A Collection of Scars [Deviant: The Renegades]

Deviant: The Renegades

Eric, here. Now that we’ve showcased some of the cool powers (Variations) that come with the Divergence, it’s time for a look at a few of the potential prices Deviants pay for their remarkable abilities: Scars.

Every Variation takes on the activation method of the Scar connected to (or “entangled” with) it. Variations entangled with Controlled Scars are Controlled Variations. Those entangled with Involuntary Scars are Involuntary Variations. Those entangled with Persistent Scars are Persistent Variations.

Concentration (• to •••••)

Keywords: Mental; Subtle; Repeatable

The Variation demands constant, intense concentration to maintain, and any distraction can cause it to fail or to get out of control – or make it impossible to activate in the first place.

At Magnitude •, whenever an unexpected surprise or other distraction causes the entangled Variation to shut down (or prevents her from activating it) in a way that creates a complication for the Deviant, the player may take a Beat.

At Magnitude ••, whenever the Remade suffers lethal (or aggravated) damage not caused by a Scar or Adaptation, whenever she Falters, or whenever she suffers the Stunned Tilt or the Distracted Condition, the entangled Variation deactivates unless her player succeeds on a Scar Resistance roll. She may activate the Variation again on a future turn.

At Magnitude •••, as Magnitude ••, and choose one:

  • Tenuous: Whenever an attack or hostile power successfully targets the Remade and either deals damage or imposes a deleterious Tilt, Condition, or other unwelcome effect, the entangled Variation deactivates unless her player succeeds on a Scar Resistance roll.
  • Unfocused: The Broken cannot attempt to activate an entangled Variation if under the influence of a distracting Tilt or Condition (such as Deprived, Distracted, Frightened, Intoxicated, Insane, Insensate, or Stunned) except by first succeeding at a Scar Resistance roll, which is allowed once per minute (once per turn, in action scenes).

At Magnitude ••••, both Magnitude ••• effects apply.

Deviations

  • After-Effect (+1 Magnitude): This is only available if all entangled Variations are Directed. Choose a negative temporary Condition. If the character concentrates on directing the Variation for consecutive turns greater than her Scar Resistance, she suffers that Condition when the entangled Variation deactivates.
  • Self-Doubt (+1 Magnitude): If an entangled Variation deactivates because something broke the Deviant’s concentration, she may not attempt to activate it again until the end of the scene.
  • Single-Minded (+1 Magnitude): This is only available if all entangled Variations are
  • Directed. If the Broken does not direct the Variation’s effect at least once per minute (once per
  • turn, in action scenes), it deactivates unless she succeeds on a Scar Resistance roll.

Design Notes: Concentration

This is an example of a Controlled Scar. Controlled Scars only carry a price when the Remade activates them. In most cases, it is possible to develop the same Controlled Scar multiple times (thus the Repeatable keyword) to represent a Deviant who relies on a single “fuel” to power his Variations. One might spend Willpower, while another suffers damage or Instability. However, as Concentration shows, not all Controlled Variations take this “fuel” concept so literally. In this case, the “price” is the risk of catastrophic power failure under certain conditions. Keying several Variations off different versions of a Controlled Scars can keep a character’s power concept simple, allowing the player to think about only a couple Scars rather than trying to track many different ones.

The downside, of course, is that it’s easy to quickly use up all available fuel. A single power burning up Willpower or inflicting bashing damage won’t exhaust those resources too quickly, but six or seven that require these will leave the Broken tapped out quickly. Similarly, a single Variation entangled with Concentration might fail at a crucial moment, but combining several Variations with Concentration can prevent the Remade from using any of her Variations during especially chaotic scenes.

Something that is nearly universal to Magnitude 1 Scars is that they offer a roleplaying carrot to the player in the form of Beats, rather than a mechanical stick that demands strict adherence (as do Scars of higher Magnitude). If the player portrays the Scar in a way that creates a complication for herself and her cohort, she earns a Beat. That carrot doesn’t go away at higher Magnitude, either. As much emphasis as Deviant places on Scars as defining characteristics of the Broken, it makes sense to encourage players to embrace them, rather than seeking ways to escape or minimize their effects.

Power Build-Up (• to ••••)

Keywords: Any; Subtle; Repeatable

The Remade’s power wants to spill out at every opportunity, and it’s all he can do to keep it bottled up inside. If he holds it back for too long, his internal volcano erupts and his power lashes out in catastrophic fashion.

At Magnitude •, if the character doesn’t use the entangled Variation often enough, it sometimes explodes out of him and causes harm to him, his allies, innocent bystanders, and anything else unfortunate enough to be close by. The player can accept a Beat to make his power erupt in a way that hurts someone his character doesn’t want to hurt or causes significant setbacks. If the Variation is Directed, the Storyteller may offer a Beat to direct the Variation for a single turn on which the Remade does not do so. Once activated, the character can deactivate an entangled Variation as an instant action.

At Magnitude ••, as Magnitude •, and all the Variations entangled with the Scar are considered Overt. In addition, choose one:

  • Insistent: The Storyteller may activate one of the entangled Variations up to once per chapter. The Deviant’s player may refuse this activation with a successful Scar Resistance roll. If this roll succeeds, the Storyteller may make another activation attempt in a later scene but may not attempt to trigger this Scar again during the current scene. Each consecutive successful roll to resist activation imposes a -1 penalty on future rolls to resist involuntary activation.
  • Volcanic: Once activated, entangled Variations are difficult to bring back under control,
  • requiring a successful Scar Resistance roll to deactivate it prior to the end of the scene. This roll
  • is allowed once every several minutes (one per turn, in action scenes) and enjoys a bonus equal
  • to the number of consecutive, failed Scar Resistance rolls that preceded it this scene.

