Game Calls

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Why have Game Calls?

Game calls are simple utterances that are intended to be used to convey an effect or mechanic quickly and simply when there is no practical way to physically represent it. It should be noted that though these calls exist to assist with consistency and diversity of effects, good roleplaying should always come before mechanics, and players and crew alike are encouraged to look for ways to improve the immersiveness of an encounter beyond the use of mechanics such as calls.

When using calls, chaining of words should be kept to a minimum, and the following rules should apply:

  • (Modifier)(Damage/Effect)(Duration) is the desired order of words in a call. This is not an absolute rule, but rather a recommendation to improve consistency.
  • One cannot do a Damage call and an Effect call at the same time. Only Modifier calls can be chained with Damage or Effect calls.
  • One cannot call two Effects at the same time.
  • The default Duration for most calls is 1 minute with the exception of the FREEZE call, and any effects that are delivered by POISON. Any durations different to this must be called by the user.
  • There ideally should be some delay between calls to help targets process what effects they have been subjected to and how they might react.

Calls blocked by Shields

Shields are useful not only for blocking normal damage, but also a range of calls that might injure you. Any of the following calls is automatically resisted if delivered via touch, spell packet or weapon strike. All point attacks automatically bypass shields.

  • Two, Three, Four etc.
  • Arcane, Silver, Holy, Fire & Shock
  • Blight
  • Annihilate
  • Armour Break
  • Bleed
  • Cripple
  • Finishing Blow
  • Lethal
  • Pin
  • Point Blank
  • Poison
  • Stun

Damage Calls

TWO / THREE / FOUR etc.

Instant Effect

Whether through a weapon attack, a magic spell or some other effect, damage above the default or done in unusual circumstances should be called by saying (for example) ‘two damage’ or ‘two’.

The default is that all melee and thrown weapon strikes do one point of damage, arrows do three points of damage, and that spell packets do none (although the spells they deliver may well do additional damage).

Only calls that are marked with (Modifier) should be combined with a multiple damage calls.

GM Note: It should be noted that there are those that prefer to use the terms “Double” or “Triple” for instance in place of numbers. While we would encourage participants to adopt numbers instead, these alternate terms are also acceptable.

Injury Effects

Some special forms of effects, referred to as Injuries, include BLEED, CRIPPLE, DISEASE, and LETHAL.

These particular effects are indefinite in nature, but can be removed through the ministrations of a character with the Surgeon ability through a period of roleplayed treatment as determined by the Surgeon.

Injuries can also be healed via arcane means, through spells, elixirs, or other such routes. In those cases the nature of the healing should be provided in the description of the item or ability.

These effects require that the target is physically struck with a weapon (see WEAPON ATTACKS) before they can be applied. See also the POISON modifier below.

BLEED

Injury, Indefinite Duration

This represents a wound at a critical location that is deteriorating faster than magical healing can counteract it. Healing spells and potions as well as Regeneration abilities are rendered useless until medical attention has been applied and the BLEED effect is removed.

If a target still possesses any ARMOUR Points (AP), the strike must land on part of the target not covered by leather or metal armour to take effect. If it strikes armour instead it is automatically resisted.

CRIPPLE

Injury, Indefinite Duration

A limb hit by a crippling attack is rendered useless until healed. If the torso (includes the front and back of the shoulder) is hit by such an attack, the target gets to choose which limb is affected. Arms are unable to hold anything heavy (like longswords or shields), and if a leg is crippled the target is forced to move with a significant limp. If both legs are crippled, the target collapses to the ground, though is still able to crawl if they so choose.

DISEASE

Injury, Indefinite Duration

Target becomes infected with a Disease. Unless otherwise specified, this is akin to a bad cold that reduces their HP by 1 (to a minimum of 1) and leaves them feeling unwell.

LETHAL

Injury, Indefinite Duration

This represents a wound at a critical location that is deteriorating faster than magical healing can counteract it. If the target is struck in the torso (includes the front and back of the shoulder) with the effect, the target is immediately reduced to 0 HP and is DYING. Healing spells and potions as well as regenerative abilities are rendered useless until medical attention has been given and the LETHAL effect is removed.

Mental Effects

Various special effects are classified under the general category of mental effects. Truthtelling, Psychic Reprogramming, and love potions are examples of these sorts of effects. To help denote these effects, it is recommended casters use the “Jedi two-finger wave” or “two-fingers to the head”.

CHARM

Mental Effect, Watch Duration

Target believes that the source of the effect is a close and trusted friend until the end of the Watch. They will take action to assist the source according to their nature until the end of the effect, though they will not take any action that directly harms themselves or one of their other friends.

The target is not bound to follow the caster, and can always choose to leave their presence. Any harmful act by the caster against the target breaks the effect.

