Horror! Alpha Playtest Document
Attributes: Might, Precision, Appeal, Occult
–>Note on other Attribute systems, since this is one of the weakest parts of the game at the moment (to me at least)
What will take it from you
How it will happen
WHAT YOU HAVE
First, you figure out what kind of character you’re going to play. There are a few ways to do this. The first way is to choose 3 Hopes or Scars or some mixture of the two adding up to 3. So you can have 3 Scars, 2 Scars and 1 Hope, 1 Scar and 2 Hopes, or 3 Hopes. These will correspond to your starting Adrenaline (Scars) and Virtue (Hopes).
Attributes are measured from 0 to 5. 0 is handicapped, 2-3 is average, and 5 is the maximum for normal human beings. Attributes are also the base for all tests – the Attribute provides the base number, which is then modified by Traits, Fear and Pain. For Attributes, you distribute a 2, two 3’s and a 4 between your four scores.
Might is a measure of your physical power, athletic ability, and toughness. It could also be Muscle or Force or Power, maybe, but the name is just the place-holder for physical badassery.
Precision is your mental acumen, fine motor skills and ability to think clearly.
Appeal is your social grace, charm, good looks and general likeability. It is how you get what you want from NPCs.
Occult is your knowledge of dread secrets humankind was not meant to know, psychic abilitites, supernatural sensitivity and so on. High Occult will also make you more susceptible to the supernatural abilities of other creatures. [CAN PERHAPS REMOVE ENTIRELY]
Alternate Attribute Systems
The Idea is that the Attribute system is brief, tightly designed, and covers the categories of conflicts that you might be able to resolve or ‘win’. Right now, Might corresponds to a lot of physical combat; Precision corresponds to shooting people and skill or thinking-based conflicts; Appeal pertains to social conflicts and interactions, and Occult is sort of a catch-all for the weird, creepy, supernatural stuff.
Traits and items modify your attributes when you’re involved in a conflict. Basically, having a trait that applies to a certain situation grants a bonus in that situation. Traits should be specific and descriptive – there will never be a catch-all Trait that is useful for everything, or anything close to it.
Traits include skills and talents as well as particular pieces of equipment that make tasks easier. They should be a lot more specific than an attribute, but still grant an advantage in a conflict.
Adrenaline is a pool of points that you can use to modify conflicts. Understandably, Adrenaline helps you kick the shit out of things – doors, objects, and opponents.
You earn Adrenaline back by being aggressive, by leading with your chin, fists, knife, fire-axe, shotgun and so on. Adrenaline creates a cycle where you paint the walls, then earn some more, then paint the walls again.
The amount of Adrenaline that you can spend at one time is equal to your Fear level +1.
Virtue is a pool of points, a reasource that you can use to further modify rolls, among other things. Virtue is the only thing that might enable you to deal with Fear and Pain, and one character can use their Virtue to help others.
Virtue is earned – you begin a game with a little bit, but if things are going right, you should be spending it pretty often.
The way you earn Virtue is by taking risks on behalf of others, by doing self-sacrificing things to preserve others in the face of horror.
Virtue represents one of the two ways you can survive horror – by being someone who should survive in the first place.
Your Hopes are what give you life. They inspire you, they make you who you are.
They give you something to lose.
Your hopes are what give you your starting Virtue in a Horror! game. You can have up to three hopes which will function this way.
WHAT WILL TAKE IT FROM YOU
Scars are the counter-balance of Dreams. A scar is a memory of something terrible that happened to you. It often resulted in a particular fear or weakness.
It also pisses you the fuck off. Your scars give you Adrenaline. You draw on what has hurt you – and use it to hurt other stuff.
Fear exists on a scale that is right there on your character sheet. The more Fear you have, the weaker you’ll become, the more ineffectual. The accumulation of Fear is automatic over the course of a game. Whenever how bad things are escalates from where they were before, everyone’s Fear increases. The only way to mitigate this effect is for someone to spend Virtue and talk someone else down. This has to be roleplayed out, and then the Virtue is actually spent, and the person who was talked down can reduce their Fear by one step. Your level of Fear is subtracted from your score in all social or mental conflicts.
Like Fear, Pain is right there on your character sheet. Whenever you lose a physical conflict where someone or something is trying to injure you, you gain one level of Pain. Each level of Pain progressively incapacitates you more and more until you are took broken to continue. Your level of Pain is subtracted from your score in all physical conflicts.
HOW IT WILL HAPPEN
Conflicts in Horror! are simple, designed to be resolved in the midst of panic and shouting and running for your life. The higher total number wins. Two equal totals cancel out, and both sides take consequnces from the conflict. Most physical conflicts will have Pain as a consequence. Some social or mental conflicts will have Fear as a consequence, but genrally Fear just escalates as the story escalates. The conseuqnces of a conflict might also be something simply related to the story – will the car start? Will the locked door open? Can you weld razor-wire to the sides of the schoolbus for the run through the mob of zombies? In these cases, the GM just sets a target number. If you get the target number exactly, you get what you wanted – barely, and not as thoroughly as you’d want. If you get lower than the target number, something bad happens. If you get something hither than the target number, you get what you want in the conflict.
3-4 Normal; relatively challenging
5-6 Very challenging
7+ Probably impossible
The table-top game of Horror! doesn’t involve any dice. There is no chance that will come to save you, no high roll that will get you out of a tight spot. In fact, we’re doing what we can to keep you in the dark, make you waste resources, make you over-react to small threats and underestimate large ones. Every player should say “oh shit”, or something like it, during the course of every Horror! game at minimum.
Live Action is exactly like table-top, except that Adrenaline and Virtue should probably be playing cards or something so that they are harder to lose when you’re walking around.
At the beginning of a game, there is a pool of Adrenaline and a pool of Virtue, set by the GM for that session. Players award each other Adrenaline and Virtue during the course of the game when they see fit – the another player is baddass or virtuous, basically. Once the pools are spent, there can be no more awards. Unawarded points go away at the end of the session. The PCs should probably work out some kind of shorthand for saying “I think we should award a point for what you just did”