Original SA post
Urban Jungle: Part 1
Alright, FnF. This is my first write-up for a game, and I've decided to do one that I happen to really enjoy, Urban Jungle
. This is one of the latest offerings from Sanguine Games, the same guys who gave you Ironclaw
, and it follows in both of those games' footsteps, providing a great system for people who enjoy some crunch without being overly complicated and difficult to run. This post will provide a simple overview of the game's setting and themes. My posts will probably be spaced out a bit, since I have some other work to attend to, so feel free to give me any sort of criticism and suggestions between them.
If you knew of Sanguine Games or Ironclaw
before this, you would have probably seen this coming. That's right, Urban Jungle
is another furry-themed RPG. However, much like the other Sanguine productions, it handles things much better than the fetish libertarian utopia of Hc Svnt Dracones
. You won't be playing as multi-dicked purple sparklewolves, so if you're looking for that in your RPG, you're out of luck here.
Anyways, with that caveat out of the way, we can dig into the setting of Urban Jungle
. It's set in early 20th century America (from WWI to WWII), opting to use a real country as opposed to Ironclaw
, which opted for a fantasy setting heavily based in 17th century Europe. They still insist on fictionalizing the city names and the names of historical figures, which is one of the issues I have with the setting, since it doesn't really make that much sense to copy the environment and history of a city almost directly without just copying over the name, especially when they didn't do it for the country it's set in. It's not really a major issue, just something that bugs me a bit. Each city gets a short description, a historical timeline, and some notable locations and landmarks in the back of the book, and most of them get a unique piece of art. I'll be posting the art that each city has and the city it's an expy of, since everything else sticks pretty close to the real-world counterpart.
Los Angeles, no art for this one
New York City
Miami, no art for this one either.
You could pretty easily just use the real-world names for these, since anything they change the name of is pretty obvious with regard to what it's supposed to be. You could also pretty easily adapt the game to work in later time periods if you feel like playing as 1980s Miami buddy-cop furries. From here on out, I'll be following the book's order of discussing rules and such, since this book thankfully explains the basic rules before
explaining character creation.
Next Time: Basic Mechanics!
Original SA post
Urban Jungle: Part 2
Alright, last post we looked at the setting, now we're going to be examining the basic mechanics of Urban Jungle
. Much like many of Sanguine's other games, it uses a dice pool system, with possible dice ranging from d4 to d12. The book starts with the standard "What is a role-playing game?" introduction, but after that and the credits it gets right into the base mechanics. Every chapter starts with a nice set of definitions for each term, which I think more RPGs should do. It's a great tool to jog your memory if you forget one of the more specific rules. This chapter also starts with a comic from the artist who brought us Laugh Out Loud Cats
, which I have never read, and if the writing here is any indication, I don't care to.
Honestly, the art isn't bad (in fact, I like the little comic strip format, it fits in with the whole 20th century vibe), but for god's sake this book came out in 2016 and is set in the early 20th century. Can't they have at least not made it lolcat speak circa-2008? The disparity in detail between a lot of the art can also be a bit jarring.
Seriously, it's hard to top something like this.
Anyways, the first part of this lays out stuff that's pretty obvious to anyone who's ever played a tabletop RPG. How to introduce your characters, the role of the players and GM (referred to as the "Game Host" here), dice shorthand, etc. It then goes over each of your traits, split into two categories. Basic traits
are the core traits that every character has, and they should look pretty familiar to Ironclaw
players. The traits are Body
(physical prowess and health), Speed
(speed, agility, and coordination), Mind
(intelligence and clarity of thought), and Will
(strength of personality, willpower, and confidence). Two of the three unique traits
will also be familiar to Ironclaw
players, the ones representing your character's species and career. One is new to Urban Jungle, however, type
, which we'll get into more with character creation. It explains that you will have a die assigned to each of these (again, further explained in character creation) and that each of your skills will also have a unique dice pool. It gives you an example roll for Mind and Academics (a skill, which are listed a bit later, which is fine since the specifics aren't too relevant to the example), and then tells you not to add the results up, but to compare them individually to some target, which is either an opposed roll or 3. The game uses 3 for any skill checks that aren't opposed, instead opting to count the number of successes for difficulty, with one success being something anyone could do with some effort, two being something a professional could do, three being something a master could do, and four being something that a well-trained team could do. If all your dice come up as 1s, you botch the task, and they carry some heavier result than simple failure. Having just one d4 in a skill quarters your chance of botching, making having even low dice worth it in the long run. In the event of a tie, where you have no dice higher than the target score, it's essentially up to the GM and players. Maybe the players makes something up to tip the odds in their favor, or maybe they only get a partial success, like scaling the cliff but dropping their bag in the process. It allows for just the right amount of freeform creativity to appease the side of me that hates rules, though some people may prefer more concrete tie rules.
