Rules Reference Thread.   Posted by Narrator.Group: 0
Narrator
 GM, 1 post
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Mon 9 Apr 2018
at 13:35
Character Construction Rules
This game operates on the Cortex Plus system. This thread will go into differences from the various standard Cortex Plus settings.

The following roughly follow the rules as described in Exalted: Blood and Fire, a fan-made hack of Cortex Plus, with certain changes as described below. Don't worry about character creation rules too much at first, the GM will walk all players through their first character build.

Starting Characters will have:
 Three Attributes - Physical, Mental, and Social, rated d10, d8, d6.
    A few examples of their use: (NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST)
    Physical governs spatial reasoning, direct combat, and manual
        dexterity/coordination.
    Mental covers tactical reasoning, strategic thinking, and technical
        as well as magical knowledge
    Social handles force of personality, being charming/intimidating, and reading
        "body language".

 Three Distinctions - rated either d4 or d8 for a given roll. One should be a
   "Trouble" that plagues the character. Consider using a lie the character believes
   about themselves. Another should be in regard to the type of Exalt they are.

 Specialties - areas of expertise PCs may bring to bear on a relevant task (1d10, 1d8, 3d6)
    Acrobatics
    Athletics
    Bureaucracy
    Close Combat
    Covert
    Craft
    Investigate
    Knowledge
    Larceny
    Lore
    Medicine
    Menace
    Occult
    Performance
    Ranged Combat
    Socialize
    Survival
    Trading
    Vehicles
    War

    This is not an exhaustive list, if there's a specialized skill you want, ask!

 Charms - Supernatural abilities powered by your character's channeling of Essence

 Gear - Special tools and weapons your character uses that assist more than a "basic" item,
          PCs are considered to be equipped to make a reasonable try at anything, and traits
          under Gear are meant to represent being especially well-equipped for a specific
          task. So if it doesn't have a Die Rating or SFX, it's just narrative fluff and has
          no cost or benefit.


 The Essence Die is not part of this hack, I find it's too easily built up as a "one stat to rule them all".

60 XP worth of improvements (prices are further down)

PCs have a single Stress track for absorbing all kinds of damage, up to d12. Damage may be taken as a Trauma Die instead of Stress, allowing the PC to stay active in the Scene, but at the cost of an Enemy Asset die that will require a Healing roll to remove. PCs may only have one Trauma die of each size. That said, PCs live dangerous lives, and may be scarred permanently or killed outright based on their actions. I will attempt to accommodate players' wishes in regards to the welfare of their characters, though certain story situations may arise where a character emerging unscathed is simply not possible. To be clear, I will try my best to avoid killing off characters, as this is the story of the N/PCs overcoming long odds and being amazing.

But if I can't come up with a "fate worse than death" that's narratively consistent, there may be no other option but to make your PC's death spectacular, and I will happily help work a new replacement PC into the story for that player.

~IGNORE THIS PARAGRAPH~

PCs will also get an additional Stress track for their supernatural powers, specific to their character. Using supernatural powers will increase Stress on this track. If the track is empty, it will be filled by the Effect of any successful roll. If it is already full and the successful Effect is larger, it will replace the existing die. If it is smaller, the existing Die is stepped up. Continuing to use those powers while there is a d12 on this track will cause the Effect to roll over into Trauma.

~RESUME READING~

SFX are a little more tricky to nail down, but mechanically, they generally cost 1 PP, and can do all sorts of things, like step up or duplicate the die already used from that Power/Gear set, or help defend against a particular kind of attack (stepping down their Effect, maybe), assist in creating Assets, on and on, in terms of changing the mechanics of the opposed rolls. These are the best way to make your PC "feel" unique to play. It's worth looking up Exalted: Blood and Fire or one of the Marvel Heroic sourcebooks for inspiration on SFX, they tend to be formulaic enough that they can be easily re-themed for whatever special attacks or abilities you like.

Example Additional Specialties [this is NOT an exhaustive list, please suggest your own]:
Diplomacy: Handles negotiations and politicking.
Empathy: Used to understand motivations and sense deception.
Engineer: Handles all hardware service, crafting, and repairs.
Espionage: Handles lying, stealth, and other spy things. Countered with Empathy and Sense.
Navigate: Helps you to find your place and search for things in open space.
Program: Handles software and computer tech.
Provoke: Heighten emotions through intimidating, arousing, or otherwise bolstering others.
Will: Willpower, helps defend against Social attacks.

