Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Fading Suns 3, Attributes

Take a look at the previous edition of Fading Suns (FS2) and count up all of the attributes. Yes, there are 12 of them: 3 physical, 3 mental, and 6 spiritual. We also have two types of attributes: the physical and mental attributes are standard, while the spiritual attributes are arranged in opposed pairs. This caused a few problems, leading to many a conversation about which spiritual attributes were worth making primary or secondary, or even putting points in at all.

While I liked the idea of the opposed attributes, in practice they just didn't work very well. They caused confusion, both in how the pairings worked and in what some of the attributes actually stood for. Really, they had to go, but some aspects were still useful and relevant to the game.

The solution was to do away with all the old attributes and instate a set of new ones. We chose 6 attributes: 2 physical (Dexterity & Vigor), 2 mental (Wits & Will), and 2 social (Intuition & Presence). These are rated on the standard 1 to 10 scale, but may exceed these limits with racial modifiers, cybernetics, or theurgic influences, etc.

We also expanded the Vitality health track, dividing it into Vitality, Resolve, and Reputation, and essentially providing 'hit points' for the areas of physical, mental and social conflict. In addition, these health tracks are considered 'ablative' or non-life threatening -- only when the track is completely depleted do characters suffer real injuries and risk death.

When a character takes an injury that depletes his Vitality he suffers a Wound. A wound can be almost any type of permanent damage... perhaps losing an arm or an eye. Of course, with cybernetics and wonder medications like Elixir, even these can be restored, but they don't grow back without help. Resolve, when depleted, leaves mental scars, derangements, etc. Reputation leaves the character marred by social embarrassments or a bad reputation that just will not go away.

Finally, there is a new system of 'pool attributes'. Pool attributes accumulate or diminish over time. Every character has a Faith Pool to start with, but characters with occult abilities also have a pool related to the dark side of that ability... a Hubris pool or an Urge pool, for example. Pool attributes have two tracks: a permanent score and a temporary score. All goal rolls using the attribute work from the permanent score. As characters progress through their adventures, their temporary scores will fluctuate. If they increase their temporary score to 10 they immediately gain a permanent point, but if they lose all their temporary points they lose a permanent point.

The Faith pool can also be used by characters to augment their actions, boost their capabilities, and save their lives in extreme situations. Players will want to keep their characters' Faith scores up! Occult pools, on the other hand, chart the characters decline into darkness and gaining these is something most will want to avoid.