Assets and Burdens

Assets and Burdens #

This subsystem covers character components related to personal challenges and tasks, as well as tools for generalized personal roll resolution.

General Procedure for Personal Challenges #

Everything in this section expects the use of the General Challenge Resolution:

  • 8-: PC’s choice: either the attempt fails with a minor consequence/twist or the attempt succeeds with a major consequence/twist.
  • 9-12: The attempt succeeds with a minor consequence/twist.
  • 13+: The attempt succeeds without consequence.

Any Asset that can help during this step can add:

  • Gain 1 Advantage on the roll.
  • Step up one die result used.

An Asset is defined by any character quality or situational quality that would benefit them. Each Asset can only be used to gain one benefit, up to two Assets per benefit.

Examples #

Valiant Horizon #

A character has two skillsets (one from their background, Chef, and one from their class, Ranger) available as Assets and is trying to forage for traveling supplies. The GM determines that on a success, the player will find an amount of supplies equal to Low Die. The player can choose: either they roll with 1 Advantage, or gain Mid instead of Low Die supplies on a success. They could use one skillset to gain Advantage while using the other skillset to step up the die result, narrating why each makes sense, or use both either for 2 Advantage or to gain High Die Supplies on a success. If the area is particularly bountiful, that would also count as an Asset: given the two benefits can only have two Assets, they could gain either 2 Advantage and Mid Die Supplies on a success, or 1 Advantage and High Die Supplies on a success.

Using Rolled Dice as Consequences #

When a consequence or twist that has a numerical component comes up, the GM can choose to pick Low, Mid, or High Die (where the higher the die, the less bad the result is) and use some number minus that value (7 - the value, typically). Assets that haven’t been used already during this roll can be used to increase the die result used, but only once.

Examples #

Valiant Horizon #

The same character provokes a consequence from that roll to find resources. The GM rules that it takes 10 - Mid Die extra hours: if their Mid Die is 3, for example, it takes 7 extra hours. If they take too long, it might be dark and they might get lost heading back. Before the roll, if they didn’t use either Skillset or the environment’s bounty as Assets, they could use one unused Asset to make that High Die (so if their High Die is 5, it becomes 5 extra hours).

Hardship Rolls #

Instead of using the above, the GM may call for a Hardship Roll when a consequence is in order. Unlike skill rolls, typically either Effect or individual dice are used. (When using Effect, 9+ is a 75% chance, 11+ is a 50% chance, and 13+ is a 25% chance.) If this is a major consequence/twist, the GM can add Advantage to the Hardship Roll or step up die results.

Any Asset or situational benefit that can mitigate hardship during this step can:

  • Add 1 Disadvantage to the roll.
  • Step down one die result used, if relevant.

Any Assets used on the original roll can’t be used, and each Asset can only mitigate hardship in one way. Some Assets can’t be used for mitigation even if they could be used to avoid it.

Examples #

Valiant Horizon #

Instead of subtracting, the GM might decide that a Hardship roll is in order, with a number of extra hours spent equal to Mid Die - If that character didn’t use one of their two skillsets as Assets, or if they didn’t use the bountiful nature of the surrounding area, they could try to mitigate this by using one of them to add Disadvantage or use Low instead of Mid Die. If they saved all 3 Assets, however, they could still only do one or the other of those two.

Instead of that, the GM might roll hardship to see if a monster finds them as they look. On a 13+, some big monster enters the area. Because there, only one Asset can be used to mitigate this by applying Disadvantage. For subsequent consequences, this will be rolled with increasingly high Advantage on the Hardship roll.

Liminal Void #

A character has been poisoned by some kind of horrible creature. Until it’s addressed or passes, every time an appropriate amount of time passes, the GM rolls a Hardship Roll and deals Harm equal to half of the Low Die to the character’s Health. If the character has a skillset relevant to this (like exposure to chemicals making them more toxin-resistant) or some kind of mitigating treatment has been mustered (like an anti-toxin being administered), they can use those to either add Disadvantage on the roll or step down the die.

The GM might rule that only anti-toxins can be used step down the die used. Being personally tough helps keep harm to a minimum, but the poison will always do something without an external mitigating factor, and stepping down a Low Die has a chance to put results to zero.

