EXPERIENCE COST: new dots x 8
All Cards have had a very real brush with death, and emerge from drawing their Second Breath filled with knowledge that their brains aren’t supposed to have. Much of this knowledge is lost the moment they come back to life, but constant practice with their newfound abilities and their increased contact with their Personae – their other halves – helps them recall a few of the things they have learned.
Where Synergy represents the “health” of a Card’s bond with his Persona, Vigor represents the strength of their bond along with how adept the Card is with using his abilities. In practical game terms, it determines how much Anima a Card has at his disposal, and how many Social Links a Card can create with entities of another Arcana.
All Cards begin with one free dot of Vigor.
Uses of Vigor
Increasing Intimidation rolls. Cards can add their Vigor rating to Intimidation rolls.
Resistance against magic, supernatural abilities and similar attacks. Cards can add their Vigor rating to any resistance-related rolls against magic, Persona-based abilities, supernatural abilities and anything else that falls within those categories.
Self-healing. Cards can reflexively expend Anima in order to heal their own injuries. Roll Vigor + Resolve. The number of successes determines the number of bashing or lethal wounds a Card can heal at any given time.
|Vigor||Attribute Max/Skill Max||“Safe” Days in the Dark Hour||Max Anima/Max Anima per turn||Self-Healing|
|1||5||3||15/3||once every two days|
|2||5||6||20/6||once per day|
|3||5||9||25/9||twice per day|
|4||5||12||30/12||thrice per day|
|5||5||15||35/15||once per scene|
|6||6||18||40/18||twice per scene|
|7||7||21||45/21||thrice per scene|
|8||8||24||50/24||once per turn|
|9||9||27||75/27||twice per turn|
|10||10||30||100/30||thrice per turn|
Anima is the otherworldly energy that fuels a Card user’s abilities. Anima allows him to create Social Links (thus drawing power from the relationships he has with other entities), acquire preternatural (albeit temporary) skills and perform a variety of astounding feats, either with his Persona or through his Persona.
All Cards begin with an Anima pool equal to half of their maximum Anima pool as determined by their Vigor. Unlike many other Traits, Anima is rated only as a pool of points that you can spend. There is no dot rating for Anima that your character always possesses.
Anima can be acquired through the following means:
- Resting. A Card always recovers Anima points equivalent to their Vigor rating every time they rest – they need to get at least eight hours of sleep in order to regain Anima. Special conditions, however, may apply (take, for example, if they didn’t rest well).
- Spending time in the Dark Hour. A Card recovers Anima at a rate of their maximum Anima pool as determined by their Vigor rating per day spent in the Dark Hour.
- Consuming their Persona’s essence. A Card can opt to consume a bit of their Persona’s essence for Anima points equivalent to their Synergy rating. This, however, damages their Synergy – how far the degeneration goes will be determined by the circumstances of the situation. Rolls to protect against receiving this damage cannot be taken.
- Acting according to one’s Virtue. This fully restores a Card’s Anima pool. This can be done once per day.
- Acting according to one’s Vice. This restores the number of Anima points equal to half of their maximum Anima, as determined by their Vigor. This can be done once per day.
- Destroying another Card’s Persona. A Card can opt to consume the essence of the destroyed Persona of another Card. After destroying the Persona, Roll Vigor + Willpower; the number of successes determines how many points of Anima they will get to absorb. This, however, greatly damages their Synergy with their own Persona – how far the degeneration goes will be determined by the circumstances of the situation.
Synergy & Apathy
Synergy takes the place of Morality for Cards – it is basically your measure, as a player, of how well your character has meshed with your Persona, and, as a natural extension, the Arcana that both of them represent. It is not to be taken as a measure of how “moral” a character is, especially since there will inevitably be moments where a character may be forced to take actions that go against their own humanity. As such, having a high Synergy rate might be a positive thing but not necessarily a good thing, for the same reasons that the Sin-Eaters – those Bound to Geists – can attune themselves to the drives and urges of their own non-corporeal companions for better or for worse.
The punishment for high Synergy ratings depends entirely on the conditions in-game, as related to the Card’s Arcana. If, for example, acting in accordance to his Arcana’s creed turns the Card into a serial killer, he may have a high Synergy rating, but it will inevitably affect his relationships with his other party members, and the NPCs he interacts with. Alternatively, some Arcana would make a Persona particularly averse to killing. If the Card kills someone and is unable to justify the death to his Persona, his Synergy rating will go down.
