A Carnival Of Hounds
Conflict mechanics, Escalaction, and the Supernatural
The world of A Carnival Of Hounds works on a sliding scale of violence and supernatural elements. Depending on how you guys play, the setting can be peaceful, with no supernatural elements, or it can be very, very bloody, and all hell can quite literally break loose.
All Characters start with three traits, Mental, Physical, and Social. One of these is primary (7), one of these is secondary (5), and one is tertiary (3).
Conflicts between two characters play out thus:
1. Character A (Sister Abigail) wants something from Character B (Carny Bertram)
2. If Bertram has no issues giving Abigail what she wants, there is no conflict
3. If Bertram does not want to give Abigail what she wants, Conflict is initiated
4. Abigail’s player now describes how she wants to convince Bertram. Is she talking (Social-type challenge)? Does she try to argue him to death with some doctrine (Mental-type challenge)? Does she just straight-up punch him (Physical-type challenge)?
5. Conflict is either resolved, or if the other player does not want to budge, Escalation happens.
6. After the Conflict is resolved, one, or both characters take Fallout. If more than one dot of Fallout is gained, Supernatural Fallout happens.
1. Carny Bertram is sitting in a town bar, and Sister Abigail has cornered him and want him, and all his ilk, to leave. Bertram is a big bruiser, a decent talker, but not particularly smart (Phys 7, Men 3, Soc 5). Sister Abigail is well-versed in doctrine, an excellent orator, but rather weak (Phys 3, Men 5, Soc 7).
2. Abigail tells Bertram to take leave, along with his wickedness. Bertram tells her to stuff it. Conflict must thus take place.
3. Abigail wants to use her superior oratory skills on Bertram. The first area of Conflict is therefore Social. Abigails draws an Ace from her pack, and sets it aside (7+1=8), Bertram draws a four, and sets it aside (5+4=9), so Bertram remains unconvinced.
4. Abigail really wants Bertram to leave, so she has to Escalate to arguing about doctrine and such, moving to Mental. She draws a five, and sets it aside (5+5=10). Bertram draws an Ace, and sets it aside (3+1=4). Bertram is awed by Abigal’s knowledge, and would happily leave. Since Abigal’s score is twice that of Bertram, he’d get extra Fallout too.
5. Bertram’s player, on the other hand, really does not want to budge, so the Conflict is escalated to Physical. Bertram also knows that Abigal has lost her best and worst card, while he has lost an ace and a four, giving him even better odds.
6. Bertram draws a two (7+2=9), while Abigail draws a measly three (3+3=6). Bertram stands up, slaps Abigal across the face, and throws her out of the bar.
7. Consequences happen. There have been two steps of Escalation (one by each character), so Supernatural Fallout will happen too.
8. Bertram was beaten once, and Abigail was beaten twice. So Bertram loses one dot of Mental (he was beaten in that). However, he was beaten badly, 4 to 10, so he will have to lose another dot, or take supernatural Fallout too. Abigail was beaten twice, so she loses Physical and Social, and takes supernatural Fallout.
There are three guns, with two bullets each, in the game. Guns are potentially deadly. Guns can be used at any given time. If you use a gun on someone, you automatically win the escalation and the challenge. Both of you gather your cards, and randomly draw one each. Total Fallout the victim takes is the difference of draws. Guns also inflict one Gun Fallout automatically. A Gun Fallout can only be removed by using two Special Powers (Carnie Care, Anoint with sacred earth, grab a drink at the Golden Bull)
However, guns are loud, violent, nasty, and unloved by God. Using a gun automatically ups the Avatar Track of the victim by one AND bars your side from using their Special Power (CC, Annoint, drink at the Golden Bull) for the rest of the in-game day.
9. Abigail draws a tarot card, reverses it, and its effect (mostly a cosmetic thing and atmosphere-building thing) is applied to her. Here, it is up to the player to act as if Abigail had just received some bad reading, or a deadly premonition or something. Basically, your act has angered God, and you feel it.
10. Another Tarot card is added to the Dogs track..
God, or the Gods, or Fate, or whatever else plays with the lives of mice and men, watches over this town, with Avatars mixed in there. An Avatar lurks among each of the three groups, blissfully unaware of their higher, or lower, calling. However, as the game progresses, they will become more and more imbued, and will steer the events towards their own goals.
11. Every Fallout that any side incurs advances the Avatar Track for that side by one. If the track reaches 3, the Avatar becomes aware of their own existence as such. At five, they become aware of their powers. At seven, all Avatars awaken.