In this last post about characters and expectations, we will be discussing combat and conflict during the course of the game, and the rules to manage them.
We’d like to preface this discussion by repeating something we have said before, but is important to make sure we emphasis. Musica Universalis will be a game focused on roleplay and politicking. While there will be some boffer combat, it will be less than most other Accelerant games. Setting expectations is vitally important for both players and game runners, so we want to make sure we are up front about that, so no one is showing up expecting a weekend-long slug fest.
With that said, it will not be a no combat game. The approach we are looking to take is a theater-style game, where the combat mechanic happens to be boffer combat. Specifically, we will be using the Accelerant system. The Core Rules, which all players are expected to be familiar with, are covered in chapter one here. While the game can and likely will support some non-combat characters, we are asking that everyone know the various effects and calls you might hear during the course of the weekend. Even if you are not directly in combat, some of these will likely apply to you.
We have received some questions, mainly from people already familiar with the Accelerant system, about how we intend to approach skills for PCs. The short answer is “It is complicated and mostly on an individual basis.” The long answer is that we will be approaching each character individually, rather than building headers (character classes) for people to select from, but that there will be a few commonalities across the board. A character’s final skillset will come from three main categories: innate abilities, equipment, and Songs. Below is a long and somewhat rambling explanation of our approach.
Innate abilities refers to things that you can do, be they because of training, experience, or who and what your character is. If your character was a soldier in the Great War, they might have been trained in the care and use of guns and munitions, some hand to hand, and perhaps has great endurance from days of marches and light rations. If you’re an ex-rumrunner from Chicago you might know how to use a tommy gun, the best way to keep something hidden, and the ins and outs of the US criminal justice system. If you are security in a club that caters to the infernal you likely know how to take and give out a punch, and probably have a bit of insight into which demons you should probably just let get away with things. And finally, if you end up playing a supernatural you may have…things you can do that an average human can’t. Innate abilities cannot normally be traded or taught during the course of game, though determined PCs may be able to find people at the market to deal with, should they be willing to pay the high price. Trading intrinsic pieces of yourself is usually not recommended, however.
Equipment is pretty much what it sounds like. Just because you know how to use a gun doesn’t mean you have one. We won’t be restricting every personal item by any means, but owning a sword in the 1930s is not a common thing, for example. Additionally, unlike many other games, we will be restricting the amount of ammunition guns come into game with. If you’ve got a crappy revolver with 5 shots, that’s all you get. Probably worth trying to buy some, or asking someone with extra if they’re willing to gift you some. (We won’t be bothering with caliber, a nerf dart is a nerf dart). In this environment, having something like a bandolier of ammunition suddenly becomes a special ability in and of itself.
While this category includes mundane items, it also includes Instruments. Instruments are physical objects that have a bit of a Song attached to them, and are used as tools by less powerful individuals to manipulate Songs. While some can be used by anyone, there are frequently requirements an individual needs to meet to tune themselves to the Instrument, and therefore use it. Think of them a bit like Thread Items for Earthdawn. There will be a more detailed post on Instruments, Songs, and Music later on. In quick terms, though, Instruments will give abilities that can be used, just like regular equipment, assuming you meet the requirements.
All equipment can be freely traded and (assuming you can use it through training or attunement) used by anyone during the course of game. Stealing is strongly discouraged by both the Crossroads Market and game staff.
Songs are, effectively, magical power. Some Songs will have passive effects, for example a Song of Health might increase your vitality by 1. Others will have active effects, for example a Song of Despair might allow you to weaken others once per battle. Many songs have a mix of both passive and active effects. As with instruments, not all Songs can be learned or sung by everyone. Again, we will cover this more in a later post. Songs can be traded in the Crossroads Market freely, though characters may have reasons not to want to do so. The most obvious of these reasons is the fact that most PCs do not have enough control of the Music to teach someone a Song and remain attuned to it as well. In game terms – if you make a bargain to give up a Song, you lose access to it. Hope you are getting something worthwhile in return!
This all seems pretty complicated, so we’ll try to set your minds at ease.
You will have a base set of skills and abilities. Some of these abilities you can trade away during the course of the game, but only if you want to. Most we expect to remain consistent.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions by leaving a comment or emailing us at musicauniversalisgms at gmail dot com