Character Creation Rules
Who are you?
Before there were rules, there were ideas. Ideas, in this case, grouped into rough archetypes for this game for ease of reference. In no particular order except alphabetical, players can be Awakened, i.e. aware of the nature of the world (the default status PCs begin at or reach during the campaign); A Focus, a battery of magic able to sense power; A Mage who has Sight and can cast spells using a foci; an Other, a creature from another timeline in this one (i.e. cyborg, supernatural entity, superhero and the like); a Refuge From another timeline who has ended up in this one but is not human and not awakened at all (i.e. an alien of some kind); and lastly a Servant, someone who has gained power by making a pact with some other Entity. Details follow. Arent I nice?
The awakened are people who have become aware of the larger reality around them, of the shifting of timestreams and are now capable of resisting the changes and remaining themselves. This is good because they remain themselves, and bad since they dont grok (i.e. get, sort of) the new timeline. Most awakened do learn a new timeline quickly, generally in a week at best.
Other character types are awakened as well (for the most part) but dont learn new timelines in the intuitive way of the awakened.
Most awakened tend to be inquisitive types and come from all walks of the world, but do tend to draw in the only hero types since most other archetypes have other goals and focus. Most others tend to regard awakened as lesser than they are, but awakened have the big advantage of being the most grounded and normal and sensible types, in general.
A focus is someone who produces magical energy on their own, and with the aid of a magician. They recover from energy (health) expended in magic and heal normally faster than other people. Most foci only become awakened if theyre bound to a mage and will thus go through a transition with them and be awakened in that manner. Since mages cant work magic well without them, a foci is indispensable to them and some actually arrange bidding wars and go with the mage who will pay them the most, and use the way of magic they agree to.
Foci are also more sensitive to power than others and can smell and track it, as needed. They make excellent tools for others to use to hunt down other foci and mages.
A mage is someone with the talent for using magic. Magic is powered for the most part by energy (i.e. health) so mages quickly exhaust themselves casting all but the simplest spells since few of them have time to work out at the gym or take more than basic self-defence. Being a mage is a lifetime of training and discipline in using magic, and a desperate need for a focus so that you cast impressive magic.
Mages all have the ability of Sight, which lets them see spells being used and grants glimpses of the past and future as well as the ability to see ghosts and the like.
Mages cast spells by trying to cast a spell, and calling up energy using the way of power, the way of pleasure, or the way of pain. These are explained under the magic section but in general the way of power is using energy, itself, and is the fastest of the ways but garners the least amount of actual power. The way of pleasure involves drawing magic out of your focus (and yourself) through pleasure, the way of pain is the same using pain.
Other is, basically, a catchall term for everything else in the game. Cyborgs, vampires, teletubbies and the like count as Other, unnatural beings existing in a timeline due to some kind of glitch or imprisonment or pure dumb luck. Most unnaturals can hide among the mundane world, but all of them dont fit in, with strange compulsions and weaknesses and no time to call their own.
Refuges are people who have survived the destruction of their timeline by pure luck and may not be awakened. Time travellers are a perfect example of this. The line between Other and Refuge is rather slim and entirely up to the GM to define, so there.
Servants are people who make pacts with Powers and Entity far beyond this world, giving up something of themselves (often their soul) in exchange for magic and power of their own. Servants are useful since they seem human even to a focus until they actually use power, though a mages Sight can sometimes get a feeling of something wrong about them.
What are you?
With that out of the way, we now get down to the game mechanical nitty gritty stuff. First off, this game uses dice. d6s, to be exact. Mostly because I felt the need to encourage you to liberate some from other board games today. Free yours today! Join the resistance! Ahem.
Unlike some other games, there are no stats or skills. Just traits that cover everything your character can do, and then some. So onward...
Roll d6s, roll high. Every trait has 1 - 5 dice in it, and they get rolled, and totalled and the result is compared against an opposing roll or a difficulty table and if you get equal or over the other number, you succeed.
For added flavour, if someone rolls all 1s, they screw up. Badly.
