Rules

Character Creation

We will be using the prose method for character creation. Describe your character in a paragraph of 100 words. Use complete, grammatical sentences. From this hundred-word description we will pull certain words that describe important abilities of the character. If you are wondering what might qualify as an ability think of it this way — if it can be used to solve a problem, it's an ability. For example, if your character is a Questing Knight, you will get an ability called "Questing Knight" that you can use to do Questing Knighty things. If you describe your character as an Ur Ukar, you will gain the ability to do Ukari things like see in the dark. You don't have to worry much about finding the abilities in your description, I can handle that part. Think of the character creation paragraph as being similar to a description you might give about a character in a novel you have read. It shouldn't be just a list of abilities, it should be an actual prose description. Two restrictions apply to your 100 word description

  1. Any proper name that you use in your description counts as only a single word, not two.
  2. You may not have more than one sidekick listed in your description.

In addition to the 100 word description of your character, you should write descriptions of the following -

  • The driving ambition of your character. This is what pushes your character out of his or her nice, safe home and causes them to go off on adventures. This should be a single sentence.
  • Up to three single-sentence flaws. You are required to have one flaw, but may have up to three. Flaws are humanizing aspects of your character, things that make the character seem more believable, less infallible, and more interesting. There is no mechanical benefit to having multiple flaws (in fact there is no mechanical benefit to having flaws at all — unless you find that having flaws makes your character more interesting).
  • A short description of what your character looks like — no more than three sentences. Note that this is purely descriptive and does not get you any additional characteristics. If you want your character to be really strong, put "strong" in your 100 word description. If you just put "really muscular" in your description, you will look muscular, but you won't be any better than anyone else at using strength to solve problems.

Keywords

Keywords are essentially "skill packages" that represent a common sort of background. For example, all Ukar would have the "Ukar" keyword, which would represent a certain package of abilities that all Ukar possess.

As a general rule, if there is a package for it in Fading Suns, it is a Keyword. For example all the noble houses would have their own keyword — "Hawkwood", "Decados", "Masseri", for example. Likewise the various denominations of the church would have their own keyword — "Amalthean", "Avestite", "Ven Loji", "Gjarti". Each of the guilds of the Merchant League has a keyword. Each type of theurgy, and each type of psi has a keyword. Each of the alien races has a keyword. Each of the various other organizations, such as the Emperor's Questing Knights and the Chorali, would have its own keyword.

Keywords start at a rating of 13. The abilities under a given keyword must be raised separately. Some characters will discover that when they take multiple keywords, they may wind up with the same ability more than once. If this happens, simply add +1 to the ability (not the keyword, just the ability).

Followers

Different Types of Followers:
Relationships with NPCs

Allies — an ally is a character of roughly the same level of accomplishment as you, often in the same line of work. Often you share a commitment to a broader goal. The ally likes and appreciates you, but expects the relationship to function as a two-way street. For every favor you ask of him, he will ask one of you.

Patrons — a patron is an employer, mentor, commander, or other person of senior rank. Patrons enjoy greater access to resources than you do, either through personal ownership or authority. They may lend you advice or provide you with resource, but are too busy or important to personally perform tasks for you. A patron may see you as a surrogate child, or may see you as merely a tool to be used, and is likelier to help you after you have completed assignments for him than if you have been shirking your duties. In other words, when you roll your Patron relationship, the GM will adjust the difficulty based on what you have done for the patron lately. Patrons typically have ability levels one or two mastery levels above yours.

Contacts — a contact is a specialist in a profession, hobby, or area of expertise. Although you should be able to explain how you cultivated your contact, they needn't necessarily relate to your abilities. Contacts provide information and will perform minor favors, but will expect information or small favors in return. A contact's abilities in his main areas of expertise are on a par with your best rating.

Followers
A follower is an NPC who travels with you and contributes on a regular basis to your success. There are two types of followers — retainers and sidekicks.

Retainers are more or less anonymous servants or retainers. You may specify a single retainer or an entire staff, depending on your character concept. Retainers are used to augment relevant abilities. For example, a bodyguard retainer will aid you with combat abilities, while a valet would aid you with social abilities.

A Sidekick is a secondary character under your control. Most of the time he stays at your side to render assistance, but he can also go off on his own and perform missions or errands. Your sidekick should have a name. You should be prepared to explain how your sidekick came to your service. Sidekicks have three abilities - one rated at 17 and two rated at 13. If the sidekick is nonhuman, one of these abilities must designate its species. Once you have specified the sidekick's abilities, you may divide 15 points between them, putting no more than 10 into a single ability. You can't have more than one sidekick.

Communities

System

I have been reading over the rules on Community for HeroQuest, and I think I have things down to the point that players can now stat up their respective communities (House Masseri and the Nolent family).

