Characters are a combination of statistics, role playing, and your own imagination. As a player, you will select a race, subspecies, talents, and more to make your character. You might also invent the nature, appearance, and origin story for the character; some ARCs require more customization than others. Once you complete your character, it will serve as your representative in the game world.
Before starting step one, think about the kind of character you want to play. You might be a courageous Earthling, a prowling Arcosian, an enthusiastic Namekian, or a flamboyant Majin. Or you might be more interested in an unconventional character, such as a brave Gadgeteer who likes ballistic weaponry that picks off enemies from afar. If you don’t know where else to begin, look at the artwork or entries in this book to see what catches your interest.
Once you have a character in mind, follow the steps in order, making decisions that reflect the character you want. The conception of your character might evolve with each choice you make.
What’s important is that you come to the table with a character you’re excited to play. Throughout this section, we talk about your character sheet this is what you use to keep track of your character, whether it’s a formal character sheet, some form of a digital record, or a piece of notebook paper.
Before you begin the process of character creation you will need to talk to your ARC and determine the level of play. In the DBU you will use power levels to determine how strong your character is and what abilities they have access to. Once you are given the specific about what power level your character needs to be then you can start creating your character.
Power Level. As you go on journeys and complete encounters, you will gain experience, represented by experience points (XP). When you reach a specific number of experience points, you advance in capabilities, known as power Level. As you increase power levels, you’ll get access to additional features and abilities.
The power level table summarizes the XP you need to increase in levels from level 1 through level 20, and capacity rate, ki pool and features for a character of a specific power level. There is not a maximum power level you can reach.
|Power Level||Capacity Rate||Ki Pool||Features||Experience Points||Tier of Power|
|1||12||26||Character Perk x2||–||+0|
|+1||+8||+12||See Beyond PL 20||PL + 90||See Tier of Power|
Getting Started. Technically, your character starts at power level one and increases in power by adventuring and gaining experience points. To figure out the number of experience point require for you to advance in power level simply multiply your current power level by ninety (90). Each time you gain a Power Level your experience points will reset back to zero (0).
Starting off at power level one symbolized your character’s entrance into the world of the dragon. If you’re already familiar with the game, or if you are joining an existing campaign, your Architect might decide to have you begin at a higher level, on the idea that your character has already endured a few harrowing encounters.
Record your character’s power level on their sheet. If you’re starting at a higher level, record the additional elements you gain from higher power levels, as shown above. A 1st-level character has zero experience points. A higher power level character typically begins with the minimum amount of XP required to reach the specified level.
Beyond Power Level Twenty. If you are higher than power level twenty (20) use the last row of the chart above to figure out the aptitudes you gain from your level. Features repeat every twenty power levels. As an example, at power level six you gain a character perk so you will also gain a character perk at power level twenty-six, forty-six and sixty-six, so forth and so on. There is no limit to how high your power level can be.
Ki Energy. Ki, also known as chi or simply energy is the latent fighting power used by all living creatures, the energy the makes up all life in the Dragon World. This force is a tangible energy inside everyone. An individual can manipulate this power and draw it outside the body to be used for many different abilities and techniques. The physical limitation of the body itself can limit your control over it so it is necessary to train your body and mind to become stronger.
Ki Points. The ki pool is the maximum amount of points you can spend during a single combat encounter. Your ki pool is directly related to the power level. You can spend ki points on many different aspects inside the game. Nearly every maneuver in combat requires ki points. (Actions & Combat). It is important to keep track of how many points you spend each turn and during rounds, lease you find yourself without any points and unable to perform maneuver. If you reach zero (0) ki points you become fatigued, when you are fatigued you grant superiority to all enemies. (Attacking & Conditions)
Capacity Rate. Your capacity rate is the amount of ki points you can spend during a single round of combat. Your capacity rate resets at the start of each round, allowing you to spend the full amount again. Capacity rate or simply capacity is a governing mechanic that allows you to spend ki points during combat without dropping to zero (0) points within the first round or turn of combat.
|Limitless Capacity. The following variant can be used in place of the standard capacity rate method. This option gives you the ability to use as many ki points as you wish. Instead of the Capacity Rate rule above you can spend ki points freely, during your turn and the entirety of combat, up to your total ki point pool limit.|
Character Perks. Character perks are used to improve attributes, skills, talents, and other abilities. At character creation and specific power levels you gain perks. At some power levels you will gain a specific perk while at other levels you will get an aptitude called character perk. If you gain a character perk you can exchange it for any of of the following options: attribute addition, skill proficiency, technique points, a single talent, or even a mixture. Something you will gain a specific perks, as an example at power level seven you will gain the character perk technique points as described below.
