Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
Attributes and Trekisms
ATTRIBUTES AND TREKISMS
Attributes form the basis of your character. They tell you how strong, smart, and fast your character is. For most species they range from 1-5 but some species possess attributes that are much higher. Your character’s base attributes and maximum attributes come from the species template you have chosen.
- Fitness: Fitness represents a character’s physical makeup. It governs how much a character can lift, how much damage he can withstand before succumbing to injury, etc.
- Coordination: This attribute is a measure of a character’s fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. It governs things like dodging, shooting, and playing video games.
- Intellect: This is a measure of the character’s overall intelligence and ability to reason. It covers all science and technical skills in addition to Perception and investigative ability.
- Presence: This is a measure of the character’s force of personality. It is a measure of how likable the character is and his personal magnetism. It also is a measure of how well the character resists mental manipulation.
- Psi: Psi is a measure of the character’s extra sensory abilities. Most characters possess a Psi attribute of 0 but those that have a 1 or more in Psi are able to use special skills like Telepathy and Empathy.
- Force: This is a measure of the character’s link with the universal energies that surround and infuse all things. Most characters have a 0 Force attribute but those that have a 1 or higher can use special skills like Move Object and Force Leap.
- Essence: This is a measure of the character’s ability to manipulate extra-dimensional energies and warp reality. Creatures like the Q possess an Essence attribute of 10 or higher but most people only have a 0 in this attribute. Characters that possess a 1 or greater in Essence can learn magical traditions and warp reality.
Each attribute can be broken down into two aspects. These aspects are called edged and allow you to make your character more flexible. Edges are represented as a + or – value. This number modifies the base attribute whenever that aspect would apply.
- Strength: Strength modifies a character’s ability to lift weight and do physical damage
- Vitality: Vitality affects the character’s general health, ability to resist diseases and poisons, and his ability to take damage
- Dexterity: Dexterity modifies the character’s hand eye coordination and affects things like attacking and gymnastics. It also affects fine motor manipulation and skills like picking locks or sleigh of hand.
- Reaction: Reaction measures the character’s ability to deal with sudden change. It affects initiative and dodging.
- Logic: Logic is a measure of the character’s ability to solve problems and make deductions.
- Perception: Perception is a measure of the character’s awareness.
- Empathy: Empathy modifies skills that are based on reading body language and picking up innuendos, motivation, and emotions.
- Willpower: A simple measure of the character’s ability to withstand pain, resist mental attack, and command ability.
- Focus: Focus is a measure of the degree of precision a character can exert over his mental powers as well as how well he may use those powers on himself.
- Range: Range affects any power that is used on a target over any distance.
- Sense: Sense is a measure of the character’s attunement with the force and his ability to use the force to detect and/or understand.
- Control: Control is a measure of the character’s strength in the Force and affects skills that manipulate or alter the character’s surroundings or himself.
- Alteration: Alteration is a measure of the character’s ability to use essence to change the world around him and/or within himself.
- Manifestation: This is a measure of the character’s ability to summon and/or create energy, items, or creatures.
Every character can resist a number of points of damage equal to their Fitness + Vitality. This is called the character’s Resistance. Additionally, every character has seven wound levels to describe the effects of damage. At each level the character can take damage equal to their Fitness + Vitality.
Each character can lift/carry their Fitness x 50 kg. A character may attempt to lift more but must make an Attribute Test. For every 10% over his base lift the Difficulty increase by 1. A character exceeding his maximum weight is limited in movement to one meter per round.
Characters also suffer penalties if they are carrying an excessive amount of stuff:
- = = Base Lift x 0.20: No penalty
- = = Base Lift x 0.50: -2 on all physical skills/-20% Move
- = = Base Lift x 0.75: -4 on all physical skills/-50% Move
- = = Base Lift x 1.00: -6 on all physical skills/-75% Move
- = = More than Base Lift: No physical actions/ Move 1 meter
Renown measures your character’s fame and reputation. The higher your character’s Renown the more well known he is and the more likely he will be recognized for his exploits. In addition to representing the general fame or notoriety the character may have, Renown is split into several Aspects. Characters will gain Renown in these specific Aspects but add them all together to determine his actual level of Renown.
Characters start the game with renown based upon past experiences. The Director will go over this with you and help to determine what renown you begin with.
- Aggression: Aggression covers the willingness of the character to resort to violence. Characters with a high Aggression are seen as hotheads and warmongers.
