Nature is a trait that describes, in a very general sense, a character’s core personality and outlook on the World. It acts as a touchstone for players to use when creating their characters and informing their actions and goals during play.
The following are a list of suggested Natures from which players may choose or use as inspiration in designing their own.
An Architect has a plan for everything, whether it’s her academic career, her weekend trip to the mountains or her campaign against the titanspawn threatening her city. She is methodical, systematic and organized, and once she sets out her plans, she acts on them. The Architect lives to see her plans come to fruition, for good or ill.
Architects are careful and thoughtful. They don’t do anything spontaneously, and that means they’re rarely caught unprepared when things go wrong. By the same token, they are sometimes accused of over analyzing people and situations and being unwilling to take gambles that a more spontaneous person might.
An Autocrat believes in order, stability and control. She manages every aspect of her life, from her career to her relationships, and is often the person other people turn to when they need help in a difﬁcult situation. Autocrats are assertive, take-charge personalities. The way they see it, if they want something done right, it’s better that they do the job themselves.
Autocrats are natural leaders and are stalwart souls in a crisis. They don’t fold under pressure, and they don’t hesitate to step in to help those in need. By the same token, they have a hard time dealing with authority themselves, and their stubborn insistence on pushing their opinions on others makes them seem domineering at times.
Bravos are thrill-seekers and risk-takers. They live life as fast and as close to the edge as possible. Whether it’s leaping from rooftop to rooftop 100 feet off the ground or facing down a raging monster with nothing but a small knife and a Devil-may-care smile, the Bravo dances with death every chance he gets. Sometimes, the gamble doesn’t pay off, but the Bravo has no regrets. Any landing he can walk away from is a good one, and if he can’t walk away, he’s likely beyond caring.
Bravos are born heroes. They always rush in where angels fear to tread and come out of the ﬁre smiling like ﬁends. They are impetuous and fearless and don’t pay much attention to the consequences of their actions, which means that those around them sometimes pay the price for their recklessness.
Caregivers nurture and protect those in need. They are healers or patrons or providers who share of themselves for the beneﬁt of others. Sometimes, they work in soup kitchens or do volunteer work in their spare time, or they have careers as emergency responders or social workers. Others simply do what they can for friends and family, often putting the needs of others before their own.
Caregivers bring hope and relief to others. They change lives with a single act of generosity or compassion and don’t expect anything in return. This generosity doesn’t come without risk, however, as they are often taken advantage of by selﬁsh or unscrupulous individuals. Additionally, not everyone wants to be saved. Sometimes, a Caregiver’s concern can be overbearing or suffocating, causing more harm than good.
Competitors are constantly driven to be the best at everything they do. It’s not so much about proving their superiority to others—though the worst Competitors do just that—but about validating their own self-worth by constantly testing their abilities. Some Competitors are small-scale. There are only a few areas in which they feel they must excel in order to be happy. Others strive for excellence in everything they do. It’s a degree of self-discipline and determination that often leads to personal success, but it can alienate the Competitor from her friends and family if she isn’t careful.
Competitors are driven, goal-oriented individuals who attack difﬁcult challenges enthusiastically and refuse to give up. They can be inspiring, but at times, their ruthless drive to excel taints their relationships with others.
Cynics have seen it all. They consider themselves brutal realists, possessing no illusions about justice, fairness, love or human decency. Maybe they’ve suffered many setbacks over the years or have been in a position to experience the worst excesses of humanity for a long period of time—whatever the reason, they typically expect the worst out of people and life in general.
Cynics are rarely disappointed or discouraged by the failures of others. They knew things were going to go wrong at some point, so they’re prepared with a backup plan for just such an emergency. Unfortunately, this bleak and unforgiving worldview makes it difﬁcult for them to put their trust in others or to place themselves at risk unless something is in it for them.
Fanatics are driven by an unshakable faith in their beliefs, whether it’s a social ideal, a political creed or a religious doctrine. The actual belief is less important than the total dedication that the Fanatic gives it. Fanatics aren’t born. They are trained and indoctrinated in the selﬂess devotion to their cause, or they dedicate themselves after a traumatic episode that opens their eyes to their new belief.
A Fanatic holds nothing back in the pursuit of his cause. He is willing to sacriﬁce anything and everything for the sake of a higher purpose. Such absolute devotion and selﬂess courage breeds legendary heroes and unspeakable villains in equal measure, however. Other people can be sacriﬁced just as easily if the Fanatic deems it to be in the best interests of his faith.
A Gallant places others before herself at all times. She defends those who can’t protect themselves and crusades on behalf of those who are less fortunate. She might be a social activist, a rape counselor or a ﬁreﬁghter—the Gallant is drawn to causes and occupations that let her help those in need. She might do so as a result of her upbringing, or to gain redemption for past evils, or because, at one time, she was a victim herself.
