Building an Effective Character
by Peter Brownlow AU2006080014
This is a slightly tricky one.
There are lots of ways to go about doing this, but if you stick by
these four guidelines you stand a good chance of having a character
that can actually, successfully, pleasingly do things despite the low
power level of new characters of new players.
- Choose your niche.
Round out your character a little.
- All the well-remembered characters have that one thing that
they're really good at. The other players will remember you and your
character faster, which is fun. This may result in you being included
in more in-character action.
- Look at what stats are used for being good at what you want
your character to be good at. Ask experienced players who know that
area. Read from the appropriate book.
- It's nice to be truly effective in at least one area - you will
have more fun than with a character who's only moderately competent at
his/her greatest skill because, let's face it, most people out there
have more XP than you do and seriously affecting them is going to be
hard if your character is only mildly competent.
- Assuming that you stay with the cam, in the coming months
you're going to probably double the amount of XP on your character
sheet. It's more XP efficient if your character is already quite good
in at least one area, because you can use some of that XP to buy low
level stats (cheap) instead of buying all high level stats (expensive).
- Your niche could be one particular skill or discipline, a
combination of two or a combination of several. Talk to your VST and
your friends about funky niches that match your ideas for your
character. Don't pick the funky powers and then work out what you want
your character to be doing - do it the other way around for maximum
- Ask the VST to check your sheet to make sure that you haven't
wasted XP. If you don't ask this then he/she may assume that your sheet
is exactly the way that you want it.
There are some stats that you should almost always try to
incorporate into a character.
- Take a few XP that you've got left over and make your character
somewhat good at a few things other than his/her main niche.
- This gives you something that you can do when your big niche
hasn't got anything to do with the current scene, which happens
- Playing characters that are good at only one thing and bad at
everything else gets boring after a while. Their stories aren't that
- Try to pick extra skills, disciplines or attributes that are
slightly different to your niche, for an interesting character - for
example, a mighty combatant with a very respectable amount of skill in
the occult. If you get bored, you can chant weird incantations at
- VSTs won't approve one-dimensional characters anyway. :)
- Don't round out to the point where you have no niche anymore.
Stack your creation and free dots.
- Not always, but almost always.
- You won't be able to raise them all to high levels,
unfortunately, but do keep them in mind. Try to get some high - which
ones will depend on the personality of your character and on your niche.
- The lower of your Wits and Dexterity is your defense against
melee attacks. It's often a good idea to not have either one of them
- Dexterity plus Composure is your Initiative. When action starts
the order in which characters take actions is determined by their
Initiative - highest goes first and lowest goes last. Going first
rocks. Going last sucks. This is *very* important.
- Composure is used to calculate your resistence to many
supernatural attacks, so having a low Composure leaves you vulnerable
to being affected by other characters.
- When something unexpectedly happens in your character's
immediate environment a Wits + Composure draw is often made to see
whether or not your character notices. This can give you a chance to
escape a bad situation.
- Strength plus Dexterity is your base running speed.
- Resolve plus Composure equals your Willpower. You need
Willpower for many actions such as temporarily increasing your defense
against an incoming attack and using supernatural powers.
- You will notice that I mentioned Wits, Dexterity and Composure
multiple times. These are stats that you will frequently use in many
- A dot is a dot is a dot is a dot, whether you place it on a
level 2 stat or a level 5 stat.
- Getting level 5 dots for free gives you more bang for your buck
than getting level 2 dots for free.
- Try to spend XP on low level stats and creation or free dots on
high level stats.
- If you're not sure what to sacrifice, refer back to you
character concept and your chosen niche.
The Common Sense merit is very useful for new players because
it means that storytellers will point out to you some flaws in your
gameplay decisions. This can make play less confusing while new players
are trying to remember how everything works.