CONFUSE

Mental Effect, 1 Minute Duration

Target becomes confused. If threatened (in combat or not) they will wildly lash out with their weapons (cannot use special abilities though) at targets around them. If unthreatened they will have difficulty processing information (up to target to roleplay).

DOMINATE

Mental Effect, Encounter Duration

Similar to Charm, but can be used against hostile targets. Target believes that the source of the effect is a close and trusted master until the end of the Encounter. They will take action to help and defend the source until the end of the effect, and they can take action that directly harms themselves (like stabbing themselves).

FEAR

Mental Effect, 1 Minute Duration

Target is forced to run away and/or hide from the caster.

FRENZY

Mental Effect, 1 Minute Duration

Target goes into a frenzy and attacks the the nearest obvious threat to them.

Other Instant Effects

ANNIHILATE

Instant Effect

A variant on FINISHING BLOW or DEATH that has the same effect, but has greater ramifications for the character. The nature of this will become apparent in the Chronicle.

ARMOUR BREAK

Instant Effect

ARMOUR is broken and cannot regenerate Armour Points until repaired. It provides no AP while broken.

BANISH

Instant Effect

Target spirit is instantly returned to its home plane. No effect on mortal creatures.

COUNTERSPELL

Instant Effect

Hold up palm of hand and call “Counterspell” against a spell effect just cast, where you are either near to the caster, or you are within 5 metres of the target (or the target yourself). The spell fails to take effect completely. No REAGENTS are expended by the caster of the countered spell, but they still lose the MANA for the spell. They cannot attempt to cast the spell again for 1 minute.

Note that you cannot COUNTERSPELL a COUNTERSPELL.

DEATH

Instant Effect

Target is instantly killed (they do not bleed out).

DISINTEGRATE

Instant Effect

Target is instantly turned to ash, though their spirit lingers. A disintegrated target becomes an INVISIBLE spirit until they decide to pass on or they are fortunate enough to be ritually reconstituted. Note: This effect might at times be represented by the flash of a bright green spotlight.

DRAIN

Instant Effect

Target loses 1 HP, unless more is specified such as ‘Drain 2’. Depending on the source of the ability the user might gain those drained HP as their own to heal or use for some other purpose.

Drain can also be called to indicate MANA drain, in which case the user would specify ‘Drain 2 Mana’.

Lastly it can represent soul drain, in which case it is ‘Drain Soul’, rendering the target SOULLESS.

FINISHING BLOW

Instant Effect

Also sometimes uttered as “KILLING BLOW”, this call is used by players and NPCs alike to indicate when a target has been definitively killed. The target must be Incapacitated and the user must make a clearly appropriate action like motioning cutting a head off, along with a clear call that those in the immediate vicinity can hear.

Characters can still die by succumbing to their injuries (see DYING) or in dramatic scenes where it is obvious they will not survive (like having their head chopped off), and this call is primarily meant for combat.

Note that certain monsters may require something more than just a finishing blow to kill them or prevent them from resurrecting.

GM note: In certain circumstances it may be dramatically appropriate for a character to threaten another character by holding a blade to their throat. In most cases, if the cut is made and/or FINISHING BLOW is called, the character should treat this as though they are now DYING. OOC, it is recommended that for safety purposes, unless both parties are comfortable with a different position, that a weapon used in this manner be held across the collarbone rather than the throat. Pressure to the throat should never be applied.

KNOCKBACK

Instant Effect

Target is forced to move away at least 3 metres from source of the KNOCKBACK effect and spend a few seconds recovering before joining any combat again.

REFLECTED

Instant Effect

This is a call to let another character know that an attack, spell or special ability that they have used on you has been turned back on them, and should be called as REFLECT ( x ), where x is the call or damage that was just dealt to you.

If it happened to be a spell packet ability, the character must pick up the spell packet and immediately throw it back at the caster (and hit them) for it to take effect, otherwise it is assumed to have just been resisted.

The REFLECT call does not work on BLAST calls, arrows/bolts, or COUNTERSPELL calls.

RESISTED

Instant Effect

This is a call made to let other characters know that an effect used on you has been resisted and therefore you remain unaffected by their spell or special ability. The special effect still occurs though, so if it affects multiple people; only you are unaffected.

SHIELD BREAK

Instant Effect

Shield is broken and cannot be used until repaired.

WEAPON BREAK

Instant Effect

Weapon is broken and cannot be used until repaired.

Other Duration Effects

AGONY

1 Minute Duration

A target affected by agony is Incapacitated as their body is wracked with immense pain. They cannot effectively focus on their surrounding or take any action except to writhe around and perhaps lash out (without causing damage) to those around them.

BLIND

1 Minute Duration

Target cannot see. Player are allowed to keep eyes open for safety purposes, but roleplay accordingly and act as though one cannot see anything (thousand mile stare).