- Curiosity: Curiosity covers the character’s reputation for being nosy and inquisitive. Characters with high Curiosity Renown tend to be viewed as too curious for their own good and are often passed over for promotions.
- Discipline: Discipline covers the character’s conformity to the larger group, its rules, and restrictions. Repeatedly violating orders will get you negative Renown in this aspect but if successful the character may also gain positive Initiative tied to the negative Discipline.
- Honor: The character with a high Honor Aspect tends to be viewed as loyal, truthful, and trustworthy. Different cultures have different measures of honor but loyalty, honesty, and trust are almost universal.
- Initiative: Initiative covers risk taking, experimentalism, boldness, and a willingness to disobey orders. Characters with high Initiative are viewed as mavericks and daredevils.
- Justice: Justice reflects the character’s reputation for sound leadership, political savvy, and social esteem. Characters earn Justice Renown for personal charisma, stirring acts of leadership, and displays of ethical conduct.
- Learning: Learning reflects the character’s reputation for intelligence, scholarship, and accomplishments of the mind. A character with high Learning is often sought after for his wisdom.
- Luck: Luck represents the character’s reputation for personal luck. Often characters that are highly skilled but unorthodox earn Luck Renown because no one believes they are skilled enough to actually succeed at the things they have accomplished.
- Openness: Openness is the willingness to consider and adapt to other peoples views, invite external input, and to be influenced by foreign influence. Negative Renown in this aspect represents bigotry, chauvinism, and cultural conservatism.
- Passion: The character is known for his self confidence and emotions. A high Passion Aspect represents a character who is vocal in his opinions, always in the forefront, and prone to emotional outbursts. Negative Renown in Passion is found in those who are hardened by war, Vulcans, and quite often Jedi Masters.
- Prayer: Prayer reflects the character’s reputation for personal wisdom, spiritual accomplishments, and piety as well as his overall grasp of esoteric subjects and philosophies.
- Skill: Skill covers personal skill, ability, competence, resourcefulness, etc. A character doesn’t have to be particularly skilled to get Renown for being skilled; he only has to appear to be successful. Characters with high Skill tend to get picked first for missions.
- Valor: Valor represents a character’s reputation for physical acts of bravery and heroism. Negative Valor would represent a coward or cautious person.
The expenditure of Courage Points provides a method of increasing Test results. A character’s Courage Points often come in handy when a Test generates a low result. The character may choose to add Courage Points before or after a roll has been made. If he chooses to add one Courage Point before the roll, he can add a Courage Die to his dice pool. The Courage Die adds directly to the highest die rolled creating the potential for spectacular results. After the roll has been made a character may add up to three Courage Points to the roll.
All characters begin each the game with three Courage Points unless they received bonus points due to species or advantages. At the end of each Act the Narrator will have the option to regenerate the character’s Courage Point pool. A character cannot gain more Courage points than his starting allotment at any time.
A character will at certain times be given the opportunity to purchase additional Courage Points. When he is given the option, he may purchase one additional Courage Point. The Narrator will decide when this is possible and should only allow the character to purchase an extra Courage Point if the character has shown extraordinary role playing, heroic sacrifice, or performed some deed that was truly incredible – like saving an entire race or thwarting a galactic civil war.
Sometimes a character needs to succeed at something, and damn the probabilities [and sometimes the consequences]. This is simulated with Courage Points. When a character uses a Courage Point, the in-game reality alters in ways to help the character – think of it as the Powers That Be lending a helping hand. This shot ricochets around a corner and cuts the hangman’s rope, the charging cultist’s robe gets tangled and he goes down in a heap, a recently slain companion is ‘not dead yet’… all those things are possible with Courage Points.
A character starts with a set number of Courage Points, determined by his species chosen at character creation. Once spent, Courage Points are gone until they regenerate or new ones are earned through deed and action. A character cannot earn more Courage Points than his maximum. Characters who perform truly heroic deeds like saving a world from destruction can earn the right to increase his Courage Point pool by spending Development Points.
SPENDING COURAGE POINTS
Players may simply tell the Narrator what they wish to spend their hard-won Courage Points on and erase them from their character sheets, which can be pretty dull. Instead, Narrators should encourage their players to describe, in detail, how their Courage Points are taking effect. Entertaining descriptions of Courage Point expenditures are not merely their own reward – they could lead to plot complications, character development, or even further Courage Point awards. If players are reluctant to do this (from shyness or lack of inspiration), the Narrator may do so for them – but can feel free to add a plot complication or an additional requirement to the expenditure.
