La Vida System
One must wonder what this document is about: it's about roleplaying. Specifically, it is a custom tailored roleplaying system, one of many but hopefully one that you, the reader, will enjoy.
La Vida is a flexible, setting and theme agnostic tabletop RPG system that focuses on dramatic systems and abstract, narrative results rather than hard simulationism. It is designed so that many of the numbers and systems present can be flavored, reinterpreted or discarded as needed by the game's creator and so that play can proceed as smoothly and simply as possible while still providing a depth of experience and the excitement of random chance. New rules and systems should be easy to create and implement without disrupting the core math of the system.
To play La Vida you will need a dice roller program or a set of tabletop gaming dice, preferably 2 or 3 of each: d4, d6, d8, d10 and d12.
Your attributes are a measure of your raw capability and natural talent. Not necessarily something that you're born with, your attribute level is also an indication of how much hard work you put into perfecting yourself. Someone with a low attribute is probably ill-talented and doesn't train or practice. Someone with a middle attribute most likely does just one of the two. High level attributes require a great amount of training, patience and diligence combined with aptitude to raise up so high.
Attributes are Rated from 2d4-2d12, giving you those dice to roll on tasks.
2d4: Less than average ability, a rating of d4 in an attribute means you're very poorly developed in that area or perhaps handicapped in some way.
2d6: Average ability, most people have a rating in d6 in their attributes, describing the ease that comes with casual use.
2d8: Above average development, this level describes an amount of training, perhaps informal or unknowing, in that level of personal ability.
2d10: Exceptional development, this level describes certainly focused training in an area, or perhaps a natural talent combined with constant use.
2d12: Heroic development, this level describes an incredible, preternatural aptitude in an area of personal ability, this level requires hard training, discipline, talent and heroic action to reach.
Body: Strength and speed. Body is the development of physical traits, your ability to interact physically with the world around you and the general condition of your body. High-body characters are lithe and panther-like, heavily muscled and powerful or sturdy and stocky. Low-body characters are sickly and thin, small-framed and unimpressive or flabby and soft.
Mind: Wit and intelligence. Mind is the ability to reason and think, to learn new things and retain what you have already learned. High-mind characters are living encyclopedias full of trivia, highly focused scholars or untested prodigies yearning to break through. Low-mind characters have difficulty focusing, are ill-educated or simply dislike thinking things through.
Heart: Empathy and charisma. Heart is a measure of one's social awareness and ability to connect to others, how likeable someone is naturally and the ability one has to leverage their appearance. Heart does not necessarily suggest how attractive or unattractive conventionally someone is, merely the ability to use one's physical appearance to the fullest. High-Heart characters are social butterflies that connect easily to other people and make fast friends, intimidating one-person events that draw the gaze of all those around them or are quietly beautiful and inspiring. Low-Heart characters are surly and repellent, retiring and shy or can't connect emotionally or socially to other people.
Soul: Intuition and willpower. Soul is more ephemeral than the other attributes but offers no less flexibility and power. Soul aids in resisting many adverse effects, both physical and otherwise. It also represents one's general awareness of the world and of themselves. High-Soul characters are wise and enlightened, patient hunters that don't miss things around them or fall into situations where luck tends to bend their way. Low-Soul characters lack willpower or solidarity even when otherwise strong, miss details of the world around them or are notoriously unlucky.
Characters start with 1 attribute at 2d4, 2 attributes at 2d6 and 1 attribute at 2d8.
A skill is an area of influence in which you have practiced and studied in order to master a particular discipline.
If you do not have a skill required for a roll then you may simply roll only the attribute dice.
+1d4: The character has an understanding and some practice with the skill.
+1d6: The character has practice with the skill as well as understanding the underpinnings and history of the skill.
+1d8: The character is adept with the skill, understanding tricks of the trade and secrets of its usage.
+1d10: The character has become so used to the skill it's like another limb, flexed and ready whenever they want.
+1d12: The character is renowned in their use of their skill and is probably responsible for new methods related to it.
Heritage and Background
Everyone comes from somewhere and you don't get to choose how you're born. Heritage and Background are ways to customize your character's past, the ways in which they were shaped by thinks they went through and the circumstances of their birth.
Create one Heritage and one Background on character creation.
Your heritage describes your species, ethnicity and parentage. What race you wish to be should be detailed here. Distribute the following bonuses and options as you see fit.
Your heritage provides the following benefits: +1 step to any attribute,
And you may choose two of the following. You may choose one or none if you prefer.
Your Background consists of your characters choices, training and professions prior to the beginning of the story. Your characters social station and job is probably tied to their background.
Task Resolution, Rolls and Rules
Task resolution is done by rolling your attribute die, adding your skill die and any other applicable bonuses then subtracting any penalties and matching the final result to a target number, trying to exceed or meet it. Target numbers exist on a hierarchy of difficulty. The most basic tasks don't require rolls, the most complex ones almost surely need Heroism to succeed. Each level of difficulty increases the final TN by 2.
Performing a task is as such: You declare your intention for your action, either suggest a skill/attribute combo to the GM or use the roll the GM gives to you to use and then roll the dice, comparing the result to the task's target number (which the GM may keep a secret at their discretion!) If the result is higher than the target number then you have succeeded! On top of that, for every factor of 2 above the TN you succeed by you earn a degree of success. Degrees make the action more efficient and impressive. On a basic task, each degree can be spent to do one of the following: Reduce the amount of time the task would take by 10%, increase the TN to oppose or undo the task by 1, reduce the TN of a followup skill roll by yourself or an ally by 1, or otherwise improve the action or make it more impressive by a subjective factor of 10%.
Conversely, falling short of your target number causes a degree of difficulty for every factor of 2 you do not overcome the TN. One degree of difficulty means that you have succeeded at your task, but marginally. The task in some way gave you issues that negatively affected the outcome of the final product, causing it to be less efficient or rougher. 2 degrees of difficulty means that your success is punctuated by a minor complication: you unlock the door but your pick is broken. You perform a trick shot but your gun is jammed. You jump the gap but slip and waste time gripping the side of the building. 3 degrees of difficulty denotes a major complication. You pick the lock but the guards have arrived. Your trick shot shoots down a hanging prisoner but injures someone else. You jump between one building and another but crash through a window a floor below where you were aiming. If you fall below 3 degrees of difficulty then, and only then, have you actually failed in whatever you were attempting, generally coupled with a major complication.
