IC thread here!
What the hell is Exigency?
The word itself means an urgent situation, or a situation requiring abnormal effort or attention to resolve. It's also the title of a short story I once wrote, so I reserve the right to recycle it!
Huh, that feels familiar. It's a play-by-post system that was first featured on this very forum. It's not as rules light as it used to be but the focus remains the narrative and character customisation- not that attribute scores are meaningless! Every character has six attributes, plus skills and abilities.
Point out those past games, I don't get what you mean
- Version 1, back when Vitality was still called Health, and various other little differences
Arcadia Incursion (Act threads: Detour, Arcadia, Apogee)
- Version 2, actually reached a conclusion unlike the first!
- Version 3 test-run, proving that grids and HP/MP weren't that popular!
Pantheon - In Progress!
What kind of setting are we dealing with here?
It's the far future- but not necessarily ours. Humanity has gone through the expected selection of wars and disasters to the extent that we can’t even remember exactly what happened.
As far as the people of Alpha Sector were concerned, there were Ancient times- when we spoke weird languages, used spears, and lived on a bunch of planets blissfully unaware of everyone else’s existence- and then the Common Era, when they all discovered phasedrives and began bumping into each other in the stars.
Then they learned about the Schism.
It became apparent that we’d all met before, all our worlds and cultures, but that something had put an end to the sprawling human empire- a prolonged event the peoples of the Common Era came to call the Schism.
Pre-Schism humanity had been ridiculously technological, and even their dilapidated remnants put Common Era devices to shame.
And as if that wasn’t enough, mankind began finding Uclasion relics. Artefacts, millions of years old, which were blatantly the inspiration behind our pre-Schism findings. The Uclasions had been around 27-million years ago and then had all abruptly died or left the galaxy- so they couldn’t have been all that advanced, surely, if they’d let themselves go extinct.
But the mother of all relics was Ucelsia: the artificial, 3000-mile-diameter spacecraft the Uclasions had once called home. It was found by the Domarian Trade Organisation: and a few short years later the DTO had become the Domarian Legion and the sole superpower of Alpha Sector- that tiny shred of the galaxy that mankind had the nerve to refer to as “the galaxy”.
That’s because the Domarian Legion had found Maintonon: an ancient Uclasion Supercomputer determined to make his mark.
Maintonon obsessively plans and directs and prepares- because he predicted that it will happen again. There’s just one little problem: even he can’t remember what caused the original Schism…
Is this anything to do with Phallakinetic?
Yep, they were part of the Exigency setting! Not that science-fantasy is a particularly restrictive medium in the first place...
I'm sorta interested. Explain character creation!
All right! We'll likely be dealing with 32-point builds
, with 4 speciality slots and 6 aspects.
... maybe I should explain first...
All attributes (see below) start at 1, as do specialities if you're willing to part with a slot. You roll skill checks with a percentile die (1d100) and add your base competency. A base competency is the fancy name for your total modifier; half your base attribute + speciality rank + any appropriate situational modifiers, times ten so they're not completely dwarfed by that 1d100. And that's about it. With Focus 6 and Ranged +3, your BC when rolling to hit using your fancy rifle would be +60. Not bad at all!
If your base competency is greater than the value you need to beat, you don't even bother rolling. You're just that good.
Vitality [VIT]: Endurance, physical resilience, and resistance to bodily threats such as toxins or diseases. Vitality is the "primary" physical attribute and dictates the maximum amount of physical damage that a character can suffer.
Strength [STR]: Raw physical power- influencing feats such as heavy lifting, grappling with an opponent, handling large weapons, kicking down a door, or the traditional "break a club over the enemy’s head" technique.
Agility [AGI]: Agility determines athletic and gymnastic ability, as well as broader categories like reflexes or speed; governing a character's ability to move around the game world and to evade harm.
Focus [FOC]: Focus governs your hand-eye co-ordination, your perception of the world around you and your overall concentration. Focus is essential for marksmen and skill-users, but it is also significant for psionic characters.
Willpower [WIL]: Willpower represents a character’s morale under fire and their ability to push past the pain barrier or overcome their fears. Willpower is very important for psionic characters, or characters that wish to resist psionics.
Intellect [INT]: Intellect is a catch-all mental stat covering a character’s ability to reason, their capacity for learning and their general knowledge. For psionors, it determines the complexity and variety of their abilities. Intellect is the "primary" mental attribute and dictates the maximum amount of mental damage that a character can suffer.
Edge [EP]: Call it luck, fate, destiny, finesse, momentum... Edge helps even the odds. Edge is expended in order to power the most potent of abilities and to avoid the most severe of injuries, a cross between an action point and a healing surge. Every player has a set amount of starting Edge points, recovering spent ones over time, and gaining others as their characters grow in power and reputation.
Health/Mindset: While not a listed attribute as such, a character's maximum damage threshold is determined by their Vitality for physical damage and their Intellect for mental damage. Strength and Willpower also assist, respectively, as long as the character is capable of defending themselves. One way of looking at it is to think of VIT/INT as passive health and STR/WIL as active health. When you are in a position to defend yourselves, enemies have to erode your STR (with physical damage) or WIL (with mental damage) before they can cause you permanent harm. But when stunned or unconscious or similarly disadvantaged, your brawny muscles or heroic pain threshold are less helpful.
A speciality is a skill, ranked +1 to +5. As well as applying modifiers to your rolls they grant straight damage bonuses to attacks (...at least the combat ones do) and increase your base crit chance (default 5%) by +1% per rank.
