Stormforge West is hard at work on Gates (see the introduction here), and today we can show you an example of how character creation works in Gates. So take it away James!

One of the key aspects of Gates is its character customization. Nearly any type of character can be made in Gates. To showcase this property, I will show you the process for making two very different characters. The first is one of the Gate Striders that has a quote in the book, Gregor Rokan. The second will be a character that is a bit more… unique. We will get to that soon. But first, lets go through the making of Gregor.

Gregor Rokan

So, we need to know who Gregor Is. I know I want him to be an archer of sorts, perhaps a fantasy sniper/ranger type.

Step 1: Talk to party

Before creating any character, you will need to talk to the GM and the party as a whole. Discuss the game with them, and use this to build the character. However, we do not have a party to speak too. So, this will be skipped.

Step 2: Background

This step is where we consider the background of the character. We will need to consider who Gregor was and what his past was like. Gregor is a Gate Strider. This means that he is an impressive individual. So who was Gregor Rokan? Gregor was raised in a fantasy world with danger at every corner. He lived in a small town, one situated in a woods. This character is a sniper, so lets tie that in to his background. One day, His town was attacked by hordes of Orcs, which he played a key part in defending the town. Using his sniping skills with a bow, he slaid thirty two orcs before they even arrived.

Now, lets build his background mechanically. We have five background points to spend on different traits. These traits are split into four categories: Lifestyle, Challenge, Journey, and world. It is not necessary to choose a background trait from each section, but we will for demonstration.

Lifestyle represents who the character was and how they lived their life. There are many background traits to choose from, but lets select “Survivor”. Survivor is a trait that means the character was adept at surviving in the wild. Because Gregor spent much of his time hunting, he has learned the ins and outs of this trait fairly well. Mechanically, this means Gregor gains the Survival skill set. More on that latter.

The Challenge is a the trait which makes the Gate Strider a Gate Strider. This is why they were chosen to explore the worlds. Gregor was chosen because he was fearless in the face of danger. Thus, we will give him “Fearless” which means Gregor is immune to fear.

Journey traits are gained on the road. Between becoming a Gate Strider and the start of the adventure, a character will have traveled through a few worlds. In this journey, they will have picked up equipment, made friends, and learned some valuable information. These are represented by Journey traits. For Gregor, lets give him “Travelers Lore”. This mean he has traveled to many worlds and has learned many bits and pieces of lore. He may spend a hero die in order to gain insight on any unique artifact or Gate Strider.

The final Background Trait is the world trait. This is a trait gained from the world the character comes from. Since Gregor comes from a fantasy world, then lets select “Trinkets” which means the character begins the game with several magical trinkets.

So, to summarize, we have decided to select Trinkets, Survivor, Travelers Lore, and Fearless as the background traits. This means that we have 1 background point left. This transfers into a Hero Die. Hero Dice represent a characters luck and are equal to 1+ the remaining Hero Dice. Thus, two Hero Dice.

Step 3: Abilities

There are 6 abilities in Gates. Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Focus, and Spirit. When determining their starting points, set each one equal to 2 and spread 10 points throughout them. Because we know Gregor is an archer/ranger type. We will give him a higher Dexterity and Focus. This is how we will spread the abilities:

Strength 3
Dexterity 5
Constitution 4
Intelligence 3
Focus 5
Spirit 2

He has low spirit, but the high dexterity and focus will help him stay alert and ready for any situation.

Step 4: Classes

This is a very important decision for us to make. Here, we will decide on two classes that will make up the character. We know that a part of Gregor’s character is being an expert archer. Archer is a school within the Warrior class, so let’s choose that as the first class. The second class is a bit tricky. We could go down a more sniper route and select Rogue. Alternatively, we can select Naturalist and give him a more mystical nature connection. Gregor is not a mystical character, so let’s go with a Warrior/Rogue.

Step 5: Cores

A Core is a core ability of a character. A character selects three Cores for their character. These are selected from the classes chosen as well as two universal Cores. The Cores for warrior are “Attack Training” and “Defence Training”. The Cores for Rogue are “Sneak Attack” and “Hide”. The Universal Cores are “Enhanced Ability” and “Ability Mastery”.
Let’s choose “Attack Training”, “Sneak Attack”, and “Hide.” This will give the character accuracy with attacks, the ability to hide quickly and easily, and the ability to perform deadly sneak attacks. I will not go over these Cores right now, as I will cover them in a future blog post.

Step 6: Skills

Similar to Cores, we select three skill sets from the classes we have chosen. The skills available are Acrobatics, Thieving, Athletics, and Tactics. Now, because he has the Survivor trait, then Gregor gains the Survival skill set already. Because Gregor is not a thief, we will select Acrobatics, Athletics, and Tactics. This means he is very physically adept and has a keen eye for tactics.

Step 7: Health

Next, we calculate health and Threshold. Health is calculated from a combination of the classes, plus double constitution. In Gregor’s case, this is 21 HP. Threshold is the same, except instead of double Constitution It is equal to Constitution + Spirit. Threshold of 19.

Step 8: Statistics

Now, we need to calculate the statistics. I will glosse over this section because the character statistics will be explored in detail latter. For now, know that you select either attack or defence to increase by 1. Lets increase attack. Next, let’s calculate initiative (Dex+Foc), healing factor (Con+Str), Proficiency (begins at 2), Load (Half Strength +1), Attunement (Half Spirit). Gregors stats are:

Initiative 8
Healing Factor 8
Load 2
Attunement 1

Step 9: Equipment

This is the final step to creating a character, starting equipment. A character gains one Advanced item, two basic items, and three simple items. The specifics of what these mean are not important right now, but Gregor will start with a Longbow, a Sturdy horse, Leather armor, an adventurer’s kit, a dagger, and a cloak to use along with the dagger.

