Balzu uses a custom character generation system which gives the player a lot of control over the type of character that they want to play. A brief overview of these changes is presented below. For additional information, consult the pages associated with each topic.
In vanilla Oblivion, when players choose their race, they are also choosing a bias toward the type of character that they are going to play: attribute and skill modifiers and special abilities directly impact the player's choice of a class in order to create an optimal build. In Balzu, race selection is primarily a cosmetic choice, though it does have a profound impact on their relations with other actors in the world.
In Balzu, all races begin with the same attribute and skill modifiers (or, rather, no modifiers). This does not mean that the different races do not have different strengths, weaknesses, and preferences, only that the player is not bound by these restrictions. If you want to play a frail, sickly, barbarian spell caster, you will not find your choices restricted by starting advantages or handicaps. Conversely, if you want to play a big, stupid bandit hailing from a race of civilized mystics, you will find no impediments to realizing your vision of your character.
Initial race selection in Balzu is restricted to human races for the time being. This is partially a technical issue, but it is also game design issue since non-human races in Balzu are quite a bit 'less human' than in Tamriel.
Classes in Balzu have been implemented more or less the same as in vanilla Oblivion, though there a few new ones, and some of the familiar ones have been changed slightly to better reflect my own interpretation of a class, and to make all of the classes work better together without unnecessary overlaps. You can, of course, create a custom class just as you can in vanilla Oblivion.
Balzu uses 13 custom birthsigns which better reflect the mythology and culture of Durs. These birthsigns are a sort of hybrid of western astrology, European bestiaries, and Eastern horoscopes. In addition to the superficial changes between Balzu's birthsigns and vanilla birthsigns, the birthsigns in Balzu impact the game in slightly different ways. Actors with different signs will respond differently to each other, much as real-word astrology predicts that they would in our own world. In addition, birthsign abilities initially have little impact on the game, but grow in strength and influence as the player progresses in level, making them relevant throughout your adventure on Durs. Initially, you may find that your birthsign only gives you a slight edge in attempting one specific form of persuasion, or a slight boost in a single skill or attribute, but over time you may find that it begins to directly impact the course of your quests, granting you entirely new powers or creating bonds of friendship with powers that might otherwise be inaccessible. Be forewarned, however: it may also earn you new enemies or impose restrictions on you in other ways.
In order to accommodate a flexible character generation process, Balzu uses a new mechanic called Traits. Traits are essentially abilities that you select during the character generation process that allow you to boost an attribute or skill, or, alternately, handicap an attribute or skill so that you can use those points to boost your character in a different area. Using Traits (both positive and negative) allows you to fully customize your character's starting attributes and skills in a way that is race-independent.
Perks and Flaws
Perks and Flaws are a new extension which essentially replaces racial abilities. By purchasing Perks or adopting Flaws (in exchange for points to spend on other perks) you can give your character additional abilities, like the ability to go into a berserk rage, a high tolerance for poison, or a knack for chatting up the ladies (or gents). Perks and Flaws are fully within the realm of human abilities and weaknesses, so you won't be able to give yourself the ability to breathe underwater or summon ghosts, but they will be useful and provide your character with interest and color.
Origins are like Perks and Flaws, but they extend beyond your immediate abilities as a person to include things like your character's family background, social class, wealth or starting gear, starting location, patrons and enemies, and other more nebulous things like being especially blessed or cursed in some way. The origin that you choose will also provide you with a somewhat customized secondary quest that you may pursue alongside the major and minor quests that make up the gameplay in Balzu.
All of these changes have been designed to increase your investment in the character that you create, and add to your immersion in the game. When used alongside the custom persuasion overhaul, Luminous AI, and web-based quests, in is hoped that each time you play Balzu, your experience will be different while remaining consistent and seamless.