- Attribute Addition. You can either increase a single attribute score by four (+4) or two attribute scores by two (+2) each.
- Skill Proficiency. You can select to either gain two (2) new skill proficiency or increase the rank of two (2) skill you already have.
- Technique Points. If you select this perk, you receive ten (10) technique points.
- Talent Addition. You may select one (1) talent.
- Mixed Aptitudes. Increase a single attribute by two (+2), gain one (1) skill proficiency or increase the rank of one (1) skill you already have and receive five (5) technique points.
Depending on your group and ARC’s choice there are two ways you can increase your power level. You can use the power level up system, as described above, or you can use the experience purchase system detailed next.
|Experience Purchase System. The following variant can be used in place of the standard power level system. This option gives more control over what you do with experience points. You will spend your experience points to purchase character perks from the list below. You will still use the power level progression chart for ki points, capacity and tier of power as they are related to your power level, but otherwise will ignore all other information.|
– Attribute Addition (31xp). You can either increase a single attribute score by four (+4) or two attribute scores by two (+2) each.
– Power Increase (33xp). Increase your power level by one (+1). You don’t gain any character perks based on the power level progression chart with this purchase.
– Skill Proficiency (25xp). You can select to either gain two (2) new skill proficiency or increase the rank of two (2) skill you already have.
– Technique Points (29xp). If you select this perk, you receive ten (10) technique points, which can be spent on customized abilities.
– Talent Addition (27xp). You may select one (1) talent.
– Mixed Aptitude (37xp). Increase a single attribute by two (+2), gain one (1) skill proficiency or increase the rank of one (1) skill you already have and receive five (5) technique points.
Tiers of Power. A game might last a single session or longer. So, some scenarios might call for a higher level of play. With tiers of power, players and ARCs can increase their strengths and abilities beyond typical game play. Starting at power level five (5) and every five (5) power levels afterwards you will reach a new tier of power and gain an extra dice. A tier of power is referenced by a numerical value. For example, tier of power one (1) is power level five and tier of power two (2) is power level (10), so forth and so on.
For each tier of power reached your extra dice is changed into a larger die. Starting at tier of power one (1) you will gain an extra +1d4, at tier of power two (2) the dice changes to a +1d6, at tier three (3) the dice changes into a +1d8, at tier four (4) the dice changes into a +1d10. A tier of power extra dice cannot increase beyond a d10. When your tier of power extra dice reaches +1d10 you will start the process over and add an additional extra dice starting at +1d4 again. As an example, at tier of power five (5) you will have extra dice of 1d10+1d4. (See chart below for more details)
|Power Level||Tier of Power||Extra Dice|
Cost of Power. As your tier of power increases so does the might of your attacks and actions. Any attack, technique or ability types that has a base ki point cost will increase in price by one-half (1/2) it current cost each tier of power reached. This includes, but is not limited to the following attack types, technique types, and ability types: Physical, Sphere, Incantation, Basic, Combination, Powered, Rapid Fire, Guided, Kiai, Energy Focus, Blast, Explosion, Beam, Aura and Dynamic.
For example, the base ki point cost for the Sphere attack type is two (2). At Tier of Power one the base ki point cost would be three (3). At Tier of Power two the base ki point cost would be four (4). At Tier of Power three the base ki point cost would be six (6), so fourth and so on.
