kihou: (Dr. Morden clone #187)
[personal profile] kihou

So, in doing character creation for my incipient Chuubo's campaign, I noticed that, unlike most systems, Chuubo's has quite a few ways to state "freeform" facts about your character. (Borrowing some of the perl nature, perhaps?) And it also came up some how much Sam is still into Wisher, Theurgist, Fatalist, which is always a fun way to look at game truths. So, through that lens, I present: the qualities of the gifts of your Chuubo's character.

Let's say your character has some attribute that you want to emphasize. Let's say, for example, they never give up. What options do you have to say that in Chuubo's, and what would be their implications?


Well, you could have a bond: "I never give up". Having a bond gives you the ability to use it to strengthen your mortal actions and your miracles, and gives you will or MP when it inconveniences you.

I'd say a bond has normal-to-strong truth: it's presented as true, as "a law of your nature, guarded by some unconquerable pillar of your being", but you have control over when it comes up, giving you free-reign to define loopholes in it.
Mechanical Support
Bonds have somewhat strong mechanical support: they can potentially help with any mundane action or miracle in the right circumstance, and the player has control of when they're brought into play.
Normal valence: it can help you achieve goals in combination with skills or miracles, but it can't get you to your goals by itself.


Afflictions are similar to bonds, but instead of a it being a deep part of your character, it's more of a law of the universe. If you have the affliction "I never give up", it's physically impossible for you to give up, and you can't be forced to by, say, mortal mind control, or even miracles unless they beat the affliction's Auctoritas. This also means you can't circumvent or define loopholes like you can with a bond.

Their uncircumventability gives them strong truth: they're basically highly specific laws of the universe. The miracles they generate trump mortal actions (though interestingly bonds often win when bonds and afflictions directly conflict, since the strike from a bond can bypass the auctoritas of an affliction, if it has a miracle to boost).
Mechanical Support
They have pretty ordinary mechanical support, applying in specific mostly pre-defined circumstances.
Weak valence: you don't have control of when they come up the way you do with bonds, and while the HG is free to come up with miracles from the affliction, such miracles can just as easily cause trouble for you (though you get will or MP when they do). They also can't aid skills the way bonds can.


Skills can be something like "swordfighting", but they can also be something like "not giving up". (The Halloween special has skills like "run with it", "fearlessness", and "snazzy clothing".) A skill in "not giving up" means you're good at accomplishing things by not giving up, which seems like a pretty useful thing to be good at.

Skills have somewhat weak truth: unlike bonds or afflictions, they're not true in any cosmic sense, just true to the extent that your points in them let you do things. If you have a 1 in "not giving up", you're not actually that good at not giving up; if you have a 5, you're pretty unbelievable at it. (While the speed of light is Superior Speed 5, in Chuubo's it still gets trumped by a miracle.)
Mechanical Support
Skills have pretty ordinary mechanical support. They let you do something specific, and that's it.
Skills have pretty strong valence: if you get a 4 intention with your skill, you're guaranteed to do something effective that moves you closer to your goals, and with a 7 you get something really effective.

Basic Quests

Ok, let's go a bit further afield. You could have a basic quest with a catchphrase "Never give up!" It'd probably be a Melodramatic quest, which means that you get bonus XP for reacting to things with that phrase. It's more about what you're character's going through or their personality than their abilities. What would this look like?

Truth here is quite weak. Like a bond, the player has complete control over when the quest comes up. Like a skill, it's not any sort of fundamental truth. But it's even weaker than that: it's something you say, but that doesn't actually mean you're not giving up, it just implies that you're trying to, that you're focusing on it.
Mechanical Support
Pretty weak. You get XP for your catch-phrase, but that doesn't really help you accomplish tasks or win contests or anything in normal play. Eventually you'll get a recharge token, which is pretty useful in terms of giving you will or MP to use other skills or powers to accomplish stuff, but that's pretty long-term and indirect.
This is sorta interesting. The recharge token angle gives you normal-to-strong valence if you focus on long-term goals. But a quest also represents a character goal, so you could view it as having strong if specialized valence in that both it declares that something matters and gives you a clear and straightforward way to accomplish that thing.


We're starting to stray further afield, but… Your refusal to give up might end up getting you assigned an Issue, maybe Hero if you're saving the day or a Complex if you're being self-destructive about it.

Normal? Your Issue is true, you've got a card and everything, but not cosmicly so or in a way that interacts with stuff.
Mechanical Support
Weak. Like a quest, an issue gets you bonuses for going through something, but doesn't have mechanical support otherwise.
Variable. The Hero issue can help you justify winning somehow when all is lost, which has pretty good valence. A Complex mostly helps you justify disaster, but can also justify being saved by unexpected unlooked-for grace.

XP Action

This one's a quite a stretch, in that it's not a character attribute at all, and also it makes my example attribute seem contrived, but there's a standard Road of Trials XP action "Never Say Die!" If we treat it as an ability your character has, as indeed it's an ability everyone in the appropriate genre has, then:

Strong, in a non-character-specific way. It applies equally well to everyone else in the genre, but having the action available basically gives you free reign to declare that you're outmatched but fighting to the last drop of strength in your body, even if that wouldn't otherwise be the case.
Mechanical Support
Very weak. Framing your attempt as doomed gets you XP, similarly to the quest case, but it also means that you're basically declaring whatever you're doing right now to be a lost cause.
XP is useful towards basically arbitrary long-term goals, so strong valence in again a rather slow, long-term way.

Chuubo's has a lot of hair. This is with me not going into wounds (which will normally be basically the same as a bond, affliction, or skill) or miraculous abilities (which are less "freeform" and reasonably similar, mechanically, to afflictions). It probably has more hair than I'd normally want to put in a game, but it does create a very particular feel, if you can wrap your head around it. Having many kinds of truth is a very Jenna direction to go, and this post definitely helped me appreciate how many she crammed in.

Date: 2016-03-18 02:53 pm (UTC)
l33tminion: (Kano)
From: [personal profile] l33tminion
Good analysis! Yeah, that framework provides a pretty interesting way to look at some of the complicated aspects of Chuubo's design. There are plenty of games where pretty much everything involved in the structured parts of character creation is ordinary truth / valence / mechanical support, leaving much of that design space unexplored.

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