Special abilities are written in the same style as actions: these are things you can do. The power roll plays out similar to an action roll with only small changes:
Let’s walk through a power roll to see the similarities and differences in play.
1. Choose Your Special Ability
You choose the special ability you want to use first. Since your special abilities disrupt the narrative, the rest of the roll flow from here.
Joye’s team is looking for a missing delivery driver. She just found his truck, abandoned and melted by extreme fire. She decides she wants to use her special ability Echo. This is a level-3 Synthetic Speaker ability: “Anyone who uses, builds, or modifies a machine leaves an Echo of their personality behind. You can speak to this ghost-like version of the person.”
2. State Your Goal
Many special abilities are open ended. They either allow you to ask different questions or have a broad description that can be used in multiple ways. State what you want your ability to achieve.
Joye wants to speak the the Echo of the delivery driver. Assuming this is his vehicle, he should have left a ghostly imprint behind from driving it.
3. Add Bonus Dice
With special abilities there are only two ways to gain bonus dice.
You can spend 2 stress to push yourself and gain +1d
A teammate with the same soul type as you can assist. They spend 1 stress to give you +1d.
You cannot sell out to gain bonus dice with special abilities.
Joye’s teammate Clyde is a cyborg. Since he is also a cyber soul, he can assist her with her special ability. He says he helps bend the truck closer to its original form, so the machine’s essence may be more intact. He marks 1 stress and Joye gains an extra die.
4. Roll Dice and Judge Results
Roll a dice pool based on the power you use. Remember, each special ability is listed under a core power. The number of dots in that power equals the number of 6-sided dice you roll.
1-3: a bad outcome. Your power spirals out of control. You don’t achieve your goal and you suffer complications, too.
4 or 5: a mixed success. You do what you wanted, but success comes with fallout from your flaws or triggering a new complication
6: a full success. Your power does exactly what you wanted. Two or more 6’s: it’s a critical success and you gain some additional advantage.
5. Respond to Outcomes
If your roll leads to complications, you can choose to use a flaw. Flaws are the downsides to your archetype, listed on your special abilities page. Pick one of your checked flaws. Tell the GM how your flaw complicates the situation. While the PC has primary narrative control, the GM insures the proposed complication fits with the narrative situation. If it doesn’t, the PC and GM should collaborate to modify the complication so it works in the story.
If you don’t want to use a flaw, you can turn over the consequence to the GM. They will describe a consequence unrelated to your flaws, like any other action roll. You might turn over a consequence to the GM if you can’t think of an interesting twist based on your flaws, or if you want to avoid increasing your defiance clock.
If you decide to turn over the consequence, you can choose to resist the consequence the GM names. Like any resistance roll, use the related attribute (in this case, your Soul attribute) to determine your dice pool and see how much stress it costs you. If you use a flaw to complicate your result, it can’t be resisted.
Joye’s Echo special ability is under the Synthetic Speaker power. She has three dots in that power. That means she would roll three 6-sided dice. Since Clyde assisted her, she adds another die, rolling 4 total dice.
She gets a 2, 2, 4, and 5. That’s a mixed success.
Joye’s player looks at her listed flaws. She has checked off “I depend on my gear” and “I put the machine first.” She decides the second one fits best. She says, “The Echo of the delivery driver appears, but I can barely focus on it while the injured vehicle whines in pain. I’ll need to repair some of the damage before I can leave it behind.”
Now the special ability plays out. If the player caused a consequence, they should benefit from their special ability before they need to address it.
Joye will need to repair the blasted truck, but first she wants to speak with the delivery driver’s Echo. The GM describes him: “He is leaning against the truck bed in denim pants and a bulky sweater, rubbing his hands. Suddenly, he straightens. He smiles, ‘About time. I was starting to think you weren’t coming.’
“The image flickers, then restarts. He is leaning against the truck—you see the same action play out over and over.”
Joye decides to circle around and watch the loop from multiple angles. When she stands next to him, the GM tells her, “You catch a glimpse of someone in his side mirror as they approach. Their image is blurry, but it looks like they’re wearing a military uniform with a red braid on the shoulder.”
“So it’s one of the Red Ropes?” Joye asks.
“The driver looks at you and nods. ‘They said they needed help with a special delivery.’” the GM says.
When Joye can’t pick out any more clues from the Echo, she turns her focus to the truck. Now she needs to help the poor machine recover from its injuries.