Archive for Descriptive Traits

SPECIAL Abilities, Traits, & Quirks

Posted in Game Rules, Minimalist with tags , , , , , on 20-May-16 by K-Slacker

Okay – here’s a collected one-page version of my recent SPECIAL Abilities and Descriptive Traits posts, along with an updated version of Quirks.

(If I were to run new sessions of Tempora Mutantur today, I’d probably use Descriptive Traits.)

Descriptive Traits

Posted in Game Rules, Minimalist with tags , , , , , on 19-May-16 by K-Slacker

As a follow-up to my previous post, here’s another option for character customization…

As an alternative to SPECIAL Abilities, the referee may consider using more general “Traits” in his campaign. A Trait is a free-form descriptor of something notable about the character. PCs can have two Traits, and players are encouraged to write a short narrative (30 words or less) incorporating these Traits into their character description.

Traits can be inherent capabilities (SPECIAL Abilities, for example), crafts/skills (either self-taught or trained), specialized knowledge (history, science, and/or the occult), etc. Traits should not replicate specific class abilities, and referees must take care to ensure that Traits are realistic and that this narrative system is not abused.

Like SPECIAL Abilities, Traits can provide an advantage to Adventuring Feats. The player must describe how the Trait applies before rolling the dice.

Here is an example of a character stat block with descriptive Traits:

Stassen the Blunt. Human Enforcer 1, 12 hp, AC 3 (scrap metal plate), MV 6″, SV +6, metal I-beam (hvy melee Atk +1, 1d10). (XP 0, +10%.)

Stassen is simple, both in thought and action. A dedicated bodybuilder of exceptional STRENGTH, he also possesses unexpected WILLPOWER.

The referee might choose to grant this character advantage to deeds of raw power and on will-related saving throws.

Descriptive Traits are definitely more of a “new-school” system than most of the Tempora Mutantur ruleset. (See, for example, the Aspects approach in FATE RPG.) However, the referee is recommended to check out Blood of Pangea by Olde House Rules for a narrative implementation consistent with OSR principles.