Infinity - The Roleplaying Game by Tsilkani
Introduction: A Wilderness of MirrorsOriginal SA post
Introduction: A Wilderness of Mirrors
So, as grassy gnoll has mentioned a few times, Infinity's fluff originated as a campaign ran by one of the Corvus Belli founders. Things finally came full circle in late 2015 when Modiphius picked up the license and ran a staggeringly successful Kickstarter campaign to produce the official RPG, with the total amounts pledged through Kickstarter and the BackerKit unlocking every single stretch goal they had, for a total of over 20 books planned. So far, they've put out the Core Rulebook, a Player's Guide, and a couple of adventure books in print, and the Gamemaster's Guide, Ariadna sourcebook, and Haqqislam sourcebook in pdf. There's also an advance pdf of the PanOceania sourcebook available to backers. If it seems like a small amount of product to have put out in 3 years, that's because absolutely everything written for the fluff has to be approved by the original designer, which slows things down a bit.
I'm a big fan of the miniatures game (Nomads 4 Lyfe), and I like the work Modiphius has done with other lines, so I ended up backing for every book they're making. I'm going to start with the Core Rulebook, plus the extras from the Collector's Edition and the Player's Guide. The Player's Guide, by the way, is just a cut-down copy of the Core Rulebook with all of the fluff taken out, so you can have multiple copies of the rules around the table without shelling out the full Core price. It's a nice move on Modiphius' part, and one they've also done with their other game lines. Since grassy gnoll is currently hitting some of the fluff with his look at the minis game, I'm going to start with the rules, and then go into the RPG fluff, jumping around the order a little. Before I start on the rules, though, I am going to briefly go over the default campaign structure the book assumes.
So, in addition to the Five Nations (Ariadna, Haqqislam, PanOceania, Yu Jing, and the Nomads), there is another major player in the Human Sphere, and that is O-12. Originally founded as a replacement to the outdated United Nations, their integral role in negotiating treaties after several horrific conflicts increased their power to the point where O-12 now serves as a overarching government for all of humanity. Their remit includes such things as basic human rights, and the rules of warfare and what weapons are allowed to be used. O-12 is broken up in to several Bureaus, each handling a different sphere of responsibility.
The default structure assumes everyone is playing agents in service to Bureau Noir, O-12's Secret Service, who recruits agents from across the galaxy. PCs will be working together to complete objectives handed down to them through the Bureau. However, in addition to their public objective, PCs will often have secondary, covert objectives given to them by their previous faction, leading to conflicts between players as everyone tries to secretly complete often-conflicting agendas.
While I appreciate the book providing an option that can make a group made up of multiple factions work together, the Wilderness of Mirrors concept seems like it'd only work if you can get everyone prepared to handle a little antagonism at the table without getting bent out of shape. Nothing prevents you from running a single-faction campaign, though, so it's really just a matter of preference.
Next up: So what is the 2d20 System, anyways?
Part One: How To PlayOriginal SA post
Part One: How To Play
To play Infinity, you'll need d20s and d6s. In addition, Infinity also uses Combat Dice (hereafter referred to as Ns), d6s that have the one, two and six specially marked. When rolled, the one and two are counted normally, while the 6 are Effects that activate special abilities. They also have custom d20s for rolling hit locations, but the book provides a table for using a regular d20 instead. Modiphius, of course, offers complete dice sets in each faction's color.
Characters have 7 Attributes; Agility, Awareness, Brawn, Coordination, Intelligence, Personality and Willpower. There are also 24 skills, each with two ratings: Expertise and Focus. Expertise is a measure of how well they've mastered the skill, while Focus reflects discipline and insight into the skill.
To make a skill test, you determine your target number by adding together the relevant Attribute and the Skill's Expertise rating. The number of successes needed is determined by the difficulty, rated from D0 to D5, with D1 being average. 2d20 are then rolled, and each dice that comes in equal to or less than the target number generates 1 success. If the dice comes in equal to or less than the Skills' Focus rating, it generates an additional success. As long as the successes gained are at least equal to the difficulty number, the test is successful. Extra successes generated beyond what's needed to pass are converted into Momentum, the uses of which will be covered in a bit.
Any dice that come up 20 result in a Complication, making things more difficult. Complications can happen even on successful rolls, but they can never turn a success into failure. Complications are covered in more detail later, but one of the simplest options is for the GM to convert the Complication into 2 Heat, which serves as the GM's answer to Momentum. The complication range can be increased by some factors, for example being completely untrained in a skill.
Simple tests (tests made at D0) do not require a roll, as they are so easy to complete it is automatically successful. However, this also means that the test cannot generate any Momentum whatsoever. A PC can choose to roll dice for a Simple test, taking the normal amount of time and generating Momentum as usual, but also makes the roll subject to Complications.
Face-to-Face tests are used when two people are competing with one another. Each person performs a skill test, with whoever generates the most Momentum winning. Ties break in the direction of whoever has the most Expertise in the skill. By default, the difficulty is set at D0, but the difficulty can be adjusted higher in situations where is possible for both sides to fail. Difficulty adjustments can also be made to individual sides to reflect circumstances affecting each contestant.
If the character's success at a task is assured, but the GM wants to know how long it will take or how well they will succeed, a Complication test is made. The character succeeds regardless of the outcome of the test, but a failure means a complication happens, in addition to any generated by rolling 20s.
If a character is in a situation where they feel they're going to fail the test anyways, they can ask the GM for a failsafe. In return for failing the test voluntarily, and paying the GM 1 Heat, the character receives an Infinity Point, a more powerful version of Momentum, in return.
When the situation calls for it, multiple characters can work together by making a Group test. One person is designated as leader, while the others are assistants. Each assistant must describe how they're assisting in the test, and then roll 1d20. If the leader generates at least one success, any generated by the assistants are added to the total. All complications generated by the assistants and the leader are totaled together.
Complex tests are used when the character is attempting an extended, complicated task. They're a series of basic tests, which continue until the character either spends a certain amount of Momentum or fails a certain number of tests. Progressive tests are almost the same, but every roll that fails to generate a success increases the Difficulty by 1.
Momentum is the resource players use to enhance their successes or increase the likelihood of success. In addition to Momentum resulting from dice rolls, it can also be gained as a bonus from gear or character abilities, but only on a successful roll. Momentum can be spent immediately on the roll that generated it, to increase the quality or scope of the success, or to reduce the time needed.
If not spent right away, Momentum can be banked in a pool shared between players, with a cap of 6 points saved at any one time. At the end of each scene, or each round in an action scene, the pool loses a point of Momentum.
The most common use for Momentum is buying additional dice to roll. Each point buys an extra d20 for a test, up to a total of 5d20 in one roll. It can also be spent to hinder an opponent, increasing the difficulty by 1, 2, or 3. Either of these options must be chosen before the dice are rolled.
There are several additional uses for Momentum, outlined in the various rules chapters that will be covered later. Also of note is that NPCs do not have a Momentum pool; any points that aren't spent right away are converted into Heat for the GM.
Heat is the GM's answer to Momentum, giving them a pool they can use to make things more complicated and difficult for the players. Unlike Momentum, there is no cap on how much Heat the pool can store, and it does not deplete between scenes. The GM starts with 3 Heat per player.