The game also has rules for long-term progress. Basically, you set a difficulty, set how long it takes for each attempt, and set how much progress each success makes. The example the book gives is cracking a safe, where the difficulty is set to three successes, each attempt takes 5 minutes, and each success is worth 10% progress. If you roll two 4s, a 2, and a 1, you fail and make no progress. However, if you roll three 4s and a 2, you succeed and make 30% progress (three successes, with 10% per success). Characters can also do actions by rote
. In events where it would be a waste of time to roll, characters can opt to take a number of success on an action equal to half the number of dice they would need to roll. If you would roll 4 dice to do something that only requires one success, for instance, you can just choose to take two rote successes and automatically pass. You can't use rotes on contests, and the book emphasizes that it's up to the GM's discretion to ensure that players make actual roles when the outcome is uncertain and might lead to interesting results. I really like mechanics like this that streamline rolling, and I wish more games would include them, since I always just house-rule something like them anyways.
The rules for contests are pretty simple. Try to roll higher than your opponent. Every die that comes up higher than your opponent's highest counts as a success. In the event of a tie, you both will gain and lose a little, and if it really matters each tie can count as a success to break the tie. If an opponent botches, it counts as one extra success, and if you both botch it's up to the GM to come up with a spectacular failure for both of you. Some things can also give you favor, which lets you re-roll one 1. If you have any dice in a skill, you can declare a favorite use (another holdover from Ironclaw
) that automatically gives you favor on a roll if you use it for that specific favorite use. There's also something new to me, that I've never really seen in another RPG, called Dwindle Dice
. These are basically a die where, each time it rolls a 1, it decreases one size (d12-->d10-->d8-->d6-->d4). If your d4 rolls a 1, it dwindles to nothing. Common uses for these include ammo, where when your dice dwindle to zero you need to reload, and in judging a character's opinion of you, where if your dice dwindle to zero (if you push them too hard for info, for instance) their opinion sours and you have some penalty to any further rolls until their opinion of you is made better.
Speaking of penalties, the book goes over those (and bonuses!) immediately after. Bonuses are basically just extra dice that you can claim if you're under favorable conditions. Maybe you've caught an opponent off-guard, or maybe the streets are particularly clear of other cars. You don't have to declare that you're using a bonus before rolling, so if you forget or just don't like your results, you can claim your bonus after rolling, but before the GM resolves the action. Even if you botch, you can still choose to roll your bonus die after and possibly prevent the botch. Characters can also assist others, providing a bonus d8 (or d12, if they have a certain gift) to the task at hand. Each character will roll for the same skill and trait that the person doing the task is vs 3, and each succeeding player gives the bonus (note: it's only per-player, not per-success. Even if a player rolls all their dice above 3, they can only give one bonus die). The GM decides how many players can assist, and assisting in combat works differently. Is something requires every player to succeed and you roll more successes than you need, you can opt to burn one success and give a bonus die to the person who needs it. You can also assist yourself by making a relevant roll to plan out that action, then rolling that success over as a d8 bonus. You can also botch an assist role, completely fucking up the task at hand and probably making your fellow players upset with you, so make sure you don't have a high chance to botch the role. Penalties are basically the same as bonuses, but for situations in which you're disadvantaged. If you have a penalty die in a contest, it acts as a bonus for your opponent, and in other situations, the GM will roll whatever penalty dice you may have had and set the success score from 3 to whatever number they rolled, if it's above 3.
