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Gestalt RPG

Laskeutua Dec 17th, 2013 516 Never
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  1. Gestalt: A Roleplaying game of the loss of self.
  2.  
  3. You, and a group of other poor bastards are merged into the same body. While sharing a kind of mixed consciousness, you do get to keep your own mind, thoughts and identity. But your body? You only have partial control of that, fighting with the others in there for dominance at any given turn.
  4. Here’s the frightening part, others like you exist… and they’re not as stable as your little group might be. Throw the fact that the gestalt makes you almost superhuman, your fucked up new ‘life’, and the fact that your old life is long dead and buried, and you’re in for a ‘fun’ ride.
  5.  
  6. The Gestalt Lives as Many, Dies as One.
  7.  
  8. Character Sheet:
  9. My Name is:
  10. My Age is:
  11. I am a:
  12.  
  13. Dice Track:
  14. 12 - [o]
  15. 10 - [o]
  16. 8 - [-]
  17. 6 - [o]
  18. 4 - [o]
  19.  
  20. Vicissitudes:
  21. Soma
  22. [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
  23. Soul
  24. [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
  25. Psyche
  26. [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
  27.  
  28. Inspiration:
  29. I feel ________ When:
  30. I feel ________ When:
  31. I feel ________ When:
  32. Adversity:
  33. I feel ________ When:
  34. I feel ________ When:
  35. I feel ________ When:
  36. The Self:
  37. What Was I Before The Merge?
  38. What Has the Merge Done to me?
  39. Who am I, really?
  40. What am I Trying to Achieve?
  41. What is in My Way?
  42. What Do I Think of Those I’m merged with?
  43.  
  44. Materials:
  45.  
  46. Dice pool rules the day here. Everyone gets a pool of 6 dice at all times. The magnitudes change however, depending on the state of mind of the PC. Essentially, every player needs 6 of each type of die: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20. A set of poker chips or coins or some other tokens are also required, and maybe a bowl or something to stick them in. Just make sure there’s plenty of them.
  47.  
  48. Character Sheet explanation:
  49.  
  50. Name and age should befit the setting, whatever that might be.
  51. ‘I am a:’ - Character Concept
  52.  
  53. Dice Track:
  54. This is explained further in the ‘tests’ section. This is to keep track of what magnitude you’re using.
  55.  
  56. Vicissitudes:
  57. For want of better terms, it’s your health pool and your mana pool wrapped into one. Soma represents your character’s body, Soul represents the character’s sense of self and Psyche represents the character’s sanity. Filling a track can do untold damage to your character, filling all three is death.
  58.  
  59. Inspiration:
  60. Example: ‘I feel happy when I’m with friends’.
  61. These give a character a beneficial emotive state that, while under said state or working to achieve it, allow players to donate without penalty (so a player could donate six dice without risk)
  62.  
  63. Adversity:
  64. Example: ‘I feel defeated when I see my friends fail’
  65. These give a character a detrimental emotive state that, while under said state or headed towards it, cause players to be unable to donate without penalty (so a player would suffer ill effects merely donating one)
  66.  
  67. The Self:
  68. Backstory, motivations, etc.
  69.  
  70. Tests:
  71.  
  72. If you want your target numbers or magical bell curve graphs, there are dungeon crawlers for that. This is a narrative driven system, as such things are handled differently.
  73. First of all: ALL TESTS ARE CONTESTED. Either to other players or to the DM. Its a straight test of whoever gets the highest number. Modifiers are handled in dicepool, but all modifiers are a negative of some sort. A modifier in the positive of the players is dice deducted from the DM dicepool, etc. For the main actor, all six dice are always rolled unless a penalty is enforced. For subordinate actors, only three can be rolled (more on Main Actors and Subordinate Actors later). Note that DMs can literally not care and roll as many dice as they want (however, if your pool is larger than the player total of 6 per player, you’re a dick).
  74. Secondly: D8s are the ‘standard’ die magnitude. These represent a fairly neutral state of mind. From that, a d10 represents a confident and composed state of mind, while d12 represents an inspired state. On the other end of the spectrum, d6 represents a stressed, overwhelmed state of mind while a d4 represents panicking. Die magnitudes shift when doubles are rolled, regardless of success or failure of the test. A player who rolls doubles steps up on the track (the game’s keyword is ‘Eustress’), while a DM who rolls doubles makes all players involved in the check take a step down (keyword, ‘Distress’). If there are multiple doubles, all apply (two sets of doubles raises the track by two magnitudes). Players who roll doubles after hitting d12 generate a point of Unity (fate points). DMs don’t generate Discord in a similar way however.
  75. DM differs slightly, they begin each session at d4 rather than D8 and cannot descend the track (perminantly) except when starting a new session. However, they can only ascend the track through usage of Discord points and then only on character failure. If round robin DMing, a third condition of "a player must have taken damage as well" is enforced but the GM cannot choose to ascend the track, they must.
