Character Creation

Elements of Character Creation

In Esprit de Corps, characters are created by purchasing Attributes, Skills, Proficiencies, and Traits (Gifts, Flaws, and Characteristics) using a single pool of Development Points (DP). While Attributes, Skills, and Proficiencies are bought on a cumulative ‘per rank’ basis and may be freely bought or improved after creation, Traits are purchased on an individual, tiered basis, with only the selected tier or level being purchased (if it has multiple tiers). Gifts and Characteristics may only be purchased after character creation with specific permission of the GM (usually with in-story explanation). Flaws acquired after character creation do not grant any additional Development Points or Experience (though they MAY in certain cases affect Motivations, per GM).

The power level of the game is scalable by altering the starting pool of Development Points, which automatically adjusts the Rank Cap (which is 1/10th of the starting DP). The standard Development Pool is 100 DP, with a Rank Cap of 10 (nice round numbers).

Quick Character Creation bypasses the Lifepath system, instead giving a raw pool of DP and setting the creator loose to wreak havok to their heart's delight. The Quick Creation method is particularly suited to NPC creation.

Lifepath System (optional)

A Lifepath (LP) is a short section or period one's life that leaves a mark upon the character. Each lifepath teaches skills, grants traits, shapes and ages a character, and determines wealth and social standing. The collected lifepaths are the total of all that carried the character to the beginning of the story can be prosperous or painful, or any mixture of the two. It is up to the player to choose the paths and to supply the details of the story.

Essential Traits (if required by Lifepath)

Most lifepaths grant various Traits as a result of the experiences the character had while walking that path. These traits are mandatory and "free" — there is no DP cost (or benefit, in the case of Flaws), numbers in parenthesis show the value of the trait (the player may opt to increase the tier of the trait, paying the difference in DP between the new tier and the one granted by the lifepath). Some lifepaths have prerequisites that must be met to take that lifepath, these prerequisites are NOT free and must be paid for normally to allow the character to take that lifepath.

Motivations & Instincts

Many RPGs focus exhaustively on defining what a character can do without putting much thought into WHY a character does anything. Motivations explore the character's drives, desires, and goals; they are, in game terms, the reflections of love and hatred, beliefs and ambitions. While it is entirely possible to create and play a “vanilla” character, without defining Motivations, these characters inevitably either develop these through play or become the footnotes and bit-characters in the stories of more driven characters. Motivations, more than anything else, are what build a character-driven plot. Instincts, however, are honed, unthinking reactions. A warrior may, by instinct, "draw his sword at the earliest sign of combat;" even without the character saying it, the character follows instinct. Of course, instinctual actions can be problematic as well: while drawing one's blade at the earliest sign of trouble may spare the bold warrior from being caught unprepared, it may also have decidedly adverse effect on delicate negotiations…

Spend Development Points


A character’s most basic strengths and weaknesses are defined by the eight attributes: 4 Physical Attributes (Brawn, Agility, Toughness, and Health), and 4 Mental Attributes (Presence, Wits, Intelligence and Will). Attribute Thresholds represent the point where one's potential turns from readily attainable to very difficult to reach.
At the beginning of character creation (before the Lifepage step), all Attributes begin at rank 2 and all Attribute Thresholds start at 6. During character creation, raising an attribute score by 1 point costs a number of Development Points equal to the attribute’s new rank (so, raising it from 2 to 4 would cost 7 points total, as you pay 3 to raise it from 2 to 3, and 4 to raise it from 3 to 4). Human average is considered to be between 3 and 4; raising an attribute above its threshold increases the cost by the difference between the new attribute rank and the threshold (new attribute level – attribute threshold). In addition to the Physical and Mental Attributes, there are also Derived Attributes (Reflex, Knockdown, Knockout, Move, and Fatigue Threshold) and Sorcerous Attributes (Power, Sight, Art, and Capacity) that

Skills & Proficiencies

A character’s practical training and experience is represented by Skills, while the character’s combat-related training and ability is represented with Proficiencies. The cost of buying skills is based on tiered diminishing returns. Buying a rank in a skill at a Normal progression costs a number of Development Points equal to 1 + (new rank /5, rounded down). During character creation, no skill or proficiency rank may exceed the Rank Cap. Certain Traits or Lifepaths alter the difficulty progression of learning a specific skill (Fast skills cost 1 DP per rank less than a Normal Progression, Slow skills cost 1 DP per rank more).


Skills and weapon proficiencies cover broad areas of ability, but some characters will opt to focus on a specific aspect of the skill or a specific weapon, pursuing true mastery of their chosen focus. There are five tiers of mastery, each with a prerequisite minimum number of ranks in the skill or proficiency that must be reached before obtaining that tier of mastery. The Gamemaster may choose to require specific in-game achievements before allowing a character to purchase Expert, Master, and Legend tiers of Specialization.

Several skills may share certain specializations (example: Courtier, Deception, and Impress all give access to the Seduction specialization). If the GM agrees, a character’s specialization may contribute to related checks using other skills (gaining only the specialization benefits, not the ranks in the skill used to acquire the specialization).


Traits are details that differentiate characters and are generally categorized as Gifts, Flaws, and Characteristics. Gifts have a cost in DP, while Flaws give a number of bonus DP – both traits are listed along with the tier or impact of the trait (lesser, minor, major, greater). Characteristics are different in that they are secondary traits, with more subtle game effects, in that they serve as character depth, quirks, or guidelines for roleplaying. Characters cannot take a given trait more than once unless specifically stated and, in the case of multi-tiered traits, only gain the effect of the chosen tier.




Gear & Resources

While the Lifepath system provides a more detailed measure of character resources, Quickstart Creation provides the shortcut of a Resources “skill” – purchased as a Fast Progression skill. Multiply the ranks taken in Resources by 5 to determine your character’s starting resource total.

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