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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 32 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [The ASH System, V2.00] Fluidity and Creativity  (Read 895 times)

Posts: 68

« on: September 26, 2011, 03:16:53 PM »

Hello all,


So, let’s try again shall we?

Simply put, V2.00 is “doing less, better”. The language is simpler, layout polished, design goals refined, and many mechanics have been altogether purged.

I feel the changes are significant to warrant a new topic. [Please correct me if I’m wrong moderator.]

Thank you to everyone whose comments have helped me return with V2.00. I sincerely appreciate it.

I want ASH V2.00 to be the “universal” system I had intended V1.00 to be. Ironically, and with no shortage of personal chagrin, I’ve noticed that crafting an effective system is better than crafting an adequate system that can be adapted to any setting. I am glad to have learned this as a designer.

It’s a good sign that I don’t need to summarize the game in my next post. Just read the thing, it’s barely 25 pages of text.


In-game terminology following...

My Questions

1.) Yes there are now elements of the setting in this version. But that’s not my focus of this release. I want to focus on system mechanics. I’ve provided enough setting details to understand the important system choices.

2.) Writing style? Is the text accessible?

3.) Design goals. Have I achieved them? Where are my strengths and weaknesses according to the design goals? I want to invite general responses to this question (specific is nice too).

4.) I know you’re going to complain about the term “Heart”. I’ll admit that it still sounds somewhat cheesy to me, so you don’t have to argue too hard. I want to stick with it for a bit, feel it out. If you have anything constructive to say about this term choice, let me know. Otherwise… well, we can nitpick later.

5.) I used X, Y, Z for character names/places in my examples. This makes reading the examples easier (I think) for a first time reader. But I’ve sacrificed the aesthetic of this game’s setting. I plan to change X, Y, Z to names once I’ve filled-in Part Two: Setting. What do you think?

6.) When considering Domains I feel the same way I did about 30+ pages of my last release. Worried.

Are Domains too restrictive?

I included them because they have setting importance (fundamental fabric of the world). They (I hope) encourage players to consider problems from a particular mind-set, namely: organics, matter, and knowledge. I believe Domains will foster creativity.

Argue me on this one…?

7.) The new application of Context Bonus. Do you like the idea of having re-tries for the RPS? (Remember, at most you’ll get 4 re-tries (if your opponent doesn’t bother to try). More likely it’ll be 0 or 1).

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to ASH,


Posts: 51

« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2011, 05:03:23 PM »

I'm going to answer your questions all out of order and uncategorized, because Robot Pancake Hooker 3000.

X,Y,Z is inconsequential, especially if you're going to substitute names later.

I dig the RPS retries.  But, speaking of RPS, and SLD, and such, you should just write out the words.  It took me a while to get the acronyms in my head, and up until that point, it made the reading tough going.

That said, the text is much easier this time around.  I'd say you've almost got it!

As far as design goals go, I'm having trouble visualizing what mote-gambling actually looks like in-game.  What reality does the mechanic support, or emulate?  I think this needs to be concrete in order for people to understand it and approach it both correctly and intuitively in-session.

And the Heart... yeah, maybe the Cast or something?  I don't know.  Just, not the Heart.  Please.

Ending on a high note, the Domains are great!  I like the fact that you have solid examples to make the whole concept concrete for the reader.  They're not restrictive at all, they're wide open to whatever someone wants to do, and very inspiring.  Is it the restriction of only choosing one domain that you're worried about?  Because I wouldn't be, if I were you.  That's why RP is a team effort!  If one guy could do it all, it'd be no fun.

I've decided to put my comprehension to the test and build a little sample character.  If I understand this right, I'll need to actually have a playgroup in order to create my 4th Identity and the Vessel, but the rest is here, albeit somewhat bare-bones.  I'm guessing the fleshing-out could probably happen in-game, or in collaboration with a playgroup.  The game design suggests to me that the collaborative approach to character-building would work best.

