Conflict and Stats

12 09 2009

  I ran a short gametest last night without much narration, just moving dice around.  I’ll give you one of my examples from the rules.  You shouldn’t have any problem picking up on the rules, but for those who want the basics of character creation, it’s located here, and for those who want an idea of the setting, you can find it here.  If for some reason you just want the stat rules, they’re located near the end.

   There are three player characters involved in this conflict: Sam, a young newly-wed, Pastor Inkfist, the elderly preacher of their town, and Daniel, a teenager who was just visiting his grandparents before the Storm hit.

  In this conflict they’re fighting with a creature that’s been harassing them for much of the game.

  So, on the first turn the creature brings in its “Goes for the Face” and “Survival” Traits for a total of five dice.  Also, the creature has a significant advantage since none of the other characters are ready, so it gets two additional dice.  The GM draws seven dice from a big pile in front of him, rolls them, and moves them over by his right hand.  These dice are his Active Dice, and they consist of 6, 5, 5, 3, 3, 2, and 1.

  Sam activates his “Strappin’ Farm Boy” and “Find out Who Killed Joshua” Traits for a total of five.  These consist of 6, 3, 2, 1, and 1.

  Pastor Inkfist activates “God’s Judgment” and “Protect My Sheep” Traits for four Active Dice, giving him a 6, 6, 3, and 1.

  Finally, Daniel activates his “Get Back Home” Trait for a 4, 2, and 1.


  The creature gets the first attack.  Knowing Daniel’s the weakest, the GM Challenges him by putting forward a 5, narrating “All you see is a brief glimpse of yellowish flesh out of the corner of your eye before the thing’s on you from behind, arms wrapping around your chest.  You feel a sharp burst of agony as it sinks its razor-sharp teeth into the back of your shoulder and pulls of a mouthful of skin.”

  Now Daniel has to match the creature’s 5.  He Answers by putting forward a 4 and a 1, narrating “I thrash and cry out as I try to break the thing’s hold.”  Now, since he wasn’t able to match the creature’s 5 with equal or lesser dice, he has to take Pain.  He puts the 5 back into the GM’s Inactive Dice, throws one of his dice back into his Inactive pile, and moves the second over to his left, opposite his Active Dice.  These dice are his Pain Dice.

  Now it’s Sam’s turn.  He puts forward 6 as a Challenge, narrating “I shout ‘Hold on, Daniel!’ and run forward.  I grab the creature by the shoulders and yank him off of you, crushing him in a stranglehold.”

  The GM Answers by putting forward his 6.  He’s matched Sam’s 6, so in the fiction he’s not able to gain significant advantage, but he also hasn’t been put at a disadvantage.  He narrates “The creature thrashes with impossible strength, fetid, insectile arms twisting, trying to corkscrew the rest of its body around so it can use its teeth.”

  Now it’s Inkfists turn.  He Challenges with his 6, narrating “I say a prayer as I raise my knife above my head and bring it down with all my strength at the cursed beings exposed chest.”  The creature can’t match Inkfist’s 6 without taking pain, so the GM Answers with his last 5 and his 1.  He narrates “The creature is silent as the knife whistles down.  Its point is turned by an ironhard bone, but the blow still cuts a long, deep gash along the thing’s stinking flesh.” 

  It’s now Daniels turn again.  Right now, he could put an Exhaust himself to bring in another Trait, but he can see the battle’s going against the creature, and he’s already Exhausted himself earlier in the game.  Instead, he decides not to Challenge, holding his die in case he needs to defend himself and narrating “I fall to the ground shouting in pain.  My shoulder feels like it’s on fire.”

  The creature decides to Challenge Sam with a 3, trying to drag the battle out as long as possible.  He narrates “The creature gives a final spurt of energy, twisting its way out of your grasp.”

  Sam easily counters with a 3, narrating “I step back from your last swipe and look around for my shotgun.”

  Pastor Inkfist puts forward his last 6, narrating “But I see it first, lying near the campfire.  I grab it, pump a new round into the chamber, bring it to my shoulder, and fire.” 

  The GM isn’t able to match Inkfist’s 6 with one or even two dice.  He puts forward his 3, 2, and 1, and moves two into his Pain pile.  The conflict is now over.  Because the conflict was lethal in nature, the Pastor can now choose to Upset, Exhaust, of Injure the creature.  Without a second thought he chooses Injure, dealing the last blow to the creature’s reservoir of health.  The GM narrates “The creature’s head vanishes in a spray.  Its body twitches spasmodically, then with a final shudder goes still.”

  Now, characters are able to do one more thing in conflicts.  If they manage to match an opponent’s Challenge with less dice, not only do they deal Pain, but they also Take the Advantage.  The GM rules how much of an Advantage they gain (normally 1-4), and the player gets to roll those in for free.

  Each character has three stats: Cool, Breath, and Blood.  Cool represents their ability to conceal things from others or stay calm in a stressful situation.  You can get three points of Pain by Upsetting your character, bringing the rating down by 1.  Breath represents your ability to keep moving.  It applies to things like running or staying in a fistfight.  You can bring in a new Trait or funnel away two points of Pain by Exhausting your character.  Blood represents your life.  If you lose your Blood, your gone.  You can drop one Pain point by Injuring your character. 

  Whenever you win a conflict, you can choose to Upset a character when the conflict is Cool, Upset or Exhaust a character, when the conflict is Breath, or Upset, Exhaust, or Injure a character when the conflict is Blood.

   Now, losing all your Cool, Breath, or Blood means you automatically lose any conflicts associated with the zeroed stat.  Also, if your zero in Breath, you aren’t able to put forth any kind of physical effort.  If your zero Blood, you’re unconscious, floating just on the edge of life and death.  When you’ve taken a hit to a stat, you or the GM can Force the Question.  Forcing the Question means that you must immediately begin a Conflict with the GM.  If you lose your Cool conflict, you just go back to being zeroed.  If you win, you begin to recharge quickly.  If you lose your Breath, you have to take a brief rest to keep on going.  If you lose your Blood but you’re not at zero, your condition worsens.  This would be used if a wound was poisoned, for example.  If you lose at zero, you die.

  That’s pretty much the conflict system right now.  I’m looking forward to questions and comments.


Finding a Voice

8 09 2009

  I spent an hour today writing the introduction to the game.  It’s helping me find the game’s voice.  Through writing, I’m slowly exploring the game’s world.  Here’s a quick synopsis:

  In Northwest Kansas, there’s a big Freak Storm, full of voices on the wind and green lightning and all that pizzazz.  When everyone wakes up, they find themselves in a different world.  Their TV’s don’t work, their cars give a last shudder and die.  The highway is empty save for a few already-rusting husks of automobiles.  The barbwire fences have already dissolved.

  It’s like the rain softened the laws of the universe somehow.  Time flows differently, the seasons seem a little off-kilter.  Because of the great distance between the small towns and civilization, no one is able to leave.  Everyone now finds themselves in a time of brutal horror and quiet miracles where they must learn to live together.  This is a Land of Ill Harvest.

  I’ve also spent some time designing a system which I’m pretty happy with.  It’s a little bit of DitV (what game nowadays isn’t!), a little bit of FATE, with a dash of The Pool thrown in for flavor.  I’ll post more on the system later.