Playing A Personae Game

Once everyone’s made characters, it's time to begin play! Keep in mind that, along the way, although things such as attack challenges and extended challenges have specific names to identify them, more often than not once you start to get the hang of the game, the processes and terminology will be understood. It might go without saying, for example, who the actor and reactor are in a given challenge once the group has gotten a good grasp of the process for resolving a challenge.

While all roleplaying games don't involve the use of dice, this one does. Fear not, however. The only dice you'll need are ten-sided, labeled 1 to 10. Keep plenty on hand—you'll never know how many you'll need, depending on what you and your chorus decide upon, but it's the only type of dice you'll ever need at the table. Whenever dice are referred to in this system, such as the rating for a skill, “roll x dice”), the system is asking you to roll ten-sided dice (shaped like decahedrons, for those of you ).

The Challenge

Whenever two or more identities wind up at cross purposes to each other, then it's time for one or more of them—regardless of who is controlling them—to issue a challenge. Both identities involved in a challenge

  1. Roll one or more dice,

  2. Add an appropriate attribute, as well as any other circumstantial modifiers, to the highest die result rolled, and

  3. Compare: the identity with the higher result succeeds (successfully issues or answers the challenge).

Whether it involves getting someone to believe a far-fetched scheme or attacking an invader on the shores of your homeland with a sword, there is always conflict: actors want to succeed in challenges in keeping with their goals and desires, and reactors want to see the actors quashed for the opportunity to advance their goals and desires, even if that goal is merely survival.

In a challenge, one identity is the actor—typically the one who issued the challenge—and the other identity is the reactor, the one answering the challenge, also known as an opponent. There is no limit to the number of actors or reactors on either side of a challenge; multiple identities can issue a challenge against a single opponent, and a single actor can issue a challenge against multiple opponents.

In the case of challenges issued during nonviolent encounters—usually interaction challenges—the actor is jockeying for superiority with some sort of nonviolent skill, while the reactor is trying to keep the actor “in place”, or trying to remain firm in their position. In the case of challenges in violent encounters, namely combat, the actor is the one delivering a physical attack—an attack challenge—or harmful power—power challenge—and the reactor is generally the one who is defending against the attack or trying to resist the harmful power. There can be exceptions to these general cases, however: depending on the nature of a power being used, a power challenge can be issued during a nonviolent encounter, just as an interaction challenge can be issued during a violent encounter if an identity is trying to convince a hostile opponent to stop fighting.

Here's a more detailed process for resolving a challenge:

  1. An identity (a player's character, or one of the chorus's) issues a challenge to an opponent. The actor and reactor are determined. The actor declares what skill will be rolled to issue the challenge with, and the reactor declares what skill will be rolled to react to the actor's skill in answering the challenge. Both actor and reactor roll at least one die for the declared skill, more if the skill has a higher rating, or if actor or reactor have circumstantial bonus dice, and identify the highest die result rolled.
  2. Both actor and reactor add an attribute value that’s appropriate to their part in the challenge to the highest die result rolled, along with any other circumstantial modifiers to the highest die result rolled (for either actor or reactor, based on conditions at the time of the challenge agreed upon by player-chorus consensus).
  3. Both actor and reactor compare their final result totals. If the actor has the greater total outcome, then the actor succeeds the challenge; if the reactor has the greater total outcome, then the reactor successfully answers the challenge (the actor fails the challenge).
  4. In the event of a tie, both actor and reactor look to their next-highest die, and factor in additions as explained above the same way they did for the highest die, and compare again. If, by some chance, there is another tie, continue this process for the third-highest die, and so on. If all dice tie over the course of this process, then the one who succeeds on ties is the one who still has dice to compare, whereas the one fails is the one who has no dice left. (For example, if the actor has 3 dice in a skill, and the reactor has 2 dice in the skill they are reacting with, then the actor succeeds the challenge on ties if the result of the highest and 2nd-highest dice are a tie.)

Critical Success

When you roll an unadjusted 10 on one die, it’s good. When you roll an unadjusted 10 on more than one die, it’s critical! Every unmodified 10 rolled beyond the first is a critical (may be abbreviated as crit for a shorthand). Criticals add up: keep track of every one you generate, because you can expend them for something special such as a bonus on a skill roll, additional injury inflicted with an attack, an automatic success, or something cool that everyone agrees on. Criticals can be given to other players or to chorus-controlled identities as it makes sense within the fiction.

The group should decide (1) how long criticals can be retained, (2) how many can be retained, (3) whether identities under players’ control apart from their main characters can generate or retain criticals.

Every unmodified 10 rolled beyond the highest earns you a critical success (crit success, or crit) You must succeed the challenge in order to earn them. By default you can only retain or “bank” criticals equal to your Potential Threshold at any given time. You can expend criticals for something special, such as

  • an automatic success on an upcoming challenge (default)
  • a bonus on a skill roll
  • additional injury inflicted with an attack
  • an effect dictated by an E or power

Criticals can be given to other PCs (or other player-controlled identities) or CCs (or other chorus-controlled identities) as it makes sense within the fiction, and the group agrees on the particulars

Additionally, it should be decided as to whether or not identities under the chorus's control can generate or retain criticals for the chorus as well. If it is decided that the chorus’s characters can generate and retain criticals, then a similar conversation should be had about how to handle criticals just as it was done for player-controlled identities. One possible avenue for chorus-controlled identity criticals is to have them all saved in a pool regardless of which identity generates them, in order to help with resource management.

Assisting In A Challenge

Often times, two or more identities will want to aid each other in the successful resolution of a challenge. When this is the case, first the identities who wish to assist another must be involved in the same type of challenge—the skills being employed by all identities involved must be at least similar, if not the same. The number of identities who can assist in the challenge should be agreed upon by the group, depending on the nature of the skill being rolled.

  • Assisting during any challenge, whether it be violent or nonviolent, interaction, attack or power, is possible
  • For attack challenges, the identities assisting do not have to be using the same weapon as the identity issuing the challenge; for a power challenge, the appropriate supernatural skill must be the same
  • If the power challenge is being done in a violent encounter, then the identities assisting must declare, on their turns, that they are assisting

Once those particulars are addressed, the identity performing the primary action must first be determined; this is usually the identity with the highest rating in a skill. The primary actor must be determined before any dice are rolled. Once the primary actor has been determined, then the other identities assisting in the challenge must perform some type of action with the skill that they are assisting with. The only identity to make the actual challenge is the primary actor—those identities who are assisting each grant the primary actor a bonus of one(1) die to the primary actor's skill roll.


No matter what the nature of a challenge, the goals—desired outcomes—of the identity issuing a challenge should always be declared and made plain, not only to the opponent but everyone involved in the encounter as well. “I'm issuing an attack challenge to the cultist: if I succeed the challenge, then I will have struck him successfully with my sword, resulting in them sustaining a hit.” It also helps to extrapolate from the goal of a single challenge and declare what your overall goal is, especially in the case of more than one challenge in a series such as combat: “If I wound him successfully, then I am going to try and talk him down by threatening to bring him to his knees with my blade! If I talk him down from fighting, then I will place him under arrest, binding him, so that I can bring him to justice for his crimes against the king!” Declaring goals and intentions along with declaring actions help to clarify the direction of one or more challenges, to keep all the players mindful of the consequences of their actions. Goals should be, at the very least, discussed before a challenge is issued, and before a scene or encounter escalates.

Another part of discussing the objectives of a challenge should take place after the outcome of a challenge is decided—the identity issuing a challenge should (a) ask whether or not the challenge is over, which in most cases will be apparent, and (b) if not, declare whether or not it wishes to extend the challenge.



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