Gaeric “Leftie” Nibwaithe

He’s a good-hearted man, if a little (or a lot) awkward at times.  Unless he trusts a person implicitly, he has difficulty contributing to a conversation, and will often bite his lips and cheeks, and make odd, pained grimaces while you’re waiting for him to reply.  Most people don’t have the patience to really get to know him.

That said, he is the ship’s alchemist, so sometimes, people just have to sit there while he fixes them up, and that usually leads to at least a teeny weeny bit of productive conversation.  Besides, it takes his mind off the blood.  Gaeric can’t stand the sight of blood.

His catch-all cure for most things is Pinchloaf Pipe Tobacco, sulphur, and paint thinner.  The strange thing is, it works… or at least, people think it works, and they think it strongly enough that it actually does work.  Sickness is funny that way.  But it wasn’t always that way; it started soon after he took to binding his right arm in a sling…

‘Twas nigh on 7 years ago now, his most famous delusion…  “Ah wus jes’ checkin’ the fishin’ lines, when dis fish jes’ flopped up onna deck, innit.  So’s ah goes an’ picks it up, an’ it starts yammerin’ at me inna weird langoo-idge.  Ah ain’t havin’ none o’ dat, so ah hucks it back t’th brine, innit.  That’s when ah did get m’eye awna ship on’t horaaahzon.  Well, ah likes mah fun’n’games, as ev’rbuddy will tell ye, what knows me…” 
(awkward silence, grimacing)
“…so’s ah played th’game where ye takes summat what’s real big, real far awf, an’ ye hol’ yer finger’n’thumb up, like dis, right up close t’yer eyeball, an’ then ye says, ‘Ahm squishin’ yez, HAHAHA’, an’ uh, that’s how th’game goes, innit.  Cuz, y’know, t’YOU, it looks like yer squishin’ the far-awf ting whut’s ‘twixt yer fingers.”
(awkward pause, nervous tics)
“…an’ well, anyway… wouldn’cha knowitt, it WORKED!  Th’whole ship jes’ kinda… crumpled.  Ah thought ah’d gawn nuts furst, but… well, ah don’t rightly figger ah am nuts, n’so… well, jes’ t’be on t’safe side, ah keeps mah right arm tucked in this ‘ere sling unner m-coat, nice’n’snug.”
(sidelong glances, leaning in to whisper)
“…it’s gawt May-jikk Powurs!”

…which, of course, it doesn’t.  Not at all.  His mind, on the other hand, is a veritable dynamo of illusionism, and the ship-squishing episode, well, that was the ignition.  Granted, he’s the one that bears the brunt of it, but if you talk with him for too long, or give him a nice, big hug, or get sneezed on by him, the Gaeric-ness starts to rub off on you, and strange things start to happen around you, and worst of all, you start to actually believe all the weird stuff Gaeric is saying.


Gaeric must, MUST free himself of the horrible, demonic magic coursing through his right arm!  Try as he might, he can’t bring himself to cut it off though, because he can’t stand the sight of blood.

“Ah’ll never use mah right han’ agin, no sir.”

1.) Queasy doctor
2.) Pinchloaf Pipe Tobacco addict
3.) Contagious distortions of reality
?   ?   ?   ?   ?     
?   ?   ?   ?   ?   
?   ?   ?   ?   ?   
Integrity: ?
Atrophy: ?? ?? ??
 Gaeric is a ship’s alchemist who can’t stand the sight of blood, so he just prescribes paint thinner, sulphur, molasses, and Pinchloaf Pipe Tobacco to all of his patients.  Since inadvertently accepting The Call 7 years ago by talking to a loquacious, heavensent fish, he’s been suffering from constant and elaborate hallucinations.  What he doesn’t know is that these hallucinations tend to rub off on those around him, and for the past 7 years, his unorthodox prescriptions have actually worked, simply by virtue of placebo effect.

Gaeric wears his pants really high, and his tweed waistcoat is waaaay too big for him.  He’s a small-framed, somewhat wrinkly, and more-than-somewhat smelly fellow.  And he has a bloody massive pipe that doubles as a cudgel.  No joke.  The thing’s bowl literally has room for a quarter pound of tobacco, and its name is Quaffer.  He really loves his tobacco.

