Pause (Playtest 0.3)
What is Pause?
At its core, Pause is a story-telling game with a number of components. Players assume the role of characters who somehow have gained the ability to act in a frozen moment of time. The characters also play out their lives in between these moments, generally investigating into the phenomenon of those frozen moments.
The Players are joined by a Coordinator, the person who assumes the role of everyone else – the remainder of the citizenry, the institutions, key characters, villains, so forth and so on. The Coordinator is also responsible for maintaining the story as it progresses, as well as adapting it whenever the characters bring the story in an unexpected direction than what the Coordinator has planned.
Together, the Players and the Coordinator play out a story in a setting of mystery, intrigue, and drama. There is no predetermined goal of saving a princess or gathering precious loot, but rather the goal of weaving a story that both the Players and the Coordinator will enjoy.
Setting and Mood
For the sake of simplicity and accessibility, the setting presented in this wiki is modern-day human civilization. However, the rules in this wiki can apply to almost any setting ranging from the civilized past to the far future, so Coordinators can feel free to come up with stories that deal with this theme in another age.
Despite the flexibility of the setting, Pause primarily has a feel of investigation and discovery. The characters should be treated as regular people who have been thrust into the strange and unfamiliar world of the frozen moment. Characters should have trouble initially understanding this phenomenon, but slowly learning more and more as the story continues.
Death is also very real in Pause, be it through happenings in the normal world, or through terrible failure in the frozen moment. When characters die, they are gone permanently, unable to be revived through metaphysical means as in most story-telling games.
Overall, the mood is that of a dramatically enhanced real world. It is a world fraught with danger, but also the chance to learn secrets previously unknown to humankind.
Like many story-telling games, there is always an element of chance. This random element is represented by the throwing of dice. In Pause, dice are used primarily for two functions: conducting combat and tests within the frozen moment; and resolving situations in between those moments which are too close to call through role-playing alone.
Pause uses only one type of die – the ten-sided die (“d10”). During the aforementioned situations, Players throw a number of d10’s, which represent a character’s attempt to succeed in a given task, be it damaging an enemy, solving a puzzle, intimidating someone who is withholding information, so forth and so on. The results are compared against a target number (“TGT”) which the Coordinator issues before the Player rolls the dice. With exception, if at least one of the dice scores above the target number, the character succeeds in the task.
The Coordinator is encouraged to exhibit some flexibility in how the game is run. While dice rolls can offer resolution when it would be too difficult and lengthy in the case of a close call, effective role-playing can help determine an outcome even before assigning a target number. This is especially the case when a character suggests a creative and unorthodox, but completely justifiable solution to a task that the Coordinator has not expected. The Coordinator’s actions should feed from those of the Players, and vice versa. Remember, the goal is to create a great story that combines the efforts of both the Coordinator and the Players.
...Have fun! If the Players and the Coordinator aren’t having fun, they shouldn’t be playing Pause!