Creating Characters

Before the game can begin, each player must create a character. The narrator, too, may need to create other characters at times; however, most need not be so fully detailed—a face and a name will often do well enough.

The process of creating a character involves selecting and recording your character’s key traits: First, all characters begin with the same set of vital statistics. Then you will choose which folk your character will be; make a few choices about your character’s abilities, knacks, and starting items; and come up with some personal details, such as a background and a name. You will need to write these things down somewhere for reference and safekeeping, perhaps in a journal or on a sheet of paper.

There are different ways of approaching character creation; these steps can be taken in any order that you like, not just the order in which they are presented. For example, if you know who you want your character to be, start with their background and what kind of folk they are—perhaps you already have a name in mind too. Conversely, if you know what you want them to be able to do, start with their abilities and knacks, or pick out some of their starting items.

No matter how you go through these steps, there are a few places where one choice can affect another, but you should be able to figure them out. If you are indecisive, in a hurry, or in need of many characters at once, you can use dice or other random methods of selection to make most of the choices for you.

When playing in a group, you can create characters together, potentially with shared backstories—though this is not mandatory. Sometimes, the narrator may have suggestions or certain requirements. No matter what, the character is yours; make them unique and breathe life into them however you see fit.

Vital Statistics

All characters begin at the first level of experience, starting with six health and six defense. Record these three vital statistics. Each is a measurable aspect of the character.

Levels of experience represent the lessons a character has learned in their life—figuratively. They range from one to ten, spanning a lifetime of advancement.

Health is the measure of a character’s well-being, and defense is the measure of how difficult it is to harm them. These two concepts are important in many altercations and are explained in further detail within the Attacks and Injury sections of the chapter Playing the Game.


Your first choice is a big one: Which of the six folk will your character be a member of? Each have their own history, culture, and traits, as well as a special ability. There are physical, mental, and cultural differences between the folk, but their intellects and abilities are similar. In terms of what they can do, or who they can become, the only differences between them are one special ability granted to each, the one exception being the lagartos, who face a few additional restrictions due to their somewhat diminutive size.

Choose which folk the character belongs to and write it down, as well as their special ability. If you would like to learn more about the folk before choosing one, you can read about them in further detail in the chapter The Six Folk of the Three Distant Shores.


A bushy-tailed, nut-loving folk, the eekhorn are known for being high energy, high strung, and quick to action.

Special ability: Innate Climbing knack.


A sturdy, skeptical folk, grevlings have a reputation for grumpy perseverance.

Special ability: Ignore negative death roll modifiers.


Bright, dexterous, and charming, the diminutive lagartos are known as a crafty folk, for better and worse.

Special ability: Innate Alertness knack.


Ancient and learned, the serpos are an empathic and insightful folk with a dark and complicated past.

Special ability: Can see heat.


Possessing entrepreneurial souls, the veldlings make for gracious hosts and ambitious, but measured, adventurers.

Special ability: Very sharp hearing.


Stalwart, just, even-keeled, and benevolent, the visita are regarded as a regal, if a bit overconfident, folk.

Special ability: Incredibly good at swimming.


Next, you will define the innate talents with which your character is gifted. These gifts are called abilities. Each ability confers a mechanical bonus, but abilities represent something more than just a number; these are foundational traits. As a player or narrator, it is up to you to make a character’s abilities an aspect of who they are—and a part of the story itself.

Strong—Add one to attack damage.

Quick—Add two to defense.

Tough—Add three to health.

Clever—Take one core knack twice to start.

Wise—Add one when rolling to resist deception.

Likable—Add one when rolling to impress.

Choose two different abilities for your character and note them down. You may also want to note their effects, for ease of reference during play.


Knacks are what make characters special. Most characters can perform most actions, especially those that fit into their backgrounds and abilities. Knacks, on the other hand, are talents that fewer folk possess.

Like an ability, each knack confers a mechanical bonus, but it also represents something special about the character who possesses it. If a knack grants a bonus to certain actions, folk with the knack will automatically succeed at those kinds of tasks unless they are hurried, under pressure, or attempting something particularly difficult.

There are four categories of knacks:

Core knacks represent foundational talentsones that grow with experience and can be developed as often as once per level each.

Basic knacks are extraordinary talents. Each can be developed once, at any level of experience.

Advanced knacks build upon basic knacks. Each can be developed once, but only after a character has reached the sixth level of experience and developed any prerequisite knacks.

Odd-level knacks are magical talents and gifts. They can be developed up to five times each, once for every odd-numbered level of experience that a character has reached—as the name might suggest.

Characters begin with three knacks and gain, or develop, three more each time they reach another level of experience. Core and odd-level knacks may be developed more than once—increasing their effect—as the character gains experience, but all three starting knacks must be different. Characters who are Clever are the exception: for their three starting knacks, Clever characters must choose the same core knack twice (plus a third knack). This applies only to the knacks chosen at character creation and not those gained at higher levels.

Turn ahead to the chapter Knacks and select the character’s three starting knacks. If you aren’t sure what type of character you would enjoy playing, browsing through the list of knacks can be a great way to learn about your options. If you have a knack in mind but don’t see it listed, talk to your narrator about adding it.

Starting Items

Abilities and knacks represent a character’s natural and learned talents, and items allow them to use these talents to their fullest. Character identity, too, is often wound up in items. Stories are filled with folk that are known more for the things they wear and the items they carry than for any other details about who they are.

Characters begin with five common items and five coins (¢5). None of these starting items may be worth more than ¢50 each. Players can choose to begin with fewer items in exchange for more starting coin: gain an additional ¢20 for each item selection that is not made.

Turn ahead to the chapter Common Items to make your selections. Information about how items are used is found within the Items section of the chapter Playing the Game.

Background & Name

The previous steps have been about what the character can do, but that is only half the story—you must also decide who the character is, beyond which folk they are. This is done by coming up with a background and a name: a few words about the character’s role in the world and something to call them by.

This step is less formal than the others, as a background can be whatever you want. There is no specific mechanical advantage to one background or another. However, backgrounds play an outsized role in helping the players and narrator guide the story and understand character motivations. They also very much affect the actions that a character performs—an action consistent with a background is more likely to succeed than one that is not.

That said, backgrounds are meant to enrich creativity, not constrain it. Don’t feel that you can’t select a certain knack, item, or ability because it doesn’t traditionally fit into a specific background. Instead, come up with a reason why this character has such an unusual ability or possession—an added bit of personality.

There are as many backgrounds as there are grains of sand—too many to count. However, as a bit of inspiration, here are a few: root gatherer, dontler farmer, goose herder, ray fisher, beetle hunter, cloth dyer, silk maker, ship builder, pottery merchant, fruit monger, winch carter, wood shaper, net maker, bee keeper, shop minder, glass blower, fortune-teller, bird drover, traveling musician, scrivener, scavenger, magistrate, stevedore, itinerant, sailor, and orphan.

Choose a name and a background for your character. Jot these details down along with anything else you would like to note about them. Your notes could list nothing more than the choices you have made, or you could include a bit about their appearance, manners, goals, and dreams. You could even write a whole story about the character—though that might be a bit much to start.

Now, the character is ready to play.