So, that is Gregor! His character is a bit basic. To be honest, it is a tad boring. Gregor was just a warmup. A sample. So, lets make something a bit more wild to really show off the character creation. This next character will test the limits of what Gates can do. Lets build Jalik..


© Anderson Maia

There is a world that has been destroyed by a magical war long ago. Now, it is a wasteland full of mutant animals, cobbled technology, and magical contamination. Jalik was a wild child, he ran with the mutated animals through the fields during the day, and tinkered on stray bits of electronics at night. During a hunt, he fell into a pool of water. This water was filled to the brim with ancient magic left over from the war. When he came out, he was changed. Jalik was stronger, lion-like, and his form was slightly mutable. With focus, he could change the length of his claws. Returning home, his mother, Leena, did not believe this monster was his son. So, he was forced to roam. Eventually, Jalik stopped and stayed at a junk town. Using his knowledge of engineering, he furthered his mechanical mind. To make a living, he battled in an arena to make money, winning most fights. Eventually, he constructed his first mechanised suit designed to further increase his power. He became the champion of the town. Became rich, but lost all challenge. So he set out to find more excitement. This was when he found his first Gate, and his new found hobby as a Gate Strider.

This is a doozy of a character, but it is surprisingly standard for a Gates character! Let’s get to building!

Step 1: Talk to party


Step 2: Background

Jaliks background has a lot going for it, but I have decided that three background traits will fill him out nicely. We will give him “Well Equipped” because he was a wealthy gladiator which used his wealth to purchase weaponry. This gives him an extra advanced item, two more basic items, and three more simple items. The next trait will be “Feat of Strength”. Jalik’s incredible lion-like body allows him great feats of strength. Mechanically, this gives him a bonus when attempting to lift or move huge objects. The last trait will be “Predator”. This should be self explanatory, and allows him to automatically find one person he is tracking, but only once per session.
Because he only selected three traits, Jalik has three hero dice.

Step 3: Abilities

This is going to be more in depth than Gregors. But, for reasons that will become apparent soon, let’s hold off on the abilities for now.

Step 4: Classes

What classes would cover a shape-changing monster walking around in mechanised armor? Easy, Artificer and Naturalist. Artificers are all about the equipment and crafting while Naturalist would be perfect for emulated the “wild” side of Jalik.

Step 5: Cores

The Cores available to Jalik are “Craft Equipment” and “Jury Rig” from artificer, “Nature Aspect” and “Animal Friend” from naturalist, and “Ability Master“ and “Enhanced Abilities”. For Jalik, Craft Equipment will be good. It will give him more starting equipment, as well as allow him to recraft his starting equipment. Specifically, three more simple items, two more basic items, and one more advanced item.

Let’s also give Jalik Nature Aspect. This will give him a choice of different aspects of nature which can give him animal like qualities. Let’s choose Natural attack and Fur. This gives him powerful claws to use, as well as allowing him to resist the cold.

Finally, He will get Enhanced abilities. This simply gives him three more ability points to spend on his ability scores. This is why we waited for abilities.

Step 3: Abilities

Alright, Jilak now has 13 points to work with. But first, let’s take a look at innate perks. Innate perks are traits that can be purchased with ability points. We will pick “Scent” and “Intimidating” for his perks. Scent gives him a particularly strong sense of smell. Intimidating grants a bonus to intimidating, a no brainer choice for Jalik. These both cost one ability point, so that leaves us with 11 left. Here is his ability points after spreading them out.

Strength 6
Dexterity 3
Constitution 4
Intelligence 4
Focus 3
Spirit 3

Step 6: Skills

The skills available to Jalik are “Craft” and “Science” from artificer, and “Survival” and “Magic” from naturalist. Jalik does not know much about magic, so let’s go with Craft, Science, and Survival.

Step 7: Health

Using the same formula for HP and TH as Gregor, Jalik has 20 HP and 19 TH. Not as tough as Gregor, but that is ok.

Step 8: Statistics

Calculating Jalik’s Statistics, we get:

Initiative 6
Healing Factor 10
Load 4
Attunement 1

Step 9: Equipment

Now, we get to have fun with equipment. Jalik, from a combination of his background and Cores, has three advanced items, six basic Items, and nine simple items. These three types of equipment act as a sort of currency, which can be spent to upgrade equipment. Most of this will go into his mechanised suit.

All three advanced items will go into the armor. It is heavy armor, which requires 2 load, and mechanised. Mechanised means he is treated as having the large innate perk while wearing it and weapons may be installed. We are going to install one weapon. Perhaps a shotgun installed in the knuckles of the mech. The hands are left free, to make use of his claws.

For his basic items, lets convert three of them into two advanced items and use these to buy him a truck. A large mount which is sturdy. This will allow him to carry around his armor with ease. The last three will go to installing a shield onto the mech, and to purchase a climbing kit.

Simple items are a doozy. With nine of them, we have a lot of room to play. Let’s convert three of them into a basic item. WIth this, we will use it to give Jalik five grenades. Two of them simple items will go into packs. An adventurers pack and a mechanics pack. These are bundles of equipment that will be handy for Jalik. A dagger is always handy, so let’s give him one. This leaves three simple items remaining. One of them will go to a set of hide armor, for when Jalik cannot wear the mech, and the other two will be spent to give him two one-use traps.

Alright, so that is Jalik. All-in-all, he is not so complicated a character. Except, maybe his equipment. But the character creation in Gates does not stop here. Almost any character can be made. Pistol wielding dragon? A flying sprite with deadly magic? What about a dracotaur with the power to shape earth? All of these are perfectly viable Gates characters.

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