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 The Storytelling System: A Guide (under construction)

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PostSubject: The Storytelling System: A Guide (under construction)   The Storytelling System: A Guide (under construction) Icon_minitimeSun Oct 07, 2012 1:51 pm

Freeform roleplay where anything goes is all well and good most of the time, but there may be some situations where you need a little more structure. Tabletop roleplaying games use a wide variety of systems, but not all of them are well suited to the play-by-post format we use. This topic give you an introduction and everything you need to use one particular "narrative first" system I believe will be easily adapted to the forum's format: the Storytelling system.

(NOTICE: Ah, turns out there is a max post size. The text is now split amongst multiple posts.)

What is the Storytelling System?

The Storytelling system was developed by White Wolf Publishing for use in their tabletop RPGs, such as the World of Darkness gamelines, Exalted, and Trinity. It was formally known as the Storyteller system until it was revised for the World of Darkness reboots.

The version of the system presented here is based on that used for the New World of Darkness games. This topic isn't a reiteration of the core rulebook, however, but instead seeks to adapt the system for use in a Mario-based roleplaying universe. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.

Use of the Storytelling system in a roleplay is OPTIONAL. It's up to the roleplay's runner to decide whether or not to implement it or any other system for use in their roleplay.

Core Mechanic

The basic mechanic of the Storytelling system is the dice pool. The system only uses ten-sided dice (d10). Depending on the abilities of your character, you have a certain number of dice to roll, and depending on the results, your character succeeds or fails at the task placed before them. Dice pools are used where there is conflict in the story, where two forces are working against each other, whether a character is going against another character or against, say, a lock he's trying to pick; any time when the result is unclear. Where in a normal freeform roleplay the RP's runner would just judge what "should" happen from his own evaluation, instead in the Storytelling system, the player ends his post with a rolling of the appropriate dice pool and that determines what happens.

The number of dice you roll is determined by your character's abilities, or traits, on his or her "character sheet." Aspects of the character are measured in dots, and each dot adds one die to your pool when the task at hand requires that trait. After that, there can be modifiers made that increase or decrease the number of dice in the pool, depending on your character's equipment or circumstances (with boundaries of -5 to +5 dice). The more dice your pool has, the easier it is to succeed... and excel.

More about dice pools is explained further below.

Further Information

This topic is a rather crude, if somewhat through, summary of the Storytelling system. If you have any questions or concerns about the contents of this topic, or want more details about a certain feature, feel free to drop me a PM. For more information about the World of Darkness game upon which this was adapted from, consult [Only admins are allowed to see this link]. Alternatively, you could also, well, [Only admins are allowed to see this link].

~Nothing fits so perfectly
as clothes for those who cannot see~

-"Nothing's Too Good for You"

Current status: Seek out the Heart of the Matter

Last edited by LoneCoonProductions on Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:04 pm; edited 6 times in total (Reason for editing : Topic now has to be split among multiple posts. Who knew summarizing a 220-page book would take so long?)
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The Storytelling System: A Guide (under construction) Empty
PostSubject: Character Creation   The Storytelling System: A Guide (under construction) Icon_minitimeMon Oct 15, 2012 8:37 pm

Character Creation

You don't need to necessarily make a character from scratch to use her in the Storytelling system. You can adapt any character you've already profiled.

The following are listed in the order they should be determined during "character creation."

General Categories

Many traits of Storytelling characters are split among three general categories, all more or less self-explanatory:
  • Mental - cognitive ability
  • Physical - strength and fitness
  • Social - working the crowd


A character's concept helps to get a handle on his or her identity by using a short two-to-three word phrase to describe him or her, such as "nightstalking journalist," "stoic mechanic," "lost waif," or "wandering storyteller." If you've already created a profile, that works too. Make use of this concept in order to guide how you set your character's traits.


Attributes represent a character's natural in-born abilities. This is the power they have within themselves. At least one Attribute's value in dots is added to every dice pool. An Attribute's value ranges from 1 to 5, with 1 being "poor," 2 being "average," 3 being "good," 4 being "exceptional," and 5 being "outstanding." If you're ever at 0 in an Attribute, you're in trouble.

There are three categories to Attributes in addition to the three above: Power (the ability to alter one's environment), Finesse (the ability to use power effectively), and Resistance (the ability to cope with power being exercised on your own self).

mental resourcefulness
physical forcefulness
socially influential
clever and insightful
physical grace
socially dominating
mental determination
physical endurance
socially dignified

Although most dice pools are formed through a combination of an Attribute with a Skill, but some use one or two Attributes alone. Examples include:
  • Memorizing and remembering (Intelligence + Composure)
  • Perception - noticing something small or hidden - and reacting to surprise (Wits + Composure)
  • Resisting coersion (Resolve + Wits or Resolve + Stamina)
  • Lifting and moving objects (Strength, sometimes + Stamina)
  • Holding your breath (Stamina)
  • Resisting poison or disease (Stamina + Resolve)
  • Meditation (Composure + Wits)

Each character starts with one dot in every Attribute. Assign Mental, Physical, and Social Attributes as primary, secondary, and tertiary. Distribute among the primary category Attributes 5 dots, the secondary 4 dots, and the tertiary 3 dots, in addition to the 1 in each Attribute you start with. Note that getting the 5th dot in any Attribute requires spending 2 dots instead of 1.


The Skill traits represent the character's learned abilities, representing how training and lifetime experience have made them better at specific things. When you attempt a task involving a Skill you have dots in, that Skills dots are added to your dice pool. You will have some Skills at 0, and that's OK; they're just areas you don't have any training or knowledge in. Note, however, that attempting to do something you have no training in results in taking a penalty, but how hard could it possibly be? Also a thing are Skill Specialties, which represented focused areas of expertise among the broad general knowledge a Skill represents. If a Specialty applies to your task, your dice pool gets an extra die.

There are 8 Skills in each category of Mental, Physical, and Social. Also listed are some recommended Specialties (taken directly from the World of Darkness core rulebook), but you are not necessarily limited to that choice (especially those not particularly appropriate for the Mario universe).

Mental Skills (-3 penalty if used untrained)
  • Academics: higher education and study in the Arts and Humanities - English to history, economics to law, and everything in-between. Can be used for remembering facts (but not personal experiences) and doing research. Sample Specialties: Anthropology, Art, English, History, Law, Religion, Research
  • Computer: ability to operate computers and, for the sake of this forum's focus, all sorts of machines (but not making or fixing them, just operating them). Can be used for Internet searches, making stuff on a computer (including programs), or hacking other computers. Sample Specialties: Artificial Intelligence, Data Retrieval, Graphics, Hacking, Internet
  • Crafts: expertise in using his hands for physical construction, both practical and pieces of art like sculptures. Can be used for making art or repairing objects. Sample Specialties: Automobiles, Aircraft, Forging, Jury-Rigging, Sculpting, Sewing
  • Investigation: ability to solve mysteries; using evidence to solve riddles, connect facts, and overcome paradoxes. Can be used for crime scene examination and solving enigmas. Sample Specialties: Artifacts, Body Language, Crime Scenes, Cryptography, Dreams, Autopsy Diagnoses, Puzzles, Riddles, Scientific Experiments
  • Medicine: training in... general Mario creature physiology and treating injuries and illnesses. Can be used to help heal others wounds. Sample Specialties: Emergency Care, Pathology, Pharmaceuticals, Physical Therapy, Surgery (can also include specialties in certain kinds of sentient creatures such as humans, Koopas, and Yoshis)
  • Occult: sums up a character's knowledge about supernatural or metanormal events and creatures, and I mean supernatural or metanormal for the Mario universe. Things like the Dark Prognosticus and such. Sample Specialties: Cultural Beliefs, Ghosts, Magic, Monsters, Superstitions, Witchcraft
  • Politics: not only knowledge of how the political system works and who's on top, but also how they got and how to use the bureaucracy to get what you want, who to call on the phone or whose palms to grease. Sample Specialties: Bribery, Elections, Federal, Local, State, Scandals (also: Mushroom Kingdom, Koopa Kingdom, Sarasaland, etc. for knowledge of a particular region)
  • Science: understanding of the physical and natural sciences: biology, geology, chemistry, meteorology, physics, and any other -ology you can think of. Sample Specialties: Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Metallurgy, Physics

