Xero Sum Engine offers three methods to create a character: Backstory Generation, customizing a Paradigm, or picking a Pregenerated Character (Pregen).
Players use 20 Character Development Points (CDP) to create their character at different stages of their life.
Players should write 1-2 sentences about what happened to during each step and how it affected them. At the end of this process, combining these sentences captures their backstory.
STEP XERO: WHO ARE THEY?
Players should define as much of their concept as possible. They should pick 3 words that describe their character.
STEP ONE: WHERE THEY GREW UP
This covers the first 10-15 years of a character's life.
Players spend 1 CDP on raising a RAPID Range attribute from 0 (Untrained)) to 1 (Good), and 2 CDP on skills. They may spend both points on 1 skill and raise it from 0 (Untrained) to +2 (Journeyman) or take 2 skills from 0 (Untrained) to +1 (Beginner).
STEP TW0: WHAT THEY LEARNED
This covers the educational stage of a character's life and players spend 1 CDP on raising a RAPID Range attribute and 3 CDP on skills.
They may not raise a skills above +2 (Journeyman) during this step.
STEP THREE: WHAT THEY LIKED TO DO
This step gives a player 1 CDP to spend on raising a RAPID Range attribute and 3 CDP raising skills to reflect the things that they did in their spare time.
They may not raise skills above +2 (Journeyman) during this step.
STEP FOUR: HOW THEY MADE MONEY
This step covers what a character did for work or to make money. Players get 2 CDP to spend on raising RAPID Range attributes and 5 CDP to spend on raising skills.
During this step, players can raise skills to +3 (Professional).
XSE has a set of Professions, which is a loose collection of thematically similar vocational skills. Players can either choose a Profession and raise the associated skills, or just choose the skills they feel matches their concept.
TABLE 8: PROFESSIONS & VOCATIONAL SKILLS
STEP FIVE: WHAT THEY LEARNED AFTER
During this step, players get 2 CDP to spend on skills to round out their character. Players can raise skills to +3 (Professional) during this step.
STEP SIX: WHAT DRIVES THEM
Players should choose a Complication and a Motivation that drive them, or roll 2d6 and compare to Table 5: Complications and Table 6: Motivations. Players can create their own Complications and Motivations, at the GMs discretion.
TABLE 6: COMPLICATIONS
TABLE 7: MOTIVATIONS
STEP SEVEN: SECONDARY STATS
Each character has a series of Secondary Statistics, or Secondary Stats, that are derived from their attributes.
TABLE 5: SECONDARY STATS
STEP EIGHT: WHAT THEY HAVE
Characters start with both a primary and secondary weapon picked from tables x-x on page xx. They get 1d3 reloads of ammunition for any weapons that require it.
Characters also get 1 item from table x: equipment on page xx and an incidental item. Depending on the setting, character may also start with a Survival Kit that includes a tent, a sleeping bag, and 2 days of rations.
STEP NINE: FINAL FLAVOR
Players should review their character and add or tweak any details before starting play.
Paradigms represent a trope, stereotype, or role within a group, and each comes predefined with the attributes and a skill set to match the concept.
To start, players just select a Paradigm, give it a name, provide a 3-word description, and choose a Complication and Motivation.
Paradigms have their RAPID Range, skills and Secondary Stats defined, and a player can make adjustments at the GMs discretion.
A full list of Paradigms can be found in Appendix C: Paradigms.
The Xero Sum Engine comes with multiple Pregenerated Characters, or Pregens, that are available for download.
The Pregens come with pre-defined RAPID Range Attributes, Skills, Complications, Motivations, and Secondary Stats, along with a semi-complete Backstory that provides an easy starting point while allowing plenty of room for customization.
These Pregens have pre-defined RAPID Range Attributes, Skills, Complications, Motivations, and Secondary Stats, alongside a semi-complete backstory that leaves room for customization.
The library of Pregens is available at xerosumgames.com/pregens.