Posts: 68

« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2011, 01:00:41 PM »


Out of order and uncategorized. How unlike you. Oh well, as long as Robot Pancake Hooker 3000 says so. Can’t argue that logic :P

1,) Purge the Acronyms. Got it.

2.) More examples—specifically conflict ones. Agreed.

3.) Heart. Haha… ya… kinda saw this coming… I’ll “look into it”.

4.) Likes Domains. Good.

5.) Collaborative approach is very important to ASH, yes. But you do not need a full playgroup (of 6 people) to have a full Vessel. Every Vessel must have all 5 Officer Roles filled, but that does not mean that every Vessel requires 5 players. Any unfilled Roles will be filled by NPCs. I’ve devised some sample Vessels but need to include them in the book for quick-play Vessels or ideas on filling Roles.

6.) Yes, you will need at least one other player to complete the Encounter Identity (4th). But if you are playing a duet with one player and one Sessioneer then just forge an Encounter with one of the NPC Role Officers.

Your Example:

Name, Concept, Role

Cool name. Cool concept.

Next edition will advise players to draft the concept on a separate piece of paper, then create the character, then transfer whatever aspects of the concept they feel are appropriate to the final character in the Aesthetic. Concept is just a quick brain-storm. Your anecdote could very well be transferred to the Aesthetic section once the character’s written up.

Excellent tying in the Role of Alchemist.


Next edition I’ll need to explicitly state that the Seek must focus on protecting something external to the character. I want to form a triad of tension between Seek/Code/Survival. Sometimes all three will align, but this provides the opportunity that they may not. Sorry friend, Gaeric’s Seek needs to be about something other than his own safety.

I also want to try beginning all Seeks with “I want…” This emphasizes that the character desires something and intends to do something about it.

Perhaps re-phrase to “I want to find (/destroy/control) the source of the demonic magic coursing through my right arm”.


Next edition I’ll have all Codes beginning with “I believe…” (Likely change the term to Belief as well.) This emphasizes that the character believes in something and will act on it, it also discourages Beliefs which are merely physical habits.

Perhaps work off of Gaeric being a good-herated man: “I believe in being generous/heroic for women/children/orphans/fish/the injured…”, or his being awkward at times: “I believe that only people I trust care to hear my [honest? That could be fun…] opinions”


The first two Identities are excellent. Those would be really fun to RP with.

The third falls into a problem of implying that Gaeric has supernatural powers. Yes, he does have such powers in the form of his Domain… but the default setting is too low-potency to accommodate a contagious capacity to distort others’ view of reality. If you wanted to play a high-potency fiction then this would be a perfectly fine identity (and a fun one too!)

To fit with the setting I have in mind “Distorted perception of reality” would be more appropriate. This Identity doesn’t imply that Gaeric is able to enforce his Identity upon others as if it were a supernatural power.


I hadn’t considered The Call as an actual physical event with some god-like avatar approaching the PC in question--- that’s an interesting idea.

Haha, great Aesthetic. Awesome!


Thanks for feedback on the document.

Thanks for taking time to create a char (how long did it take you? just curious)

Thanks for doing what Robot Pancake Hooker 3000 said (she has the best ideas...)



Posts: 51

« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2011, 02:09:47 AM »

Regarding "2)".  Examples aren't necessarily what I was going for.  I was just wondering what motes actually mean.  What does it look like when someone is "mote-fatigued", or gambles a lot of motes at once?  Is it like "rrRRAWWRGH" *epic last-stand sword-thrust, tearing ligature* or is it like... something else?  I dunno, I'm just having trouble visualizing the reality that they reflect.  I had the same problem with an earlier version of my game, where I had an "attrition" mechanic, whereby players could add dice to their pool, but risk taking on Stat attrition.  I did away with it, because, in striving for "real" coherence, it became too complex.  I like the mote mechanic, so I hope this doesn't happen in your case, but I'd really like to see some tangible definitions of motes and mote fatigue.