Physical Skills (-1 penalty if used untrained)
  • Athletics: physical activity requiring prolonged exertion and/or high dexterity or hand-eye coordination. Can be used for climbing, foot chases, jumping, and throwing objects such as boomerangs. Sample Specialties: Acrobatics, Climbing, Kayaking, Long-Distance Running, Sprinting, Swimming, Throwing
  • Brawl: prowess in unarmed combat. Used to determine damage done with attacking with bare hands (or whatever other appendage you may use). Sample Specialties: Blocking, Boxing, Dirty Tricks, Grappling, Kung Fu, Throws
  • Drive: ability to operate a vehicle under difficult or stressful circumstances. This not only includes cars (which are overall rare in Mario), but also things like, say, doomships. Can be used for pursuing and tailing other vehicles. Sample Specialties: High-Performance Cars, Motorcycles, Off-Road, Pursuit, Shaking Tails, Stunts (also: Doomships and whatever other vehicles appear in the games)
  • Firearms: prowess with gun-like projectile weapons, such as Bullet Bill cannons or the fireballs from a Fire Flower. Used for determining damage done in this way. Sample Specialties: Autofire, Bow, Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Sniping, Trick Shot
  • Larceny: covers "dishonest" or "criminal" actions such as picking locks and concealing stolen goods. Can be used for bypassing security systems and doing slight of hand to pick pockets. Sample Specialties: Concealing Stolen Goods, Lockpicking, Pickpocketing, Security Systems, Safecracking
  • Stealth: ability to avoid being noticed, either by camouflage or blending into a crowd or other methods. Can be used for "shadowing" someone. Sample Specialties: Camouflage, Crowds, Moving in Darkness, Moving in Woods
  • Survival: experience and training in "living off the land," finding out how to survive off what the wilderness provides for possibly weeks if necessary. Sample Specialties: Foraging, Navigation, Meteorology, Shelter
  • Weaponry: prowess with using melee weapons such as beer bottles, swords, and hammers. Used for determining damage dealt by a melee weapon. Sample Specialties: Improvised Weapons, Knives, Swords

Social Skills (-1 penalty if used untrained)
  • Animal Ken: used when dealing with animals (or in the case of the Mario universe, those shown to actually be more like animals such as Chomps and I'm sure there's some others), whether interpreting their behavior or attempting to train them. Sample Specialties: Animal Needs, Imminent Attack, Specific Kind of Animal, Training
  • Empathy: ability to read others' emotions and understand others' points of view. Sample Specialties: Emotion, Lies, Motives, Personalities
  • Expression: training in the art of communication, whether entertaining or informing. Also used for composing works not covered by Crafts above, such as novels or articles for the news. Sample Specialties: Classical Dance, Drama, Expos?é, Musical Instrument, Newspaper Articles, Speeches
  • Intimidation: art and technique of persuading others through fear, either through direct verbal threats or more subtle means such as threatening body language. Can be used for interrogations. Sample Specialties: Bluster, Physical Threats, Stare-Downs, Torture, Veiled Threats
  • Persuasion: art of changing or inspiring minds with logic, charm, and/or fast-talk, making others go along with you through force of personality alone. Can be used for cutting deals, making a rousing speech, or seduction. Sample Specialties: Fast-Talking, Inspiring Troops, Motivational Speeches, Sales Pitches, Seduction
  • Socialize: used for a wide range of interacting with fellows, usually in social events such as parties. Can be used for carousing, preferably without alcohol somehow. Sample Specialties: Bar Hopping, Dress Balls, Formal Events, Frat Parties, State Dinners
  • Streetwise: knowing and using the "rules" of life on the streets (or, in the Mario cases, Rogueport) in order to tap into its unique resources such as information, contacts, and maybe black market goods. Sample Specialties: Black Market, Gangs, Rumors, Undercover Operations
  • Subterfuge: the art of deception, used to trick others with lies and hiding emotions, and knowing when others are trying to do the same. Can be used for disguises. Sample Specialties: Con Jobs, Hiding Emotions, Lying, Misdirection, Spotting Lies

Like with Attributes, prioritize Mental, Physical, and Social Skills (they don't have to use the same prioritization). The primary category gets 11 dots to distribute among its 8 Skills however you choose, the secondary gets 7, and the tertiary gets 4. Also like Attributes, the 5th dot in any skills costs 2 dots. After you've assigned your Skill dots, you get your pick of three Specialties, which you can apply however you like.

Supernatural Templates (and Why We Don't Have Them)

In World of Darkness, the next step of character creation is the supernatural template. So far, the character is just an ordinary mortal, and the application of the template transform him into a creature of metanormal power and abilities, such as a vampire, a werewolf, a mage, a changeling, or a number of any other things.

However, use of these templates here means we're not roleplaying Mario so much as... well, World of Darkness. As such, as far as the Storytelling rules are applied here, there are no templates; everyone's a mortal as far as rules are concerned. An argument could be made that individual Mario species (such as Goomba, Koopa, and such) could be templates, but that is far beyond the scope of this topic and besides this is taking forever to make as it is. You come up with them yourself.


Advantages is the catch-all name for pretty much every other trait besides Attributes, Skills, and Merits (below). These are usually determined by the values of your Attributes, and adjust automatically if your Attributes change. Each serves its own useful purpose.
  • Defense is the lower of Dexterity and Wits. It's assumed during combat that the character is doing his best to bob and weave to avoid getting hit. This amount of dice is subtracted as a penalty from any character's dice pool attacking you with Brawl, Weaponry, or thrown weapons (Strength + Athletics). Against multiple opponents, the penalty on each attack is reduced by 1 until there's no Defense left. "Surprise" attacks aren't hindered by Defense.
  • Initiative is Dexterity + Composure. At the beginning of combat or other turn-based situations where the order people move in is important, each character rolls 1 ten-sided die (d10) and adds Initiative to the result. Characters than go in order from highest to lowest.
  • Size is a measure of... well, size. The base value for Size is 5 for an adult human, a.k.a. Mario. Characters of approximately Mario's size (Luigi, Princess Peach, Wario, Koopa Troopa, Chargin' Chuck, Piranha Plant) have a Size value of 5. Those a step smaller than Mario (Goomba, Cheep Cheep, Shy Guy) have a size value of 4. Those bigger than Mario (Bowser, Wart, Petey Piranha, Gourmet Guy) have a Size of 6 or possibly 7. Determine your character's Size when you create a character; it'll pretty much remain constant unless growth magic kicks in (which may be likely). Note that in World of Darkness, the only way to make your character naturally a size greater than 5 was the "Giant" Merit, but Size has enough variance in the Mario universe that it shouldn't be necessary.
  • Health is Stamina + Size. I shouldn't have to explain this. This is the character's ability to cope with injury. You lose Health points as you take damage; see further down for how health and damage work.
  • Speed is Strength + Dexterity + a species factor, and it determines how many yards you can move every turn (three seconds) while still performing an action. For adult humans such as Mario, the species factor is 5. For every point away from size 5, reduce the species factor by 1 (so it'd be 4 for Goombas and Bowser alike). This is an oversimplification of the scheme for the Storytelling system, as they got a chart with the species factor of different animals, but considering how many creatures there are in the Mario games, that would take forever.
  • Willpower is Resolve + Composure. This is the max size of a pool of points that represent your character's self-confidence and emotional resilience. Each turn, you may spend 1 Willpower point to add 3 dice to any one dice pool you roll. Among other methods that confirm the character's self-confidence, 1 Willpower point is restored after a good night's rest or equivalent.
  • Virtue and Vice are the defining aspirations of a character. Roleplaying that appeals to either reasserts a character and restores spent Willpower points. Pick 1 of each for your character; they may have other strengths and weaknesses, but these two are the primary ones. The Vices are Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth, and Wrath; when a character appeals to it, often at the expense or risk of others and/or himself, the runner may reward a single Willpower point. The Virtues are Charity, Faith, Fortitude, Hope, Justice, Prudence, and Temperance; it's harder to really appeal to these, as they must be done so at expense or risk to yourself, but if the RP runner finds it satisfactory, you gain back all spent Willpower points. A successful appeal may only restore Willpower once per scene.

The Storytelling system also features the karma meter, Morality, but this current interpretation leaves it and Derangements out due to conversion difficulties.


Like Feats in d20 system games, Merits give your character special abilities that help them stand apart and bend the system's rules a little. Each Merit is in a category of Mental, Physical, or Social, but it's more a matter of convenient sorting. Each Merit also has a dot value that determines its "worth," how many experience points are needed to purchase it. Some Merits have a range, which presents the opportunity of buying at one level in that range and possibly "upgrading" it later. Some can be purchased at any time during play, while others are only available at character creation. Some may have prerequisites that must be met first. A few have drawbacks that occur as a consequence of the Merit.

Not every Merit described in the World of Darkness rulebook is included here, as some are not quite as applicable to the Mario universe as others.