Each community will have 5 characteristics. These characteristics are:

Wealth — this is a measure of how rich your community is. This might be in money, saleable resources, savings, or stipends given to your community for some reason.

Diplomacy — this is a measure of your community's ability to negotiate with and extract favors from other communities (such as the Church, Noble Houses, Ukar families, and the like).

Morale — this is your community's belief in its ability to achieve its goals, as well as its willingness to follow the directives of its leaders.

Might — this is the force that your community can bring to bear. This is defined broadly and might involve House troops, hired Muster mercenaries, thugs, scouts, dervishes, Grimsons, or allied pirate bands, to name a few.

Technology — this is your community's access to specialized or uncommon technology. Again it is a very broadly defined ability, and may include high tech artillery salvaged from a lost world, favors owed from the Charioteers or Engineers, or just having a lot of salvaged tech because your community spends a lot of time collecting it.

Players should rate each of the 5 characteristics of their community. Distribute among the characteristics the following, 12W, 9W, 18, 18, 12.

For each characteristic players may choose to specify a particular group or groups within the Known Worlds power structure for which they gain a bonus. The player may specify up to two groups that give a +3 bonus, or one group that gives a +6. However, for each bonus that the player takes, the player must also specify a penalty of equal value suffered when dealing with another group.

Groups should be of approximately equal size. For example, if a player chooses to gain a +6 Diplomacy against the group "Church of the Celestial Sun", then the group for which the community will suffer a penalty would be equally large - for example "Noble Houses of the Known Worlds". On the other hand, if the community takes a +3 Diplomacy vs. Zuranists (a minority culture in the Known Worlds) then an appropriate group for a -3 Diplomacy might be an alien race such as Shantor.

House Masseri

  • Wealth 12 — the poorest Noble House since they lost their holdings on Daishan
  • Diplomacy 18 (-6 vs. al-Malik, +6 vs. Decados) — they are useful, so the Decados support them, but the al-Malik have forgiven nothing
  • Morale 12M — their discipline and loyalty to their House is their great strength
  • Might 18 (+6 Scout forces, -6 Infantry forces) — the Masseri commando and scout forces have distinguished themselves many times, but the House does not have the resources to put large numbers of troops on the ground
  • Technology 9M — they have a few interesting caches of technology salvaged from their former holdings on Nowhere and Daishan, or found under the ice of Cadavus

Clan Nolent

  • Wealth 18 — Clan Nolent has some wealth saved, though they have found other means to achieve their goals
  • Diplomacy: 12W (+6 Merchant League, -6 Church) — Clan Nolent has found that diplomacy is one of its most powerful survival techniques. Allies can change the tides of war, and the clan knows how to work them.
  • Morale: 9W – It is not just about the survival of Ukar, but of the Clan. The bonds are strong within the Clan, as they know they can count on each other.
  • Might: 12 – The Clan is somewhat small and does not have a means to draw troops within its own ranks. It often relies on its diplomacy to reduce the need for troops.
  • Technology: 18 (+6 Scravers, -6 Engineers) — Since many in the Clan are involved with the Guilds, the Clan can often acquire what it needs. The clan has many members within the Scravers guild, and it makes use of those connections. However, the high prices and Church connections the Engineers possess leave the clan distrustful, and tends to shun them.

Psi and Theurgy

Psi powers and Theurgy are going to be Keywords, probably with some special restrictions on them, but I have not fully developed them yet. For the moment, here are the Psi keywords:

  • Farhand (telekinesis) [Far Hand, Crushing Hand, Far Wall, Air Stride, Air Dance]
  • Omen (precognition) [Shadows gone by, Shadows to Come, Voice from the Past, Oracle]
  • Psyche (telepathy) [Intuit, Emote, Mind Sight, Mind Speech, Brain Blast, Puppet]
  • Sixth Sense (ESP) [Sensitivity, Darksense, Subtle Sight, Premonition, Far Sight, Far Sound, Wyrd Sight, Sense Shock]
  • Soma (Body Control) [Toughening, Quickening, Strengthening, Hardening, Sizing, Masking, Recovering, Closing]

Any ability that a character has at a rating of 1W or higher can be used actively. Abilities rated at 19- may only be used as augments.

Purchasing Psi keywords during play.has a base cost of 4 Hero Points if there the development of the new keyword is believable in the context of the story (for example, if the character has been studying with a cell of psychics or has a friend or family member who has the Keyword). If the development comes out of the blue, with no prior story justification, the cost is doubled to 8 Hero Points. The new Keyword starts with all abilities at 13.

Urge

(under construction)
Urge is the dark side of psi. It manifests whenever the player rolls a natural "20" or suffers a "fumble" result when using a psi ability - actively or as an augment.