Next issue, I'd say, is fleshing out the setting, but you know that already, I suppose.  And yes, including more information on the provenance of a character's "Call" might be a good thing.  Do you intend to include and describe in detail some deities?

Gaeric took me about an hour to draw up, but that was mostly concept-fiddling.  I'm sure this part of it will go quicker when it's a collaborative effort.

Posts: 68

« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2011, 09:42:00 PM »


Which acronyms were breaking the flow of text? I suspect Success Levels "SL", Success Level Deficit "SLD", Context Bonus “CB”, or Rock-Paper-Scissors "RPS". I can't think of any other acronyms that I use (beyond PC/NPC).


Thanks for teaching me what provenance means. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that word before, cool!

I’ve already begun typing up setting (in between keeping up with all these threads, ugh… stupid-finite-hours-in-a-day-problem).

There are only three deities. They are better thought of as parts of a whole, as opposed to distinct identities. Each one is the sole authority of each Domain of Druidism (life), Elementalistism (matter/energy), and Auromancy (knowledge).

Yes, there will be many details added about the setting’s geography, history, mythology, nations, and events.


"Pool is measured in motes which are represented as circles on a character’s Pool Sheet. Pool can be thought of as a character’s health/fatigue as well as their mana/willpower. A character’s Pool represents more than their physical health.

Every PC can have a maximum of 15 motes in their Pool. " [Excerpt from V2.00]

Motes are the discrete units used to measure an individual's Pool. Many people will be tempted to simplify "Pool" to "HP", but I (like you) don't want character HP to exist in my game. Losing motes is referred to as mote fatigue (intentionally not using the word "damage") and gaining motes is referred to as mote refreshment.

I consider motes to be a semi-meta-game mechanic that don't necessarily have to track any particular physical/emotional/intellectual condition of the character; in many cases mote fatigue may simply be trying really hard and becoming exhausted/stressed as a result. Mote fatigue doesn’t always result in an effect on the character.

The word "mote" was chosen to be as neutral as possible, to accommodate the variable nature of one's Pool.

Motes can only be intentionally used when a character is attempting an action that exists within their Domain.

Task Example:

Scenario: Gaeric has the Auromancy Domain and only 6 motes left out of his maximum 15 motes.

Gaeric wants to write a love poem for the attractive woman he (and only he, oddly enough…) keeps running into at the marketplace. Gaeric is literate and could write a poem in no time. But to write a poem worthy of this beautiful woman requires something special. Luckily for him she seems to be showing signs of interest in him, and he isn't a shabby writer, so Novice difficulty seems appropriate. But Gaeric doesn't have an Identity that could grant him Success Levels "SLs" in this situation.

Gaeric's player has to consider this problem from a knowledge perspective to be able to apply their Domain and intentionally expend motes. Perhaps Gaeric could recall a poem his old crewmate was working on--remembering this detail would require a strong memory, and memories fall into the Auromancy Domain.

Gaeric could cite this remembered poem as the action, apply his Domain of Auromancy, and expend 1 mote to earn 1 SL to succeed. Gaeric now has 5 motes remaining and may justify the spent mote as the mental effort necessary to compose a poem. The Narrator (likely Gaeric's player because I doubt other players would be as interested in Gaeric’s romantic affairs) would proceed with the action of having Gaeric compose a poem for the attractive woman in the marketplace.

Conflict Example:

Scenario: Gaeric and a crewmate are racing for some Pinchloaf Tobacco. The terrain is treacherous. The thick clouds are darkening their vision. And they're being chased by savage beasts. “But the tobacco will be worth it” Gaeric assures himself. The Sessioneer is currently narrating the NPC opponent, so Gaeric's player would have to force a Conflict to have any chance of winning the tobacco race.

Step One: Contender sets Stakes and determines Success Levels and Context Bonus

Gaeric’s player forces a conflict (he really likes Pinchloaf, it’d be cruel to let this chance slip away!) and must therefore expend 1 mote right now.

