Spirit Of The Century

House Rules

Character Generation

  • Characters gain eight stunts instead of five.

Companions Reloaded

(These rules are taken with a bit of personal editing for my games from the Spirit of the Season supplement by Evil Hat Games.)

Advances: Companions have the same number of advances as indicated in the Spirit of the Century text. An advance may be spent on one of: Quality, Communication, Independent, Keeping Up, Skilled, or Stunt.

Attachment: Only one companion may "attach" to a character at a time, the same as a minion might, taking hits to its stress track in substitute for the character’s own. An attached companion can’t take actions of his or her own, though the companion’s skills are available to the character while attached.

Quality: Companions start with a base quality of Average, and its quality may be increased by one step for each advance spent on Quality. The quality of a companion reflects how skilled he, she, or it is, and how resilient the companion is. Companions have a base of one stress plus one box per point of quality. The companion gets a single skill column (instead of a pyramid) with an apex equal to its quality and counting down from there. Therefore:

  • An Average quality companion has 1 Average skill and 2 stress.
  • A Fair quality companion has 1 Fair and 1 Average skill and 3 stress.
  • A Good quality companion has 1 Good, 1 Fair, and 1 Average skill and 4 stress.
  • A Great quality companion has 1 Great, 1 Good, 1 Fair, and 1 Average skill, and 5 stress.

Scope: Companions may no longer have the Scope advance. Instead, this is replaced by Stunt (below).

Communication: An advance may be spent on Communication, as in Spirit of the Century on page 78. Attempts to disrupt the method of communication between companion and character face a difficulty equal to the companion's quality rating, or the character’s skill that yielded the companion, whichever is higher. Additional advances spent on Communication increase this diiculty by 2.

Independent: All companions are now considered independent — able to act on their own — without needing to spend an advance on it; however, in order to send a companion of on an independent mission, the character must spend a fate point in order to do so. Only one fate point needs to be spent per signiicant mission (there’s no need to spend fate points when the companion is getting sent of to do something trivial). That said, the Independent advance may still be purchased for a companion, removing this fate point cost.

Keeping Up: One advance may be spent on Keeping Up (SOTC p.78). No modiications have been made to this advance.

Skilled: Each time this advance is taken, an additional "column" of skills is added to the companion’s sheet. But this is at diminishing returns; each new column after the first starts one rank lower than the previous. So a Good quality companion with the Skilled advance taken twice would have 2 Good, 3 Fair, and 3 Average skills in total. A third advance would only add 1 Average skill, and a fourth advance would be wasted. A Great quality companion who takes the Skilled advance four times would end up with a "blunted" skill pyramid that’s 1 Superb shy of being equal to a PC!

Stunt: This advance may be taken a maximum of two times or a third the number of stunts of the PCs, round down. Each time it is taken, the companion gains the use of a single stunt. The stunt may not confer companions of its own (though minions are possible).

Consequences and Stress

In order to make combats run more quickly, the following caveats and tweaks apply:

  • Characters start with a base of three stress boxes instead of five. Endurance adds to Physical Stress and Resolve to Composure as normal.
  • Any hit in excess of a character's stress takes the character out, whether this hit is from the original roll or stress rolling up from a lower stress box.
    • A character may reduce the stress of a hit by two and accept a mild consequence, by four and accept a moderate consequence, or by six and accept a severe consequence.
  • A mild consequence allows one free tag, a moderate consequence allows two free tags, and a severe consequence allows three free tags. These tags cannot be used all at once; they must be tagged by multiple characters or on seperate turns.

Example: Mitch is being attacked by the horrendous Gorilla Khan! Gorilla Khan rolls an awe-inspiring Epic (+7) with his Might, while poor Mitch only rolls a Great (+4) result on his Fists. Mitch has three stress boxes and the second and third boxes are already filled in. Thus, this hit shifts the stress from the attack up to four, which would result in Mitch being taken out! Mitch accepts a moderate consequence and takes no additional stress. If Mitch had rolled a Mediocre (+0) result, he would have had to have taken a severe consequence to reduce the stress to one — taking even a moderate consequence wouldn't be enough, as that would drop the stress to three, which would have then rolled back up to four, taking him out!

