Here are four example player characters for our Tox fantasy setting, Isladja. These characters represent a variety of cultures and magic systems in Isladja. Our Isladja story (to be published in two weeks), is designed for them. Here are editable Tox character sheets with their information:
- Luminitza – An ambitious, conflicted herbalist from the northern Isladjan villages who came to follow Elivid (the Righteous Path), which is taboo in her home country. Her chosen path or virtue is Passion, which she uses to infuse her herbal concoctions with the power to heal and augment the human body. Using her long-sought magical abilities is exhilarating… but it also leaves her exhausted.
- Stanteen – A rebellious heir from a wealthy, Fair Winds merchant. Fair from seeking out the Righteous Path, he wanted to rebel against it and family tradition by adopting a non-virtue for his path: apathy. Supposedly, the Elivid magics cannot be practice without a virtuous path, but Stanteen was stunned to find his path allows him to summon helpful objects and clear obstacles from his path. However, his ability shorts out when he fails to demonstrate sufficient apathy.
- Zihaka – A mournful mercenary and ex-scholar of Il Athwah from Zaraloft. She has a particularly powerful Il Athwah speed ability, but she is only able to use it when someone around her is laughing. Using the laughter of others to fuel her powers brings bad karma, however, and results in tragedy.
- Istvan – A wandering hunter who was blessed (or cursed) by a great cat spirit and became Zani-atins. He was a farmer’s son, before his intimidating martial and prophetic spirit powers distanced him from friends and family. His tendency to drop into a trace and give vague, dire warnings does not help him find the human connection and sense of community that he is seeking.
These characters use have diverse backgrounds and magics: (Elivid, Il Athwah, and Zani-atins). However, they are all wandering far from home and are at odds with their wyrds (magics), a fact that will bring them together at the start of our Isladjan story. The story will be designed for use with any combination of these characters… or you can take inspiration from them and design your own questing group of sorcerers.
Each character is 35 points. Our demo book has templates for 25 points (novice adventurers) and 50 points (seasoned adventure). We wanted to select something between the two. Also, some characters do have gift mods, but otherwise we limited them to stats in the Tox Demo. They do not include Fortunes, Misfortunes, or Equipment, which will be detailed in the full version of the Tox rule book.
To help you as game hosts or players, her are some notes on the characters (no spoilers).
Luminitza is a strong support character, as her herbal-themed Path powers can boost the strength, reflexes, and sense of the whole party. Of course, the ability to use her own herbal concoctions gives her quite a bit of flexibilty to overcome obstacles herself. She is slightly inept in fighting, however, and would avoid fighting herself whenever possible.
Roleplaying & Motivation
Luminitza felt stifled in her home village. While grateful for her training as a herbalist, she felt that the world had more to offer her. Specifically, she wanted magic, and she eventually settled on the Righteous Path as the most likely road to unlocking her own magical potential. She’s fairly new to the path and has two main goals. 1) She seeks to develop her own mystical potential, and 2) she’s deciding whether to return to the north despite practicing magics that are taboo in her home county. She’s learned as much as the priests in Harvest Cove can teach her and is now exploring the rest of Isladja.
Why join with the others? Lum is unsure of exactly who she is at the moment and where she belongs. She loves her village and the Harvest Moon area… but she fears being ostracized for following the path. Other sorcerers from different places might help her explore who she is and whether she might find a better home elsewhere.
Gifts and Tox
Luminitza’s gift is unusual for a righteous pather, as most pathers only augment themselves. Luminitza has actually circumvented that limitation by augmenting her herbal skill and infusing her concoctions with supernatural potency that can be enjoyed by anyone. However, this means that she must have a ready made concoction in order to use her powers. If she lacks a pre-made powder or potion, she must gather common ingredients and make more.
The normal rules of gift activation apply to Luminitza: any enhancement requires the target to be in her line of sight and requires her to take a turn to activate her gift before she can boost anyone’s trainings. In addition to the normal restrictions her gifts have a Required Component mod, a low level restriction with an herbal them: the target has to consume or apply one of Luminitza herbal creations in order for Lum to activate the gift. The player is free to declare that they prepare and distribute such concoctions in advance. Since Required Component is only Tier -1, it shouldn’t impact the story heavily or often. Perhaps once per story, the character should run out of ingredients and have to make more, or cause Lum and other players to lose precious turns hunting through their packs for the herbal concoctions.