Extended tasks are tasks that take a long time to perform, such as crafting items, making art, repairing lost technology or the like. Extended tasks have three statistics to track: TN like a normal task, Duration and Threshold. TN is as normal, a number you must meet or beat in order to succeed. Duration is the amount of time each roll takes, from a minute to an hour. Threshold is the number of successful tasks you need to complete all told in order to achieve your desired outcome. Succeeding on a task adds 1 to the Threshold of your extended task, with every 2 points you exceed the TN adding an additional 1 threshold for the total.
(Example: Duran the Prowler wants to sew himself a cloak that will give him a +1 equipment bonus to stealth checks in city ruins by offering camouflage in urban areas. The GM decides that sewing the cloak is an extended Crafts task at Average difficulty. Each roll is one day of work and he has a threshold of 6 to meet. He rolls Celerity + Crafts and rolls well, achieving a 10, giving him 2 to the total threshold. If he keeps this up his special cloak will be done in a matter of days!)
Contested tasks are tasks where you are directly competing with someone else for victory. Sometimes this can be resolved by all parties participating in a normal task and seeing who beats the TN with the highest number. Sometimes, however, it's better handled by a direct roll off with each party rolling with the highest number winning out in the end. Attacking and defending is considered a contested task.
Simple 5 (Climbing a knotted rope with Athletics, getting a domesticated dog to like you with Animal Ken. Simple tasks should seldom, if ever, actually be rolled.)
Basic 7 (Opening a badly maintained lock with Security, making a coward back down using Intimidation. Basic tasks should really only be rolled when doing so under duress.)
Average 9 (Forming a sculpture good enough to make money with using Artistry, Predicting an opponent's move in a board game using Empathy. Average and up difficulty tasks are when rolls are most appropriate.)
Challenging 11 (Climbing a craggy cliff face without pitons using Athletics, getting a wild wolf not to attack you with Animal Ken.)
Difficult 13 (Picking an exceptional lock using Security, making a hardened criminal back down using Intimidation.)
Heroic 15 (Painting something that makes you famous throughout your home country using Artistry. Using Empathy to understand the motives of an Outsider.)
Godly 17 (Jumping straight up 3 stories to land on a balcony jutting from the wizard's tower using Athletics. Getting an angry drake to like you with Animal Ken.)
Improbable 19 (Opening the door to an ancient vault with a handful of trickery and your Security knowhow. Making a starving demon back down using Intimidation.)
Impossible 21+ (Preparing a meal delicious enough to make a God cry using Artistry. Using Empathy to connect with the heart of a horrifically cruel demon.)
Penalties and Bonuses
The complexity of the task at hand sets the base TN, at the judgment of the GM. The circumstances can also increase the TN of a roll as can interference from enemy NPCs. Several techne or pieces of equipment can lower the difficulty or raise the difficulty of others' rolls as well.
Some examples of circumstances are:
Under Pressure: +1-4 to TN in circumstances such as in combat or when pressed for time.
Plenty of Time: -2 to TN in situations where you can spend more time than necessary doing a task.
On the Move: +2 when trying to do something while moving that would be easier standing still.
Tough Environment: +1-4 when the environment is impeding you, such as running through snow or trying to pick a lock while the room fills with water.
Improper Equipment: +1-4 when you have to make do with something that would be easier with the proper equipment.
Exceptional Equipment: -1-4 to TN when performing a task with appropriate exceptional items.
Supported by allied Techne: -varies when an allied techne is giving you a bonus.
Hindered by enemy Techne: +varies when an enemy is actively opposing you.
Spending Heroism: -Varies to TN based on how much Heroism you're willing to spend before the roll. If the TN is 9 and you spend 2 Heroism you only have to roll against TN 5.
Being inflicted by Villainy: Powerful villains and story-important enemy NPCs can sometimes have access to a Villainy pool that counteracts the effects of Heroism! Villainy increases the TN of any task or lowers the result of a hero's skill rolls.
Social situations, Pull and Intimacy
Unlike most mental and physical tasks that rely on the skill, ingenuity and prowess of the character, social situations have to deal with the sticky addition of other people. In most cases a simple skill task isn't quite comprehensive enough to tell you what a social roll has actually done in relation to another person. It's also hard to gauge how another player character would react to your character's social skills without things ending up getting pretty hairy between you! To simplify the complexity of social interaction without sacrificing depth, the Pull system is used.
When in a social situation the GM can decide whether they want to set a social roll against a TN appropriate to the character you're trying to interact with OR they can make the roll opposed. Generally the roll is your attribute + social skill opposed by their attribute + Empathy, Focus or Composure. In general, Parley and Intimidate are opposed by Composure and Guile by Empathy. If appropriate, you can even gain Pull with entire groups of people! In any of these cases, the Pull system basically works the same.
For each degree of success you earn on the task roll, you gain 1 point of Pull plus an additional point of Pull just for succeeding on the Task. Pull represents a casual bond, the sort of influence you can have on someone after only a short time knowing them either by blinding them with charm and wit or by intimidating and bullying them. Pull accumulates on a specific person or group and can only be used on them by the person that earned the Pull with them. Assume that Pull degrades at a rate of 1 per downtime week as separation from the subject causes them to slowly forget the impact of your words and actions on them. You can only perform a number of tasks in a single Event that can get you points of Pull equal to the level of the skill you're using.
Points of Pull can be spent in the following ways: Each point can be used to gain a single interesting bit of information from the subject, so long as it isn't anything that could put them in serious trouble for telling you. Each point can be used to ask for a small favor the subject wouldn't be opposed to doing anyway, 3 points can be spent to ask them to do something somewhat dangerous but something they would do anyway. Each point of Pull can be spent to make the target regard you more fondly, decreasing the TNs of later interactions with them on a one for one basis OR you can do the opposite and make them distrust someone else, increasing the TNs of their interactions with the subject. Pull can be used for other actions along these lines, but do keep in mind that Pull shouldn't have incredibly far-reaching consequences when used, spent Pull should wear off within a week after the Event it was spent in. However, there is something else you can use saved pull for: conversion into Intimacy.
You can spend 4 points of Pull to create one point of Intimacy. Intimacy represents a lasting, powerful bond of fear, trust or affection that can be taxed but is hard to forget once it's there. Intimacy doesn't degrade over time like Pull does, though it is spent in a similar fashion. Points of Intimacy can be spent in the following ways: One point lets you drastically change the subject's opinion on a specific thing such as an organization, threat, event or item. One point can force the subject to perform an action they would normally not do either on moral grounds or due to self-preservation. One point can force the subject to reveal something intimate and possibly threatening to their livelihood. One point can cause the subject to betray or abandon a cause or project they were otherwise devoted to. Each point of Intimacy can curry favor and perhaps cash equal to 50 RU. Each point of Intimacy can be folded back into Pull and spent accordingly. Finally, 4 points of Intimacy can be spent to create a point of Permanent Intimacy.