Lifting

Replace the table on page 258 of the Spirit of the Century rules with the following table.

Might Capacity WF
Abysmal 10 0
Terrible 50 1
Poor 100 1
Mediocre Small Man (~150lbs) 2
Average 200 2
Fair 250 3
Good 300 3
Great 350 4
Superb 400 4
Fantastic 500 5
Epic 600 5
Legendary 700 6
Each +1 +100 +0.5

Magic

Magic is handled in a simple manner. Most arcane stunts have two difficulties attached to them: a base difficulty and a higher difficulty which allows the character to ignore the Composure Stress gained by casting that spell. When a magical stunt is used, the caster must beat the base difficulty. Doing so means the spell is cast successfully and the caster takes a point of Composure Stress; if the caster beats the higher difficulty, he takes no Composure Stress. At this point, if the character's roll beats the opponent's, the spell also takes effect as usual; otherwise, the spell takes effect but isn't good enough to have a pertinent effect. Fiery blasts miss, the opponent's blow penetrates the shield, and so forth.

However, there's always a danger when using magic. If the caster fails to equal the stunt's base difficulty, not only does the spell fizzle but he gains a minor consequence. Subsequent consequences due to failed casting increase in severity. Thus, a character who has failed two spells has a minor consequence and a moderate consequence.

Example: The sorcerer Mandrake casts a bolt of fire at a rival, using the Arcane Bolt stunt. Mandrake's Mysteries skill is Great, and he rolls [-][-][ ][+], for a total of Good. Arcane Bolt's difficulty is Average / Great, so this is a success. However, because he didn't generate a Great result, he takes a point of Composure Stress, filling in his lowest unfilled box. If he had rolled [-][-][-][-], for a total of Mediocre, he would gain a minor consequence as the spell fizzles. Now, Mandrake has to see if the bolt hits the rival…

MYSTERIES
(Skill, page 104; Adjudication, page 259)
Evocation
(*) Arcane Bolt [Mysteries]
"I call upon the flames of Re Arisen!"
Requires Cantrips.
Difficulty: Average / Great
The character is capable of using the Mysteries skill as an attack, calling into being a blast of arcane energy to strike a foe. This attack has a range of two zones. The player chooses the form of the energy when he chooses this stunt, though a different energy can be chosen for a scene by spending a Fate Point. Common energies include acid, cold, electricity, fire, pure magical force, and sound, though these are simply examples.

(*) Arcane Eruption [Mysteries]
"May the chill of the Dark Lady Hecate consume you!"
Requires Arcane Bolt.
Difficulty: Fair / Superb
In addition to using his Mysteries skill as an attack as per Arcane Bolt, the sorcerer may spend a Fate Point. His spin is doubled against minions.

(*) Arcane Shield [Mysteries]
"May the blessings of Apollo protect me!"
Requires Cantrips.
Difficulty: Average / Average
The character may use the Mysteries skill to defend against attacks, replacing Athletics.

(*) Damaging Shield [Mysteries]
"Ow! That hurt!"
Requires Arcane Shield.
Difficulty: Average / Great
Every time an attacker attacks the character with a close-range attack, the attacker gains a point of stress unless he gains at least two spin.

(*) Vise of Sorcerous Might [Mysteries]
"Up, I say!"
Requires Cantrips.
Difficulty: Fair / Superb
The character creates a glowing vise of eldritch energy. This energy can be used to lift targets or slowly crush them. The character can use his Mysteries skill in place of Might; the range of this stunt is one zone. While the character can perform maneuvers such as pinning the foe with this stunt, attacks are handled by the Arcane Bolt stunt.