Example: While climbing the Jeffries Tube in pursuit of a giant bug, Ratchet has failed his Climbing roll. He decides to spend 1 Courage Point on Scenery, to allow him a chance of survival. If Ratchet says ‘I grab for an open access panel as I fall past it,’ the Narrator may say that he has snagged the panel safely. If Ratchet says nothing, and leaves it up to the Narrator to invent said access panel [or ledge, spanning arm, or other such thing], the Narrator is perfectly within his rights to ask that Ratchet make an Acrobatics roll or a Dexterity check, to permit him to grab the item… and then slam him roughly, knocking the wind out of him and stunning him for a round. If a character pays his points without describing them, he takes his chances.
The standard use of Courage Points is to add a Drama Die to the Test result. A Drama Die is a die of a different color that adds to a Skill or Attribute Test. This often results in dramatic results. Even this use can be described dramatically.
Example: Karr throws a punch at the assassin. He makes his Skill Test and sees that his total is an 8 (a pretty good roll). He decides to add a Drama Die to his test result and spends a Courage Point. He tells the Narrator that Karr feels a surge of anger that fuels his punch. He rolls the Drama Die and gets a 4 which is then added to his Skill Test giving him a total of 12. He beats his opponent’s defense by 7 giving him a Dramatic Result. The Narrator rules that Karr broke the assassin’s jaw and knocked him unconscious. If Karr chose not to describe how the Drama Die came into existence the Narrator may have ruled that Karr needed to make a Willpower Test since his anger has gotten the best of him with possible dire results.
USING COURAGE POINTS
So what are Courage Points good for? Let us count the ways. Spent judiciously, they can snatch sweet victory from the fanged jaws of defeat… or at least take the sting out of the stomping.
Courage Points may be spent at any time, even when the character isn’t acting or doesn’t have initiative. The Narrator has veto power over the use of Courage Points. Usually, if something bad is slated to happen to a character, using Courage Points won’t help him get out of the situation.
A ‘scene’ here is defined as a short collection of related actions or events in a logical progression. Scenes in movies are divided by dissolves, wipes, or cuts; scenes in television shows are often divided by commercial breaks or shots of stock footage; scenes in theater can be separated by the opening and closing of a curtain or a change in scenery; and scenes in books are often indicated by page or chapter breaks. A punch in the middle of melee is simply an action; but scamming a way past the lobby security guards, from entry until the elevator doors close, is generally a scene. Unless stated, only one courage feat can be achieved in a single round.
Bad Luck: The character may spend ONE Courage Point to add one Disaster Die to the Narrator’s dice pool. This works as Disaster under the Disaster Die rules.
Palaver: After initiative is rolled but before any actions are taken, a PLAYER CHARACTER may spend ONE courage point to interrupt the scene and engage the combatants in conversation. This stops all combat and allows the player to begin a conversation, make a speech, or just ramble. When he is done, combat may ensue normally with a new initiative test being made or his words may have had an impact stopping the fight all together. If another character spent courage points on his initiative roll prior to Palaver, those points are simply lost.
Dramatic Entrance/Exit/Pose: ‘The door crashes open! There, heralded by a flash of lightning and a boom of thunder, cloak flapping in a gust of wind from the storm, Lady Corrino stands, her saber unsheathed. ‘You!’ she roars, pointing her blade at Flatline…’ By spending ONE Courage Point, a character may make an impressive entrance, stunning [or causing Fright Checks] any onlookers momentarily.
A Fright Check requires an opponent to make a Moderate (5) Presence + Willpower Test or be stunned for 1 round.
Dream Sequence: The character PERMANENTLY spends TWO Courage Points from his pool. He then chooses a point in time that occurred during the current or last game session. Everyone goes back in time to that point and time begins as if none of the events since that moment had ever happened. Everyone remembers the events as a dream sequence that may give a warning of things to come.
Drifter: The character spends a lot of time on the road and has a tendency to just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Any time another character needs help a character can spend ONE Courage Point and show up if it is in any way plausible. Everyone present can offer an explanation for how the character happened to arrive in time; the player can choose whichever one appeals to him the most.
Second Wind: At any time, a character can spend ONE Courage Point to heal one row of damage.
Roll with the Punch: At any time, a character can spend ONE Courage Point to add 3 to his Resistance for one round.
I am the Wind: By spending ONE Courage Point, a character may move in a cinematic style to a distance of twice their normal Move. This includes, but is not limited to, swinging from chandeliers, quickly vanishing from view right from under the noses of others, running through a hail of gun fire unscathed, appearing out of the shadows behind a foes, leaping to escape an explosion, and so forth.