When you've spent enough time and raw personal magnetism to earn 4 points of Intimacy with someone, you can convert those points into a single point of Permanent Intimacy. Permanent Intimacy means you have a bond with that person that will last, they are now at the very least a loyal ally. Permanent Intimacy returns when it is spent, giving you a pool of Intimacy to tap into with that person each Event you are with them. In general Permanent Intimacy refreshes with each new Event with that subject, but at the GM's discretion it can take longer if the subject feels you've been using them too much. You can lose Permanent Intimacy only through acts of betrayal or by otherwise going back on what the relationship meant to the subject, losing one point of Permanent Intimacy with each Event something like that happens.
Heroism is that ineffable pool of conviction and strength that anyone can draw upon in times of dire need. Heroism is the strength that gives a 120 pound mother the power to lift a one ton car off of her child. Heroism is what allows a man to think past the possible to the impossible and make it happen. Heroism is what gives one the courage to defy social mores and rise up from where they're 'supposed' to be to where they are meant to be.
Simply put, Heroism is a pool of points that you can spend to lower the target number of any Task you are undertaking. Each point of Heroism you spend on a Task lowers the TN by 2. In addition, if you spend any Heroism at all on a Task you
At the beginning of each story you start with 5 Heroism.
There are 2 vectors by which you refill your Heroism pool.
Your heroic virtues are the parts of you that drive you to do the best you can, they are what helps you to believe that what you're doing is best for the world and for yourself. Despite being called 'virtues' they are not necessarily selfless or altruistic things, but they are, generally, ways in which you want to better something, either yourself or your loved ones or the world in general.
You have two Heroic Virtues that can be fairly broad. Each time you work towards one of your virtues in a meaningful way you regain a point of Heroism.
Examples of heroic virtues follow but you should feel free to come up with your own, personalize your virtues to make your character more your own. The only real rule is that can't be something easy or that you can do all the time without effort. If it seems like your virtue is triggering too often the GM can feel free to limit the amount of times you can benefit from your virtues!
Examples of Heroic Virtues: Charitable (Giving freely of your own wealth to the less fortunate), Ascetic (Giving up your own pleasure for the good of others), Glorious (Doing great deeds to get your name known), Revolutionary (Changing a system to improve things in your view), Steadfast (Withstanding great pain and hardship), Cunning (Seeking out inventive solutions to any problem), Loyal (Never leaving your friends in the lurch), Strong(Building a powerful body and having the wisdom to use your strength well), Superlative at (Skill) (Using a certain skill to get around problems one would normally attribute other skills to), Courageous (Never backing down in the face of frightful situations), Artistic (A need to bring beautiful things into the world), Protective (A willingness to protect the weak from the strong), etc.
Heroic virtues become far less prevalent without the background shadow of a great failing to highlight them. Just as there is no such thing as a perfect person, even the most shining hero has at least one thing that haunts them, whether they acknowledge it as a failing or not.
A Heroic Flaw isn't something that is an ongoing part of you that is best for you, whether you think it or not, it is destructive to yourself or to others. It is an escape, an often hollow justification for inexcusable behavior. It is also part of you and by acknowledging it, falling to it and rising again you display an even greater heroism than someone who is 'perfect.'
When falling to your Flaw the greatest rule is that it must cost you. You must lose something when you fall to it, it isn't a casual vice. It is falling to, learning from and rising back from your Flaw that gives you the bonuses you get from being victim to yourself.
When you are victim to your Heroic Flaw you regain all of your Heroism pool as you pick yourself back up and strengthen your resolve. However, this only happens when you have made reparations for your misdeeds to the satisfaction of the GM. Falling might involve set-up in one session then resolution in another.
You can only benefit from your Heroic Flaw once per storyline. Of course, you can feel free to fall to it as often as is dramatically appropriate.
Just as with the virtues here is a list of examples for flaws, but feel free to create your own.
Examples: Addicted (Whether alcohol or drugs, you have a problem), Angry (Your temper is legendary, as are its consequences), Hubristic (You are convinced of how right your decisions are, always), Obsessive (Something constantly occupies your mind, it can get out of hand), Prideful (You will never back down or compromise, your beliefs trump reason), Greedy (Always grasping for more, sometimes you overreach), Callous (Your reasons are your own, no one else's. Others aren't your concern), Slothful (You never do more than you have to, leaving some important things half finished), Cowardly (Call it caution, but your fearful nature gets in the way of yourself and others), Lustful (You have a great amount of desire, sometimes to the point of taboo)
Measures of Dramatic Time
When talking about measurement of time in a role playing game it's often less important to worry about hours and minutes and more important to worry about thematics. A "storyline" is generally about 10 sessions of play, but those 10 sessions can happen over weeks, days, or they can even all be in the span of a single night if that's the timing that works best, it's up to the gamemaster how much time passes in the game world when talking about dramatic time.
Turn: A turn is the amount of time it takes someone to use up all of their actions during a round.
Round: The time it takes everyone to use their turns. Generally each round can be assumed to last about 4 to 6 seconds.
Event: An Event is any major occurance such as a scene of social interaction or a battle. An Event can be a party, some time with your characters talking amongst themselves, the planning of another Event to come or fighting off raiders or monsters. Each Event that occurs can be assumed to take anywhere from half a day.
Session: A session is basically the length of time you and your friends sit down to play the game. A session can be as many Events long as you can manage!
Storyline: A storyline is however many sessions it takes for you to complete whatever major objective your group has motivating it. Whether it's discovering something, defeating an antagonist or protecting or seizing an area. The gamemaster is the main arbiter for when a storyline is really over.
Downtime: Downtime is any time you have between Events that your group doesn't want to portray. Pretty much anything can happen in downtime from shopping, training, crafting, foraging, everyday life, anything that you don't think would be interesting to portray but is still in some way important to your group or characters. When an action is given a length of time longer than an Event it usually occurs in downtime.
Movement and the battlefield
Combat in La Vida is as abstract as you would like to account for cinematic flashiness or as hard as you like in order to keep careful track of everyone's movements for a tighter combat narrative. For purposes of using a battle map you may translate every meter of measurement into one square or hex. This book will not be using words like square or hex in order to allow flexibility in the sort of battles you and your gaming group would like to run.
The easiest way to deal with distance is to know what Range anything is from anything else. For simulation purposes you can extrapolate range using the formula provided.
Ranges from closest to furthest possible are:
Personal Range (0 meters): The effect is centered on you, personally. Usually attached to areas of effect that emanate from you such as Radiances and some Cylinders.
Touch Range (0-1 meters): The range of melee weapons, fists, feet and anything else that you must be adjacent to your target to connect with.