Creating Your Character
Step 1 – Choosing A Race. All characters belong to one of the sentient humanoid species from Dragon World. Your character’s race contributes to your identity in a significant way, by establishing an overall appearance and the natural traits gained from culture and origin. Your racial traits, proficiency in one or more skills, and attribute bonuses are all derived from your character’s race. These traits sometimes complement with certain aptitudes. For example, the traits of Cybernetic Organism Androids make them exceptional at using energy attacks, and Majin tend to be powerful in the arts of magic. Sometimes playing against a type can be fun, too. For example, Arcosians that focuses on ranged weaponry or a Namekian that pilots a battle jacket can be unusual but memorable characters.
Playable Races. In the Dragon World, a visit to any corner of the universe will overwhelm the senses. Between the chatter of different alien languages, the smell of unique cuisines, and the myriad of architectural styles, the spectrum of diversity is dazzling. Scattered among the stars are the people themselves, the inhabitants of universes. We focus on seven’s inhabitants of the universe, from the aggressive warrior race known as Saiyans to the sly and cunning Arcosians, the wise and peaceful Namekains, the magical and spellbound Majins, and the artificial beings called Androids. Even the populations of Earth can be found exploring the vastness of the universe. Playable races include Earthlings, Saiyans, Arcosians, Namekians, Majins and Androids.
In the Race section of this website, you can read about the attribute bonuses, skill proficiencies, vision, hearing, traits, and other aptitudes of the playable races in the DBU engine. We tailored each race and added what we thought was their best and most iconic features from the myriad of television shows. We took those features and attempted to recreate them in an RPG pen and paper setting. There is a huge amount of species we don’t cover in the game; either there is too little information about them, or they simply didn’t display unique enough qualities to be mentioned. But we always encourage players and architects to build or create their own species for play.
Subspecies. Some races have subspecies. Members of a subspecies have the traits of the parent race in addition to the traits specified for them. These include Earthlings, Beast-men, Full-Bloods, Half-Bloods, Warrior & Dragon Clans, Artificial Constructs, Cybernetic Organisms, and Bio-Engineered.
Subspecies get all the characteristics of the race such as attribute scores, health modifiers, and traits. As an example, Saiyans, regardless of subspecies, gain pluses to strength and tenacity, proficiency in the skills athletics and intimidate, a health modifier of three, and the traits Bred for Battle, Impenetrable Physique, Blood of the Warrior, Saiyan tail and Saiyan heritage. The Saiyan subspecies full-blood gains Unyielding and Reckless Aggression as additional traits, and half-bloods gain Warrior of Two Worlds and Raging Hero. Each of those traits are unique to each subspecies.
Racial Traits. Racial traits or simply traits are abilities unique to each race. They can enhance your character’s skills, abilities, or other statistics, and even grant interesting capabilities. Each species’ traits stand out among the crowd. It is important to read each ability carefully, as some have a complexity that might cause them to be misused.
|Easy Game Difficulty. This variant rule gives you more life points which allow your character to sustain more damage than normal. When using this variant rule, you will roll 3d10 for life points at character creation and each power level. Additionally, double your species’ health modifier when adding it to your life points.|
Health Modifiers. Health Modifiers are the natural endurance or life force of a race. They are added as modifiers when rolling for life points each power level.
Ability Types. There are three different types of abilities in the game, and they can enhance your strength, speed, power, and other statistics. An important note is that racial traits that have a point cost don’t count towards your capacity rate during combat encounters.
Active Abilities. Active abilities are special aptitudes that you can activate for a cost. The cost can be almost anything, such as sacrificing an action, paying ki points, or paying life points. These abilities typically aren’t labeled as active but are easy to recognize. For example, the Namekian trait cellular proliferation allows you to spend ki points to heal your wounds.
Sustain Abilities. A sustained ability has a cost or up-keep you must pay each round to keep the ability active. This is to help keep the balance and ensure stability of combat. ARCs might find this rule unsatisfying, so another suggestion is to allow these abilities only to be used every so many rounds such as three or five rounds to “recharge”.
Passive Abilities. Passive abilities are always in play, and you always have the benefits. For example, the Earthling trait called perseverance allows characters to always re-roll any natural results of two (2).
Step 2 – Aptitude Scores. Now that you have your species and all the traits related to it, you will record the aptitudes of your character such as attributes, life points and saving throws.
