Character Creation

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This section outlines the basic process of creating characters in RPGs made using SPURG.

Character Points

Characters made using the SPURG ruleset do not follow any kind of "class" or "level" limitation. Instead, characters are built using Character Points (CP), which are spent on improving Ability Scores and purchasing Skills and Benefits. CP can also be gained by lowering Ability Scores or by applying Drawbacks.

In general, only players need to worry about how many Character Points their characters start with. It is recommended for GMs creating NPCs that the character be created simply based on what the GM believes the character should have, and then calculate the points afterward, rather than trying to work within a limited number.

While some attempt at balance has been considered when determining the CP value of Ability Scores, Skills, Benefits, and Drawbacks, it should be noted that rarity and the difficulty of acquiring a given advantage are prioritized over any kind of balance in terms of combat effectiveness, for example. This is because the RPG, and the GM running it, will place greatly varying priorities on what is most useful to a given character. For disadvantageous traits, such as reduced Ability Scores or Drawbacks, value is based upon expected detriment to a character's goals.

Starting Character Points

In your RPG you can set a fixed amount of CP for Player Characters to start with, or leave it up to the GM. A guideline on general character competency or "power" is as follows, bearing in mind the above comments on balance:

  • "Normal" every-day people one would typically meet in real life generally have up to 50 CP.
  • Particularly competent or noteworthy characters with greater agency, such as the protagonists and antagonists in a story grounded in reality, might have up to 100 CP.
  • Heroic or villainous characters in stories of high adventure might have up to 300 CP.
  • Powerful characters of myth and legend, such as superheroes and demigods, may have 500 or more CP.

It is recommended that player characters not have Drawbacks which grant them more than half of their base starting CP — for example, if a player character starts with 100 CP, they should not have Drawbacks with a value totaling more than -50 CP.

Character Advancement

There is no one prescribed way to handle character "advancement" or growth, except to note that, different from some videogame or wargame-based RPGs, SPURG lends itself more to RPGs where organic and narrative-driven character development is the norm. In this case, it is possible characters may lose Character Points as the story progresses, or they may gain Character Points by removing Drawbacks. It is suggested that GMs using SPURG-based RPGs award player characters 1 to 5 CP per several-hour play session, or else determine character growth and advancement situationally, such as by granting the Contact Benefit, or improving a skill which was used to great success during the session.

Ability Scores

Characters all have Ability Scores, which are a measure of their natural talent and ability to perform different kinds of tasks. Ability Scores are separate from Skills, in that they are meant to represent generalized aptitude which exists aside from training in a specific, single field.

All Ability Scores start at 10, which indicates an average human level of ability. It doesn't cost any CP to have an Ability Score start at 10. Ability Scores can be increased by spending CP equal to its CP value; likewise, an Ability Score can be decreased below 10, indicating a general deficiency, and doing so grants the character more CP according to its CP value.

In a realistic setting where humans as we know them are the norm, most fully-matured adult characters will have Ability Scores that range from 8 to 12. A score less than 8 is considered extremely poor, representing a major and usually quite obvious limitation or disability. In some RPGs, such as those based around adventure, Ability Scores below 8 might be inappropriate for Player Characters, and you might consider requiring GM approval or restricting it altogether.

An Ability Score above 12 indicates exceptional talent, with most humans rarely exceeding 14 (with the exception of Might, which scales a bit differently). In RPGs where characters are considered to be more grounded in reality and plausible (or should at least start that way), you might consider restricting starting Player Character Ability Scores to 14 or lower, and MGT to 16 or lower.

Agility (AGI)

Value: 20 CP

Agility is a general measure of a character's reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and balance. It is important for tasks that require fine motor skills or feats of dexterity, such as picking a lock or throwing a ball. Agility also factors into determining a character's Speed, and affects most Skills which are based on physical ability and aptitude.

Intellect (INT)

Value: 20 CP

Intellect is a general measure of a character's wits, memory, intuition, and overall problem solving capability. It affects Skills where reason, creativity, studiousness, and quick thinking are required. A high Intellect is often a huge advantage for a character, as it affects more Skills than any other Ability Score.