Mental Merits
  • Common Sense (4 dots, character creation only): The character is particularly grounded and pragmatic, and can usually be relied on for sound, straightforward decisions. Once per chapter, the character gets a reflexive Wits + Composure roll made by the runner when about to take a disastrous course of action or when stumped for ideas. A success means the runner may point out the risks of a particular course or give suggestions as to what to do next to get back on track. While the player can ask to use it, the runner has no obligation to allow it.
  • Danger Sense (2 dots): The character has a well-developed survival instinct that warns him or her of impending danger. +2 on reflexive Wits + Composure rolls to avoid being ambushed.
  • Eidetic Memory (2 dots, character creation only): The character has a near-photographic memory. Under unstressed conditions, no rolls are required to remember obscure facts or a past experience. Under stressed conditions like combat, memory recall checks of Intelligence + Composure or other Skill-based roll get +2 dice.
  • Encyclopedic Knowledge (4 dots, character creation only): The character has been absorbing both useful and useless facts all his life from his experiences, including from such things as reading and watching TV. When confronted with something outside his experience, an Intelligence + Wits roll can be made to see if he picked anything up.
  • Holistic Awareness (3 dots): The character is a bit of a natural medic and can help heal the injured and ill that don't need surgery with natural remedies without needing a doctor or hospital. Once per day, an Intelligence + Medicine roll can be made to try and halve one wound's healing time.
  • Meditative Mind (1 dot): A character can enter meditation with great ease. Ignore all environmental penalties, including wound penalties, to Wits + Composure rolls to meditate.

Physical Merits
  • Ambidextrous (3 dots, character creation only): The character can use both hands equally. He does not suffer the -2 penalty to using his off-hand for anything.
  • Brawling Dodge (1 dot): Requires Strength 2 and Brawl 1. The character uses his training in unarmed combat to aid in blocking and evading blows. When performing a dodge in combat, you may add your Brawl score to your Defense instead of doubling Defense. Cannot use in same turn as Weaponry Dodge.
  • Disarm (2 dots): Requires Dexterity 3 and Weaponry 2. When you successfully land a hit on an armed opponent and your successes rolled match or exceed the target's Dexterity, you may disarm your enemy, knocking his weapon away one yard for each success, instead of inflicting damage.
  • Fast Reflexes (1 or 2 dots): Requires Dexterity 3. The character can more easily get the drop on adversaries. +1 to Initiative per dot of this Merit.
  • Fighting Finesse (2 dots): Requires Dexterity 3 and Weaponry 2. With a particular weapon (like a rapier or a boomerang), the character has developed a preference for fighting with agility instead of power. When using that weapon, attack rolls may use Dexterity instead of Strength.
  • Fleet of Foot (1 to 3 dots): Requires Strength 2. Your character is always capable of running quickly. +1 Speed per dot of this Merit.
  • Fresh Start (1 dot): Requires Fast Reflexes 2. You may spend your turn's action in combat to reposition yourself anywhere in the initiative order.
  • Iron Stamina (1 to 3 dots): Requires Stamina 3 and Resolve 3. The character can push his body to extraordinary limits. For each dot in this Merit, you ignore one -1 penalty due to fatigue or injury, including wound injuries. Drawback: After staying awake for an extended period, the character is extremely difficult to wake up once he DOES fall asleep, and he stays asleep for 12 hours.
  • Iron Stomach (2 dots): Requires Stamina 2. The character can eat almost anything, no problem. +2 to all related Survival rolls. +3 to Stamina to prevent deprivation.
  • Natural Immunity (1 dot): Requires Stamina 2. The character is very hardy against illness. +2 to all Stamina rolls to resist infection, sickness, and disease.
  • Quick Draw (1 dot): Requires Dexterity 3. With either melee or firearms weapons, the character can draw the weapon and attack with/fire it as one action.
  • Quick Healer (4 dots): Requires Stamina 4. Your character heals extremely quickly. All damage heal times are halved (bashing is gone in eight minutes, lethal in one day, and aggravated in four days).
  • Strong Back (1 dot): Requires Strength 2. The character can lift more than what her build and body type suggest. +1 to all actions involving lifting and carrying.
  • Strong Lungs (3 dots): Requires Athletics 3. The character can hold her breath for much longer than average people. When determining time for how long the character can hold her breath, her effective Stamina is treated as 2 dots higher.
  • Stunt Driver (3 dots): Requires Dexterity 3. This character can operate a vehicle and perform an unrelated action (such as punching a hostile passenger) in the same turn.
  • Toxin Resistance (2 dots): Requires Stamina 3. The character is strongly resilient to chemicals in his body. +2 Stamina to resist toxins, poisons, and drugs. Drawback: Painkillers are only half as effective.
  • Weaponry Dodge (1 dot): Requires Strength 2 and Weaponry 1. The character uses his training in armed combat to aid in parrying and evading blows. When performing a dodge in combat, you may add your Weaponry score to your Defense instead of doubling Defense. Cannot use in same turn as Brawling Dodge.

Social Merits
  • Allies (1 to 5 dots): The character has contacts with a few people who are willing to help out from time to time. Each acquisition is dedicated to one type of ally (police, City Hall, criminals, university faculty, etc.), each with its own dot value. The more dots, the deeper your character's influence in that circle, allowing for bigger favors (at the runner's discretion). Drawback: Allies may not always be available, as they also have their own lives. Your allies are also just as capable of having you do favors for them, usually as compensation for them doing something for you.
  • Barfly (1 dot): With a few quick words and a timely bribe, the character can access any nightspot no problem.
  • Contacts (1 to 5 dots): The character has access to certain circles (1 per dot of this Merit, please specify which sources) from which he can get information (and only information) with a Manipulation + (Persuasion or Socialize) roll.
  • Fame (1 to 3 dots): The character has a measure of public reputation, not unlike a celebrity but also star athletes and famous politicians such as kings. When interacting with those impressed by this celebrity status, Socialize and/or Persuasion rolls get a bonus of the number of dots in this Merit. Drawback: People in the street get this same bonus on a Wits + Composure to identify the character, and exceptional successes can result in holding the character up.
  • Inspiring (4 dots): Requires Presence 4. Your character can easily rally others in time of great distress. Once per chapter, you may attempt a Presence + Persuasion roll to exhort those around you to redouble their efforts in troubling times; a success restores 1 Willpower point to active assistants within earshot. Can't use on same people more than once a day or on yourself.
  • Mentor (1 to 5 dots): Your character has a friend and teacher who can provide advice and guidence. The more dots in this Merit, the more capable and influential the mentor is.
  • Resources (1 to 5 dots): The character has disposable income (cash beyond that required for basic needs like food, shelter, and transportation) and assets that can be liquidated for more money in case of emergencies; 1 dot is low income, 2 is moderate income, 3 is significant income, 4 is substantial income, and 5 is significant wealth (ask in PM for exact values). Used to determine whether or not a character can afford purchasing an item (though whether or not the character can actually get it is up to the runner).
  • Retainer (1 to 5 dots): The character has a loyal assistant, aide, or follower he can count on and will follow almost any order without question. The retainer should be defined as his own character (though whether controlled by a player or the RP runner should be decided on a case-by-case basis), though the number of dots in this Merit limits their abilities. 1 is limited (like a child or madman), 2 is an average person, 3 is a capable employee with some training, 4 is very valuable and irreplaceable, and 5 is extraordinary and possibly supernatural. Drawback: A wounded retainer might be out of service for awhile. Offending the retainer's sensibilities may cause him to abandon the character; no refund provided for lost assistants.
  • Status (1 to 5 dots): The character has some authority that can be wielded within some official channels, either de jure or de facto. Each acquisition applies to a certain kind of authority (such as police, banks, university facility, or hospital staff; some may require prerequisites in Attributes, Skills, or Skill Specialties) with its own dot count. Provides privileges and liberties the character is authorized within the confines and definitions of his group, and can make use of them with Manipulation + (Intimidation, Persuasion, or Socialize), with a bonus of the number of dots in this Merit for that authority. Drawback: With power comes responsibility, and the character's standing is dependent on fulfilling his duties and keeping to regulations.
  • Striking Looks (2 or 4 dots): Your character is unnaturally attractive. When using looks to entertain, persuade, distract, or deceive, you get either +1 (2 dots) or +2 (4 dots) on all Presence and Manipulation rolls. Drawback: Others are not likely to forget you or avoid noticing you.

At character creation, you start with 7 dots worth of Merits. Take your pick from whatever you want; no need for priority.