Short Range (5 meters): Short range attacks include such things as thrown attacks, close range techne and physical attacks made with such force they create shockwaves in their wake!
Mid Range (20 meters): Mid range attacks are seen most often with weaker projectile magic and esoteric martial arts.
Long Range (100 meters): Long range attacks are most often made with low to mid-power firearms, bows and projectile magic.
Extreme Range (300 Meters): Extreme range attacks are the realm, primarily, of rifles and magic that relies on line of sight more than a projectile.
Incredible Range (1000 meters): Incredible range is most often the territory of artillery pieces or the most potent of techne and rituals.
From there range becomes increments of kilometers and is best handled abstractly. Combat will most definitely not take place at ranges longer than Incredible unless it is made into a skill challenge of sorts.
Initiative and Turns
At the beginning of battle everyone involved rolls either Awareness or Sense to determine their place in the initiative scale. As a special rule anyone may roll Celerity for either of these skills instead of Intuition. Those with higher numbers go first and then it counts down from there. People with higher initiative may delay their action to any place in the initiative below them.
Attacking and Defending
Attacking is resolved through a simple contested task, with a few differences. The attacker rolls their attack combat skill and the defender rolls their defense combat skill, if the defender's result is higher than or equal to the attacker's then they are not hit and the attacker is left open to a counterattack, if the attacker's is higher then the attack or techne lands.
Rolling 6 or more over the defender's roll results in a critical hit where the attacker deals +50% more damage on the damage roll. (If the attacker rolls 8 damage and she critically hits, then she deals 12 damage total.)
Area of Effect attacks are resolved by using a single roll for the attacker that sets the TN for all of the defenders. Similarly there is only one damage roll for all targets.
The most common type of attack is a simple attack, which is an attack action using your equipped weapon and the associated Attribute + Skill roll and the weapon's damage roll. When something allows you to make an attack, assume it is a simple attack unless the effect states otherwise.
Ranged attacks are resolved in the same way as any other attack, however they have considerations that normal ranged attacks don't have.
First, in order to make a ranged attack you have to have line of effect to your target. This means an uninterrupted line from you to whatever or wherever you are trying to hit. Even if you can't see something you can try to hit it as though you were Blinded, as long as there is a chance of hitting thanks to a lack of obstacles. You CAN hit someone who is taking cover as long as hitting them isn't completely impossible, cover rules are discussed later on.
Second, ranged attacks have a maximum range. Trying to overcome this maximum range is possible but difficult. When a ranged attack has a range attached to it you may try to make an attack at a target beyond that range, but for each range category beyond the maximum you have a cumulative -4 penalty to your attack roll. You cannot try extended range attacks on any type of area of effect attack except for bursts.
When one character attacks another in melee or a character with a ranged weapon attacks another character with a ranged weapon and the defender wins the roll-off, the defender gains an immediate act action to counterattack. A counterattack is only a simple attack or a techne with the counter tag. A counterattack cannot be counterattacked in turn. Area of effect attacks cannot be counterattacked.
Health, Vitality and Damage
Health: Health is a pool that tracks how close you are to receiving an actual wound, the lower it is the closer you are to taking a solid hit rather than near-misses and grazes. Your health pool is equal to the higher of your Concord or Might dice number. (2d4 would be 4, 2d6 would be 6, etc.)
Vitality: Where health is the energy to avoid being hit, vitality is the energy of the body. Each time your health pool is reduced to zero, you refill it but lose a level of vitality. With each level of vitality you lose, all of your dice rolls gain a -1 penalty as damage builds up on the body. Every character starts with 5 Vitality levels.
Damage carries over from one health pool to the next
Endangered: When you reach your last vitality level you are considered in the Endangered state. Even if an attack deals enough damage to drop you past your final vitality level it always stops at Endangered, ignoring the rest of the damage of that attack. When Endangered you cannot be healed by normal magical or mundane means without the use of a Techne that brings you out of the Danger state. The only actions you can take while Endangered are free actions, a move to crawl 1 meter which invites retaliation from adjacent foes, an act to take a defense action or and act to use a techne with the Endangered tag. When the Danger state is removed you immediately gain a single point of health in your pool and regain one vitality level.
The scariest part of the Danger state is that it is the state in which you may be killed. If you take damage again when Endangered that drops you another vitality level you die permanently.
Healing and Resting
Rest is important for any hero, depriving someone of sleep, food, water and relaxation will make them useless in combat no matter how skilled and grand they are. A rest generally occurs as a 6 hour bout of sleep, but the GM may rule that any period of relaxation to light activity that is around 6 hours or longer in length may count as a rest period.
At the end of a normal rest period the character's current health pool is refilled to maximum and they regain one vitality level. If receiving care from someone with the medicine skill during a rest period they instead regain vitality levels equal to the degrees of success on a roll of TN 9 + the number of lost vitality levels of the character being healed.
Some techne or other abilities allow for healing or regeneration. When someone regains enough health through one of these abilities to fill their pool, they regain a vitality level and their health pool empties with any leftover healing rolling over into their health pool again.
Retaliation and Retreat
Attempting to move away from an opponent who knows you are there is a bad move, doing it without giving it the proper attention invites them to take advantage of your flight. Whenever a subject is attacked in melee both attacker and defender are considered to be Engaged in melee. Moving away from the enemy without making a Retreat action means they can retaliate against you, making a simple attack unless they have techne or other abilities that alter their retaliatory strikes. There are other actions that invite retaliations as well, such as making certain ranged attacks when Engaged in melee.
A Retreat action takes both your Act and Move but lets you move at your normal speed away from ANY enemies who have you Engaged.
If you are in stealth or invisible then you do not draw retaliation.
Cover is an important consideration in combat, especially when dealing with ranged weapons and direct spells. Cover happens when your body is being obscured by an obstacle such as a wall or a corner. Someone trying to fire into a corner when they do not have direct line of sight to you is firing into half cover, for instance. Here are some examples and levels of cover.
Partial cover: Around 25% of your body is covered, such as standing behind a low wall or crouching behind a flimsy barrier. Attacks against you are at a -1
Half cover: Around half of your body is covered, such as behind a waist-high wall, ducking behind a car or taking cover behind a corner when someone does not have direct line of sight to you. Attacks against your are at a -2
Superior cover: Most of your body is covered with only a small portion revealed, such as behind a large pillar, a thick but damaged wall or behind a van. Attacks against you are made at a -4.
Total cover: There is a complete obstacle such as a high wall between you and your attacker. You cannot be targeted directly at all.
