Skip to main content

Glossary

ALTER ARMS GLOSSARY


  • Advance: When players have enough Experience, they can Advance their character so that they gain a new Arms or raise one of their Vectors. The amount of Experience needed to Advance is the same number as the Max Drama Value for their highest-level Arms. A character can only Advance six times. There are two ways to Advance:
    • When a character has gotten enough Experience to Advance, they can choose to do so during the course of a session. They lose all of their experience, then roll dice to determine what Vector they raise the level of, or what new Arms’ Type and Power they get. Regardless, they get to choose a new Trapping for one of their Arms. 
    • If a player waits till their character gets a chance to rest - typically after an adventure has ended or during a session when there are no pressing matters - they can choose what Advancement they want. They then must make a Move in that Vector - with no additional bonuses - and get a value less than or equal to the target value to get that Advancement. If the Move is too high, they keep all their Experience, and try again at another time. The target values they must roll at or under are 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, and 12. 
  • Ally: A player character or character who works with the player characters during a Conflict.
  • Alter: A character with the ability to use Arms and take on new Forms. Player's characters are all Alters.
  • Archetype: A subclass that a player occupies that determines both how they interact with other characters and how they can lower Drama. The rules for each Archetype are different, and are meant to simulate how someone of that character archetype would interact with others. Successes when using Archetypes give a character Experience in the Vector they made the Move with. The Archetypes and their rules are:
    • Ace: The ultimate extrovert who finds strength in their relationship with others. 
      • Ace Rules: Roll against an Opponent or Ally one more time than normal and choose the value to use. If against an Opponent, lower own Drama for every success you have. If against an Ally, they lower Drama by 1 for every success.
    • Antihero: An introvert who doesn't work well with others, but will help when necessary. 
      • Antihero Rules: Roll against an ally. For every success, lower your Drama by 1. OR roll against an opponent, and put 1 of an ally’s Drama on them for every success. WHEN ALONE, put your own Drama on the opponent instead.
    • Defender: Someone who puts themselves on the line for others.
      • Defender Rules: When an ally is attacked, you can roll against that ally on the same Vector they’re being attacked. For every success, neutralize 1 Drama they would take. On your turn, you can roll against yourself, and if successful you lower your Drama by the same amount that you last took from an enemy Move.
    • Planner: They fight for their friends, but can't help but see them as pieces of their larger plan.
      • Planner Rules: EITHER roll against a target, and add Drama to a Plan Pool for every success (When used on an ally, you and the ally also lower Drama for every success), OR roll against an opponent to put all that Plan Pool Drama on them if successful! You also lower your Drama by that much.
    • Rival: They push their allies to be stronger. In a way, it's just so they don't have to reflect upon themselves.
      • Rival Rules: Roll against yourself and put 1 of your Drama on an opponent for every success you get, or roll against an ally to lower their Drama by 1 for every success.
    • Support: A total team player who is driven to help the group succeed.
      • Support Rules: Roll against all party members (including yourself). Either rearrange up to half of the Drama of all allies you're successful against, or lower an ally’s Drama = to the number of success that move had. 
  • Arms: The means be which an Alter changes Form, and the Forms they take. Players begin the game with access to their 1st Arms, and can unlock new Arms by Advancing their characters. The number of Arms a character has unlocked, included their Base, raises the maximum amount of Drama they can take by 3. When a character transforms, their Drama raises or lowers to that Arms' Reset Drama Value.
  • Base: The form a character takes when they have not yet transformed into one of their Arms. All Moves done in Base use a four-sided dice (d4) to determine the Move's value. When in Base, a character has access to all of the Gimmicks and Powers associated with all of their Arms.
  • Conflict: A battle that occurs between two or more characters with the goal typically to cause their opponent to Crash. Conflicts do not need to be based on physical combat; they can be any kind of contest like a game of ping-pong or a heated debate. The way that Vectors are framed by Moves determines how extreme the action taken is. A Soul Move during a Conflict can be framed by the player as being a massive energy attack, or a cutting insult that leaves an Opponent speechless. The number of Successes determines how impactful the Move is, but it is still limited by what the actual action taken is.
  • Crash: A failure state for a character that occurs when they take more Drama than they can handle. The maximum amount of Drama a character can take is their highest Form's Max Drama Value. This is not death (unless the player wants it to be), but rather a character being overcome by their opponent to the point where they can no longer fight. If a character Crashes, they lose all unspent Experience and return to their Base with 0 Drama. Before they can transform again, they must take some sort of successful action in order to rebuild their confidence.
