[Let’s Study Qin: the Warring States] Part 6: Character Creation – Ming Zhaohui Redux

Posted: August 22, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Let's Study, Qin: the Warring States, Roleplaying Games
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Apologies for the delay, but the sudden loss of an internet connection has caused no end on inconvenience on my part. That said, we’re getting back on track today with a sample character for Qin: the Warring States.

Today I’m re-making a character that I’ve built before on the Fantasy Craft system, Ming Zhaohui:

Zhaohui is a Cavalry Officer that was reassigned to less active duties after suffering the loss of an eye to an arrow in the front lines.  Gruff, tough, and nearly entirely devoid of the womanly graces that her mother would have wished for her daughter, Zhaohui is nevertheless popular for her beauty and the fact that she swears like a sailor and can drink a man twice her size under the table.

She is also a remarkable warrior, and it is commonly said among soldiers that have served with her that, “Zhaohui is excellent with a bow, but peerless with a glaive.”


First off, we assign the character’s Aspects. These Aspects are essentially the Attributes found in other games, though categorized via the 5 Chinese Elements. These are:

  • Metal – Martial Skill: strength, resilience and warlike spirit
  • Water – Physical Attribute: agility, speed and suppleness
  • Fire – Social Attribute: charisma, intuition, artistic inspiration
  • Wood – Mental Attribute: intellect, memory and perceptiveness
  • Earth – Mystic Attribute: will, sixth sense and inner strength

A character has 14 points to distribute among these Aspects, with a minimum rating of 1, and a maximum rating of 5. Given our concept, I’ve assigned the 14 points in the following manner:

Metal 5
Water 3
Fire 1
Wood 2
Earth 3


Next, I’ll have to pick a Gift and a Weakness for Zhaohui. After checking out the list, I’ve decided to settle on the following:

Gift: Audacity of the Phoenix: Zhaohui has exceptional self-confidence and can redo any Test whose difficulty is at least “very Difficult”

Weakness: Loyalty of the Dog: Zhaohui is also loyal to a fault. She’s a soldier through and through and will go to great (and perhaps unreasonable) lengths for the sake of her commanding officer and her companions.


Skills are up next, and I have 15 points to spend on them. Skills are ranked according to seven levels: Beginner (0), Apprentice (1), Competent (2), Expert (3), Master (4), Legendary (5) and Godlike (6).

The levels also determine the cost for purchasing skills with the 15 points in character creation. Buying a skill at Apprentice Level costs 1 point, while a skill at Competent costs 3 (1+2), Expert Level costs 6 (1+2+3) and so on.

Skills are also grouped according to the Elements, corresponding to the various domains upon which they function. After checking out the list of skills, I’ve decided that Zhaohui has the following:

  • Art of War (Metal) Apprentice (1 point)
  • Hand-to-Hand (Metal) Apprentice (1 point)
  • Gongshu/Archery (Metal) Competent (3 points)
  • Qiangshu/Spears (Metal) Expert (6 points)
  • Horsemanship (Water) Competent (3 points)
  • Survival (Water) Apprentice (1 point)


With the Aspects out of the way, I’ll have to work on the calculating Secondary Aspects.

Zhaohui’s Chi is calculated by determining the balance of her Aspects. The formula might seem odd, but it makes sense for the culture that values the harmony of Yin and Yang. First we take the Body Aspects (Metal+Water) and subtract the total of the Mind Aspects (Wood and Fire) to get a Balance value. In her case she’s severely favoring her Body Aspects, resulting in a total of Balance value of 5.

Looking up a handy chart shows that her starting Chi is 2, a little bit on the lower end of table.

Her Passive Defense Score is Water + Wood +2 = 7

Breath of Life on the other hand is calculated in a similar fashion to Chi, with the Balance value coming back into play. Furthermore, we also have to calculate for a Resistance score by adding together the Metal and Earth Aspects, for a total of 8.

These are then used on a table to determine the Breath of Life. Cross referencing Balance with Resistance we get a Breath of Life of 19, a pretty decent amount of health.

This is then distributed as:

7 Normal
5 Bruised
4 Slightly Injured (ST+1)
2 Seriously Injured (ST+3)
1 Fatally Injured  (ST+5)

Renown is calculated as being equivalent to the highest skill. Zhaohui is an Expert with the Glaive, and counts as having 6 Renown.


Here comes the fun part. We have 15 points to spend on Taos, Combat Techniques and Magic for Zhaohui. Given her background I don’t expect her to be practicing magic, but the first two might be interesting.

Taos are the special feats that can be performed by using a person’s Chi. It is a rare ability, and one that is beyond the reach of common mortals. Combat Techniques on the other hand are a list of maneuvers that are specific to a given type of weapon.

Oddly I can’t seem to find the costs for these, so I’ll be using a similar scale to the Skills, where each level costs that many points. If anyone knows better, please feel free to correct me in the comments.

For Zhaohui, I’ve decided on the following:

Tao of Strengthened Body Level 1: The Cloak of Chi (1 point)
Tao of Destructive Breath Level 1: Gentle Breeze (1 point)
Tao of Destructive Breath Level 2: Sudden Gust (2 points)

Combat Techniques:
Hand-to-Hand Level 1: Throw (1 point)
Qiangshu/Spears Level 1: Charge (1 point)
Qiangshu/Spears Level 1: Hold at Bay (1 point)
Qiangshu/Spears Level 2: Double Blow (2 points)
Qiangshu/Spears Level 3: Direct Hit (3 points)
Gongshu/Archery Level 1: Snapshot (1 point)
Gongshu/Archery Level 2: Long Shot (2 point)


I figure I’d start Zhaohui with some of her basic equipment including a Halberd (Damage 4, Resilience 9), Longbow (Damage 3, Resilience 7, Ranges: C25, M50, L75, E100), and a Leather Breastplate (Protection: 3, Resilience: 9).

That’s a lot of techniques, to be honest, and the Taos aren’t a pushover either. Again I wasn’t so sure about how I spent my points but it looks pretty good. Zhaohui is turning out to be quite a competent combatant. She might not be much in the courts (and she would much rather be outside of them) but she’s certainly someone you’d like to have watching your back.


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