Popping Out: In order to make attacks when you're in cover you must pop out of cover and attack before popping back in. Popping Out is a move action that includes retreating in cover after you use your Act. You take a penalty to any attack rolls you make when popping out, based on the level of cover you're enjoying. Partial cover has no penalty, half cover is a -1 penalty, superior cover takes a -2 penalty and total cover takes a -4 penalty to attack from as it requires the most work to move in and out of to acquire your target, attack and then move back into cover.
Areas of Effect
Some effects and attacks occur in an area rather than affecting a single target. These attacks have ranges just like any other effect, but within that range you designate a point in space, object or creature as the origin of the area, depending on the type of area you are working with. Some areas have a number following them and for each type of area effect the number will be explained. For any area of effect a range category may sometimes be applied instead, in which case the effect hits everyone within that range category, following the rules of the type of area.
Cover plays an important role in areas of effect. If someone is taking full cover in such a way that would block the effects of an area you are trying to place (I.E. ducking behind a wall to avoid a burst or beam) then you may not make an attack roll against them. If the cover is destructible and you manage to destroy the cover with your area attack, however, then your target becomes susceptible against the effect. You may still make attack rolls as normal against anyone in cover less than total. Many types of cover can be circumvented by targeting positions in space that make your target vulnerable to the area of effect where they would normally be immune to a direct assault!
Area effects that make an attack against the enemy resolve using a single attack and damage roll. The attack roll sets the TN for their defense as normal and the damage roll applies to any that failed their defense roll.
Note that rather than a number that tells you how many meters an AoE extends to you may see a range tag instead. The rules for resolving these AoEs do not otherwise change.
Cylinder: A cylinder area is one in which the effect is either rising or falling a certain distance, extending out from a targeted point in space, object or creature. In a cylinder tag the first number is the radius and the second is the height. For instance a Cylinder 5x3 is a circular area of 5 meters that is 3 meters high. Cylinders only take cover from above or below into account. (If someone is hiding in a house from your acid rain their cover comes into consideration, If they are off the ground on a scaffold to avoid your rising stone spikes their cover is taken into account, if someone is ducking behind a wall to get away from your falling icicles they do NOT gain any bonuses from cover.)
-Rise: A Rise is a cylinder that only takes cover from below into account, in order to benefit from cover for a rise there must be a very solid barrier beneath you. Floors flush with the ground do not count.
-Fall: A Fall is a cylinder that only takes cover from above into account. The cover must be substantial such as the roof of a sturdy building, the ground above a cave or cellar or a magical barrier.
Radiance: A radiance is a spherical area that extends from the user. A Radiance 4, then, is a sphere that extends out 4 meters in every direction from the caster.
Spread: A spread is a spherical area that extends from a point in space or from a targeted object or creature. A spread 5, for instance, is a spherical area 5 meters across.
Beam: A beam is an uninterrupted circular ray or line that originates from the user and hits all targets on that line up to a maximum range limit within a width indicated on the area tag. A short-range beam 3 hits all targets between the user and the limit of the user's short range limit in the beam's width of 3 meters. Only total solid cover can stop a beam, but even then you may attempt to break through it using your attack if it is breakable cover.
Wall: A wall is an uninterrupted line that extends for a limited distance from one point in space to another. A wall can be any shape as long as there is no more or less distance between the beginning and ending point than indicated in the tag. A wall 20 with height 2, for example, can have as much as 20 meters of a 2 meter high wall between the beginning point and the ending point. All segments of a wall must be within the range indicated on the techne. (IE You can't have the beginning point within the maximum range and the ending point outside of it or any segment extending out of the range.) Walls cannot extend through cover at all. They can, however, provide cover if solid.
Fan: A fan is a 180 degree arc extending out from the user. A Fan 5, therefore, hits all targets within 5 meters in any 180 degree arc around the caster.
Fields: A field is simply any area effect that is persistent. Generally these are spreads. A Spread Field 5 is a 5 meter radius spread that lasts as long as the field effect states it does.
Glyph: A glyph is a special type of field that is always a cylinder. They ignore cover completely in the area they fill and always effect all applicable targets. A Glyph 5x5 for instance is a 5 meter wide, 5 meter high cylindrical area that is persistent and effects everyone within it regardless of cover as long as they are within the area.
Energy Types and Elemental Resistance
The universe is full of energy and when you add in the x factor of magic there are a dizzying amount of elemental ways to bring pain down on others. When worrying about how energy types interact with each other and with various entities it seems the metaphysical is sometimes more important than the physical so keep that in mind.
Kinetic: Kinetic damage comes from one thing striking another, the ages old, tried and true method of killing things. It can come from many sources, the most common being weapon damage, but can also come from magical sources such as telekinetic force or moving the earth to attack with. The simple physicality of it makes it rather difficult to craft resistances or vulnerabilities to.
Mental: Mental damage comes from psychic attacks primarily and results in massive headaches and damage that is so realistic to the mind the body believes it has happened. Targets without a consciousness of their own are Immune to mental damage.
Flame: Heat, friction and fire, flame is anything that burns.
Frost: Shards of ice, freezing liquid or leeching the heat out of an area.
Air: Primarily electricity but also damaging gales, Air damage could be lightning bolts, tazer shots or shearing winds. Air damage often wreaks havoc on anything mechanical.
Light: Shining metaphysical energy embodying life, daylight and order that overloads and blasts apart matter and energy. Light is not necessarily 'good' as it can also be harsh, oppressive and unyielding.
Shadow: Metaphysical power embodying death, darkness and entropy that withers, tears and diminishes matter and energy. Shadow is not necessarily 'evil' as it also represents night, repose and rebirth.
Toxic: Acids, venoms and solvents break down materials and seep into the bloodstream to poison organic victims.
Immaculate: A most mysterious force that seems to violate natural laws, simply erasing whatever it touches with no conservation or conversion of mass. Even those who manipulate Immaculate energy can only hypothesize what it is. Some say it is the will of the divine made manifest, some say it is a higher form of energy only scientifically plausible in a universe home to magic. There is no way to resist Immaculate energy and all targets are considered Weak to it.
Hybrid Damage Types: Some attacks deal more than one type of damage, such as flame/frost or air/light. In order to resist these attacks you must have resistance towards all applicable damage types. If a target is weak towards any of the damage types they take the extra damage based on the most severe weakness the attack exploits.
(Possible Sidebar: The dichotomy of Light and Shadow: It's easy to assume Light as the good guy energy and Shadow as the bad guy energy, but as presented in this system they are both meant to be neutral forces with both good and bad sides. On top of that they are supposed to exist together! The entropic forces of Shadow and the ordering forces of light on their own cannot do anything to better the universe. Shadow on its own breaks down systems but cannot create new ones, leaving a void. Light on its own stabilizes systems, but without room for anything new all it brings is stagnation. When in balance the two energies provide dynamism to the universe, forming the framework for the birth-death-rebirth cycle of all organic and inorganic matter.)