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:12, Wed 10 Oct 2018.

Narrator
 GM, 2 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Mon 9 Apr 2018
at 13:46
Post Formatting
Posts for all IC threads will use:
1. COLORED IC spoken text, like so:
The Narrator called out, "Look There!!! A Hunter is showing up!!"
I'm not asking for people to stick to a particular color for their character, but it'd be appreciated. That said, nobody "owns" any particular color.

2. I lied a bit about owning colors. OOC parts of IC posts are to be in ORANGE, and anything that needs GM attention rules-wise (like 1's rolled, possible XP earned, and so on) should include a note in RED. NOBODY gets to use these colors for any other purpose in IC or OOC threads.

3. Dice rolls use RPOL's dice roller, with each individual die recorded. The roller is already set up to handle this, all you need to do is list the dice pool being rolled in the top-right "Manual" field. In your post, please elaborate on which die is which, so:
Rolling: Physical (d8), Lore (d6), Type-A GM (d8), RPoL Dice Roller (d8),
Following the Rules (d4 - PP?)
Results:

09:40, Today: Narrator rolled 15,6,3 using 3d8,d6,d4, unique dice ((7,2,6,6,3)).
Total: 7(d8) + 6 (d8) = 13, Effect: d8 to Create Advantage: PCs follow the rules!!!


If you want to "contract" your roll as I did above, condensing the "d8,d8,d8" into 3d8, I will assume the following order: Attribute, Distinction, then other Traits in alphabetical order. So the 3d8 rolled above are the Physical, then the RPoL Dice Roller, then Type-A GM. This allows me to easily differentiate which die rolled a 1, in case there are any neato rules interactions.

Also, notice how the d4 is in RED? That way, I can post telling you you earned a PP. Or XP, or just tell you I think your post was awesome.

4. I'm going to require weekly posts from all characters. Post somewhere, even if it's just in a message to me. More frequent posts are frequently appreciated. I'm going to keep this game pretty open to all comers, so if someone hasn't posted in the past week, I'm going to have no compunctions about their getting dragged off and getting turned into an NPC in a dark ritual.

5. Characters LEAVING an IC location thread will need to post an OOC note in their IC post in RED to me to let me know they're leaving and where they're headed, so I can set up the appropriate groups and location thread(s). This note would preferably be part of an IC post narrating your character's exit from the Scene.

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:04, Sat 28 July 2018.

Narrator
 GM, 3 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Mon 9 Apr 2018
at 14:10
Plot / Power Points and the Doom Pool
Plot/Power Points (naming varies by Cortex Plus source, but for this game we'll hereafter and universally shorten to PP, so the actual naming won't matter) are fuel for PCs to take more control over the story. A PP can be spent to:

Add a d6 to a dice pool (before the roll)
Add another relevant Component/Gear/Skill/Asset die to a roll (before the roll)
Add another rolled die to a total (after a roll)
Buy a re-roll (after the roll, although any ones rolled still stand)

The Doom Pool is the GM's equivalent to PPs. Whenever a PC rolls a 1 on a die, I will (almost always) offer to "buy" the 1 (called an Opportunity in some hacks) from the player who rolled it for a PP. A die of the same size gets added to the Doom Pool. This is generally how the Doom Pool grows. Similarly, when the GM rolls a 1, a PC may buy an Asset of that size for a PP. The Doom Pool may also be grown by NPCs donating their Effect Dice to the Doom Pool rather than applying them to PCs' Stress or whatever.

Shrinking the Doom Pool happens when the GM uses dice from it to power NPC SFX or similar effects to the above. The Doom Pool may also be shrunk by PCs "attacking" the Doom Pool (rolling against it). Winning such a roll means the Doom Pool will lose a die the same size as the PC's Effect Die. Losing a roll is pretty harmless, though it does cost a roll, and the risk of rolling more ones. When the Doom Pool itself rolls a 1, that die may not only be bought as an Asset for a PP, as above, but if it is bought, it is also REMOVED from the Doom Pool! this offers one more route for PCs to shrink the Doom Pool. This applies regardless of whether the Doom Pool wins or loses a roll, as well.

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:56, Fri 24 Aug 2018.

