Saturday, February 22, 2020

OSR: Semblance Rules

I keep trying to explain Semblances to an uninitiated audience and ultimately, I keep falling short in clarity.  Trying to explain this concept to anyone who hasn't seen JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is probably a Sisyphean task.  None the less, I will continue to try.

But just in case you need more explanation, watch this video.

                                                          by Devilman27

The Rules:

1.  Any player with the Agent Class has a Semblance, which can best be described as an Imaginary Friend, Tulpa or Ghost projected by the character's own soul.  They gain this ability at level 3.  A Semblance is a manifestation of the character's life force, each one able to be summoned and act in accordance with the character's desires.  The easiest ways to think of a Semblance is as a secondary body or a creature the character can summon or dismiss at will. 

2.  The second rule of Semblances is that they can only be hurt by magical items or objects and by creatures with souls.  To a creature with no soul or life force, a Semblance is invisible, though it can still affect them. 

3.  The third rule of Semblances is that they have their own pools of health.  However, when these pools are expended, the Semblance does not die, but instead damage is transferred directly over to the user of the Semblance.  And if a user dies, so does the Semblance. 

4.  The fourth rule is that each Semblance has its own unique power, but more on that later.  This power may have certain conditions that trigger it.  This power is also tied to the user and, if it is say, activated by touch, the user's or the Semblance's touch can trigger it. 

5.  The fifth rule of Semblances is that they are not always there, but can Manifest as a free action on behalf of the user. This makes a Semblance appear.  While a Semblance is manifested, the user is considered to have no Fighting Spirit, as the energy of their soul is projected outside of their body.

                                                        by DADAIST-Gabriel

To generate your own Semblance, roll on the table below.

How many Acts does it have?
1d3

1- 2 Acts
2- 3 Acts
3- 4 Acts

What are it's Stats?
1d6

1- +1
2- +2
3- +3
4- +4
5- +5
6- Reroll, with a +1 bonus to your next roll.

Semblances have Six Stats:
Power, Speed, Toughness, Range, Precision and Development Potential.

Roll on the table above for Power, Speed, Toughness and Precision.

For Range and Development Potential, roll on the Tables below.

Range
1d6

1- E.  Your Semblance's Range is 30'.
2- D.  Your Semblance's Range is 50'.
3- C.  Your Semblance's Range is 100'.
4- B.  Your Semblance's Range is a city block, with you as the center.
5- A.  Your Semblance's Range is so large you shouldn't even bother accounting for it, unless you're dealing with someone with Flash level speed, teleportation, traveling to alternate universes, etc.
6- Reroll, with a +1 bonus to your next roll.

Development Potential
1d3 + the number of remaining Acts (Total Acts-1)

1- D
2- C
3- B

The Referee should not necessarily tell a player how many Acts their Semblance has left, but they can.  That is up to the individual Referee. 

Referees should help a player roll the initial Stats for his Semblance.

Whenever a player levels up enough to unlock another Act, the Referee should reroll the Semblance's Stats and replace the lower Stats with higher ones. 

For a Semblance's HP, each time the user increases in a level, the Semblance gets +X HP, where X is its current Toughness Stat.  For example, the Semblance of a level 1 Agent with a Toughness stat of +2 has 2 HP.  Though obviously, a level 1 Agent won't be able to manifest their Semblance yet, so this only becomes a relevant factor once they can manifest it.

                                                        source unknown

Semblance Nature:

Your Semblance manifests as...
1d6

1- a Creature.  Your Semblance appears as a creature that stands besides you. 
2- Bound to an object.  Your Semblance bonds to an transforms an object near by.  For example, a knife, a car, a deck of cards.  Player's choice.
3- an Organic part of your body.  Your Semblance affects part of your body, transforming it and making it different. 
4- an Object.  Your Semblance appears as an object that you can hold in your hand.
5- a Colony.  Your Semblance appears as group of creatures around you.
6- Reroll

Your Semblance's Nature is...
1d6

1- Heaven.  Your Semblance requires only your will to activate.
2- Ground.  Your Semblance requires the action of an enemy to activate.  The enemy need not realize this.  For example, if your enemy attacks you, moves away from you, or speaks to you. 
3- General.  Your Semblance requires an additional action on your part.
4- Law.  Your Semblance's ability, once activated, affects everyone nearby who fulfills a specific condition, such as touching the person the user initially affected.
5- Bonds.  Your Semblance requires an action on behalf of another person to activate.  For example, attacking a specific person.
6- Automatic.  Your Semblance acts independently of you, requiring only you to turn it on.  Once activated, it fulfills a specific objective through rudimentary means; for example, killing a person in a specific range by pursuing the hottest nearby source of heat and attacking it.

