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Revelation when using Stunts


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We are using Revolution skills in out current Dark Ages game and I was explaining Stunts to the players, when I had a bit of a revelation in how I was going to use them.

Stunts are to Traits what Traits are to Skills.

So, I am going to use Stunts in my game as more freeform than in the Revolution rules. 

In my current game, I am using a Bonus/Trait as +10%, rather than +30% in Revolution, for several reasons: +10 is easier to calculate; a Smaller plus means we can have more Traits without getting silly skills; It suits a lower-powered game.

Now, in a modern game, a paratrooper might have Agility, with a Trait of Parachuting and a Stunt of HALO (High Altitude Low Opening), I would say this gives a double Bonus to Agility.

I also though about how Stunts would work with other skills. 

We have an Alchemist in the party, who has Alchemy and Herbalism as Traits under Knowledge. He recently made a Healing Potion, so I have said he could have Healing Potion as a Stunt under Alchemy or Herbalism. 

Then I thought about Languages and how Stunts would work with them. Each Stunt represents a dialect, so someone with Language:French might have the Norman stunt, so can understand/speak Norman French even better than standard French.

Then I thought about spells and religions and they work in the same way. Spells are Stunts and belong to specific Traits. So a religion might have Lay Member as a Trait and the Stunts would be Cantrips. Initiate or Priest are Traits and the Stunts are Divine Spells. In Merrie England, some religions can gain knowledge through other means, such as Sacred Texts, these just become Traits and the spells gained become Stunts under the Trait. Saints would just be a Trait, with the spells gained as Stunts. 

For NPCs, I would write a skill as Skill (Trait [Stunt]), for PCs, they would have the Skill on the Character Sheet and they would write Trait (Stunt), Trait (Stunt).

So, Simon the Simple is a monk in Merrie England and he has Christian as a religion. This would be written as:

Christian 80% (Priest [Bless Congregation], Pilgrim [Strong Faith], Relics [Create Spring], St Patrick [Drive off Serpent, Rousing Voice], Gospel of Mary Magdalene [Wash Away Sin], Hermit [Absorb Sin])

Please note, the spells in the example are made up, as I don't have the Revolution rules to hand.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 


Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Uhm, this is doable, but it is not what I would recommend to do. Here is why:

  • 10% is too small a bonus, it makes the Trait insignificant; 20% is a good compromise, we have tried it and it works well, but 10% is basically a "why bother?" kind of bonus.
  • using Stunts to further specialize Traits is something that has been discussed in depth on several threads in the general section: it would create a "tree" of skills, something that has been attempted only in the Ringworld iteration of the BRP rules, and never again after that; in general, when an experiment is never repeated, there is a reason. Of course , some people will still like it and use it, but not everyone.
  • most important of all, using stunts as specializations that give a further bonus for something you are particuarly good at overrides and hides the most important and fundamental functions of stunts: enabling your characters to do something that others cannot do. A stunt is the ability to do something special: stopping an aircraft in midair, making an extra attack with the off hand, ignoring your social victory if your status is inferior, keeping your opponent at bay even when you roll lower, extending the range of your magic or psionics beyond normal. All of these are feats you are simply unable to do without the stunt, you do not just get a bonus to do them.

These are the reasons why I have not described Stunts that have this effect in the core rules. There are some examples in the characters I have uploaded so far, but they are all extremes, a kind of "superhuman" skill level (Count Julan's Scimitar skill from YT gifts and Hawkeye's impossible marksmanship with the bow - superhero stuff). Nothing that should be generally available, as players would invariably try to stack as many of these bonuses as possible for their main weapon(s) rather than diversifying techniques.

If you wish to use Stunts as bonus-providers in your game, I recommend that you introduce the new category of Specialty Traits along with Stunts, rather than making all Stunts work this way. Otherwise, you would be throwing away a good half of the game.

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  • 2 months later...

Some stunts do not, others do, according to the description in the rules and the Narrator's decisions about the power level in the campaign. Sometimes one specific stunt in a set does not occupy a slot, while others do. For instance, when you learn Martial Arts instead of Brawl, you also learn the basic stunt of your Martial Art style (Acrobatics for Capoeira, Kick for Karate, etc.) at no cost in slots. Further Martial Arts stunts cost slots.

If you wish to use stunts as Simon suggests above, I would recommend to have Specialization Stunts occupy one slot each. Hyper-specialisation often comes at the cost of not having the time to study other branches of the same skill set. Note that languages are a notable exception to this and always use up one slot only.

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  • 8 months later...
On 8/29/2019 at 4:26 PM, Lloyd Dupont said:

That sounds very useful! :D

It can also get you burned as a heretic. Swings and roundabouts, as we say in the UK.

  • Haha 1

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 


Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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