Posted on Sunday, April 3rd, 2016 at 19:05

In T13 characters are not always single personalities. Sometimes, for some reason, there is more than one person in a character’s head. T13 allows these “Alternates” to quite happily exist on the same character sheet.

Alternate Types

There are several differing types of Alternate.

  • Nominative: The first type, is purely psychological. It reflects how we are all different people depending upon who we are with, and what they call us. Basically each of these Alternates is nothing more than a different Geometry for the character’s different names. If your parents call you one thing, your boss something else, and you never shook off that nickname from school, then each one can provide a character with differing ways of gaining Chi and Sway. There is rarely any other differences between these alternates, (although sometimes there may be additional Handicaps to one of the Alternates).
  • Past-Lives: If a character remembers a previous life (whether from a Bulmäs soul or reincarnation) then you can make an Alternate for that life. Perhaps in a previous life you were a King, a Queen, or a Knight? Past-lives can be powerful things, bringing a wealth of knowledge, and skills from the past to a character, but they can also take over the character’s life. Depending on how well integrated the life is. Strictly speaking of course, in a universe built on a time-travel paradox, there is no reason why a character’s Past-Life might not actually be in their current life’s future or even present.
  • Quantum: You know how you once wondered what life would have been like if that one thing had happened differently? Well, for Mercari they generally know. Mercari can see into the ‘what-if-worlds’ and share their lives. Some Mercari can even swap places with the other them, or blend their two minds together to become a more powerful gestalt being. However, not every ‘Alternate’ you is going to be happy about suddenly sharing their mind with you, (in fact maybe you’re not). Besides those sorts of voices in your head, they’re clearly a sign you are going mad, right?
  • Personality Disorder: Well, in this case they might be. The Alternates are probably expressions of some inner unconscious processes, or a defence mechanism created by the mind to hide trauma. These Alternates are rarely differently skilled or talented, but they can be, they can even be trained by top-secret military intelligence organisations, allegedly. They are usually associated with a Madness (or Paranoia) Handicap and can be the result of a Carnage Bedlam attack, potentially.
  • Possession: Whether a spirit possession or a Demonic one any time that your head picks up a passenger like this, well you can add an extra Alternate, who often will be much more likely to be in control of your body than you would like. Sometimes such beings may respond to the pleading, requests, or threats, other times they may be compelled by the power of Christ, but rarely completely.

To keep things simple we usually say that Grunts cannot have Alternates, that only Mercari and greater can. But actually it is just that Quantum Alternates are restricted to Mercari only, the other types can be freely mixed in, but be careful, a Grunt with Alternates, is almost as powerful as a Mercari anyway (and may quickly become a Mercari if you aren’t careful).

These differing types of Alternate can be blended together, a Character might have Quantum alternates and Past-Lives, but also be called different things by different groups, until they have a breakdown, and are possessed by a devil, who drives them mad. To understand how to play a character like that, you need to understand about Similarity and Integration.

Alternate Similarity

Let’s face it there’s really not a lot of difference between Robert Chalmers (aged 35, international Banker and Playboy) and Bob Chalmers (aged 19, economics student), except time, education and a lot of money. Realistically these are the same person at different times in his life, but we can think of them as seperate Alternates. Bob may have some Talents for Art, or music that rich Robert simply doesn’t have time for.

  • Same: This Alternate is pretty much identical to the original, they have the same personality, core, handicaps and Annexes, but had a subtly different experience at some point along their history. Most Nomenative Alternates are this (only differing in the Geometry — and sometimes not even in that), and some Quantum Alternates too. These Alternates normally automatically Coalesce with the character, although the character can get half of their Chi back from the adding a personality if they make the new Alternate Integrated (or Co-dominant or Split) instead.
  • Similar: This Alternate is similar to the original character, they have the same Facets, but the alternate personality may swap around Personality, Core and Handicaps to create a new Personality with exactly the same Personality Boon, the alternate Personality usually has different Annexes. Most Quantum Alternates fall into this type, and some Past-Life ones as well. These Personalities are often Integrated when first created, but the character can get half the Chi back from adding the alternate by making the alternate personality a Co-Dominant or Split instead.
  • Related: This personality is radically different to the original personality but has connections to the original, for example both share a Fear of Spiders Handicap. Most Past-life Alternates fall into this similarity, but many Quantum and some Possessions would qualify, as would some Personality Disorders. Such related characters usually begin as Co-dominant but can be Split instead with the Character receiving back half the Chi spent adding the Alternate.
  • Unrelated: This personality has nothing (or very little) in common with the original character. They are completely separate entities who are blended together unfortunately. Disorder and Posession Alternates are usually about this similar, but more than a few Mercari or Bulmäs have picked up these kinds of Alternates. It is normal for unrelated personalities to be Split.