In addition to the starting pool, and anything generated from NPC Momentum or Complications, there a couple other ways to increase Heat. If players are needing Momentum but don't have any available, they can substitute Heat paid into the pool. This can be used for any expenditure of Momentum, but a player is limited to paying 6 Heat a turn during action scenes, or 6 Heat an action during other scenes. PCs are also required to pay Heat to make Reactions during action scenes; 1 point for the first in a round, 2 points for the second, etc. Finally, some locations and enemies are so threatening they add Heat to the pool when they appear.
The main use of Heat is to create Complications, throwing unforeseen difficulties into the path of the PCs. 1 Heat buys a minor Complication, a nuisance that will probably only need a Minor Action to fix. 2 Heat is a standard Complication, the same as if a player had rolled a 20. Standard Complications can involve loss of resources, or inflicted stress, and usually take a Standard Action to fix. Major Complications cost 4 Heat, and are serious issues that require massive effort to overcome, sometimes even causing damage. If the Complication involves one of the PCs traits, the cost is reduced by 1.
A Hazard is a specific type of complication that inflicts damage. The damage is 1+XN, where X is the amount of Heat spent. The number of combat dice rolled is doubled if damage can be avoided with a D2 test, or tripled if it's a D1 test. Additional Heat can be spent to add Qualities and Effects to the damage.
GMs can also spend Heat for NPCs just like PCs spend Momentum. In addition, there are a few other special options GMs have. They can spend Heat as a unit of any of the item resources that exist. Some NPCs have special abilities that require Heat to use. The GM can spend a point to have an NPC interrupt the action order. Finally, Heat can be spent to bring in reinforcements, or to activate environmental effects, such as fog, fire, or bystanders.
Infinity Points are the supercharged version of Momentum, enabling truly outstanding feats. Players start each session with a number of Infinity Points equal to their refresh rate, and can never have more than 5 at a time. In addition to Failsafe tests, players can gain Infinity Points by triggering one of their Traits, spending a point of Momentum or Heat and taking a significant, dramatic action that ties into the Trait. GMs can also award Infinity Points at their discretion for being awesome.
The standout use of Infinity Points is buying a d20 for a test. This d20 is not rolled, but simply placed down as a 1. This means it automatically succeeds, and also counts as a second success if the character has any Skill Focus. Another major use is spending a Point to gain an additional Standard Action on your turn. They can also be used to ignore the effects of Harm for a scene, keep a GM from invoking a Trait for a scene, instantly end a Condition, recover Stress, or even add details to the current scene (with GM approval, of course).
I like how the 2d20 system works. The various pools available to the players and GM give the game a real ebb and flow, ratcheting up the drama as Heat accumulates and letting the players use Momentum and Infinity Points to overcome the obstacles introduced. The only complaint I have off the top of my head is that keeping track of all the different spends can be a bit much at times, and I haven't even covered the various action scene spends yet. It does make me appreciate the Player's Guide as a cheaper option to having to acquire multiple Core Rulebooks for the table.
Next up: Character creation made easy.
THREAD PARTICIPATION BONUS
Throw out some character ideas for me to use, and I'll pick a few to use as I go through character creation.
Part Two: Character CreationOriginal SA post
Alright, so I'm a liiiiittle late with this post, but I had a lot of life shit come at me back at the end of last year, and it's taken some time to get everything sorted out. I'm not giving up on this review yet, though! So, without further ado...
Part Two: Character Creation
Character Creation in Infinity uses a Lifepath system, where you work through various steps of a character's history, building up their Atrributes and Skills in the process. By default, the Lifepath is random, with every thing determined by dice rolls. To keep bad rolls from giving you something you don't want, however, you have 5 Life Points, which you can spend to skip the roll and just choose an option, or to reroll some outcomes. The book also gives the option of skipping rolling altogether, and giving you 12 Life Points to build the exact character you want. Which one you use is up to the GM, natch. Something very cool that Modiphius has done for all the 2d20 games is that they have an online character generator for each one, updated as new books are released. Infinity's is here, if anyone wants to try it for themselves.
There's a couple things covered before creation actually begins. Skills acquired during character creation max out at 3 Expertise and Focus each, unless they're one of your signature skills, in which case the limit is 5. Your Focus in a skill can never be higher than your Expertise. You also have the option to spend a Life Point when offered a list of skills to choose from to instead take any skill.
Skills also have Talents, special tricks you can pick up to enhance your use of that skill. There's a Talent tree for each skill, with an example picture below. You can't pick a Talent without having all the ones above it in the tree. If a step on the Lifepath tells you to take a Talent you already have, you can pick another Talent from the same tree.
Traits are a lot like FATE's Troubles, defining a character's weaknesses that can be used by the GM to create Complications, or by the players to gain Infinity Points. You can pick up Traits several ways during the Lifepath, and at any time you can spend a Life Point to change a trait you have, or add a new one.
Assets are a measure of your character's resources, used to help with the purchase of expensive items. You gain Assets equal to your final Personality score, plus any earned from Events. You also have an Earnings rating, which represents your steady income. Earnings starts at 0, and increases according to your Social Status, Careers, and possible Events. Some options will also give you Debts, which you cannot pay off with your initial Assets.
There are a couple different options for playing non-human or more-than-human characters. Bio- and cyber-tech can be purchased like any other item during the final step of character creation. Bioengineered bodies can be represented by spending Life Points to boost your Attributes. You can even buy specialized synthetic bodies called Lhosts, and you may need to, if your character dies on the Lifepath. (No, seriously) And of course, you can choose to play a nonhuman.
Step One: Birth Host
This step is where you determine your starting Attributes. Everything starts at 7, and you can lower one Attribute down to 6 to raise another one to 8. After that, you can spent Life Points to raise Attributes, up to a maximum of 10. After this, you subtract 7 from each Attribute and note the remainder as your Birth Host modifier. This matters if you switch to a different Lhost later. (Yes, this means you can spend Life Points to beef up your birth body, have a bad roll, and lose everything as you switch to a new host. It sucks.)
This is also the step where you check to see if you're an alien. Roll 1d20, and if you get 19 or 20, congrats, you're an alien! Apply the species template and you're good to go. Well, except for the fact that aliens also have a Life Point Cost. Dogfaces are the only option available in the Core Rulebook, but additional options will be added in relevant sourcebooks.
Step Two: Faction and Heritage
At this point, it's time to determine what faction your character owes their allegiance to. Roll 1d20 and compare it to the table. In addition to Ariadna, Haqqislam, Nomads, Yu Jing, PanOceania, Aleph, and O-12, you can be from one of the Minor Nations on the edge of space. You can also roll Corporation, Submondo (criminal organizations), or Mercenary as your faction, in which case you'll need to roll again until you get one of the nations as your heritage. You can also roll Defection as an option, which means you roll once for your current faction and once for your heritage. You can roll defection multiple times, which means you're terribly disloyal, but the only two you need to know are your initial heritage and final faction. In all other cases, your faction is the same as your heritage.
If you roll or choose ALEPH as your heritage, you have the option of being an ALEPH Aspect or a Recreation. Aspects are fragments of ALEPH that have been given autonomy. If the Aspect's faction is something other than ALEPH, they're renegades, and considered outlaw AIs. There's a few minor tweaks to the process, but otherwise it's pretty much the same. Recreations, as previously mentioned, are simulations of historical figures. When you make a recreation, you roll or choose on the Faction Table to see who ALEPH made you for, and take a 50 Asset debt to that faction. Other than that, everything is treated pretty much the same, with the various results on the Lifepath representing the simulated memories used. The book does point out that the point-buy option is a good way to recreate a specific historical personality.
