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13 Chapters in 13 Weeks — Chapter 5

June 8, 2009

Another week. You know what that mean, time for another chapter. As always, for those just coming in, this is a weekly look at each chapter found in the forthcoming Colonial Gothic Revised. Hitting shelves next month, what I want to do is talk about each chapter and explain what is new and what has been revised since the original edition. As I have mentioned since the announcement of Colonial Gothic Revised the revision is not a rebuild, but a clean up of what has come before.

So what does Chapter 5 deal with? Action.

Of all the chapters in the book, this is the one with the most rules. Though there are rules, as you know 12° is not a rule heavy game. What Chapter 5 does is cover the action that is most important to any game, combat. Unlike the original edition of the game, in Colonial Gothic Revised there are now two types of combat: physical and social. Both work together, and both enable fast resolution.

Few changes have taken place in Colonial Gothic Revised when it comes to physical combat. It is still the same combat, and the system does not get in the way of the action. Still, since Colonial Gothic Revised is using the new established flavor of 12°, and fans of Thousand Suns, will see many similarities. So what changes are here?

First Actions have a slight adjustment. Gone is the rule from Colonial Gothic: Secrets, and now all characters have 1 Action. However, the rules allow for Multiple Actions, and the way it does so is very easy. Here’s the section straight from the book:

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 his Actions, including the first one he would normally get without a penalty.

Now, GMs who do not like having to deal with Multiple Actions, do not need to worry about where the fall during Initiative. In addition, this new rule allows for Heroes to be be a flurry of activity when it comes to hand to hand fighting and the like.

Another change to the game is how Damage is dealt in the game. This change is one that owes a lot to what we have done with Thousand Suns, as well as the work done on other games in the works. That change is having damage effect your character the more damage they take.

Attacks that succeed and are not avoided (see “Avoiding Damage” below) inflict damage. Taking damage makes it harder for a character to perform Actions, including those relating to combat. For every 15 Points of damage a character takes, he suffers a –1 TN to all tasks until healed. This penalty increases by an additional –1 TN for each additional 15 Points of Vitality damage he takes.

Thus, a character who has 35 total Vitality suffers a –1 TN penalty when he drops to 20 Vitality, a –2 TN when he drops to 5 Vitality, and so on. When your character is reduced to 0 or less Vitality, he is unconscious and dies in the number of Rounds equal to his Body Rank unless receiving medical attention. A successful Healing Test is sufficient to stabilize a wounded character for one hour and prevent immediate death. However, if he does not receive such attention, another Healing Test must be made each hour thereafter. Failure results in death.

So how is damage figured out? Very easily. Combat deals damage according to the base damage of the weapon multiplied by the Degrees of Success achieved while attacking with it. For example, a character throws a knife at an enemy achieving two Degrees of Success. A knife has a base damage of 1, so the character deals 2 points of armed combat damage. Most armed weapons have a maximum damage listed in their description. This means that, no matter how many Degrees of Success a character achieves, they can never deal more than the maximum damage for the weapon type.

Melee weapons differ from ranged weapons in that, in addition to dealing damage based on the Degree of Success achieved by the attacker using them, they add to the result of the attacker’s Melee skill Rank as well. For example, a character attacks an enemy with a hatchet, achieving 4 Degrees of Success. A hatchet base damage is 3, meaning the character deals 12 points of Vitality damage. To this number he adds his Ranks in Melee combat, in this case 6, meaning that he deals a total of 18 points of damage to the enemy.

The other type of combat is social combat, and this addtion is one I really am excited. The purpose of any social interaction in Colonial Gothic is to change the attitude of non-player characters toward your Hero or, in the case of the GM, to change the attitude of your character toward Supporting Characters. This is accomplished by social skill Tests, such as Bargain, Bureaucracy, Diplomacy, Empathy, Intimidation, Investigation, Socialize, and Streetwise. Each of these skills function much like the combat skills of Shoot or Unarmed combat, except they are not used to deal damage against another character’s Vitality but against their Resolve. Social interaction can thus be likened to bloodless combat, because characters attempt to weaken each other’s Resolve to the point where their attitudes change in a manner amenable to their interests.

Why the addition? The social interaction system is intended to function for both player and non-player characters. What this means is that it is possible for supporting characters to use their social skills against your character and change his attitudes toward them. As noted above, you decide for yourself how your character feels about any supporting character, setting the initial attitude level. Once that is done, however, supporting characters can do their best to make your character feel better disposed towards them.

Some players might balk at this notion of social interaction, which is understandable. Players frequently do not like losing control of their character’s actions and having a femme fatale seduce a character or a wily merchant cheat him out of hard-earned coin only emphasizes this fact. However, it is important to remember that your character is not you, and, while you created him, he might not necessarily behave as you would in the same circumstances. Likewise, as a player, you often know more than your character does. That is, you may know that the beautiful woman who has taken a romantic interest in your character is a rival family member, but would your character know this? Consequently, having your character “suffer” as a result of social interaction sometimes makes perfect sense and is a natural result of how an adventure unfolds. Embrace it rather than resist it.

As for other changes, the bulk of the chapter is the same as what has come before. There are rules for poison, rules for insanity, and more details on the types of situations that can come up in play.

Sanity is still in the game, and it works the same as it always has. There is a slight addition to it, and it is now tied into magic. As to how and why, well that will be shared next week. After all, Chapter 6 deals with magic and that is what I will be talking about next week.

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