Gaeric uses his Professional [assume he invested 1 of his 4 starting Identity Points in this Identity] “Pinchloaf Pipe Tobacco Addict” Identity to spur himself to run his little heart out. But Gaeric has another trick up his sleeve/waistcoat, he shouts out a convincing lie that his fellow crewmate believes—leading the other man to take a wrong turn, draw the beast’s attention, and never find the tobacco (or the ship for that matter). Gaeric Gambles 2 motes to earn 2 SL.

Thus Gaeric earns 4 SL (Identity) + 2 SL (Gambled motes)= 6 SL.

It has been firmly established in the narration that Gaeric, unlike his opponent, is sober. Far more sober. Gaeric’s player suggests that this is a Significant [on the scale of Negligible, Favourable, Significant, Godsend] Context Bonus (granting 3 re-tries).

The Sessioneer (speaking for the crewmate NPC) disagrees with Gaeric’s assessment of the Context Bonus as being Significant. The crewmate is a sailor; sobriety is a foreign concept to him. In fact, being sober would be a disadvantage! The Sessioneer suggests a Negligible Context Bonus for Gaeric as opposed to the Significant Context Bonus. Gaeric’s player suggests, and both players agree on, a Favourable Context Bonus for Gaeric.

Step Two: Narrator states Response and determines Success Levels and Context Bonus

The Sessioneer uses the crewmate’s Professional Identity “Sailor” because, well… the NPC is doing something absurdly reckless while intoxicated. That’s well within the purview of “Sailor”. The crewmate, if he wins, will defy all logic and reject Gaeric’s convincing suggestion and remain blindly rushing through the forest. The Sailor as an Extra [white-noise] NPC cannot Gamble motes. The Sessioneer reminds everyone that the crew was heartily enjoying their favourite rum barely an hour ago. And pirates are down-right fantastic at acting recklessly when well-lubricated with their favourite rum. The Sessioneer claims a Significant Context Bonus. Gaeric’s player begrudgingly agrees.

Step Three: Determine Success Level Deficit and Rock-Paper-Scissors Re-tries.

Gaeric has 6 SL, the crewmate has 4 SL. This means that the crewmate assumes a Success Level Deficit “SLD” of 2 (if the crewmate loses the conflict then he will lose 2 motes as mote fatigue—perhaps taken as damage from the beasts or rough terrain if considered appropriate). The crewmate will not take the SLD as mote fatigue if he wins the conflict.

Gaeric had a Favourable Context Bonus, the crewmate had a Significant Context Bonus. Significant trumps Favourable by 1, so the crewmate has 1 re-try for the upcoming Rock-Paper-Scissors “RPS”.

Step Four: Rock-Paper-Scissors to Determine Victor

Both players RPS.

If Gaeric wins then the crewmate can demand a re-try once. If Gaeric wins a second time then the crewmate loses 2 motes as mote fatigue and loses narrative control. Gaeric’s player is the new Narrator.

If the crewmate wins then Gaeric loses his 2 Gambled motes as mote fatigue [Notice that the Gambled motes will always count as SL, but only be expended if the Gambler loses]. The Sessioneer (as the crewmate’s “player”) would retain narrative control as the Narrator.


Do you give me permission to use Gaeric in future editions of ASH? It’d be a shame to let the charming fellow go to waste…

Setting! I’m very excited to start translating setting into the game.

Mote fatigue isn’t always damage and doesn’t always have to be taken as a physical/intellectual/emotional condition on a character.

I hope the Task and Conflict examples help. Couldn’t have done it without Gaeric though :P



Posts: 51

« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2011, 01:54:48 AM »

Sure thing, man, Gaeric is yours for the taking.  Glad he helped, hehe.

You've hit the acronyms bang-on.  Also glad to hear that the setting is evolving, as I think it will be absolutely crucial to the CC and gameplay process.

As far as motes go:  I still can't help thinking of them as a form of hit points, albeit even more abstracted than hit points usually are.  Were they to drop to zero because you were incinerated, and your character's Integrity were at 1, would it be like a resurrection kind of thing?  Also, if a character gets his reserves near-exhausted through non-physical attrition, would a tap on the forehead be enough to kill him, despite his being in perfect physical health?