  • Drama: A currency in the game that is taken on by characters whenever they perform certain actions like Transforming, using Traits or certain Powers, or when an opponent Successfully makes a Move against them. Characters have a maximum amount of Drama they can take, which is the Max Drama Value for their highest Form. When a character Transforms to a higher Form, their Drama goes to that higher Form's Reset Drama Value. When they Transform into a lower Form, their Drama goes to that lower Arms' Max Drama Value. Drama can be lowered by a character passing their turn off to an Opponent before all their allies have gone, or by using an Archetype.
  • Defense: Every Vector has a Defensive value that must be surpassed for a Move to be Successful against a character. Each Vector in every Form has a unique Defensive value that is used when a character is in that Form. If a Move done to a character is equal to or higher than the character's Defense, then that move is Successful. A Move has multiple Successes when its value can be divided by the target character's Defense multiple times. When a player takes on a higher Arms, their Defense increases. Defensive values are found by multiplying a Vector's value by the Defensive value associated with that Arms. The Defensive values are:
    • Base: x3 
    • 1st Arms: x4
    • 2nd Arms: x5
    • 3rd Arms: x6
    • 4th Arms: x7
  • Edges: Some Types have Edges over another Type. If a character is in an Arms with a Type that has an Edge over the Type of their target, they get to roll the dice twice and use the higher value when determining their Move's value. The relationships between Types are:
    • Bio has an Edge on Myth
    • Myth has an Edge on Tech
    • Tech has an Edge on Bio
  • Experience: Experience is a currency that can be used by a player to Advance their character, or enhance a Move's value. 
    • Experience is earned by performing actions that move the plot of the story forward, like discovering an important clue, getting important information out of someone, or winning a Conflict. The GM rewards the player who took the action by giving them the amount of experience appropriate for the importance of the action. Players can also earn Experience by using their Archetypes, earning +1 Experience for every Success they have with the Move. All experience is associated with the Vector that was used to acquire it.
    • Experience can be spent to Advance a character, or enhance a Move if there is Experience currently associated with the Vector used for the action being taken. For every Experience the player spends, that Move's value increases by +1, and is then discarded.
  • Finishers: Once per Conflict, a character can declare they are performing a Finisher. This lets them perform any kind of Move with the next-highest dice from the Form they are currently in (Even ones that haven't been unlocked yet). If this Move fails, then the character who performed the Move has their Drama rise to their current Form's Max Drama Value if it isn't there already, and their turn ends. When a Finisher is performed with a Power, special effects are activated that normally don't occur when a Power is used normally.
  • Forms: A character's Base and various Arms they Transform into. Each Form has a different Max Drama Value and Reset Drama Value, and uses a different dice when performing a Move. The dice for each Form are:
    • Base: four-sided dice (d4)
    • 1st Arms: six-sided dice (d6)
    • 2nd Arms: eight-sided dice (d8)
    • 3rd Arms: ten-sided dice (d10)
    • 4th Arms: twelve-sided dice (d12)
  • Game Master (GM): The person who runs the game for their players. They create the setting, scenarios, and non-player characters that the player characters encounter during the game session. When a player makes a Move, they discuss with the GM what the action is, and decide together what Vector makes sense to use for it and if any Gear or Gimmicks can play a role. To keep the game's pace going, the GM's word is final.
  • Gear: Pieces of equipment that an character has access to regardless of what Form they are in. This item is described by the player, and is associated with a single Vector. If the GM believes that it is applicable to the action being taken by a character, it gives a Move a +2 bonus along with any viable Gimmicks. It can also be added to a character's Defense for that Vector if the GM believes it is viable for the Move being done to a character. Gear is acquired during Advancement in place of a Trapping. A character can only have one piece of Gear. 
  • Max Drama Value: The maximum number of Drama a Form can take. If they take any more Drama higher than this number, they Crash. Regardless of the Form a character is in, they only Crash and are forced to Transform when they take more Drama than their highest Form's Max Drama Value. When a character Transforms from a higher Form to a lower Form, their Drama goes to the lower Form's Maximum Drama Value. The values are:
    • Base: 3 Drama
    • 1st Arms: 6 Drama
    • 2nd Arms: 9 Drama
    • 3rd Arms: 12 Drama
  • Move: Any action performed by a character that requires them to test a Vector. Including Normal Moves, Archetypes, and Powers. A player declares what they are attempting - explaining how their character's Gear, Gimmicks, Type, or Power could frame the narrative around it, and they work out with the GM what Vector that falls under. The player rolls the dice for whichever Form they are performing the test in, and multiplies what they have in that Vector by the results of the roll. They can add any bonuses from Gear or Gimmicks to this value when applicable. If this value is greater than or equal to the target value the GM has set up as the difficulty for the action, the Move is a Success. If this is a move against a character, the target value is always the character's Defense in that Form and Vector. A Move has multiple Successes against a character for every time that its value can be divided by the Defense into a whole number.