When the gift is activated, Luminitza’s player can choose a combination of bonuses to any Deft, Smart, or Strong Training up to the activation power limit to impart to whoever imbibes the concoction. This restriction is due to the theme: physical and sensory-enhancing herbal concoctions.
Luminitza’s healing ability works the same as her enhancement gift, except that it accelerates healing for a time, instead of boosting stats.
The side effect of infusing her herbal concoctions with extra potency is exhaustion: her tox effects lower her own attributes. The host could choose to trigger tox effects immediately after someone imbibes her remedies (as if she is literally putting herself into her work), but the host could also wait from another time when Luminitza puts forth great effort or has her passions/ambitions blocked and gets frustrated. If the tox effect includes Trainings that Luminitza can buff, she can enhance herself to compensate… but she will then increase to tox level again and possibly enter an addictive cycle that could make for great story fodder later. The host can side step this ‘loop-hole’ by either choosing Charming or Wise trainings to penalize (one can also exhaust their social skills or insight), or by setting up a situation where Luminitza runs out of supplies and cannot augment herself any more.
Stanteen is young, good with people and money, and a little bit of a clutz. His powers which involve summoning helpful objects and letting fate remove obstacles from his path are very flexible. His theme of apathy, however does make him a unique challenge for a player. Stanteen can act on pure logic, or he can follow what he interprets as signs from the powers that be, but any time he shows too much attachment, concern, care, desire, or anger, he risks losing his powers.
Roleplaying and Motivation
Stanteen is by no means actually free from desires and truly apathetic. He is thrilled to have recently discovered powers that are his own, not granted by his parents with strings attached. He is also afraid his parents will attempt to control his powers should they ever find out, so he simply decided to run. He finds that his powers disappear when he tries to plan ahead (because its hard to do so without forming an attachment to the plan), so he instead has attempted several methods to maintain a certain level of apathy: doing the first thing that he pops up into his head, accepting the will of the universe as revealed by coincidences, or following the directions of other people without heaving thinking. He can act on logic, but thinking is risky as it frequently sparks emotion.
Why join with the others? From a purely logical standpoint, it’s helpful to have friends with powers if yours short out. Also, its easier to remain apathetic when following someone else’s instructions as opposed to making ones own decisions. However, he is most likely going to bond with the group if he meets them in an unusual coincidence that appears to be a sign from the universe that he should follow them.
Gifts and Tox
Stan’s powers work primarily when he adopts a course of action without too much thought, preparation, or attachment. This makes him a great scout, except the part where he’s a klutz and has a hard time sneaking. As with any character, Stan’s player will have to declare an activation power (for summoning, his travel power only has 1 level) and take a turn to activate the gift (maybe this involves meditation and clearly his head, or simply distracting himself from caring with something else). However, is themes prevent him from actually declaring a particular result, as he relies on the universe to provide. Instead, Stan will declare the type of problem he’s trying to solve and the Host will provide the most effect: introduction of a helpful item in the case of summoning, the removal of a small obstacles in the case of Traveling.
Summoning is a little bit of a tricky gift. Each higher power level allows for the Stan to summon an object, bigger, rarer, or more powerful (1 for small, inexpensive, everyday items; 2 for something might require two hans or have some small value, 3 for large or unusual items). By default, these items don’t instantly appear; the appear in the time it would naturally take for them to reach Stan. These means that items reach faster in the city (where there are lots of nearby items to be coincidentally found in trash, fall off wagons, put on display in a shop, etc), and they reach him very slowly in the middle of the forest. However, the summoning can be sped up by activating at higher levels than you need. Use 1 higher activation power to expedite the object, and 2 higher activation power to make the object appear, miraculously in Stan’s hand. For example, activation his gift a power 1 means that some small object of negligible value will as soon as circumstances could coincidentally drop it at Stans feet. However, Stan could activate at power 2, and have a small object of negligible value expedited. The object still has to travel to Stan somehow, but circumstances conspire to deliver it with uncommon speed. Lastly, stand could activate at power 3, and have a small object of negligible value magically appear on his person, without the need to be carried or transported coincidentally.
Travel allows Stan a small bonus for traveling under tricky circumstances. When climbing, he will find the good handholds; which running through the streets, people will get out of his way just a little quicker. A trained climber or running will still generally beat him, but he does slightly better than the average joe. And it’s not to do skill or practice.