The Gallant is the romantic hero of Western legend: the dashing knight in shining armor who rescues those in distress, often at great cost. For all its heroism, however, it can be a lonely and self-destructive pursuit at times, as the would-be savior loses herself in her crusade and winds up beggaring herself and hurting those she cares about.
Gamblers always believe luck is on their side. They take risks few others would contemplate because they would rather take a chance on failure in hopes of reaping a staggering reward instead. And many times, these Gamblers fail, but it doesn’t stop them from trying again. All they need is for the dice to break their way just once, and sooner or later, they know their number will come up. You can’t win if you don’t play the game.
Gamblers are daring souls who live life right out on the ragged edge. They aren’t as reckless as most people think, however. Most times, they carefully and shrewdly weigh the odds against them before committing to a course of action, and they are philosophical when things don’t break their way. The problem is that most Gamblers don’t know when to quit. All too often, they push their luck until they—or those close to them—pay the price.
Judges believe in rules and the power of law, so much so that they can’t stand idly by and do nothing when someone crosses the line. Whether it’s something as serious as theft or as minor as vandalism or acting out in public, the Judge won’t hesitate to call people on their behavior and take steps to mete out justice. A Judge’s response is always proportional to the crime—rules are rules, after all—and she works within the bounds of the law whenever possible. When calling the cops isn’t possible, however, she isn’t afraid to take matters into her own hands.
Judges are the bonds that hold society together. They protect the weak and the innocent and say the things that many people are afraid to say. Yet a danger lies in the Judge’s letting her authority go to her head. A very ﬁne line separates protectors from tyrants.
Libertines enjoy life to the fullest, indulging their ravenous appetites for pleasure in every conceivable form. Some Libertines have speciﬁc tastes, from wine to food to romance, while others simply give themselves wholeheartedly to every temptation that presents itself. Most Libertines don’t consider themselves gluttons despite their appetites, though some admit that there are aspects of life of which they just can’t ever get enough. Others believe that the World should be taken in big bites. Anything less would be a tragic waste.
A Libertine is more than just the life of the party—his verve and enthusiasm for life is potent and irresistible. Libertines can ﬁnd a way to wring joy from the darkest of situations. At the same time, such a long pursuit of pleasure takes its toll. Many Libertines ﬂirt with deadly addictions that eventually grow to consume them.
Loners occupy the fringes of society, keeping to themselves by choice or necessity. Even within a tight circle of friends, there are often those who are moody or introspective and prefer to trail along in their comrades’ shadows and observe rather than participate. From their vantage, they often have a clear perspective on situations that their compatriots lack. They prefer their own company much of the time, but they value the few friends they have and won’t hesitate to act on their behalf.
Loners are typically quiet and thoughtful. They can sometimes be antisocial, even moody, but when push comes to shove, they stand up for the things that are important to them.
Paciﬁsts deplore the use of violence. Perhaps as a result of a religious or philosophical upbringing, or because of a lifetime of conﬂict and suffering, Paciﬁsts believe that violence begets nothing but pain and destruction, no matter how noble the intentions of the warriors involved. Combat is something to be avoided at all costs, and the Paciﬁst is willing to take any steps and make any sacriﬁce to ﬁnd a constructive solution to a conﬂict. This is not to say they aren’t capable of ﬁghting. Violence is a tragic, evil thing, but if forced into a corner, they will shed bitter tears and do what they must.
Paciﬁsts are voices of reason and diplomacy who hope to build a better World by example. Like any ideology, however, paciﬁsm followed blindly can lead to even greater tragedy, as innocent lives are lost to the bestial hunger of titanspawn and monsters.
Pedagogues live to acquire and share knowledge. They are always curious, perceptive and studious, eager to try new things or to give the beneﬁt of their experience to others. They might be scholars or teachers, researchers or librarians, or they might simply be people with sharp, inquisitive minds and a great deal of time on their hands. To the Pedagogue, a thing worth knowing is a thing worth learning, and a thing worth learning is a thing to be shared with others.
Pedagogues are educators and instructors who enrich those around them—and often know just the right thing to do when faced with a crisis. By the same token, possessing so much knowledge sometimes makes Pedagogues pompous and pedantic. If they aren’t careful, they turn casual answers into long, dry lectures or hold their education over others’ heads as a means of showing their superiority.
A Penitent lives to expiate his sins. Perhaps he committed a terrible crime—or crimes—in the past, or he lived a violent life that now haunts his every waking moment. Whatever the cause of their guilt, Penitents now try to live their lives in such a way that they can one day atone for the terrible things they’ve done. Such redemption might eventually come at the cost of the Penitent’s life, but what is the loss of one unworthy life compared to the purity of a single, selﬂess act of heroism?