Success vs Progress #

In some cases, instead of a pure success, a task being addressed might call for a multi-step process, especially if done under pressure. In this case, this works similarly to combat Harm and Health. In this case, Harm is reconfigured as Progress, and Health is reconfigured as Resistance. Progress reduces Resistance; once it’s at 0, the task is finished. (10 Resistance is typical.)

If using it, typically Progress should happen anytime a success would happen in the general procedure, based on a die value (usually Mid Die on a 9+, Low Die otherwise). You can also forgo consequences/twists if this is being done during a particularly tense moment (like if it takes up a combat action) or burn extra actions/turns/time as consequences.

Examples #

Liminal Void #

A technician is trying to get a fortified security door open to free the rest of their crew in combat. The GM determines this is a fine case for default values: it’s a 10 Resistance door, and each roll will create Mid/Low Die Progress towards opening it. In this case, there’s no consequences provoked on a 9+, whereas on an 8- it takes both actions instead of one.

Skillsets #

A Skillset is the term used for a capability representing a character’s proficiency in a broad range of tasks. It’s usually represented by a 1-3 word descriptor representing a particular background, job, profession, culture, or other grouping. The specifics are usually determined by the player in question.

Some examples include:

  • Tailor
  • Blacksmith
  • Alchemist
  • Forest Elf
  • Wizard’s Apprentice
  • City Slicker
  • Pilot
  • Technician
  • Foreman
  • Celestial Nomad
  • Jovian-Born

Gaining Skillsets #

Depending on emphasis and how they’re meant to be used, the game can position skillsets in a few ways:

  • Free-Form: Characters are given no limitations on the skillset.
  • Themed: Characters can choose in a manner similar to Free-Form, so long as the skillset matches the concept. Oftentimes this comes into play when the skillset is associated with other character features.
  • Pre-Set: Characters have to choose one from a predefined list, usually alongside other character features, but still decide in what context it comes up. This almost always happens when the skillset is associated with other character features.

Sometimes more than one these can apply within the same game.

Examples #

Valiant Horizon #

Characters gain two skillsets at character creation. The first is personal and free-form. The second is Themed to their Class, representing skills gained alongside their combat abilities.

Using the example from before, a character takes the Chef Skillset as their Free-Form skillset, while Ranger is the Themed skillset they take based on their Warrior class.

Liminal Void #

Characters gain one Skillset at Level 0. This is a pre-set one based on the character’s profession, and comes along with a profession-specific Trait and equipment. At Level 1, they gain another Skillset that’s more free-form (but shouldn’t just be based on that same profession).

As an example, A Level 0 character has the Technician Pre-Set Skillset, which comes predefined based on the available professions. At Level 1, they gain a Free-Form Skillset. They choose Celestial Nomad: they’d only ever lived on stations and ships, but never a planet.

Equipment #

In comparison to skillsets, Equipment is a much broader concept.

Equipment as Skillsets #

In its most basic form, equipment can be used similarly to a skillset. If a character has a piece of equipment and it would make sense to use, they can gain Advantage on rolls, step up dice, add Disadvantage to Hardship Rolls, and step down Hardship dice.


Examples #

Liminal Void #

Every piece of equipment that has powers for combat can also be used outside of combat as tools. (Obviously equipment like guns have fewer uses outside of combat than former tools, which is factored in: dedicated weaponry is more powerful in combat as a result.)

Equipment and Other Subsystems #

Much like Skillsets can be attached to other character qualities, Equipment can overlap with other subsystems.


Examples #

Liminal Void #

As noted above, equipment is meant for both combat and standard uses. In addition to that, however, your combat resource is also represented by physical items: stimulants, quick-rechargers for electrical tools, and clips of ammunition. You can also find or prepare other items that have effects in or around combat, like specialized medicines or single-use weapons.

Machinations of Court and Frame #

Frame equipment and traits are used this way on the battlefield rather than in a combat situation.

Limited Use Equipment #

Depending on the circumstances, equipment can be temporary or limited-use in one of a few ways.

Consumable equipment is typically single-use. It’s generally more effective or more specialized than other equipment, or does something unique. Consequences with these might involve wasting them, or them having strange side effects.

Charged equipment has a number of charges that can be restored, either with resources or at certain stopping points. Typically one Skillset-like usage uses one Charge. When one of these is used you can easily incorporate using more charges than expected as a consequence.