Experience and Character Advancement

Experience points (abbreviated XP here) are gained by characters at the end of each chapter (the equivalent of one tabletop game session, as designated by the RP runner). They are used to purchase dots for your character over the course of the story. XP may be spent in the downtime between chapters. To purchase up more that one dot in an Attribute or Skill, you must purchase all the ranks in-between first. For the sake of story, we recommend improving areas based on what your character encountered and overcame during the course of the chapter or say how they're getting their new abilities during the downtime, as appropriate.

At the end of each chapter, characters earn from 1 to 5 XP. You get 1 point for showing up and participating. If you roleplayed well during the chapter, you get 1 XP, or possibly 2 if you did really well. If you can show your character has grown as a character or managed to (help to) achieve a short- or long-term goal during the chapter, that's another XP. If your character rose to the occasion and did what could be described as awesome without being an idiot in doing so, congratulations, have another XP.

TraitXP Cost
AttributeNew dot rank x 5
SkillNew dot rank x 3
Skill Specialty3
MeritDots x 2

"Merit" above includes purchasing new Merits and upgrading Merits you already have.

If you want a start with a character that already has a few adventures under his belt, the runner may give you the option to spend a number of XP as you wish before the game proper starts. Of course, this only applies for characters that don't already have Storyteller stats; once they've been defined in terms of the system, you're going to have to get XP the honest way.

Seasoned characters: 35 XP
Expert characters: 75 XP
Heroic characters: 100 XP

~Nothing fits so perfectly
as clothes for those who cannot see~

-"Nothing's Too Good for You"

Current status: Seek out the Heart of the Matter
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The Storytelling System: A Guide (under construction) Empty
PostSubject: Dramatic Systems   The Storytelling System: A Guide (under construction) Icon_minitimeMon Oct 15, 2012 8:38 pm

Dramatic Systems

Once your character is all suited up and ready to roll, you still gotta know how the system works and how it resolves conflicts.


As any writer through history will tell you, pacing is important; on a related note, half of comedy is timing. Although standard time units are used in-game in the Storytelling system, many effects refer to some specific units of time:

Turn - The basic time unit, a turn is three in-game seconds. Just enough time to make an instant action and move your Speed. They are usually directly observed in combat and other turn-by-turn situations, where multiple people are doing things at once.

Scene - Much like a scene in a theatrical play, a scene in a roleplaying game is usually set in one location and focuses on a specific event that occurs there. Flow of time within a scene can vary a lot, with segments that are turn-by-turn like combat, segments that are in "real time" (like standard play-by-post roleplaying), and segments that all players and the runner fast-foward through (known as "downtime") because there's not really anything important or particularly interesting happening there at that moment but still relevant to the scene's central event. If either location or event shifts, that's usually a good call for a scene change. Many effects last for a scene. Where scenes end and begin is up to the runner.

Chapter - Generally, a chapter is a full "session." It usually contains multiple scenes, and the runner has specific challenges in mind for it. In a play-by-post, this can get blurry, since there's no formal "sessions" as it is, and as such, chapter ends are up to the runner. A good end to a chapter should leave the players wanting more. A good example of a chapter transition can be found in the Role Play Pool Party topic with the change in "storylines" on page 20.

Story - This is what you're pitching in the RP request board. Whether a grand yarn amongst multiple chapters or a "short story" one chapter long, each story tells a complete tale, from beginning to end. Each Storytelling topic should contain one story.

Chronicle - When you're playing a Storytelling game, the entire collection of adventures your characters take on is known as a chronicle. If a story is one of the Harry Potter books, the chronicle is the entire set of seven books. Full chronicles will span multiple topics, as the same group of characters take on different stories, linking parts and pieces of the stories into a giant narrative whole. Note that it's OK for a chronicle to have only one story, if the runner so chooses.

Dice Pools and Determining Results

Whenever a character meets with a task where success is uncertain (and generally more than a little dangerous), it's time to build a dice pool of ten-sided dice. The RP runner specifies which traits of the character contribute to the pool, though the player(s) could ask for something else if he/they think it more appropriate for the task at hand (from a narrative standpoint).

The basic formula for a dice pool is: most relevant Attribute + relevant Skill (plus Skill Specialty, if appliable; could also instead be a second Attribute) + equipment bonus (if any) + 5 to -5 circumstance modifier as dictated by the runner (with a bonus for particularly favorable conditions, or a penalty for unfavorable; can also be +/-0). Equipment bonus is provided by using items the character has on them to assist in this task; items tell you what kind of bonuses they provide. Other modifiers can be applied to the pool (such as Defense as a penalty to attack rolls). Always apply positive modifiers before negative ones. If multiple Attributes or Skills could apply, choose the one best based on the way your character is taking on the situation (if you're trying to climb quickly, for example, you could argue to make the climbing check with Dexterity instead of Strength). If you've got Willpower points to spare, remember that once a turn you can spent a point to "go for broke" and add 3 dice to one pool you roll.

Once the size of the pool has been determined, all the dice are rolled at once. The target number is 8; each die that comes up an 8, 9, or 10 is a "success." If the roll gets at least one success, the character succeeds at her action. If she gets at least 5 successes, it's an Exceptional Success, which means the character not only succeeds but also gets something more (like when trying to get information, she gets more important details). If none of your dice are successes (all came out 7 or below), you don't succeed, but there's usually no further penalty beyond that.

By default, all dice pools enjoy the 10-Again rule. This is known in the NWoD fandom as successes "exploding." If any of your dice come up 10, congratulations! Add your current successes together for reference and reroll every 10 you got. Every new success from this roll is added to successes from your previous roll... and all the others before it. That's right, if you roll 10s again, those also get rerolled! When you're hot, you're hot! Note that some negative effects, like supernatural curses, can negate 10-Again, while a few rare supernatural boons can grant certain rolls 9-Again (where both 9s and 10s are rerolled), and if you're extremely fortunate you may glance upon the fabled 8-Again (all successes are rerolled), but these are extraordinary characteristics not to be handed out lightly.

Some extremely powerful supernatural effects or tools can give actions extra successes. If you roll up some successes of your own, the effect or tool gives you a number of extra successes added to the successes you rolled.

If the penalties are so harsh they reduce your dice pool to zero or less, you're rolling a chance roll. The odds are so against you, it's gonna take some crazy luck to pull it off. Roll one die (this is not the same as rolling a dice pool of 1) in an attempt to hit a target number of 10; 8 or 9 is not a success here. 10-Again still applies, so if you succeed, you get to reroll, but the target number remains 10. HOWEVER, if your FIRST roll turns out a 1, you've suffered a Dramatic Failure, and here's where crud hits the fan as your action goes horribly wrong; the runner decides what nasty fate awaits your character as the result of the botched action (though many suggested rolls for Attributes and Skills have suggested Dramatic Failure results; contact me for details). If you're brought to a chance roll, the runner should confirm if you want to take the chance for a success at risk of a Dramatic Failure.

If you fail an action in a turn, you can try again the next turn, time and circumstances permitting. If there's no time limit and absolutely no stress, there's no penalty. However, if that's not the case, you take a -1 penalty for each successive attempt, or possibly more severe if you're really crunched.

Types of Actions

The Storytelling system includes four different types of actions. Each has its own rules concerning how those actions are resolved.

Instant actions are resolved on the spot. Just one dice pool roll is needed to resolve these. At least one success means the character gets his way. A character can perform an instant action and move up to his Speed in the same turn.

Extended actions take a period of time to resolve. The character has to roll a certain number of successes, and each roll of the dice represents a period of time passed working on the action. Oftentimes, the runner may impose a limit on the number of rolls allowed, as it's not always that characters have as much time as they need. For tables about how much time a roll should represent and the recommended target number of successes, PM me.

Contested actions indicate two or more people in competition with each other. These could be either instant or extended actions. While some circumstances (such as chases) have slightly different rules, the general case is: on instant actions, whoever gets the most successes wins (if both fail, well, both fail); in extended actions, the first to reach the target success number wins. Also, generally all parties use the same traits to build their dice pools.

Reflexive actions are like instant actions, but indicate something instinctive you're doing. For example, if you're looking around for something, your Wits + Investigation is an instant action, or maybe extended. However, when you walk into an area and see something hidden out of the corner of your eye, and I mean you aren't actively looking for it you just happen to see it, the Wits + Composure to notice it is a reflexive action. These take no time at all. Defensive rolls (to avoid some nasty effects) and spending Willpower are also reflexive.


Sometimes other characters can help yours complete some actions. Choose a character to be the primary actor. The rest are secondary actors. Once the nature of the dice pool for the action (which Attributes and Skills, etc.) is determined, each secondary actor rolls first. Each success generated gives the primary actor a +1 bonus to the action. A Dramatic Failure hinders more than helps, and inflicts a -4 penalty to the primary actor's roll.