Weakness and Resistance
Most creatures have neutral elemental resistance to the elements, meaning they take the usual amount of damage mitigated by their armor where applicable. However some creatures have resistances or weaknesses either naturally, because of equipment or buffs or
debuffs. These have to be taken into account when they lose health or gain fatigue.
Weakness: Weaknesses increase the amount of damage that a target takes from an elemental attack.
Vulnerable: Vulnerability to an element means you take double damage from any source of it.
Neutral: The default, neutral alignment towards an elemental energy type means you take no more or less damage than is rolled for any attack based on it.
Resistance: Resistances decrease the amount of damage that a target takes from an elemental attack.
Resistant: Resistance to an element means you only take half damage from any source of it.
Immune: Immunity prevents any damage whatsoever. It does not prevent any other effects from the attack.
Status Conditions and Debuffs
These are common conditions that can be inflicted on characters that hinder their effectiveness somehow.
Afraid: Under the effects of fear the target can't bring the full force of their attacks to bear. The target deals half damage with any attack they make while afraid.
Berserk: You are blinded with directionless fury. You attack the nearest being on each of your turns with the best melee attack you can muster and deal +50% damage with that melee attack. However you are at -1 with attack skills and -2 with defense skills.
Bind: The target cannot take Move actions.
Bleed: At the beginning of each of the subject's turn they lose 10% of their health. Nothing can prevent this damage but receiving any magical healing or a successful TN 9 Medicine task will cancel the bleed effect. Bleed counters and is countered by Regeneration.
Blind: The target cannot see, they automatically fail sight-based Awareness rolls and take a -5 on any attack roll made against a target. This penalty does not affect attacks with the Mental tag.
Charm: The target's loyalties are turned on their heads completely. Charmed subjects see their allies as enemies and their enemies as allies and act as such, often taking commands from whoever laid the Charm effect. Charmed targets can't be forced to harm themselves and each turn they are made to attack one of their allies the Charm effect is contested again.
Continual Damage: Continual damage comes as an energy type such as kinetic or flame and deals damage at the beginning of each of the subject's turns as indicated by the effect. Continual Light 6 means you take 6 Light damage every turn at the beginning of your turn.
Confusion: The target's mind is muddled as they hallucinate and reel with a bombardment of sensation. Roll a d4. On a 1 the target does nothing. On a 2 they must move their full speed in any one direction. On a 3 they attack the nearest target with any attack they care to muster. On a 4 they hurt themselves, taking 10% of their health in damage.
Cripple: The target's Move actions are penalized and their normal speed is reduced to only 1 meter per round. They may not Retreat.
Danger: When Endangered you cannot be healed by normal magical or mundane means without the use of a Techne that brings you out of the Danger state. When the Danger state is removed you immediately gain a single point of health in your pool and lose a single fatigue. When Endangered you gain negative health each time you take damage, when this negative health overtakes 25% of your maximum health you die.
Disable: The target cannot Act.
Drain: The subject loses an amount of Charge or Momentum as indicated by the effect at the beginning of their turn. Drain Momentum 2 means they lose 2 momentum per turn. Drain Charge 12 means they lose that much charge per turn.
Enfeebled: The target can't use any Martial techne while enfeebled.
Engaged: The target is currently Engaged in melee
Exhaustion: Exhausted targets gain 20% of their fatigue cap every round until the effect ends or they fall unconscious. Exhaustion counters and is countered by Refresh.
Flanked: When a subject has two enemies on directly opposite sides of them their attention is divided sufficiently that they suffer from the flanked state. They take a -1 penalty to their defense rolls and some traits and techne can take advantage of the state.
Frozen/Petrified: The subject is encased in a solid material and cannot act, as if stunned. However they also gain Resistance towards all forms of attack except Immaculate.
Helpless: When unconscious or completely restrained you are made helpless. While helpless you cannot move or take any actions and you may not roll your defense against incoming attacks. Any attacks against you roll against a base TN of 3.
Hex: Hex happens to an attribute and lowers that attribute by 1 die step in strength to a minimum of 1d4. For example if a subject's Might die is a 2d6 and they are hit by a Might Hex effect they instead have a 2d4. If they have a 2d4 it is lowered to a 1d4. Hex counters and is countered by Bless.
Prone: You are flat on your back or belly and can't defend yourself as effectively! Take a -2 to all attempts to defend against attacks from enemies adjacent to you. However ranged attacks can't hit your small profile well. Enemies trying to hit you from more than 2 spaces away take a -2 to their attack. You may also only move by crawling.
Seal: The target can't use any Esoteric Techne while Sealed.
Sleep: The target has fallen into a slumber. Any damage or violent physical action such as hitting or slapping they take will wake them but other than that they will remain asleep and helpless for the duration of the effect.
Slow: The target can only take one of their two actions while Slowed. They also move to the end of the initiative order.
Stagger: Staggered subjects take a -2 to any skill rolls they make and cannot take advantage of critical hits. Any enemy whose fatigue score is higher than their health score is automatically always staggered.
Stun: The target cannot take any actions at all and lose their turn.
Positive Effects and Buffs
Here are some effects that increase a subject's capabilities.
Alert: The Alert status means one is especially ready for anything that might come their way. They immediately move to the top of the initiative and their skill rolls gain a +1.
Bless: Bless increases the strength of an attribute by one die step. Might Blessing for instance could increase a d8 Might into a d6+d4 Might. Bless counters and is countered by Hex.
Enchanted: Enchantments are one of any of many, many, many buffs that can be given out through magic or perhaps the focus of a Pugilist. Enchantments are important to be marked as such because there are techne that can destroy or dispel them. Unlike other positive effects, different Enchantments stack.
Fortify: While fortified the subject cannot gain negative conditions.
Haste: A Hasted subject gains an additional Move action every turn.
Invisible: An invisible subject can move around the battlefield with impunity, never drawing retaliation and attacking without being seen. When they attack a subject that subject may attack them as if they were obscured on their next turn, however, and knows where they move on that turn alone. They may also be the target of and take damage from AoE attacks as normal. If they are hit by AoE the telltale marks of damage reduce them to only being Obscured for the duration of the invisibility buff. Making loud noise or moving objects that were not on their person when the subject became invisible may prompt a Challenging Awareness test, success means the successful tester may treat them as Obscured for their next turn.
Obscured: The subject is somehow difficult to see, whether it is because of smoke or mist or because their outline is blurred with illusion magic. Opponents must roll twice to hit them and take the lower result. AoE attacks are unaffected by Obscured.
