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Twisted Confessional | Schemata

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Schemata

An attempted blend of Fate Accelerated Edition and Schema

Click here for a Character Sheet Template for play of Schemata on this wiki.

Terms that are being used as specific jargon for this game are presented in monospace font like these words here on their first use only. Names of dangers are presented in italics, and augments in bold.


Character Foo

Characters in Schemata are defined by three things. Boons are specific things about the character or their possessions that help them in specific ways. Aspects are general descriptions of the character (or even the setting), which can help or hinder the character, depending on the situation. Traits are ways in which the character is especially talented at approaching problems.

Boons

Boons are abilities or things a character possesses that give them certain specific bonuses, usually tied to the setting. GMs should have a list of available boons from which players can select. These may be linked to certain other selections regarding a character, such as their background.

Here are some examples from a particular setting: Jastivad Boons, also: Gamma World Boons

Because they are pertinent parts of characters (and ideally, the game world), Boons can also be treated like an aspect.

Aspects

An aspect is a word, phrase, or sentence that describes something centrally important to your character. It can be a motto your character lives by, a personality quirk, a description of a relationship your character has with another character, an important possession or bit of equipment your character has, or any other part of your character that is vitally important.

There are two special kinds of Aspects that all characters must have. These are the Core Aspects:

  • High Concept - This is a single phrase or sentence that neatly sums up your character, saying who they are, what they do, what their "deal" is. When you think about your high concept, try to think of two things: how this aspect could help your character, and how it might make things harder for them. Good high concept aspects do both.
  • Trouble - This is something that always gets the character into trouble. It could be a personal weakness, or a recurring enemy, or an important obligation—anything that makes your life complicated.

Supporting Aspects

Characters may have up to two more Aspects:

  • Personal - Think of something really important or interesting about your character. Are they the strongest person in their hometown? Do they carry a mighty sword known through history? Do they talk too much? Are they filthy rich?
  • Relationship - This aspect might describe your character’s relationship with other player characters or with an NPC.

If you prefer, you can leave one or both of these aspects blank right now and fill them in later, after the game has started.

Your character will get more Aspects later on.

Aspects: What they DO

Besides describing the setting, there are two big things you can do with aspects: invoke them or compel them.

Invoking an Aspect gives a PC a bonus in a conflict. It allows the PC to add a single die to their roll, with any result they choose; or if they are displeased with their die roll, they may reroll the entire set of rolled dice. If acting against a fellow player, you may also remove one rolled die from another player's roll.

When an aspect is compelled against a player, the person compelling it offers that player a fate point and suggests that the aspect has a certain effect—that either the character will make a certain decision or that a particular event will occur. Players can discuss it back and forth, proposing tweaks or changes to the suggested compel. After a moment or two, the player needs to decide whether to accept the compel. If they agree, they take the fate point and their character makes the suggested decision or the event happens.

A compulsion can also be used by the GM to give a player a one-die penalty on their roll.

Fate Points

You spend fate points to unlock the power of aspects and make them help you. You earn fate points by letting a character aspect be compelled against you to complicate the situation or make your life harder. Every milestone you also earn one fate point.

Traits

(Traits are adopted from Schema.)

Each allows a blank to be used as a minus, or to add the associated Augment (in parenthesis), where the Trait is applicable.

Below are the 9 standard traits:

  • Arcane (Scope)
    • When performing some arcane art that your character know well.
  • Charming (Provocation)
    • When taking a social action.
  • Empathic (Cooperation)
    • When giving care, or working in support as a team action.
  • Fierce (Forceful)
    • When engaging in violence when intending to do real harm
  • Ingenious (Continuity)
    • When crafting on any scale, or when improvising from existing materials
  • Nimble (Speed)
    • When your character's goal is motion across a scene.
  • Observant (Perspicacity)
    • When engaging in observation or keeping watch.
  • Patient (Preparation)
    • When acting based on thorough plans or enduring.
  • Stealthy (Subtlety)
    • When your character's action is based on stealth.

Exploits

(Taken from Fate's "stunts")

Exploits are tricks, maneuvers, or techniques your character has that lets them make something true, do something cool, or otherwise ignore the usual rules in some way (hence 'exploits'). Use this template:

Because I [describe some way that your character are exceptional, have a cool bit of gear, or are otherwise awesome], once per game session I can [describe something cool your character can do].

Character creation

Follow these steps to create a character. A bit of jumping around won't hurt anything, but all players must do the trait selection piece together.

  1. Choose a Boon from amongst those supplied by the GM.
  2. Make High Concept Aspect
  3. One by one, players choose a Unique Trait, remove that Trait from selection*
    • Advanced: Choose from the Augment list, and come up with a freeform Trait. Make that Augment unique, and restrict any future Traits connected with it.
  4. Players choose a remaining Trait
    • Advanced: Choose from the Augment list, and come up with a freeform Trait. Avoid any Augments connected with the Unique Traits.
  5. Make Trouble Aspect
  6. Write Personal Aspect, or leave it blank.
  7. Discuss with at least one other player how your character is connected to their PCs, or come up with a significant NPC, then create a Relational Aspect, or leave it blank.
  8. Add a number of fate points equal to the number of Aspects your character has.
  9. Create one exploit inspired by each of your character's aspects, or take one fate point for each aspect you skip.

Resolution

Roll for resolution whenever the GM deems that there are dangers involved that may result in interesting negative outcomes for a character. Dangers come from Schema.

