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UA-style Integrity

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  • UA-style Integrity

    OK, I have to say that Unknown Armies has possibly the best system for modelling sanity and reactions to stuff not working the way it's supposed to. It comes with the territory. But anyway, I thought I'd try a quick hack.

    Under this hack, Integrity is not a scale from 1 to 10, where characters begin at 7. Instead, characters begin with 5 empty Failed boxes and 5 empty Hardened boxes. Whenever they encounter a Breaking Point, characters roll Resolve + Composure:

    Exceptional Success: You keep your cool, and get out of there (mostly) unscathed. Mark off a Hardened box, take a beat, and regain one Willpower.
    Success: You don't freak out; you manage to drag yourself through in one piece. Mark off a Hardened box, and take an appropriate Condition.
    Failure: The world is not OK. Something is deeply wrong here, and it got to you. Mark off a Failed box, take an appropriate Condition, and freak out.
    Dramatic Failure: Nothing here but screaming and loss of control. Your brain takes quite the beating. Mark off a Failed box, freak out, and suffer a breakdown.
    Hardened Boxes:
    You can withstand the world best when you don't care - caring means that you let all those little weaknesses in. If you would suffer a Breaking Point with a penalty less than or equal to your marked Hardened boxes, ignore it. However, cutting yourself off from the rest of the world only works to a point; characters who have marked off more than two Hardened boxes only receive [5 - marked Hardened boxes] dice when spending Willpower, and characters who have more than three marked boxes no longer recover Willpower through rest.

    Failed Boxes:
    You got tested, and you broke; unlike Hardened boxes, you suffer no positive or negative effects from having marked-off Failed boxes. Instead, you suffer a breakdown once you have 5 marked Failed boxes.

    Freaking Out:
    The immediate effects of a failed Breaking Point is a freak out; your brain was exposed to something that wasn't OK, and you had to respond. When you freak out, your ST chooses one of the following; if you don't spend Willpower to resist the freak-out, you regain one Willpower at the end of the Scene.
    Fight: You get violent; resisting the urge to attack the wrong thing in front of you costs you one Willpower. Your attack doesn't have to be physical, as long as it is immediate and direct; you can shout and scream and strike out, but you can't hold off and plan a better angle of attack.
    Flight: You have to run away; resisting the urge to escape costs you one Willpower. You don't have to physically run away, as long as you put your full efforts into distancing yourself from the trigger; whether you're running away or just swearing up and down that you had nothing to do with it, the only thing you can't do is stick around.
    Freeze: You can't stop it from happening; interfering with your trigger costs you one Willpower. You can scream or plead all you want, but you can't help the man being beaten in front of you.
    Breakdowns
    Sometimes you just can't stand it anymore; your brain just cracks, leaving more-or-less permanent scars. When you suffer a breakdown, you take an appropriate [Persistent] Condition and take a beat. Once the breakdown happens, clear all of your Failed boxes.

    Recovery
    Your mind naturally recovers over time; you erase a Failed box whenever you get a night's rest in a safe place. Hardened boxes are harder to clear out; a successful session of therapy will erase a single Hardened box.

    Soullessness
    If you are using this system, replace the Resolution line for the Soulless Condition with: "Take a Beat whenever your character marks off a Failed box due to indulging in their Vice." You replace the Soulless Condition with the Enervated Condition as soon as all of your Hardened boxes are marked off; restoring your Soul erases marked Hardened boxes rather than restoring lost dots of Integrity.

    Basically, it's a balancing act; failing Breaking Points is bad in the short term, but succeeding them is worse in the long term.
    Last edited by amechra; 07-06-2015, 10:35 PM.


    I have decided, after some thought, that I don't really feel happy on these forums. I might decide to come back to post. Who knows - but right now, I'm gone.

    So good bye, good luck, and have a nice day.

  • #2
    As much as I like the concept, the mechanics are too unforgiving: anyone who is exposed to two breaking points a day will max out all of their boxes inside of a week, no matter how well or poorly they do. I vastly prefer to model the concept of hardening using something more akin to Vampire’s Banes — or, more precisely, a combination of the optional Morality mechanics found in Dogs of War (to model the hardening process) and the therapy mechanics found in Asylum (to model the healing process that undoes hardening).


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    • #3
      I think you missed part of the write-up; Hardened boxes immunize you from Breaking Points.

      As an example, let's say I have two Hardened boxes; I don't suffer a Breaking Point unless the base penalty would be -3 or greater. Looking at the table in the GMC rules update, I wouldn't be at a risk for Breaking Points unless torture or killing was involved. By the time I hit four Hardened boxes, the only things that would make me risk breaking are killing someone in cold blood or indulging in my Vice after losing my soul. Which reminds me, I need to note how this interacts with the Soulless condition.

      As for "too harsh"... if you have two mental breakdowns every day for a week, you are going to be pretty psychologically messed up. Under this system, Breaking Points are big deals, and should be treated accordingly.


