Using Traits to Help Yourself (page 257)
In order to gain the benefit of using your trait, you must incorporate it into your description of your character’s actions in the game. Tell everyone what your character is doing and, if it’s not clear, why the trait you want to use is helping.
Each trait is ranked from 1 to 3 to represent its level.
You may only use one trait to help yourself per test.
- Level 1 Trait
Calling on a level 1 trait grants a 1D bonus to a test appropriate to the trait. Before the roll is made, the player must describe how the trait is influencing and benefiting his character’s action. If the group agrees that the description is cool and the trait applies, the player may roll the bonus die with the ability or skill.
Level 1 traits may be used once per session unless they are recharged.
- Level 2 Trait
A level 2 trait grants a +1D bonus to all tests to which the trait applies. Before the roll is made, the player must describe how the trait is influencing and benefiting his character’s action. If the group agrees that the description is cool and the trait applies, the player may roll the bonus die with the ability or skill.
- Level 3 Trait
A level 3 trait is special. This trait allows a player to reroll any dice that come up as failures on a test appropriate to the trait description. The test itself can be successful or failed, it doesn’t matter. The player picks up all dice that failed and rerolls them. Successes are added to the total for the first roll. Any fate points spent on these tests must be used after the reroll. Level 3 traits may be used once per session unless they are recharged. See the Recharge a Trait heading in the Spending Trait Checks section.
If you wish to spend a fate point on a roll and use a level 3 trait, use the trait first, then spend the fate point to roll new dice for all the sixes.
Using Traits Against Yourself
Traits may also be called on to impede or interfere with your character’s actions.
A Compassionate mouse might hesitate in killing, for example.
Invoking a trait to impede your actions follows a similar process as calling on a trait to help. Describe your character’s actions and include an indication of how your trait is hindering you.
My determination could cause me to be rude or inconsiderate. My fearlessness could cause me to take rash action. My calm demeanor could cause me to delay.
If your group agrees that the trait is applicable, then you may choose an effect from the Invoking the Negative Aspect list.
You may only use one trait to hinder yourself per roll. You may help and hinder yourself on the same roll. You may not use the same trait to do both at once.
Kenzie can use his Calm trait to help himself, while using his Tall trait to hinder himself on the same roll.
Kenzie cannot use both his Calm and Tall traits to hinder himself on one roll.
Kenzie cannot use his Calm trait to both help and hinder himself on one roll.
- Invoking the Negative Aspect
You may use a trait against yourself to impede any test. Or you may use a trait to give your opponent a bonus to his roll in a versus test. Or you may use a trait to break a tied versus test in your opponent’s favor.
Each time you use a trait to hinder or hurt your character, you earn a number of checks. These checks can be spent to earn benefits later in the game—especially in the Players’ Turn. You may choose one of these effects per test. Choose if you’re going to impede or hurt yourself before either of you roll. Modify your dice or your opponent’s as appropriate.
You can decide if you’re going to use a trait to break a tie in your opponent’s favor once a tied roll is on the table. The rationale for using a trait to hinder your character must be agreed to by the group, just like using traits to help.
1) Impede: Earns 1 Check
You may invoke a trait to impede yourself. Subtract -1D from your current roll. You may use this for independent or versus tests. Impeding yourself earns one check.
Kenzie’s player says, “When I’m arguing with Saxon about how to approach Barkstone, I remain calm. I know it infuriates Saxon when I don’ t show any emotion. I’m going to take a -1D penalty to my Will for that.”
2)Hurt: Earns 2 Checks
You may call on a trait to give your opponent an advantage. Add +2D to his current roll. You may only use this effect on versus tests. Hurting yourself in a test earns two checks.
Conrad has the Scarred trait. He’s in a fight with crabs. His player says, “I climb onto the beast’s back, but my peg leg slips on the hard shell! I give the crab +2D to his Attack action.”
In this case, the GM adds those two dice to the crab’s Nature when he rolls for his action.
3)Break Tie: Earns 2 Checks
You may break a tie in your opponent’s favor. He passes the test. You fail. You may only use this with versus tests. Breaking a tie in your opponent’s favor earns two checks.If you wish to use this effect, you must invoke your trait before spending any fate points and before calling for a tiebreaker roll. If this effect is used to break a tie for a roll that generates a margin of success result, the
margin of success is always 1.
Saxon and Kenzie are dueling in the town square of Barkstone. Saxon is trying to distract the guards. Kenzie is trying to teach Saxon a lesson. They tie for a Fighter test in the conflict. Kenzie’s player says, “Even though Saxon needs to learn to keep his head, I know he’s right: Lieam needs a distraction. This causes me to lower my guard at the last moment. I use my Leader trait to break the tie in his favor.”
Spending Trait Checks
Once you have used your traits to get in your way, you’ve done two things. Most importantly, you’ve shown everyone a deeper side of your character. But it also translates into a bit of a reward. You can spend your checks to gain tests and tweak your traits.
- Free Test
Each player starts the Players’ Turn with one free test, regardless of how many checks he has. You can always do at least one thing.
- Tests in Players’ Turn: 1 Check
It costs one check to buy a test in the Players’ Turn. You may buy a second, third or however many you need and can afford.
So if I invoke my Curiosity to break a tie in my opponent’s favor (2 checks), I can make a recovery test to alleviate a condition (1) and make a Circles test to find a healer for my wounded companion (1) in the Players’ Turn. That still leaves me with my free test. Maybe I’ ll work on accomplishing my Goal.
- Recover Quickly: 2 Checks
You may buy a recovery test in the GM’s phase for the cost of two checks. Once you spend the checks, you can make an attempt at recovery, even if it’s right before a test.
After getting beat up by the guards in Barkstone and tossed into the forest, Saxon and Kenzie are both Tired and Angry. When Celanawe finds them, he accuses them of being thieves. The GM
challenges the players to an argument conflict. Kenzie realizes that being Tired and Angry is going to hurt them in the argument. He spends two of his checks right then and makes an Ob 3
Health test to recover from the Tired condition. He says, “This oldfur’s accusations clear my head of cobwebs. I realize the danger Lockhaven is in if we should fail!”
- Charge a Trait: 3 Checks
If you need extra oomph, you may spend three checks to boost one of your traits to the next level for the remainder of the session. A level 1 trait becomes level 2. Level 2 traits become level 3. The standard rules for that level then apply.
Lieam spends three of his checks to charge his Determined trait from level 1 to level 2. Now he gets the bonus die for each roll in which his determination is a factor.
You may only charge a level 1 trait before you use it this session.
- Recharge a Trait: 2 or 4 Checks
If a level 1 or 3 trait has been used to help you this session, you may spend two or four checks, respectively, to reactivate it. This effect can be bought at any time. It allows the trait to be reused at its normal value on your next roll.
You may recharge and charge a trait or vice versa.