Characters are created on 85 points, and this will be the basis for pre-game start. After the character's prelude, 15 points will be made available to further define the character before game start.
You can download a copy of the Character creation instructions in Word format from here. You can download a Character Sheet to complete here.
The Jackal Within will utilize the Holistic Stat System, as inspired by Doyce Testerman's system. As he observed, the four stats in the Phage Press rules are stretched way too far, and Warfare and Psyche manage to outweigh Endurance and Strength. No more!
The Powers system is based on material developed by Peter Marshall.
As one of the blooded, every character starts with The Bleed at 1. This allows the character some measure of control over his environment through the use of Fate Points.
Characters can also invest in Magick. Magick is a force of nature that relies upon laws just as any other physical force. All living things in the world conduct what is referred to as flow- a mystical essence that literally flows through them, connecting everything in the world. As flow moves through all living things, it fills and envelops them in what is known as their Shell. In other worlds this phenomena may be referred to as an Aura, Chi, Ki or some other term, but for all intents and purposes, the Shell is a personal reservoir of Flow. Reading a being's shell can tell you much about them- their physical and mental health, their overriding emotion, and most importantly, whether or not they are pulling flow from the world around them. Tweaking this flow can alter and influence the reality that this essence interacts with, creating paranormal effects.
Magick can be harnessed in one of five ways.
As stated above, the interactions of flow with the things and beings it flows through and around define the essence of the world, or for lack of a better term, it's 'reality'. Magickal Adepts can enter a meditative trance known as Mindview, and actually see these interactions. Then, through force of will, these adepts can then alter and influence Reality's laws to produce a specific result or phenomena. Even though the results of these manipulations of Reality may appear paranormal in nature, they are actually based upon a complex science. This is the true essence of Magick.
As explained above, Magick is defined by a set of laws that influence the way the flow interacts with reality . However, many laws of Magick are the same as laws of physics, i.e. you don't need to fully understand them to utilize them. Power Words are a sort of 'hedge magick' that allows the user to create instantaneous, localized, magickal effects with just a word. These effects are very much more limited than Magickal spells, but they can be powerful in their own way.
In between Sorcery and Power Words are a sort of Magick known as Charms. Charms are more of an internal expression of Magickal force. While they can create external forces in the world, these forces are powered by an internal well, rather than the forces of Magick. It is a different road to learn the use of Charms- they are more akin to the forces that have been attributed to the use of martial arts practitioners and other devotees of internal control, but under the right conditions, Charms can be even more flexible than magickal spells.
An innate ability, Shifting is an ability expressed in only a few people- either you have the ability to shift, or you don't. No one knows what makes a person more prevalent to have the ability to shift, but whatever the reason, it apparently carries over the threshold to the 'real world', as only a few actors can express this ability. It does not have to be taught, though it is certainly easier that way. What it allows, as the name implies, is the shifting and total control over the body. But this is only the tip of the iceberg, as advanced shifters can affect their psyche, auras, and even other people and things.
A PC can buy one or more skill for 1pt per skill. The benefit this gives is that they will be exceptionally good at a particular skill or in a particular field. Taking a skill means that you have studied that skill to the highest level available, and that you are considered enough of an expert that if people find out about your ability, they may wish for your advice and assistance in that field.
Suggestions for skills include: medicine, investigation, tracking, weapons-smithing, acting, administration, gambling, business knowledge, diplomat, xenobiology, etc.
Powers-related skills such as magick or a specific ability cannot be bought as skills in this way.
Because of the strength of will and time required to access the flow, magickal items are a convenient manner of utilizing magickal effects by the uninitiated and initiated alike. Though such items are not exactly a common resource on the personal level, they do exist, and are a part of life in Ankhana.
Nobody wants setbacks in their life. But everybody wants their heroes to suffer setbacks in their dramas. It's... you know... dramatic. And often these setbacks occur not because of some external force acting against the heroes, but because of internal conflicts that help to form their personality.
The problem comes in remembering that roleplaying games are drama, not life. When playing a character in a game, you identify with them far more than you do with characters you only read about in a book. You often won't want to have them behave in ways that will cause them trouble.
That's where Restrictions come in.