October 27th, 2008

The Action attribute is basically the body’s ‘command and control’ system. The brain (+ central nervous system) controls the motions of the human body. Combined with feedback from the five senses: allows us to adjust to, and interact with, the physical world. It forms the basic of all physical actions in WarSpike, and is backup up with Stature. The whole concept is: muscle control – adjusted in response to stimuli – backed up and supported by Stature. It forms a fundamental part of Agility in unison with Stature, but also perception, and anything that requires the use of muscles – no matter how small and fine – even facial expression (facial muscles), and body language (positioning) modified by Mentality, and even faked with practice based on Reason.

Within the game this Attribute expresses the ability of a person to perceive the world around them via their senses and interact with that world via the actions of their physical body. Although in game use it is simple, the underlying system it expresses is complex.

Example: A person sees a thrown object (ball) with their eyes > this perception is processed in the mind into a 3D space to judge distance and speed > signals sent to the arms and hands to catch the ball > feedback from the arms and body adjust on the fly to match the ideal catch position > contact is felt and this feedback of the impact is transmitted back the mind > the impact is processed, speed is felt > the arms adjust to absorb the impact, constantly the mind adjusts the arms in the process  > the catch is complete.

It is this ‘Sense > Action > Sense (Feedback) > Action (Adjust)‘ loop that the ‘Action’ stat describes. The higher the stat the faster processing and quicker witted the person is, they see more (eye control, feedback, recognition, focus, process, jump to next point of interest) they adjust their balance and body quicker, they are not clumsy. If they do make an error they adjust/ compensate more quickly on the fly.

The ‘Action’ stat controls the body and needs a body to function, and hence the Stature stat goes hand in hand with the Action stat. The Stature stat backs up the Action Attribute; it determines the power the Action stat can apply, it determines how fast the muscles contract and the power to weight ration for agile movement, it determines how quick the body can dodge and what the Action stat can do due to the bodies structure. Without Stature the Action stat has nothing to control, without the Action stat the body can not move.

As such, most physical tests are via the Action stat and not the Stature stat, even strength tests are via the Action stat and enforced/ backed up by the Stature stat and Strength modifiers. It should be noted that any lifting technique is categorized under the Action stat.

To test Action simply roll under it’s value.

  • Rolling equal to or under the number equates to a success in the attempted action.
  • Rolling over that number equates to a ‘failure’ in action, see below.

If should be noted that a success is only possible if the Stature stat (and Strength modifier) of the body is enough to backup the result. If a person is lifting a weight if may very well be a relatively simple lift technique, yet if the weight it over what a person can lift they will not succeed. If the weight in near to what they can lift the technique has to be ‘spot on’ to get the heavy weight over their head. This can mean that a roll ‘equal’ to the Action stat is not good enough and produces a sub-standard. In this instance the roll must be clean and ‘under the number’.

Failure: Using the dual nature of attributes, the idea of ‘failure’ does not seem to be a negative trait and indeed it is not. In any action most people quickly realize something has gone wrong and will act on instinct to protect themselves. ‘Failure’ is often an instinctive override to protect their body. This is not always effective. As some attempted actions can put a person in a situation where there will be serious consequences for ‘failure’; like failing to jump from one roof top to another. Failure in these extremes of action does not preclude that their body will not do anything, it will react, it will tense up and release a massive dose of adrenaline and prepare for impact. While this is of little help when falling off a roof, against lesser damage it can be effective, such as being attacked and punched. Here ‘failure’ may indicate getting your arms up to defend your head and cover vital organs. A live person is harder to beat and cause serious damage than an unconscious person. This may not be a successful action, but failure does not mean nothing happens, as an active mind will do something, even after the fact. At the very least it means bracing one’s self for impact.

The base dynamic is: voluntary action – base protective instincts and reflex (note: tie to reaction?).

With greater skill the base instincts are overridden and replaced with desired voluntary actions and conditioned responses, but the base protective reflex remains – in most cases…

The other benefit of failure is part of the learning loop and experience: Action and learning in RPG

Surprise: This is for people who are actively trying to defend themselves, it is possible to get to people without them being ready for an attack and surprise them, this means they may not even more as they do not get an action roll! Having no action roll means no chance for a ‘failure’ and therefore no chance of a instinctive reaction. This covers everything from assassin sneak attacks to sucker punches.

RPG: To pull this of the opponent needs to be thinking on a Mentality issue and be ready to make an Mentality roll. This is covered in the Technique + Politico Sphere as part of an RPG (as the combination is needed to give the option of a Mentality roll as an interaction without violence, this is where a person can be surprised) Basically someone takes the initiative and opens with a Mentality roll and the opponent reacts with an Action roll and attack, or someone opens with a Mentality roll to get an emotional reaction and then goes for the attack.

Category: Prototype Rules Page

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