Chargen: Themes

Themes are the bread and butter of this game. They allow players to manipulate the game in ways that are appropriate to their characters, in exchange for suffering setbacks of one kind or another.

There are eight Themes: Action, Comprehension, Empathy, Intrigue, Magnetism, Romance, Terror, and Wonder. Characters narrow these themes with descriptors that define the sorts of situations in which that character’s Theme is appropriate to use. Not all Themes appear in every game. Your GM will let you know if any Themes are inappropriate for the setting in which you will be playing.

To choose your Themes, simply pick three that seem appropriate to your character and choose descriptors for them. You do not need to rank your Themes, and there is no number associated with them.

Sample Descriptors

  • Action: One Man Army, Superspy, Won’t Fall Down, Unstoppable Vengeance, Berserker, Natural Gymnast, Ninja Skills, Parkour, Hacking, Chase Scenes, MacGyver
  • Comprehension: Intuitive, Logical, Emotional, Forced Monologuing, Explanations Ex Machina, Methods Behind the Madness, Invention, Religious, specific branches of technology, specific profession
  • Empathy: Reluctant, Bad News, Matters of Love, Trusting Fools, Shoulder to Cry On, Good News, Day-to-Day, Problems, From Afar
  • Intrigue: Eavesdropper, Pillow Talk, Digital, Political, Instant Insider, Stumble Upon, Psychohistorical, Spy, Government Newsfeed
  • Magnetism: Fame, Friendship, Political, Ideological, Physical, Convincing, Memetic, Cult, Pheromonic, Religious, Bullshit Artist, specific cultures or kinds of people
  • Romance: Long-term, Short-term, Hopeless, Unexpected, Tragic, Legendary, Sexual, One-Night Stands, Devoted, Manipulative, Loving, specific types of people
  • Terror: Personal, Impersonal, Creepy-crawlies, Insert-a-phobia, Splatterhouse, Conspiracies, Ancient Evils, Lovecraftian, Technological Threats, Loss of Control, I’m Mister Creepy
  • Wonder: Scenic Vistas, Philosophical, Religious, Art, Deathless Prose, Big Dumb Objects, Small Things, New Discoveries, Scientific, Uncovering the Overlooked

Game Effects

  • Using your Themes requires spending Twists to create a Complication or Advantage.
  • Your Themes affect the sorts of Plots you can create.
  • Your Themes are linked with your Capabilities in such a way that high-Capability characters find it difficult to gain Twists.
  • Themes are used by players rather than by their characters. Characters do not realize that they have Themes, nor that other characters have them.

Once you have picked your three Themes and their descriptors, move on to Capabilities.


  1. Civilization
  2. Society
  3. Neuroform
  4. Core Values
  5. Themes
  6. Capabilities
  7. Expertise
  8. Import and Tech
  9. Finishing Touches
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