Introduction to T13

Posted on Monday, March 18th, 2013 at 16:00

Terminal Thirteen

The Omni-versal Role-playing System

Well done, you have just started reading the most versatile RPG system ever written. This is the game that allows you to play any sort of character from any genre. You can even play alongside any other sort of character from any other genre and the system will cope. You don’t even need to download any extra books or extensions. The whole Omniverse is literally at your fingertips.

Okay that’s a pretty bold statement, but as you explore the system you’ll find that it is completely true.

This system is based upon the books of Indie Science-fiction author CJ Moseley (me). It is intended to literally allow you to play any collection of characters you like as a balanced group. Don’t believe me? Well, we once had a 1930’s pulp archaeologist, a Greek warrior princess, a vampire accountant, a Necromancer, an 1890s deductive consulting detective, an Ambulance driver and a Blackfoot Shaman all discovering that they were in fact the same person. This is not your usual kick the door in and slay the dragon roleplaying game, but you can do that if you want.

The Characters

There will be a character generator coming eventually (I hope), but until then you can look at the Character Overview and  Creation page, after you’ve read this bit here.

Players play Player Characters (PCs), the Ref plays everyone else, the Non-Player Characters (NPCs). In T13 NPCs are usually less detailed than PCs, because generally you don’t need to know all that much about the NPCs. Sure the Barman in the Inn might have spent fifteen years as a Lieutenant in the Cavalry, and maybe he would rather face a dragon than an Orc, after what happened to him, but unless it is important for the plot, or he reminds everyone of this fact at least once a night, the Ref doesn’t need to know this about that NPC.

Player Characters in T13 are defined firstly by their Facets and their Boons. That affects the types of Proficiencies and Annexes they can have, and the amount of Yin and Yang they can store. The most important of their Facets is their Formation Facet or Incarna which for most Characters is Nature making their Incarna Flesh and Blood. Facets are combined together to create the Character’s Annexes, the most important Annex is the Personality Annex as it controls the number of Annexes, Proficiencies and Wounds the Character can have and how much Chi and Yarn they can store.

Characters generally start out with only one Alternate , or Personality, but they can get more through play (or potentially have more at the beginning of play if its that sort of game). Alternates each have a Personality Annex defined as having at least one Core, one Personality and one Handicap Facet, but as play goes on Characters will alter their Personalities quite a lot. This allows you as a player to play through the Bulmäs soul-gathering or a Mercari like Desi working toward Solo-hood with a system in place to handle it.

The Facets

T13 has a number of unique features that allow it to bust-genres, and so it is a little different to most RPGs. First of all there’s the stats. T13 uses a unique set of 24 stats, that we call Facets (they describe facets of the character). These 24 Facets are paired into positive, active Yang Facets, and negative, passive Yin Facets. Usually a character that is strong with one of the pair is weak in the other (although that doesn’t have to be true). Some players and Referees may wish to combine the Facets together into more familiar stats, such as Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma, or even Earth, Air, Fire, Water, it is up to you.

See the Facet Folio for a description of each Facet and what it can do, but not yet, keep reading.

The Numbers

Okay T13 uses a numerical system to describe relationships between real world values and in-game scores. It is also decides the dice used, the number of cards used, and the “stats” the character has. The system is based around the Boon. The Boon is the number you write next to your Facet and for most characters it usually starts at 13, although any number between 3 and 18 is quite normal for starting characters, for a starting PC the numbers MUST be between 1 and 26.

The number system references tables a bit like this (although with many more rows see here). Each column has a standard usage.

Boon Double Reduced Boon Reduced Boon Dice Value Super Value
1 2 5 1d3 8 32
Numbers of actions Card Pips, Dice bonuses and averages Stats The dice roll for that Boon Small real world values, used for Annex calculations. Large real world values.

So a Facet with a Boon of 5 is the equivalent of a 1d3 roll (or an average of the Boon reduced – 2 in this case) with the ‘real world’ values of 8 or 32 as most appropriate. The value of a Boon is particularly important for the creation of the character Annexes, which are the character’s Skills, Talents and Powers, but we’ll get to them later.

Ignoring the Dice entry for the moment (the Die is just an aspect of that Boon)… The table is centred on the Boon and has two columns either side. When we move left a column we call it ‘Reducing’ and generally we call moving right a column ‘Boosting’ or ‘taking the Value of a Boon’. If something calls for you to Boost a Boon, look up the Boon and then find the Value for that Boon. If you’re asked to Reduce a Boon, look up the Boon and the Column to the left. It’s that simple.

If you want you can go and look at the Numbers page and see the lists, but come back.

The Annexes

Annexes are how folks do things. They are a combination of Facets (via Proficiencies) that roll bigger dice and have special abilities. They come in a number of flavours and types which are detailed on the Annexes page and reference the Facet Folio as well.
An example of Annexes includes Hober Yuta’s Skill in ‘Walking and Chewing gum’, his Talent of ‘Femite use’ and his Power of ‘Piloting’.

The Descendants

Descendants are the Props of the game. In other games they might be Weapons and Armour, or Equipment. Teucoi’s Hornblades and Garner’s dagger are both examples of Descendants, but less intuitively so is Mellin’s Territory on the Groon. Even odder (from traditional RPGers point of view) Desi’s ‘Religious Knowledge’ is also a Descendant (at least when Teucoi get’s it). Descendants are halfway between an Annex and a full Character. Descendants must have a Formation Facet and at least one Annex, if this Annex is a Talent or higher then it may have multiple Annexes. See the Descendants page for more details.

The Dice

T13 uses a lot of dice, almost every combination possible. If you don’t have a specific die (the singular of dice – honest) then you can use any random number generator app. Alternatively, you can substitute any dice higher on the table (with a lower Boon) than the die you are after. You’ll always want a few d6s, though.

The Cards

T13 uses playing cards to resolve some of the action.

  • They act as actions and Wounds in combat and Ordeals where each Facet is assigned a suit and in combat… Well you’ll get the idea, take a look the Ordeals page  and Ordeal Cards to learn more…
  •  As Wyrd Tarot cards for the Eelafin and Mercari characters
  •  the more powerful event manipulation (Plot-weaving) used by Solos and the like, which we call Yarn cards.
    We talk about cards in terms of Pips (the face-value of the card) and suits. 

I will (eventually) be including a random T13 card generator and purchasable decks of cards maybe… You can just use ordinary cards (with two or three jokers). Generally you’ll want a pack of cards for every 1-2 players shuffled together into one Deck.

The Ref

Generally in T13 each player plays one Character (who may have multiple personalities). One special player is in charge of running the game,  The Ref (or Referee). In T13 you can play a traditional RPG experience, where one player is always the Referee, or you can share that task between you. Players can run different stories during a Campaign for the other players’ Characters, taking turns at being Ref in a shared world. It is generally best to start out playing with one person playing the Ref. Later another player might run a side-plot or Flashback. Those who wish to be Refs should read the Refs Rules pages once they have read the Player’s Rules.

The Aim

As with all role-playing games the aim of T13 is to have fun. If you aren’t having fun then you are probably doing something wrong. Don’t get bogged down in the rules of the game, that’s not what they are for. The rules are simply a framework that will allow you to tell stories, but if you find that the rules are getting in the way, then ditch them and concentrate on having fun.