This is the first part in a series of blogs that with the hopes of being walkthrough examples for Sigil & Shadow. Future posts will show sample gameplay concepts, but for today we’ll start out with some character creation. Let’s meet Samantha Cane, a woman in her late twenties who is obsessed with the supernatural.
If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, I recommend first checking out my previews at the Osprey Games Blog so some of these terms make sense.
Before we Start
We’ll gather all the right things – pencils, paper, some dice (a couple ten-siders for percentile rolls) and some tokens to use as Bones. Bones, if you’ve been following along, are the meta-currency of Sigil & Shadow – they may be spent during gample for re-rolls, aiding your pals, using powers and more. We begin with five Bones in our “Bone Pile”, which may be permanently spent during character creation to offer certain advantages.
Creating a Concept
First, let’s choose a Casting.
Samantha is a curious type, so let’s make her a Seeker. Seekers, as the name implies, are Illuminated individuals who sniff out the secrets of the paranormal and the occult. Their Drive is Discovery, meaning Samantha can recover a Bone to her pile any time she discovers something new about the supernatural during game play
But what else do we know about Samantha? We should choose her Background, which establishes what her vocation or career. We may either roll the dice to determine it, or permanently spend one from our Bone pile to choose one on our own.
I’m going to leave it to fate, and roll the dice… 53, Entertainer.
Next, we check for an Oddity — a sort of “strange background” that can provide a weird tie to the paranormal. Players roll the dice, but only receive an Oddity should they roll doubles (11, 22, 33 etc.). Alternately, they may spend a Bone here to choose an Oddity of their liking. We’re going to continue letting fate decide on the dice… 85, too bad.
What I’m imagining from this is Samantha is an online vlogger, medium and “Ghost Hunter” — perhaps it started as a silly hobby but has become a full time venture for her. I’m not worried about her having the best combat training, but I do want her to be talented in seeking clues, being strong willed in the face of paranormal threats, and being talented enough to do a little B&E on abandoned property. Even better – I’m going to say that originally she was a faux medium, but then accidentally tapped into something as her channel took off.
Determine Ability Scores & Skills
There are only four Ability scores to track in Sigil & Shadow: STR, DEX, LOG & WIL.
All four start at a base score of 40%. You may spend 10 Advancements (each worth +5%) how you see fit across these abilities, with none starting higher than 70% at this point. Optionally, you could take a pre-set array (60%, 55%, 50% and 45%) and assign as you see fit. I’m feeling lazy, so I’ll use the array to assign the following:
STR: 45%, DEX: 50%, LOG: 60%, WIL: 55%
Next, we choose Skill training. We get to choose two skills to be trained in, and may spend a Bone to select a third, which I will choose to do at this point (leaving 4 Bones in the Pile). The skills I’ve chosen:
Now, we get to raise two of these skills to Level 1. Being untrained in a skill gives a -20% penalty when using it, but adding levels grants +10% (in addition to other perks). I’ve decided her mysticism is still developing, so we will be raising Investigation and Larceny to Level 1/+10% each.
At this stage, we decide on special components of the character.
Being trained in Mysticism grants her first Gift: Sixth Sense, allowing her to see spirits, gaze into the Echo or sense other paranormal beings. As she develops this skill, she will unlock more psychic and metaphysical abilities.
Perks are benefits provided by the character’s Background. Being an “Entertainer” gives the following options: Resolved(+5 WIL), Fame (advantage social checks when trying to gain VIP treatment) or Well-to-Do (higher starting wealth). While we could lean into her being “internet famous” or even saying her blog & channel has been super successful, I’d actually prefer to keep her strong willed (and somewhat grounded). I’ll choose Resolved, which will raise her WIL to 60.
I do have the option here to spend another Bone from the pile to choose a second Perk, but, I’m just going to hold on to those. She’s a character that will rely on her luck just as much as her talent. As an Illuminated character, she will be able to spend her Bones during play to not only re-roll, but may also assist other players or even exert a degree of control over the narrative.
At this point, we create two sentences or phrases (one positive, one negative) that establish additional quirks, talents or behaviors about Samantha. During game play, she (or the Guide) can fall back on these descriptors to act as ad-hoc modifiers to her rolls.
- Can Talk Her Way Out of Trouble (+)
- Her Curiosity Gets the Best of Her (-)
A character’s Lifestyle is determined by their Background, establishing their base level of wealth and holdings. Within reason, we pick 5 pieces of Gear (including an abstracted Equipment Pack) that we can assume Samantha will take with her on her adventures. Being an Entertainer, she starts with a Upper Middle Class lifestyle, affording her a nice home and furnishings. When she’s “out in the field”, she’s usually packing:
- An Infiltrator Pack, containing everything a burglar could want (rope, stealth suit, glass cutters, larcenist tools and more).
- High Powered Flashlight
- High-End Mobile Device (for Internet, video & audio recording)
- Reinforced Clothing
We make notes of the remaining Bones in her Bone Pile, and then fill out the remaining Derivative Traits (such as Health Points, Initiative, Damage Resistance and more). When everything gets put together, it looks a little something like this:
|Casting: Illuminated (Seeker)||Background: Entertainer (Ghost Hunting Vlogger)|
|Can Talk Her Way Out of Trouble||Her Curiosity Gets the Best of Her|
- Investigation (1/+10%)
- Larceny (1/+10%)
Gift: Sixth Sense
Gear: Pistol (30%, 2D+2 Damage, Medium Range), Reinforced Clothing, Infiltrator Pack, High Powered Flashlight, High-End Mobile Device