Narrator
 GM, 4 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Mon 9 Apr 2018
at 14:20
Action Types and Dice Rolls
Dice are generally rolled to accomplish one of the following:

Attack: Deal damage to an opponent's Stress, wearing down their will to keep fighting and drive them to yield.

Defend: Prevent damage, usually rolled as a reaction to an Attack. If the Effect Die on a failed Defend roll is larger than the Attack, the Attack's Effect is stepped down.

Create an Advantage: The Effect Die from this roll will become an Asset die to aid the team on a later roll in the same Scene. This may be wily tactics in combat, or just seeking out knowledge or improvised tools to help with a roll later on.

Overcome: Destroy or disrupt an opponent's Asset Die, remove or change a Scene Distinction, or heal Trauma. For these rolls, if the Effect on a successful roll is equal or larger than the targeted die, the target is eliminated. If it is smaller, the targeted die is stepped down. This allows PCs to erode their opponent's assets and advantages, as well as wear away the Doom Pool before it becomes too large.


Dice rolls, as stated elsewhere, are based on a pool, gathered firstly from the most appropriate one of your Attributes (whatever its die rating) and one Distinction (either at a d8 or a d4, the latter earning you a PP), and then up to three more gathered from your Charms, Specialties, and Gear. One per category, so five dice maximum, barring any special rules or SFX.

Once you've rolled, set aside any 1's. These cannot be used, only sold (for a PP each) for another die of the same size to be put into the Doom Pool.

From the remaining dice, choose two to sum their results, generating a Total (the likelihood of success), and then choose an Effect Die (whose size denotes the magnitude of the success). If your Total is higher than the response, your Effect happens.

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:07, Sat 16 June 2018.

Narrator
 GM, 5 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Thu 12 Apr 2018
at 20:11
Earning and Spending XP
PCs will earn XP en masse, so as soon as we've accumulated enough XP as a group for everyone (all active players) to get some, the XP will be awarded, marked by an update from me.

The way PCs earn XP will be through Milestones. A Milestone is a goal the PC wants to achieve, and each PC will have their own, unique to their character and their story arc. Also present will be mission-based Milestones. Each Milestone will have three goals, with varying difficulties and rewards:

1 XP - Awarded roughly as often as it can be earned, as often as once a roll (but more likely once per Scene)

3 XP - Awarded once per Scene, and a bit harder/rarer than the 1 XP.

10XP - Awarded once, at the completion of the mission or story arc. This may trigger the need to create a new set of Milestones.

These Milestones should outline a piece of your character's development arc, and the steps taken to progress along that intended path. I will also encourage an option for your character to abandon that path, so for an example:

Milestones: Become a Champion

1XP - Damage an opponent in physical combat

3XP - Defeat an opponent in physical combat to win a prize.

10XP - Earn and accept a title in honor of your victory, or forever abandon the pursuit of titles, finding victory is its own reward.

Abandoning a path is not lightly taken, and can greatly change your character, possibly forcing their hand, until they complete another Milestone. So, if the above example had been Abandoned, the character would have to turn down any titles offered, until they took up Milestones more or less about earning a particular Title, breaking their own rule for a worthy cause, essentially.

These Milestones are also another way of signaling to your trusty GM what you want to accomplish/see/do in-game. You'll work with the GM to determine feasible goals and tasks, but the overall thrust of your character arc and the intended path is generally up to you, like the rest of Character Creation.


Between Scenes, PCs can spend accumulated XP as follows:

A few definitions for the terms below:
Power Set - an Item under Gear, or possibly a sub-collection of Charms or Specialties.
Power Trait - a single power/ability with a Die Rating, as opposed to SFX which have a mechanic.

5 XP
- Replace an existing Distinction with a new one.
- Add a new power trait at d6 to a power set.

10 XP
- Upgrade an existing power trait from d6 to d8
- Add a new SFX to one of your power sets.

15 XP
- Upgrade an existing power trait from d8 to d10, or create a new power trait at d8
- Upgrade an Attribute from d6 to d8.

