|Heroic Action Role-Play|
A stunt is a heroic maneuver that is not an attack. Most stunts are maneuvers anyone is capable of doing; while it can be very hard, it takes no special schtick or power. Many standard stunts are described in the Attributes and Skills chapter, but the GM should always be ready to come up with new stunts on the fly. Some stunts require specific Schticks or Powers to achieve and have more specific rules. Mostly these are variants of normal stunts with more power.
An Interaction Stunt is an action aimed at an opponent, seeking to gain an advantage or cause a setback against that opponent. You generally roll one of your skills and compare it to one of your opponent's skills. If you succeed, you gain a minor effect. There are two common types of interaction stunts; trying to bye time or gain an advantage. Most of the interaction stunts described in the skills, schticks, and powers of Action fall into one of these two categories, sometimes with special rules.
If the Outcome matches a relevant attribute value on your opponent, the opponent suffers a setback. For stunts that use a skill value as their difficulty, the related attribute is what the skill defaults to, such as Mind for the Impress skill.
Interaction stunts normally work in melee or have Short Range, but this depends greatly on the situation; intimidation by telephone can be almost as efficient as intimidation when standing next to someone.
You seek an advantage, gaining a +3 bonus to a later roll against the same opponent. Think of this as a bonus token, that you can spend at an appropriate time to improve a stunt or attack against this target. It is ok to ask if the +3 bonus would make a difference before using it. You will often use this to accumulate successes, repeating the same stunt several times, the bonus from the last attempt giving you a better chance of scoring a setback each time you try. Other uses include setting up an opponent for a friend (giving the bonus away) or to exploit a weakness, setting yourself up to do a task you could not normally accomplish.
You seek to delay your opponent, reducing his actions by stealing shots. A successful stunt reduces the opponent's shot counter by three. If you gain a setback, the standard result is that you reduce the opponent's shot counter by the full Outcome, often stealing all his available shots, but other setback results are certainly possible at the GMs discretion.
A common setback for a creature with three or fewer shots remaining and that is focused is to lose focus.
A stymie is the opposite of a confident roll. On his next roll, the target is almost, but not quite, guaranteed to generate a result of zero or less. The the roll is a boxcars, the second roll is not stymied.
A stymied roll is the same as a standard roll, only the result is always zero or negative; whichever die comes up with the higher result becomes the negative die. There is one exception. If you roll a boxcars on a stymied roll, the dice go wild and you go back to making it as a standard roll, which can give either positive or negative results. A stymied and confident conditions negate each other. A stymie also disappears at the end of a scene if not triggered before then. Multiple stymie conditions are not cumulative; you are either stymied or you are not.
A common task for the GM in Action is to decide exactly what a setback should be. A really successful stunt results in a setback, and some powers and other effects can do so as well. Sometimes, the GM will throw a setback at the players just to liven things up. In all these cases, it is important to invent exiting setbacks.
There are few hard and fast rules for setbacks; they vary very much depending on the situation and needs of the story. The character making the stunt has a big say in the direction the setback is going, as the description of the stunt often naturally suggests a certain kind of setback. A setback generally defeats an unnamed character. Against a named character it has less dramatic effects, commonly a delay or a hazard that must be overcome in order to resume the fight. A GM can use setbacks to nudge the action in a desired direction. Use the terrain; a cliffhanger, quagmire, or otherwise ending up isolated and lost makes a good setback. Or use the character's gear against them; guns run out of ammo, cars run out of gas, magical effects end and curses jump from one target to another. Setbacks can be subplots; suddenly the hero realizes his enemy is his kindergarten friend or lost brother and needs to tread warily because of it. Or one side of the other gains sudden allies. Scoring a setback when trying to escape generally shakes an enemy off your tail.
This lists a few possible setbacks you can always fall back on: they are less interesting fallbacks you can use if you can't come up with something to fit the situation.
- Twice the normal effect of the stunt; 6 shots lost or two advantages or any two of advantage, lost shots, and stymie.
- Two Hits.
- Lose focus.
- A temporary penalty lasting for this encounter, either a -1 to all actions or a -3 to one skill.
- One weapon, power, or important piece of gear is stolen, lost, or fails for the rest of the scene.
- A supposed ally turns into a temporary antagonist.
- Attack an ally by mistake, gaining some sort of surprise bonus (and possibly creating loyalty problems).
- Isolated and out of the action for a round, or until you succeed on a decently hard stunt. This is often the typical cliffhanger.
- Create a one-on-one scene for a round, where your allies cannot help you fight a particular enemy.
Most setbacks last only for the scene where they happen. Sometimes, particularly with Damage Setbacks, there is instead a lesser but longer-lasting effect. A semi-permanent loss of a sense, vital piece of equipment, power, or ability reduction. A magical conflux disable certain spells. A pistol is lost in a sewer drain. A twisted ankle reduces Move.
Mooks and Stunts
A group of unnamed characters is more vulnerable to interactions than named characters are. In general, a stunt affects an entire group of unnamed characters, not just one of them. Instead, one unnamed character can be eliminated.