Spellcasting
(*) Cantrips [Mysteries]
"Just a simple spell…"
Requires Secrets of the Arcane and one other Mysteries Stunt.
Difficulty: Mediocre / Average
The character is capable of minor magical effects that have little game effect. He can create illusions that are obviously fake; these illusions can be used to entertain. He can lift a few pounds via a minor telekinesis effect; this effect allows him to use some other skills at a distance, though those skills are restricted by his Mysteries skill. The game master is the final arbiter of what's considered minor enough to be a cantrip.

(*) Ritual Magic [Mysteries]
"By the horns of the blood god…I call upon his power!"
Requires two other Mysteries Stunts.
The character is able to perform ritual magic. Ritual magic takes a few minutes to many hours to take effect. Finding a spell requires an Academics check and searching the character's library workspace. Actually casting the spell requires the character to make a Mysteries check verses the spell's casting level; success means the spell takes effect, while failure causes something weird to happen. For every point the spell's difficulty exceeds the character's Mysteries skill, he takes a complication. Thus, to cast a spell whose difficulty exceeds the character's Mysteries by two, the caster must accept a minor and moderate complication. If a character fails to succeed at the Mysteries check by a small margin (two or less), he may spend a Fate Point to succeed anyway, though the spell goes wild with side-effects.
Many rituals, especially the more powerful ones, require exotic materials. The game master could require the character to make a Resources check as well at the same difficulty as the spell's casting difficulty, or even make the character hunt down materials that aren't available for sale.

Difficulty Ritual Effect
Good Anything that does not significantly alter or damage one subject. The spell may annoy or amuse, but it does not incur nor heal. Examples include an unsightly skin rash; inflicting an Aspect for a future scene.
Great This ritual is strong enough to injure one person, break several small things, or produce impressive light shows. Examples include inflicting damage to a target with the character's Mysteries skill; shattering all the glass in a house; causing a building to catch on fire.
Superb The charm can alter a person's emotions and senses, inflict severe injuries, and reshape (but not transform) matter. Beings from other dimensions can be summoned at this level. Examples include paralyzing a victim; changing a person's feelings (a love spell); shattering or molding large quantities of rock; creating realistic illusions that fool three senses; striking someone permanently blind, deaf, or mute; summoning an other-dimensional minion or raising a zombie.
Fantastic The spell can transform a living being, reshaping his very essence or soul. Examples include permanent shapeshifting; summoning a powerful extra-dimensional being; turning metal into liquid; creating powerful wards that cover city blocks; permanently binding a target into servitude.
Epic The ritual can do incredible things, such as returning the soul to a vampire; creating impenetrable wards; summoning a demon to destroy a city; bringing back the recently dead.
Legendary+ These rituals are legendary, and expand on prior effects over large areas. Examples include warding entire cities; permanently binding a family line into servitude or imbuing a family line with power to fight the undead; creating a pocket dimension outside space and time.

Maneuvers

A character who gains spin on a maneuver to attach an aspect makes that aspect sticky if possible. It will last until the end of the encounter or until the target takes an action to remove the aspect. The target's maneuver must make sense and his total must equal or exceed the character's roll to remove the aspect.

Example: Gentleman Johnny maneuvers Barclaw Billy towards a pile of rocks, trying to throw Billy off-balance. Johnny rolls his Good +3 Athletics verses Barclaw Billy's Fair +2 Athletics. Johnny's total is an amazing Epic +7 Athletics total! Poor Billy only rolls a Great +4 Athletics. Johnny succeeds on the maneuver with enough shift to garner spin. Barclaw Billy has a temporary aspect called Off Balance that will last until the end of the encounter or until he makes a maneuver and gains an Epic result. Johnny (or his team-mates) get one free tag, further tags cost fate points as usual.

Experience

  • Characters gain a stunt every two sessions.
  • Characters gain a new aspect every adventure.
  • Characters may move a skill one box up (and another one box down) every session. The game master has to approve this shift.

Characters

Settings