Finally, this chapter goes over how abilities can be recharged. Some abilities are instant
, and will always work when they're applicable. Others may need to be recharged, which can happen in various ways, notated as X/Y, where X is a number and Y is how often it can be recharged. So an ability that's 1/episode can only be used once per session, and is recharged at the start of the next session. Abilities can also be recharged after rests (8 hours and a square meal), scenes (chunks of game-time dictated by the GM), as an action during combat (combat is explained more later), and in a whole lot of other ways.
Whew, that was a lot of
. Next post we'll get into the fun stuff!
Next time: Character Creation!
Original SA post
Urban Jungle: Part 3
Now it's time to get into character creation
, and doing it in Urban Jungle
is a fairly painless process. Like I said in my last post, your four traits that are consistent across every character are Body, Speed, Mind, and Will. However, there are three other traits to allocate your dice to, and these are Species
, and Type
. These can vary from player to player, and effectively act as your race and class. Each of these traits come with three skills that use their dice, as well as a set number of gifts (special abilities, your species and career give you two each, while your type gives you one). Your career and trait will also come with some gear, and your trait will come with one Soak
, which is a special type of gift that's used to mitigate damage. Your Species trait indicates how good you are at doing the things you'd expect of that species, like cats jumping or weasels weasel...ing. Your career trait indicates how good you are at your job. Your type trait indicates how closely you relate to an archetype, and is new to Urban Jungle
. These types can include things like Drifter
, or Heart-of-gold
, and all come with unique bonuses. You also choose a personality for your character, any one-word description that can encompass what they're like, which will let you take a d12 bonus to a roll involving that personality type. It also suggests that you write in some of the attacks your character has for quick reference. You can also pick a character's motto and goal (note: goals are suggested to be something doable within the scope of the campaign, so try not to put down "get into heaven"). Finally, you write in your character's Initiative (Mind and Observation dice), Dodge (Speed and Evasion dice), and Rally (more on that in the combat section; Will and Tactics dice), applying any bonuses given by gifts. And that's really all character creation is, unlike Ironclaw
you don't choose more gifts during character creation, and skill marks to get more dice in skills are only a variant rule. Since it's pretty short and simple, I'll post some of the species, types, and careers below and get some character ideas from the thread, mostly to show off the character sheets (I like the layout a lot) and what a finished character looks like. The write-ups on the species are a lot shorter than Ironclaw
, and they don't have the individual portraits by Chris Goodwin, sadly, so I'll just post the art and the species featured.
Alligator, Anteater, Armadillo, Badger, Bat, Cat
Deer, Dog, Donkey, Elephant, Ferret, Fox
Gecko, Goat, Horse, Jackal, Lion, Monkey
Mouse, Otter, Panther, Pigeon, Porcupine, Possum
Rabbit, Raccoon, Rat, Rhinoceros, Shrew, Skunk
Sloth, Snake, Sparrow, Tiger, Weasel, Wolf
The art also makes me remember early-2000s furry art, which isn't exactly a good thing. It's not poorly-done, per-se. It's just a VERY dated style. I'd still take this over Hc Svnt Dracones
any day, though.
Anyways, the careers are pretty self-explanatory, with a few oddball ones. You have your actors, detectives, and doctors, and a few weirder ones, like agitators, tycoons, or politicians. Hell, you can even just be a bureaucrat pencil-pusher. The only times the book really brushes with anything that could potentially be creepy are the careers of hooker and libertine, but thankfully they're handled with relative grace and aren't just there to serve as fetish fuel.
Finally, you have your type. This is basically your character's overall archetype. I'll list these off, because they're a new thing to Sanguine's games.
Angel - Basically your innocent, light-hearted character. Naive, but unwavering.
Authority - Really anyone who might hold some government authority, from heads of research to cops.
Boss - People depend on you. Maybe a gang leader or a businessman. Might have followers, which are helpful minor characters controlled by the game host.