Apathy is the term used to describe a state of dissonance between a character and her sense of self, alongside the dissonance between a character and her sense of her place in the world. Degeneration, on the other hand, is used to describe how a character’s Synergy rate decreases, right alongside how her Apathy increases. Avoiding degeneration at all cost is important for a player. The moment a Card hits ground zero, she will completely lose touch with her Persona, and morph into an Umbra – something much like the very Shadow she defeated through Awakening, but without any of its sentience.
It is important to note that beyond neglecting to maintain a good relationship with one’s Persona, acting in what is understood to be a morally reprehensible way may also affect her Synergy rating with her Persona as well. The trick is to strike a balance between one’s Arcana and one’s sense of humanity, while following the tenets of their shared creed.
All characters start with a base Synergy rate of 7 – this reflects how one’s character is never entirely attuned with one’s Persona at the beginning, especially after the traumatic event of dying, coming back to life, forgetting all about the incident, and then piecing it all back together. Of course, it is perfectly feasible for a character to start out with a lower Synergy rating, or a higher one… it depends on the ST, the player’s preferences, and the way the Pilgrimage folds out.
Cards follow degeneration rules similar to the ones found in World of Darkness, together with a few adjustments. Expect more on this in the future.
Benefits: For Cards with a synergy score of 9 or more
Negated need to roll in order to summon her Persona. Normally, it is only with the possession of an Evoker that a Card can summon her Persona to her automatically. Because she is so greatly attuned to her Persona, however, her Persona will answer her call without effort, and they can do it reflexively.
+1 bonus to all rolls made in defense against Apathy while within the Dark Hour. The Card’s sense of self is so strong that very little can challenge it, even the twists and turns of the shadow worlds.
Gain Direction Sense while navigating through the Dark Hour. The merit disappears, however, once the character has left the Borderlines. This merit is automatically sealed the moment the Card’s Synergy score drops below 9.
+1 bonus to all rolls directed towards unlocking Dehali and Claves. If the Card does not have a merit pertaining to unlocking Dehali and Claves, this bonus serves as a single dot in the skill.
+1 bonus per dot above 7 on all Social dice pools when interacting with Personae and Cards. If the Card does not have the Social skill that they are attempting to use, this bonus serves as a single dot in the skill.
Drawbacks: For Cards with a Synergy Score of 5 or Lower
-1 Circumstance modifier to all rolls related towards summoning one’s Persona. The discord between her and her Persona reflects in the Card’s inability to summon her other self properly.
-1 modifier to all rolls made in defense against Apathy while within the Dark Hour. The Card is vulnerable to the psychic weight of the shadow world, lowering her resistance against its delusions.
-1 bonus to all rolls directed towards unlocking Dehali and Claves. The Card’s innate sense for perceiving Dehali and Claves has dulled, making it harder for them to find portals to the shadow world.
-1 dot below 6 on all Social dice pools when interacting with Personae and Cards. The dissonance within the pair is obvious to other Cards and their companions, putting them on edge when dealing with the character in question.
For Cards with a Synergy Score of 3 or Lower
-2 modifier to all rolls made in defense against Apathy while within the Dark Hour or the Fog. This does not stack with the -1 drawback outlined in the section above.
Special Flaw: Static. The Card must make a Resolve + Composure roll at the end of every turn during combat. Failing the roll means that their Persona will fizzle out, and needs to be summoned again in order to return to the battle. This flaw is removed the moment the Card’s Synergy score rises above 3.
Special Flaw: Dead Walker. The Card can no longer summon her Persona without the aid of an Evoker. This flaw is removed the moment the Card’s Synergy score rises above 3.
Special Flaw: Sick Child. The Card can no longer access the benefits or abilities granted by all of their Social Links. This flaw is removed the moment the Card’s Synergy score rises above 3.
Special Flaw: Locked Out. Cards with this flaw cannot use Dehali and Claves. Furthermore, if they fail a Resolve + Composure roll on the brink of the Dark Hour, they are effectively “human” for the duration of the night – that is, they will not perceive the Dark Hour at all. This flaw is removed the moment the Card’s Synergy score rises above 3.