There are twelve different sets of Primary Skills that are used to distinguish the areas of competency common to adventurers in Fosforia. You begin the character creation process by choosing three. It is possible to choose the same Primary Skill two or three times, in which case your competency in that area is all the greater.
Primary Skills by themselves do not usually allow you to do anything that is not within the reach of any adventurer. Anyone can swing a sword or read a spell from a scroll, for example. Having some level of the relevant Primary Skill makes you markedly better at it, though.
More dramatically, having the right Primary Skills is a requirement to gain/craft PERCs, which give you capabilities that no one else has. A person with or without Combat Skill can land an ordinary hit with a sword, but only someone with the right PERC can land a Mighty Blow.
At certain rare points in your adventuring career, you may gain the ability to learn a new Primary Skill or advance your training in an existing one (your choice). This can extend your capabilities as an adventurer, but it won't have as dramatic effect on your current abilities as your initial choices will have made by that point.
You are a master of the arts of war. Primary Skill in combat grants a small bonus to Hit Points and Defense, but it's better to end fights quickly than prolong them, so your primary bonuses lie in attacking. You get a hard-to-beat bonus to Attack, and a wider window of opportunity when making attacks. Particular bonuses gained from your Fighting Style are also increased by this Primary Skill. Having Primary Skill in Combat also increases the quality of your starting weapon.
You excel at moving unseen and unheard through the world. You are less likely to be noticed by monsters even when you are not taking care to move quietly, or running. When you are sneaking, your "stealth range"... the radius byond which only the most alert monsters can spot you... shrinks. You also gain a substantial attack and damage bonus against enemies who are not yet aware of your presence.
Your skill at avoidance extends even to enemies who are aware of your presence, somewhat... you have a slightly improved Defense score, and a tendency to be overlooked in favor of more obvious targets.
You're better than average at getting around, and getting around safely. Primary Skill in Exploration increases your movement rate and your Endurance recovery. It also increases your chance of noticing hidden things such as traps and secret doors, and the range at which you can spot them.
Having a faithful companion is not uncommon for adventurers in Fosforia, but having one as loyal and capable as yours is. Primary Skill in Companion Bond makes your Companion more durable and quicker to recover as well as more intelligent/amenable to your commands, and gives you some boons particular to the type of Companion.
Any adventurer can wave a magic wand or read a scroll, but without some skill in Magic the results will rarely justify the expense of such items. Those with this Primary Skill can wield implements like magic staves, orbs, and wands with greater accuracy and get extra uses out of magic spells before they're expended.
Expertise in the gentle arts of healing translates to a greater effect any time you heal yourself or an ally, regardless if the source is a potion, spell, or PERC. You are also assumed to be plying your arts as needed in a more everyday sort of way; your presence in a party boosts the natural recuperative abilities of all members, including yourself.
Survival is about one thing: toughness. It nets you an impressive bonus to HP, quicker HP recovery, a bonus to Defense, and greater ability to resist things such as poisons and break free from restraints.
Your charm and influence allow you to get more favorable results when dealing with merchants or those who would negotiate for your services. Even potential enemies will often hesitate briefly before making up their mind to attack you (though if they are attacked first all doubts will swiftly flee).
Not to be confused with the immediately preceding Primary Skill, the quality of Leadership gives bonuses to the combat scores of those who are already your allies. This includes other adventurers you have grouped with, your Companion, and any temporary NPC followers of yours. When you acquire a temporary follower... whether by summoning them, charming or controlling an existing monster, or using a mercenary contract... the time they will stay with you is increased.
The details of this Primary Skill are up in the air, because the crafting system is not as developed as the adventuring/fighting elements.
Having a mechanically inclined mind is particularly useful for teasing open locks and rendering traps harmless. It's also necessary to make effective use of some of the more exotic devices that one may come across while traveling the distant lands of Fosforia.
Some people set out on the road to adventure with no experience and no particularly noteworthy skills and through no noticeable virtues of their own not only survive but thrive. Having Luck as a Primary Skill gives you a good natural Defense, a high Evade chance, and increases the chance of random bits of good fortune.