Penitents are living proof that evil is not absolute. Their efforts to redeem themselves not only offer hope for their own future, but inspire others as well. The danger many Penitents face is the temptation for self- ﬂagellation. By continually punishing themselves for their sins, they only succeed in hurting themselves—and possibly those around them.
Perfectionists are devoted to excellence in everything they do. If it’s not done perfectly, it’s simply not worth doing at all, and to that end, they are constantly exercising their capabilities to become the absolute best at what they do. They might take longer to get things done than others or go to far more effort on seemingly insigniﬁcant tasks, but such is the cost of perfection.
Perfectionists are paragons of hard, conscientious work. Their dedication and skill can be an inspiration to those around them, encouraging friends and acquaintances to redouble their own efforts. Conversely, many Perfectionists maintain an unhealthy disdain for those whose standards fall short of their own, which can alienate them from others.
Rebels have an innate animosity and distrust of authority, preferring to trust their own moral and ethical compass over rules imposed on them from above. The harder they are pushed by the powers that be, the harder they push back, breaking laws and ﬂaunting their independence out of sheer spite as much as anything else. Some people become Rebels after spending years under the thumb of a tyrant, be it a domineering parent, superior ofﬁcer or boss. Others simply crave the freedom of living by their own rules, regardless of the cost.
Rebels are the agitators that sweep away old, ossiﬁed ways of thinking. They can be harbingers of the future, lighting a ﬁre of change whether the rest of the World wants it or not. That being said, a Rebel without a purpose to her actions is little different from an outlaw, inﬂicting suffering for no good reason other than to feed her sense of outrage.
Rogues are a law unto themselves, existing by their own rules and taking what they need to survive. Some are con men, lotharios or simple, petty thieves, or they may be as murderous and cold-blooded as gangsters. Others are simply ordinary people who aren’t afraid to bend or break a rule in order to enjoy life a bit more. Some people are born Rogues, raised with an appreciation for the ﬁner things in life and few scruples to hinder them. Others become Rogues just trying to stay alive. Laws are well and good, but when you’re out of money and there’s nothing to eat, what else can you do?
Rogues at their best are hero-thieves, such as Robin Hood or Ali Baba. They steal or commit crimes to counter even greater injustices, sharing their bounty with those less fortunate. At their worst, Rogues are rapacious predators who believe that if something can’t be properly protected, their victim deserves to have it stolen.
Survivors look out for themselves, ﬁrst, last and always. Perhaps they grew up in a harsh, unforgiving home where only the strong survived, or perhaps they’re simply driven by such single-minded ambition that nothing else matters to them. They’re typically very cold and cunning individuals, always with a plan for when things go sour, and they’re ruthless enough to abandon anyone they perceive as dead weight. Others might be driven by fear or trauma and be perfectly compassionate and rational—until they are threatened. Then, it’s every man for himself.
Survivors can take the worst that life throws at them and come through alive. Their endurance and fortitude in the face of adversity sometimes rises to the level of heroics. Sadly, it is often a very self-serving brand of heroism, as Survivors will sometimes climb over the bodies of their friends in order to escape their fate.
Traditionalists believe the old ways are the best. They resist change, preferring the certainty of precedent and custom over the risk of progressive ideas. Perhaps they grew up in a strict, hidebound family or culture, where the lessons of the past were handed down from mother to daughter, or perhaps they’ve come to embrace the traditions of their forebears after a lifetime of rebellious liberalism. Regardless, the Traditionalist draws strength and wisdom from unchanging, immutable custom.
Traditionalists are wise and methodical. They have decades, even centuries of accumulated custom to draw upon when faced with life’s challenges. By the same token, they are slow to adapt to new and changing situations and tend to stiﬂe creative thinking rather than accept it unless they feel they have no other alternative.
Tricksters are mutable. They are ever changing, reinventing themselves with every new person or situation they encounter. For them, strength and survival lie in deception. They win the game by changing the rules, pitting their nimble minds against the credulous wits of friend and foe alike. Nothing is sacred; nothing is off-limits. To the Trickster, anything is fair game, and the only truth she knows is what she believes at the moment.
A Trickster is a mercurial creature. One minute, he’s your best friend, and the World is your plaything. The next moment, he’s gone, leaving you holding the bar tab and wondering where your car keys went.
Visionaries live for their dreams. They see the World in new and exciting ways and are driven to make those dreams a reality. Visionaries can be teachers, scientists, businesspeople, sales clerks… anyone can have a spark of inspiration that changes his life forever. Sometimes, this dream is so great that it becomes the work of a lifetime. In other cases, the Visionary is a font of new ideas, creating and discarding radical plans almost as fast as he conceives them.
Visionaries are creative and intuitive; they are always open to trying new ways to tackle old challenges. At the same time, their vision can make them seem ﬂighty and impractical, unable to relate to the mundane lives of those around them.