Broken - The guy who's been through hell and back. Maybe an ex-soldier or someone who's lost someone close to them. (Fun aside: You can literally make Batman if you choose this, and play a bat with the Masked Vigilante career)
Crooked - Petty criminals, thieves, and grifters.
Drifter - Wanderers and nomads.
Egghead - Inventors and mathematicians
Famous - Self-explanatory.
Hard-boiled - Your tough-as-nails guys, typical noir detectives.
Heart-of-gold - Someone who's gone soft over the years. Maybe an ex-criminal who's turned their life around, or a veteran who just can't bring himself to kill anymore.
Knight - A character with strong convictions and morals, determined to do what they think is right.
Loser - Misunderstood characters who are always told that they'll never amount to much in life.
Lucky - Also self-explanatory.
Old - A character with a lot of life experience who's also, well, old.
Partner - Play this if you want to be a dick and make your GM play whatever NPC ally you choose.
Quiet - Abides by the statement "Actions speak louder than words".
Rebel - Punks, beatniks, anarchists, and other people who don't abide by society's rules.
Rich - Characters with more money than sense. Thrill seekers willing to blow huge amounts for the next adventure.
Sultry - Smooth-talkers and charmers. Your traditional femme fatales and ladykillers.
Young - Another self-explanatory one.
These are pretty interesting and add a few more options for characterization. For instance, if you're an actor, you might be Famous, a Hollywood superstar, or Rich, washed up and wanting to get that spark of life back, or even a Loser, told to go into a real job, and that your crappy acting will never amount to anything.
Anyways, I want to hear some suggestions for characters, and I'll pick some of my favorites (if I don't get any, I'll just make my own).
Next time: Character Examples
Original SA post
Urban Jungle: Part 4
Last time we looked at the process of making a character, so this time we'll look at some finished characters. This will be a good opportunity to show off some of the gifts and skills as well. Forgive the shitty formatting, I did these in MS Paint.
Some sort of gecko boxer, in a nod to the only good thing to come out of Hc Svnt Dracones.
There was a prize fighter career, but I thought athlete would be more appropriate since it gives you the Wrestling gift. I put his d8s in Body and Career, since he's a famous (which also happens to be his type) luchador, so he needs to be strong and good at what he does. I put his d4 in Mind, since years of getting hit in the head have left him a little slow. His name is Martin Rodriguez, but when he puts on the mask he becomes El Gecko. He carries the gear that comes with being an athlete (rough outfit, towel), and I replaced the thing that comes with the famous trait (which can be a makeup bag or comb) with his trademark mask. Most of his favored skills involve fighting, but I opted for climbing in athletics since he's, you know, a gecko. I also decided to make his favored use for deceit disguise, since he hides his true identity with the mask. Most basic gifts don't need to be recharged, so sadly we can't really go over that, but it's fairly simple and self-explanatory. He has a flashy personality, being one of the forerunners of lucha libre in the United States, so if he's doing anything that might involve being flashy he can opt to take a d12 bonus, which is used up until he takes a rest (8 hours and a meal). He gets the Climbing and Coward gifts from his species. Climbing gives him a d12 bonus to any rolls where you're trying to climb something, and removes any die limitations (basically, if you're trying to do anything while climbing, your die size to do that thing is limited to either d4 or your highest athletics die, and this applies to other situations like swimming as well). Coward doesn't necessarily mean your character is a coward personality-wise (certainly, El Gecko never backs down from a challenge!), but rather it gives your character a bonus d12 to dodge and to scramble away from danger (scrambling is an action explained later) when they're panicked. You can become panicked any time, either by using you panic soak or, since you have the Coward gift, simply stating that you become panicked at any point in combat. So, you could feasible roll your dodge, come up short a success, and choose to become panicked to roll your bonus d12. Being panicked comes with several drawbacks, which we'll go over when we get to combat. He gets a d12 bonus to rallying his allies and public speaking since his type gives him the Leadership gift. His career gives him the ability to use a d12 to assist instead of a d8 with the Team Player gift (those years of tag-team wrestling paid off). He also gets the ability to use specific wrestling attacks, which I listed in the attacks section (most of that will make more sense when I get into combat). His type gives him an additional soak, a -4 to damage that recharges after rests. His main short-term goal is to beat his bitter rival Bobby "The Beast" McKinzie in the ring, finally cementing himself as the best wrestler in all of San Dorado.