As you know, I'm not a fan of hit points either.  On that note, I think my problem with getting a handle on this is not that this strides against a traditional hit point system.  Rather quite the opposite problem, in that motes, as I'm seeing them, could in fact be a little too close to hit points in some situations.  I'm not sure how you'll tackle this, if you choose to see it as an issue.  If I were in your shoes, I would go with a mechanics-free "wounds" system, like I have in BR; people just keep track of how banged-up they are, and narrate accordingly.  Motes could then be seen purely as "resolve" or "strength reserves" or "stamina" or what-have-you.  But that's me.

The mixture is what's killing it for me.  In my mind, it's having an effect opposite to marginalizing hit point mechanics; it fills me with questions, and answering those questions might consume more rulebook space than is justified by something you want to marginalize.

In closing, I would like to stress that I'm in the nitpicking phase of ASH critique now.  Everything else about the system, I like, and motes are not a deal-breaker for me either.  They just seem to raise some issues of abstraction and in-game circumstance.

Posts: 68

« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2011, 01:38:42 PM »


The setting is less so "evolving" and more so being "revealed". I had the setting long before I had even played my first RPG--or dreamed of designing one.

Motes, eh? All right.

I think of motes as more of a player resource than a character resource. So ya, they are a drastically more abstract version of hit points. I didn’t want hit points because (1) they generally encourage damage in a purely physical sense and (2) it is odd to quantify a character’s health in discrete units such as HP.

Motes, as an abstracted version of HP, evade (1) because they can be expended or gained based on any action, be it physical/intellectual/emotional; and (2) they aren’t primarily used to quantify a character’s health so much as that they quantify a character’s capacity to take action.


I want to avoid a “Conditions” (wounds) system because (1) too much paperwork for my liking and, perhaps more importantly, (2) such Conditions are still very very relevant to the system through the mechanic of Context Bonuses.

Notice: players don’t have to write down their character’s Conditions because these Conditions will have been acquired due to someone’s narration. Remember that any detail from any narration may be used as a Context Bonus by any player for their character. This system implicitly tracks Conditions because players will be consistently referring to others’ negative Conditions and their own positive Conditions to gain Context Bonuses to win conflicts and become the Narrator.

Every 1 Context Bonus (on a scale of Negligible, Favourable, Significant, and Godsend) grants a re-try at the Rock-Paper-Scissors. Whoever exceeds their opponent in Context Bonuses gets to have the difference in re-tries. It’s a massive advantage to get 1 more re-try, so you bet players will be (mentally) keeping track of Conditions.

0 Pool

I agree that there is a potential for confusion regarding someone reaching 0 Pool.

Let’s first consider the situations under which someone could reach 0 Pool.

No character can be forced to have 0 Pool. There are only four ways to lose motes (the units for Pool) in this game, and all of them are voluntary.

(1) Expending Motes for Tasks (maximum of 5), (2) Gambling Motes for Conflicts (maximum of 10), (3) Taking Success Level Deficit “SLD” as mote-fatigue by losing a conflict (maximum 10), and (4) Resisting a Compulsion (maximum 6).

(1) can be avoided by not attempting Tasks, (2)/(3) can be avoided by not initiating Conflicts, and (4) can be avoided by accepting Compulsions instead of resisting them. Doing both effectively removes a player from the game (instead they become a viewer) but it keeps them safe. This is why mote refreshment (primarily accepting Compulsions) are important. But most importantly a character can avoid all damage by not vying for any influence over the narrative.

(2) and (3) are mutually exclusive (because if you Gamble 10 motes you can’t have a Success Level Deficit) so a character can only lose 10 motes in any one action (2/3 of their Pool). But to lose 10 motes would mean a massive Gamble that’s not supported by an Identity to get free Success Levels (a bad idea to try) or entering a Conflict with no intention of gaining Success Levels (also a bad idea).