  1. GM lays out the Dangers associated with the action the character is attempting. Typically 1-4, though possibly more for extremely dangerous situations.
    • At this point the GM has the option to compel an Aspect, including a Consequence or an Affliction, to reduce the number of dice the player rolls by 1. This gives the PC 1 fate point.
  2. The player with the involved character declares that they're taking on additional risk, by describing how their character approaches the conflict in a way that would do this.
  3. GM counters with potential Danger that matches the sort of risk the player is taking.
  4. The player decides whether or not to accept the additional danger. If they decide to risk, add 2 risk dice to the pool (different color)
  5. The player declares Stance:
    • Bold, re-rolls blanks and minuses
    • Cautious, re-rolls blanks and plusses
    • Neutral - Some Boons may have a third stance option.
  6. The player rolls dice, re-rolls appropriately. Since risk dice are a separate color they are not rerolled (roll separately in irc)
    • PC rolls 4 dice by default, plus any additional dice from risks or Boons.
  7. The player(s) have the option to spend Fate points to invoke aspects.
    • Either re-roll all dice, or
    • Add a die with any chosen value.
  8. The player applies remaining dice:
    • A minus on the roll (or a 1-2 on a d6) allows one to cancel out a Danger
    • A plus on the roll (or a 5-6 on a d6) allows one to include an Augment
    • Blanks are inert, unless a character can narrate a Trait to apply, in which case obey the Trait.

Note that a character's action succeeds in basic terms, unless the "Failure" danger is present and goes un-cancelled (unlike many other RPG resolution systems). Some of the dangers have further mechanical repercussions. Injuries lead to Consequences (see below), and other dangers may create aspects that are temporary or attached to the scene.

Consequences

Consequences are new, lasting, aspects that you take to reflect being seriously hurt in some way as a result of resolution. Your character sheet has four slots where you can write consequences. There are four levels, Mild, Moderate, Major and Critical.

Consequences fade after time:

  • Mild consequence: Clear it at the end of the scene, provided your character gets a chance to rest.
  • Moderate consequence: Clear it after two milestones, provided it makes sense within the story.
  • Major consequence: It becomes Moderate at the next Level 2 milestone, provided it makes sense within the story.
  • Critical consequence: It becomes Major at the next Level 3 milestone, provided it makes sense within the story.

Like any Aspect, Consequences can be compelled, or a creative player can invoke them.

If a character receives a 5th consequence, they are at the mercy of whatever force caused this to happen, and unable to deal with the scene in any way. The GM or player who put them in this position may decide that they run out of the room, are knocked unconscious, or are otherwise completely incapacitated. Possibly even dead, if that seems appropriate.


Milestones

People change. They accumulate life experiences that shape their perspectives on life, and sharpen their skills. Like Fate Accelerated Edition, Schemata reflects this with milestones, points in the story where you can change your aspects, fiddle with your traits, and clear Consequences.

Stories in TV shows, comic books, novels usually continue from episode to episode, issue to issue, season to season, series to series. Stories arc over these sequences, but these storylines consist of shorter tales, that build the story arc by developing the characters as they are wrapped up.

Much like its parent, Schemata calls these points in the game milestones. Schemata also recognizes three types of milestones: Tertiary, Secondary and Primary.

Two things always happen at any milestone:

  • The character earns one (1) Fate Point. This caps at the number of Aspects you have (including Consequences). Note that you can have more Fate Points than this, but you don't earn additional points at milestones.
  • Each Consequence gets one checkmark next to it.

Tertiary

The most basic milestone, a tertiary milestone happens after one piece of a story has been resolved, likely at the end of every session of play.

Rather than making your character more powerful, this kind of milestone is more about changing your character, about adjusting in response to whatever’s going on in the story if you need to. Sometimes it won’t really make sense to take advantage of a tertiary milestone, but you always have the opportunity in case you need to.

After a tertiary milestone, you can choose to do the following:

  • Clear a single Moderate Consequence, if it had at least one checkmark.
  • Rename a single Aspect that isn't one of your Core Aspects. This can be a Consequence, better reflecting the story's development. Or fill an empty aspect slot.
  • Exchange one exploit for a different exploit.

Secondary

A secondary milestone usually occurs at the end of a scenario or the conclusion of a big plot event (or, when in doubt, at the end of every two or three sessions). Unlike tertiary milestones, which are primarily about minor changes, significant milestones are about more significant shifts in character.

In addition to the benefit of a tertiary milestone, you also gain both of the following:

  • If you had a Major consequence with at least one checkmark, you may move it to a Moderate consequence. Remove the checkmark. Rewrite it, if it makes sense within the story.
  • You may switch out one of your Traits with another available Trait (or if using free-form Traits, you may rewrite one and replace it with an available Augment).
  • Add a new exploit inspired by the story's events.

Primary

Primary milestones should only occur when something happens in the campaign that shakes it up a lot—the end of a big story arc, the final defeat of a main NPC villain, or any other large-scale change that reverberates around your game world.

These milestones are about large-scale shifts in the character's nature.

Achieving a primary milestone confers the benefits of the other two milestones. In addition, you may do all of the following:

  • Rename any of your character's Core Aspects.
  • If you had a Critical consequence with at least one checkmark, you may move it to a Major consequence. Remove the checkmark. Rewrite it, if it makes sense within the story.
  • You get an additional aspect slot. You may fill it with an Aspect inspired by the story's events. You get a Fate Point if you allow the GM to fill it.