  76.  
  77. Unity and Discord:
  78.  
  79. Unity, the fate points are individual to each player to spend however they please, however they can donate it to another player at any time and more than one can be spent a turn. Poker chips are good representatives of this mechanic, though a tally, marbles and any other exotic alternative can work. Players do not begin the game with Unity.
  80. It is used for one of the five following effects:
  81. - To rise up the Dice track, one die per expenditure
  82. - To donate or take a test without Limitation
  83. - To remove a point from any of the Vicissitude tracks
  84. - To change a single die to a d20 for a single check.
  85. - To force the DM to lower their magnitude (one per point) for a single check.
  86. Discord is the DM’s fate point pool, and he begins each session with just one. Whenever the DM spends a point of discord, all players gain a point of Unity, however they cannot spend this point the turn its generated to try and counter the DM, or visa versa (though they can spend previously earned points).
  87. Whenever a point of Unity is spent, the DM gets one Discord point.
  88. Unity can be spent retroactively, Discord can’t.
  89.  
  90. Vicissitudes:
  91. This represents the gestalt double edged sword, you’re capable of awesome things, but it can really suck.
  92. All vicissitude tracks can be substituted at a rate of 2:1 (e.g. a character takes 3 Soma damage but can’t afford to, he can instead cop 6 damage in the soul) and can be substituted in part or in full.
  93.  
  94. Soma:
  95. Soma is the representation of the body as separate from mind and spirit, but due to the nature of the gestalt, that doesn’t mean much. Considering that it’s existential metaphysics keeping your fucked-up-ed-ness in one contiguous pile, things that fuck with your head can leave physical scars. Remember, Soma represents how you view the physical self just as much as it is your little fleshy cage keeping you alive.
  96. In short: any failure deals damage. Regardless of the source (In some ways this makes you really soft as sharp words can leave sledgehammer wounds, while in others it means you can shrug off bullet wounds like they’re noting. DMs however should be reasonable, using a pool of eighteen d12s for a your mom joke deserves the following table flip). Damage is inflicted in differences, that is for every three points the DM trumps your failing roll by, add a single mark to the Soma track. Failure always results in at least one Soma mark however.
  97. Maxing the Soma track basically leaves you a physical trainwreck. You can’t dominate the body, participate in actions and in essence, your turn is passed over as you can’t do anything other than be a little cheerleader on the sidelines. Other characters can dominate without having to compete with you for dominance.
  98. What can’t you do with max Soma: Act
  99. What you can do with max Soma: Donate, accrue and spend Unity.
  100.  
  101. Soul:
  102. Soul is the sense of self. You. Seeing as how you’re sharing room with a bunch of other poor saps however, and this wreaks some pretty horrendous damage to your ability to keep your identity coherent.
  103. Soul is expended as per the guidelines in the ‘Donation and Sacrifice’ section.
  104. Maxing the soul track leaves you listless and catatonic, we’re talking full depersonalisation and derealisation in one nasty package.
  105. What can’t you do with max Soul: Donate
  106. What can you do with max Soul: Act, accrue and spend unity.
  107.  
  108. Psyche:
  109. The mind. Thoughts, memories, etc. The Soul might be ‘you’, but the mind is how you define ‘you’, how you experience the world, how you comprehend all the sense data bombarding you every day. Gogito Ergo Sum - I think therefore I am. The mind suffers whenever things don’t work with your fellows. Failing a bid for forced dominance or donating to a failed check all add Psyche damage (same way as Soma: one mark per three degrees of failure)
  110. Maxing Psyche turns you into a gibbering wreck and a creature of impulse and instinct. Higher functions shut down, all that’s left is a scared monkey running for cover.
  111. What can’t you do with max Psyche: Accrue and Spend Unity
  112. What can you do with max Psyche: Act, Donate
  113.  
  114. If a track goes over for any reason (e.g. Soma: a maxed character taking more damage, Soul: donating to a failure more dice than you had boxes left, Psyche: a maxed character failing a domination bid), the damage exceeding the track is split evenly among all players (rounded up) with a minimum of one damage.
  115.  
  116. Donation and Sacrifice:
  117.  
  118. The core of the game is your relationship with the other players, for better or worse.
  119. Donation is when you hand your dice to another player to help with a check. They add the dice you’re willing to commit to the pool and roll, hoping for a high number. But there’s a catch… well, three catches.
  120. First: Failure duplicates all ill effects on the main actor on all donating players (though the donating characters suffer damage in the mind track rather than the soma track)
  121. Second: each player can only donate up to three dice to a pool without sacrifice.
  122. Third: if the pile being donated results in the main actor’s pool being three or more dice larger than the DM’s, sacrifice is also called for.
  123. To donate, you simply put your dice in the main actor’s pool.
  124. How does Sacrifice work? In game terms, characters are lending little fragments of themselves in order for the other players to succeed, so they’re gambling their own sense of self for the benefit of another.
