Friday, November 24, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Chill 3rd Edition - Character Advancement

As with the character creation, the character advancement of the game has not changed much from it's second edition. You still advance primarily by acquiring and spending experience, referred to as Development Points. However, there are two other methods of advancement. One, as stated, was the ability to take a new Takeaway after each case. This would be a particular memory or incident that occurred to you on the case which can be used by you to draw on later to your benefit. The other is the ability to change your Drive if both you and your GM agree that your character has outlived their original Drive.

At the end of each session, you gain 1 DP with an additional 1 DP awarded at the end of a successful case or after a particularly dangerous encounter. The game does note that the GM can choose to award extra DP if they decide they want characters to advance faster. Most of the costs are overall identical to character creation except for the improvement of Attributes which improve at a rate of 2 per 1 DP spent rather than 5 per point as in character creation. The costs are as follows:
  • Attribute - 1 DP per +2 Attribute points
  • Skill Training - 3 DP
  • Beginner Skill Specialization - 1 DP
  • Advancing Beginner Skill Specialization to Expert - 1 DP
  • Advancing Expert Skill Specialization to Master - 2 DP
  • First Attunement - 4 DP
  • Further Attunements - 4 DP +2 DP for each school already Attuned.
  • Beginner Art Discipline - 1 DP
  • Advancing Beginner Art to Expert - 1 DP
  • Advancing Expert Art to Master - 2 DP
  • New Edge - 1-3 DP depending on Edge
  • Buy Off Drawback - 1-6 DP depending on Drawback
  • Additional Takeaway slot (beyond 3) - 1 DP
There are also some limits about when you can advance a character. You can only add a new Takeaway at the end of a case. You can only change Drives or spend Development points between cases.  Further, when spending DP, you can only improve one Attribute, one Skill, and one attunement or Art discipline. You can choose to advance one of each, but that seems unlikely to happen given the slow acquisition of points. 

The fact that you can advance only one Skill or Art at a time is the reason they shifted the format for reporting the costs between character creation and character development. They come out to the same costs but where as in character creation you can buy several levels at once, in character development you can only make one step. So, even if you have two points you can jump from untrained in a Specialization or Art all the way up to Expert. You can put each to Beginner if you want, since your advancing a Skill and an Art, but you can't put all your points into one Skill to advance it several steps. This includes gaining training in the base skill. So you couldn't get trained in Investigation for 3 points and then take a Beginner specialization because that's making two skill advances. Likewise, you can't Attune to a new School and then jump off that into training a specific Discipline because that would be two Advancements to the Art.

Attributes are slightly different. You can't advance more than one Trait at a time but there is no limit on how many character points you put into that Attribute. Another note is that improving Attributes will affect the Attributes derived from them and the Skills connected to them. This is likely part of why 1 DP gives 2 points to the Attribute as it makes cutting it in half easier. I would also note that you can't directly improve the derived Attributes. To improve Stamina, Willpower, and Reflexes you have to improve one of the two Attributes each of them are connected to.

There appear to be no limits on gaining new Edges or buying off Drawbacks save common sense. You have to explain what sort of training or activity you're doing between cases to explain how you gain this new trait. This does create a little loophole in the Skill advancement limits. Awkward, Clumsy, and Frail are Drawbacks that cause you to start the game untrained in Communication, Movement, and Prowess respectively. If you have such a Drawback, you can buy it off and, in the same period, add a Specialization or improve a different skill because technically you've bought off a Drawback rather than improved a Skill. This is the same cast as training the skill with the same result. Alternately, you can just train the Skill and leave the Drawback for the flavor even though it no longer has any functional impact.

If you have had two cases and reached your starting maximum of three Takeaways then you are now limited to switching out Takeaways instead of adding new ones. However, you can spend 1 DP in order to add a new Takeaway slot increasing your maximum by 1. Note that having more Takeaways means granting the GM more resources as well, but it also means you are less dependent on the way the Tokens fall.