After you determine your faction, you check the Faction Skills table and get a point of Expertise in each of the skills for your faction. Then, you choose one of the skills to make your first Signature skill. You get a point of Focus in that skill, as well as the first talent in its tree.
Step 3: Homeworld/Homeland
Now you figure out where exactly you grew up. Roll on the table corresponding to your Heritage to determine your birthplace. This will next you +1 to two Attributes and a rank in one Skill, as well as your starting languages. The book notes that there is no common language between the various nations, with the problem mostly sidestepped by everyone's comlogs providing real-time translation services. Better hope no-one hacks your stuff, or you may have a real Tower of Babel situation to deal with.
Step 4: Status
Next we determine what social class and home environment the character comes from. There's one table for Social Class, ranging from actual poverty to ultra-billionaire, and another table for home life, with options like Violent or High Society. One Life Point buys the result of your choice on both tables. Social Class gives a bonus Attribute and determines your starting earnings, while Home Environment gives another bonus Attribute and a bonus Skill.
Step 5: Youth Event
In this step, you roll to determine what major event shaped your youth. It can be anything from witnessing a murder, to parents divorcing, to having your Cube stolen, to straight up dying. While dying isn't as permanent as, say, Traveller, it still sucks and illustrates the fact that some of these results are just plain worse than others. You can spend a Life Point to reroll your initial result, or skip the risk and just use a Life Point to select the result you want.
Step 6: Education
The next step is determining your character's schooling, and this is a pretty big one. Your education will give +2 to an Attribute, +1 to another Attribute, -1 to a third, ranks in 5 mandatory Skills and 2 out of 3 elective Skills, one of which will become your next signature skill, complete with boost and free talent, and some starting equipment. Spending a Life Point to pick your education is possible and a pretty common choice, depending on whether or not you already have a concept.
Step 7: Adolescent Event
It's Youth Event 2: Electric Boogaloo! Once again, you're rolling on a set of tables to determine what life-changing event happened to your character as a teen. This time, the event will affect your character by giving them a Character Trait of some kind, as well as an optional effect you can choose whether or not to use. Like the Youth Event table, these results can range from great to blah to flat-out terrible (-1 to all your Attributes!), although most people will just ignore negative options. Once again, a Life Point will either reroll your event, or just let you pick the one you want.
Step 8: Careers
So, at this point, you have a fresh-faced 18-year old, ready to go out and get a job. That means it's time for careers. This is what a career looks like:
Everyone gets 2 career phases, each career phase consisting of 4 steps.
Step One is selecting a career. The default option is to roll 1d20 and consult a basic career table, possibly rerolling on the table specific to your Faction. If that sounds a little boring, you can spend Life Points in various ways. You can choose your career directly off the basic table, you can skip straight to rolling on your Faction table, or you can spend an LP to switch factions. You can also choose the Unemployed career and get fewer bonuses, in exchange for receiving a Life Point. The final option is to hazard a career, and this is where real power lies. You choose any career that doesn't have a Faction prerequisite and make a D2 skill test using one of the career's mandatory skills. If you pass, you enter that career. If you fail, you go back to your previous career or become Unemployed. The trick is that you can spend Life Points to reduce the Difficulty of the roll, making it simple to get the career of your choice. Unless you're really willing to just let the dice take you where they may, this is a commonly used option.
Step Two is to actually work the career. First, if this is your very first career, you gain the Attribute improvements listed. Then you gain ranks in the mandatory skills and pick two elective skills to gain ranks in. If you have less than 3 Signature skills at this point, pick one of the skills gained to become a Signature skill and gain an additional rank of training. You also pick one of the skills gained and gain a Talent in that skill. Next, you roll the career's Earnings and increase your earnings to match if it's higher. You can also potentially increase or decrease your Social Standing. Finally, gain the equipment listed for your career.
Step Three is, once again, risking life and limb by rolling on an Event table. Results range from gaining traits to being Fired to straight up Dying! It's okay, though, because if you die, you can get a replacement body that gives -1 to all Attributes, or pay a Life Point to get one with no penalties. Have I mentioned how much I dislike these Event tables?
Step Four is to finish your career phase simply by rolling 1d6+1 and adding that to your age. After this, you go back to the beginning and do it all over again for your second career. However, you do have the option to simply stay in your current career, adding skills and talents as before. You don't, however, get duplicates of the gear. If this was your second career phase, you can go back for a third by spending a Life Point. You can do so again for a fourth career phase, too, but not a fifth. If you want to, you can extend a career phase, adding an additional 1d6+1 years and rolling another Event, to represent older characters, but I see no good reason to risk getting fucked over by the Event tables.
Some Events can end up giving your character a Criminal Record, which reduces your Social Standing and Earnings, but lets you switch to the Submondo Faction. Having a Criminal Record makes getting into some careers easier, while others will require Life Point expenditures. Also, when you receive a Criminal Record, you have to hazard your current career, or you're Fired. Being Fired means you can't do that career again without spending 2 Life Points and losing an Earnings. Finally, if you end up rolling on another Faction's career table for some reason, you run the risk of defecting to that Faction, with a 1 on a d20 signifying you flipped.
There are 39 careers, including the barely-a-carrer Unemployed, ranging from scientists to hackers to mech pilots to TV stars. The variety is both good and bad, in my opinion. It's nice to have a wide variety of character options, but all of the options being randomly chosen means it can be tricky to put together a cohesive party if you're going with something other than the base assumption of 'disparate elements thrown together'. I guess that's what spending Life Points during the career phases is for.
Step 9: Final Customization
The last step in character creation, here is where you spend any remaining Life Points if you randomly rolled, as well as round your character out a little. Your Infinity Point refresh rate is set to two, you get two points to spend on increasing Attributes, you can increase two skills you have no points in, and you get one more Talent. You also get Assets equal to your Personality, plus anything you've earned during Event rolls. You can then spend LPs on increasing your Infinity Point refresh rate, gaining more Assets or Skills, or learning more languages. After that, you determine your character's stress tracks and bonus damage from Attributes, spend your Assets to buy extra gear, and you're good to go!
The chapter talks a little about setting up relationships between players, providing a handy random table to roll on to find connecting links. It also has some advice about working with the GM to determine what your handler is like if you're playing in the default Wilderness of Mirrors campaign. Finally, there's a section devoted to your Geist. Geists are semi-intelligent programs that act as personal assistants, and everyone (who's not a backwater Ariadnan) has had one since they were little. They're basically a secondary character everyone has, and you're given a small pool of points to customize the basic Geist template. The section suggests the option of having Geists played by the player on your left, ala Wraith's Shadowguides, if you don't want people talking to themselves a lot.
The chapter winds up with quick advancement rules, and that's it!
Next up: Now to make some characters.
Part Two.Five: Sample Character CreationOriginal SA post
Part Two.Five: Sample Character Creation
Alright, now let's make a party. For examples from the thread,
Werewolf political activist.
Go for L.L.Zamenhoff ,A personal favourite of mine and a staunch pacifist.
Are neat ideas I like, and will be useful for demonstrating some of the nonphysical conflict systems. I'll throw in a random shooty character for contrast.
* * *
Not going to do anything with her Attributes here, but I am going to pay 3 LP to make her a Dogface. This doesn't change her Attributes, but it does give her claws, super-smelling, and the chance to hulk out when she takes a Wound.
