Pause (Playtest 0.3)
Characters in Pause are represented by six Traits: three physical and three mental. They are as follows:
- Strength (STR): A character’s Strength represents the sheer physical force he or she can exert upon something or someone, as well as the ability withstand force exerted against him or her.
- Agility (AGI): A character’s Agility represents the more nimble qualities that he or she possesses, including speed, balance, and hand-eye coordination.
- Health (HEA): A character’s Health represents his or her general fitness level, as well as how healthy his or her lifestyle is and the degree of immunity he or she possesses.
- Knowledge (KNO): A character’s Knowledge represents the collective intelligence he or she possesses, including factual, anecdotal, and creative intelligence.
- Sociability (SOC): A character’s Sociability represents his or her social awareness and performance, reflected in his or her connections, resources, and diplomacy skills.
- Perception (PER): A character’s Perception represents the sensitivity to his or her surroundings, as well as adaptation to an ongoing situation and the understanding of such over time.
Starting characters begin with fifteen (15) points to allocate among these Traits. No Trait can be lower than one (low) and more than five (high). As Pause maintains an emphasis on story-telling, Players are encouraged to allocate the points as they see fit for their character as they are before the story begins, instead of only toward one goal that they perceive to be met during the story.
A character’s maximum health is derived from his or her HEA Trait score. This score equals the maximum health he or she can have at any one time, barring exceptions from the Coordinator. In Pause, each point of health is represented by a box in a track, as follows:
[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] - [ ] [ ] [ ] +5 +4 +3 +2 +1 -1 -2 -3
The boxes to the left represent a state of well-being where the character can still perform at full capacity. This is called “normal status”. The boxes to the right however, represent a critical state of being where the character’s performance is compromised, or “critical status”. When a character has no more health remaining, he or she dies.
There are four types of damage that can be incurred in Pause: Light (“Lgt”), Moderate (“Mod”), Heavy (“Hvy”), and Critical (“Crit”). Two light wounds would eliminate a box while one moderate wound would do the same thing.
[/] [X] Lgt Mod
One heavy wound eliminates two boxes.
[X] [X] Hvy
Finally, a critical wound eliminates all the boxes in normal status, regardless of how many boxes remain available. Also note that if the character suffers a critical wound in critical status, he or she dies.
[X] [X] [X] [X] [X] - [ ] [ ] [ ] Crit
Within critical status, there are three boxes for all characters, regardless of their HEA score. Each box represents a degree of incapacitation he or she has suffered. The first box (-1) makes the character’s actions more difficult. The second (-2) also makes the character’s movements more difficult. Finally, the third box (-3) has the first two handicaps, but also the character must resist being Locked Out of the Pause every round until either he or she heals above that box, fails that resistance, or dies. Note that outside of a Pause, the Lock Out penalty does not exist.
All characters who are able to participate in a Pause possess an Anchor, a physical object which embodies a strong emotion which the character identifies with or a significant event in his or her past. This object it usually something which the character has on his or her person almost all of the time, like a piece of jewelry or a good-luck charm. Within a Pause, the Anchor becomes both the character’s means of defense, as well as a variety of tools he or she can use to mend the Break with.
When creating a character, a Player should make the Anchor something that the character would hold dear, as well as what sort of things the character would be most comfortable with. This is because the Anchor, both as a weapon and a tool, becomes things in which the character can wield with ease. For instance, a character with low STR and high AGI wouldn’t likely be able to handle a broad sword with ease, but rather something like a gun instead.
Beginning characters may only start with one particular weapon the Anchor can become. It can either be melee – the character has to be next to his or her target to use it – or ranged – the character may use it at a distance. By default, melee weapons cause one light wound per attack for a low cost while ranged weapons cause one moderate wound per attack for a higher cost, as well as possible handicaps depending on the distance the attack is made from.
Bear in mind that the Anchor can only be used either as a weapon or as a tool at any given time in a Pause, never both at the same time. There is also a small cost to change the Anchor between being a weapon and a tool, so it would be wise to strategize when to use the Anchor in each mode.
As mentioned before, characters that are able to act in a Pause have a degree of mastery over space and time. However, no one character has a complete mastery over such forces. As such, characters isolate their abilities to one or several particular functions of space and time which they can manipulate. These functions are called Domains.
Characters can learn and specialize in some of the Domains from the beginning and during the course of a story. Beginning characters start play with a number of points to divide among the Domains equal to their KNO Trait score. No one Domain may be above one point (or the number of Pauses they have been through already, if the character is already experienced in them.)
To use mastery of a Domain within a Pause, the Anchor must be in tool mode first – the Anchor becomes the medium between the character’s mastery of the Domain and the external surroundings within a Pause. However, Domain mastery is not only limited to fixing the Breaks, but also for whatever other uses come to mind – assisting other characters, hindering Aberrations, so forth and so on. Generally, the use of the Domains cost more as the complexity of the effect becomes greater.
- Correlation: This Domain deals with an object’s synchronization with the Pause’s Time Flow, affecting the object’s well-being. Complexity varies with the degree of change in synchronization.
- Exchange: This Domain deals with the exchange of matter, allowing for near instantaneous travel over distance. Complexity varies with distance and what matter is exchanged.
- Gravity: This Domain deals with localized changes in gravity, varying the ease of movement and actions. Complexity varies with direction (increased or decreased gravity) and magnitude of the change.
- Isolation: This Domain deals with the brief isolation of space and time, allowing several specific effects. Complexity varies with the change in space or time within the isolated area as well as the size of the area.
- Kinetics: This Domain deals with the augmentation of energy to and from moving objects, making the objects either slower or faster. Complexity varies with the amount of energy involved and the duration of the effect.
- Magnetism: This Domain deals with the direct movement of objects in relation to oneself. Complexity varies with the object being moved as well as the distance and velocity applied to the object.
- Recombination: This Domain deals with the changes of an object’s chemical properties to grant it new effects. Complexity varies with the effect to be given as well as the object being affected by the change.
- Relativity: This Domain deals with one’s perception of time and space, affecting their actual speed in the Pause itself. Complexity varies with the magnitude of the perceptive change as well as the duration of the effect.
- Transferal: This Domain deals with the transfer of properties from one object to another. Complexity varies with the properties to be transferred as well as the readiness of the recipient.
- Uncertainty: This Domain deals with the extraneous forces which influence other forces within the Pause. Complexity varies with the degree of uncertainty as well as the readiness of the recipient.
In Pause, a character’s wealth and belongings are only used as a reference point in between Pauses, primarily to avoid needless micro-management for both Players and the Coordinator. Such wealth can be approximated by using the character’s SOC score as a benchmark. The higher the score, the greater the wealth and/or resources the character has at his or her disposal between Pauses.
In the Pauses themselves, equipment which would enhance a character’s combat and investigative abilities in between Pauses become irrelevant, as space and time are the means of doing both. Only the Anchor has such bearing in a Pause.
Now that you have made your character, it’s time to understand the mechanics behind the game.