So. Characters can’t be forced to die. So any time 0 Pool enters the scenario is any time a player cares enough about something to risk death (or removal from the narration of a scene if their Integrity is 1).

My default understanding is that if a character has an Integrity of 1 (full Integrity because they haven’t contradicted their Seek or Code) then Pool 0 just means the narrator has to allow for the character’s survival. Somehow. No matter how outrageous. Yes, this is Nar being prioritized over Sim, and I’m fine with that.

0 Pool Examples

Let’s assume an Integrity of 1. Integrity 0 is easier: kill off the char or force them out of the story somehow.

Fire in the Face

If a character’s Pool were to drop to 0 Pool due to incineration it will likely be one of two scenarios. (1) They are attempting a task, such as walking through fire or (2) they’ve been pushed into/targeted by some source of fire. Or, less likely, they are trying to bear hug a flaming bear to death. Regardless, it’s either a Task (1), or Conflict (2) and the character voluntarily assumed the risks of getting fire in the face in the first place.

A character drops to 0 Pool while trying to walk through flames (task). Every player will now know that that character is severely burned and likely suffering from the (many) adverse effects of strolling through an inferno. [Conditions have been accounted for].

But note that the character itself doesn’t have to die. It could succeed (or fail, that’s not the issue here) at the task but be left unconscious from all the smoke or the pain of the burns. Perhaps he collapses somewhere mortally safe within or outside of the flames. All that matters is that they have lost the ability to influence the narrative for the remainder of the scene. (They could be rescued by PCs/NPCs and revived later or awaken of their own accord once the scene is complete.)

A conflict would be resolved very similarly. Effectively: do whatever makes sense to keep the character alive but removed from the scene if their Pool is 0 and their Integrity 1.

Non-Physical Attrition Leads to Forehead Tap K.O.

I think by now the clarification has been made, but in case not.

Integrity of 1.

When a character’s Pool becomes 0 due to intellectual/emotional exhaustion and then they are confronted by a minor physical task/conflict (notice that a character attacking them won’t do anything to their Pool, the player must volunteer to take a hit to their Pool) which reduces their Pool to 0, then they can lose their ability to impact the narrative due to intellectual/emotional stress (which makes sense).

Integrity of 0. Conflict Example.

The final blow that removes 1 SL from the exhausted Character X could be purely physical. Character X’s opponent, Character Y, could use X’s exhaustion as Context Bonus [again, implicitly tracking Conditions] and succeed at physically harming X. The degree of physical harm is not tracked by how many motes are exhausted, the narration determines how severe the consequences are.

So in this case the character [does NOT have to die when they Expire] could Expire due to intellectual/emotional stress from before, or the physical damage of the last conflict.


Motes are a player resource more than they’re a character resource.

Motes can be thought of as a player’s bidding tokens that represent a character’s capacity to influence the fiction. Mote fatigue should be represented as a character’s Condition as often as possible—but mote-fatigue doesn’t always necessitate a character acquiring a Condition.

Listing Conditions is too much accounting for my tastes, but the Context Bonus mechanic continuously accounts for Codntions without having to write them down.
Characters are never forced into a situation where they must expend motes. They must voluntarily enter Tasks, Conflicts, or Resist Compulsions—the only ways to experience mote fatigue.

Characters can only ever lose 10 motes at a time (very unlikely because of the astronomical stupidity necessary to enter such a situation)

As long as a character has Integrity 1 the character will survive. Use wildly unlikely probabilities or events to ensure this happens. Yes this is Nar over Sim, but that’s fine.

Expiration (Pool 0 and Integrity 0) does not always have to be death. It can be, but doesn’t have to be.



Posts: 51

« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2011, 01:54:25 PM »

OK, this is much clearer for me now.  Two thumbs up!  Hopefully you can find a way to clarify this distinction in the rules without an extra 2 pages.  It might be just me, but I think other people might also find that the true definition of a mote eludes them at first.

Posts: 68

« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2011, 11:56:36 PM »


Fair enough and duly noted. Glad to have your approval :D:D:D

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