January 28, 2014

Vivid: How Traits Are Meant to Work

Traits do not give flat, global bonuses in Vivid/Hari Ragat. Instead, each Trait entitles you to Advantage Dice only when its conditions are met, requiring you to actively find ways to use that Trait. If you don't call it, you don't get the bonuses. In this way Traits are meant to increase your level of immersion, making you think of exactly how your character is performing all those actions during play and share your vision of that with the other players for their enjoyment.

For example, a martial arts secret such as Secret of the Fearless Blade doesn't give you a bonus to every single melee attack that you make. Instead, it only works when a) you are not wearing armor; b) you use a small shield or none at all; and c) you declare attacks that get you 'inside' your opponent's guard, very close.

Notice that there's a price to using this: you're short on armor and shield protection, and the kind of attack you have to declare takes you within easy grappling range. But because the Trait doesn't have to be used all the time, you can make melee attacks without it, freeing you to break Fearless Blade's requirements when you want to. For example, Fearless Blade may not be so useful against a giant flying opponent that you can't just close in with anyway, so you may want to use a bigger shield to protect yourself.

You may claim Advantage Dice from using multiple Traits at once, but since Advantage Dice max out at +3, there’s a diminishing return to doing so. It thus pays off more to design characters that have a number of Traits that allow them to take different strategies as needed.

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