City of the Damned
Lexicon of the Storytelling System
10 Again — A result of 10 on any die is re-rolled in an attempt to achieve more successes. A further result of 10 on a re-rolled die is rolled yet again, over and over, until no more 10’s are rolled.
8 Again — A result of 8 or higher on any die is re-rolled in an attempt to achieve more successes. A further result of 8 or higher on a re-rolled die is rolled yet again, over and over, until no more 10’s are rolled.
9 Again — A result of 9 or higher on any die is re-rolled in an attempt to achieve more successes. A further result of 9 or higher on a re-rolled die is rolled yet again, over and over, until no more 10’s are rolled.
action — A task that takes all of a character’s time and attention. The Storytelling System measures instant actions (one to three seconds, taking place within a single turn) and extended actions, taking longer (duration determined by the Storyteller). Also, there are reflexive actions, which take no time and do not prevent a character from performing another action within a turn, and contested actions, in which two or more characters compete in a task or for a single goal.
advantage — A character trait such as Health or Willpower that usually represents abilities derived from other traits. Advantages are measured in dots and sometimes in points.
aggravated (damage) — A damage point that inflicts a grievous or supernatural wound. Vampires suffer aggravated damage from fire; werewolves suffer it from silver. Mortals might suffer aggravated damage from a dire supernatural power such as a lightning bolt summoned from the sky by a witch. Aggravated wounds normally heal at a rate of one point per week.
Aspiration — One of a player's goals for her character. An Aspiration can be something the character seeks out, or something the player wants to see happen to the character.
Attribute — A character trait representing innate capabilities, Mental, Physical and Social. An Attribute is added to a Skill (or another Attribute in certain cases) to determine your basic dice pool for an action.
bashing (damage) — A damage point that inflicts a nonlife-threatening wound. Bashing wounds normally heal at a rate of one point per 15 minutes.
Beat — A point gained for performing certain actions. Five Beats becomes an Experience, which can then be used to purchase new traits, such as Attributes, Skills, Merits, or supernatural powers.
breaking point — A trigger that causes a player to have to check for losing Integrity, Humanity, or a similar trait.
chance roll — Whenever modifiers reduce your dice pool to zero or fewer dice, you may make a chance roll on a single die. Unlike a normal dice roll, a chance roll succeeds only on a result of 10. Worse, a result of 1 causes a dramatic failure.
close combat — Attacks that involve hand-to-hand or weapon fighting. Such attacks use the Strength Attribute for their dice pools. Characters gain their Defense against close-combat attacks.
Condition — An ongoing effect, which may be physical, mental, or supernatural. For example, a character might be Guilty or Mesmerized. Usually, a Condition modifies a character's dice pools for certain actions. Players are rewarded with Beats when they act on or resolve (end) a Condition.
contested action — Two or more characters compete in a task or for a single goal. The one who gets the most successes wins. Contested actions can be instant or extended actions.
damage — The points inflicted against a character’s Health or an object’s Structure, rated as bashing, lethal or aggravated. One point of damage inflicts one wound.
Defense — An advantage trait determined by taking the lowest of Dexterity or Wits and adding Athletics. Characters can penalize a close-combat opponent’s accuracy by subtracting their Defense from his dice pool.
dice — The Storytelling System uses 10-sided dice to represent the element of chance. Dice are collected to form a character’s dice pool for an action.
dice pool — The number of dice rolled to determine failure or success (and the degree of success) for a character’s action. Dice pools are usually determined by adding an Attribute to a Skill, plus any relevant equipment and/or modifiers.
dot — The incremental measurement of a permanent trait. Most traits range from 1 to 5 dots, but some (such as Willpower) range from 1 to 10, and others (Health) can go higher.
dramatic failure — A result of 1 on a chance roll causes a dramatic failure, a catastrophe worse than a normal failure. The character’s gun might jam or he might wind up shooting a friend by accident. The Storyteller determines and describes the result. A player can also turn a failure into a dramatic failure voluntarily in order to gain a Beat.
