Fractured Lands: Abilities

In my last post, I talked about the “prime mechanic”. In this post, I’m going to be largely ignoring that because it doesn’t matter for how abilities work.

Abilities: An Overview

What is an ability? As far as Fractured Lands is concerned, an ability is something that gives you… something. Super precise definition there, I know.

A skill that grants you +2 Will? Ability.

Something that grants you a once-a-day special shot? Ability.

Anything inbetween? Oh look. Also abilities.

Generally speaking, items won’t fall under abilities but they can grant abilities. They will follow the same rules, more or less, but will be affected differently. If there’s an effect that says your passive abilities don’t function, your items still will, and so on. I’m not going to go into items much in this post – that’s for a later time.

Types of Abilities

Abilities come in two types: Passive and Active.

Passive Abilities

A passive abilitiy is one that is constantly active. An ability that is simply “+2 Accuracy” is a passive ability. Generally speaking, few (if any) things will cause a character to lose a passive ability.

Active Abilities

An active ability is one that has no effect until the character chooses to activate it. In addition to their effect, they may have a few other attributes:

  • Duration: Some active abilities cause an effect that is instant, but others might have a longer duration. Duration is given in a number of turns, and is checked at the activating character’s initiative. So, an effect with a duration of 1 lasts for the remainder of the character’s current turn, through iniativie order, and ends just before their next turn starts. If the duration is 0, then the duration lasts only for the activating character’s current turn and ends when that turn ends. If the ability is a reaction, then it uses the current character’s initiative instead.
  • Uses: Some active abilities have a limited number of uses. Abilities with limited uses will recharge, but items may not.
  • Recharge: Abilities (and some items) with limited uses will recharge expended uses. Unless otherwise stated, only one use is recharged, and the duration has to pass again for another use (and so on). Some recharges may have further restrictions listed in their description, such as an ability recharging at noon but only if the character is sufficiently rested.
    • None: Consumable items, such as potions or special ammunition, don’t recharge and must be purchased.
    • Special: This ability requires a special requirement to be met before it recharges, as explained in it’s description.
    • Number of Turns: This ability recharges after a certain number of turns, counted exactly like duration.
    • Time of Day: This ability recharges at a certain time of day, such as noon, dawn, dusk, or midnight. This is the local time, and the character does not have to be able to know the time.
    • Amount of Time: This ability recharges after a certain amount of time, such as 1 hour, 5 minutes, or 3 days.
  • Cooldown: Some abilities have a cooldown before they can be used again. Cooldown is counted exactly like Duration.

Gaining Abilities

Now, how does a character gain abilities? Well, by leveling up.

Each character, on creation, will select from a few Lineage or Origin abilities, defining their past and perhaps some physical characteristics about them. They also gain the first ability from their choice of class. Then, when they gain a level, they choose one of their classes other abilities. There’s also a generic pool of abilities, and the ability to choose abilities from other classes, but I’m not sure on how these will happen.

I’m thinking that a character can choose a free or cross-class ability at any level, but can only have so many of them. I’m eyeing up a max level of Level 10, which would unsurprisingly grant 10 abilities. I do want to allow focus on non-combat parts of the game, so 10 abilities might be too few and things might need to be changed. I might also have choices of groups of abilities, or perhaps have certain levels have multiple abilities – but one has to be non-combat. There’s a lot to think about for abilities.

Next Article: The Pillars

Too often, TTRPGs focus entirely on combat and leave non-combat well behind. I intend to actively focus on Seven Pillars of Wisdom – wait, no, I’m not T.E. Lawrence. Several pillars of gameplay! In addition to combat, there needs to be (social) interaction and exploration. I have concepts for exploration and some good ideas for interaction, but I’m going to go over how I plan on balancing these things in my next post.

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