Most of the events of a mission will take place in scenic time. While in scenic time, you’ll be presented with a situation by the GM and given free reign to decide how you respond to it. Play unfolds very much like a conversation, where you say what you want to do, and the GM determines the consequences. Your overarching goal for a scene will be determined by the events of the mission so far, but how you go about achieving that goal—the strategy you pursue, the tactics you use—is up to you.
For the most part, you can just say what you want to do, and if it’s reasonable, it’ll happen. If it’s not possible for some reason, the GM will explain why and you can do something else instead. This might happen because of some factor you hadn’t considered, or something the GM neglected to mention, and it’s easiest to simply acknowledge the confusion and move on.
While scenic time tends to proceed in a fairly linear fashion most of the time, it’s likely that at some points, you’ll find yourself discussing a plan as a group and then realise that it relies on you having done something you obviously would have done, had your characters been having the conversation at the time when they obviously would have had that conversation. In this case, it’s fine to rewind a little and establish that you definitely actually did that thing.
In the course of a scene, you’ll face various obstacles which prevent you from completing an immediate goal. An obstacle might be physical—a locked door that bars your way, a blaring siren alerting everyone to your presence—or it could be a person who won’t answer your questions, or worse, insists they want to help you out.
When you attempt to overcome a meaningful obstacle like this, the GM will ask you how you intend to try to overcome the obstacles in your way. Depending on your response, the GM will decide which of your attributes is most relevant, then ask you to roll your dice for that attribute. This is called an attribute roll.
|Running fast||Squeezing through small spaces||Intimidating someone||Impressing someone|
|Lifting heavy objects||Dodging through a crowd||Acting under duress||Seeing through an illusion|
|Holding your breath||Scaling a wall||Overcoming a compulsion||Intuiting someone’s motive|
|Breaking down doors||Reacting to danger||Winning a staring contest||Lying & detecting lies|
Making an attribute roll
GM: If the security guard gets around that corner, he’s going to see the demon and you’ll have another witness on your hands. What are you going to do?
Gabrielle (playing Chrissie LeStrange): Argh! I’m going to start a fight with him. I’m going to challenge him to a fight.
GM: If you’re verbally challenging him, I think that’s a will roll.
Gabrielle: I’ve only got 2d6 for will… can I just go up and shove him and use might instead?
GM: If you want to get physical right away, sure. Target score to beat is 9.
Gabrielle: Okay, that’s 2d8… I got a 3! I run at him wildly screaming “Aaarrgh!”
GM: You run at him wildly. He notices you coming, and starts to run away from you, directly toward the demon!
The GM will also set a target score based on how difficult the task is. If the result of your roll meets or beats the target score, you succeed, otherwise you fail.
The default target score for an attribute roll is 9, meaning a roll with your highest attribute is slightly more likely to succeed than fail, a roll with one of your middle attributes is slightly more likely to fail than succeed, and a roll with your lowest attribute is likely to fail. The GM may decrease or increase the target score to reflect beneficial or detrimental circumstances.
Failing an attribute roll
Failing to overcome an obstacle is never good. Depending on the obstacle, failure might mean drawing undue attention to yourself, sustaining an injury or losing a promising lead; it will always make it harder for you and your fellow Free Rads to achieve your goal for the scene.
Luckily, you always have a chance to make things right, at the cost of Energy. When you fail an attribute roll, you can choose to lose 3 Energy and reroll your dice, describing how you attempt to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. If you succeed, disaster is averted; if you fail, you might just make things even worse — and you can't try again.
For some activities, such as climbing a wall or lifting a heavy object, having multiple people contributing to the outcome can make the task easier. The GM is the final arbiter of whether you can attempt to work together on a task. If so, the task becomes easier: the target number to overcome the obstacle is reduced by 2. However, the cost of failure is also increased: both players must roll against the number, and if either fails to meet or exceed the target number, both characters suffer any consequences of failure.