Characters aren't the only thing that can get knocked around. Sometimes you just want to break the door down instead of just looking for the key. There are also other objects you want intact, such as tools and equipment, as well as the key itself.

Attempting to damage an object unarmed inflicts 1 bashing damage to the character unless the character has armor that says otherwise.

Inanimate objects have three traits.
  • Durability: The object's hardness. To damage the object, the successes on the attack roll must exceed this number. This is effectively 0 against aggravated damage-inflicting attacks unless it's supernaturally enhanced. Wood or thick glass objects have 1 Durability, stone 2, and steel or iron 3.
  • Size: Objects follow the same rules for Size as characters. A door is size 5, a sword or magic wand is size 2, etc.
  • Structure: The object's "Health," the max of which is determined by Durability + Size. Successes that get past Durability are inflicted as singular Structure damage, regardless of damage type. If its current Structure is less than max, attempts to use or operate it have a -1 penalty since it's malfunctioning. If it loses all Structure, it is destroyed. Crafts rolls can be done to repair Structure damage.

Objects the character can carry can be used as improvised weapons. They have a Damage that is the lower of Durability or Size (with an appropriate damage type depending on nature), and their unwieldy nature results in a -1 penalty on attack rolls.

You can make instant or extended actions to break objects, like busting through a door or kicking out a grile. This usually calls for Strength + Stamina. If you attack an object with another object and you fail to inflict damage (don't exceed Durability), any success in excess of the attacking object's Durability are dealt to the attacking object as Structure damage. For more ways objects are busted, PM me.


Equipment are objects and tools made to assist in tasks, consisting of things like first-aid kits, flashlights, and lock picks.

When a tool is used to help achieve a task, it confers an equipment bonus, the amount of which is specified when the item is acquired, upon the dice pool it can be applied to (which is always provided in the item's description). The most basic, rudimentary or improvised tools (like breaking into a car with a bent coat hanger) offer no bonus. Most conventional equipment (commercially available and not necessarily unusual) can supply anywhere from +1 to +3. If the activity can't be performed without the tool (such as playing an instrument), equipment bonuses can only be given for high-quality tools.

Items and tools have a Cost property expressed in dots. In order for the character to even attempt to acquire one, he must have at least as many dots in the Resources Merit as the item's Cost.

Tools and items that offer +4 and +5 bonuses are top-of-the-line and expensive as all get out; +4 items get an extra dot in Cost, while +5 add two dots. Black market items have an extra Cost dot because, well, it's the black market.

Here are some items in the World of Darkness rulebook that could easily apply to the Mario universe. Runners should use these as a guide by which to develop Mario-based equipment.
  • Climbing Gear (Durability 2, Size 2, Structure 4, Cost 2): Ropes, bungees, pitons, hammers and clamps - the tools helpful in climbing a sheer surface, whether it's a mountainside or building. Bonus dice are added to Strength + Athletics rolls.
  • First-Aid Kit (Durability 1, Size 2, Structure 3, Cost 1 or 2): Anything from your standard bandages-and-alcohol kit to an advanced set owned or carried by people such as EMTs who work in the medical profession or who anticipate serious work-related injuries. The kit's rating in bonus dice is added to Dexterity + Medicine.
  • Flashlight (Durability 1, Size 1, Structure 2, Cost n/a): Unlike most tools, flashlights don't offer dice bonuses. Instead they reduce penalties of fighting in total darkness by lighting up a patch, allowing to avoid "Fighting Blind."
  • Lock Picks (Durability 2, Size 1, Structure 3, Cost 3): A set of tools used to trip locks and open doors and windows. There could be different picks for different kinds of specialty locks. The tools typically add dice to Dexterity + Larceny rolls.
  • Survival Gear (Durability 1-3, Size 1-4, Structure variable, Cost 1-3): You may be lost in the woods, but you still have some stuff to help you get by. It could a handful of tools like a canteen and a sleeping bag (+1). Or an array of cutting-edge survival gear from a GPS receiver to a four-season tent to freeze-dried meals (+3 or more). Bonuses can be applied to Survival-based rolls. They also tend off starvation and exposure to the elements.

(NOTE: While the World of Darkness core rulebook does contain a section on vehicles, most of the rules it contains seem to apply primarily for automobiles. Since when was the last time you saw an automobile in a Mario game? Seriously. Mario has, like, no cars. As such, while the rules and related Skills to using vehicles could apply to vehicles actually in the games, that's sufficiently so far off explaining the core of the Storytelling system that I omit that conversion here. Maybe later.)

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-"Nothing's Too Good for You"

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PostSubject: Combat   The Storytelling System: A Guide (under construction) Icon_minitimeMon Oct 15, 2012 8:40 pm


Stories are nothing without conflict, and while conflict takes many forms, the most extreme form is combat, where two or more sides try to disable or possibly kill everyone else with violence. It may take some time to get to that point, but it'll show up eventually.

Combat is handled turn-by-turn, since so many things are happening at once. Some pointers for how to do turn-by-turn that's not combat may also be within. Note that while I'm presenting the rules, it's up to the players and runner to implement them in play-by-post format.


To determine the order in which everyone goes, every character (both PC and NPC) involved rolls one d10 and to the result adds his Initiative advantage (Dexterity + Composure). The runner than lists off the characters in order from highest result to lowest in an Initiative roster, and this is the order in which the characters act; those with the higher values keep their cool best while lower numbers lose precious time figuring out what to do. If two characters tie, compare their Initiative advantage, with highest winning out. If that ties, roll for it, highest roll wins. If three or more characters tie, just jump right to rolling for it.

Just because you're in a place in the roster, however, doesn't mean you have to stay there. Maybe you want to wait for your opponent to show his weak point or something. In that case, you can choose to delay your position in the roster to any point below yours. Doing so means you hold doing any action until the point you specify (holding your action until after someone else goes, or preparing an action to carry out at just the right moment) although you can still move your Speed; your position in the roster is changed to best reflect the time of the action, and remains that way for the rest of the encounter. If you hold out 'til the end of the turn, then during the next turn (and next turn only) you can reposition yourself at any point in the roster and return to your original Inititave position on the turn after.

Not every party starts every fight aware of the brawl about to ensue. Sometimes, some characters may attempt to get the jump on others. For the attackers, combat is as normal. Those being surprised roll Wits + Composure. If the roll fails, the character is caught off guard and doesn't get to act at all in the first turn; wait to roll his Initiative until the beginning of the second turn. You can't ambush characters already in combat.


During your turn, you can move a distance up to your Speed advantage and perform one instant action. The most common instant action you'll be taking in combat is the attack roll. This roll is to-hit and damage all in one. The nature of the attack determines the dice pool you use.
  • Close Combat: Up close and personal, close combat consist of both combat both unarmed (Strength + Brawl) and with a melee weapon swung or stabbed at by the character (Strength + Weaponry, although those with the Fighting Finesse Merit can use Dexterity + Weaponry instead). Only opponents within range (one yard) can be hit, and melee weapons have a maximum range of one to two yards.
  • Ranged combat: Attacking from a distance, this consists of firing from projectile weapons (Dexterity + Firearms) and throwing stuff at your enemies (Dexterity + Athletics). Range for the former depends on the weapon used, while range for the latter depends on the character's capabilities (short range is a number of yards equal to Strength + Dexterity + Athletics - the object's Size; double for aerodynamic objects).

Like any dice pool, attack rolls can have modifiers applied. Weapons have a Damage rating which adds that many dice to your pool when they're used. Against all attacks, the defending character has his Defense advantage, as well as the rating of any armor he's wearing, to take dice away. Remember that Defense goes down by -1 for every attack you try to defend against that turn after the first. Firearms-based rolls, however, do not have Defense subtracted from them unless they're made within melee range; characters don't bob and weave around Bullet Bills, they get the heck out of the way (and there are ways to do that, make no mistake); Defense can also not be applied if the target is dormant and can't or won't do that bobbing and weaving, such as if they're tied up or unconscious, or if they're surprised. Circumstance modifiers apply as dictated by the runner just like with normal dice pools. Finally, other factors can complicate matters; see the Complications section below.

Once your dice pool is set, roll it. Each success you score deals one Health point of damage to your enemy, with the type of damage depending on the weapon or nature of the attack. A failure indicates that no harm is inflicted; the attack missed or was ineffectual. Attack polls can be reduced to a chance roll just like any other pool, and work just the same. This also means it's possible to get a Dramatic Failure on an attack roll, which may involve some unfortunate like harming an ally or yourself. If the target is completely dormant and can't move at all, don't bother rolling; just inflict an amount of damage equal to your dice pool - the target's Armor.