20 XP
- Upgrade an existing power trait from d10 to d12

30 XP
- Upgrade an Attribute from d8 to d10.
- Create a new power trait at d10.

50 XP
- Upgrade an Attribute from d10 to d12.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:32, Mon 14 May 2018.

Narrator
 GM, 19 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Mon 23 Apr 2018
at 14:24
Essence-powered items, or Numenera
There are four broad classes of Essence-Powered items in this Ninth Age of Creation. They are:

Discoveries - massive installations, often defunct or out of service, that are too large, heavy, or ungainly to move.

Oddities - Bizarre objects with no sensible purpose, but may be handy in the right circumstances.

Cyphers - The most common example of Essence technology, part of a thriving junk trade. These objects are generally unstable to varying degrees, to the point that carrying more than three of these for any period of time invites disaster from their unpredictable interactions from just simple proximity.

Simple Cyphers cost an PP, and may be found or cobbled together easily enough, given the right environment, situation and/or supplies at hand. A successful roll will result in a random Cypher, and overcoming a more difficult roll will allow the creation of a custom-made Cypher. These have a die rating equal to the Effect of the successful roll, and may be stepped down to add an SFX. Their die rating will also be stepped down with each use, to a minimum of a d6. If, at any point, their die rolls a 1, the Cypher is broken or out of charge, and requires a new roll to regain function, roughly equivalent to making a new, identical Cypher.

More durable Cyphers function largely as their simpler cousins, but cost two PP to find/create. These tend to last longer, and do not get stepped down with each use.

Artifacts - Well-kept, stable bits of Essence tech that somehow do not run out of power or break down. These are created by buying them with XP, and are listed as pieces of Gear.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:26, Tue 15 May 2018.

Narrator
 GM, 51 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Tue 15 May 2018
at 02:11
Metagaming, West Marches, and RPoL logistics
Due to limitations in the GM's ability to maintain reality, there may be cases where PCs have access to threads where their character is not physically present. This presents a logistical issue for West Marches-style campaigning, in that the information from one set of events/threads/characters can't be 100% permanently separated from another set of events/threads/characters.

Therefore, anything you may read in threads where your character is not directly present to witness firsthand is hearsay and rumor, at the very best. As such, I'm going to require an appropriate roll for finding and interpreting evidence, interviewing witnesses, etc. to verify any such hearsay.

If you think you might be about to cross a line in regards to meta-knowledge, please ask, and we can discuss it (preferably in a PM, but an OOC line at the very least will keep anyone out of trouble). If you've crossed a line in regards to meta-knowledge, you'll be warned and a roll will be required to justify said meta-knowledge. As always, there is no harm whatsoever in asking, and I can always nuke a post from orbit if need be in the name of thread cleanup.

Now, outside of meta-knowledge wrecking suspension of disbelief, I also have to address separation in time and space in-story. I'm going to handle this as best I can in terms of consistency and realism, but nobody's perfect. This means there may be some unavoidable timey-wimey hand-waviness in terms of the campaign timeline we will all need to bear. If you spot an inconsistency, please say so, I'll do what I can to correct it, but not all tangles can be undone in a timely manner. Pun fully intended.

P.S. The Pattern Spiders would like it to be known that they think I am neither entertaining nor funny.

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:15, Sat 09 June 2018.

Narrator
 GM, 77 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Wed 6 Jun 2018
at 19:26
Dice Pool Rules
PC Dice Pools have an effective minimum size of two dice: the most relevant Attribute, and the most relevant Distinction should always be included in any roll.

Beyond that, they may include up to one die each from Specialties, Gear, and Charms, to a normal maximum of five, barring SFX. Cyphers and Artifacts are considered Gear.

Asset Dice do not count against the above maximum, as they are situational and a way for PCs to contribute, even in situations where they may not be well-prepared.

If a die could be considered relevant, but might be a stretch, describe its involvement in your post. It makes the argument to the GM that the die is relevant, and that its worth flavoring the action a bit to include the added die. Your GM will certainly appreciate the effort and may even be convinced that the roll is valid.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:05, Fri 22 June 2018.

Narrator
 GM, 115 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Fri 22 Jun 2018
at 01:56
Rules Changes and Modifications
These rules are somewhat experimental, and although I do not anticipate any substantial changes, they will be reflected here, and suitable IC and OOC announcement will be made in the appropriate threads.

Any rules questions, concerns, or otherwise can be raised in the OOC worldbuilding and rules thread, or in a PM. I have no problem with people asking questions or discussing relative merits, but whatever the outcome, the rules reference will be this thread.