Getting a 6 allows a re-roll and adding the new die to the total, ad infinitum. Alternatively, 6s can be used for dramatic actions instead of re-rolling, such as tossing someone through the air rather than just over your shoulder.
Traits & Flaws
Traits are what each character can do, the essential abilities of them pared down to specific, well, traits. (See why theyre called traits?) Each player has 15 dice to spend making traits. For doing something not covered by a trait, the character would have one die (shooting a gun, say), or two dice (hot wiring a car, Ive seen it done on movies a lot). Traits are meant to be broad skills. Pistol Shooting (3) would cover shooting, care, knowledge of pistols and the like.
No trait can have fewer than 1 die, and no more than 5 starting out.
Example: Andrew is making a modern businessman, a mid-level accountant who learns about the Continuum as a result of odd expenses at work and some strange financial doings. Andrew decides that Bruce is going to be a normal, average accountant with a secret - he does daredevil sports and things like parkour. (Parkour is a sport in which the participant attempts to move through his or her environment as quickly and fluidly as possible by running, jumping, and climbing past any obstacles that come in their path.) It is his joy in life. Accounting is just his job, and hes competent at it and dogged but not brilliant.
Andrew decides to go with Accounting (3), Evil Knievel (5), Keep On Going (2), Parkour (3) and I Was A Teenage Hoodlum (2).
Accounting - this makes him good with numbers, of course. And hes got a very observant eye for details, which has helped him with parkour and the like as well.
Evil Knieval - Stunts, daredevil style. This also counts for athletics and dancing with his wife Amanda (theyre taking lessons). The GM decides that since it and Parkour overlap a lot, it can count (at 2 or 3 dice) as a combat skill as well, defensively, since hes good at rolling with blows (The GM averaged it and keep on going and halved them).
Keep On Going - is recovering from bruising and the like.
Parkour is his new love (and much cheaper than going nuts with stunts). Hes known for it locally and is rather good at it.
His last trait is things like hot wiring cars, picking doors and pockets - leftovers from being raised by delinquent parents and being in some minor gangs. Andrew decided these skills are very rusty, and mostly to shock others who dont see behind the prim and proper suited accountant.
Keep in mind that traits should be broad without being ridiculously so. The GM is feel to veto any trait that wont work.
But what if you dont want a broad trait? What if you really, really want your character to have Pedicurist (2)? In that case, see below.
Bland Traits are traits that, simply, are very narrow-focused and not applicable to combat, magic, or what have you. (In other words, almost always pure role playing.) A bland trait costs half the normal Trait cost. (so 2 in it costs 1, and 4 in it costs 2). Since traits cant begin higher than 5, a character is pretty much limited to the 1 point for 2 or 2 points for 4 in a bland trait.
Exceptional traits are really unique and powerful traits. Super strength., supernatual abilities, Sherlock Holmesian deduction, neurosurgery and the like all classify as exceptional traits. These traits cost double the normal amount, with 5 dice (costing them 10!) the upper limit, as with any other trait. Characters should begin with these traits. Few, if any, will develop them during a game.
Keep in mind that many exceptional traits come with flaw traits (or flaws in general). These do not reduce the cost of the trait. For example, a vampire will still have Flaw - Sunlight (3-5/round), but can mesmerize people, turn into mist or animals and the like. Flaw - stake through the heart could be added, too, but a stake through the heart pretty much kills anyone, vampire or otherwise.
The GM is the final arbiter on the flaws associated with an exceptional trait (some may not even have flaws).
Flaws are part of what makes a character human. Theyre a weakness, like Fat or temper or astrology buff or spineless. Flaws are rated between 1 and 3 dice and come as a penalty to dice used (or are rolled and taken over other rolls as a total, depending on what the GM feels like).
Flaws are to be role-played and cannot normally be bought off. Though, say, someone with a horrible temper who hits their son by accident, is horrified, and goes into counselling for their temper, could emerge with protective of children or Vulnerable to psychobabble in its stead.