LP Remaining: 9
As a Dogface, they're automatically Ariadnan, and receive ranks in Survival and Medicine. I'll choose Survival for their Signature skill, giving them a point of Focus and the Self-Sufficient talent.
LP Remaining: 9
I decide our Dogface hails from the region of Caledonia (1 LP), giving +1s to Agility and Brawn, a point of Resistance Expertise, and after a quick roll for the secondary langauge, English(Scots) and English(American) for speaking. ('Lady, I only know two languages, English and bad English!')
LP Remaining 8
Our poor Scottish Dogface had a rough upbringing, falling in the Underclass social status and living a Frontier Life (1 LP). This sets her base earnings at 1, gives bonuses to Willpower and Brawn, and a rank of Resistance Focus.
LP Remaining 7
Even as a wee lass, our Dogface was politically aware, and so we choose Involved in Dog Nation protests as her youth event.
LP Remaining 6
Rural/Colonial Education would make sense for her, but I'm going to say she managed to get a Creative Education instead, honing her powers of persusaion. This gets her +2 Per, +1 Wil, -1 Bra, Expertise 1 in Discipline, Education, Lifestyle, Observation, Persuade, Analysis, and Tech, as well as making Persuade her second Signature skill for an additional point of Expertise and the Charismatic Talent. For equipment she gets a cosmetics kit and a recorder.
LP Remaining 5
For the Adolescence Event, I figure her youthful Protests went too far, and she ended up doing 3 years in jail for violent action, earning herself a Criminal Record.
LP Remaining 4
First Career Phase
Fresh out of jail and a little wiser, our Dogface decides to attack the problem from another angle, hazarding the career of Investigative Journalist. Spending a Life Point brings the Difficulty down to 1, and she easily succeeds at a Persuade roll. She gains +2 Agi, Awa, Coo, and Per, and +1 Int and Wil. Her Persuade Focus increases to 1, her Stealth, Hacking, and Thievery Expertise increases to 1, and her Observation Expertise increases to 2. Hacking becomes her final Signature skill, with another Expertise bump, and she gains the Equivocator Talent. Her gear is a set of AR Eye Implants, an Analysis Suite, and a Breaking & Entering Kit. For the career Event, I decided to have something nice happen to her and she was lucky enough to gain 5 Assets.
LP Remaining 2
Second Career Phase
She continues as an Investigative Journalist, gathering more skill ranks and the Hacker talent. This time, however, her career Event is that she is Fired, and will have to find a new job.
LP Remaining 1
Third Career Phase
Spending her final Life Point to go for a third career phase, our Dogface decides to go big and hazard Politician. Despite the D2 skill test, she makes it handily and slides into her new office in style. More skills are had, the Professional Talent is picked up, and some extra equipment is grabbed. Now comes the tricky part, we have no more LP to spend on the career events, so it's going to be rolled randomly. We get... another Criminal Record! Luckily, she passes the skill test to remain in her career, so she weathers the scandal.
LP Remaining 0
We spend our Attribute points on increasing Personality and Willpower, and our Skill ranks on Acrobatics and Athletics. We grab Tricks of the Trade as one last Talent, and that's it for her!
Werewolf Activist posted:
Host Body: Dogface
Birth Place: Caledonia
Social Class: Middle(Starting Underclass)
Home Environment: Frontier Life
Youth Event: Involved in Dog Nation Protests
Education: Creative Education
Adolesence Event: Involved in Serious Crime
Trait: Criminal Record, 3 Years Jail
Career 1: Investigative Journalist 6 Years
Career Event: Lucky Day, 5 Assets
Career 2: Investigative Journalist 1 Year
Career Event: Fired
Career 3: Politician 7 Years
Career Event: Criminal Record
Agility 10(Acrobatics 1, Stealth 2), Awareness 9(Analysis 1, Observation 2:1, Survival* 1:1, Thievery 1), Brawn 8(Athletics 1, Resistance 1:1), Coordination 9, Intelligence 8(Education 2, Hacking* 2:1, Medicine 1, Psychology 1, Tech 1), Personality 12(Command 1, Lifestyle 2, Persuade* 3:2), Willpower 11(Discipline 2)
Self-Sufficient, Charismatic, Equivocator, Hacker, Tricks of the Trade, Professional
Recorder, Cosmetics Kit, Analysis Suite, Breaking & Entering Kit, AR Eye Implants, Stims x3, Negotiation Suite (3 days rental)
* * *
Not much to do here. No Attribute shifts, no alien body.
LP Remaining: 12
We'll say the good doctor was recreated for O-12 (1 LP), so he gets a fat 50 Asset debt to them and the Education and Persuade skills. We'll choose to make Education his first Signature skill, giving him the Disciplined Student talent and a point of Focus.
LP Remaining: 11
Zamenhof comes from Concilium (1 LP), so he speaks English and German, has +1 Intelligence and Personality, and another point in Persuade.
LP Remaining: 10
We'll rate Zamenhof's Social Class as Middle, and his Home Environment as Happy Home, giving him more Willpower and Personality, as well as another point in Education.
LP Remaining: 9
To match with his polyglot ways, Zamenhof learns a new language (Turkish) as his Youth Event.
LP Remaining 8
Our boy had a Scientific Education, no doubt. Pluses to Int and Awa, minus to Per, points in Education, Lifestyle, Medicine, Pilot, Tech, and Science, and Medicine as the new signature skill, with the Physician Talent.
LP Remaining 7
Zamenhof started his Esperanto project at a young age, so we'll say our Recreation worked on something similar and gained some media attention for it, gaining 5 Assets.
LP Remaining 6
First Career Phase
Zamenhof, naturally, is a doctor, and goes straight for the Medical career. +2 Awa, Coo, Int, and Wil, +1 Agi and Per, ranks in Medicine, Athletics, Psychology, Discipline, and Survival. Psychology becomes his final Signature skill, and he picks up the Emergency Doctor Talent. His career Event is, what else, learning more languages, gaining 3 (Vietnamese, Spanish, and Hindi).
LP Remaining 4
Second Career Phase
Second verse, same as the first. More skills, Field Dressing Talent, 2 more languages (Russian and Portuguese).
LP Remaining 3
Third Career Phase
One more time! Skills, Counsellor Talent, Event is earning a promotion, increasing Earnings by 1.
LP Remaining 1
Both our Attribute Points go into Willpower, with skill ranks in Acrobatics and Extraplanetary, and the Remote Analyst Talent. This character has a Geist, so we drop a point into the Geist's Int and Wil, and ranks in Analysis and Hacking to shore up some gaps. He's all done!
Zamenhof Recreation posted:
Host Body: Human
Birth Place: Concilium
Social Class: Upper(Starting Middle)
Home Environment: Happy Home
Youth Event: Learned a New Language
Education: Scientific Education
Adolesence Event: Prodigy, Media Darling
Career 1: Medical 2 Years
Career Event: Roving Specialist
Career 2: Medical 2 Years
Career Event: Roving Specialist
Career 3: Medical 2 Years
Career Event: Promotion
Agility 8(Acrobatics 1), Awareness 10(Extraplanetary 1, Survival 1:1), Brawn 7(Athletics 2:1), Coordination 9(Pilot 1), Intelligence 12(Education* 2:2, Medicine* 3:3, Psychology* 3:1, Science 1, Tech 1), Personality 9(Animal Handling 1, Lifestyle 1, Persuade 2), Willpower 12(Discipline 2:1)
Disciplined Student, Physician, Emergency Doctor, Field Dressing, Counsellor, Remote Analyst
Analytical Kit (w/ 5 Reagents), Sensor Suite, Armored Clothing, MediKit (w/ 5 Serum), Basic Medical Supplies, Geist, 50 Asset Debt
English, German, Turkish, Hindi, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Portuguese
* * *
Since this is getting hella long, I'm just gonna throw in the completed stat block for our shooty guy.