Every adventurer has a faithful companion to accompany them on their adventures. Depending on choice of Primary Skills and Fighting Style, your Companion may be little more than an occasional distraction to your enemies, or they may be the "muscle" when the two of you are adventuring alone. The different types of Companions have generally very similar combat statistics, but they behave in markedly different ways, something that is worth considering if you plan on using your Companion to full advantage.
Eagle-eyed and armed with a bow, the Archer aims for distant targets to try to pick off the weakest ones before they can get close. If enemies get too close, they will withdraw to a safer distance. Being Companion Bonded to an Archer will make them occasionally do "trick" shots that daze or pin an enemy, and gives them a bonus to attack enemies that you are engaged with or adjacent to.
Badgers are fierce little things that roam the area around their adventuring partner pretty much at will, and will attack whatever enemy is closest. They are difficult to stop or slow down, more easily shrugging off paralysis and poison and similar effects, and heal more quickly while resting "away". Being Companion Bonded to a Badger gives you some measure of the Badger's resistances, as well as a greater measure of Endurance.
Protective Bears have a desire to stay close to their adventuring Companions, though this is balanced out by their being somewhat slower than average. Bears prioritize targets who are attacking their master, and further go after the most powerful first. Bears are pretty much all about combat; they do more damage and have more HP than most Companions. Being Companion Bonded to one increases your HP and damage, as well.
Cats are mercurial, sometimes roaming wildly and sometimes staying close at hand. In combat, a Cat displays a vexing antisocial tendency by ignoring opponents who are engaged with you unless there is no other choice. They also will go after the weakest enemies, in terms of HPs. This might seem to be a downside, though it does mean that more enemies will fall faster. Cats only inflict half as much damage as a standard Companion, though they attack twice as quickly. Likewise, they have half normal HPs but a 50% evasion chance. They bestow a greater than normal Perception Bonus when they are present. When companion Bonded, they bestow an Evasion chance, and bonuses to Stealth and Perception upon their owners.
Dogs generally stay close, though they sometimes have a tendency to bound ahead. In combat they will seek to attack the same foe as their master. Dogs are content to feed on scraps; any time their owner eats, they gain some of the benefit of the food as well. Their loyalty is legendary, hastening their return after being defeated. Being Companion Bonded with a Dog gives the master a bonus to discover and harvest resources and a bonus to attack enemies who are also under attack by an ally... an easy enough situation to manufacture when a Dog is around.
An armored warrior who attempts to shield you from danger. The Guard will stay close but generally try to move ahead of you. Like the Bear, Guards prioritize enemies that are attacking their master, though they are tactically-minded and will aim to take out the weaker ones first. Being Companion Bonded to a Guard means they have spent some time training you, giving you a bonus to both Attack and Defense, with the Defense bonus increasing when they are present.
The Horse differs from most Companions in that its most obvious use is not as a fighting partner but as a mount. Without a Companion Bond, Horses are hard to control when not being ridden and are not much use in combat, having a tendency to flee. A Companion Bond makes the Horse more docile when not mounted, and more steely-nerved in the face of danger.
A simple gelatinous organism, the Slime is unique among Companions in that outside of a combat situation it regenerates HP at the same rate whether it's "resting" or present. It shows little enough intelligence in its movement, moving only occasionally and randomly unless it's following its master. When defeated, the Slime buds off a smaller and weaker clone that will continue to fight for a short time in its absence before dissolving away. Having a Companion Bond increases the number of these smaller spawn, and gives the master some of the Slime's regenerative abilities.
A winged sprite that flits around, attacking opponents at random and trying to avoid attacking the same one twice in a row. Like the Cat, the Pixie is weaker but faster than most Companions. If the Pixie is present when its master is defeated, it will sacrifice itself to restore some measure of HP... the amount increases with a Companion Bond. A Companion Bond also makes the Pixie's attacks cover an enemy with a twinkling light that makes them more susceptible to ranged and magical attacks. (This is more useful when coupled with the ability of the Companion Bond to switch the Pixie's default behavior.)
