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Optional Rules


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Advanced rules. At the Game Master's option, he may decide to play an 'advanced game'. In such a game, as the Players progress and indeed play the game longer, they will become more apt with the once-upon-a-time complex rules. True ‘game skill’ is then measured by how effectively, and how cleverly, the Player uses the rules. However, the rules don’t end there. For as a Player becomes better, he becomes what in role-playing is defined as an ‘advanced’ Player. Advanced Players must be complimented by more advanced rules. Just as a Chess Grandmaster makes moves with pawns which no one who ‘just plays chess’ even knew existed, so does an Advanced Phenomenon Player employ more rules than others. Specifically, he must employ a number of otherwise optional rules from this Webpage as equals his Character’s Experience Level divided by 3 (rounded down). For example, a Player who has had so much experience as that his Character is 5th Level must employ 1 Advanced rule. When that Character reaches 6th Level, he would have to employ an additional one.

Parole. There's many reasons people 'want to believe' and one of them is how controlling our governments are. Indeed, given the temptation to fly in the face of the law in a contemporary game setting such as this, many Player Characters end up in prison. But that shouldn't stop one in pursuit of 'the truth', should it? At the Game Master's option, a Character can attempt a 'Premature Acquittence' Roll (or 'PA Roll') whenever he or someone on his behalf makes a Resources Check at a difficulty equal to 10 plus the Magnitude of the crime. The PA Roll itself is simply a complete re-roll on Table 36 with all the modifiers that applied previously. This can indeed lessen one's sentence, though it can never increase the time he must serve.

Resources Checks. The GM may decide that, reality and our insane world being what they are, a Resources Check always needs to be rolled, regardless of whether or not one's Resources Score equals or exceeds the Check, thus allowing for the possibility of a natural '1' on the dice indicating failure, for whatever reason (one's wife drained his credit card, there is a glitch in his bank account, his friends all suddenly betrayed him, etc.)

Denial. Normally, a low Comprehension or Faith Ability can account for the state of denial humans so easily slip into. However, because this stands out so much in the world of the paranormal, the Game Master may wish to ‘highlight’ denial as it were, by way of using the following rule. Whenever a Player rolls exceptionally low an exceptional number of times, these rolls will reflect how his Character has entered into a state of denial. To enter this state, one must roll the lowest possible effect (not the lowest number on the dice, mind you) a consecutive number of times equal to his Comprehension Ability. When one enters into a state of denial, they will find their mind closed, even to things that they may have once been open to. As a result, the Character will find his Experience Levels requiring an additional 300 Experience Points to attain. This state of denial will last until the Character rolls (though not necessarily attains, should he already be a true-believer) the category of ‘raise one Belief Level’ on his roll for advancement. However, denial is not cumulative—one is either in denial or he is not. If one is already in a state of denial, this rule is not applicable to him until he leaves that state. Also note that, as not all effects are immediately disclosed to the Players, the GM alone keeps record of how many consecutive times each and every Character has suffered the lowest possible effects of various experiences in the game.

Paranoia. Similar to a state of denial, it is possible for a Character to become unreasonably paranoid. However, unlike denial, there are many different factors which may make a person so unstable. When a Character witnesses any phenomena whose Experience Points push anyone (except himself) to the next Experience Level, the Character may, having come so close to the unknown parameters of uncertain reality, become shaken by it. Paranoid Characters gain many benefits, specifically many applicable bonus’ when dealing with the general type of phenomena that ‘pushed them over the edge’ so-to-speak, including a bonus of +1 to any Intuition Checks that apply to that general type of phenomena, +1 to their Movement Checks when fleeing from it, and +1 to any Slugfest Checks made when fighting it. However, paranoid Characters also suffer a single, tremendous loss, in that, because their minds are so obsessed with the one phenomena that they are, they are blind to most everything else, unable to gain Experience Points from any other general type of phenomena until they have either raised a Belief Level (or if they are already a ‘true-believer’ nonetheless roll ‘raise one Belief Level on Table 58). Note that these effects, both positive and negative, are not cumulative. Further note that this rule cannot be used in any type of Game Campaign other than a ‘mixed bag’, in that, I mean that unless the game offers a wide variety of phenomena so as to balance this rule, and indeed give cause for this ‘isolation of a phenomena’ in the first place, this rule is not applicable.