The runner is encouraged to respond to damage inflicted on a character by describing the damage, not just writing the result of the roll. This is a narrative-first system, after all.

Unarmed Combat

Going into combat with only your body as the weapon is always an option; in fact, many Mario characters make use of this. Unless otherwise noticed, unarmed combat only deals bashing damage. A character with no martial arts training (not that there is any in this summary because the Fighting Style Merits would be very difficult to summarize) can still do any of the following.

A basic strike - a blow with a fist, footk knee, head, or elbow - is a straight Strength + Brawl attack roll.

Some characters can deliver a really nasty bite. Biting is also Strength + Brawl, but there's a bonus depending on the strength of the attacker's jaw. Normal humans and Koopas get no bonus. A large dog or a Goomba (those fangs can't be just for show, right?) gets +1. A wolf gets +2. Bowser gets +3. A great white shark or a Chomp gets +4. If biting is basically the primarly method of attack (like with the Chomp but not the Goomba), it deals lethal damage instead of bashing.

Finally, you can grapple an opponent and cling to 'em like a Microgoomba. First, get a hold with Strength + Brawl - target Defense. During an engaged character's turn, if the character is not immobilized, a roll of Strength + Brawl - opponent Strength can be made to perform one of the following manuvers on the other engaged character (if you're grappled by more than one opponent, use the strongest Strength score among your opponents, then -1 for every opponent after the first). The character can also use that same roll to try and break free of the grapple, though if the original attacker is disengaging no roll is needed. Declare which manuver you use before your roll. While grappling, both characters lose Defense towards each other and other close combat opponents. You cannot dodge or use an all-out attack.
  • Render opponent prone: Both combatants fall to the ground. The grabble must be broken before either can spend an action to stand back up.
  • Damage opponent: You crush, squeeze, bend or bite your enemy. Inflict the successes you got on the roll as bashing damage to your opponent.
  • Immobilize opponent: Your character interferes with your opponent's ability to move. The only physical action they can take is trying to break free from the immobilization with a Strength + Brawl - opponent Strength. An immobilized character remains as such until the hold is broken, and he can't apply Defense against other attacks. However, his opponent can't do anything else but maintain the hold, or else he is no longer immobilized.
  • Draw weapon: Your character can grab a small weapon (such as a knife) on either himself or his opponent or lying nearby to bring to bear in grappling combat.
  • Attack with drawn weapon: Like damage opponent, except you beat the crud of the other person with the weapon you're holding. Your successes are as damage of the appropriate type, plus the ranking of the weapon. (This is not Weaponry or Firearms because it's your character's ability to overpower his opponent that determines the effectiveness of the weapon.)
  • Turn a drawn weapon: "Stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself!" If you succeed at this manuver, you can take control of your opponent's weapon without it ever leaving his hand. Your next action must be to attack the opponent with the weapon. During your opponent's turn, he can attempt to turn the weapon back to him, and if that succeeds you don't get to attack.
  • Disarm opponent: You take the weapon from the opponent's hand. This is equivilent to drawing it
  • Use opponent as protection from ranged attacks: See concealment under Complications below.

Damage Types

Damage is not just damage like it is in some other systems. There are three types of damage in the Storytelling system.
  • Bashing: Blungeoning damage, such as from a fist, club, hammer, or boomerang. Probably won't kill the target instantly, though repeated application could. Bashing wounds take 15 minuts to heal.
  • Lethal: Piercing and slashing damage such as from swords, claws, and spears. Crushing damage is also lethal. Lethal wounds take two days to heal.
  • Aggravated: It takes something supernatural to deal or take aggravated damage from an attack. Some classic World of Darkness creatures have their own classic "weakness" that they take aggravated damage from (like vampires and sunlight, or werewolves and silver). Some supernatural effects and attacks can possibly deal aggravated damage to a character. Characters who are so horribly injured that they're comotose and dying quickly also incur aggravated damage, so everyone is subject to it at some point or another. Aggrvated wounds take one week to heal.

Other Combat Actions

Each turn, your character can walk/jog up to his Speed in yards and still perform a standard action. The action can be before or after moving, but not in the middle.

To get somewhere quickly, you can run. You can move up to double your Speed, but this is a full action so you can't do anything else that turn.

A character can use his action to dedicate the time until his next turn dodging blows, which doubles your effective Defense (or adds Brawl or Weaponry to your Defense if you have Brawling Dodge or the Weaponry Dodge Merits, if you so choose); he may do this if he believes he's in over his head or is trying to avoid further injury. Dodge can be declared at any time during a turn as long as your character hasn't made any other action, regardless of initiative. Dodge shares Defense's trait of going down by -1 for defending against successive attacks, and these minuses are added for every attack after the first during your turn even if you declare your Dodge after those attacks. A character can do nothing else except move their Speed while dodging.

Pulling, sheathing, or otherwise preparing a weapon takes one action. If you have to pull the weapon out of hiding (such as hidden under a coat or in a purse), your character can't apply Defense against attacks for that turn.

It is possible to charge into close combat with an opponent. Forgo your Defense for the turn (even before your turn in Initiative) to move up to double your Speed and at the end of your movement make a standard close combat (Brawl of Weaponry) attack.

If no cover is nearby when projectiles start flying, you always have the option of going prone and hitting the deck. If you haven't acted in the turn, you can use your action to go prone even before your turn in Initiative, although going before your turn prevents you from doing anything else for that turn. Ranged attacks take a -2 penalty to hit a prone target, but standing characters in close combat get a +2 bonus, even on close-combat ranged attacks. If your character is lying prone, you can use your action on your turn to stand back up.


Although the basic combat system is very easy, the tough part is determing the size of the attack roll's dice pool. Different factors can really change your chances.

General complications:
  • Offhand attacks: Attacks made with the non-favored hand suffer a -2 penalty.
  • Not strong enough: If your character is using a weapon with a Strength rating greater than your character's Strength, you take a -1 penalty.
  • Specific target: Sometimes you want to hit a particular part of the opponent to get a certain effect, like knocking a weapon out of his hand, bypassing Armor where it's not worn, or upgrading damage type dealt. Assuming the character has that body part (this is the Mario universe we're talking about) the penalties scale as follows: torso, -1; arm or leg, -2; head, -3; hand, -4; eye, -5. Runners should use that to determine the best applicable penalty.
  • Armor: Protective clothing can be worn by a character to fend off damage from attacks. Each piece of protective gear has two ratings in the form of A/B; B is for Firearms-based attacks while A is for everything else. When the character is attacked, the attack roll has a penalty of the appropriate rating. "Bulletproof" armor downgrades damage done by Firearms attacks by 1 step, usually from lethal to bashing. However, some attacks, such as those that deal aggravated damage, can bypass armor, and specifically targeting an unprotected part does too (and negates the benefit of "bulletproof"). Cumbersome gear can impose penalties to Defense, Speed, and even Strength.
  • Fighting blind: When you can't see (either from being in pitch darkness or suffering from vision damage or something), fighting becomes even more difficult than ever. All attack rolls become chance rolls as you're literally shooting in the dark. A Wits + Composure can be made to attempt to listen for the target (such as for footfalls or heavy breathing) or smellin for him (if your nose is strong enough) and get a rough idea of location; a success gets you a normal dice roll at -3 for substantial concealment, while an exceptional success gets you that normal attack roll at only -2 for partial concealment. Failure brings you back to the chance roll. Once you've succeeded on a blind attack after listening or smelling, you take a reflexive Wits + Composure every turn to keep the appropriate sense on your target.

Close combat complications:
  • All-out attack: Screw defending yourself, you really wanna murder this guy. If you haven't applied your Defense at all this turn, you can forgo your Defense for the turn entirely to add +2 to your attack roll.
  • Touching: There are several reason why you might attempt to intentionally make physical contact with an unwilling target, such as to plant a bug or deliver the effect of an occult incantation. Roll Dexterity + Brawl or Dexterity + Weaponry, with Defense applying. Armor only applies if you have to touch skin. Touch "attacks" don't deal damage; like with most dice pools, at least one success means you succeed. If the target is willing, no roll is needed.

