SG: Character Creation

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New Characters[edit]

Characters can be built as per Fate Core[1], but with a few customizations.

First, players in a Shadowgate game play characters with monstrous concepts. Whether the character is a vampire, werewolf, spellslinger, or fae, it should be indicated by the characters High Concept.

In addition, these characters have special origin stories. This background should be reflected in the Origin aspect, which replaces the Trouble aspect described in Fate Core[1].

Apart from the above two special considerations, you can build very powerful supernatural characters using the skill pyramid suggested in Fate Core[1] that uses a pinnacle skill of Great, two Good skills, three Fair and four Average level skills. Three free stunts and another three Refresh as suggested there provides enough to make any kind of character described here possible.

Extra Aspects Through Play[edit]

Characters also start with five Aspects as per typical Fate characters, but may gain up to two additional aspects through game play. This is most often used to purchase allies or trusted servants. A group of allies are easily described with a single aspect and stats. A single trusted servant is usually more capable and can take a consequence or two. See the Fate System Toolkit[1] for guidelines on how ally groups and sidekicks might be purchased as extras.

Higher Level Play[edit]

Characters built this way are very competent, often experts in their fields. If you want to portray movers and shakers in the game world, consider having PCs built as Superb characters. This means they would start with a skill pyramid that starts with a peak skill of Superb (+5), two at Great (+4), and so on down to five skills at Average (+1). These characters would also start with 5 stunts for free and a Refresh of 3. As in for the default method of character creation described in Fate Core, you can spend up to two of your three Refresh points to purchase an additional two stunts or to pay for supernatural extras.

Skill List[edit]

This world is steeped in supernatural mysteries, knowledge hidden from common understanding. Therefore, a new skill has been created called Occult. Only those with experience or specialized training in the Occult will have knowledge in this area. The Lore skill has been renamed Academics to reflect that the use of this skill is for mundane sciences and general knowledge.

Conflict is also an important part of the genre. In this modern age, few people understand how to use weapons designed to kill humans very well — at least not the hand to hand ones. Therefore, Fight has been split into Brawl and Melee.

Skills of Shadowgate
Academics (renamed Lore)
Brawl (split out from Fight, unarmed combat)
Melee (split out from Fight, armed combat)
Occult* (New, based on FC Lore, but specific to the occult)

Total Skills: 20


The Occult skill is about knowledge of the occult. In Shadowgate, the supernatural is very real and very here. It can be felt, touched, and when you look for it, it looks back. Some supernatural creatures delve into the occult, not only to learn more about themselves and their world, but to study rituals and magic that could give them an edge over rivals and enemies. So, Occult can be used in two ways. In the first way it is the study of occult lore. In the second way, it is the use of that lore to do magical rituals. Most can use Occult only for the lore it contains. But a character with an appropriate aspect describing what they are and what kind of magic they might study, might use Occult for ritual magic.

Mortals might study magic as well. Cracking open old tomes or even writing their own personal Book of Shadows through inventing occult rituals of their own are ways they might study magic. Mortals have the same restriction, however; they must describe who they are and what kind of magic they can do with Occult before they are allowed to use it to do any magic.

Magic rituals using Occult are not as powerful as the magical skills and powers that supernatural beings have. They can use it to do overcome and create an advantage actions, only.

Overcome: You can use Occult to overcome any obstacle that requires applying your character’s knowledge to achieve a goal. This usually means deciphering occult text and rituals, and perhaps to discover the goals of some arcane ritual your character might have encountered.
Create an Advantage: You can use Occult to create advantages based on any ritual your character might have studied. As a rule of thumb rituals should take a while — a half an hour is a good place to start, but especially complex rituals might take longer, while simpler ones might take less time. You should negotiate this detail with the GM.
The difficulty should be set by the GM based on the complexity of the ritual, and if someone or something might be able to resist it actively or passively.
Aspects placed by rituals last for a scene. If your character achieves success with style, the GM might allow it to last longer. The duration should be agreed upon by the player and GM. Very long-lasting magic is possible, though the GM may wish to negotiate some kind of significant cost to the character in order to pull it off.
Attack: Lore isn’t used in conflicts.
Defend: Lore isn’t used to defend.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 A nicely formatted web page format of the SRD can be found here.

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