I Surrender: The character may spend TWO Courage Points at any time during a fight and become captured. Once spent, the character may not take any hostile action towards his capturers or resist them in any way other than refusing to talk/give up info for the remainder of the scene. This is a great way for a character to save his ass when knocked unconscious or facing overwhelming odds. James Bond used this form of Courage Point expenditure in every movie and novel he was ever in.
Make It Count: When it’s crunch-time, a character can buckle down and really concentrate on the task at hand. By spending ONE Courage Point, he can add a Drama Die to his Test result. If he spends more than one Courage Point he can add +1 per point he spends after the first. A maximum of three Courage Points may be spent on any one Test. This can be stacked with other courage feats at will.
Scene Blocking: For TWO Courage Points, a character may manipulate the position of one character within a scene. ‘As the door opens, the guard catches you in front of the file cabinet with the beam of his flashlight.’ ‘I call Scene Blocking – when the guard opens the door, I’m actually beside the file cabinet, partially hidden by its shadow.’
Slow Motion Sequence: The film starts to slow down and time seems to stand still as the character moves with blinding speed! For EVERY ONE Courage Points used, the character gains and keeps one additional action die for the round. Not just useful in combat, either – handy for athletic competitions, last minute grabs for allies falling to their doom, or escaping from pursuit.
Time-Compression Montage: The film starts to inter-cut rapid scenes of intense training or fevered construction – or the story goes into a flashback, detailing past events or information – and then snaps back to the present. By spending THREE Courage Points, a character can instantaneously undergo training in the middle of a session or ‘discover’ a previously hidden quality or skill [provided he has the unused Development Points to spend on improvement, of course]. This rule is also useful for constructing or repairing machines before the next scene – when you absolutely, positively, need a big gun that shoots cabbages right now!
Trip Him Up: When a character notices his opponent is wearing a cape, robe, or moving through treacherous terrain, the character may spend ONE Courage Point to trip him up. Once spent the opponent will get tangled up and trip. He will lose one action as he tries to regain his feet. He must make a Moderate (5) Coordination + Dexterity Test or fall on his face.
AWARDING COURAGE POINTS
Once Courage Points are spent, they are gone for good. To get more, a character has to work for them. They can be obtained in a number of ways – some are easy, others depend mainly on the course of the campaign, and others are just handed out in the Narrator’s infinite wisdom.
- Quotable Quotes: A good game is as much about dialog and characterization as it is about villain stomping. Coming up with cool, witty lines is not easy. Players who put in the effort to come up with a funny and memorable line should be awarded a Courage Point, once per game session. Both the Narrator and other players have to agree that the line is worthy of the reward.
- Heroic Acts: Stomping on villains does not constitute a Heroic Act – it’s expected from the characters. To earn Courage Points, the character needs to perform acts of self-sacrifice for the good of others. The sacrifice should be significant – serious risk of death or injury, or some personal loss. This type of act should get one or two Courage Points, depending on how serious the sacrifice was.
- Traits: Many traits award Courage Points for specific Activities. This is the most common way for a character to earn Courage Points
- Change of Act: Any time the Narrator declares a new Act, characters should ask for Courage Point regeneration. The Narrator will examine their past actions and award any number of Courage points he desires up to a character’s max.
Helping Out a Friend
Everyone knows that in the movies and in great TV series, there always comes a time when the hero is defeated but a friend gives him a pep talk and he is back in the game. This is called helping out a friend and is the premise for sharing Courage points.
A character may give one or more of his Courage points to another character anytime he fulfills one of the following requirements:
- A pep talk or inspirational speech (1-2 Courage points)
- The kiss of a lover (1-3 Courage points)
- Sex (1 Courage point)
- Prayer together (1-3 Courage points)
- Anything else the player can come up with that will raise the hope and morale of his companion (1 Courage point)
A specialized deck of 162 cards have been developed specifically for use in STLN. These cards can have a profound influence on the course of the Episode and in some cases the course of the Campaign.
- Every player will be given one random card at the start of each game session.
- If the player has bennies, he may turn one in at any time for an additional two cards.
- A player may give another player a card if both players spend TWO Courage points.
- The Director gets one card per player participating in the Episode.
- Cards may be spent at any time unless specifically stated on the card.
Cards with the words “Director’s Card” on them must be turned in when they are received. In exchange for this the player has the option to receive another card from the deck.