Ranged combat complications:
  • Range: The farther away your target, the less accuracy you can hit with. All weapons have a listed short range, and short range for thrown weapons is Strength + Dexterity + Athletics - object's Size, double this if aerodynamic (objects with a Size equal to or larger than your Strength can't be used as a thrown weapon). Both are in yards. There is no penalty towards hitting a short range target. Medium range is up to double short range; a target in this range imposes a -2 penalty. Long range is up to double medium range, and imposes a -4 penalty. You can still try to hit a target within double long range, but accuracy is out the window and you need to use a chance roll to hit. Beyond that, it's impossible to hit.
  • Aiming: By spending up to three full turns drawing a bead on an opponent, you get a bonus equal to the number of turns spent. Losing sight of your opponent cancels the benefits, as well as applying Defense to attacks against you while aiming.
  • Into Close Combat: If your target is engaged in close combat with any allies, you take a -2 penalty on the attack roll for every engaged ally, and -4 for every ally currently grappling with the target.
  • Ranged weapons in close combat: This has already been mentioned, but in case you miss it, Defense (and Dodge) apply against ranged attack weapons being used in close combat range.
  • Concealment: It's very difficult to hit targets that you can't see very clearly. Concealment can be provided by anything that makes it difficult to see the target - fog, mist, darkness, obstructions, and such. There are four degrees of concealment, each with a different penalty to ranged attacks: barely concealed (crouching behind an office chair; -1), partially concealed (standing behind a car, but with upper body exposed; -2), substantially cocealed (crouching fully behind a car; -3), and completely covered (completely covered by an intervening barrier; all shots hit the cover automatically). And speaking of cover...
  • Cover: Characters can and will use objects to protect themselves from ranged fire. If a character is completely covered (concealment, above, is used if some part is exposed) by an object (even just a window), there is the option to attempt to shoot through. Make your attack roll; deal damage normally to the covering object, and if the number of successes you deal exceed the target's Durability, not only does the object take the remainder in Structure damage as usual, but reroll that number of dice as a new attack roll against the first target behind it; Defense doesn't apply, but Armor does. If the object runs out of Structure, it's destroyed and it doesn't offer any more protection.
  • Firing while concealed: Shooting back while trying to keep hidden from relatiating fire is rather difficult. Firing back from shelter incurs a penalty that is one less than the penalty the other guy has from your concealment (for example, firing while substanially concealed, which is -3, gives you -2). This stacks with any concealment your opponent has. Firing from behind complete cover makes you substantially concealed instead.
  • Reloading: If your weapon is out of ammo, it's a standard action to reload. You lose Defense while reloading except for clip or magazine weapons.

Special weapon qualities (some weapons may have special traits):
  • Armor piercing: A weapon or ammunition type that overcomes armor. It has a ranking (1 to 3) and ignores that many points of Armor on the target when used.
  • Attribute damage: Poisons, drugs, and some supernatural powers don't damage your Health, but they do temporarily lower the victim's Attribute dots; which Attribute tends to be either a specific Attribute or one of the three categories (Mental, Physical, Social). Most of the time, Attributes recover one point every 15 minutes, like healing bashing damage. More harmful or crippling Attibute damage may heal like lethal (2 days) or even aggravated (a week) damage.
  • Stun: Some weapons pack a heavy punch. If the number of successes in a single attack roll match or exceed the target's Size, he loses his next action.
  • Knockout: If you target the opponent's head or equivilent (see Specific target above), and you deal damage that meets or exceeds the target's size, the target makes a Stamina roll to avoid falling unconscious for a number of turns equal to the damage done.
  • Knockdown: This effect can cause your target to fall prone and lose any action for the turn he may have if he fails a Dexterity + Athletics roll.

Weapons and Armor Listing

These will come at the end.

~Nothing fits so perfectly
as clothes for those who cannot see~

-"Nothing's Too Good for You"

Current status: Seek out the Heart of the Matter

Last edited by LoneCoonProductions on Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: States of Being: Health and other Conditional Factors   The Storytelling System: A Guide (under construction) Icon_minitimeTue Oct 23, 2012 1:59 am

States of Being: Health and other Conditional Factors

Mario may be a world of fantasy and wonder, but it's also extremely dangerous, and lava pits and man-eating plants are only the tip of the iceburg. You'll need to be able to keep track of your character's condition, and that's exactly what the Health Advantage does. This section will also cover other ways outside combat your character's condition can be threatened.

Health may be a little hard to explain since the World of Darkness relies so heavily on visual aids, but I'll try my best.

Health and Damage

Your character's Health is Stamina + Size; bigger and more resiliant characters take more hits before going down for the count. This amount is the maximum amount of damage you can take. Average characters (in the same category as "adult human") have 5 Size and 2 Stamina, for 7 Health.

As stated above, damage is divided into three types: bashing, lethal, and aggravated. Each point of damage on your character's Health is one of these three types. Each point of damage is also known as a "wound;" for instance, talking about a character's "lethal wounds" refers to all points of lethal damage he has.

In a simulation of the series-of-boxes method used on the World of Darkness line character sheets that serves as a "health bar," Health in the play-by-post version is represented like this:

<character name>: *XXX//--

The number of characters (as in letters, numbers, and other symbols, not be confused with game characters) in the line (aside from the name, of course) is the amount of Health the character has. Each dash represents an "empty box," a point of Health that has not yet taken damage. A slash is a bashing wound, an X is a lethal wound, and an asterisk is aggravated damage (if you prefer, B, L, and A could be used instead, but please be consistant). Damage characters replace dashes from left to right, in reverse order of severity (aggravated, lethal, bashing). Every time you take damage, insert that point in the proper place (pushing lesser damage right) and then remove the rightmost character (no matter what it is) so you have the same number of characters in the "bar." If - and by if I mean when - you heal damage, remove that point from the bar and be sure you put a dash at the end. The runner may keep track of each player's Health or make the players do it themselves.

If your bar is full of damage and you take damage but there's no lesser damage to push off (and in only this case), you instead upgrade one of the wounds of that type up a level of severity. Replace the leftmost character of that wound type with one of the higher level. Take this guy with 7 Health for example, for example:


His entire bar is full of damage. He takes another point of bashing. Since he can't push anything less severe to the right (and off the bar), instead the leftmost bashing goes up one level of severity to lethal. The leftmost slash is replaced with an X.


If you're heavilly damaged, you're not going to be operating at peak performance. If you're running low on undamaged Health, you suffer wound penalties to pretty much all your dice pools and actions (including Initiative, but not counting Stamina rolls to remain conscious; see later). If you have only two dashes ("empty boxes") left on your health bar, you take a -1 penalty; if there's only one dash left, you take -2; and if you're all out of dashes and your bar is filled with damage, that's -3 right there.

If your Stamina or Size changes (either permanently or temporarily), so does your maximum Health. Some special effects can even change Health itself without changing any other trait. If it goes up, add a number of dashes to the right side of the bar. If it goes down, backspace that many characters off the right side; if there are any wounds there, reapply them as if you had just taken those wounds now, pushing or upgrading as necessary. Be sure to recalculate your wound penalties as necessary.

Aside from the -3 penalty, having all your Health lost to damage can have... dangerous reprecussions. Depending on what wound the rightmost character on the bar is, you suffer one of the following consequences:
  • Bashing: The first time your character acts each turn (but not ncessary on his turn in the roster), you must first makes a reflexive Stamina roll (which isn't affected by wound penalty) to avoid falling unconscious. He remains unconscious until he's healed the rightmost character back to a dash.
  • Lethal: Your character is comotose and dying due to the scope of injuries done to him. Each minute he receives no medical attention, he takes another point of damge, upgrading one wound from lethal to aggravated. Tick tick tick... Your character doesn't recover consciousness until the rightmost character heals back to a dash, and until then he's going to need ongoing treatment to avoid getting worse.
  • Aggravated: Your character is dead. Been nice knowing him.

Given those consequences, it's perfectly reasonable to want to heal damage. The heal rates for each damage type are listed with the damage type introductions in the Combat section above; bashing takes 15 minutes, lethal takes two days, and aggravated takes a week. Health heals from right to left and one wound at a time, so if you have two bashing wounds, for example, it takes a half-hour (30 minutes) to heal them. A character with the Health ***XXX/ would take a total of three weeks, six days, and 15 minutes to heal back to full Health. The Medicine Skill can be used to try and downgrade a wound in severity, speeding up overall recovery time.


Are there corners of the Mario world where a character must go without food and water? Well, some of them. We can't all be Mario, after all. Your character can go without water for a number of days equal to his Stamina, and he can go without food for a number of days equal to Stamina + Resolve. Past those dates, you take one point of bashing damage each day for deprived of one, or two for both, and the damage accumulated doesn't heal until they get steady access to what they're deprived of. Survival rolls to find food or water don't count as "steady access," but they do prevent deprivation damage for that day. While deprived, rolls to resist disease suffer from normal wound penalties.


