling Method and the Point Based method. Point based gives you more control over the final product, Rolling adds an element of risk, but can produce spectacular results (good or bad...). If you roll up a character with three negative characteristic pairs, you can choose to completely re-roll the character.
Magi roll a simple die and add 22. Companions roll a quality die and add 18. The Companion player may then add or subtract up to 10 from the result. This is the age of the character in years. Highly unusal or undesirable results may either be explained through an unusual background or simply rerolled. You and the Storyguide should work it out.
Everyone begins with the following skills:
Speak <language> (5)
Scribe <language> (4)
Those older than 16 also get
Drive Car (1), one Work Skill of their choice at
(2), and one Formal Knowledge of their choice at
(2). Those 16 or younger get 5 points to spread around instead. Additionally, Magi get the following:
Scribe Latin (3)
Magic Theory (4)
Parma Magica (2)
As usual, you may buy back as many of these free points as you wish, with Storyguide approval.
Magus characters get their age plus 10 in Ability points. Companions get twice their age plus 5.
Obviously, the list of abilities is by no means comprehensive, particularly when applied to a modern setting. Abilities are still divided into Talents, Skills, and Knowledges. Everyone who has the proper educational background (Storyguide discretion) can start with the appropriate Formal Knowledge(s). Abilities not specifically on the list, particularly scientifically- or technologically-based ones, are permitted with Storyguide approval. Ditto for pretty much anything else you can think of. All Abilities on the list are open to anyone (except, of course, Arcane Abilites for Companion or Shamanistic characters without the proper Virtues--likewise the Exceptional Talents for anyone lacking the appropriate Virtue).
Drive <vehicle> (Dex) Anything from cars to helicopters to hovercraft. Each is a separate Ability.
Sport <sport> (Str, Stm, Qik, or Dex) Things like skiing, skydiving, or soccer may come in handy sometimes. Again, each is a separte Ability.
Acrobatics (Qik) You can fall taking only half damage (rounded down before Soak) if you make a roll with an Ease Factor equal to one-third the distance in feet, rounded off. No damage if you double the Ease Factor or more. You may perform an Acrobatic "feat" once per scene by averaging Acrobatics with the appropriate physically-based Ability and substituting the value for the Ability.
These can be expanded to include any modern weapon. The Storyguide will provide the stats. Version 4 rules apply: attacking with a weapon and defending are no longer two different skills. Note, however, that some weapons have no defense capability. It's just not practical to parry a longsword with a .22 pistol.
First Aid, which is treated identically.
Any work- and/or experience-related skills can go here as well, either under
Craft, or as a wholly new Work Skill. Note that a score here simply means you have hands-on experience doing the thing. For instance,
Boating, as a Work Skill, provides knowledge of the practical side of a shipping career: where the safest ports are, how to load cargo efficiently, what the different lights and signals on a boat mean, etc. The actual operation of the craft would now fall under
Drive <vehicle>, above. The same goes for
Wagoneering, though you'd be hard pressed to find a Wagoneer in this day and age.
Specific Formal Knowledge(s) may be required as prerequisites to certain levels of skill (e.g.,
Chemistry Knowledge is required before one can advance beyond level 0 in
Craft <Chemical Engineering>), In certain professions, especially technichal ones, your Work Skill score may not exceed the appropriate Formal Knowledge (Storyguide discretion as to which professions).
Hermetic Law, and
Hermes Lore are not individually available as Arcane Knowledges. They now fall under the heading
Hermes Lore, a Casual Knowledge.
Enigmatic Wisdom was once restricted to Criamon Magi alone. Now that the Order of Hermes has gone the way of the dodo, almost anyone can take this Ability. Be warned, however, that exposure to Enigmatic Wisdom makes you naturally, well, weird. You receive a -1 on social interaction rolls toward all those without the Ability for each point you possess.
Many different "Lore" Knowledges are possible here. Scores in a Lore imply knowledge of facts, customs, and other (perhaps apocryphal) details of a certain group, place, or topic. This would be the kind of stuff one would get from actually being/living around the thing (i.e., first-hand accounts), not necessarily the theoretical information one would get by studying it in textbooks. For instance, one might know through
Amazon Rain Forest Lore that it rains a lot more often in a certain area, but not be aware (from, for example, the Formal Knowlege
Meteorology) that mountain range X and thermal trade winds Y cause it. However, while Formal Knowlege of
Ecology may let you know that the unique evolutionary niche factors in the rain forest make for incredible diversity, it may not let you tell the poisonous Boolabong Adder from it's harmless look-alike (at least not without a much higher roll). That's what Lore is for.
Incidentally, there is no longer any
Scribe <language> minimum to read silently.
Anyone except those with specific Flaws (such as Uneducated) can take Formal Knowledges, provided their backgrounds can adequately explain the training.
As mentioned above, a wide range of possible new modern Knowledges open up here. In general, a Formal Knowledge score indicates one's theoretical familiarity with a field, a Casual Knowlege give you practical knowledge (but not necessarily experience), and the appropriate Work Skill implies actual experience with that occupation. Both a Knowledge and a Skill are required to be recognized as a member of many professions.
Computers are a good example of the sometimes subtle distinctions between the categories of abilities.
Computer Operation may be a Work Skill (you know how to use the thing),
Computer Programming would be a Casual Knowledge (you can write programs--something anyone can learn with a little exposure to a given system), while
Computer Design/Repair or
Electronics would be a Formal Knowledge (you know how to build one, where the circuitry goes, etc.--something that only comes through schooling).
Martial Arts (Str, Qik, Dex) falls under this category. Whether it's Kung Fu, Aikido, Karate, or Commando-Style Dirty Fighting, the specific style is not important (it's just window dressing). Your skill in
Martial Arts may be added to any
Brawl roll, but your score in
Martial Arts may not be higher than your
Brawl Skill. To simulate the other noncombat uses seen in the movies, up your physical attributes and/or
For Magi only. These are handled normally: 150 points to buy Arts, 150 levels of Spells. All restrictions apply.
Everyone gets a self-defined Brave trait, plus up to four others. Remember that these cannot exceed +/- 3 (without the Strong Personality Virtue). Since Personality rolls can affect the game (e.g., resistance rolls to certain spells), no more than four extra traits are allowed initially. Further traits will develop during role-playing and periodic revision sessions.
"Equipment" is, loosely, that which you normally carry around with you, or can at least obtain on a moment's notice. It ordinarily doesn't exceed $500-$1000 worth of merchandise. Subject to Storyguide approval, everyone is allowed inexpensive equipment and usually some standard equipment related to your occupation. Virtues and Flaws, of course, affect this. Expensive equipment (including many modern devices, such as firearms) can only be obtained through appropriate Virtues or through the course of roleplaying. What's inexpensive/standard/expensive is completely up to the Storyguide.
Starting money will be determined by the Storyguide as well. This will be approximated by considering the character's occupation, economic class, and Virtues/Flaws. You may have some input here. Where necessary, prices of obsucre or arcane materials will be loosely based on the monetary values provided in 3rd Edition. For most purposes, one "silver penny" will be roughly equivalent to $20, though some allowances are to be made for the change in times (e.g., pepper no longer costs $1400 a dram).
Continue: Other Rules Changes