Qabals of the New Dark Age
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For your convenience, you can return to the Section Eleven here.
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II. Templates & Musts
Fear & Perseverance
The world is full of strange and evil things. It is a dark place, and those would stand against the darkness must be made of stern stuff. Yet, no matter how fearless one wishes to be, FEAR IS CONTAGIOUS (sounds like an aspect, yes?) As human beings we naturally seem to have a group mindset or mob mentality when confronted with those things that make us afraid. Oh, we can be afraid on our own to be sure, but even the bravest of us are affected when those around us are afraid.
Because of this, Fear is a group mechanic. When confronted with a situation the GM considers fearful, one of the players will roll for the entire group. This roll is a Perseverance roll. Success is measured the same for this as for any roll. On a failure, the group has failed and is subject to the penalties of Fear. On a Succeed with cost, the group has made the roll, but one person will receive a temporary aspect (with one free compel for the GM). There is no effect on a success. On a Succeed with Style, the GM will LOSE one Fate Point. So, let us first discuss Perseverance and after that we can deal with Fear itself.
At the beginning of every adventure, the group’s Perseverance begins to 0. As bad things are witnessed or happen to the PCs and those around them, Perseverance will drop. Perseverance can be a negative number. However, as things around the PCs get worse, Perseverance will go up. At first glance, this may not make much sense; but the simple fact is that what made you afraid a few moments ago will give you the strength of conviction to press on and fight against evil. How does that work?
Put simply, most Perseverance losses are temporary while most Perseverance gains are permanent. Unless the GM says otherwise, any Perseverance loss is in effect only in the scene in which the event took place or became known. As an example, let’s say the group’s Perseverance score is currently a 5 and they are facing a group of vampires, and they learn that Dracula has kidnapped Mina Harker. They know what will happen to her if they fail, and that fear and doubt is contagious. They lose 2 Perseverance (now a 3) and roll. At the end of the scene (assuming at least one of them survives), the loss goes away (back to 5) Then, because an innocent is endangered, the group gets a +1 and Perseverance is now 6.
The reasons for this are simple: it is difficult to control our emotions and to control fear. Thus, the loss. But our determination to fight evil, to calculate the high cost and be willing to pay it anyway bolsters us; thus the loss is temporary. And as our minds dwell on the consequences of failure, Perseverance increases.
Copied below, you can find some possible gains and losses. These lists are neither absolute nor exhaustive.
Again, it bears repeating that Perseverance always begins at 0 in every adventure. Facing creatures you have faced before does not affect Perseverance as there are always differences between the various monstrosities out there.
As befits a horror game, it is beneficial to the group to split the party. Each sub-group has its own Perseverance score, which is equal to what Perseverance was when the party split up. When the party comes back together, you use the higher Perseverance number before recovering lost Perseverance. And the group adds all the gains to the final number.
Example: the gang has a score of 4 when they split up. Fred, Daphne, and Velma go to the Library to learn some things. They pickup 1) that Velma found: 4+2+1+1=8.
The above section is about resisting Fear. This one is about Fear itself. There are two questions to consider:
1) What is the Fear Rating (FR) of a scene?
2) What are the effects of failing a Fear check?
The FR of any scene is equal to the highest FR of the enemies in the scene. This FR may be modified by the scene itself (graveyards, crypts, dungeons, etc.) as well as by the Villain that the adventure is about. Every Villain has a FR modifier that is applied to every scene in the adventure, including scenes with the Villain him/her/itself. Ultimately, even if your group does not know who or what the Villain is in the adventure, there is still a foreboding sense of something evil out there at work, which is why the Villain affects the FR. This may be supernatural or it may be the Red Death; either way, it is just the Way the World Is.
When a group fails a Fear check, the monsters get a number of Fate Points. This is typically a base number modified by the degree of failure and the number of characters on the failing side. Since a large part of Fear involves the unknown, I will not share those modifications in this document.
Finally, it is possible to defeat Fear itself. If the group’s perseverance score is 4 points HIGHER than the scene’s fear rating, then Succeed at a Cost is equivalent to Success. Of course, bad things can happen in the scene to cause a new roll.