Part III: Born Tabula Rasa
Character Creation SummaryPart IV: Mechanical Guidance
Mike Says: ChallengesPart V: Just In Time
Switch #1: Rolling When You Want To
Mike Says: Switch #1
Example: Requesting Challenges
Mike Says: Dice Thresholds
Mike Says: Difficulty Ratings
Example: Rolling Dice
Example: Using Fragments
Example: Sudden Discovery
Switch #2: Just In The Knick of Time
Mike Says: Switch #2
Switch #3: Weekly Special
Using Fragments Revisited
The game has begun. In front of you lies a sheet of paper without
any Fragments on it at all. For a while, this lack of definition
will suffice, but sooner or later you will begin to think about your
character in different ways. Normally, play continues
uninterrupted, but eventually everyone will find their characters in
questionable circumstances. The GM will surprise you with
situations that challenge the loose character concept simmering in your
brain. Perhaps the time will come when you want to reveal a
secret about your character to the group. Now is the time for a
Challenge . With Challenges come new Fragments, and Fragments are
the key to discovering character in PERSONA.
To initiate a Challenge someone must request one.
SWITCH #1: ROLLING WHEN YOU WANT TO
The GM can always request a Challenge. Doing so simply means that one or more of the player-characters is in some sort of trouble and the time has come to see what they're made off. When this switch is off, only the GM may request and initiate Challenges. However, there's nothing stopping you from asking the GM to request a Challenge on your behalf. Of course the GM can refuse, but it never hurts to ask.
If you are GMing, try to present situations that will at once include a combination of the players' developed Fragments and also some less popular choices. This technique will help to push the players in new directions, or alternatively, to tackle new problems with an ever-increasing bag of old tricks.
SWITCHED ON (DEFAULT)
You may request a dice roll (we'll get to dice in a minute) or a Challenge that requires you to make a dice roll at any point during the game. The requested Challenge may involve other player-characters and does not necessarily have to follow the normal chronology of the current situation (flashbacks, etc.). The GM must immediately incorporate your request into the game unless another player objects. A player who objects is required to provide some explanation as to why the requested conflict would violate the game-world or ongoing story. You and everyone else might try to convince the objector otherwise, but in the end that player has final say. Objecting to a requested Challenge costs two Character Points. You may never object to a Challenge requested by the GM.
If you make a request then you must purchase at least one Fragment level after your roll. Other players involved in the requested Challenge do not have to spend any Character Points unless they wish to do so.
Once a player successfully requests a Challenge it's time to bring out the dice. Dice add randomness to the game and help to resolve conflicts between two equally matched opponents.
The number of dice that you will roll in any given Challenge depends on the total number of Character Points you have received from the GM. You will always roll six-sided dice and you will always roll at least three of them. Once you learn about the way in which Fragment Totals (see pg. 18) affect the outcome of a Challenge, you should consider that the numbers involved could get quite high. At some point during the game the GM may announce that everyone should add another D6 to their pool. The purpose being to offset outrageous totals and to ensure that dice will actually have some sort of effect.
The Dice Thresholds are left up to the GM to decide. If everyone starts the game with 35 Character Points and 3D6, then perhaps you will gain another die when you reach 70 Character Points. Maybe you won't gain a fourth until 140 total points. The exact numbers depend on how focused most players are about their Fragments. When you spread out your Character Points among a bunch of unrelated Fragments then the dice will have a greater affect vs. a player with three or four maxed out abilities. Either way, dice thresholds are set at the same value for every player.
In the average Challenge the first mechanical event to occur will be the GM assigning you a Difficulty Rating . A Difficulty Rating is simply a number, a number that represents the importance of the Challenge to your character. A high number means that the Challenge is harder to overcome, while a low number equals an easier Challenge. A harder Challenge will require more Fragments to beat and therefore will result in more character discovery. When the GM decides on a Difficulty Rating she's really asking you to learn a little or a lot about your character.
When you first start a campaign, you will purchase many new Fragments with your Character Points because any Difficulty Rating is something large. Likewise, the longer the campaign, the less Fragments you will have to buy when a standard Challenge occurs. To a certain extent, dice and the random factor work to offset high Fragment Totals, but overall it's for this reason that PERSONA is best suited to shorter, well defined campaigns. At the same time, when something character-defining happens in the latter stages of a story, you'll know it. Difficulty Ratings can get up there, and as the game progresses those numbers will necessarily rise at a steady rate.
The Challenge has been requested, the Difficulty Rating has been set. Now it's time to roll the dice. Take at least your 3D6 and let'em go.
Dice in Persona explode, meaning that when a die shows its highest value you need to re-roll it and add the new result to the total. There is no limit to the number of re-rolls you may take insofar as each new roll comes up six. When luck favors you, there are limitless possibilities to your actions.
Dice in PERSONA are not added together, but instead considered individually. When all explosions have been dealt with to their own ends, you are looking for the best die (greatest numerical value) of the three. That is the value you will add your Fragment Total to.
In order to resolve a Challenge you take the number you rolled and add it to your Fragment Total (I'll explain Fragment Totals in the next section). If the total equals or exceeds the Difficulty Rating then your character has overcome the Challenge. While you are in charge of deciding how exactly your character handles the Challenge, when the time comes, the GM narrates the way in which your character succeeds or fails.
Difficulty Ratings cover the vast majority of Challenges in PERSONA. Even when you are up against twenty henchmen, or haggling with the local merchant, a Difficulty Rating will get the job done. However, when two PCs go head to head, forget about Difficulty Ratings altogether. Simply match dice rolls and Fragments Totals against each other. If you have the highest result, then you win. Your GM may use this method in rare cases for very important NPCs as well, but again, a simple Difficulty Rating usually suffices.
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