Everything your character does in the game depends on your eight attributes: agility, strength, tenacity, scholarship, insight, spirit, potency, personality. Each attribute has a score you will record on your character sheet. At character creation, select your character’s three main attributes: primary, secondary, and tertiary. A primary attribute score is eight (8), and secondary attribute score is six (6). A character’s tertiary attribute score is four (4) and all remaining scores for the rest of your attributes will start at two (2). Remember to add any additional bonuses to your attributes from your race. After assigning your attribute scores you will need to determine their modifiers. (See Core Rules)
Life Points. Life Points are the numeric measurement of damage you can suffer before you become defeated. Each time you increase in power level, your life points will also increase. At character creation you will roll 5d10 and add your tenacity and health modifiers to determine your life points. When you increase your power level thereafter you will roll 2d10 and add your modifiers. That dice score is then added to your maximum life points.
Also, each time your tenacity modifier increases, so will your life points. For example, if your tenacity modifier was two (+2) and you increased it to three (+3), you will adjust your life points as if your modifier has always been three. When rolling for life points ignore both botch and critical rules. (See Core Rules)
Health Thresholds represent your level of combat effectiveness based on the amount of damage you have sustained throughout an encounter. As you suffer damage and your life points are reduced you will reach thresholds that impact your fighting ability.
- Bloodied When you reach fifty percent (50%) of your total life points or less , you will become bloodied. A character that is bloodied will suffer a penalty of one (-1) to all rolls during combat.
- Injured. You become injured when your life points reach twenty-five percent (25%) of your total life points or less . If you are injured all your rolls during combat suffer a negative two (-2) penalty.
- Wounded. When your life points are reduced to ten percent (10%) or less, you become wounded. When you are wounded all your dice rolls during combat suffer a negative three (-3) penalty.
Ki Points. Ki energy is the latent fighting power used by all living creatures, the energy the makes up all life in the DBU. Your ki pool is directly related to the power level. You can spend ki points on many different aspects of the game. Nearly every maneuver in combat requires ki points. Your capacity rate is the number of ki points you can spend from your pool on maneuvers during a single round of combat.
Saving Throws. A saving throw is used in an attempt to resist splash effects, traps, poisons, mind control, and to maintain personal merit. Saving throws are related to your attributes and represent your ability to resist unusual effects. Typically, you won’t decide when or if you can make a saving throw. An ARC will ask for a save or a situation will force you to make one. There are five types of saves: impulsive (agility), corporeal (tenacity), cognitive (insight), morale (personality) and steadfast. To make a saving throw, roll a d10 and add the appropriate attribute modifier. The target number for a saving throw is determined by a rule or special ability. If the save is successful, you typically avoid the effects, if failed you will suffer the full effects of the source. (See Core Rules)
– Impulsive. An impulsive save is a saving throw used to measure your ability to dodge area-of-effects abilities, traps, splash damage, and fire.
– Corporeal. A corporeal save is a saving throw used to measure your ability to withstand physical abuse such as poisons, unconsciousness, and other effects that physically afflict the body.
– Cognitive. A cognitive save is a saving throw used to measure your ability to combat mental attacks such as possession, mind control, and other such abilities that affect the mind.
– Morale. A morale save is a saving throw used to measure a character’s ability to remain true to their persona or to fight the effects of emotional conflicts.
– Steadfast. A steadfast check is a special type of saving throw used when you reach health thresholds. (See Attacking & Conditions) Steadfast isn’t related to a specific attribute and it doesn’t gain bonuses from tier or power. Typically, a steadfast check is simply a d10 roll; however, there are some situations or abilities that might grant bonuses or penalties.
Skills. Skills represent a facet of an attribute score, and your skill score shows your focus on that facet. You can only add a skill modifier to your ability checks if you are proficient in the skill. You will gain one (1) skill proficiency at character creation and you gain skills from your race. If you’re proficient with a skill, you gain a modifier when rolling checks related to that skill. (See Core Rules)
Step 3 – Character Details. Once you know the basic statistics of your character, it’s time to flesh out their abilities. Talents are a great way to give your character focus abilities that increase their combat effeteness.