Stan’s tox type is Mana meaning is powers short out. Specifically, his theme involves them shorting out when he becomes attached or involved. For hosts, we’d recommend not shorting out Stan’s powers every time he does something that could be construed as being emotional. Instead look for outburts of relatively passionate words or actions. Unless the player is spamming Stan’s abilities, make sure not to trigger Tox effects more than you trigger tox effects for other characters.
Zihaka was a friendly Il Athwah scholar with a smiling mask and an ability for speed that helped in her travels. However, when tragedy befell her village, she lost her ability smile. Since the seeming she used for magic was smiling and laughing, she lost control of powers. She can still use them, but only when other people laugh. This character has both deep knowledge about the supernatural and skill with knives (both melee and throwing).
Roleplaying and Motivation
Zihaka lost a lot when her village was burned to the ground. She still hasn’t recovered and can’t stand to return to her home region because it reminds her of the pain. The fact that she can’t directly control her powers is insult to injury. She’s motivated to figure out how to regain control of them, although learning to laugh again will be very, very difficult… and will probably require the help of friends she trusts.
Why join with the others? Maybe this group of lost souls, like her, can help her regain her seeming. Also, she may be attracted to their need: no one has needed her guidance since her village was destroyed.
Gifts and Tox
Like Luminitza, Zihaka has a Required Component: she must wear her mask to speed herself up. This should be easy most of the time, but once per story the host might orchestrate situations in which the mask is not easily available or its use in public is awkward. The real challenge for Zihaka’s speed is the mod Uncontrolled: she requires someone else’s genuine laughter to use her gift. When there is genuine laughter around her, she can roll to activate her Speed. She has few different strategies for getting this laughter. First, in a city, she can visit a place where she is likely to her laughter (like a square with playing children during the day, or a tavern in the evening)… and hope the speed lasts long enough to take her where she needs to go. Second, she can try to get someone around her to laugh (difficult during a fight… but possible if a fight has not yet broken out). This last is tricky. Due to her low Creator (Charming) she’s bad at all forms of art / using words to get an emotional response, so she’s got a penalty for simply telling jokes.
Once activated, her Speed allows her to cover more ground, get a bonus to dodging, and take extra actions.
Her tox type is Karma which introduces story obstacles (rather than have some mechanical, numeric change). Specifically, since she’s at odds with her forming seeming of happiness, her Karma introduces tragedies that will keep her off balance or depressed.
Istvan is a fairly simple young man. He loved being a farmer and the company of friends, until he became spirit-touched. He found that his abilities intimidated others, making personal connection difficult, and the cat-spirit wanderlust he feels prevents him from staying in one place and putting down routes. He is a solid melee fighter, thanks to cat powers, and also has a limited ability to see the future.
Roleplaying and Motivation
For the moment, Istvan mostly just subsists and worries about the day to day job of hunting. He enjoys the focus he feels during a hunt. That focus takes his mind off of the conflict between his former identity that enjoyed friendship and being rooted in one place and his new identity that includes the personality of a solitary, wandering cat.
Why join with the others? He’ll be happy to have interactions with people who won’t be as intimidated or afraid of him as mundane folk. Also, if the group travels, it may provide the balance between having a community and needing to travel that has proven elusive so far.
Gifts and Tox
Istvan’s Melee and Toughness gifts are pretty straight forward. His strength makes him hit faster and harder, while his enhance reflexes help him avoid or reduce damage.
Prophecy is a more nuanced gift for Istvan. The spirit that touched him was a cat spirit, roughly similar to breed of large, black wild cat in Isladja that is known for being spotted when there’s a big change in the weather or seasons. Istvan has received some of their prescience. However, his ability to see the future only applies to large scale trends (like weather and seasons). Istvan can’t get any answers about the actions or fates of individuals.
Istvan’s tox type is Psyche, specifically a compulsion to give vague, dire prophecies. Low level tox effects might look like simply odd or off puting remarks, Since his gifts are all fairly low level (2), his tox effects are likely low-power, and typically only have the effect of confusing or annoying those who don’t know him. This prophecy compulsion can also be an obstacle when Istvan must stay silent. He hates it when he feels compelled to shout out a dire warning while hunting. It scares the game away.