Boosts are special abilities that make a character extraordinary.

Boosts are special abilities that help make a character extraordinary and unique. Boosts can represent innate talents, special powers, exceptional skill proficiency, or specialized features of gear. Each boost is defined with three properties:

  • Target Element: Each boost defines a specific character element that is being enhanced such as a character's background, skills, a supernatural power, or specialized gear.

  • Constraint: Constraints limit when and how often a boost can be used. Constraints can either be a condition or a cost.

  • Benefit: Each boost provides a single benefit that can be either mechanical or narrative.

A player can invoke multiple boosts during their turn as long as the specific constraints for each boost are satisfied.

Target Elements

Creating a boost starts with determining the character element that is being enhanced. The available character elements that can be boosted are:

  • Background: Background is a generic term that encompasses elements of a character's identity such as species, ancestry, lineage, heritage, and/or race. Boosts related to a character's background can represent special genetic traits related to species or race, innate talents, or special knowledge or skills acquired through a cultural influence.

  • Skill: Boosts can represent an exceptional ability related to a character's skills. Boosts can be used to represent a special maneuver, a signature move, or an exceptional skill proficiency related to a specific situation or circumstance.

  • Power: Powers represent a special class of abilities that are deemed supernatural. Supernatural powers include things like psionics, magic, mutations, or augmentations. The supernatural source of powers can be related to advanced technology (bio-engineering or cybernetics), mutation (evolutionary or from an external influence), a supernatural force (some power that exists in the universe), or a supernatural entity (a deity).

  • Gear: Boosts can be used to turn common gear into specialized gear representing special enhancements, customizations, or quality. This can be used to support advanced technologies, magical items, or things like enhanced cybernetics or bio-engineering. Boosts associated with a gear item are considered to be dependent and bound with the specific gear item they enhance. If the gear is damaged or broken, the associated boost becomes unusable. When the gear item is transferred to another individual, the boost is transferred with the item and can be invoked by whoever possesses the item.

A single boost can only target a single character element.


Constraints are used to limit how often a character can use their special abilities. They help maintain a balance between characters and the overall game setting and environment. A boost must define one of the two types of constraints: a condition or a cost.


Conditions are specific environmental or situation circumstances that trigger a boost. Boosts with a condition are invoked for free and do not impose any cost when used. Conditions can be one of the following types:

  • Environmental: An environmental condition specifies some aspect of the environment such as weather conditions, temperature, terrain, astral alignment, visibility or noise considerations, etc.

  • Situational: A situational condition specifies a specific circumstance that triggers the boost. A common situational condition might be related to a specific type of conflict such as unarmed combat. A boost associated with a special ability of a cleric might be enabled when they are within a temple of their faith. A situational boost can also be enabled by a situation created by a character during gameplay. For example, a witch may only be able to summon a dark spirit once they have created a Wicca ritual magic circle.

The condition associated with a boost should be specific enough that it cannot simply be invoked on a routine basis such as during any conflict encounter. For any boost a player wants to invoke on demand, rather than a condition, the boost should be defined with a cost.


Costs are used to limit the frequency that a boost that can be used on-demand by a player. Costs may represent the physical, mental, and emotional burden that comes from pushing yourself to enhance your performance, a time constraint related to the frequency of use of a special feature of a gear item, or a material resource that is consumed as part of invoking the boost.

The types of costs that can be used when creating boosts are:

  • Runup: The boost requires one or more turns for preparation. This may represent something like the time required to power up an energy weapon or to speak an incantation required to cast a spell. The character is deemed to be concentrating during the runup period. If the character suffers harm during the runup, the boost is terminated.

  • Cooldown: A cooldown adds a period of narrative time before the boost can be used again such as session, scene, or encounter. Similar to a runup, a cooldown can represent the time needed to recharge or reload a weapon or recover from the health strain of physical, mental, or emotional exertion.

  • Increase Stress: The boost adds 2 or more points of stress, appropriate to the benefit produced.

  • Grit: The boost costs 1 or more grit points appropriate to the benefit produced.

  • Increase Difficulty: The boost imposes a disadvantage to an action roll to make the challenge more difficult.

  • Drawback: The benefit adds 1 or more points of stress and a related condition to the character. The condition may be something like "Knocked Prone" from the recoil of firing a powerful weapon, or "Winded" from physical exertion, or "Frazzled" from the focus required to cast a spell.