Talent. Talents are a special feature that either gives your character a new capability or improves on one that you already have. Talents represent an area of expertise that gives characters special abilities: training, experience, and abilities beyond what a character is granted by their race. Talents are a great way to give additional abilities and power in the form of a niche capability. Character gain one (+1) free talent at character creation. (See Talents)
Technique. A technique is a special attack created specifically and uniquely for your character. At character creation, your character will get ten (10) technique points to spend on a custom technique. You also gain an amount of technique points equal to one-half (1/2) your power level when reaching a new tier of power and from high scholarship (see gifted student in core rules). You can use technique points to create signature attacks or magical abilities. You can save and spend points as you wish to create powerful techniques. (See Signature) (See Magical)
Step 4 – Choosing Gear. Your species will determine what equipment you start with including weapons, armor, and other adventuring gear. Record this equipment on your character sheet. Instead of taking a standard gear kit, you can purchase equipment. You start with wealth to spend depending on your species. (See Gear & Equipment)
Your strength score limits the amount of gear you can carry. Try not to purchase equipment with a total weight exceeding your strength score times thirty (30). (See Core Rules)
Your character needs to be proficient with armor to wear it effectively, armor proficiencies are determined by your talents. There are drawbacks to wearing armor if you lack the required talent.
Dodge. Dodge represents how well characters avoid being wounded in battle. Gear can also affect your dodge score. Your character’s dodge equals a d10 + Defense Value + any additional modifiers. (See Attacking & Conditions)
Soak. Soak is your ability to ignore the damage inflicted on you. Your soak value is equal to your tenacity modifier. Additionally, your soak value can be increased or decreased by abilities, items or other type of modifications. (See Attacking & Conditions) You are always considered to have a minimum soak value of (2) two even if your tenacity modifier or other modification would make it lower. As example, if you tenacity modifier is one (1) you are considered to have a soak value of two (2). However, if you soak modifier is three (3) you will have a soak value of three (3).
Weapons. Your character can carry a number of weapons equal to the number of arms they have plus one. For each of those weapons, you’ll need to calculate the strike modifier and damage dealt for quick reference. (See Gear & Equipment)
Step 5 – Finishing Touches. Your character has come together, and you’re starting to really breathe life into them. There are a few more things to finish up before you’re ready to play the game. Your character needs a name. Spend a few minutes thinking about what he or she looks like and how he or she behaves in general terms. There are a few blanks on top of your character sheet, areas to detail and describe your character.
Initiative. Initiative determines the sequence of turns during combat. When a combat encounter starts, every combatant makes an agility check to determine their place in the order. Your initiative modifier equals to one-half (1/2) your agility modifier.
Speed. When you move during combat you increase your speed by your swiftness and dexterity. When you are moving along the ground you will add your ground swiftness and your race’s dexterity to determine your ground speed. When you are moving through the air you will add your flight swiftness and your race’s dexterity to determine your flight speed.
Personality and Role play. You have your attributes, your race, and the details about your character, now it is time for your character’s personality. Sure, characters can fly around, shoot lasers, and punch hard, but what’s their personality like? What makes a character an individual? The answer is their z-soul. A z-soul defines a character’s natural mannerisms, behavior, and disposition, how you interact with the world. Z-souls are dynamic: they might deal with how you were raised, there can be different types of z-souls. A good example might be that your character is prideful or uncaring. Your z-soul might be an honor code, humble up-bringing, or simply lawful good. You will work with your group and ARC to create the perfect, formfitting persona for your character. At character creation, you will start with five (5) Karma points, regardless of your starting power level. (Z-Souls)
Filling the blanks. At this point, your character should be ready to play. You might find some blanks on your character record sheet. Fill in these blanks to the best of your ability for now. These areas will be covered in later sections and won’t affect your ability to play your character.
Ready To Play. You are now ready to start playing the game. Remember that most characters aren’t going to work alone or cover every possible outcome. Every character that makes up the party will have strengths that complement the rest of the group. Teamwork and cooperation greatly improve your party’s chances to overcome the many dangers in the world of the dragon. Speak with your fellow players and your ARC to decide whether your characters know one another, how they met, and what sorts of missions the group might undertake.