Alternately an anarchist.
The tramp. I'm sure there's some sort of hobo career.
I decided to combine these two ideas into one character. Willie Davis is a vagrant by choice, pretty much what we'd consider a crust punk by today's standards. His d8s are in his will and type, since he's determined to bring down the current system, and his d4 is in species, since he doesn't think your species should define who you are. He's a coyote with the rebel type, a devoted anarchist. His goal is to take out a crooked official, whether by violence or some other means. His favored use for athletics is sprinting, since he's always chasing trains, his favored use for negotiation is with criminals, since there are a number of other rebels in their ranks, for observation it's initiative, since he's always ready for a fight, and for presence it's vs authority figures, since his raw hatred for them is intimidating. He wears a rough outfit, carries his bindle (no 20s hobo would be complete without it), and his type lets him carry around a manifesto, so he chose The Conquest of Bread
, which is a turn-of-the-century anarchist work. His type also gives him two soaks instead of a soak and a gift, so he can take a -2 that recharges every hit, and a -2 that recharges every scene (about five minutes game-time). His personality is zealous, and his species gifts let him use brawling attacks and take a bonus d12 to tracking someone or covering his own tracks. His career gifts are Streetwise and Survival. Streetwise gives him a bonus d12 to recognizing the criminal element in society and to gossiping to find out about criminality, plus he can buy illegal goods at 50% of the cost and sell them back at 10% of the listed cost, instead of the usual 5%. Survival gives him a bonus d12 to any rolls involving wilderness survival, like finding food or water, or to create shelter. I listed his special brawling attacks in the attack section.
Give me a nebbishy dog accountant with the Hard Boiled type. He's found a small discrepancy in the road department's books, and he's gonna pull on that thread and unravel the whole damn city, and nobody's gonna stop him.
Patrick Burrowes is a hard-boiled bloodhound-terrier mix bureaucrat who thinks he's found the conspiracy of the century. His d8s are in mind and career, since he's a pretty smart guy and a damn good accountant. His d4 is in body, because he can't do half the stunts they pull in the detective movies he watches, despite him telling you otherwise. After all, he's just an accountant. A lot of his favored skills involve shooting, since he enjoys shooting for sport (and practice for any potential shootouts that might come from his investigation, again, he watches too many detective films). He swims at the public pool in his spare time, since it's one of the few means of exercise that doesn't leave him on the ground wheezing in five minutes. One of the few things all the detective-based media he consumes has taught him is blackmail, and the more people hate him the harder he's willing to press them for information. His type also gives him two soaks, a winded soak that he can take an action in combat to recover and a hurt soak for -3 damage. Like Willie, he also gets the Brawling and Tracking gifts. However, his career gives him Bribery and Research. Bribery gives you a d12 bonus to any roll involving, well, bribery. It also means that you don't automatically offend someone (and immediate give them a bad Opinion of you) if you fail to offer an illegal bribe, like those without that gift do. Research gives you a d12 to any roll where you might have access to a large body of information on the subject, like a library or dossier. I listed his pistol under attacks, just to show what a ranged attack write-up looks like. He gets to wear a fancy work outfit and carry his pocket pistol and stamp pad. His trait also gives him a hip flask, since no hard-boiled character would be complete without it.
Eventually you can get more gifts through character progression, but this is what your baseline starting character might look like. As you can see, there's a lot of ways to fit the mechanics into your character's own backstory and personality (like with favored uses), which is one of the reasons I love this game and Ironclaw
Next time: Character Interactions and Combat!