At Magnitude •••, choose one:

  • Compounded: The Remade suffers both Magnitude •• effects.
  • Uncontrollable: The Broken must have chosen Insistent as his Magnitude •• effect. The transformed can’t activate the combined Variation except involuntarily. The Storyteller may attempt to activate an entangled Variation up to once per scene. The Scar Resistance rolls to refuse this activation enjoy a bonus equal to the number of times an entangled Variation has been successfully activated during the current chapter (whether by the Storyteller or the Remade).
  • Destructive: The Broken must have chosen Volcanic as his Magnitude •• effect, and at
  • least one entangled Variation must be Directed. The Storyteller may direct an entangled,
  • Directed Variation on any turn on which the Remade does not do so. The Deviant may only
  • deactivate a Directed Variation linked to this Scar by succeeding on a Scar Resistance roll with a
  • bonus equal to the number of times the Storyteller has directed the Variation since it was
  • activated.

At Magnitude ••••, at least one entangled Variation must be Directed. The Deviant suffers from all three Magnitude ••• effects.

Design Notes: Power Build-Up

Power Build-Up is one of two Involuntary Scars (the other being Involuntary Stimulus). In most ways, Involuntary Scars work the same way as Controlled Scars. The Deviant can activate them until the end of the scene with a successful Scar Finesse roll. The only price they exact is that sometimes they activate when the Remade doesn’t want them to, and they tend to attract unwanted attention whenever they do.

Lying Eyes (• to •••••)

Keywords: Social; Subtle

The Deviant has trouble convincing others she’s sincere even when she’s being completely truthful. Something about the way she speaks or carries herself engenders mistrust, regardless of her actual intent. Many transformed with this Scar throw up their hands and become habitual liars to bury their frustration, but some refuse, choosing instead to let their actions speak for them.

At Magnitude •, trying to tell the truth or convince someone to trust her backfires on the character in ways ranging from inconvenient to disastrous. The player may accept a Beat for the character to come across as shady or deceitful when she’s trying to be honest and benign, automatically dramatically failing a Social action without rolling.

At Magnitude ••, the character suffers the Notoriety Condition (p. XX) whenever she interacts with strangers or people who have met her for the first time within the current scene. It resolves when she wins a given person’s trust through rolled actions or deeds, but applies again next time she meets someone new.

At Magnitude •••, as Magnitude ••, and reduce all first impressions the character makes on any stranger by one level; every failure on a Social roll dealing with people she just met is a dramatic one.

At Magnitude ••••, as Magnitude •••, but the Magnitude •• effects apply whenever she interacts with anyone other than close friends and those whose trust she actively earns.

At Magnitude •••••, as Magnitude ••••, but strangers and people who have just met the character automatically have hostile first impressions of her, and she can only improve them by appealing to their Vices or using leverage until she definitively earns their trust.

Design Notes: Lying Eyes

Lying Eyes is an example of a Persistent Scar. Persistent Variations do not require a Scar Finesse roll to activate (although some require one to “aim”), but their Scars are always manifest. I’m especially fond of this Scar because it takes a trait very common among Remade (engendering the mistrust of people they meet) and gives it mechanical reinforcement. It becomes something of a character concept in itself. Not all Persistent Scars are quite so defining as this one, but many are. At high Magnitude, such Scars are deeply dehumanizing. Broken with Lying Eyes are nearly incapable of making friends, being reliant on bribes, threats, or appeals to darker nature to even get in the front door. This kind of Scar creates a tragic figure, a wretch who is no longer welcome in ordinary human society, who cannot hope to escape her inherent isolation.

Identifier

Scar Type: Any

+1 Magnitude: Using the entangled Variations leaves behind evidence that investigators or conspirators can find later. A power fueled by nuclear fission might create an obviously irradiated area; an attack power might incidentally wither all plants nearby; or a psychic power’s backlash might kill all small animals in the vicinity. All rolls to investigate, find, or track the character achieve exceptional success on three successes instead of five if she’s used the Variation within the last chapter. This includes conspiracy surveillance actions (p. XX). Only one Scar can have this Deviation.

+2 Magnitude: The Deviation instead applies to all the Remade’s Variations.

Design Notes: Identifier

This is not a Scar. Rather, it is an example of a Standard Deviation, which is an additional effect that can be attached to any Scar (or any Scar of a particular activation method). Like Scar-specific Deviations, these increase the effective Magnitude of the Scar without worsening its effects (beyond what the Deviation does, at any rate).

These allow for some nuance in character concept that would otherwise be impossible, but they also serve an important role in the Instability system. When a character suffers enough medium Instability, it temporarily increases the Magnitude of one of her Scars. Standard Deviations give the Storyteller additional options for increasing Scar Magnitude that don’t involve continuing along a Scar’s “normal” progression. In this way, even a Scar that is usually limited to Magnitude 3 can still rise to Magnitude 5 with Deviations.

  5 comments for “A Collection of Scars [Deviant: The Renegades]

  1. Alice
    September 3, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    AAAAAGH! This all sounds AMAZING! Can’t wait for the Kickstarter!

  2. September 4, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Oh wowza, this sounds so neat! As someone who’s done RPG dev and worked on Rules specifciao, I am excited to dig into the mechanics that’ll be shared in the KS to see how these beauties really work.

  3. RobertD
    September 4, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    So Cool!!! So excited for the Kickstarter!!!!

  4. Jean-Vincent PICARD
    September 7, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Hi !
    When Will the Kickstarter begin ?^^

    • Eric Zawadzki
      September 8, 2019 at 12:22 am

      I can’t yet give you a date, but keep a close eye on the OPP blog over the next days and weeks, as there will be an announcement once it does. 🙂

Comments are closed.