Character Creation - midnightprioriem/the-dark-between Wiki

Character Creation Trait Sets:

  • Distinctions
  • Attributes
  • Skills + Specialties
  • Abilities
  • Signature Assets


Before creating any traits or assigning dice, the most important step in character creation is your Concept. Consider the type of character you want to play, what sort of role your character would like to have in the story. Think about what their upringing was like, their personality, and the sorts of abilities you want your character to have.

Do you want to play a powerful Farseeker who manipulates the threads of space and gravity? Or perhaps a Deep Dweller working for the Holden Corporation maintaining underground pipelines. Use The Dark Between campaign setting to help generate ideas. Once you have a solid concept in mind, you can move on to creating your character’s Trait Sets.


Distinctions are a Character’s most important trait set. Characters have three distinction traits that give establish their background, personality, role in the story, ancestory, vocation, or heritage. It is up to you to decide what these distinctions are—for some characters, their ancestory might be important to them. For others, their profession. Work with the DM to come up with the best distinctions that fit with your character’s Concept.


Traits, including Disctinctions, sometimes have SFX attached to them, which are kinds of “bonuses” or “benefits” that occur when certain stipulations are met.

All Distinctions get the Hinder distinction: “Gain a PP when you switch out this distinction’s 8 for a 4”

In addition, The Dark Between characters will get 3 more SFX to distribute across their distinctions as they see fit. Work with the DM to determine exactly what these SFX are—certain ancestories, backgrounds, or vocations may come with specific SFX. More SFX can be added to distinctions through Character Growth.


Attributes start at 8. An attribute may be stepped down to step another attribute up. No attribute may start higher than 10.

  • Strength
  • Dexterity
  • Intellect
  • Awareness
  • Conviction


Skills start at 4. At creation, Players have 9 step-up points. Starting out, skills have a max rating of 10.

  • Athletics
  • Acrobatics
  • Combat
  • Deception
  • Engineering
  • Intimidation
  • Knowledge
  • Medicine
  • Perception
  • Performance
  • Persuasion
  • Sleight of Hand
  • Stealth

Skill Specialties

Start at a rating of 6 and can be upgraded, no specific list. Characters start out with 1 specialty. More can be added through Character Growth.


Characters start with 3 Abilities, traits that represent powers or aptitudes that go above and beyond the average person in the world. For Acronists, these abilities represent the 3 aspects of their chosen Primal Spirit. For other characters, their abilities can represent a number of different things depending on their concept—special equipment, weapons, gear, or specific powers/traits inherited from their ancestory or background. Each character starts with two 6 rated abilities, one 8 rated ability, and a single SFX attached to each ability. Higher ratings and more SFX can be added through Character Growth.

Signature Assets

Characters start with a single Signature Asset, rated 6, which represents a particularly iconic weapon, item, pet, or something else entirely that is tied to the Character. Signature assets can also represent more nebulous things, such as relationships with important organizations or characters within the world.

Creating SFX

For Distinctions and Abilities, players can create SFX, short for "special effect". These take the form of a benefit or special bonus that can occur under certain conditions. They are a way to break from the normal rules of the game, modify the outcome of tests and contests, and add more flavor to the story.

Creating SFX

One way to look at SFX is as a combination of a cost and a benefit. The standard SFX has the cost of "use the distinction as a 4" and the benefit "earn a PP".

Here's a list of sample costs to choose from:

  • Spend a PP
  • Step down a beneficial die (usually an attribute, skill, or asset)
  • Step up a non-beneficial die (usually a complication or stress)
  • Choose to do or introduce something risky/ill-advised/complicated ("When you walk into a volatile situation and cause trouble...")
  • Create an 8 complication
  • Shut down a trait set

Here are some example benefits:

  • Earn a PP
  • Add a 6 to your dice pool
  • Step up a beneficial die (usually a specialty or asset)
  • Double a beneficial die
  • Step down a non-beneficial die (usually a complication or stress)
  • Introduce a non-mechanical story detail
  • Rename a complication ("I'm not Sickened, I'm Angry")
  • Reroll a single die
  • Create an 8 asset for the rest of the scene

Some SFX can switch the cost for a different sort of triggering mechanism, such as getting a heroic success or some other rp-based mechanism. Costs and triggers can also be combined if the SFX's benefit is more potent than usual.


Here are some example SFX as related to Distinctions and Abilities.

Expert Marksman 8
Your character has trained to become an expert marksman, be it with firearms or more primitive weaponry.

  • Critical Aim: Spend a PP to step up Expert Marksman

Juggernaut 8
Your character is unstoppable in a fight.

  • Guardian: Spend a PP to suffer Physical stress in place of a nearby ally.

Energy 8
Your character has access to the Primal Aspect of Energy.

  • Absorption: If your character succeeds in defending against some form of Energy attack, convert your opponent's effect die into a temporary asset to use on your next roll. Spend a PP to use this SFX even if your opponent succeeds.

The Big Book of SFX has a very detailed overview of constructing different types of SFX.

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