Health measures how healthy you are. A high health is good, a low health is bad, and 0 health is, basically, a corpse. PCs calculate health by figuring out all combat/ defensive/ toughness/ body building/ yoga/ what have you oriented Traits, and rolling the dice for a total. So Alex, with Street Fighting (3) and Brawling (2) would roll 5d6 for starting Health The default base health for a PC is 12, even if they have no useful Traits as listed above.
PCs heal a base rate of 2 Health on a normal day, 1 if they are exerting themselves a fair bit, 0 if they are doing stupid PC-like things like engaging in running gun battles through the city while at half health. This rate can be increased by traits like Fast Healer, which add to the Heal Rate by an amount equal to the dice in the Trait, so someone with Tough As Nails (3) would heal 5 a day, if the day was spent resting.
Damage is classed as Soft and Hard and Magical. This is basically a place to list how much a PC is hurting. There is no set penalties for being at half health, or deaths door or anything like that. Role-play it as seems appropriate.
Soft damage is fist cuffs, scrapes, and the like. it is equal to Health, and heals at the rate of the
Heal Rate each hour. If it is all used up, the PC is unconscious.
Hard damage is real damage, things like knives and the like. If it is used up (i.e. equals Health) the PC is dead.
Magic damage is, normally, under Hard along with all other damage, except for Foci since they heal it every 24 hours.
(N.B. Keep in mind that Hard magic does 2 damage for each Health expended in a spell)
Each character begins with 5 fate points. These are used to change the world, creating minor coincidental changes in the Timestream known as blips. Mechanics wise, the player rolls a d6 and the Gm does the same. If the player succeeds, what they ask for happens, if its reasonable. (The Gm can just let it happen and not roll to represent reality resisting it, of course.)
Example: Maria is running down an alley and sees a door at the end. Not willing to face what is behind her, she tells the Gm Im spending a fate point. The door has been left unlocked, and rolls a d6, getting a 4. The GM rolls, getting a 3, and nos. You reach the end, and yank on the door. To your surprise, its unlocked and you stumble a bit as it opens, then dive inside and slam it shut... and so on.
If the player rolls a 1 on a fate point, the GM can rule that something particularly nasty happens if not now, then soon.
Yay, now for the really number-crunchy stuff where you learn to hurt and maim others for fun and profit!
Combat consists of five basic things. Who goes when, hitting people, not being hit (defence and armour), damage, and healing, or not healing as the case might be. As the rules are meant to be in the background and add flavour, each stat is derived from traits.
Initiative determines order in combat. Any Trait like Martial Artist, Fast Reflexes, Duck Behind Cover or the like can work. If you have no trait, you get a default 2 dice. This applies for initiative, attack, and defence. Isnt that simple?
Attack is a combat trait, obviously. Beat Down, Grind Their Bones To Make My Bread, Kung Fu, Aggressive Break Dancing - whatever you use, it is a trait you can use to hurt others with. Keep in mind that a non-combat skill (Athletics, for example) can be used for attack or defence but not both. Default dice for attacking are 2, or 1 if the PC is really nebbish.
Defence is your dice to not get hit. Not getting hit is invariably a good thing. Combat skills work for it as well. (So, yes, a combat skill of 3 could apply to initiative, attack, and defence. Nice and simple.)
How it all works ....
Craig is playing Bill, a police officer on the mean streets. Bill has Quick Draw (3), Police Brutality (5), Investigate (4) and Go Without Sleep (3)
Amy is playing a cat spirit god named Mrrow trapped in the body of old homeless man who is searching for a magical elixir to make the new body younger or female since the pretty girl cats seem attracted to old ladies who have lots of cats. Mrrow has Agile (4), Reflexes (3), Grooming (3) and Cat senses (5)
Bill gets Initiative 3 (quick draw) and Attack 5 (police brutality) and the same for Defence.
Amy gets Initiative: 3 (reflexes); and either Attack 2 (default) and Defence 4 (agile), or Attack 4 (agile) and Defence 2 (default).