  • Normal Move: One of the actions that can be taken by a character on their Turn during a Conflict. It's any Move where a character rolls against another character with the intent to put Drama on them, but without special rules like those found in Powers or Archetypes. The Move's value can be increased with bonuses from Gimmicks and Gear. The Drama the target of the Move takes is equal to the number of times that the Move can be divided by the target's Defense into a whole number.
  • Opponent: An antagonist character who has competing goals with the player characters in a Conflict. Usually to make player characters Crash.
  • Powers: Abilities that can be used during a Turn to allow the player to perform actions that have special effects. Powers belong to different Types. Characters can only use their Powers when they are in their Base, or are in an Arms of a Type that Power belongs to. When Powers are used as Finishers, they activate special effects that don't normally occur.
  • Reset Drama Value: When a character transforms into a higher Arms, their current Drama level resets so they are only three Drama short of that Arms' Max Drama Value. The Reset Drama Values for the different Arms are:
    • 1st Arms: 3 Drama
    • 2nd Arms: 6 Drama
    • 3rd Arms: 9 Drama
    • 4th Arms: 12 Drama
  • Traits: Bonuses to different Vectors that, when a character takes 1 Drama, raise that Vector's value by 2 for a single Move. This can be done offensively on a characters' Turn in order to raise a Move that had no Successes, or be used to raise a character's Defense if an Opponent's Move had multiple Successes. A character can only have one Trait, chosen on character creation. Traits are:
    • Bold, associated with Might
    • Clever, associated with Brains
    • Stylish, associated with Soul
  • Transform: When a character switches between any of their Forms, gaining access to different Gimmicks, Powers, Types, and Dice. Going from a lower-level Form like from Base to 1st Arms causes a character's Drama to immediately change to the Reset Drama Value for the ending Arms, regardless of if it is higher or lower than that value. Going down to a lower Arms, like from 2nd Arms to 1st Arms, or from 1st Arms to Base, causes the Drama to immediately change to the Max Drama Value for the ending Arms, regardless of if it is higher or lower than that value.
  • Gimmicks (formerly Trappings): Gimmicks are simple details about an Arms that help clarify what they are capable of for the GM and other players. When performing a Move, a player can incorporate an Arms' Gimmicks into the narrative for offensive purposes. If the GM agrees with this, the player can add +1 to the move for every Trapping. When in Base Form, a character can use Gimmicks from any Arms to perform an action, giving them +1 for every Trapping incorporated. Gimmicks can be used to neutralize an attacking character's bonuses from Gimmicks if they are narratively appropriate, like a Move using a 'Fire' Trapping doesn't gain +1 if the target character is in a Form that has access to the 'Water' Trapping. Characters gain Gimmicks by raising a Vector for gaining a new Arms, through Advances.
  • Turns: When a Conflict begins, the character who goes first is the one who instigated the Conflict. Once they have made a single Move, they can pass off to another character of their choosing who has not yet gone. Once every character has gone, the last player can choose whoever they wish to go next. If a player passes off their turn to an Opponent character before all of their allies have had a Turn, they can lose 1 Drama. On a turn, a character can both:
    • Transform into another form.
    • Make either a Normal Move, use an Archetype, or use a Power.
  • Types: Every Arms has a Type it's associated with. The Powers associated with that Arms are drawn from a pool of similar Powers that belong to that Type. Types frame what the Arms' origins are and what they do to their Alter when they're activated Depending on the Type, the GM might allow a character to perform certain actions that characters of other Types cannot. A character does not need to have all their Arms be a single Type, and is at an advantage if they are able to change their Type when facing certain Opponents in order to make use of the Edges Types have over one another. They are:
    • Bio: Biologically-based Arms. Usually organic symbiotes, or change their Alter's body via some mutation. Has an Edge on Myth Types due to Myths being based on belief, and all belief coming from living things.
    • Myth: Mythology-based Arms. They are magical or mysterious in origin. They change their Alter through some unknown means, or garb them in armor that defies logic. Has an Edge on Tech Types, because Technology is incapable of properly understanding something powered by belief.
    • Tech: Technology-based Arms. An artificial construct that is used by an Alter to don an advanced weapon system, or the Arms could just be an advanced weapon itself. Has an edge over Bio Types, because technology aims to make up for biology's shortcomings.
    • Fight: Arms that don't fall into any of the above categories, but still strengthen their Alters. They have no Edges on other Types, and other Types don't have Edges on them.
  • Vectors: There are three attributes that determine what a character is proficient at. Every Move that can be done is done framed as within one of these Vectors. A Vector can have a value of 1, 2, or 3. They are :
    • Might: The Vector associated with the physical attributes of a character. Used to perform Moves that are based around the strength and speed. In combat, it is typically used to perform melee attacks.
    • Brains: The Vector associated with the mental attributes of a character. Used to perform moves that are based around intelligence and wisdom. In combat, it is typically used to perform ranged attacks.
    • Soul: The Vector associated with the spiritual attributes of a character. Used to perform Moves that are based around charisma and willpower. In combat, it is typically used to perform non-standard attacks like creatively using Gimmicks.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