Alternate Integration

Integration  is about how the Alternates fit together in the Character’s mind. When they coalesce they essentially blend together into one mind, but when Quantum Alternates first meet in each other’s dreams they tend to be close enough that they understand one another perfectly, but are shocked by the differences.

  • Coalescence: Coalescence is what separates Solos from Grand Mercari, and Labyrinth-walkers and Followers of Teucoi from the other Bulmäs. For the Character these Alternates are merged, becoming one Personality. The new Coalesced Personality may choose whether to retain Personality, Core, or Handicaps from either personality (or any once they really get going). So the new Personality may replace two of one Alternatives Handicaps with the Personality and Core of the other. If two Alternates have the same Handicap, Personality or Core, the Values of both may be added to calculate the Character’s Personality Boon so for ‘Same’ Alternates they would double their Personality Value and increase in Boon accordingly. All Coalesced Alternates may add Annexes to the (usually larger) pool of Annexes the Character is currently using. Changing which Annexes are currently available costs an amount of Chi equal to type (e.g. Swapping a Skill slot will cost 2 Chi). All Proficiencies are always available from the Coalesced Alternates. It is quite common when a character first Coalesces a Quantum Alternate they create a Real Estate or Province that also draws together the two Quantum universes, with the Location having aspects of both worlds, usually including an exit to that universe. Some Coalesced characters (usually Solos or Grand-Mercari) can side-step between the worlds of their Alternates (including forwards and backwards in time in the case of Past-lives). 
  • Integrated: When you have integrated two Personalities they no longer struggle for control, they have worked out how to compromise and work together, they will usually dream each other’s dreams blended with their own. Two integrated personalities may swap any (or all) Annexes between each other, however the cost must be paid for both (e.g. For the Alternates to swap one of the Talents over would cost 10 Chi). Proficiencies from both Personalities are always available.
  • Co-Dominant: The Alternates are very much separate from each other, but they have worked out how to hand each other control, for a while, often while asleep they will dream dreams of the other life. Handing over control of the body for a given period costs Chi/Sway equal to the duration (e.g. 12 Chi would buy a day). However, either Alternate can initiate the swap back during that time period for free.
  • Split: These Alternates argue for control over the body. They must keep separate counts of Chi, etc. Wresting control of the body has a cost depending on the situation, these costs are noted in Sway (or Diff)/Chi/Yarn or as modifiers of the same.
    Situation Cost in Sway/Chi/Yarn
    Normally Active Personality Boon x2/ Active Personality Boon/ APB Reduced
    Alternate is trying to wrest back control of their own body Halve
    Alternate would gain Chi from Personality or Core Halve
    Events would trigger Alternate’s Handicap -Twice Handicap Boon/-Handicap Boon/-Handicap Bane points

    So if your body is possessed by a demon with a Personality Boon of 56 when you would gain Chi from your Personality and Core then you can possibly wrest control back with a Personality roll of 14. Card Ordeals can also be used to simulate these contests, with Crippling or greater wounds knocking an Alternate unconscious (such contests are not usually High Stakes, but can be).

  • Unstable: Even worse than Split, is unstable, which is basically what happens if you have multiple Split Alternates. For Unstable Characters all Alternates compete to take control, with the winner buying some time based on how much they beat everyone else by.

Improving Integration

Requires the Character spending Half-Max Chi. Powerful Dæmons can improve integration with Twists as well. 

Losing Integration

Powerful Dæmons can reduce integration gaining massive amounts of Chi from the process. Dæmons can use this ability multiple times to reduce even Coalesced individuals down to being Split, this releases one and half times the characters Max Chi for the Dæmon to ingest.