Elements within the game are understood to function and respond in the game setting in the same way as their real-world counterparts. It would be exhausting to try and detail all possible circumstances and assign them game mechanics. Instead, conditions are used to describe ways in which abilities are restricted or enabled as game elements.
Conditions are single words or short phrases that describe an element within the game. Conditions must be understood to be used in their common and ordinary meaning. All elements within the game (characters, objects, or locations) are in a normal or neutral condition unless something changes. In the normal condition, an element behaves in the same manner as its real-world counterpart, with the same abilities and restrictions.
Conditions may be applied or removed through the use of skills, abilities, powers, or game effects. Conditions have two effects: the narrative effect, and the mechanical effect. The narrative effect restricts or enables abilities, and influences actions, according to the commonly understood definition of the condition. The mechanical effect applies a specific game mechanic as long as the condition is in place.
Most effect or ability conditions are applied or removed with a skill check that generates one or more result points. Conditions are either cumulative or discrete. Some conditions are tracked; tracked conditions are either progressive or measured.
Cumulative conditions may be applied multiple times. Each instance of the condition is applied and removed individually, and all of the effects are added together, even if some of them cancel out others.
Discrete conditions are not applied multiple times. If a character already possesses a discrete condition, and the same condition would be applied again, the second application is ignored.
Tracked conditions describe a variable’s progress or current state.
Progressive conditions describe a variable along a continuum, and each stage of the track must be passed through (or over) in order to reach the next state. Each condition on a progressive track replaces the previous condition.
Measured conditions describe a variable in its current state. Each condition on a measured track combines with the other conditions on the track. A new condition does not replace a previous condition, and each condition must be dealt with individually.
The most common tracked conditions are Endurance Conditions (health and willpower) and Reaction Conditions (social reactions). Uncommon tracked conditions include Composure, Fatigue, and Sanity. Some tracked conditions are used to measure limited uses and durations, such as Ammo, Energy, and Duration. All elements in the game use conditions and condition tracks to measure their ability, effectiveness, and persistence.
Narrative Effects of Conditions
A narrative effect either restricts an existing ability or imparts a new ability. The condition description includes the normal condition it modifies and the result of the new condition.
Example Ability Restrictions
Blinded – a blinded character cannot see. Their sense of sight has been obscured by an intervening object or insufficient light. Normal: the character can see.
Deafened – a deafened character cannot hear. Their sense of hearing has been impaired by an object blocking out sound or overwhelmed by a variety or volume of sound that obscures unique sounds. Normal: the character can hear.
Restrained – a restrained character cannot move or act. Their ability to freely move or take action is restricted by the environment or by an object or character. Normal: the character can move and act.
Example Ability Enablers
Fly – a flying character can move through the air. Normal: a character can only move along the ground.
Swim – a swimming character can move through the water. Normal: a character can only move along the ground.
Infra-Red Vision – a character with infra-red vision can see into the invisible infra-red spectrum, including seeing heat sources. Normal: a character can only see in the visible light spectrum.
Mechanical Effects of Conditions
A mechanical effect applies a game mechanism which affects the roll of the dice or the numerical value of a skill, ability, or attribute.
Example Mechanical Effects
Advantage: an ability may confer Advantage on some skill checks.
Disadvantage: an ability may inflict Disadvantage on some skill checks.
Flip: an ability may cause a Difference Flip when a certain value is rolled on a die.
+/- 1D: an ability may modify a skill check by adding or subtracting one or more dice from the skill score before the dice are rolled.
+/- WD: an ability may modify a skill check by adding or subtracting one or more Wild Dice from the skill score before the dice are rolled.
+/- 1: an ability may modify a skill check, passive defense, resistance score, or other value by one or more points after the dice are rolled.
Conditions as Health and Willpower
Health and willpower conditions track the ability of characters to participate in conflicts. Characters usually begin a conflict in a normal or neutral condition. The goal of a conflict is to move the opponent’s condition to one where they no longer desire, or are no longer able, to participate in the conflict.
There are two Endurance Condition tracks that describe a character’s ability to participate in a conflict. Physical Endurance is also called the Health track; it describes a character’s ability to take action. Mental Endurance is also called the Willpower track; it describes a character’s desire to make decisions. Vehicles and gear measure their ability to function using Hull Integrity; this is also called the Body track.
Applying a condition is accomplished by a skill check that generates enough result points to apply the condition. Applying a more severe condition requires a larger difference between the result points and the resistance value. Endurance Conditions are measured. For example, if a character is Stunned, and becomes Stunned again, they are not automatically Wounded. Endurance conditions are cumulative. For example, if a character is Wounded and becomes Wounded again, the condition is applied twice.
|RP <= Resistance
|RP > Resistance
|-1 action next round
|Out of Synch
|RP > Resistance +5
|-1D to skill checks
|RP > Resistance +10
|1 ability cannot be used
|RP > Resistance +15
|no ability to take action or make decisions
|Out of Action
|Out of Action
|Out of Action
|Out of Action
Conditions as Social Reactions
Reaction Conditions govern the types of actions a character is willing to take in relation to another character or group of characters. An NPC’s initial reaction to another character may be a function of their background or it may be randomly determined. An NPC’s Reaction condition determines the passive difficulty of interacting with that NPC when Convincing an NPC to act. The difficulty of a social roll may be adjusted by temporarily modifying the reaction to a more favorable condition with a lower difficulty.
Modifying a condition is accomplished by a skill check that generates enough result points to modify the condition. Reaction Conditions are progressive. For example, to move a condition from Neutral to Helpful, the condition must first be made Cooperative, and then Friendly. Reaction Conditions are mutually exclusive. For example, an NPC cannot be both Cooperative and Friendly toward the same character, the Friendly condition supersedes the Cooperative condition.
Whenever an attempt to modify a reaction is five or more points over or under the difficulty number, the condition is modified. For every five points over or under the difficulty, the condition is modified by one step on the ladder.
Condition Tracks as Measurements
Condition tracks are also used to measure game elements that have a limited use. Conditions always have a narrative description, but do not necessarily have a narrative or mechanical effect. In this way, a condition track is used to measure quantity or duration without requiring the players or Game Master to keep track of individual units.
Each Measurement Track is specific to an individual ability; the description of the ability will include the description of the Measurement Track and which skill or ability is used to test it. When a track is tested, a failed check moves the track to the next condition; a successful check means the track stays on the same condition. A check that is failed by 5 or more points does not necessarily move the condition more than one place down the track.
All Measurement Tracks are progressive. Each condition on a track is related to both the previous and following conditions. As the track grows more difficult to test, a failed check becomes more likely, causing the track to deplete more quickly.
Other Condition Tracks
Tracked conditions are not limited to Health, Willpower, and Reaction and are not unique to characters. Tracked conditions are used to measure the status of every element within the game, depending on the particular game’s genre and emphasis.
A condition track always has at least two conditions: normal, and out of action. The normal condition means the track has no effect on the character or game element. The out of action condition means the character or game element can no longer take action or make decisions. A condition track with only two conditions is essentially a pass/fail skill check.
A condition track may have any number of conditions. Longer condition tracks means that conflicts involving that track will have a greater emphasis in the game and take longer to play out. Shorter condition tracks will have less emphasis and play out very quickly.
Because a track usually begins in the normal condition and ends in the out of action condition, it is the number of conditions in between the beginning and the end that determines the length of the track. Additional condition tracks include examples such as Composure or Sanity.
|Length of Encounter