      I have decided, after some thought, that I don't really feel happy on these forums. I might decide to come back to post. Who knows - but right now, I'm gone.

      So good bye, good luck, and have a nice day.

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      • #4
        As you've written it any breaking point with no penalty or even a bonus isn't going to be rolled. As this breaks Lunacy you probably want to fix that.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Elfive View Post
          As you've written it any breaking point with no penalty or even a bonus isn't going to be rolled. As this breaks Lunacy you probably want to fix that.

          Or if you're using these rules, change Lunacy?


          My Bloodline conversions
          My House rules

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          • #6
            "That" could refer to either of the things mentioned in that passage.

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            • #7
              I was assuming that you'd use the penalties on the Primal Urge table, plus or minus the bonuses/penalties for the Werewolf's form, as the base penalty.

              So...

              -1 Witnessing a PU 8 Werewolf in Dalu.
              -2 Witnessing a PU 9 Werewolf in Dalu, or any Werewolf with less than PU 8 in Urshul.
              -3 Witnessing a PU 10 Werewolf in Dalu, or a Werewolf with PU 8 in Urshul.
              -4 Witnessing a PU 9 Werewolf in Urshul, or any Werewolf with less than PU 8 in Gauru.
              -5 Witnessing a PU 10 Werewolf in Urshul, or any Werewolf with a PU higher than 7 in Gauru.

              I dunno, I thought that sounded fair?


              Actually, I'm going to put one of my assumptions out in the open: Breaking Points are only common if you're a PC. I see most people on the street as not having any Hardened boxes marked off, with maybe one or two Marked off if they had a really shitty childhood or just got back from a tour of service or whatever.

              In the normal course of things, you hit a Breaking Point once a year? Maybe less often than that? Going by the chart, I know that I haven't personally run into any situations that would call for a Breaking Point; then again, I'm not sure what my personal Breaking Points are. ;p

              It's only when the characters are shoved into a terrible situation (like whatever mystery or terrible thing you're having them investigate this week) that Breaking Points are called for.


              I also have to admit that there's been a lot lost in "translation"; Unknown Armies has 5 Stress Tracks (Helplessness, Isolation, Self, Violence, and Unnatural), which have 10 Hardened boxes and 5 Failed boxes each.

              A 1 on each of the scales is usually something really common (An Isolation-1 check is not running into anyone you know for a day, an Unnatural-1 check is experiencing unusually strong Deja-Vu, and a Self-1 Check is breaking a small promise), while they steadily ramp up from there (An Isolation-10 check is spending a month in a sensory deprivation tank, an Unnatural-10 check is discovering that you never had kids because your husband isn't actually a human being, and a Self-10 check is deliberately wrecking everything you've spent your entire life trying to achieve.)

              Then again, Unknown Armies is also a lot less cinematic than WoD; if I had to pick one phrase to describe it, it would be "Well, that escalated quickly".


              I have decided, after some thought, that I don't really feel happy on these forums. I might decide to come back to post. Who knows - but right now, I'm gone.

              So good bye, good luck, and have a nice day.

              Comment


              • #8
                There's no modifier from primal urge until you hit 4. Before that Urshul goes unmodified and gauru only has -2.

                Even if only a small fraction of people have 2 hardened points, that puts way too many people immune to lunacy from low-end werewolves. It's not gonna hold.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I forgot about that; a quick spot-fix would be to set it at -1 for PU 1-3. That way it "matches up" with the base penalty for witnessing a supernatural creature.

                  Alternatively, reduce the penalty for Lunacy due to PU by 1, and specify that it increases the base penalty for witnessing the Supernatural (to a maximum of -5).

                  Then you'd have (listed by the earliest PU where that penalty hits)...
                  Stupid forum won't accept linebreaks.
                  -1: Dalu (PU 8), Violent Dalu (PU 4), Urshul (PU 1)
                  -2: Dalu (PU 9), Violent Dalu (PU 8), Urshul (PU 4), Violent Urshul (PU 1)
                  -3: Dalu (PU 10), Violent Dalu (PU 9), Urshul (PU 8), Violent Urshul (PU 4), Gauru (PU 1)
                  -4: Violent Dalu (PU 10), Urshul (PU 9), Violent Urshul (PU 8), Gauru (PU 4), Violent Gauru (PU 1)
                  -5: Urshul (PU 10), Violent Urshul (PU 9), Gauru (PU 8), Violent Gauru (PU 4)
                  Seriously, let me edit the BBCode. Why you no let me edit the BBCode?
                  You... might want to ignore the non-violent Gauru entries; those don't come up very often. I'd also say that anything above what's listed on the table (violent Gauru with PU 7 or higher, violent Urshul with PU 10) would cause a Breaking Point even if all your Hardened boxes were marked.
                  Last edited by amechra; 05-14-2015, 12:17 PM.


                  I have decided, after some thought, that I don't really feel happy on these forums. I might decide to come back to post. Who knows - but right now, I'm gone.

                  So good bye, good luck, and have a nice day.

                  Comment

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