OK. Diseases. In Mario. ...This will not be easy. Seriously, [Only admins are allowed to see this link]. But still, a disease, whether the runner or Nintendo made it up and that's not counting real world diseases like colds and flus and cancer and such, and the threat of infection can be used as part of the runner's plot if he so desires.

Research on a disease, including being able to identify it and possible antidotes and cures, can be made with Intelligence + Medicine. Developing an antidote is an extended Intelligence + Medicine action with a goal of at least 20 successes depending on the elusiveness of the ailment.

Specifics of damage from a disease is up to the runner. How often the victim takes damage - every hour, day, week, etc. - should be based on rate of decline, her Attributes, and/or the nature of the illness. Each period, a set amount of damage is dealt automatically, though Stamina + Resolve can be made to resist some of it by getting enough successes (at least the same number as full damage inflicted) in a contested action. Speaking of Stamina + Resolve, being sick may pose penalties to it, such as -1 for a cold to -3 for tuberculosis. Deciding on what the runner wants, symptoms could be ignored until the character starts having wound penalties, or illness-inflicted damage might be impossible to cure while the disease still has a hold.

Beating an illness usally requires an extended action, or possibly extended and contested, of Stamina + Resolve. Successes and time per roll, again, vary by disease; it might take three to five successes with one day per roll to beat a cold, while fighting cancer might require 30 or more with one month per roll.


...No. One of the only drug-like effects in the games are the Fuzzies from Yoshi's Island, and I'm not getting into those details here. You're gonna have to PM me for those.


In the real world, and the World of Darkness, electrocution is a credible threat but not very likely to happen; it usually requires something like lightning striking, being hit by a live wire, or stabbing a knife in an electrical outlet (don't try this at home, kids). In the Mario world, between the Thunderhand and the stomping sumo Koopas, the chances are a little more likely.

Each turn you're exposed, you automatically take bashing damage depending on how powerful the electricity is; a minor power source like a wall socket only does 4, while a fatal amount like a main power line or a subway rail is 10. Ordinary armor doesn't do jack against electrocution. If it's not an instantaneous strike (there's a constant flow like with a power cable), you'll have a hard time escaping with your muscles contracting like mad; each turn, you must succeed at a reflexive Strength roll to break away.


Ah, the fun part. Since the introduction of Bob-ombs, explosions are a little more common in the Mario universe than in World of Darkness. Of course, it's not always easy - or legal - to get access to explosive devices, so the runner may restrict these fairly heavilly. But if you're desparate to do a lot of damage fast, nothing beats an explosion.

An explosive device can be set in a stationary location and wait for a target to pass, but since this is Mario, you're more likely to be throwing them. This is just like using a thrown weapon (see the Combat section), and some explosives are aerodynamic while others are not. If you're going with the "set us up the bomb" option, it takes an Intelligence + Stealth roll to plant a timed or triggered device without it being detected (with the device's subtlty possibly providing a +/- 2 modifier), because if anyone sees a bomb about to go off, they're gonna run for the hills; once that's done, roll Intelligence + Science to determine if you managed to locate, set, and detonate the bomb correctly.

An explosive device has two additonal ratings: Blast Area and Damage. Blast Area is the diameter of the resulting explosion in yards. If you're caught in the blast, you take the Damage rating in, well, damage, then that number of dice is rolled and any successes deal another point of damage. Depending on item and circumstances, damage is either bashing or lethal.

Defense is useless against explosions, but a target can go prone. Since the attacker is aiming for your general area, this doesn't penalize his dice pool any, but it does prevent 2 damage dealt to you. Also, armor protects against explosives, preventing a number of damage equal to the armor's Firearms rating, but "bulletproof" armor doesn't downgrade damage. Taking cover also works, preventing an amount of damage equal to their current concealment rating (1 to 3), and the explosion has to eat through full cover before it can damage anyone behind it.


Falling long distances in Mario games can be variable when it comes to whether you get hurt if you land on the ground (the 2D platformers don't have falling damage, but the 3D games generally do), but if the runner wants people to get hurt from it, they get hurt from it.

Falling damage is usually bashing, unless you fall on something sharp like a bed of spikes or hit terminal velocity (which I'll get to in a minute), in which case it's lethal. For every three yards you fall, you take one bashing wound upon impact. If your armor could reasonably cushion your fall and it'll survive the encounter, it could reduce the amount of damage taken by its not-Firearms rating. You can attempt to grab for a passing object to try and slow down enough or twist to aim for soil instead of concrete, but random flailing can only get you so far, and there's a cap of three damage that can be prevented this way. Soft landings like a pool of deep water or a pile or pillows can reduce some damage automatically, if the runner allows it.

Now, if you fall more than 30 yards, then crud hits the fan, as you've reached terminal velocity. Regardless of how far you have left to fall, you take 10 lethal damage on impact. Armor and "soft" landings do nothing for you, and trying to scramble to save yourself is generally useless.


If your character can't get enough sleep, for one reason or another, it's going to impact your performance. Most people can stay awake for up to 24 hours, but every six hours after that, a Stamina + Resolve roll must be made to avoid falling asleep. Remember, Willpower can apply to this. Also, every six-hour period past 24 hours up inflicts a cumulative -1 penalty to all rolls (including the Stamina + Resolve to keep awake). Physically demanding activities such as running or fighting may result in an even higher penalty to the stay-awake roll (up to -3). You automatically pass out after a number of days equal to the lowest of Stamina or Resolve. Once you sleep, every six-hour period you suffered awake past the 24 hours adds another hour to the base of eight hours you sleep.


Mario has a lot of fire, and fire freakin' hurts. Fire does lethal damage, but the exact damage done every turn in contact depends on its size (1 for a torch, 2 for a bonfire, 3 for an inferno) and heat (no modifier for first-degree burning like a candle, +1 for a second-degree burning like a torch, +2 for a third-degree burning like a Bunsen burner, and a chemical fire, moltan metal, or, heck with it, lava is +3). Trying to keep in contact with flames for longer than a turn usually sets everything on you that can catch fire, well, catch fire, at which point you continue to take damage even if you pull away. It takes one turn to downgrade the size of a fire, if possible. If you have armor, it may protect you from fire... for an number of turns equal to its not-Firearms rating. If fire eats up all your character's Health but he manage to survive anyways, he loses one dot in whatever Attribute or Skill the runner wants, based on the injuries received being to his muscles or his nerves.

Poisons and Toxins

These dangerous substances are fairly rare in the Mario universe overall, but that doesn't reduce their potency. Poisons and toxins do lethal damage most of the time (some in the vein of knockout gas do bashing instead). Some may also have an effect beyond dealing damage such as penalties to Defense or to all Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wits-based rolls.

There are four methods of poison delivery: injection (introduced directly into the bloodstream, by anything from a needle to a stinger to a poison-coated sword; at least success on an attack roll must be made to inject a resisting target), ingestion (through food and/or drink; takes longer, like an hour, to set in instead of near instant like most other deliveries), inahlation (breathed in as a gas), and touch (through contact with the skin; requires a touch attack and Armor may apply).

Each poison has a toxicity level (if you're making up or applying these rules to a Mario poison, this value must remain consistant across play; use the table provided below as a guideline). Automatically, the poison deals its toxicity in lethal (or otherwise) damage, and depending on the poison it may act again after a particular period of time (like every turn or every day). The player is welcome to a Stamina + Resolve reflexive and contested roll against the toxicity level, and if it wins the damage is negated for that instance.

Ammonia (inhalation)3
Bleach (ingestion)4
Cyanide (ingestion or inhalation)7
Salmonella (ingestion)2
Venom (injection or ingestion)3 to 8

Temperature Extremes

Extreme heat or cold doesn't usually give Mario characters much trouble (unless the extreme temperature is a result of being directly applied to fire, but we already covered that). But if your runner wants you to freeze on the icy mountain or burn up in the desert, that's his choice.

There are two ways to do extreme conditions. The first is penalties to Attributes such as Dexterity and Strength (physical exhaustion), Wits (mental exhaustion), and possibly Defense, a cumulative -1 per hour of exposure; bringing a dice pool down the zero from this usally means the character is exhausted to the point of being immobalized and/or delusional; particularly lengthy exposure may even result in permanently losing Attribute dots as complications suchas frostbite, hyopthermina and heat exhaustion set in. The other is through damage accumulation; after a number of hours equal to Stamina + Resolve you can shove off, you take a point of bashing damage every hour that won't heal until you're no longer exposed to the extreme condition.

~Nothing fits so perfectly
as clothes for those who cannot see~

-"Nothing's Too Good for You"

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