Original SA post
Urban Jungle: Part 5
It's been a bit, so now it's time to cover character interaction and combat basics
! In the chapter covering some basic mechanics, I mentioned opinion dice, a type of dwindle dice (refresher: these are dice that, when they roll a 1, "shrink" to the next size down), so now it's time to discuss what they actually do. If a person has a good opinion of you, whether it's due to your reputation or your past actions towards the person, you can claim a d8 bonus to social rolls with that person until the good opinion die dwindles to zero, representing your character eroding that person's goodwill. If they have a REALLY good opinion of you, you can claim 2d8 instead of just one. In the same vein, bad opinion dice are penalties against you. In social rolls vs 3, the GM will take whatever this die rolls if it's higher than 3. These also dwindle when they reach 1, so it's possible to bring up someone's opinion of you. If you push a person too much for info, the GM might decide to give you a bad opinion penalty, which keeps social situations from being the classic "keep trying until you squeeze every drop of info out of them". If a person has a contradictory opinion (for example, you have a good reputation in a group but might not have a good reputation with the individual), the GM can decide whether to roll the good and bad and keep the one that rolls higher, or keep both the penalty and bonus die and apply both at the same time. One of the more interesting aspects of the opinion system that keeps the world feeling dynamic is that your reputation will ripple outward to other members of a community. If an individual has a bad opinion of you, that can spread to any group they belong to, and the same goes for good opinions. And if a group has a good opinion of you, an opposing group may have a bad opinion of you. This applies to the law, too. If you keep gaining bad opinion die with the police, the GM might decide to send more and more of them after you, starting with your neighborhood cops and spilling over to state police or even the FBI. The rules for this are pretty loose, so in the hands of a bad GM it'll just end up playing out like a really bad karma system from a video game. On the other hand, if you have a good GM it can help weave a tale of intrigue and betrayal among different factions and gangs. You can also attempt to influence minor characters to give you information, items, or even do things for you. With one success, you won't get what you want, but you won't offend the person unless you immediately try (and fail) to influence them again. With two, you will be able to get anything a professional could get. With three, you also get to roll an additional good opinion die. When trying to influence a group, you'll need more successes, and might even require assistance, since the maximum successes you can get is four, counting the bonus die.
Combat mechanics are pretty straightforward and streamlined from Ironclaw
, but even more deadly. When combat starts, before rolling initiative, you need to refresh any abilities that can be refreshed in combat or per-scene. The side that starts the fight will always go first, with turn order not determined by initiative, but rather by whatever the GM decides (the book recommends going around the table on the left, but it suggests other methods in the back). Initiative, which is determined by your Mind and Observation die, only determines how you enter combat. If you fail a roll under specific circumstances, you enter the battle dazed, unable to counter attacks, able to be blindsided (enemies can include tactics dice when attacking), and your next action must be to recover, unless an ally takes the rally action. Under ideal circumstances, where you started the fight or have a clear view of enemies, you only need to score one success to avoid being dazed. If you don't have a clear line of sight or are distracted, you need two successes. If you're completely caught off guard, you need three successes. The GM could also pretty easily determine turn order via the initiative dice by adding them together, if you want a more traditional random turn order. Drawing smaller weapons generally does not take an action, but readying larger weapons, like rifles, may take one to equip.
On your turn, you can opt to pass and let others take their turn before you, act and take two actions on your turn (sometimes more if you have certain gifts or focus, and never the same action twice), or focus, which lets you skip your turn entirely for certain bonuses. If you have focus, you can choose to expend it to either interrupt any action by another character with one action of your own (if you're about to get shot, you can interrupt and guard to get bonus defense), or you can choose to take three actions on your next turn. Becoming dazed or panicked immediately makes you lose focus.
Since you get two actions per turn, a lot of things that are minor actions in some games take up a full action slot here. I'll go over the ones listed in the book here.
Pretty basic d8 bonus to attack, but only against one declared target, so if the attack is sweeping, you still only get a d8 bonus to attack that one opponent.
These have their own section where they're discussed in further detail. All that's really important for now is that attacks can provoke counterattacks, and some statuses like panicked prevent you from attacking.
Control a vehicle or device:
In combat, if you're driving something, you need to spend an action to keep it in your control or else it will become uncontrolled, which can lead to a crash if your vehicle is moving at high speed, dealing 4 or 5 points of damage to the occupants. This action also covers things like opening doors or pulling levers.