Other obstacles, for example sneaking through a patrolled building, will require everyone’s participation, but having one person take the lead makes things easier for the others. The leader loses 2 Energy when they make the attribute roll. If the leader succeeds, the target number to overcome the obstacle is reduced by 4 for the other players.
Failure and cooperation
Sandra (playing Martina Hernandez): Urgh! I rolled 2d10 and got a 4 on my agility roll to climb over the roof.
GM: The rooftop is wet and slippery, and in the dark you lose your balance and fall down the roof. What do you do?
Sandra: I’m going to reroll. I want to try and catch the guttering before I fall off completely.
GM: Lose three Energy and make me another agility roll. I’m going to warn you, this will be difficult.
Dion (playing Eddie Grimes): Can I try and catch her hand as she falls past to make it easier?
GM: You sure can, but I’ll need an agility roll from both of you. If you fail, you’re both in trouble.
Sandra: I got a 9 this time!
Dion: That’s an 8 from me, and my cover is Criminal, so I’m used to rooftop shenanigans. Can I bump that up to a 9?
GM: You can, but you don’t need to: 8 is enough from both of you. As Martina slips, Eddie’s hand shoots out and grasps firmly. You halt her slide down the roof and find stability again.
Sandra: Phew! “Thanks, Eddie.”
Dion: “No problem, kiddo. Now let’s get back to work.”
All Rads have special Powers, allowing them to expend their Energy to manipulate the civilians, demons, and the environment around them. Your Rad has three such Powers.
Powers always have a target: this could be an object, a player character, a civilian, a demon or even a geographical space. Each Power has a different effect.
Using a Power takes one minute, during which time you are in a state of intense focus, putting all your attention on the target of the Power and leaving you unable to achieve any parallel goals. If you are interrupted before a minute has passed, you lose 2 Energy and you must start again.
A Power always has a cost, and each gift gives a different method for determining that cost. When you use a Power, you lose Energy equal to the cost.
You cannot use a Power when doing so could cause you to drop into negative Energy.
Ending an effect
If a Power has an ongoing effect, you can end an effect you created at any time. Doing so causes you to lose 1 Energy.
If you are the subject of an effect or a demon’s influence, you can attempt to resist the effect, but doing so causes you to lose 4 Energy from the strain. You’ll make an attribute roll determined by the nature of the effect; if you fail, you can’t try again in the same scene. When you end a scene under the influence of an effect, you can attempt to overcome it for free without losing Energy.
A non-player character subject to an effect created by you can attempt to resist it. When a creature tries to resist an effect from your Power, roll a d6. The cost to maintain the effect is the creature’s score for the attribute associated with that Power, less the result of the roll. To maintain the effect, lose Energy equal to this cost, otherwise the effect ends. If losing this Energy would take you into negative Energy, the effect of your Power ends automatically.
Lying to children
Elise (playing Gregor Portnov): “This poor child shouldn’t have to bear the burden of remembering that hideous creature.” Plus, I don’t want to have to kill a child to cover up the demon’s presence, it’s too messy. I’m going to compel her to believe that she fell asleep and had a nightmare, using ‘mislead’.
GM: Okay, well she’s currently sat in shock, so you shouldn’t have much trouble getting her to cooperate, and there are no bystanders to worry about either. Her will score is 3, so it’s not a high cost, but this is going to make her pretty dopey for the next hour.
Elise: That’s fine, when her parents show up we’ll find an excuse.
GM: I look forward to that excuse! Gregor approaches the girl and begins whispering to her in a soft voice. Her eyes are full with unshed tears, but as the watch on a chain falls from your hand in front of her face, the expression fades until she’s just sat blankly, awaiting your instruction. Lose 3 Energy and tell me what you’re saying to her.
Elise: “You fell asleep while on the bus home from school and had a horrible nightmare.” Okay, then I snap my fingers and begin acting like I’m just a concerned bystander.