Joe Q Random posted:
Host Body: Human
Birth Place: Caravanserai
Social Class: Upper
Home Environment: Happy Home
Youth Event: Family Member Cube Corrupted
Education: Military Training
Adolesence Event: Friend Died in a Hull Breach
Trait: Vacuum Phobia
Career 1: Military 4 Years
Career Event: Minor Maya Star
Career 2: Military 1 Year
Career Event: Dating a Wealthy Lover
Trait: Vulnerable Lover
Career 3: Special Forces 5 Years
Career Event: Lucky Day
Career 4: Special Forces 3 Years
Career Event: They're On To You
Agility 11(Acrobatics* 2:1, Close Combat 2:2), Awareness 9(Extraplanetary 1:1, Observation 1, Survival 2:1), Brawn 11(Athletics 2:1, Resistance 2), Coordination 10(Ballistics 3:3, Pilot 1, Spacecraft 1), Intelligence 8(Education 1:1, Hacking 1, Medicine* 1:1, Tech 2:1), Personality 8(Command 1), Willpower 10(Discipline 2)
Physician, Marksman, Cear Shot, Precise Shot, Sturdy, Stubborn, Graceful
Armored Clothing, Pistol, Medium Combat Armor, Rifle, AP Rifle, 9 Standard Reloads, Garrote, Combat Jump Pack, Stims x3, Geist
* * *
And there's our band of brave examples, all rolled up and ready to go.
Next up: What do all these Skills and Talents do, anyways?
Part Three: Skills and TalentsOriginal SA post
Part Three: Skills and Talents
So, as discussed before, Skills come in two parts, Expertise and Focus. Expertise is mastery of the skill, while Focus is deeper insight or innate genius. Skills also come with Talents, little tricks and uncommon expressions of the skill developed by specialists. They're a lot like Exalted's charms, except most of them don't require any sort of resource expenditure, simply being active all the time.
Acrobatics handles jumping, tumbling, and other whole-body movements, as well as dodging enemy attacks. The Talent tree starts with a reroll, and then splits into three branches. One enhances dodging attacks, one makes it easier to clamber over obstacles and through hindering terrain, and the third enhances jumping and falling, including jumping out of the way of area attacks.
Analysis covers all forms of data handling, as well as code-breaking and other pattern recognition. The Talent tree starts, again, with a reroll, and then branches out four ways. One branch reduces difficulty in breaking codes and ciphers, while another assists in detecting biological warfare and similar threats. The third tree lets characters substitute Analysis for Observation, as well as notice enemy advantages. The final branch improves data analysis, both alone and with assistants.
Animal Handling is for care and feeding of any domesticated animals, use of riding mounts, and placating wild animals. The first Talent in the tree rolls additional dice on a success, giving chances at extra success. The branches of the tree cover riding animals, the care and feeding of your animal companions, and training and interacting with animals.
The counterpoint to Acrobatics, Athletics is strength and endurance, including running, climbing, lifting and breaking obstacles. The starting Talent grants bonus Momentum on Athletics tests. One branch enhances swimming, while another increases climbing ability. The final branch aids with feats of strength as well as melee combat.
Ballistics is the pew pew skill, as well as weapons maintenance. The opening Talent gives rerolls on damage dice based on the number of Talents you have. One branch of the tree improves drawing and reloading your gun, culminating in making multiple attacks against one opponent easier. Another tree increases the ease of hitting multiple targets with an attack, while the final increases accuracy at different ranges and making precise shots.
Cose Combat is the sister skill to Ballistics, and like Ballistics, the Talents start with a damage dice reroller. One branch of the tree enhances blocking, including learning a riposte ability. Another improves drawing your melee weapon (which crosses over with the same talent in the Ballistics tree) and gives the ability to parry bullets. The final tree boosts Momentum spends in melee combat.
Command measures how a character can manipulate groups of people, particularly those of lower rank or caste. The Talent tree starts, as usual, with a reroll, and then splits into three branches. One branch gives those following the character extra soak against social attacks, while another lets you substitute Command for Observation when dealing with crowds of people and provides rerolls for others working with the character. The final tree increases the character's ability to make social attacks, and even have other characters take attacks for them.
A character calls upon Discipline to resist fear, coercion, and other social attacks. After the ubiquitous reroll Talent, the branches increase defense against social attacks in various ways. Extra soak, extra social HP, and bonuses to dice rolls all feature, as well as reduced difficulty in recovering from attacks.
Education is a general catch-all skill, covering history, politics, and knowledge of foreign places. Like Animal Handling, the first Talent gives bonus dice on a successful roll. Branches give bonuses to knowing trivia and current events, specializing in certain knowledge, and conducting research on any topic, as well as hiding the fact that you are doing the research.
Anyone familiar with outer space will have ranks in the Extraplanetary skill, which covers zero-g survival, as well as survival on worlds without habitable atmospheres. It's noted that characters attempting Acrobatics, Athletics, or Close Combat rolls in such environments have their skills capped by the Extraplanetary skill. The tree starts with a reroll Talent, then branches out into three paths. One branch substitutes Extraplanetary for Stealth in alien environments. Another branch increases resistance to suffocation and radiation, while the last gives bonus d20s, gives a chance to avoid using up oxygen Loads, and eliminates penalties for working in non-Earth gravities.
Hacking covers all advanced computer usage, and forms the backbone of the Infowar rules. The first Talent lets a character reroll damage dice for hacking attacks. The following branches give a reroll, bonuses to making Fake IDs and remote hacks, increasing the ease of hitting multiple targets, and improving the hackers own defense.
When it comes to buying things, fitting in with other social classes, and a general measure of someone's status and social influence, you want Lifestyle. As usual, the Talents start with a reroll. Later Talents increase a character's Earnings, assist with making bribes, help blend in to different social classes, and build up contacts and black market sources.
Medicine covers the whole gamut of biology, anatomy, and short- and long-term care. After the reroll Talent, there's a branch for operating on one's self, a branch for assisting another doctor, and a series of Talents improving various aspects of the character's skill at treating wounds.
Observation is the skill of noticing things. Checking for ambush, searching for clues, and knowing something is out of place is all covered by this. The branches of the Talent tree after the reroll cover detecting ambushes, having a perfect sense of direction, having an improved or near-perfect memory, or general improved senses.
Like Hacking is the backbone of Infowar, Persuade is the driving force behind the Psywar rules, covering intimidation, seduction, and deception. After the reroll, the Talents split into four branches, equating to better intimidating, lying, seducing, and haggling.
Unless it's a space ship, Pilot is what makes it go. Talents beyond the reroll include boosting ground vehicle usage, boosting watercraft usage, piloting while damaged, ramming other vehicles, working past a vehicle's limits, and using Pilot to shoot airborne vehicle weapons.
Psychology serves not only as the social equivalent of Medicine, but also serves in assessing social interactions. The reroll Talent leads into multiple trees that enhance the ability to provide aid to shaken and broken characters, a Talent for working with alien species, and a general ability to detect lies.