Multiple attacks. Players will, based upon the combative nature of other role-playing games, always consider whether their Character can attack twice or even more in a single Round of fighting. If a Player wants to attempt this, he may. After winning the Initiative, one must state how many total Turns he is attempting that Round (of which the following roll will not detract). Then, he must make a Movement Check, the difficulty of the Check determined by the number of attacks being tried (12 for 2 attacks, 15 for 3 attacks, and 18 for 4 attacks). However, if this Check fails, the Character receives no attacks or Turns of any use that Round at all.

Bonus Experience. A Player may select individual phenomena that his Character personally believes in more than others, possibly even more than his Belief Level may dictate. These phenomena must be categorized in proportion to their definitions in the paranormal world. For example, U.F.O.s would not be specific enough, but ‘cattle mutilations’ and their link to extra-terrestrials would. The Player is limited to a maximum number of such phenomena equal to his Faith Ability (this maximum indeed raises if his Faith itself increases). The benefit to such a personal belief is that the Character gleams more enlightenment from exposure to it than he would to other phenomena that doesn’t spark his passion so much. Specifically, he will, whenever earning Experience Points from an act that directly involves that phenomena, gain a percentage bonus Experience Points equal to his Comprehension Ability multiplied by 10. For example, in an Adventure involving ghosts, not every Ability Check would merit bonus Experience Points, but the Check that involved actually communicating with the ghost certainly would. The drawback to having such intense beliefs is that they blind the Character to other phenomena. For while he gleams greater enlightenment from some phenomena, he must dismiss others. As many phenomena as he more readily accepts, he must also dismiss an equal number, earning no Experience Points at all when dealing with them (again, these are selected by the Player).

Insanity. Exposure to the incredible realities beyond the walls of our mortal perception can create utter chaos of one’s once solid reasoning. As a result, the Player can opt to have a permanent bonus of +2 to his Shock Checks, however, should he fail a Shock Check, will suffer a permanent loss of -1 to his Sanity. Furthermore, if someone who has ever used this option finds his Sanity dropping to 0 for any reason, he becomes insane, and not only that, but an NPC, probably locked away somewhere in some asylum.

Trial. Resources may be employed to better one’s defense for a trial. Each Resources Score affects a trial in its own unique ways, but they all help. The Player will total his Character’s three Resource Scores, and then divide the total by 5. The result (rounded up) is the bonus to this roll, up to a maximum influence of +5.

Cooking: A Character may wish to either feign knowledge of the food being served, pose as a chef himself, or simply find a way to trick his mind into downing some awful foreign cuisine. In any event, whenever one’s abilities or skills with prepared food comes into question (which it does quite often in the paranoid world of sneaking and spying), he has a chance in 10 of pulling it off equal to his Intellect (for knowledge) or Genetics (for eating it). This is not an Ability Check, and thus Experience Points are not awarded for it.

Reputation. What of one’s Reputation in the field? Normally, reputation is not an issue, because those who consider the paranormal respect anybody who researches or outright searches for answers, while the mainstream always sees anyone with paranormal interest as crazy, to a degree proportional to that interest. However, one’s reputation can sometimes bridge the gap between the believers and the non-believers. One’s Experience Level becomes a chance in 20 to ‘open up doors’ so-to-speak, doors that would not normally be opened. Be it out of hope, curiosity, sympathy or anything else, a successful check will allow the Character access to any one specific thing. For example, Rebecca, a ufologist, has investigated many abductions and has become well respected in the literature. Now she wants to interview Charles Dance, a rumored abductee. Being of Experience Level 9, she would need to roll a 12 or better on the D20 to convince him to let her into his house. Furthering this example, once inside, Rebecca notices odd marks on the arm of Charles’ daughter. She would need to make another such roll to convince Charles to let her talk to his daughter. Normally, rules are kept in generalities, but in this particular case, things are very specific. In any event, one’s reputation only gets them in the door. After that, normal rules for Reactions and other situations still apply. Likewise, using one’s reputation may get the ‘door slammed in their face’ so-to-speak (and perhaps even literally), with a failed roll indicating, regardless of all other rules, that the Character will not be granted access to what he may be seeking. Thusly using one’s reputation is always a gamble, for he may cheat himself out of better odds elsewhere (and it’s hard to make a first impression for a second time).

Fading Expertise. The passage of time wears away the mind just as it does the body. Thus, if one’s Expert Points are not used often enough, they may slip away on their own, like sand passing through his fingers. Statistically speaking, when someone ages a year, he will lose a number of Points equal to a roll on a single dice multiplied by 10.

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