Since you cannot improve your character except between cases, I am going to run this simulation by the case. I am going to roll 1d3 for the length of each case and randomly determine whether the central creature involved is Common, Notable, Potent, Deadly, or Legendary by rolling a random Evil Way Score. As an exception, the first case which will be one session and based on the Second Edition introductory scenario, Caulfield Place RIP, for simple nostalgia regions. When I hit eighteen sessions, I will stop. As this is a horror game, I am assuming that especially difficult encounters will be fairly common and have them occur on an 9 or higher on a 1d10 roll with +2 for Notable, +4 for Potent, +6 for Deadly, and +8 for Legendary. Yes, this guarantees that any Legendary monster is going to be a difficult encounter. Since more powerful monsters often have minions, I will first check if the scenario involves facing them directly or else one of their minions which will reduce the potential risk somewhat. The final encounter was simply set up to be a campaign climax based on the earlier ones.


Case 1 - Caulfield Place, RIP - The characters investigate the rumors of a haunted house and face the spirits of a mine-owner and his wife from the 1800s. The archer's talent with Astral Attack allows them some latitude in ability to keep the ghosts off their back, but she can only apply it when the ghosts become visible to her. - 1 Session, Potent Threat, Not Difficult, 2 DP

Takeaway - Faced off with two ghosts.(A)

Case 2 -  Child's Play - The characters investigate a series of murders and find that a gamin has insinuated itself into a neighborhood and started influencing the neighborhood children in evil directions. - 1 Session, Common Threat, Not Difficult, 2 DP

Takeaway - Prevented two children from killing. (P)

Light as a Feather Discipline Beginner - 1 DP
Train Communication - 3 DP

Case 3 - Hound in the Hills - A barghest has been hunting around a small rural town. The characters spend several days tracking it and its mate back to their lair. The gorgon uses her tracking and compares note with a local ranger. - 2 Sessions, Notable Threat, Not Difficulty, 3 DP

Takeaway - Tracked a barghest to its lair. (P)

4th Takeaway Spot - 1 DP
Personality +2 - 1 DP
Interview Beginner Specialization - Shop Talk - 1 DP

Case 4 - Land of the Dead - A number of zombies have been rising out of a nearby graveyard. There is no master creature apparent and the land just simply seems to be cursed. As zombies don't die as easily as animated corpses, the characters face an increasing number of enemies until they break the curse while under siege. 3 Sessions, Common, 1 difficult encounter, 5 DP

Takeaway - Held off a siege with traps. (P) - replaces Prevented two children from killing. (P)

Traps and Blinds advanced to Expert - 1 DP
Astral Attack advanced to Expert - 1 DP
Personality +6 - 3 DP

Case 5 - Brush of a Broom - The characters have a brief encounter with the hag apparently responsible for the barghest, gamin, and zombie curse. They are unable to defeat her, but manage to escape her attack. -  1 Session, Legendary, 1 Difficult encounter, 3 DP

Takeaway - Resisted a Hag's spell. (A) - replaces Faced off with two ghosts. (A)
Drive changes "To Protect the Innocent"

Astral Attack advanced to Master - 2 DP
Ranged Weapons beginner specialization - Knife Throwing - 1 DP

Case 6 - Haunted Realm - The characters evade the hag and trace her history. They begin to look into a small ghost town in New England. Arriving there, they find it swarming with ghosts bound into place which they have to deal with while looking for clues to the Hag's secrets. -  3 Sessions, Common, 1 Difficult encounter, 5 DP

Archery advanced to Master - 2 DP
Perception +6 - 3 DP

Case 7 - Deadly Deception - The characters trace one of the hag's plots and find themselves hunting a copycat trying to insinuate itself into a community of inherent lycanthropes. Some of the lycanthropes join with the copycat and give in to their darker nature. - 3 Sessions, Deadly encounter, 3 difficult encounters, 8 DP

Takeaway - Brought arrows to a wolf fight. (P)

Voice of the Dead discipline to Beginner - 1 DP
Focus +6 - 3 DP
5th Takeaway slot - 1 DP
Close Quarters Combat Trained - 3 DP

Case 8 - Witch Hunt - The characters infiltrate some of the hag's lairs, trying to quietly set up an assault to put her in a corner. They have to deal with several servitors without yet removing them so that the hag has warning. - 3 Sessions, Legendary, 2 Difficult encounters, 7 DP

Agility +10 - 5 DP
Light as a Feather advanced to Expert - 1 DP
Stealth advanced to Expert - 1 DP

Case 9 - At the Stake - The characters have their final battle with the hag. - 1 Session, Legendary, difficult, 3 DP

Takeaway - Put an arrow through a hag's eye. (P) - replaces Brought arrows to a wolf fight.