Most small weapons won't need an action at the beginning of the fight to equip, but if you want to swap between them you'll need to take an action.
Take a bonus d8 to defensive actions
Roll Speed and Evasion vs. 3 if there is an object that can conceal you within near range (3m). If there are no focused enemies, one success is enough to get you hidden. If there are focused enemies, you roll their Mind and Observation die vs. 3, and the highest number of successes scored by any enemy is the number of successes you need to hide. If there are no successes, you only need one. When hidden, you get a bonus d12 to dodge actions.
Distance has been simplified into various tiers: close (up to 1m), near (up to 3m), short (up to 10m, + d8 to dodge), medium (up to 30m, + d12 to dodge), long (up to 100m + 2d12 to dodge). I'm not the biggest fan of this system since I prefer more granular rules for distance, but it works pretty well for theater of the mind where you aren't drawing out a battlemap. For an action, you can move towards a target from short to near or near to close, or away from close to near or near to short. If you want to move more than one distance, or from medium to short, you need to roll Speed and Athletics vs. 3, with each success representing one tier of distance. Weirdly, there are no rules at moving in from long range, so I assume you could just take an action to make a Speed and Athletics roll. They also include the rolls you need to make for jumping a gap or climbing, and what to do if the terrain is bad (add more require successes).
You can spend an action to roll your Will and Tactics dice vs. 3, given that you don't have a status that makes you unable to rally. Scoring one success means you can remove a dazed or panicked penalty from another player, and if they aren't already dazed or panicked they get focus. Two successes mean you can remove both dazed and panicked, or remove one and give focus. Three means you can remove both and give focus. The handbook advises not to penalize players if they botch a rally roll, and to simply let them lose the action without doing much. There are certain penalties applied based on range and line of sight as well. It is a perfectly legitimate strategy to have one guy with great tactics bark orders at other players and buff them constantly, and any game that lets you be a bossy asshole is a good game in my book.
This is the action you must take if you enter your turn dazed. However, some gifts will also recharge every time you recover, plus if there are no enemies in line of sight you can rally yourself with it, making it a decent action to take even if you don't need to.
The more self-explanatory actions are reload
and stand up
. There aren't really any special rules for these.
You can also take a stunt
action. These are more dangerous actions that immediately end your turn and leave you dazed after you do them.
Equipping an awkward weapon:
These include larger weapons stored in less ready places, such as instrument cases or under coats.
Frighten an opponent:
If you succeed in a contest of Body, Will, and Presence, you can make a target panicked, with the side effect of immediately giving them a d8 bad opinion die, which makes it harder to reason with them should you choose to make that stunt. Scoring two or more successes ups the bad opinion die to d12, and lets you roll to frighten another enemy in range. This keeps chaining, so every time you score two successes, you can keep choosing a new target until you run out of them or you roll fewer than two successes.
Damage is only covered in much detail in the back of the book, so it doesn't really say what first aid does here. If one of your friends is within close range, they can use this stunt to improve your condition, such as making you knocked down as opposed to fully unconscious.
Reason with an enemy:
This is a contest of Mind, Will, and Negotiation, attempting to convince your enemy to stand down. If you succeed, minor characters will take a focus turn to consider what you have to say, though major characters may choose to ignore you. The difficulty on this is mostly up to the GM.
Roll Body, Speed, and Athletics vs. 3. With one success, you can move from short up to close range, or from short/near/close range to medium. With two success, you can move from medium to close range, or from close/near/short/medium to long range. Scoring two successes is enough to get you out of combat in all but the most open locations, so fleeing as a party is viable if you feel that you're not prepared for the danger.
A contest of Speed, Mind, and Deceit vs. Speed, Mind, Observation, and Questioning. Works pretty much exactly like frighten, except without incurring any bad opinion penalties and with the dazed status instead of panicked.
Most of the standard D&D free actions are the same here, such as dropping an item (though picking something up off the floor
is a stunt, talking, or releasing a grappled opponent, and you can do them even if it's not your turn. You can also become panicked as a free action, which is something players with the Coward gift may find themselves doing a lot.
Next time: Attacks and Defense!