Chronicles of Vulcanica: Vale Tenebrous
The characters of Vale Tenebrous have lived much life up to this point, and still have much left in front of them. Naturally, they will have met many people, done many deeds, and felt many feelings; each in ways that go beyond what the character sheet can represent. But we’re still gonna try! This is where the Legend comes in.
Your character’s Legend is comprised of four different scores: Honor, Faith, Virtue, and Vice. Each has their own meaning, and each character’s personal definition of them will be unique to them. As your character grows in the world, they will have opportunities to further their Legend, and whenever they act in accordance with one their specific Legend scores, their story will get a little more meaningful. Legend scores are graded on a scale of 0 (almost meaningless) to 5 (character-defining).
The four Legend scores are defined as follows:
- Honor represents your character’s conscience, and how they feel about themselves and the things they’ve done. A character with high Honor has led a life that aligns well with their personal morals, and probably feels very strongly about those morals. Conversely, a character with a low Honor has most likely betrayed their own code a few times, and has trouble falling asleep at night.
- Faith is what your character believes in above all else. This can take the form of religion, but it can also be a philosophy or ideal. A high Faith score would indicate a character who lives by their beliefs, and has probably witnessed proof of it first-hand more than once. A low Faith score, however, would belong to a character whose faith has been severely shaken on more than one occasion, and may even feel betrayed by that which they believe in.
- Virtue is something your character holds dear or sacred, and is something they would be willing to go well out of their way to protect—like a family member, a prized possession, or even something more abstract, like “Cinderfell.” A character with high Virtue would gladly lay down their life for whatever they idealize, and has consistently made their Virtue a central point of their life. Likewise, a character with low Virtue has probably prioritized the target of their passion much less than they should, and may even feel a sense of loss or disenfranchisement with something they once held dear.
- Vice works a little differently. The score itself represents something that is a source of grief that your character seeks for comfort, but unlike the other scores, a higher number actually represents something that is more a source of grief and problems, while the lower numbers mean that it is more contained. Your character’s Vice could be something as simple as a a bad habit or addiction to which they retreat in a time of weakness, or as complex as a deep-seated compulsion to commit violent acts. A low Vice would indicate that your character has done much to rid their life of this weakness, and may have even done away with the problem entirely. A high Vice, however, would show a character who struggles with the problem on a very frequent basis, and may even be crippled by their inability to deal with it.
At character creation, define what each Legend score means for your character, and how each one will impact your character over the course of the campaign. You have 4 points to distribute among the first three scores (HONOR, FAITH, VIRTUE) as you see fit, with no maximum or minimum. VICE, again, works a little differently. At any time during character creation or during game-play, you may choose to add one point to your VICE in exchange for also being able to increase one other aspect of your LEGEND by one point for free. However, this exchange should not be taken lightly, as Storytellers are encouraged to find ways for a character’s VICE to haunt them in their journeys.
For example, Ruin is a Cambion warrior from Crossing. Ruin grew up on the city streets, but learned a code from the thieves and guttersnipes there that he uses to guide his actions to this day. Deciding that this code is integral to Ruin’s way of life, he puts 3 of his 4 points in HONOR. Ruin then decides that he spent a lot of time looking for answers at the bottom of a bottle, but has made great strides in kicking the habit, and takes 1 point in VICE in order to have two points left. He wants to believe in the good of other people, but his life spent in the streets gave him too much evidence to the contrary to truly believe in that just yet—perfect for a FAITH of 1. Finally, Ruin decides that, while he fell out of contact with his brother years ago, he misses the man terribly and wants to repair their broken relationship; an excellent VIRTUE of 1. With no points left to spend, Ruin is now ready to venture out into Vulcanica and start the next chapter of his story.
Any time your character is involved in a situation in which their HONOR, FAITH, or VIRTUE is relevant, your character may add up to their relevant score (HONOR, FAITH, VIRTUE) as additional dice in their DICE POOL. The only catch here is that the bonus needs to be declared before the roll is made.
However—as mentioned above, VICE works a little differently. Any time the character wishes, they may declare that their VICE is now relevant to the scene. From that point, until the Storyteller decides the VICE is no longer relevant, that character must apply their VICE score as a penalty to their DICE POOL, similarly to how they would use the other scores as a bonus. The advantage to doing this, however, is that doing so will earn the party one, two, or three Vengeance Tokens—depending on the intensity of the situation.
For example, Ruin arrived in Crossing a few hours ago, hoping to reconnect with his estranged brother. However, he panicked at the last moment, and decided to go find some liquid courage at his old favorite watering hole. When he caught word from a breathless messenger that his brother was under attack, he dropped everything to go help, in any way he could. Only one problem: he’s not done drinking. Seeing an opportunity to earn a couple Vengeance Tokens, Ruin declares his VICE relevant to this scene. He must now apply his VICE score (thankfully, only 1) as a penalty on all of his rolls until the Storyteller says he no longer has to. The Storyteller decides that while this might not be a game-altering scene, life and death is still on the line, and awards Ruin with two Vengeance Tokens.
As your character adventures in Vulcanica and progresses through the story, they will grow as a person. In some ways, this is shown on your character sheet, as your skills improve and you become even more lethal in combat. However, as you interact with the world and advance your own personal story, you will likewise become more interesting and proud of your accomplishments in the world. As you perform words and deeds that align with your character’s Legend, you will gain additional points to your Legend scores. Be careful, however! Just as acting with your Legend can raise the scores, going against your character’s Legend can cause your scores to lower.
Ruin, continuing the story above, arrived on the scene more intoxicated than he’d like, and in a furious rage at the prospect of his brother coming to harm. The messenger’s words proved to be truthful, and Ruin arrived just as the assassins were preparing to kick in his brother’s door. Ruin drew his steel and engaged them, hoping to keep his brother safe. Despite his VICE’s weight, (-1 die on all Dice Pools), the love he held for his brother (+1 die to all Dice Pools) gave him the focus he needed. Additionally, the Storyteller rules that risking his life to protect his brother gave him a renewed sense of purpose, and rewards him with a +1 to his VIRTUE.