FREEZE

10 Second Duration

Call “Freeze” and then by default 10 seconds later “Resume” A short time-out call for use in slowing combat down rather than stopping it completely. All in the vicinity should stop what they are doing as though paralysed while the caller may (depending on the source of the ability) take some other actions during the count of the call.

MUTE

1 Minute Duration

Target cannot speak. This does not by default stop a spellcaster from casting their magic, and the afflicted target can still use calls to represent the effects of their actions.

PARALYSE

1 Minute Duration

Target is frozen in place and counts as Incapacitated.

PIN

Indefinite Duration

Target cannot move from the spot while the object pinning them is against them, though they can still act. They cannot push the object away (too heavy or it is embedded in them) and if a third party pulls it away during combat they take the damage of the weapon again, which should be called by the wielder of the pinning object

SLEEP

1 Minute Duration

Target is rendered unconscious and collapses to the ground Incapacitated.

SLOWED

1 Minute Duration

Target can only walk slowly, and all other actions should be exaggerated. The target should keep one foot on the ground at all times, and can only walk by bringing both feet together and then taking a step, bring both feet back together and so on. Roleplay other actions slowly.

STUN

1 Minute Duration

Target hit by this effect is shell-shocked to the point of being unable to think clearly. They are still able to attack and defend with weapons, but it requires all of their mental energy to do so; they cannot advance, only retreat, they cannot cast spells or perform complex actions, and they are unable to run.

TURN

Indefinite Duration

Targets of the specified type, ‘TURN UNDEAD’ for instance, must step back from and not advance towards the source of the call for as long as it is maintained. The source of the call should have one hand up with open palm extended, and may repeat the call as long as the hand is still up to ensure targets know the call is still in effect. The call is not directional, and even targets behind the source are affected.

Modifiers

BLIGHT

(Modifier) Instant Effect

If struck by a BLIGHTED blow, any damage taken that Encounter cannot be healed by normal means until the BLIGHT effect is removed. If the blighted attack is another form of injury (like CRIPPLE or BLIND), it is indefinite and cannot be healed by normal means until the BLIGHT effect of that specific injury is removed.

BLAST

(Modifier) Instant Effect

An attack that deals damage or an effect all targets within 5 metres of the caster. The user should call “BLAST 3” or “BLAST PARALYSE” for example, and perform a suitable action (such as throwing both arms out to the side).

POISON

(Modifier) Injury

Poison is an effect modifier that must be said before the actual effect it is inflicting, such as “Poison Sleep”. This indicates that the effect will not begin until 1 minute (up to the target to track) after the call is made, but will last until the end of the Encounter (or it kills the target in the case of some lethal poisons)

If a target still possesses any AP, the strike must land on part of the target not covered by leather or metal armour to take effect. If it strikes ARMOUR instead it is automatically resisted. One cannot call multiple damage as part of a POISON attack.

See also POISONING

GM Note: It might be useful for a user to call “Poison (x) in one minute” to make it clear to that target that the effect does not strike them down immediately.

WEAPON SPECIAL DAMAGE TYPES

A call to denote that damage being inflicted by a weapon is of a particular type that may bypass certain resistances the target normally possesses. The use of this call is at the discretion of the user, and may be used once at the start of a combat, or multiple times to remind the target of the weapons nature.

The damage works by converting the kinetic energy of the weapon into the special damage. This means a weapon that does 1 HP mundane damage would do 1 HP of the special damage instead.

ARCANE

(Modifier) Instant Effect

Arcane damage.

SILVER

(Modifier) Instant Effect

Silver damage.

HOLY

(Modifier) Instant Effect

Holy damage (a form of celestial fire).

FIRE

(Modifier) Instant Effect

Fire damage.

SHOCK

(Modifier) Instant Effect

Electrical damage.

Out-of-Character Calls

Also referred to as OOC Calls

INVALID

(Instant)

An indication to let another player/crewperson know that a particular effect does not work in the way they think it does, and that they have not expended its use.

STATUS

(Instant)

Target should give an indication as to their condition - Healthy, Wounded (about half health), Near-death, and at their discretion additional information that might not be obvious to the player but would be to their character. If a target thinks they are being targeted with the STATUS call too often, then they are allowed to ignore the extra STATUS calls.

TIME-OUT

(Indefinite)

The safety call for when Out-of-Character (OOC) a player or NPC has been injured or there is a substantial safety concern that requires the game to stop.

All players and NPCs are expected where possible to go down on one knee where appropriate and halt any action except where they are assisting with resolving the OOC situation.

The converse call of “Time In” is only to be called by the most senior GM (or PC or NPC if no GMs are present) and only once the one who first made the call is satisfied with the resolution.