Resistance covers general hardiness and enduring damage and drugs. Beyond the reroll, Talents cover things such as increasing recovery speed, using drugs or alcohol to sub Resistance for Discipline, and resisting the negative effects of the aforementioned drugs and alcohol.
Another catchall knowledge skill is Science, covering everything from mathematics to botany to wormhole topography. The reroll leads into Talents making checks easier, providing bonus momentum, specializing in a particular branch, and substituting Science for Education, Tech, or Medicine in certain situations.
Spacecraft covers all vehicles outside of an atmosphere, although the detailed rules for Spacecraft actually don't show up until the Gamemaster's Guide. Most of the Talents beyond the reroll allow for substituting Spacecraft for various skills, along with a difficulty reducer.
Stealth not only covers physical concealment, but hiding your presence online, or disguising the source of social attacks. It also covers other methods of discretion, such as camouflage or disguises. Talents include a reroll as well as improving physical concealment, technological concealment, disguises, and camouflage.
Wilderness skills are handled under Survival, from finding food to following tracks. Talents other than the reroll include specializing in a particular environment and learning to substitute Surival for Animal Handling and Stealth in that environment, improving your tracking skills, and the ability to locate useful supplies.
While Science is mostly theoretical knowledge, Tech is the applied side, covering repair and design. There's a reroll Talent, then Talents covering explosives handling, designing new equipment, and various improvements to making repairs.
Finally, Thievery covers a wide swathe of less-than-legal activities, as well as knowledge of how criminals operate and the ways of the criminal underground. Naturally, there's a reroll Talent, as well as Talents covering various thiefly arts, as well as interacting with criminals.
And that's it, all 24 skills.
Next up: Time to get to the meat of the system
Part Four: Rules of ActionOriginal SA post
Alright, so I'm a little behind on getting this out. But it's not dead yet!
(Previous posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)
Part Four: Rules of Action
So, Infinity splits up the action rules into separate modules. The main three in the corebook are Warfare (physical combat), Infowar (hacking), and Psywar (social combat), as well as a section on Vehicles. Later books add in further modules, such as mass combat or spaceship combat. The idea is that all of these modules can be used concurrently, and GMs will mix and match them to create memorable setpieces. The modules have some rules in common, however, and that's what this chapter covers.
Scenes are divided into rounds, representing an amount of time based on the type of action sequence being played out. During a round, each character gets a turn, starting with all of the PCs, followed by any NPCs. The GM also has the option of spending 1 Heat stick an NPCs turn in before a PCs. During a turn, characters can take a Standard Action, a Minor Action, and a Free Action. Standard Actions are usually anything that requires a Skill Test, as well as other actions that take up most of a character's attention. Minor Actions are actions that take some focus, such as moving. Free Actions are anything that could be resolved with little effort, time, or focus. Standard Actions can be exchanged for a Minor Action, and Minor Actions can be exchanged for any number of Free Actions. Characters also have Reactions, triggered by enemies' or allies' actions. Characters can take any number of Reactions, but they cost an increasing amount of Heat: 1 Heat for the first, 2 for the second, etc.
There are 4 ways to attack a target: Melee, Ranged, Infowar(hacking), and Psywar(social). Each attack method has a designated skill used, a range band they operate in, and a damage type. All attacks are Standard Actions, made as D1 tests. If the target decides to perform a Defence Reaction, the test instead becomes a Face-to-Face test, with the defender using the appropriate skill. Physical attacks, if they hit, hit a random body part determined by rolling on a table or rolling special Hit Location dice available, or you can spend 2 Momentum to choose the location struck.
A successful attack inflicts damage. Damage is a combination of a fixed value and a number of Ns. The base damage is modified by various bonuses or penalties, such as extra Ns for having a high rating in the associated Attribute. After adding everything together, roll all of the Ns and add the result to the fixed value for the final damage amount. If any Effects are rolled, all qualities triggered by Effects will activate. The defender then applies their Soak to reduce the damage. Soak comes in two forms, persistent and conditional. Persistent Soak is a fixed value, while conditional Soak is determined by rolling Ns. Soak can reduce the damage of an attack to zero.
Any remaining damage after Soak is applied is subtracted from a character's Stress. Each damage type has its own Stress track. Damage is considered incidental unless 5 or more points of damage are inflicted with a single attack, or if the damage brings the character's Stress to zero. If either of these occurs, the character suffers a Harm, or two Harm if both occur. Harm represents serious injuries, and each Harm suffered also inflicts an additional negative effect, determined by the person who inflicted the Harm. Each type of Harm has a list of example negative effects in their respective chapter. 4 Harm os a single type is considered incapacitating, with additional negative effects depending on the type of Harm. NPCs can suffer fewer Harm before being taken out; Troopers have a limit of 1, Elites have a limit of 2, while Nemeses take harm as PCs.
There are multiple ways to recover from damage. Each Harm suffered increases the difficulty of that type of test by 1. Recovery tests represent a character's natural healing, or the self-repair programs of electronic devices. A recovery test can be made during an action scene to recover Stress, or you can spend Momentum or Infinity points to recover 1 or all stress of a particular type respectively. Outside of action scenes, resting for one hour allows for a D1 recovery test for each type of Stress, recovering everything on a success. Doubling the time spent resting reduces the difficulty by 1, to a minimum of D1. Recovering Harm must be done one at a time for each type of Harm, with a D1 test that removes a single Harm if successful. This test takes one day if they are suffering from a single Harm, or a week if they are suffering 2 or more. If a character is suffering multiple types of Harm, they can make recovery tests for each type simultaneously. Momentum can be spent to heal additional Harm during these tests. Treat tests represent professional assistance in fixing damage. Characters can use treat tests to assist characters making recovery tests. During an action scene, a treat test can be made to remove a Harm Effect, but not the Harm itself. Finally, a character can make a D1 treat test to remove one Harm from a patient plus an additional Harm for every Momentum spent. Treat tests made by a character on themselves increase the Difficulty by 1.
The game has various conditions that can affect character during action scenes. While the names may suggest more physical impairments, many conditions can apply in any of the three action modules. Bleeding inflicts random damage that ignores soak at the end of each turn. Burning is similar to Bleeding, but it also inflicts mental damage. Blind and Deafened inflict mental damage in addition to increasing test difficulties. Checked, Hindered, and Stuck all affect character's movement. Dazed, Fatigued, Helpless, Staggered, and Unconscious either increase the difficulty of actions or forbid certain actions. Marked makes it easier to attack an enemy, and Prone makes it more difficult.
Stealth in Infinity can apply to any of the three action modules. Sneaking up on an enemy with knife in hand is treated much the same way as launching a covert hacking attack, or subtly tearing down a person's confidence. At it's core, stealth is handled with three different character states. Revealed is the default state; other people can see them, they can be reacted to normally. Detected means the enemy can't see them, but has a general idea that they are there and where they are. You can attack and react to Detected characters, but the difficulty is increased by 2. Finally, Hidden characters are those the enemy cannot perceive or know they're there. You cannot attack or make Reactions against a Hidden character. The test used for stealth, a D1 Stealth test, is also known as a stealth state test. Any time a stealth state test is failed, the character's stealth state decreases by one step (Hidden>Detected>Revealed). Opponents can make stealth state tests a Face-to-Face test as a Reaction, or use a Standard action on their turn to force a Face-to-Face test. Any time a stealth state test fails, opponents can spend Momentum to move the character directly to Revealed. Stealth state test difficulty can also be modified by environmental factors, or assisted by other characters making distractions.
