Acts

The core of DISTANCE consists of narrative blocks called acts which, combined with tags and mindsets form the CV, determines the scope of actions available to the character in the story. Acts occur in the narrative when it makes sense and when it is interesting that your characters can fail in the course of the story.

Acts are improvised by the GM with inspiration from a list of example acts. Acts are focused on the player characters.

Mindsets

In DISTANCE you act the way you think.

Mindsets are found on the character cv. They range from -2 to +3, and by modifying acts, they play a part in describing how the character interacts with the world. There are 5 mindsets; consult the chart on p. XX for description.

By default, it is up to the player to determine which mindset she will use in varying situations. However, a pattern should form, ideally, in which mindsets the player picks in certain situations, as the role becomes defined in a recognisable behavior and identity. There will also be acts where a particular mindset is the obvious choice. Hence, as ever, the GM has the final word.

Mindset points

In new characters, the sum of mindsets is always 0. One mindset must be set to -2. Player decides how to balance their character’s mindsets.

For example: Cold +2, Swift -1, Deep +1, Open -2, Soft 0.

The character can obtain additional mindset points as the narrative progresses (see lessons, p. XXX). The sum g Mindset points can never be increased higher than +3,

Conditions

Conditions designate situations where a Mindset is hampered, and they inflict temporary penalties to such rolls. Left unattended or untreated, such penalties may eventually become permanent, lowering the capabilities of the PC.
It is very much possible to suffer from multiple conditions at once – but no single Mindset can have more than two at the same time; -2 is as bad as it gets, mechanically.

Conditions are not “wounds” in the normal sense of the word. Those are tracked on the CV under SP. Enough damage will threaten the survival of a character. Conditions, instead, will change how a character functions. Because of this, conditions are described as the opposite of the mindset they affect. The examples below should provide inspiration for what might trigger such penalties:

MindsetConditionTrigger
ColdHotThe character is angry, flustered, aroused or otherwise find keeping his usual distant demeanor difficult.
SwiftSlowThe character is exhausted, very hesitant, in two minds about a situation or otherwise not in a mind to act decisively,
DeepShallowThe character is stressed, rushing, unwilling to consider other perspectives on a topic, or otherwise unable to devote 
SoftHardThe character is in a position to be narrow minded, racist, oppositional or otherwise unable to establish mutual empathy.
OpenClosedThe character doesn’t believe in the mysteries, doesn’t want to consider them, or is in a position to openly defy them.

Conditions are like a membrane. A weak pressure from the world quickly falls back into place, but a hard one leaves a mark for a long time, maybe even a permanent one. A sharp shock leaves a break for life! In this way, conditions can vary from temporary inconveniences, to curable problems, or even permanent trauma.

If you leave curable conditions untended, the fester. Eventually, they lower your character’s mindset in a permanent capacity. Once that happens, the condition goes away (or rather, it has become a part of who the character is).

As with any other mechanical elements of the game, conditions are written in bold where they occur – To help differentiate them the words appearing in normal language.

Example:
Having traveled through a warzone for months, Marty, usually an empathic and soft diplomat, who always knows how to see the good in people, comes to resent what these warring parties do to each other. The atrocities gradually leave him sullen and introverted. The GM assigns Marty a Hard condition,
Returning home, Marty refuses treatment or therapy. Instead, or writes in a personal diary, and keeps the horrors of his journey to himself.
Eventually, he may publish those war stories, but his perspective on people has irrevocably changed, and he finds the distance between them growing stronger. The GM eventually resolves Marty’s Hard condition by permanently lowering the diplomat’s Soft mindset by 1.

Example 2:
Susie has always been proud of her abilities as a hacker. Frankly, she’s gotten arrogant, brute forcing problems she might have once engaged with more interest; the glory has become more important than the process, and gradually, she’s losing her edge.
Over the course of a few months, she grows to increasingly think of herself as infallible. She doesn’t really need to commit fully to the situation to solve it. She’s a genius, and the world loves her for it. It begins to affect not just her hacking, but her entire view of the world.
The GM assigns Susie a Shallow condition as the character increasingly gets high on their own hype. Hopefully the crash back to reality will come before she’s unable to return to it – and won’t hurt her too much.

Roll

Rolling on acts, you always use 2d6 + a relevant mindset. It is always the player rolling the dice, never the GM.
The motivation behind this is to let the player characters take center stage in the narrative, and let their decisions drive the narrative. Additionally, rolling 2d6 averages around a 7, which means that many rolls will tend towards trade results or partial or complicated successes – which we find reflects reality.

Training

(Remember to refer to the chart – This is an extension and explanation – not a repetition!)

When a role attempts an act outside the role’s #, and it doesn’t make sense in the story that the role might be suited to succeed, the GM can always refute actions. The result is never ‘nothing’ – The GM explains how the role fails at what she’s attempting. 