Durability — A trait representing an object’s hardness, based on the material from which it is made (wood has less Durability than metal). Durability is measured in dots. An attack’s damage must exceed Durability before the object is harmed.
equipment — Characters can improve their chances of succeeding in a task by using the right equipment. This benefit is represented by modifiers to the dice pool, depending on the equipment used and its quality.
exceptional success — Whenever five or more successes are rolled, the character achieves an exceptional success. This achievement sometimes provides an extra perk over and above the effect of having multiple successes. For example, a character who gains five successes on a fast-talk roll might allay the target’s suspicions enough that he believes anything the character says for the remaining scene.
Experiences — A collection of five Beats, used to purchase new traits or to boost the dots of existing traits.
extended action — A task that takes time to accomplish. Players roll to accumulate successes during phases of the task, succeeding once they have acquired the needed total.
failure — A dice roll that yields no successes is a failure — the character does not succeed at his task.
Initiative — An advantage trait representing the character’s ability to respond to sudden surprise, determined by adding Dexterity + Composure. A character’s Initiative helps him get a high standing in the Initiative roster.
instant action — A task that takes place within a single turn. A character can perform only one instant action per turn, unless he has a Merit or power that lets him do otherwise.
Integrity — A trait representing a character's mental stability.
lethal (damage) — A damage point that inflicts a life-threatening wound. Lethal wounds normally heal at a rate of one point per two days.
Merit — A character trait representing enhancements or elements of a character’s background, such as his allies or influence. Merits are measured in dots, but are not always used to determine dice pools. Instead, they represent increasing degrees of quality or quantity concerning their subject.
modifiers — Dice pools are often modified by a number of factors, from bonuses (adding dice) for equipment or ideal conditions to penalties (subtracting dice) for poor conditions.
point — A trait expended to gain certain effects, such as a Willpower point or a measurement of damage or Health. The amount of points available to spend is equal to the parent trait’s dots. Spent points are regained over time or through certain actions.
ranged combat — An attack that sends a projectile of some sort at a target, whether it’s a bullet from a gun or a knife from a hand. Such attacks use the Dexterity Attribute for their dice pools. Characters’ Defense cannot normally be used against firearm attacks, although targets can penalize an opponent’s accuracy by going prone or taking cover.
reflexive action — An instinctual task that takes no appreciable time, such as reacting to surprise or noticing something out of the corner of your eye. Performing a reflexive action does not prevent a character from performing another action within a turn.
Resistance — Characters can resist others’ attempts to socially sway them, physically grapple them or even mentally dominate them. Whenever applying such resistance requires a character’s full attention, it is performed as a contested action, but more often it is a reflexive action, allowing the target to also perform an action that turn.
scene — A division of time-based on drama, such as the end of one plot point and the beginning of another. Whenever a character leaves a location where a dramatic event has occurred, or when a combat has ended, the current scene usually ends and the next one begins.
Skill — A character trait representing learned ability or knowledge. Added to an Attribute to determine a character’s basic dice pool for a task.
Specialty — An area of Skill expertise in which a character excels. Whenever a Specialty applies to a character’s task, one die is added to his player’s dice pool. There’s no limit to the number of Specialties that you can assign to a single Skill.
Storyteller — The “director” or “editor” of the interactive story told by the players. The Storyteller creates the plot and roleplays the characters, both allies and enemies, with which the players’ characters interact.
success — Each die that rolls an 8, 9 or 10 yields one success. (Exception: A chance roll must produce a 10 to succeed.) In an instant action, a player must roll at least one success for his character to accomplish a task. In an extended action, the number of successes required (accumulated over a series of rolls) depends on the task. In an attack roll, each success produces one point of damage.
trait — An element on the character sheet. Traits include Attributes, Skills, Merits, advantages, anchors, supernatural powers, and more.
turn — A three-second period of time. Instant actions are observed in turns. Combat (a series of instant actions) is observed in consecutive turns as each combatant tries to overcome opponents.
wound — A marked Health point, denoting an injury from damage.