Slow but reliable, if not pleasant company. Zombies have no imagination and will not move at all except to approach an enemy or follow their master. They prioritize the nearest enemy. Sheer physical toughness is their only advantage over other Companions. Having a Companion Bond with a Zombie gives you greater understanding of the undead; attacks and spells you use against them are more effective, and effects that normally require a living target (like Social effects) function on undead creatures, with a similar bonus.
You favor bladed weapons such as daggers and swords, and your fighting style is footwork-oriented... you dart out of an opponent's range and then back in to attack. This fighting style improves your timing in combat, giving you a wider window of opportunity for attacks.
You favor long weapons, like staves and whips. Your preference is to fight a step back from opponents, and you're good at pushing them away and dissuading them from coming any closer than the reach of your weapon.
You prefer to jump right into the thick of things. Your provocative manner makes you a tempting target for enemies, but you're tough enough to take it. Your preferred weapons are heavy swinging types that can be used to damage multiple enemies when they're clustered thick enough around you. Choosing Head On style increases the quality of your starting armor.
You eschew weapons entirely, preferring to fight with a flurry of punches and kicks. Those skilled in unarmed combat are surprisingly deadly in comparison to their more conventionally outfitted compatriats, though they have to give up their natural benefits in order to take advantage of a weapon's capabilities.
You favor bows and other projectile weapons. These weapons are ordinarily relatively slow and weak compared to melee combat, but your specialization helps make up for their drawbacks at the expense of some of the ordinary melee training adventurers would normally have.
You have traded away some physical toughness and basic competency with martial weapons for extended training using mystical implements like wands and staves, and added facility in casting spells which harm or work against your foes.
Your fighting style primarily involves hiding behind your Companion, who is unusually skilled in the arts of fighting.
You aren't particularly skilled at landing blows, but you're unusually good at being in places where the pointy ends of weapons and claws aren't. In combat, enemies consider you a low-ranking threat and are more likely to attack your allies or other adventurers who happen to be in the area. Your defenses substantially increase and you move faster when you are not actively fighting; i.e., when you have no target selected.
Fighting styles marked * include a 25% HP penalty (applied after all other modifiers at the end of character creation) and a penalty to attacks that don't involve the favored method (in the case of Avoidance style, this is a penalty to all attacks.) The generic attack bonus from the Combat Primary Skill is shifted to specifically cover the attack method favored by the style (Avoidance being the exception; it remains a bonus to all attacks.)
Your choice of armor won't have as much impact on your play style as your Fighting Style, but it can help you round out your character. The exact armor you get will vary depending on your other choices; Head On Style gives you better protection.
Heavy armor offers the most protection, but it also slows your movements and attacks. This penalty is obviated somewhat if you choose this option during character creation, as you are fully trained in its use.
Light armor offers some protection without slowing you. It's the "balanced" choice.
Dark outfits and cloaks offer little protection beyond a slight Evasion Chance, but they do aid in stealthy movement.
You trade armor in for robes that enhance your magic use. These robes have only minimal protective value and slow your movement slightly, but can offer a powerful edge to wielders of magic.
You have made the bold choice of adventuring sans armor. You gain a bonus Evasion Chance and/or extra HP, in proportions determined by your other choices during character creation. Your utter lack of training in the wearing of armor means you will be clumsy and slow beyond the normal measure while wearing it.
You may choose another piece of equipment, which can include a back-up weapon, a shield, or a simple tool, as well as two expendable items like potions or spell scrolls.
Other than designing your look, title is the last step in character creation because the options available will vary depending on what you chose along the way.
Each Primary Skill has a number of different titles associated with it. In some cases, a minimum Primary Skill of 2 is necessary. For instance, anyone with any skill in Mechanisms may style themselves a Locksmith or Tinkerer, but greater specialization is required to be an Engineer. Specific combinations of choices may unlock still more choices. Skill in Mechanisms and Crafting yields Inventor. Skill in Magic plus a Zombie Companion opens up Necromancer.
As an alternate approach to character creation, you can start by choosing from certain common titles and getting a pre-designed template, which you can then alter to suit your tastes.