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[Colonial Gothic Revised] In progress…

February 8, 2009

I am coming into the home stretch with getting the book done. It should be off to editing this week. I am way ahead of schedule, which is a good thing. The reason for being so far ahead is due to really enjoying this game. I like what I am working on, and I like the changes being made to this game.

Here is a snippet of the chapter I am polishing now:

Chapter 5: Action

Your Hero is your means of interacting with world of Colonial Gothic, but what your Hero does, and how he does it, is governed by the 12° system, described in previous chapters. This chapter builds upon the foundations laid down earlier, providing expanded sub-systems for important actions your character takes during the course of an adventure. To put it more simply, this chapter shows you how to fight, perform and act against the agents of the occult and supernatural. (Ok, not in real life, but in the context of the game!)

Personal Combat

When you’re a Hero, you need to respond to situations when others can’t (or won’t). Some Colonists might choose to settle conflicts peacefully rather than fight a monster. This might work in polite society, but when a vampire comes knocking at your door, talking is not going to help. Eventually your Hero is going to need to fight.

Before getting into the mechanics of action, keep in mind that when declaring your Hero’s actions in Colonial Gothic, you’re describing a scene in a movie. At times, your actions will be unbelievable; at other times you might take risks where any sane person would wait until its safe.

Telling Time

Personal combat is divided into units of measurement called Rounds. A Round does not necessarily correspond to any specific real world length of time. Instead, a Round is how long it takes for all characters involved in a situation to complete all their available Actions. Thus, it is an arbitrary unit intended to help both the Game Master and players keep track of who does what, and when, in the course of a combat. Rounds are not realistic representations of anything; they are a game convenience. If you need to know how long a round is, it is roughly 1 minute in length.


Which character gets to act first in a Round is determined by his Initiative rating. Initiative is determined by the following formula:

D12 + ((Nimble + Reason) ÷ 2) +/- modifiers = Initiative Rating

[BEGIN BOX: Initiative Modifiers]

Initiative Rating can be modified by any number of factors, as determined by the GM. Characters wandering into an ambush might rightly receive a penalty to their Initiative Ratings, while those laying a trap for their opponents might receive a bonus. Likewise, previous combat experience might modify Initiative Ratings as well.


Actions proceeds throughout a Round based on Initiative Rating, from highest to lowest. In the case of ties, the character with the highest ((Nimble + Reason) ÷ 2) acting first. Once the initiative order is determined, it remains fixed until combat is completed. The only exception is if a character chooses to delay acting in a Round until later than his Initiative Rating would normally warrant. If he does so, his Initiative Rating drops to the new, lower rating and stays there until combat ends.

Initiative can be determined either on an individual or “per side” basis. What this means is the GM can has every character, including NPCs, roll individually for their Initiative Rating or designates a single character per side in the conflict whose Initiative Rating he will use to determine who acts when. Typically, the character with the highest Tactics skill is the best person to designate for this task, but players should feel free to offer alternative suggestions. In general, individual initiative works best with smaller numbers of combatants, while per side initiative works best for large fights between many opponents.


An Action is whatever your character chooses to do during a Round. Normally, a character has only one Action per Round. If he wishes to attempt more than one Action in a Round, he suffers a multiple action penalty.

Multiple Actions

A character attempting more than one Action in a Round, suffers a penalty, the severity of which is determined by how many additional Actions he attempts. For each additional Action beyond the first, a character suffers a –1 TN penalty to every Action he takes that Round. For example, a character attempting three Actions in a single Round, suffers a –3 TN to all three of their Actions, including the first one they would normally get without penalty.

So there you go. The revisions are not going to change the game — they are going to make it better. Bringing the game  in line with the flavor of the rules James and I have been working on, helps refine the ideas and streamline play. It also, and this for me is what is the most important thing, allows fans of one game, to know how to play our others. There might be a few tweaks, but in the end, if you know one, you know them all.

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