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13 Chapters in 13 Weeks — Chapter 2

May 20, 2009

Last week I talked about the changes taking place in Chapter 1 of Colonial Gothic Revised. This week, I want to discus the changes taking place in Chapter 2.

Chapter 2 covers the creation of Heroes. Unlike Chapter 1 which saw very little in the ways of changes,  sees little changes as well. What changes that do take place is the purchasing of Skills, slight modifications to Faith Points, the introduction of a new Ability, and finally a revision on what an “average” ability Rank is. So let’s take it from the start.

Abilities

The five abilities are still with the game (Might, Nimble, Vigor, Reason and Resolution). The big change to them is that they now follow the led that Thousand Suns set. That is  the average Rank in a Ability is 7. To create your Hero you have 45 Ability Points to divide among the five Abilities.

Joining Abilities is a new stat — one that is similar to Vitality and Sanity — Resolve. Let me quote straight from the Rulebook:

Resolve is a mental counterpart to Vitality and represents a Hero’s determination and the strength of his convictions. Resolve is equal to [(Reason + Resolution) ÷ 2] x 5. Like Vitality, Resolve possesses five levels, each equal to one-fifth of the total. Thus, a Hero with 60 Resolve has five levels, each with 12 points. These points correspond to five levels of attitude toward others. For more on this Attribute and how it comes into play, please see Chapter 5.

So why Resolve? Good question. Resolve comes straight from Thousand Suns, and it is something James saw as being very important to a SciFi game — the idea of social combat. When working on the revision of Colonial Gothic one of the big things I wanted to add to it was the idea of social combat. Social combat captures the witty banter and cutting remarks that polite society has. This was even more important during the American Colonial period, with numerous examples of debate, written critiques and the like. Moving Resolve over to the Colonial Gothic for me made perfect sense. Judging from the playtests, many either liked this change or really liked it.

Fate Cards & Faith Points

Fate Cards see no major changes, but see a slight modification. That modification is that by using them, they allow you to gain faith points. Let me quote from the Rulebook:

Fate Cards have another purpose beyond roleplaying: they let you gain and spend Faith Points for your Hero (see below). Fate Cards provide you with a justification for using Faith Points at an appropriate time in an adventure. Conversely, if you can connect one or more of your Fate Cards into the current adventure in a way that makes your Hero’s life more difficult (which is to say, more exciting), you gain a Faith Point. Likewise, the Game Master may at certain times decide that one or more of your Fate Cards is relevant and introduce new obstacles to your Hero’s progress, in which case you also gain Faith Points.

So the first question that comes to mind is why? The answer is simple, I really wanted to make the use of Faith Points important, and I also wanted to encourage the use of Fate Cards. This change, was one I was afraid to make, because part of me really thought about dropping the two concepts all together. When working with James on Thousand Suns, I soon came around to this, and merged the idea into Colonial Gothic. I am really happy I did this.

Faith Points do not see much of a change, and they still behave the same way. What I did with Faith Points was give more examples, and really spelled out what could be done. Now, Faith Points allow you to:

  1. Gain a +1 Bonus.
  2. Work with your Faith Card.

The second point, working with the Faith Card, really gives you more options. In short Faith and Fate are more linked and the two really allow you do ramp up the drama. For fans of Thousand Suns they will notice that I followed the lessons of James, and if you play one, you will get the hang of Colonial Gothic quickly.

Backgrounds

This section of Chapter 2 sees very little has changed. The section’s been edited, rewritten in many places, and in all spruced up. I toyed with adding more backgrounds, but then I realized: there is no need.

Purchasing Skills

This sees the most changes.

First up when you buy a Skill, the cost is equal to half the Rank of the associated ability. When buying a skill you buy it at Rank 1. When raising the Rank of a skill the cost is equal to half the initial cost. To make it easier let’s use a table. 🙂

Attribute Rank

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Base Rank 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6
Raise 1 Rank 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3

You always buy a Skill at the Base Rank.

A new addition to buying skills is the idea of Specializations. Since I do not feel like describing something that is written really good in the Rulebook, I am just going to share the section with you. Here you go:

Specializations

You may choose a specialization for any skill above Rank 2. By doing so, your chosen specialization’s starting Rank is equal to one greater than the Rank of the skill of which it is a specialization, while the original skill is lowered by one Rank. For example, if your Hero has Shoot 4 and you decide you want him to specialize in Flintlock Pistols, his new skill write-up would be Shoot (Flintlock Pistols) 3/5.

Any time you gain additional Ranks in a skill, you may choose to apply them either to a specialization or its parent skill. Using the example above, if your Hero gained an additional 2 Ranks in Shoot, you could apply them either to Shoot or to Flintlock Pistols provided that the parent skill is always at least one Rank lower than the lowest Rank of specialization. Thus, if your Hero has Shoot (Flintlock Pistol) 3/5 and gains 2 Ranks in Shoot, you can apply them to gain either Shoot (Flintlock Pistol) 4/6 or Shoot (Flintlock Pistol) 3/7, but not Shoot 5/5.

You may also acquire additional specializations at any time, but every time you add another one, the parent skill drops by one Rank and the new specialization begins at one Rank higher than the previous Rank of the parent. For example, if your Hero has Divination (Alectryomancy) 2/4, you can choose another specialization (say, Augury) and this specialization would begin at Rank 3, while Divination itself drops to Rank 1. Your Hero can gain no additional specializations until the parent skill increases to at least Rank 2 (and thus the lowest specialization is at least Rank 3).

Credit to this goes to James, who introduced the concept in Thousand Suns. The concept works so well, and in playtest it allowed the players to make their Heroes more unique. I think of all the changes in the game, it is this one that I like the most.

So there you go. More than you thought you would want to know about Chapter 2.

As always, questions are welcomed. Through them my way.

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