rules

Table of Contents

1 Character

(NOTE: character creation cheat sheet, page 107 of HoTB)

1.1 Name and Title

Your character has two names: their public name and their secret name. Choose these carefully – your names reflect parts of your character's fundamental nature. Guard your secret name: it is so close to your essence that making it widely known courts disaster. Your character may also have a title, such as "Baron", "Duke", "Guildmaster" or "Magus".

1.2 Attributes

Your character has six Attributes. These are used to get an idea of the basic abilities of your character. At the start of play, choose one attribute at four, two at three, two at two, and one at zero. That is, assign: (4 3 3 2 2 0). The attribute at zero is your weakness. Choose it carefully. Descriptions of each Attribute follow:

1.2.1 Strength

Governs physical exertion and unarmed combat. Lifting, pushing, pulling, manual dexterity, jumping, climbing, etc.

1.2.2 Prowess

Martial training. Using weapons, surviving on a battlefield, plotting tactics and strategy. The art of the duel, the philosophy and practice of warfare and armed combat.

1.2.3 Will

Determination to continue. Fighting through pain and fear. Used to resist and sustain mental attacks. A measure of self-mastery in the face of danger.

1.2.4 Cunning

Cunning is noticing details, hiding details, general "wit" or thinking on your feet. Planning, problem solving, and seeing patterns and what others would conceal. It can also be used for social combat. Risks that involve thinking on your feet that are NOT concerned with martial advantage.

1.2.5 Wisdom

Memory and learning ability. The ability to recall charts, maps, and lore. Knowledge of the world. Risks that are "academic" in nature such as, historical research and translation of ancient documents.

1.3 Aspects

Aspects are short phrases that describe something about your character. At the beginning of the game, you get three of these, plus a "High Concept" and a "Trouble" aspect. Each aspect has three ways to interact with the story: invoke, tag, and compel.

1.3.1 Invoke

Invoking an aspect is when it helps your character when he/she takes a risk. The first invoke during a play session is free, but after that you must pay a Story Point to invoke the aspect.

1.3.2 Tag

Tagging is when an aspect is used against a character or obstacle during a risk. When one of your aspects is Tagged, the Tagging entity pays you a Story point.

1.3.3 Compel

Aspects occasionally limit the behavior of your character in the narrative. When your character is compelled by an aspect, the DM will give you a story point in order to act in a disadvantageous way in the idiom of the aspect. You may instead choose to pay a story point in order to dis-obey the compel.

When developing an aspect, try and think of multiple examples of each element. An aspect that has many possibilities to be invoked, tagged, and compelled is a good aspect.

1.4 Story Points

You begin the game with three Story Points.

1.5 Stunts

A stunt is a special trait your character has that changes the way a virtue-based Risk works for you. Stunts indicate some special, privileged way a character uses a virtue that is unique to whoever has that stunt, which is a pretty common trope in a lot of settings—special or elite training, exceptional talents, the mark of destiny, genetic alteration, innate coolness, and a myriad of other reasons all explain why some people get more out of their virtues than others do.

Unlike virtues, which are about the sort of things that everyone is ranked on, stunts are about individual characters. For that reason, the next several pages are about how to make your own stunts, but we'll also have some examples.

Landon and Cynere both have a high Prowess, but Cynere also has the Warmaster stunt, which makes her better at creating advantages with the virtue. This differentiates the two characters a great deal—Cynere has a unique capability to analyze and understand her enemies' weaknesses in a way Landon doesn’t.

One might imagine Cynere starting a fight by testing an enemy with moves and jabs, carefully assessing her opponent’s limits before moving in for a decisive strike, whereas Landon is happy to wade in and chop away.

1.6 Stunts and Refresh

Taking a new stunt beyond the first three reduces your character’s refresh rate by one.

1.7 Building Stunts

1.7.1 Expand a Virtue

The most basic option for a stunt is to allow a virtue to do something that it normally can’t do. It adds a new action onto the base virtue in certain situations, for those with this stunt. This new action can be one that’s available to another virtue (allowing one virtue to swap for another under certain circumstances), or one that’s not available to any virtue.

1.7.2 Adding a Bonus to a Risk

Another use for a stunt is to give a Risk automatic bonus dice under a particular, very narrow circumstance, effectively letting a character specialize in something "passively," without having to pay a Fate point. The circumstance should be narrower than what the normal action allows, and only apply to one particular action or pair of actions. The bonus is +2d to the pool.

1.7.3 Allow a Special Action

Such as spellcasting.

1.8 Balancing Stunt Utility

If you look at most of the example stunts, you'll notice that the circumstances under which you can use them are pretty narrow compared to the base virtues they modify. That's the sweet spot you want to shoot for with your own stunts—you want them to be limited enough in scope that it feels special when you use them, but not so narrow that you never see them come up after you take them.

If the stunt effectively takes over all of the virtue’s base actions, it’s not limited enough. You don’t want a stunt replacing the virtue it modifies.

The two main ways to limit a stunt are by keeping its effects to a specific action or pair of actions (only creating an advantage or only attack and defend rolls), or by limiting the situations in which you can use it (only when you’re among nobles, only when it deals with the supernatural, and so on).

For the best results, use both—have the stunt restricted to a specific action, which can only be used in a very specific in-game situation. If you’re worried about the situation being too narrow, back up and think of the ways the virtue might be used in play. If you can see the stunt being relevant to one of those uses, you're probably on the right track. If you can't, you may need to adjust the stunt a little to make sure it’ll come up.