  • Consume a Resource: The boost costs one or more units of a scarce resource. A scarce resource could be something like an energy crystal required to use magic, a special piece of ammunition for a weapon, or a battery pack for a piece of technology or energy device.

Boosts can be written to require one or more pre-determined costs for using the boost, or they can be written to support one or more costs that can be chosen by the player when the boost is invoked during gameplay. Allowing players to choose the type of cost when a boost is invoked can add additional flexibility and excitement to monitoring and managing a character's resources while working to accomplish tasks.

Determining Appropriate Cost

It is important that boosts be written to maintain a balance between characters and the game setting and that are appropriate for the type of adventure. All boosts need to be reviewed and approved by the director to determine the appropriate costs associated with invoking a boost.


Each boost can provide a single benefit. Benefits describe how the boost enhances the character's abilities or performance. Benefits are divided into two types: mechanical and narrative.


Mechanical benefits are the most straightforward. They directly impact action rolls by:

  • Improving the Odds: To improve the odds of success, the player can add an additional ability die to the ability dice pool. Improving the odds comes with a risk, a poor roll can still result in a very poor outcome.

  • Improving the Effect: Improving the effect guarantees that your improved performance produces an improved result. Even if you roll poorly and fail to perform the action, the failure will be less severe than it would have been otherwise. If you succeed, the outcome of your success will always be better.

Choosing between the two mechanical benefits is left up to the player. Improving the Odds provides the potential for both greater success and greater effect but comes with a risk of no benefit to the outcome. Improving the Effect guarantees the boost improves the outcome, regardless of whether it is a success or failure.


Narrative benefits are a direct result of the fact that the game system is narrative and rules-light. The game system relies on common sense and negotiation between the players and the director to deal with situations that arise during gameplay covered by the rules.

The following represent different kinds of narrative benefits and how they can be used:

  • Alter the Standard Turn: The Standard Turn is a core mechanic that determines constraints on what a character can do during a single turn. It allows for limited movement, object and social interactions, and performing a single action toward a single target who is within range. A narrative benefit can alter any of these specific constraints such as increasing movement, increasing the number of social or object interactions, allowing more than one action during the turn, allowing an action to target more than one target, and/or extending the range of the action being performed. For example, a species with a genetic trait that provides a burst of speed could have a narrative benefit to double their normal movement on a turn. A character who is really talented at the quick draw with their pistol might be able to shoot two adversaries on their turn instead of one. A talented wizard may be able to cast their Fireball spell that increases the area of effect to target multiple adversaries.

  • Passive Abilities: Passive abilities represent things that are always on. A Sea Elf can always breathe underwater. A Dwarf can always see well in dim light when indoors or underground. Passive abilities are normally associated with a conditional boost, with the condition being the special circumstance where the passive ability is relevant.

  • Resistance: The game doesn't have specific rules for different types of damage. Damage types are determined by what makes sense for the narrative. If a Mage throws a fire bolt, common sense suggests it will do fire damage. Narrative considerations like damage type matter since they influence the consequences, and related conditions experienced by a character. Being hit with a fire bolt may inflict a condition of a "Burned Arm". To counter these kinds of narrative elements in the game, you can define a narrative benefit for a boost such as fire resistance for a character with dragon's blood, or cold resistance for a character that grew up on the frozen tundra.

  • Automatic Success: Automatic success represents situations where a character's enhanced ability assures complete success, and no action roll is required. Someone with Extra-Sensory Perception might simply always know when someone is lying. Automatic success benefits must be used for actions where the specific intended outcome of an action is pre-determined.

While boosts are intended to provide a single benefit, there are cases where it is appropriate to describe a narrative boost in a way that provides the player with some choice related to the exact nature of the benefit received.

In the following example, a boost provides the benefit of allowing the player to increase the effect of a spell. As there are a number of potential spell effects, the boost provides some flexibility to the player by offering a choice of the spell effects that can be improved.

Arcane Overcharge You can push yourself to channel additional magical energy when casting a spell to increase one of the following spell effects: range, area of effect, duration (requires concentration), or the number of individual targets. This boost can be added to a character multiple times to allow effects to stack during a single turn.

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