To become Hidden, a Minor Action and a stealth state test is required. Once concealed, the character's actions are divided into three categories, as determined by the GM. Silent actions do not affect the stealth state. Sneaky actions require a Free Action stealth state test after being performed. Noisy actions allow opponents to make a D0 Observation test to reduce the character's stealth state by one, and also allow for Reactions to attempt to further reduce stealth. Characters can spend Momentum to make actions stealthier. Attacking from stealth makes the Exploit action easier and possible as a Free Action.
Surprise scenarios, such as ambush, betrayal, or Mexican standoffs, are handled by Face-to-Face tests. Each side nominates a leader who will make the test, while everyone else assists. Each character on the winning side gains 1 Momentum and automatically acts first at the beginning of combat. If appropriate, they are also considered to be in a Hidden stealth state.
Rounding off the chapter is a short table of Momentum spends applicable to any of the action modules. Each individual module chapter will have further options for Momentum.
And that's the basic action rules. It's nice that everything is standardized across the different modules, so you don't have to remember weird little minigames for each type of action. There are, of course, exceptions and corner cases, especially when getting into Infowar and Psywar, but overall it's pretty similar.
Next up: Reach out and shoot someone
Part Five: WarfareOriginal SA post
Part Five: Warfare
Now that we have the basic rules for action scenes, we can focus on the first module, Warfare, for physical conflict.
Instead of using grid maps or measured distances, the Infinity RPG abstracts the environment into zones. Zones are based on the terrain and composition of the battlefield, with no set size or shape for each zone. Characters can move within and between these zones as they take their turns.
Range is similarly abstracted, divided into five categories. Range also determines what action is needed to move that far. You can only perform one movement action per turn.
- Reach is anything within arm's length. You have to be within Reach of something to attack it in close combat or interact with it via touch. You can move within Reach of something as part of any movement action that ends in the same zone. Moving out of Reach is trickier, requiring a specific action.
- Close range is the same zone as the character. At Close range, characters can converse normally. Moving around within Close range is a Free action.
- Medium range is any zone adjacent to the current zone. Talking to someone at Medium range requires shouting or some sort of comms device. It requires a Minor action to move within Medium range.
- Long range is two zones away from the current zone. At Long range or longer, it is impossible to communicate with someone without a comms device. It takes your Standard action to move Long range.
- Finally, Extreme range is anything three or more zones away, and you cannot move to Extreme range under normal circumstances.
Some attacks have a set range and can only be used at that Range. Other attacks, mostly ranged weapons, have an optimal range. Attacks made outside the optimal range suffer +1 Difficulty for each range band. This does include ranges closer than optimal. Observation tests are also affected by range, with Medium range increasing the Difficulty by 1, Long by 2, and Extreme by 3.
Combat Zone Effects
Of course, not every zone is going to be empty. Terrain effects add character and individuality to a zone, and make the battlefield more dynamic.
- Cover benefits anyone within Reach of it, giving a +2N bonus to armor if light cover, or a +4N bonus if heavy cover. Cover can be degraded by any hit that does 10 more damage about the cover's Soak value.
- Difficult Terrain makes moving into, out of, or within the zone require an Acrobatics or Athletics test. Failure means the movement is stopped. If the test is D1 or higher, movement cannot be performed as a Free action.
- Disappearing Zones are pieces of terrain that are going to vanish for some reason. The disappearance can be based on a timer or on player's actions. Anyone in the zone when it disappears is moved to another zone, and suffers any consequences the GM deems fit.
- Gravity Zones affect the difficulty of certain tests. Anyone performing an Acrobatics, Athletics, or Close Combat test in nonstandard gravity has their Expertise and Focus capped at that of their Extraplanetary skill. High gravity increases the Difficulty of Acrobatics, Athletics, and Close Combat skills by 1. Low gravity reduces the Difficulty of Athletics and Acrobatics tests by 1. Zero gravity changes the movement options available.
- Hazardous Terrain is similar to Difficult Terrain with additional consequences for failure, such as damage.
- Obstacles are also similar to Difficult Terrain, but only exist at the boundary between two zones. Obstacles may be more or less difficult depending on what zone you're encountering them from.
- Saturation Zones are similar to cover, but affect any shots going into or passing through the zone.
- Visibility Zones obscure sight. Low Visibility increases Difficulty of vision tests by 1, Poor Visibility increases Difficulty by 2, and Zero Visibility Zones block all sight, granting an appropriate stealth state.
Examples of common combat zones include aquatic terrain (Difficult Terrain, with a complication causing the character to begin to drown), crowds (a combination of Difficult Terrain and Saturation Zone, with rules for panicking crowds if someone is shot), radiation and vacuum (Hazardous Terrain), vertical terrain (Difficult Terrain, with complication on a failure resulting in falling), and white noise (Zero Visibility Zone for high-tech visual aids).
Warfare Actions and Reactions
In addition at attacks and movement, there are several specific actions that can be taken during Warfare scenes. Many of these actions are also usable in Infowar and Psywar, and will be referenced later.
- Absterge(Minor): Make a recovery test to end a condition affecting them.
- Assist(Standard): Assist another character with a skill test.
- Brace(Standard): Remove penalties for using an Unwieldy weapon.
- Draw Item(Minor): Pull out a weapon or item on their person, or pick up item within Reach.
- Drop Item(Free): Drop a single item to a place within Reach.
- Drop Prone(Free): Drop to the ground and gain the benefits of the Prone condition. Characters cannot Drop Prone and Stand on the same turn.
- Exploit(Standard): Prep your next action, making an appropriate D1 test for the purpose of generating Momentum. If the next action is an attack, it gains Piercing 2.
- Ready(Standard): Declare a Standard action and a triggering event. When the event occurs, interrupt the performing character's turn to perform the declared action.
- Recover(Standard): Make a recovery test to heal Stress.
- Speak(Free): Simple communication. Cannot be used to make a Psywar attack or any verbal action that requires a skill test.
- Stand(Minor): Stop being Prone.
- Swap Ammo(Minor): Change ammo types in your weapon.
- Treat(Standard): Make a treat test to remove a Harm effect.
- Withdraw(Standard): Move to any point in Close range our of Reach of an enemy without prompting Retaliate reactions.
There are also several standard Reactions for Warfare scenes.
- Covering Fire: Spend a Reload from your weapon to increase the Difficulty of an attack made against a specific ally by 1.
- Defence: Turn an attack into a Face-to-Face test.
- Guard: Make a D2 test to become the target of an attack against an ally.
- Retaliate: Make a melee attack against a character moving out of Reach or performing a non-attack skill test.
- Return Fire: Make a ranged attack against the character attacking them, with both resolved simultaneously.
Warfare Wound Effects and Momentum
The chapter closes out with sample Wound effects and additional Momentum spends for Warfare.
- Bleeding: The target gains the Bleeding condition.
- Cripple: The target suffers +1 Difficulty on all Brawn, Agility, or Coordination based actions.
- Dazed: The character is Dazed, or Staggered if they were already dazed.
- Horrific Wound: The character suffers mental damage.
- Knockout: The character must make a Resistance test or be knocked Unconscious.
So this chapter was pretty short, since it was just building on the basic rules from the previous chapter. I do like how zones are handled; it lets you pull maps or floor plans from just about anything and then quickly break up the terrain into a gameable state. There are a lot of things to keep track of, between available actions and Momentum spends, and that's only going to get worse as we add in Infowar and Psywar, but I'm a fan of crunch so it doesn't bother me. (And it's still less to keep track of than the miniatures game.)
