Intensity Points, or just Intensity are a player currency spent to increase the Intensity of a current situation, or just to represent the character acting in an intense way.
Participants, including the GM, begin the game with 10 Intensity (some of which may be spent before play begins). There are two sources of Intensity during the course of the game:
At the end of each session, each player who participated gains another 4 points (2 for a short session).
Intensity Reward Points
At the beginning of each session, the players are given a pool of 6 intensity reward points (less for shorter sessions). These may not be spent by the player, but instead, may only be given to other players as rewards. The player giving the points has complete discretion on when to give such points, and may give them as rewards for anything to do with the game.
Any Intensity reward points not spent by the end of a session are lost. The player begins the next session with exactly the same amount again as at the start of the session. Use ‘em, or lose ‘em.
Generally there are several ways to spend intensity: during resolution to incorporate more character abilities into the resolution, after a resolution to modify the result to be more intense, or at other times to add new abilities to the character.
Intensity in Resolution
Intensity is used to indicate just how intensely a character is dealing with a conflict. The more intensity used, the more dice the player rolls each round. Just to get their base dice (one from each category), a character has to spend one intensity. Choosing not to spend this one intensity amounts to choosing to fail, which may often be the most interesting choice.
The below chart is also found in the section on Resolution.
|Total Extra Dice||Total Intensity Cost|
Note: In practice it is usually inefficient to buy extra dice. But some circumstances may demand it.
Sometimes the player may not want to reveal an ability under a keyword, but thinks that the keyword itself should be allowed in the contest to represent that broad area of understanding having an effect of its own. For one intensity, the player can describe how the keyword pertains, and gain the keyword die for the contest for the category for which it makes the most sense. In this way it is not an extra die, and does not increase the cost of additional extra dice.
Intensity in Drama
These points can be spent in a more metagame way to suggest more intense outcomes to situations than the mechanics would otherwise provide. The player may adjust the circumstances of the outcome, for two intensity, but only in such a way that increases how intense the situation is. The other players must all agree that the change actually makes things more intense.
For instance, a player’s character has just taken its last point of health attribute damage (see resolution). The character would normally die in this situation. A player may not spend intensity under these circumstances to simply say that the character does not die… that’s less intense under most imaginable circumstances. The player could, however, decide that the character survives in a horribly maimed condition (with some appropriate mechanical alterations to represent this), or wakes to find themselves in the bonds of slavery, or perhaps find themselves now a ghost.
This can be done in the midst of a resolution between rounds, as well, to have circumstances suddenly change. The cavalry may arrive to help out, creating intensity in the form of more potential lives lost (not so many cavalry may arrive so as to make the resolution a fait accompli… that would make things less intense).
Intensity in Character Development
A character may become more than what they were by studying intensely, or by pursuing some goal intensely over time. Or a conflict situation may result in a previously unseen ability revealing itself. These alterations may not be made for no reason, the player must describe the intense circumstances under which these changes occur. Either something external to the character pressing on them hard to make them change, or the character having some very important reason for pursuing this change.
Character Learning and Growth
Characters often change over time. A player may represent this by spending one intensity to add a new ability at a d4 to the character sheet. New abilities are usually listed under the Individuality keyword by convention, but this has no particular mechanical meaning.
For two intensity an existing die may be increased by one.
Characters are comprised of more abilities than simply are displayed on the character sheet. Each Keyword implies a potentially large number of abilities that the character may have which simply are not enumerated. The notion with a keyword is that it is essentially a very large ability that encompasses many smaller ones.
To whit, when things are getting intense in a conflict, and a player feels that the character would display one of these as yet unseen abilities from a keyword, they may pay two intensity to reveal this ability.
The same limits on what can be in a keyword that exist in the rules for creating a character apply.
It might be tempting to put the highest die into individuality, and then constantly reveal abilities that the character just learned… somewhere. Unlimited by the constraints on other keywords. This may stretch credulity, however, and so the following rules apply to revealing new abilities in the Individuality keyword. First, every five abilities purchased in Individuality cause the cost to go up by one to reveal an ability there. Thus if the character has their 5 free slots taken up, and have purchased five more abilities with Intensity, they may buy yet another, but now the cost is three intensity.
Furthermore, the player making such a revelation owes the group a description of just how it was that their character obtained the ability, where they got it, and from whom.
Summary Table of Expenditures
|Gain Base Dice in Resolution||1|
|1 Extra Die||1|
|2 Extra Dice||3|
|3 Extra Dice||6|
|4 Extra Dice||10|
|5 Extra Dice||15|
|Increasing Outcome Intensity||2|
|Revealing a Keyword Ability||2|
|Adding a New Ability at d4||1|
|Increasing an Ability by One Die Type||2*|
*For play where dice of any size are available, this can go up 1 for 1. For example it costs 1 to go from d6 to d7.