The GM can also opt to let the role make an untrained act, which means that she is denied the opportunity for a positive outcome. Note that it is still possible for the player to achieve a trade or lucky result. This is meant to illustrate that, despite any level of incompetence, the role might still be lucky, or achieve some partial success.

Please refer to the chart on p. XXXXX for how these rolls function..

We recommend that, as a GM, you tend to use the untrained act mechanic rather than refusing the roll – where it makes sense.

Lessons

When a player rolls a negative or fatal result, the GM can opt to award the player a lesson (or up to 2 for a fatal roll) – This is marked on the CV. When all lesson boxes are marked, the GM awards the role one of the following.
Note that individual campaigns may want to wait awarding these until a time where the role has time to reflect on their action – this happens at the discretion of the GM.

  • +1 to a mindset (note that the total sum of mindsets cannot exceed +3),
  • a new # under [experience]
  • In cases where a role’s mindset sum  is already at +3, the option to increase one mindset by +1 at the cost of lowering another.

Individual mindsets must be no lower than -2 and no higher than +3.
New # and mindset points are placed after a dialog between GM, player and narrative.

Example acts

This is a collection of Act samples that the GM can draw inspiration from. Many others are going to come up, and the GM retains authority on what mindsets are relevant – this is here for inspiration only.

Attention

When trying to get attention in a fight or in a crowd, roll + Relevant mindset

10+ Tadaa … You get attention!

7-9: As 10+, but you have to choose 1 on the list:

  • You get much more attention than you bargained for.
  • You get the wrong kind of attention.

Help or interfere 

When you help or interfere with someone who’s making a roll, make a roll + relevant mindset.

On a 10+, they take +2 (help) or -2 (interfere) to their roll. On a 7–9, they take +1 (help) or -1 (interfere) to their roll. On a miss, be prepared for the worst.

Shoot

When you shoot to hit an enemy or an object, roll + Cold / Swift

10+: The enemy or an object takes the shot.

7-9: As 10+, but you have to choose 1 on the list:

  • You have to move to a more exposed position to get a clean shot in.
  • You get unwanted attention.
  • Your weapon is jamming!
  • Your ammunition is  running out!

Hit and parry

When you want to attack someone while trying to avoid injury, roll + Swift / Cold

10+: The enemy takes weapon damage and you succeed in preventing the enemy’s attack.

7-9: as 10+, but you do not dodge the enemy’s attack and take the damage.

Surprise attack

When you attack a Defenseless or Surprised enemy, you deal weapon damage. In return, you get the enemy’s attention… if she survives.

Note: often there will be a sneak act prior to this act that checks if the enemy has spotted you. 

Sneak

when you are about to be discovered in a shady act, rul + Soft / Swift / Deap

10+: You continue undetected

7-9: As 10+, but you have to choose 1 on the list:

  • You leave something of value behind
  • You’re ruining something
  • You’re leaving a trail

Hack

When you try to force access or control over an electronic system, roll + Deep / Cold

10+: You succeed

7-9: As 10+, but you have to choose 1 on the list:

  • It takes a long time
  • You leave something of value behind
  • You’re ruining something
  • You’re leaving a trail

Piloting

When you control a craft in difficult situations, roll + Cold / Swift / Soft

10+: You succeed

7-9: As 10+, but you have to choose 1 on the list:

  • It takes a long time
  • You’re ruining something
  • You use a lot of fuel

Sense

When something in the situation catches your suspicion, roll + open / swift

  • 10+ Your GM should answer two questions from the list of your choice
  • 7-9 as 10+ but you must take an extra effort for get the intel
    • What happened here recently?
    • What is about to happen?
    • What should I be on the lookout for?
    • What here is useful or valuable to me?
    • Who’s really in control here?
    • What here is not what it appears to be?

Analyze

When studying a subject of science, roll + Open / Deep

10+ The GM tells the hero something useful.

7-9 As 10+, but the GM chooses tow an obstacle that must first be overcome:

  • You need the help from another person (NPC or PC)
  • You need a certain tool (Fx. scalpel or Radiation Detector)
  • You need to be on a specific location (Fx. laboratory or library).
  • It will take time (hours, days, weeks).

Remember

When you consult your memory about something – you explain how you have relevant knowledge on the subject and, roll + deep 

10+: You remember something interesting and useful to your situation.

7–9: You remember something interesting – it’s on you to make it useful.

6-:  You remember something not relevant to the situation but interesting about your character that the others did not know. Tell the others what it is.

Converse

When you want your way in conversations, roll + Cold  / Soft 

  • 10+ You get it your way.
  • 7-9 There will be a Trade, catch or a sacrifice.

Fear

When you are exposed to strong pressure, when you are violated,  you feel offended or stare into an abyss of indifference, roll + Cold.

  10+ You retain control.

  7-9 Your options for action will be limited to one of the following conditions – your GM will tell you when to bring nuances back:

  • Aggressive: You launch a ongoring blind verbal or physical attack.
  • Passive: You freeze and do nothing, or blindly follow another.
  • Defensive: You will do anything to escape the situation.

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