Leave Body Art discipline - 1 DP
Internet Chat advanced to Expert - 1 DP
Perception +2 - 1 DP

Gorgon Archer

Attributes / Skills / Specializations
Agility 70 - Movement 70 - Stealth(E) 100
Strength 40 - Prowess 40
Stamina 55 - Close Quarters Combat 55
Focus 61 - Research 31 - Survival(E) 61
Personality 53 - Communication 53 - Internet Chat (E) 83
Willpower 57 - Interview 29 - Shop Talk (B) 44
Dexterity 60 - Fieldcraft 30 - Traps and Blinds(E) 60
Perception 68 - Investigation 34 - Tracking(B) 49
Reflexes 64 - Ranged Weapons (Trained) 64 - Archery(M) 114, Knife Throwing(B) 79
Sensing the Unknown 14

The Art
Incorporeal - Astral Attack (M) 100 - Channel through thrown weapons. Disrupt Evil Way.
Incorporeal - Leave the Body (B) 70 - Cannot intentionally pass through objects. -30 to Targets.
Incorporeal - Light as a Feather (E) 85 - +30 to Movement Target, increase successes by one level.
Incorporeal - Voice of the Dead (B) 70 - Unconscious during the channel.

Tough as Nails (2 CP) - You recover twice the normal STA during a transition or recovery.
Peace of Mind (2 CP) - You recover twice the normal WPR during a transition or recovery
Inured (2 CP) - After each case, you integrate two Trauma levels instead of one. In addition, when she is treated by use of the Calm discipline of the Art then she integrates an additional Trauma Level.

Strange Appearance (3 CP) - Due to a moderate case of Ichthyosis Vulgaris, she appears to have scales and this causes her to suffer a -30 to the target number of checks where people would be put off.
Awkward (3 CP) - Your Communication skill is untrained due to your difficulty in dealing with other people.

My character joined SAVE to protect the innocent.

Was stalked by a strange beast for several days. (A)
Resisted a Hag's spell. (A)
Held off a Siege with Traps. (P)
Tracked a barghest to its lair. (P)
Put an arrow through a hag's eye. (P)

Background - Ostracized from an early age due to her strange appearance, she spent a lot of her time learning how to hide and retreating into the wilderness near the small town she lived in. She trained to become a park ranger but was never accepted due to her medical condition. Eventually, she inherited a small patch of land in Alaska. She maintained a hunter's license and would go bow hunting to supplement her diet, often selling the hides and trophies to earn the money she needed to live. Most of her interaction with people was carried out through the anonymity of an online connection.
One winter she found herself cut off from the small town nearby by strong weather. This wasn't the first time this had happened, but there was something different. There was a thing in the snow which began to stalk her around the area of her cabin over the course of several days. She was able to counter-track it using various tricks and finally survived when her potential in the Art awakened with a desperate punch to the white-furred monstrosities face, startling the beast long enough for her to back off and bury it in an avalanche.

Further Notes

Chill is a fairly simple character creation and advancement that hasn't changed much from its original incarnations. It has adapted some modern mechanics especially in the way you can acquire or change Takeaways as well as changing your Drive. But it hasn't really needed to change much.

The main interesting point in character advancement is the way that you are limited in advancing Skills, the Art, and Attributes between cases as well as the fact that you can only advance between cases. This sort of enforces the idea of extensive down-time between cases. If you are still going immediately after the previous session's action then it might be considered part of the same case. As such, the GM needs to eventually put in a brief time skip to allow people the chance to advance their abilities.

As players are expected to explain and justify how their characters train, these downtimes become a small montage. This allows you to give some insight into the character's daily lives as well as skip over the long and slow parts of investigations that take several weeks or months in real life, such as DNA testing and the like.

The real gem in Chill is more in the work that was put into designing the setting. The book is littered with art of journal pages and creepy photos along with quotes from interview notes and old journals. The rulebook does a great job immersing you in the world wide struggle of SAVE vs the evil of the Unknown, from the online conversation between the Syrian leader of the new SAVE struggling between addressing the troubles of her homeland and focusing on the global threat of the world to segments of the seminar on the study and proper use of the Art. That, however, is not related to the character creation.

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

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