The available specialities are Melee, Evasion, Stealth, Ranged, Sense, Psi Defence, Analysis, Tech, Medic, Social, Resistance, Reactions and Resolve. An outdated summary can be found here
. If you want to play a psionic character, they gain access to Telempathy or Telekinesis but have fewer aspect slots to compensate. We can go into detail later!
Saving Throws (The 3 Rs)
The following are derived from the highest of two attributes, as listed, and gain additional bonuses from ranks in the appropriate specialities. In other words, the 3 Rs are both derived attributes and speciality skills! For a normal character each check would be performed by rolling 1d10 and then adding their base attribute and their speciality rank, if any. Certain special abilities and pieces of equipment can grant additional bonuses.
Resistance [Rst]: Resistance governs a character's physical hardiness. Resistance is used in checks against disease, toxins, and radiation, and offers damage reduction versus most kinds of physical damage. It also opposes certain effects such as stuns and knockdowns.
Calculated from: VIT or STR, whichever is highest, plus speciality rank
Reactions [Rea]: Reactions is used to determine attack order, and to limit the penalties a character suffers when surprised or similarly put at a disadvantage.
Calculated from: AGI or FOC, whichever is highest, plus speciality rank
Resolve [Rsv]: Resolve governs a character's mental hardiness; their bravery, discipline, ego, self-confidence, faith in themselves... anything to help them overcome the various traumas they'll inevitably encounter in the field.
Calculated from: WIL or INT, whichever is highest, plus speciality rank
Unless you're playing some kind of cyborg, equipment doesn't eat into your points allowance. Instead you outline your requirements using Mundane, Minor and Advanced items.
Mundane items have no mechanical effect and are purely for flavour and description. They might be clothes, accessories, they can even be weapons as long as they don't actually grant any abilities that aren't already part of the character's makeup! Despite their usefulness computers/communication units are considered Mundane in the context of the setting, everyone has one. As the name implies, Minor items do have a slight mechanical impact on the game world; knives, clubs, simple armour, cheap pistols. Advanced items have far greater impact, and aren't the sort of thing you'll just find lying around in the course of the adventure. The Specialist category of items also exists, but is only available to players who are willing to sacrifice other parts of their character build to access them.
For your characters you have unlimited Mundane allowance
(as usual), four Minor items
, and two Advanced items
. Don't worry about their exact stats, we can sort those out later. For now it's enough to know that, say, one of your Advanced items is a suit of armour... we can decide on it's exact protection and mobility later.
Here's my favourite bit. This here
is a list of previously used aspects, but it's by no means definitive or complete. See, every player has the opportunity to make their own ones up! Understand that they'll have to be balanced and appropriate to the player character's extant attributes, but never have we had a suggestion that hasn't been tweaked and used ingame!
Aspects can be passive or they can be special powers that cause self-inflicted injuries (the aforementioned page refers to HP and MP, which will not be used in this campaign. Imagine they refer to the severity of injuries instead). Existing aspects can be freely re-used and renamed if they don't suit your flavour. "Elbow Smash? Try Crotch Kick and get back to me."
Neat! I've got an idea for...
Roll for skill, and then roll for effect. Once upon a time the Exigency system resolved everything using d20s... Sadly things are more complex now and many other dice have wheedled their way in.
A PDC is your power dice category, formerly player dice category but power sounded more badass. It's mostly calculated for utility skills (for example, it determines how much damage a player can heal or repair with the Medic and Tech specialities) but certain offensive and defensive powers call for it sometimes too. You roll your Melee PDC to determine your unarmed damage, you roll your Telekinesis PDC to determine your, uh, telekinetic damage, and so on.
In Version 1 of Exigency, firearms did set damage amounts and all Melee attacks dealt 1d20 damage + player modifiers. Now all weapons have dice! Assuming they're used by someone trained in their operation, guns have more consistent damage and melee implements have higher max damage. For example: a heavy pistol deals 1d8+8 damage + Ranged while a two handed sword deals 3d6 + Melee + STR. The former will likely pierce some armour and have a minimum damage value as well; this is where a penalty is applied to an attribute merely because the attack hit the target. Being shot is not good
in this system, but being clobbered with a maul by a musclebound superhuman is distinctly ungood too.
So. Attacking a target? Roll to hit (1d100 + your appropriate BC) and your target will attempt Evasion (or Psi Defence)- another 1d100 check with an added BC. If your attack connects you will roll for damage and the target will make a Resistance check. Or Resolve if you're using a psionic attack or particularly barbed taunt.
If they fail to meet the attack value, they will suffer an injury or trauma. There's an older outline here
but I managed to make it sound far more complicated than it actually is. I&Ts are simply reductions to your attributes. Either temporary- and you can have unlimited temporary I&Ts- or normal, permanent damage, limited by your VIT and INT as mentioned earlier.
Hitpoints are not present in this iteration of the system, at least not in the usual sense. Instead every injury and trauma has a severity rating determining the difficulty of removing it.
The Medic PDC example I mentioned? If the user passes the initial skill check to diagnose the problem, the severity of their patient's injuries would be reduced by the value they rolled on their PDC. Or if you're a klutz with no talent in that department, maybe you can find a healing kit to prod them with and roll using the equipment's dice instead of your own.
Injuries and trauma can also be self-inflicted via exertion; suffering a temporary penalty to an attribute in order to power a special ability. In the good old days it was common for psionors to burn through their Willpower in order to beat the crap out of enemy psyches!
Fire away! I can't stress enough how much the system (and setting, frankly) has changed after input from players and observers.