Might (MGT)

Value: 10 CP

Might is a general measure of a character's raw strength and physical power. Larger characters tend to have higher Might, which represents not just muscle tone, but how much mass a character is able to put behind their physical movements. As such, Might determines how much a character can lift and carry, and how much damage a character is able to inflict with attacks powered by their body. Might also determines how many Body Points a character starts with.

Might scales differently from other Ability Scores, as a character's realistic range of Might is determined by their physical size. A physically short and lean person might have a Might score ranging from 8 to 11, while a tall, large-framed person could have a Might score ranging from 12 all the way to 18 or higher! Humans who are among the largest and strongest (i.e. those who win World's Strongest Man competitions) would not have Might scores exceeding 20.

Body Points (BP)

Value: 2 CP

Body Points (BP) are a measure of how much physical damage and punishment a character can withstand. A character's BP starts equal to their Might score, but their maximum BP can be increased by spending CP, or reduced, granting CP, the same way Ability Scores can. In realistic settings, a character's BP should not exceed 130% of the character's Might (rounded down), and it should not be less than 70% of a character's Might (rounded up). For example, a character with a Might of 12 should realistically have between 9 and 15 BP.

When characters suffer physical injury, their Body Points are reduced. BP can then be regained through Healing, until they reach their maximum value. A character who is reduced to 0 or less BP is at risk of collapse, while characters who lose twice their maximum BP or more are considered to be grievously wounded and at immediate risk of death. For example, a character with 13 BP takes 15 damage, bringing them to -2 BP. A Verdict Roll must be made using that character's Vitality for them to avoid collapsing immediately. The character then takes another 15 damage, bringing them to -17 BP, which is more than twice their starting BP. At this point, a Verdict Roll must again be made using that character's Vitality, with a failure meaning that character has been killed. Further Verdict Rolls using a character's Vitality are then made each time a character suffers damage equal to a further multiple of their starting BP, which in the above example would occur at -13, -26, -39, and -52. Characters who receive damage equal to six times their maximum BP or greater are killed automatically. More details about BP, injury, and death are available in the Fundamentals#Survival section.

Perception (PER)

Value: 5 CP

Perception is a general measure of a character's physical senses, including how reliably those senses can be depended upon to notice changes in the character's environment. More "alert" characters who are frequently paying attention to what is going on around them will have a higher Perception score, while more absent-minded characters will have a lower Perception score.

When the GM needs to determine if a character notices something, they make a Verdict Roll using the character's Perception as the Target Number. This Target Number can be modified by a character's individual senses. For example, a character with a Perception score of 12 also has the Drawback Bad Hearing, which applies a -4 penalty to PER for Verdict Rolls where a character's ability to hear is a factor. In this scenario, another character is attempting to quietly move past them without being heard. The GM determines the Target Number for the character to hear them is 8, with their normal PER of 12 being reduced by 4 because of their Bad Hearing Drawback.

Speed (SPD)

Value: 10 CP

Speed is a character's effective ability to move quickly, determined by their reflexes, awareness, fatigue, and how much they are impeded physically by things like how much equipment they are carrying. Unlike other Ability Scores, rather than simply starting at 10, a character's Speed is determined by adding their Agility and Vitality scores and dividing by 2 (rounding down). Speed can then be increased or decreased using Character Points, as with any other Ability Score. A character's Speed can also be reduced by their Encumbrance, which is a measure of how weighed down a character is by what they are carrying on their body. Speed is also affected if a character has lost a significant number of Body Points, indicating serious wounds, or if they have lost Endurance Points, indicating fatigue.

Speed is used in contests to determine which character is able to most quickly act, and it also determines which character goes first in combat. Speed also governs how quickly a character can physically move in a given period of time.

Vitality (VIT)

Value: 10 CP

Vitality is a general measure of a character's physical health and vigor. Characters with high Vitality can run or fight for longer without getting tired, and recover from injury and illness more quickly and reliably. Vitality governs a character's stamina and general energy levels, and as such it plays a part in determining a character's Speed, as well as determining the base number of Endurance Points a character starts with.