You can also restrict a stunt by only allowing it to be used once in a certain period of game time, such as once per conflict, once per scene, or once per session.

2 Risk

2.1 Summary

To "succeed" (get your intention) in a Risk, you roll a pool of d6 dice and beat a 10 with the sum of those dice.

2.2 Sources of Dice

See page 127 HotB

  1. Assert name: Public, 1 die, Secret, 3 dice
  2. Claim Attribute: from 0 to 4 dice, taken from the rank of the relevent attribute.
  3. Aspect Invoke (exactly one): 3 dice (pay a story point)
  4. Aspect Tag (exactly one): 2 dice pay a story point to whatever entity you are tagging
  5. Free Aspect Tag or Invoke: Injuries do not count towards the Rule of One, you may always tag them, and they always cost 1 SP to tag

2.3 Stages of a Risk

  1. Declare your Intention. A binary outcome, yes or no: do you jump across the bottomless chasm or don't you? Do you perform the ritual dance flawlessly or don't you? Do you remove the poision sac from the blowfish or don't you? An intention should usually begin "I want…"
  2. Gather dice. Use the "sources of dice" list, in that order, to see where dice can come from.
  3. Set aside wagers.
  4. Roll. If you beat a 10, you obtain priviledge and may decide if you get your intention or not. A sidenote: why would you ever choose to fail? Well, consider some situation where your character is doing something stupid due perhaps to a compel. If you have wagers, use them now.
  5. If you do not beat a 10, the DM gets your Wagers and narrates using them. This is not as straightforward as it seems: the DM may give you the option to succeed, but with some kind of cost to success.

2.4 Using Wagers

If you have Wagers after a Risk, think of them as potential facts about the narrative beyond the yes/no you did/did not get your intention. If you have Wagers, you can use them in one of two ways: (a) trade them in for story points, at a rate of 2 wagers : 1 SP, or (b) trade them for additional facts about your risk. We treat the latter option below, as the former is straightforward.

Essentially, Wagers allow you to bargin with the DM to recieve desired effects in-game that are about your risk. A wager may not be used to remove what would otherwise be a Risk, but there are ways that they can mitigate future risk. A Wager can never be used to say "no", it can only say "yes, and". A single Wager establishes a single fact. Here are some examples of use:

2.4.1 Linear Enhancement

Whatever you were doing, it gets better in a straightforward way. A more stunning dance, a more captivating oration, a deadlier sword blow. The difference between success, and impressive success.

2.4.2 Modifiers

Whatever you were doing, it was accomplished in a particular idiom. For example, you climb up the wall of a well-guarded palace. Normally, the guards would just notice this happening without any rolls whatsoever. But you add that you climbed up the wall in a sneaky manner. This makes it harder to notice you, and turns noticing you into a Contested Risk with the guards, once you're on the battlements. Notice that you cannot simply declare that they do not notice you – it is a risk itself to avoid being noticed. But by adding "in a stealthy way" to your narration about getting your intention, you force them to work to notice you.

2.4.3 Narrative Declaration

Each Wager entitles you to add one fact to the narrative. This is the same "size" fact that you can add using a story point, and it must not replace a Risk. Anything relating to the risk, within reason, is fair game. For example, fleeing pursuit, you jump across rooftops to a balcony and succeed with a Wager left over. You say "I get my intention – I land on the balcony. For my Wager, it is Lady Sharn's balcony." If the location of Lady Sharn's estate was not previously established, this is a reasonable use of a wager. If the location was previously established, or if it would be problematic for Lady Sharn's estate to be located here, the DM will negotiate with the desired fact. Perhaps the intention of the fact is to encounter Lady Sharn – in that case, a better fact would be "And Lady Sharn is inside the room opening on to this Balcony". Perhaps the intention is to spy on Lady Sharn – then a good use of the wager would be "This balcony opens on to the office of one of Lady Sharn's vassals."

Any single fact that adds to the narrative and is about the Risk, but does not replace a Risk, is admissable as the outcome of a wager. To determine that a wager is a single fact, use the "conjunction test": if the sentence uses "and" to declare multiple relations between objects or characterists of the outcome of the risk, then it is probably not a single fact. Use your judgement.

3 Contested Risk

Players can only use one aspect invoke and tag even in contested risk.

3.1 Magic

Seperate pools of points for nouns and verbs. Dice pool = sum of noun and verb, you can use verbs that you have a zero in, you CANNOT use a noun with no points. Assign numbers to words from 5 points of verbs, and 8 points of nouns. We have changed "mentem" to "spiritus," to reflect the fact that spirits and minds are the same thing in our world. We have added a noun for force vectors to represent telkenetic things that have been done in the past.

Mana cost: you pay the amount of dice you use, ie, rolled dice and dice used for effect. Dice converted into story points DO NOT need to be paid for with mana.

190 MP

3.2 Combat

Battlefield, sequence of contested risks. Any "contact" between units is resolved using the mass murder rules, and any "pair conflicts" are resolved using the duel rules.

4 Combat

  • fate core pg 154 "conflicts"
  • hotb pg 197 "the duel"
  • hotb pg 201 "injury" about how spending wagers works
  • hotb pg 213 fire injury rules!

Author: Marco Carmosino

Created: 2013-12-30 Mon 20:47

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