Next up: Hacking and You
Part Six: InfowarOriginal SA post
Part Six: Infowar
In the future of Infinity, almost everything is designed to interface with the datasphere. This means hacking can affect almost anything, making it a powerful tool for characters. In game terms, anything that possesses a Firewall rating can be affected by the hacking rules. In some cases, when there is little resistance or danger, a simple Hacking test can be enough to access the device or network in question. For more complex or dangerous hacks, the full Infowar rules are available. These can either be used as part of a Warfare scene, hacking characters within physical range, or remotely hacking into a network, where the conflict takes place using quantronic zones.
Like Warfare, Infowar uses zones to represent the battlefield; in this case, the network the hacker is attempting to access. Each zone provides access to the files and programs in that zone, just like being in a physical zone provides access to objects in that area. Some objects will have their own Firewall values, and will need to be hacked to access and control them.
Range and movement for quantronic zones are treated the same as physical zones, although most quantronic actions can only be taken at Reach or Close range. (It is possible to extend your reach with repeaters, physical or digital objects that let you act as if you were in a different zone.) "Line of Sight" in quantronic zones is limited to the zone you're in, plus zones up to your Analysis Expertise steps away. Secured zones block line of sight without authentication. Stealth in quantronic zones is countered using the Analysis skill instead of Observation.
Locating a Target
The first step, of course, is to identify the target. This may require skill tests to figure out exactly where to go to get what you want. After the target is identified, further research can be done in the form of additional skill tests, to generate extra Momentum for the run. These tests can be anything from regular research to social engineering to physical infiltration. The Momentum generated can also be spent to gain additional info on the target, or to acquire authentication for the network. Next it's time to enter the target, via an access point. This is usually a zone the character has physical access to, or simply the easiest zone to access remotely. If the GM is using a preset network, it will usually have one or more access points marked. If there isn't a premade network, the GM can approximate one by assigning the target a Security Rating to determine the number of zones between it and the access point, and then modifying it by distance and a D0 Hacking or Analysis test from the player.
A character's authentication in a system will determine what kind of actions they can do without having to make Hacking tests or inflicting Breaches. Authentication can apply to specific zones, and allow characters to ignore zone effects.
- User accounts have limited access, being able to access some programs and data, but not to alter the system.
- Superuser/Security accounts have much more access, able to make User accounts and control security features and other programs.
- Admins have complete control, able to make and alter quantronic zone effects.
There are multiple methods of authentication available. Knowledge factors include passcodes, security questions, or even specific images or snippets of music. Ownership factors include keycards, RFID chips, and other physical objects. Biometric factors use something inherent to the user, such as DNA sequencing or retinal scans. Cube scans take biometric verification a step further and require checking the subject's thoughts and personality. Multiple options can be combined for two-factor authentication.
There are several ways to gain authentication. For knowledge and ownership factors, the easiest option may be to simply steal the required object or data. Other factors might be replicated through technology. Infiltrating the target organization may allow a character to gain legal authentication as well. To spoof a target's authentication, a character can attempt a Hacking or Tech test, depending on the procedure used, or simply inflict a Breach on the target. Authentication can also be gained by hacking the server directly, as a Breach effect. When authentication is gained, it starts with a Quality of 0, which can be improved with Momentum. The Quality rating adds d20s to any Stealth tests made in the system.
Quantronic Zone Effects
In addition to the zone effects specific to quantronic zones, GMs can use many of the zone effects from the Warfare chapter with a little creative explanation. Terrain tests for quantronic zones would use Hacking, Tech, or Analysis, depending on how the effect is overcome.
- Data Flux Camouflage: An entire zone can be hidden from sight, requiring a D1 Observation test to perceive.
- Data Tunnel: a secure connection from one zone to another. Can be accessed with a D1 Hacking test. Can be used even if the destination zone is secured.
- Highsec: Grants security Soak to authenticated characters. Commercial provides +2N, Military provides +4N. Can be subverted with a D1 Hacking test to gain the Soak value.
- Intrusion Countermeasures: Attached to a zone, these programs prevent movement into, out of, or within without a successful Hacking test, with the Difficulty based on the strength of the program. Depending on the type of IC, failure can have other effects as well. IC is often hidden, requiring an Analysis test to detect.
- Secured Zone: Secured zones cannot be entered by anyone lacking proper authentication. Such zones have a Firewall, and a successful Breach cancels the effect.
Quantronic zone effects can be concealed with a D2 Hacking test. On a success, the effect is hidden with a Difficulty modifier of 0, which can be raised or lowered with Momentum or complications. Finding the hidden effect requires a character to scan the zone and make a D0 Analysis test modified by the Difficulty modifier. Success allows the character to see the effect. Zone effects can also be created on the fly, with the Hacking test varying by zone effect. The same Difficulty can be tested against to destroy zone effects, although enemy hackers can turn it into a Face-to-Face test with a Reaction.
Infowar Actions and Reactions
The following Warfare actions and reactions can be used during Infowar: Absterge, Assist, Defence, Exploit, Guard, Ready, Recover, Treat, and Withdraw. There are also a few Infowars-specific options.
- Access Sytem/Terminate Connection(Standard): Accessing a system must be done via an access point, but terminating the connection to a system can be done from anywhere.
- Reset(Standard): Make a D1 Hacking test to perform a hard reset of their system, fully recovering Firewall. While the system is offline, Expert systems cannot be used and any gear without the Non-Hackable quality is at +1 Difficulty to use. Once the system comes is back online, any actions taken requiring a commlog or AR increase their difficulty by 4 steps. This penalty decreases by 1 every turn, and can be reduced with Momentum.
- Transmit(Minor): Begin transmitting data across the datasphere.
- Use Program(Standard): Most hacking programs require a Standard action.
- Link(Reaction): If an enemy moves out of Reach without taking the Withdraw action, a successful D1 Hacking test allows the character to move with the enemy, even into secured zones. The link ends at the end of the enemy turn.
Most Momentum spends in Infowar are by specific program, which can have a variety of effects.
[*]Blind: If the target is using Neural equipment, they must make a Resistance or Tech test to avoid becoming Blind.
[*]Brain Blast: If the target is using Neural equipment, the hecker can deal a Wound instead of a Breach.
[*]Command System: Force the target system to execute a command, such as activating devices, opening doors, or the like.
[*]Data Manipulation: Directly access the target's files. Delete, alter, copy, create, and hide information.
[*]Disable Function: One program or piece of equipment owned by the target stops working. Anything without the Non-Hackable quality can be affected by this.
[*]Lock Connection: The target cannot disconnect from the system. Absterge can be used to clear this.
[*]Revoke Authentication: Permanently remove a target's authentication for a system. This persists even after the Breach is healed, until the target is granted authentication again.
[*]System Disruption: The target makes all tests using Comms Equipped or Expert gear with +1 Difficulty.
[*]Spoof/Sniff: Duplicate the system ID of the target, gaining their authentication.
[*]Tag: Allows the hacker to track the tagged target, and use them as a repeater.
Another reasonably short chapter. I like how hacking is handled in Infinity; the similarity between Warfare and Infowar means you don't have to learn two wildly different systems as a GM, and hacking can integrate seamlessly into physical combat so the hacker isn't off doing their own thing.
Next up: Making friends and enemies