AwesomeCon 2019

I Ran Alter Arms at AwesomeCon this past weekend and had players had some good positive feedback to round out the rules.

I'm currently at the stage where I'm finalizing the rule-set for blind playtests and hope to send them out to people who have signed up sometime in the early Summer.

Thank you for your patience!

Summer 2018 Update

After thorough testing, the Alter Arms system is almost complete. The next step is going to be to get blind feedback from playtesters interested in using the playtest rules to make their own characters and run their own adventures. This means sending out copies of the rules for players to review. I have been gathering emails from interested players, but if anyone would like to take part in this playtest, feel free to contact me by commenting on this post, or notifying me via @AlterArms on Twitter.

In addition, I am going to look into running games on Roll20, and will update on that in time.


KatsuCon 2019

I had a great time at KatsuCon this past Saturday in their tabletop room where I was able to run multiple demos of Alter Arms for eager players!


"I never thought that being an edgy super hero (WHO COULD TRANSFORM!) would be so cool! This was an amazing experience." -JD (@rise_medica on Instagram: https://t.co/XGNd6slH15).
Thanks to all of the players from @Katsucon this weekend! #KatsuCon#tokusatsu#ttrpgpic.twitter.com/2iN8tsqXB1
— Alter Arms (@AlterArms) February 18, 2019
I had one return player who played a demo last year, who also expressed enjoyment at how the game is turning out.

One takeaway I found was that the Defender archetype needed to be tempered to make it so that it didn't make it too easy for players to earn experience compared to the others.

Archetypes are classes that characters have that represent their role on the team, kind of like how sentai teams have "the supportive one," or "the tough one." These classes give players special m…