Playing the Game


Now you know how to create a character, how to create and use skills, conditions, and powers, and how to create professions; you still need to understand how to play Borigon.

The Nature of Role Playing

There are a great many game systems devoted to role-playing. It has been my desire to see a game system where anything is possible so long as guidelines exist for it. This can result in a game that is overcome with detailed rules for everything, or it can result in a game system that has relatively few rules that generalize. Borigon is of the latter camp. System-wise, everything extends from the skill system. All of the powers in chapters seven through twelve are a direct application of the skill system. You can create similar systems for whatever you need to succeed in your own game.

Borigon emphasizes the telling of a story. The story setting and much of the action is the creation of the GM. The players add to the story by describing the specific actions of their characters. It seems reasonable that the elements of good storytelling will work as a basis for playing the game.

From the player's perspective, the game is about their character. This is as it should be. All good fiction is driven by the characters. As you play, always look for ways to get your character involved. Here are some suggestions:

Pre-Play Business

Before the game session gets going and role-play begins the GM will ask each player if they have any business to conduct before the game gets started. This is where players spend the HP received as a reward from the previous game session. It is important to remember that you must spend one out of every ten HP earned on the condition Fame (b).

Just before beginning the game the GM will remind the players of the scene at the end of the last game session.

Polling the Players

Once pre-play business is completed the GM will poll each player to see if they have any conditions that might influence the game session. These include, but are not limited to, Hunted, Enemy, and Friend conditions. At the same time the GM will ask what goals each character has for the session. Any relevant conditions will be rolled for. Each player is then polled as to what their characters intend to do at the beginning of the game session.

The Ordering of Events in the Game

The GM will order events in the game session into segments of time within which several related actions occur. Such a segment is called a scene. There is no fixed length of time to a scene; some scenes (particularly in battle) might only last a few seconds, others could allow months or years to pass.

During the first scene of the game all of the characters will be doing what they declared in the polling stage. After that, the GM will perform a new poll with each new scene.

Any rolls for successfully completing an action are performed at the end of the scene that the action is attempted. Within a scene the character who can complete an action the quickest will generally go first. It is possible for someone to react to what another character is doing and go faster.

Reacting to Events

Unless something happens to prevent it, a character will continue to do a declared action until that action is completed. A player can always change what their character is doing in response to some interruption, but only after the interruption (and any consequences of that interruption take place). The only question is will the change in action happen soon enough to make a difference?

For situations where time is not relevant, then there is no problem; everyone may react freely. If a reaction is required within a scene and the characters are busy with other things, then a roll against the Speed Factor of the character is required. This roll may also be based on quick-response type skills (like Reaction Time, see chapter three for this and other abilities that are relevant). The GM will assign a difficulty to this attempt based, in part, on what a particular character is already doing and what the stimulus for the response is. A successful attempt will allow the player to change what they are already doing. Failure means that the character must continue to do what they originally stated.

Timing of Events

The GM must make some quick decisions in order to preserve game play. If you make the game run too slowly players will lose interest. If you make things too easy, players will become complacent. Striking a balance between these is what is important.

For abilities and tasks whose times are not specified, make a few quick thoughts. Do you think the task is something that would take seconds? Minutes? Hours? How many? You do not need to be accurate, make the declaraction and proceed. If you feel the decision of the GM is mistaken, you have every right to raise an objection once. If the GM decides to stick to the decision made then that is that. Do not create an argument in the middle of the game.

In most cases, if you make a statement like, "My character would like to take ten minutes to pick this lock," or, "I want to spend an hour scouting out the path ahead," or something similar, the GM will likely appreciate the help and go with the timing you suggest. On the other hand, the GM knows more about the situation than you do and might need to take other things into account in making a decision.

Rewards for Actions

Every time a character performs a significant action they earn one HP to be awarded at the end of the game session. If a character has completed a stated goal for the session, they get a single HP to be awarded at the end of the game session. If the GM decides that the player performed their role in an outstanding way, they will get another HP at the end of the game session. If the end of the session sees the end of an adventure the GM will give out a number of HP appropriate to the adventure (see Preadventures). These HP will be tallied by the GM. The GM may also reward players by giving HP to the player's character if they keep a game diary, make drawings of characters, make player maps, or take on other bookkeeping or administrative game tasks.

Post-Game Business

At the end of the game session the GM will give out the previously tallied HP and inform players of any new conditions acquired by their characters during play (of course, this may occur during play, too).

An Example of Game Play

Here is an example of how the game is played: A game is under way, with two players and the GM. The GM is currently running two non-player characters (NPCs). Player 1 declares that his character, Heshthetarga, is performing a ritual to conjure a spirit to gain the power of healing and that this will take a total of one hour; the first step of that ritual, consecration, takes ten minutes. Player 2 declares that his character, Bunzeekhared, will guard Heshthetarga from interruption. The GM determines that NPC 1, Bunrak, is looking to find Heshthetarga to deliver an urgent message and this will take one hour. NPC 2, Gefrinak, is attempting to stop Bunrak from delivering the message; this will take up to the full two hours, but he may make an attempt every half hour.

The GM decides that the first scene will take ten minutes for Heshthetarga to complete the consecration. He allows Heshthetarga to roll for that and Bunzeekhared to roll for looking around. The consecration is successful and Bunzeekhared sees nothing out of the ordinary.

Scene 2: The GM polls the players, and Heshthetarga is now gathering the power to perform the ceremony. This will take another ten minutes. The gathering of power works fine and Bunzeekhared again sees nothing out of the ordinary.

Scene 3: The poll sees Heshthetarga conjuring the spirit, this will take thirty minutes. Gefrinak gets a chance to locate Bunrak, and Bunzeekhared gets a chance to see it. The GM rules that this scene will take up ten minutes. Gefrinak fails the roll to locate Bunrak, but Bunzeekhared spots Gefrinak looking around. This is where an attempt to react will take place.

Heshthetarga is engaged in a ritual that requires his utmost concentration and the stimulus is very minor; thus the modifier for his Speed Factor roll is -40; not surprisingly, this fails. Bunzeekhared is waiting for something to happen and has seen Gefrinak looking around, this has a modifier of +5, and it succeeds. Bunzeekhared may now respond to Gefrinak lurking around. This means that Bunzeekhared can make a new declaration. Play would continue with the new declaration.

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