  125. When a player adds more dice than the GM, or more than three dice (this doesn’t stack, so more than three dice and more than the GM don’t cause double badness) and the check passes, they take a single point of soul damage. On a failure, they take soul damage for every die contributed to the test, even the ones in the ‘three dice safety threshold’.
  126. When a character is under one of their inspirations, they suffer none of the ill effects of donating, though a GM could reasonably end the inspired state quickly after a couple of failures or when the moment’s passed.
  127. When a character is under one of their adversities, they suffer all ill effects. A success inflicts the same soul damage as a regular failure, regardless of how many dice are used, while a failure immediately results in the donating character suffering the total number of dice, not just the ones he added to the pool, in soul damage.
  128.  
  129. Actors and Domination:
  130.  
  131. With all these rules, a point of clarification and an apology is owed…
  132. Main Actor: this is the character currently dominating. All characters can ‘act’ and urge the main body to do things at any time, which usually works out well because the gestalt has the capacity for super-human speed, but the main actor is in control.
  133. - The main actor’s body is the one currently being inhabited and calls the shots, though a subordinate actor can try and ‘veto’ them by successfully dominating the body.
  134. - The main actor rolls six dice on every check without penalty
  135. Subordinate Actors: All characters not dominating fall in this category. They might as well be voices in the main actor’s head, but they’re not useless… just impaired because the main actor is drowning them out.
  136. - Subordinate Actors can only roll three dice on a check without penalty, though a main actor can veto them.
  137. - Subordinate actors must expend Soma to add up to three more dice to their pool (one Soma per die).
  138. - Subordinate actors have no physical presence, the main actor is the one with the body and thus the current looks, however a subordinate actor can speak through the gestalt and the voice is theirs, regardless of what the main actor’s voice is like.
  139. Domination: A gestalt working together with singular purpose won’t ever see this happen as they’ll simply relinquish control to one another, but a divided gestalt will. Whenever a character wants to take over the main actor role, or a main actor wants to suppress a subordinate actor, they roll domination.
  140. Simply: They roll off against each other with their full dice pools. Both sides can accept donations without penalty from sympathetic parties but neither side can use Unity points against each other. The loser in a domination bid suffers Psyche damage, (and of course, soul for the donations).
  141.  
  142. Recovery:
  143. All damage recovers at a rate of one mark per ten minute’s rest game time. Gestalts have benefits, as a full Soma track is roughly the equivalent of having 3rd degree burns on 90% of the body.
  144.  
  145. Initiative:
  146.  1d20 roll off. Highest number goes first. 20s raise the die magnitude one track, 1s lower it.
  147.  
  148. Weaving:
  149. Weaving is the act of constantly shifting between characters to utilise related skillsets. Two coders with different language backgrounds (lets assume python and emacs) could theoretically work together and constantly shift between each other for what would otherwise be a horrendous task. Both parties and DM (using up to 12 dice) make a Domination roll, neither party can donate or accept donations. If the players win, the weaving allows both players to act as the main actor for the task they weaved for, but if the task finishes or is interrupted, they either have to roll dominance or at least one has to relinquish control. Combat is one of the tasks this can be used for. As they both act as the main actors, if one character suffers damage, they both do equally.
  150. Note that as more than two characters can weave and the DM increases their dice pool by 6 per actor looking to join the process.
  151.  
  152. When to hand in the character sheet:
  153. If you max all three tracks ‘you’ are functionally dead, but the damage is done and the fragments spawn a ‘Fictional’. The remaining characters, and the fictional that will be your new character, colour in a proportion of the vicissitude tracks equal to your ‘fraction’ of the gestalt, rounded down. (say there’s three in the gestalt, you represented 1/3rd, you all colour in five boxes. Say you represented one sixth, 3 boxes are coloured). Nothing can remove those coloured in boxes, they stay as permanent damage to the gestalt. The fictional is a new character, an abstract ‘dream’ of a person that the gestalt instinctively creates in place of the ego that used to exist before. But with a whole host of uncanny valley thrown in the mix, and a life that never really happened, it creates a lot of discord with the other minds. Whenever a player dies and becomes a(nother) fictional, they remove one die from their dice pool (I.e. a player who does twice has a dice pool of 4 and so on. They cannot fall below one this way). A one die fictional has the depth of a plate as a person, and can cause untold damage to the gestalt.
  154.  
  155. Note on test difficulty:
  156.  
  157. 1-3 is a simple task
  158. 4-6 is a moderate task
  159. 6-9 is a hard task (If no one's willing to donate, you'd best hope for decent dice)
  160. 10-12 is an excruciating task (this is the point where people are taking Soul damage in donations)
  161. 12-15 is an heroic task (danger zone of some serious shit, tiny but possible chance of healthy characters dying outright)
  162. 15-18 is an impossible task (danger zone of handing out new character sheets)
  163. 18+ DM's a dick.
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