Endurance Points (EP)

Value: 3 CP

Endurance Points are a measure of how much physical exertion and activity a character can endure. A character's maximum EP starts equal to their Vitality score, but it can be increased by spending CP, or reduced, granting CP, the same way Ability Scores can. In realistic settings, a character's EP should not exceed 130% of the character's Vitality (rounded down), and it should not be less than 70% of a character's VIT (rounded up). For example, a character with a Vitality of 12 should realistically have between 9 and 15 EP.

A character uses EP when they undertake feats of physical stamina, focus, and endurance. Other factors, such as lack of sleep, poor nutrition, dehydration, suffocation, and heat can all reduce a character's EP. EP are regained when characters rest and are well-fed, not exceeding their starting EP when fully rested.

Characters who have less than 1/3 of their maximum EP are considered fatigued, and their Speed (which affects a character's ability to act quickly and Dodge) is reduced by half, along with half of their effective Might (note that this does not affect BP, only calculations like Encumbrance and Melee Attack Damage). Characters who have lost all of their EP are utterly exhausted, and must succeed on Verdict Rolls against Willpower to do anything physically laborious, such as Maneuver in combat or continue marching. Further EP lost below 0 also causes damage to BP, representing physical harm due to overexertion. Characters who lose twice their maximum EP fall unconscious immediately, and do not regain consciousness until their EP rises back above 0. EP can never be reduced below twice its maximum value, but if something causes a character to continue to lose EP, it does still continue to cause damage to their BP, potentially causing death.

More details and rules for Endurance Points are available in the Fundamentals#Survival section.

Willpower (WIL)

Value: 5 CP

Willpower is a general measure of a character's mental resolve, stability, and composure. Characters with high Willpower are more easily able to endure stress, stay resolute when pressured, and push themselves to stay motivated in the face of challenge. A character with low WIL is more likely to succumb to interrogation or give up when things get difficult.

In settings where magic exists, Willpower may play a role in a character's ability to use and resist the effects of spells. Similarly, in settings where psychic or psionic powers exist, Willpower may play a role in a character's ability to use and resist psychic powers. If either of these are likely to play a large role in your RPG, raising the value of Willpower to 7 or 10 may be appropriate.

Sanity Points (SP)

Value: 2 CP

For RPGs that contain themes like madness, cosmic horror, and extreme psychological terror, you may want to include rules for Sanity Points (SP). If these themes are unlikely to play a factor in your RPG, it is suggested that you do not include rules for Sanity Points.

Sanity Points are a measure of how much psychological suffering a character can endure. Exposure to mind and reality-breaking phenomena, horrific cosmic entities, and major psychological trauma reduce a character's SP. Some types of severe psychological trauma may also permanently reduce a character's maximum SP. A character's starting and maximum SP can never exceed 130% of their WIL (rounded down), nor should it be lowered below 70% of their Willpower (rounded up) without approval from the GM.

For characters who have retained over half of their starting SP it recovers slowly, at a course of 1 SP for each month where a character suffers no further serious psychological trauma. Characters who have lost half their maximum SP or more require psychotherapeutic treatment, usually at the hands of professionals. Characters who lose an amount equal to half of their starting SP without having made any kind of recovery must also make a successful Verdict Roll against their Willpower or suffer a Mental Breakdown, the rules for which are available in the Fundamentals#Rules of Play section. Characters who have had their SP reduced to 0 automatically suffer a Mental Breakdown, and any character who loses twice their starting SP has had their mind completely shattered, and goes completely, irreversibly insane.

In some settings, Sanity Points can also affect a character's ability to use certain kinds of magic or interpret strange texts, with maximum Sanity Points sometimes being a requirement.

Character Traits




Languages and Cultures

Status, Reputation, and Wealth


List of Skills


List of Benefits


List of Drawbacks


List of Weapons

List of Armor

List of Gear