Palisade: Palisade is an effect that prevents an amount of damage based on the effect. Palisade 20 for instance would prevent 20 points of damage. Palisade doesn't affect fatigue. As you take damage it is deducted from Palisade until the effect is spent.
Rage: Righteous anger flows through you. You deal +50% damage with all of your attacks.
Refresh: The subject loses 20% of their maximum fatigue from their current pool the start of each turn. Refresh counters and is countered by exhaustion.
Regeneration: The subject gains 10% of their maximum health back at the start of each turn. It counters and is countered by Bleed.
Rush: A subject in a Rushed state gains twice as much Charge or Momentum as they normally would whenever they receive it.
Stealth: You have hidden yourself or are blending in with the environment with nigh-supernatural acuity. You may move around the battlefield and are not a valid target for enemies and do not draw retaliation. You are still attacked by Area of Effect attacks. Taking damage from AoE or attacking an enemy breaks Stealth.
Items and Equipment
Money in Vida is handled through units called Resource Units or RU that can represent money, materials, bartering goods or even social clout and reputation. RU can be used for anything that money or bartering might be used for such as receiving goods and making bribes. One way or another when making a purchase you expend RU and must get them back somehow, generally through work, theft or treasure hunting.
Each character can only have so much equipment actually ready to use at any time. Each character, if you imagine them as a 'paper doll' has one weapon slot for each hand, one body slot for armor, one back slot for capes/cloaks/longcoats, one head slot for a hat/helmet/headband and one 'foot slot' for a pair of footwear. There are also 4 accessory slots for general equipment. Generally you will not be filling all of these slots with equipment of some kind, but it is possible.
Vida uses a flexible and abstract weapon system rather than having a long list of singular weapons, each weapon can be tailored to fit the character who uses it and can have a backstory and character all its own.
Weapons are built with a simple set of weapon properties called tags. Tags are bought with 'tag points.' Weapons have a number of tag points based on the size and quality of the weapon. Lower die size weapons make up for it with more tag points to spend while larger, heavier weapons have the bigger die size but less tags. Large weapons are also often 2 handed, which afford them some more tag points.
Using these rules you can build weapons as you see fit, but following the list of tags is a list of example weapons to use as well. Unless noted otherwise, each tag costs 1 point and tags that have a variable value to them cost 1 tag point per point of that value, unless otherwise stated.
Small Weapons: Small weapons are typically between 6 inches and 2 feet long and not particularly thick or wide. Small weapons deal d4 damage and have 5 tag points to spend. Small weapons cannot be 2 handed, Heavy or have Force.
Medium Weapons: Medium Weapons are typically between 2 and 4 feet long and can be somewhat bulky, wide or heavy but are no bigger than about half an adult human body. Medium weapons deal d6 damage and have 3 tag points to spend.
Large Weapons: Large weapons range between 4 and 6 feet long but can be improbably large at extremes. Large weapons deal 2d4 damage and have only 1 tag point to spend. Large weapons cannot be Concealable, or Integrated.
Weapons of multiple types of craftsmanship exist, with more skill and care and more rare and powerful materials put into the item making it more powerful. The better the craftsmanship, the more tag points the item possesses.
It is important to note that one should never feel pressured to have a higher quality weapon. Having a weapon of higher quality is a boon at any rank, but you don't NEED a higher quality weapon necessarily to keep up.
Common: No bonuses. Common items are, generally, not difficult to manufacture or find. They tend to not be a large drain on resources to produce or purchase in civilized places and can generally be scavenged from ruins fairly easily if you're in the right place.
Uncommon: +2 tag points. Uncommon items are a step above common items and generally are a product of better, more finessed manufacture rather than anything unusual.
Rare: +5 Tag Points. Items of this quality are true treasures to find and take remarkable, one of a kind talent to create. Rare items generally combine innovative or lost manufacturing secrets as well as rare, highly refined components.
Mythic: +7 Tag Points. It is nearly impossible to find a Mythic quality item and it is truly impossible to make one. Rather than merely products of high craft and rare materials, Mythic items are a product of their story. The history of a Mythic item is what gives it power, legend condensed with mana into an item capable of extraordinary feats in the hand of the right wielder. Examples of Mythic items include Excalibur, Gae Bolg, Bluebeard's Cutlass, Annie Oakley's .22, Vasily Zaytsev's Sniper Rifle, etc.
Accurate X: When attacking with this weapon, lower the target's Avoidance and Dodge rolls by X amount.
AP X: Armor Penetration. Ignore an amount of armor equal to X when landing a hit with this weapon.
Channeling: This weapon can be used as a focus, fetish, gris-gris or any other implement of magic. You may apply this weapon's Tags to esoteric attack techne that you use. Channeling costs 1 tag point.
Clip: This ranged weapon has a clip or a revolving chamber and only needs to take a Reload action after expending every shot of ammunition it can hold. A 6 shot clip costs no tag points, a 15 shot clip costs 1 and up to a 45 shot clip costs 2. Larger clips don't necessarily costs any more than 3 tag points unless the gm rules otherwise. A clip can be lowered to a single shot clip for 1 tag point.
Concealable: This weapon is collapsible, easy to hide or doesn't look like a weapon, giving you a +2 on any attempt to sneak it on your person.
Damaging X: Some weapons are especially hard-hitting and always deal X bonus damage on a hit.
Deadly: Deadly weapons are carefully crafted to make critical hits that much easier. Instead of needing 3 full degrees of success to score a critical hit, you only need to roll 5 above the enemy's defense roll. (So 2 and a half degrees of success.) Deadly costs 1 tag point.
Defend X: Defending weapons are easily used to interpose between your opponent and yourself, giving you a bonus on Parry rolls equal to this quality.
Elemental Touch: This weapon can deal Kinetic damage or it can deal a type of elemental damage chosen from Mental, Fire, Frost, Light, Shadow, Air or Toxic. You may switch between elemental and kinetic as a trivial action. For one tag point you may choose one element and may buy as many elements to swap to as you like, for three tag points you may choose two different elements that can be active at the same time and have them act as a hybrid damage type.
Esoteric: This weapon is a weapon of magic and doesn't rely much on the body to strike. You may use Concord, Presence or Acumen when using this weapon (choose one when making the weapon). This tag costs nothing but prevents you from using any attribute other than the one you selected.
Explosive X: Weapons with this tag resolve as if they had areas of effect of spread X. Each 3 meters of spread radius is one tag point.
Follow Through: Weapons with this tag may attack both a single target and a single target directly behind that target in a direction away from the user. Unlike area of effect attacks the attack and damage rolls are carried out separately against each target. Follow Through costs 1 tag point.