Bill finds Mrrow trying to find a way to open a coke machine, in the belief that cherry cola is a source of an elixir. Bill is quiet, but Mrrow notices him with cat senses so they react at the same time.
The Gm tells them to roll for initiative. Bill rolls, getting 1 6 2 for a total of 9. He re-rolls the six for a 2 and ends up with 11. Amy rolls her 3 dice and gets 3 3 4, for 10. Bill goes first, and gets out his night stick to teach the homeless old man a lesson, and work off some aggression.
Bill rolls 5 dice for his police brutality and gets 2 3 5 4 5 for 19, a rather impressive result. Mrrow is using Agile as his defence, to get out of the way of this nut, and rolls four dice, getting 6 3 2 5 The six is rerolled for a 5, and Mrrow has 21, easily enough to evade the startled police officer. Mrrow hisses and lashing out with his claws, using 2 dice, and getting 2 and 3 for 5. Since it is almost impossible for Bill to fail to dodge that with his 5 dice, the Gm rules he avoids it. Bill, still going first, attempts to hurt the old man, who is now resisting arrest, and gets 4 5 1 2 1 for a total of 13. Mrrow decides to use 2 dice for defence, instead, and hopes for luck, but gets a 5. Bill does 8 damage (13-5) +2 for the night stick for a total of 10 damage to the old man. And so on.
Of course, this is just the numbers .. the actual combat would run something like this:
GM: Bill, youre wondering if your wife has left you for good this time and brooding over the unfairness of the universe in general when you see an old man trying to topple a coke machine. Hes a rather scruffy looking vagabond but is surprisingly well groomed.
Bill: I sneak up on him, since its more fun if I shock them.
GM: To your surprise, the old man hears you and spins around.
Mrrow: I hiss at him and wave a hand like a claw.
Bill: The old man is clearly nuts, so I smile charmingly and read him his rights.
GM: Mrrow, the biped is trying to intimidate you, obviously.
Mrrow: I hiss and crouch down.
Bill: I get ready to teach him to respect the law.
GM: Roll initiative. Bill, you win, role play it.
Bill: I lunge at the old man and lay into him with my stick before he can call out for help.
Gm: Roll attack, Mrrow defence. Mrrow makes it.
Mrrow: I hiss defiance and leap aside spastically, since my front paws dont seem to want to work right and I forget I dont have a tail. I attempt to cut out the eye of the human who dares to issult me.
GM: Roll. You miss and....
Bill: I yell out What the hell are you doing? and get out of the way of the old man.
Mrrow: I hiss again.
Bill: I beat him, getting a little afraid.
GM: Roll. Mrrow?
Mrrow: Using 2 dice, this time. I want to cut him up instead, like a tomcat.
Bill: I strike the old man hard in the side, smiling savagely.
Mrrow: I yowl in pain and prepare to cut him open.
And so on.
Damage dealt in combat is derived from (attackers roll - defenders roll), plus whatever bonuses a weapon gives. Damage (as noted under health) comes as Soft, Hard, or Magical. Soft damage is basically normal hand-to-hand fighting, minor scrapes and the like. Hard damage is using weapons or martial arts. Magical damage is, of course, attacks from magic.
The damage bonus for weapons works simply. Brass knuckles, saps, and the like do +1 damage. Knives to +2, axes, swords etc. +3, chainsaws and the like +4, and +5 for really excessive things, like trees.
Guns do not give a bonus to the damage dealt by an attack. Instead, damage from a gun is double the damage. So if you have Western Pistol Drawing Pardner (3) and get 12, and your opponent is hiding behind a thin wall (giving 2 dice), and gets 4, you do 8 damage. Since its a gun, this becomes 16 damage. Also, guns are rather hard to dodge unless one has Gunkatta[link] at high levels, of course. This damage could be tripled for shotguns and increased for, say, rocket launchers. (Also a good way to deal damage if someone starts throwing cars around.)
Armour exists, and can be worn, and soaks damage. But it also reduces your attack roll by the amount of damage it soaks. So a leather jacket (1) will soak one damage, but you get a -1 on your attack. All attacks, of course, do one damage no matter what armour soaks.
