Campaign of the Month: March 2014
Leads and Features have Traits we call Values. Values tell you two things; On the grand scale, they tell you what things are going to matter in the course of your story. On the character level, they tell you how the characters interact with those things that matter.
Characters and Values
Each player needs to decide how their Lead interacts with those Values. Each Value will end up with a step die associated with it as part of character creation. Once the die type is established, each Value needs a Value statement. How does the character feel about the Value? What aspect of the Value is the most important to them? A Value statement doesn’t have to be a positive outlook. (Example: LOVE is for chumps.)
A Value statement will change over the course of your game. So you can make it extreme, but don’t make it absolute or generic. (Good Example: I have no time for your petty JUSTICE system. Bad Example: JUSTICE is a good thing.)
A Value statement should be evocative and have punch. This is no country for weak opinions—the more extreme the statement, the more opportunities you have to challenge it. Challenging Value statements is a big part of character advancement, and therefore something you want to do as a player. (Example: I’ve never met an HONEST man.)
You can format a Value statement in one of two ways. You can directly reference the Value, or you can skip mentioning the Value. Either way, you’re making a powerful statement about that Value, just in different ways. Consider that when you’re writing Value statements. Example: I have a DUTY to protect my son, or, DUTY My son is what matters to me. Both of those examples say something; while they’re similar statements, the second says a bit more. That doesn’t make it a better statement, just one with a different nuance.
Whenever you’re in a situation where the statement for one of your particular Values is inappropriate, in doubt, or flat out wrong, you can choose to challenge that statement. You decide that this situation may change your character’s views, so you’re calling into question the statement that defines your Lead’s Value.
For example, if you have a Value called TRUTH Everyone’s a liar D6, and you’re trying to get someone to trust you, you could challenge that Value.
Challenging a statement gives you triple the die value of that Trait in that Contest or Test. So, in the above two examples, you’d get 3d8 or 3d6 respectively to roll as part of your dice pool. You also get to add an extra point to your Reflection pool.
Regardless of what else happens, at the end of that scene, you step back the Value by one step for the rest of the session. Your convictions have been challenged, so you can’t get your usual benefit from that Trait while your character remains uncertain. You can challenge a Value multiple times during an episode, reducing the Traits by one step each time. If the Trait would be reduced below a d4, you take the Trait off the table and cannot use it until the next session.
Keep a tally of how many times you challange your Values because at the end of the session you’ll get those step back. At the start of every session you should have 15 total steps (including d4s) in your Values. At the end of a session you can increase any Value, challenged or not. If the Value was Challenged you admit that you were wrong and re-write your Statement. If the Value was not Challenged you are assured in your Statement and don’t re-write it.
To Challenge a Value, you:
- Declare the challenge.
- Add a point to your Reflection pool.
- Roll triple the die rating you currently have in this Value.
- Step the challenged Value back one die for the remainder of the episode.
When you wish to take an action that’s aligned with your Value statement for that Lead or Feature, you can enforce your Value and mark down a point in your Reflection pool. This moment has to be one of absolute truth for the statement.
To Enforce a Value, you:
- Declare the enforcement.
- Add a point to your Reflection pool.
Gotham Reborn Values
There are six new Values for Gotham Reborn, based off traditional Batman cannon and the goals of the game. These Values are meant to capture more what the iconic Batman stories were about or aspects of the stories that are evocative. While I think I’ve found a nice cross-section of Values, I’m open to discussion about either the specifics or alternatives.
Belief. Honor. Integrity. Morality. Principles. Ethics are where you take a stand or question everything you believe. Ethics are what you see as right and wrong. Are your Ethics set in stone? Or are you still feeling things out? Are your Ethics about being moral and honorable? Or living your life the way you see fit?
- A man’s Honor is all he has in life.
- My life is not Black and White, it’s all gray.
- I will never violate my code of conduct.
- Things like Ethics won’t stand in my way.
- Nothing is forbidden, Everything is permitted
Celebrity. Majesty. Nobility. Prestige. Reputation. Glory is about amazing feats that live on in legend. Glory is questioning your idols and why they are remembered. Do you crave Glory and being remembered? Or would you rather slip quietly into obscurity? Do you want people to remember your name? Or your actions?
- My name will go down in history.
- Charity requires anonymity.
- Its our actions that define us.
- It’s best if nobody knows who I am.
- Everyone in Gotham will know my name.
Aspiration. Desire. Endurance. Faith. Optimism. Hope not giving up and rejecting the darkness. Hope is about the endlessly bleak and endings both happy and not. Is Hope the best thing? Or is it enough to drive a man insane? To you hold out for a better day? Or just try to get through the night?
- Tomorrow can always be better than today.
- There is nothing left to hope for.
- Any obstacle, no matter how great, can be overcome.
- Things can’t possibly get any worse.
- It is pointless to want what you can’t have.
Disposition. Identity. Manner. Temperament. Way. Individuality is your self-importance and self-sacrifice. Individuality is about your control or breaking away from the crowd. Is your Individuality assured and confident? Or are you still trying to find yourself? Are the needs of the few greater than the needs of the many? Or would you sacrifice yourself for something larger?
- It’s my way or the highway.
- I’ll be whoever Gotham needs me to be.
- I’m the greatest person who’s ever lived.
- I’m a small cog in a big machine.
- I belong in the gutter with the rest of the trash.
Authority. Code. Legality. Recompense. Justice is a balanced scale is a must, no matter how grim the efforts to get there. Justice is about revenge, or letting go of vendettas. Is Justice about doing the right thing, regardless of the legality? Or is it about doing the lawful thing, even if it’s not right? Is Justice about having a code you never violate? Or about just getting revenge?
- I am the Law.
- The letter of the law is more important than the spirit.
- I will always do the right thing.
- Those that hurt me pay the ultimate price.
- I don’t care about who’s in charge.
Allegiance. Devotion. Friendship. Infatuation. Respect. Love is about romance, fraternity, and sorority. Love is about the people around you and their importance. Is Love about companionship and being with family? Or would you rather be left alone? Do you inherently respect other people? Or do they have to earn it?
- I would do anything for love.
- Love is a fool’s emotion, one I no longer feel.
- I never ask questions to those I trust.
- I can figure out who’s side I’m on tomorrow.
- I’ll work with anyone.