Force X: Force weapons knock the enemy back X meters in any direction on a successful critical hit. It also optionally adds X meters in any direction to any knockback or knockdown techne or traits the wielder uses whenever they are used.
Heavy X: When attacking with this weapon, lower the target's Parry and Sanctus rolls by X amount.
Hybrid: This weapon is a ranged weapon with a melee weapon attachment or a melee weapon that can fire off ammunition of some sort. You may buy both ranged and melee weapon tags and use them with this weapon where appropriate. You must purchase the Ranged tag before you may buy this one. Hybrid costs 1 tag point.
Hypnotic X: The allure of this weapon is not to be underestimated. Lower the opponent's Composure rolls by X when wielding this weapon.
Improvised: This weapon was found in the field or is otherwise not suited to be used as a weapon either because of shoddy construction or because it has taken too much damage. When a weapon is damaged but usable, consider it Improvised. Improvised weapons are used at a -1 to the attack roll and a -1 to the damage roll (damage rolls always have a minimum of 1). The tag cannot be added to a weapon, it is applied or found on them during play.
Insidious X: This weapon has a devious way of skirting an opponent's magical defenses. Lower the enemy's Focus rolls by X when using a techne with this weapon equipped.
Integrated: This weapon is attached to you or otherwise doesn't require you to give up the use of your hands to wield. You may holster and unholster the weapon as a trivial action. An Integrated weapon must also have the Concealable tag.
Rapidfire X: Applied to a ranged weapon (most often a gun) this weapon can attack additional targets as long as they are no more than 1 meter apart from the last target you hit. Unlike area of effect attacks the attack and damage rolls are carried out separately against each target. Rapidfire costs 1 tag point per extra target you can hit. Rapidfire also consumes more ammunition than normal, however! Each target costs 3 bullets out of your clip to hit. You must have a large enough clip to hold the ammunition needed to make rapidfire attacks in order to make use of this tag at all.
Ranged: This weapon can be used at range and is now considered a Ranged weapon for all intents and purposes. It automatically gains the Reload and clip tags. For 1 tag point Ranged weapons start with a max range of Mid, each range category above Mid costs 2 tag points.
Reach: Applied to a melee weapon, this weapon now has a range of Short rather than melee.
Reload: This weapon requires time to reload or recharge after each shot. Ranged weapons require this tag. It starts at a Move action to reload and costs 1 tag point to reduce reload time to a trivial action. The weapon gains a tag point for raising reload to an Act instead.
Shield: Rather than taking the form of a weapon, this item is a shield. It lowers the penalty for using the Parry skill against ranged attacks by 1 and gives you an additional 1 PArm and EArm. It can still be used for attacking but at a -1 penalty, no matter the form the shield takes. Shield costs 2 tag points.
Sweep: This melee weapon may attack two targets that are adjacent to each other as long as both targets are side by side. Unlike area of effect attacks the attack and damage rolls are carried out separately against each target.
Thrown: This weapon can still be used in melee but is also considered to have a range of mid and can be used with the Ranged skill on top of the weapon's normal skill. However, a Thrown weapon cannot be used to target someone out of the normal maximum range like other ranged weapons, they simply fall short. Thrown costs 1 tag point.
Tueller: The Tueller Drill states that ranged weapons have a minimum effective range of about 5 meters. Any closer means the projectile can't reach it's maximum effectiveness and enemy combatants are too close for safety's sake. The Tueller tag on a weapon means it has a minimum effective range of 5 meters, any closer and the user suffers a -2 penalty to their attack. If an enemy is adjacent they get a free retaliation attack when being fired upon. Tueller gives a ranged weapon 1 tag point when given.
Two-handed: Wielding this weapon uses both hands when you attack, though you can hold it in one hand when not attacking. Two-handed weapons increase the number of tag points they possess by 2.
Versatile: Some weapons can be wielded with one of 2 different skills, these weapons are considered Versatile. These weapons generally are versatile because they can either be used in melee or at range or because they can be used as an Esoteric or Martial weapon.
Techne and Traits
Core Techne for La Vida
Techne: Full special techniques, they are the core powers of the game and allow you to do things that you cannot do without them. Battle techne are usable in combat. World techne are ways of interacting with the environment or other people without using the combat system.
Evolutions: The advancements of a techne to a more powerful form. Rather than building large lists of many redundant techne, most will simply advance in power.
Chains: Purchasable connections between two or more techne, allowing you to use them one after another as long as the previous techne successfully activates. Usually includes some sort of energy refund. You must have all of the techne that resolve in the chain before you can buy the chain.
Features: A constant effect, a new feature costs nothing to use, simply adding new capabilities to the character.
By default, characters start with 2 Strata of Techne unlocked and 2 each of Battle and World Techne within those Strata.
Experience and Advancement
At the end of each play session of La Vida the game master will give out a number of experience. Acquiring new traits for your character or raising the levels of existing ones cost a flat number of experience per advancement, making for easy character creation and predictable advancement schemes.
There are two kinds of experience: World and Battle. In general the GM will give between 10 and 15 World Experience with bonuses for exploration, uncovering secrets, completing plot objectives and in general advancing the shared narrative. The GM will also give out 5-10 Battle Experience, with bonuses for good teamwork, defeating major opponents and creating interesting battles through shared narrative.
World Experience can be spent for:
Raise an attribute one level: 40 XP
Raise a general skill one level: 10 XP
Unlock a new Strata of World Techne: 30 XP
Buy a new World Techne: 15 XP
Battle Experience can be spent for:
Raise a combat skill one level: 10 XP
Unlock a new Strata of Battle Techne: 30 XP
Buy a new Battle Techne: 15 XP
New experience schemes are easy to create for La Vida, allowing you to control the rate of advancement for your game. Both types of experience are important so that players don't feel pressured to make 'combat' or 'non-combat' characters.
Guidelines for Experience
World Experience: The base default amount of World Experience to give out per session is 10 XP, with bonuses calculated in the following ways:
Discovering a new location: +1-3 XP
Uncovering a secret or plot: +1-3 XP
Resolving a source of dramatic tension: +2-4 XP
When one character resolves a personal plot point: +1-3 XP
When the group resolves a major plot point: +2-4 XP
When a major plot arc is completed: +5 XP
Combat Experience: There is less to spend Combat Experience on, so the players receive less of it overall. The base amount of combat experience to give out is 5 XP, with bonuses calculated in the following ways:
Getting through any major combat scene: +1-3 XP
Defeating a major enemy: +2-4 XP
Creating an interesting combat scene through cooperative narrative: +2-4 XP
Use of teamwork in defeating opponents or ending a combat scene: +1-3