Examples for armour include jackets (1), chain mail (2), riot gear (3) and so on. Armour higher than 5 is rather rare. Natural armour, like scales, does not give the attack penalty and is a good thing.
This is innate defence against magic, psychic attacks, and the like. characters begin with 1 die in it, normally. Mages have 0, and Foci have 3 and Awakened have 2.
Healing is covered under Health, earlier, but to recap: PCs heal 2 health a day, if they are resting. More if they have Traits dealing with fast healing.
Normal people heal 1 a day. Awakened are a bit better than normal people in that respect.
Magic is different. So it gets its own section. The actual game-play of it will be covered elsewhere, this is just a listing of how it works in terms of mechanics.
In brief, magic is a magician using Health to cast spells. X health are spent, and a Magic trait roll succeeds, and a spell is cast. If the roll fails, the health is still spent, so be careful.
Health can come from the magician himself, or a Focus. A focus is a person, place, or thing that has stored health that can be used. Most non-foci (normal people) must give their consent to be used as power for a spell.
A Focus (as a person) produces magic just by living, and recover health spent for spells at a higher rate than other people (generally every 24 hours). A focus subjected to the Way of Pleasure or Way of Pain even produces extra free magic, equal to half their Health, that can be used for spells.
So, the magician needs enough Health, hers or otherwise, to cast a spell, and to make her magical trait roll.
As well, magic is limited to line of sight (though having a good memory and turning around 360 degrees can make the entire local area line of sight). This can be also used by other senses, like smell or taste or hearing. Eye contact gives 1 bonus die as well. The other limit is that using magic on yourself or to help people (say, healing, or shape changing) is very dangerous, and always has unpleasant side effects, to say nothing of the fact that the spell would require constant upkeep each day of Health.
Permanent spells can be cast, but require the Health expenditure to be permanent.
The amount of Health a spell casts is simple. If you want to use magic to kill someone, you have to do damage equal to half their Health, since magic does 2 damage per Health. (And take into account a Resistance roll, of course.)
Other uses follow the handy difficulty table, paying a Health equal to the difficulty cost of the spell. (and making a Magic trait roll equal to the difficulty or better or all that Health is spent and wasted). Illusions cost half the Health a normal spell does, by and by.
Create a small ball of light to impress the locals (1 health)
Conjure fire to light a fire (5)
Kill someone (Generally 10, minimum)
Create shields, wards, and the like (20, for the useful stuff)
Have fun with weather (30)
Consider toying with time (40)
Create magical creatures, cause lots of destruction, laugh maniacally (50+)
There are other ways for magic, like Servants making pacts, and Wishcraft, but they will be covered under magic. Despite differing Health costs, they still work the same as regular magic more or less, just more limited.
Characters get experience for doing things. Often grand and glorious things. Oh, and for showing up for games. That is generally a good thing. Hard to have a game without players. Players should get 1 experience for showing up, 1 for any exceedingly clever ideas, 1 for figuring out/finishing a plot and so on.
Experience can be spent in one of two ways. 6 experience can be spent to buy 1 die. Traits are increased by buying the dice equal to it, +1 for the new roll. So if you had Roughhouse (2) and wanted to make it a 3 die trait, you would spent 18 experience (12 for the trait, 6 for the increase). Naturally, a trait cant be increased more than 1 die at a time. (so spending 25 experience wont give you Roughhouse (4)).
The other use of experience is as health. You can spend it off to soak damage. No more than 6 can be used during one battle, and it cannot be used for casting spells.
This is the sheet. C/P it into wordpad, or something, and make the pc as a .rtf file. Thanks.
You can also get a copy here.
Trait 1 (dice)
- any notes
Trait 2 (dice)
- any notes etc.
Flaw (penalty dice)
Heal Rate: 1
Fate Points: 5
Attack Dice: 0 (- armour penalty to roll)
Defence Dice: 0
Armour: 0 (list armour type)
A sample PC will be in the PCs section, shortly.