Fragile equipment works until destroyed by a consequence. If something is slightly less fragile, it might have a Damaged step where it can be repaired if kept safe, or destroyed if another consequence is provoked. (This can also be combined with Charged, where instead of being destroyed, if it’s Damaged you can’t recharge it until repaired.)

Examples #

Liminal Void #

This is a game that has a focus on gear, so all of these are present. Primary equipment is Charged: characters can use the equipment’s charges or ammo either to perform Powers as listed or to use them as tools. There are also more dedicated tools that don’t give Powers but are Charged as well. Enterprising characters can also find or bring along Consumable items, which either give some tangible benefit (like clearing a consistent condition, like poison or limb damage) or grant a single-use Power in combat (like grenades). Finally, Fragile equipment exists as well, primarily in the form of sensitive scientific equipment.

Capabilities #

Skillsets and Equipment can also provide granted, explicit capabilities to be used in place of the standard roll when doing specific things. These can either be always-available or resource-using abilities, much like Standards and Powers in combat. They should always work, with changes to them based on the Total.


Examples #

Valiant Horizon #

Characters gain these from their class. For example:

  • Come On, Work! (Power from Technologist)
    • You can now use a piece of technological equipment in Melee with you that wasn’t operating for the rest of this round and Low Die rounds afterwards, regardless of whether or not you knew how to use it beforehand. You gain a stacking 1 Disadvantage to use this on the same target repeatedly.
    • 11+: Mid instead of Low Die.
    • 13+: You don’t gain Disadvantage to use this again on this piece of equipment after it expires.

Stunts #

A Stunt is a more nebulous use of a Skillset or piece of Equipment that seems plausible but might feel like a stretch for normal usage. Sometimes there’s a limit on Stunts (like you can use it once per session, mission, etc), or sometimes it involves resource expenditure. You can also spend semi-related combat skills in stunt-like ways in this fashion, using them up as appropriate (or more than appropriate, depending on their normal usage).

When performing a Stunt, roll without any bonuses or penalties:

  • 8-: The Stunt succeeds with a minor consequence/twist.
  • 9-12: The Stunt succeeds.
  • 13+: The Stunt succeeds, gaining some kind of extra benefit.

Examples #

Valiant Horizon #

Characters can use any Skillset as a Stunt once per session. They can also repurpose combat abilities instead of employing a Skillset, with the expectation that they would need to be replenished as if they had been used.

Liminal Void #

Characters can use Equipment for Stunts, but it’ll burn far more Charges or Ammo than normal use.

Machinations of Court and Frame #

Characters can use their abilities with Uses to perform Stunts on the battlefield, but those abilities are expended until a Recharge action is taken during a Clash.

Burdens #

Burdens are the generic term for character deficiencies, whether built into the character or circumstantial.

Capability Reducers #

Burdens can intersect with other subsystems to remove capabilities. These act like a reverse Asset: either it gives Disadvantage to rolls or Advantage to Hardship rolls in certain situations. Instead of simply reducing the capability, these can also provide extra consequences whenever consequences for certain rolls would happen, providing a caveat to that capability.


Examples #

Liminal Void #

This comes up most often from low-Health events. Sustaining a chest injury, for example, reduces your Endurance in combat as well as add Advantage on Hardship Rolls for anything that requires sustained effort, while receiving an arm injury might give you Disadvantage on both rolls that require arm steadiness and rolls to attack enemies.

As another example, a character who is Bleeding takes 1 Harm to Health whenever they provoke a consequence while doing anything physical.

Consequence Generators #

Consequence Generators are used by players to take control of the narrative. These are used by characters to define the nature of consequences generated by rolls: when it makes sense, the player can choose to invoke their Burden to define the consequence. (The GM might add some mechanical ramifications around that consequence though.)

Examples #

Valiant Horizon #

Character Burdens are primarily this: characters take a character trait like Clumsy or Forgetful. Whenever it comes up, a predictable thing happens instead of some other consequence: for example, a Clumsy character might either fall down or drop something, or a Forgetful character might forget some very important detail.

A character provokes a consequence when rolling to perform an important ritual. Their player decides that their forgetfulness should be the cause of some personal consequence rather than risking the ritual’s result: they use their Forgetful burden to say that they got distracted and forgot to finish one of the protective sigils, opening themselves up to Harm. The GM decides that this means a Hardship roll for mid die Harm.