                                                         source unknown

Semblance Powers:

All Semblances have two basic abilities and one specific ability. 

The basic abilities are:

Semblance: A Semblance can only be hurt by ensouled beings or magic items.  For all other sources of damage, it takes no damage.

Life Transfer: When a Semblance's pool of Health is reduced to zero, it does not die, but instead the remaining damage or any damage past that point is transferred over to the user of the Semblance.  And if the user dies, the Semblance dies as well. 

The specific ability varies.

It is unique to the Semblance.  No Semblance can do exactly what any other can, though they might have similar abilities.  The abilities can be made up by the Referee or collaboratively with the player and the Referee working together. 

Here is an example of a Semblance with a specific ability:

Suppose a player wants a Semblance that makes him more likeable or charming. 

The Referee rolls and determines that this Semblance will have two Acts.  So he comes up with an ability related to the player's request and then creates a slightly more powerful version of this ability.

For example, Act 1 of this Semblance could make whatever a player does seem impressive, entertaining or dignified, even if that thing he does is tripping and falling down a flight of steps in full view of all his party guests.

Act 2 of this Semblance could be to do the same, but to only one person, with a more powerful Charm affect, making that one person be much more amenable to whatever that person asks of them.

Then you should generate an appearance for the Semblance and name it.  This can be left up to the players, unless they ask otherwise.  And while this isn't Gospel truth, I always name Semblances after songs, as homage to the person who first made up the concept. 

So a finished version of the above Semblance would be...

[The Beautiful People] (Colony) (Law)
Power: +5
Speed: +5
Toughness: +5
Range: D
Precision: +5
Development Potential: +5

Appearance: The Semblance appears as 100 tiny men and women about the size of gerbils in fine clothes who stand on the shoulders, sit in the handbags and cling to the coattails of people within range and whisper to them about how great the user is. 

Additionally, while these tiny people can be seen, they are hard to notice, as they surround themselves with an aura of magical charm that soothes the minds of those near them.

Power:
Act 1: Anything the user does in front of these people will be seen as "cool", even if what they're doing is ridiculous, unconventional or odd.  The user may reroll any persuasion or intimidation checks when his Semblance is active, as long as the person he is trying to affect is within range (50'). 

Act 2: The tiny people all vanish to be replaced by 10 larger people, about the height and weight of a toddler, but very sneaky.  They surround one person and focus all their energies on persuading this one person.  Anything you do while this one person is watching you will be seen as the embodiment of "cool", and you may add your CHA modifier times 2 (CHA*2)  to any roll made to intimidate or persuade the person affected.   

NPC Semblance Users:

Example-

Sanya Grimmson
HD 7 (2 when his Semblance is manifested)
AC 11 (Natural DEX)
Atk Sword (1d6+1)
Mor 14
Saves 10 or less is a success

Semblance:
[The Beautiful People] (Colony) (Law)
Power: +5  (Atk: Fists, handbags, tiny stilleto heels (1d6+5) )
Speed: +5  (AC: 15 when manifested)
Toughness: +5 (HD: 5)
Range: D  (can move up to 50' away from the user)
Precision: +5
Development Potential: +5

Semblance: A Semblance can only be hurt by ensouled beings or magic items.  For all other sources of damage, it takes no damage.

Life Transfer: When a Semblance's pool of Health is reduced to zero, it does not die, but instead the remaining damage or any damage past that point is transferred over to the user of the Semblance.  And if the user dies, the Semblance dies as well.

Power:
Act 1: Anything the user does in front of these people will be seen as "cool", even if what they're doing is ridiculous, unconventional or odd.  The user may reroll any persuasion or intimidation checks when his Semblance is active, as long as the person he is trying to affect is within range (50'). 

Act 2: The tiny people all vanish to be replaced by 10 larger people, about the height and weight of a toddler, but very sneaky.  They surround one person and focus all their energies on persuading this one person.  Anything you do while this one person is watching you will be seen as the embodiment of "cool", and you may add your CHA modifier times 2 (CHA*2)  to any roll made to intimidate or persuade the person affected. 

Tactics:
- Try to persuade, avoid violence if possible
- Use Act 1 to convince the opposition that fighting you would be suicide
- If that doesn't work, use Act 2 to crush their leader and try to force them to retreat

                                                  source unknown

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