The character's Urge has two characteristics. The rating of a character's Urge is a representation of how powerful the Urge is. The level of a character's Urge represents how advanced the Urge is.

The rating of a character's Urge is always equal to the rating of the character's highest rated Psi ability. The Level of the character's Urge begins at 1 and advances as discussed below.

Urge Level abilities

(under construction)

  • Level 1: Speak in Tongues — the character becomes prone to misstatements, usually of an embarrassing or hurtful kind, for the remainder of the scene (or the following scene)
  • Level 2: Misdirection — whatever power the character is attempting to use affects the wrong target. This may be a nearby random stranger or another Player Character at the GM's discretion.
  • Level 3: Voices — the psychic begins to hear voices of people who are not there, or begins to misunderstand the things that others say to him or her, for the remainder of the scene.
  • Level 4: Drain — one Hero Point is drained from every character in the vicinity, including the psychic. If no Hero Points are available, the character takes one level of damage instead.
  • Level 5: Visions — for the remainder of the scene the character begins to see things that are not there. The visions cannot actually harm the character, but can convince the character that he or she has been harmed.
  • Level 6: Urges — the character begins to feel extreme inappropriate emotions for the remainder of the scene. Anger, love, jealousy, etc. are all possible.
  • Level 7: Dementia — the character develops a severe form of insanity for the remainder of the scene. This can be intense paranoia, schizophrenia, catatonia, etc.
  • Level 8: Outer Child — the character's doppleganger takes over the character for the remainder of the scene. The doppleganger generally likes the things that the character hates, and hates the things that the character loves. It will attempt to do the most harm possible to the character (short of killing of maiming him or her) during the time that it has control.
  • Level 9: Doppelganger — the character's doppleganger actually emerges as a separate entity. It will not necessarily appear directly at the location of the character, but the character will know that it his been created. The character's Urge immediately drops to 0. The doppleganger's overriding goal is to destroy the character by whatever means possible.

Ukar Urge Level abilities

(under construction)

  • Level 1: as per above, but the character is prone to making hostile or threatening statements.
  • Level 2: as per above, but will always strike targets that the character cares about if present.
  • Level 3: as per above, but Ukar generally perceive these voices as the voices of their gods, and there is a profound religious feeling that accompanies them.
  • Level 4: as per above
  • Level 5: Bestir — rather than affecting the Ukar's mental environment, this Urge ability affects the Ukar's physical environment, triggering some form of extreme physical occurrence - a gale force wind, for example, or a powerful but local earthquake.
  • Level 6: Awaken Bretheren — this ability awakens the Urge in others, even non-psychics. Each individual in the vicinity must roll a test or be affected by their Urge for the remainder of the scene. Non-psychics are affected by level 1 Urge.
  • Level 7: as above, but the dementia is always homicidal mania, accompanied by cannibalism.
  • Level 8: as above
  • Level 9: as above

Character Improvement

You may improve any ability by one point per session at a cost of one Hero Point.

  • To raise an ability by 2 points at once costs 3 times the cost of raising it by one point.
  • Raising an ability by 3 points at once costs 6 times as much.
  • To raise an ability by 4 points, which is the maximum amount permitted, costs 10 times what it would cost to raise it by one point.

You can purchase a new ability by spending 1 point. It begins with a rating of 13. If the ability seems out of character for your PC, the GM will require some sort of justification or explanation before approving it. You can also acquire new relationships and equipment in this fashion.

Finally, whenever you acquire a new mastery level for an ability, you may increase up to five abilities of your choice by up to 3 points each. Only abilities with values 5 or more points lower than your newly adjusted rating in the raised ability qualify for this catch-up.

Note that Keywords cannot be improved — the abilities listed under each keyword must be raised individually.

Justification for spending XPs is only required when purchasing new abilities, not when improving current abilities. So if NeVaga wants to spend points to improve Wyrd Sight she doesn't need to justify it, but if she wants to acquire telepathy that will require some sort of explanation (studying with an Ukar mystic, taking some psi enhancement drugs, getting hit of the head really, really hard, etc.)

System

Basic success chart:

HQ2-successchart.gif

Augments - active vs. passive

When you actively roll an augment, you gain a bonus based on the level of success (or a penalty based on the level of failure) as follows:

Complete victory: +1M
Major victory: +9
Minor Victory: +6
Marginal Victory: +3
Marginal Defeat: 0
Minor Defeat: 0
Major Defeat: 0
Complete Defeat: -3

For a static augment, divide the value of the appropriate attribute by 5 and round. A value of 13 therefore has an augment value of +3.

The advantage of actively rolling augments is that you can gain a higher modifier. However, it does slow the result down somewhat, requiring more dice rolls for resolution.

The advantage of static augmenting is that it is fast, but it doesn't necessarily provide the same level of augment that an active will.

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