And it's about to change your life.
This ruleset is just a reskinned Don't Rest Your Head with a couple of changes, so people familiar with DRYH only really need the theme-appropriate terminology:
Discipline dice are Humanity dice
Exhaustion dice and talents are Integration dice and abilities
Madness dice and talents are Channelling dice and powers (the GM picks your Channelling power but it may change over the course of the game depending on how you play)
Pain dice are Opposition dice
Despair coins are Fate coins; Hope coins are Will coins
Crashing results in death, but a crashed character can be resurrected by other players if they choose to accept a total of three permanent Channelling dice in place of Humanity dice between them. They may break up the cost any way they deem fit, provided everybody sacrificing dice consents. The crashed player cannot contribute to their own resurrection.
Fight and Flight are replaced by Protect and Destroy
Acts of Supreme Will have also been added
See end of document for character creation
This is a relatively mechanics-light game, tending to rely more on storytelling. There is one single core mechanic, used to resolve every situation, which is a competitive dice roll. Four types of dice are used; three by the player, one by the GM. All dice are six-sided.
- Three Humanity dice are rolled by the player in all conflicts. The only time you won't roll three Humanity dice is if one or more has been replaced by a permanent Channelling dice (explained later).
- Up to six Integration dice are rolled. You roll a number of Integration dice equal to your current Integration level. Your Integration level provides additional benefits when using your Integration ability.
- Up to six Channelling dice may be rolled, plus any Channelling dice that have permanently replaced Humanity dice. Permanent Channelling dice are rolled in all conflicts; you may also choose to roll up to six additional Channelling dice in any conflict. Channelling your power requires a minimum number of Channelling dice to be rolled (the GM will tell you how many depending on what you want to do), but otherwise, it is your choice whether to roll these, and how many. To roll more than 3 Channelling dice (including permanent ones), you must be transformed.
- Opposition dice are rolled by the GM. The harder a task is to accomplish, the more dice the GM will roll.
Conflicts are resolved as follows:
- The Player rolls Humanity, Integration and Channelling dice as appropriate.
- The GM rolls Opposition dice as appropriate
- Count the 1, 2 and 3 results in the Player and GM roll results. These are called successes.
- If the player has the same number of successes or more than the GM, the task succeeds. Otherwise, they fail.
- Look for which dice pool (Humanity, Integration, Channelling or Opposition) has the highest number rolled in it. If there is a draw, look for the second highest number. (Draws within a pool count as two numbers – that is, if Channelling has two 6s, 6 is both the highest and second highest). Repeat until there is no longer a draw.
- The pool with the highest number is dominant. The effects of this are explained under the relevant pool descriptions below.
What do these dice pools mean?
Humanity represents a character's core personality and will. An average human has three Humanity dice to accomplish tasks, and nothing else. Humanity is a precious resource in this game; by remembering who they are, a magical girl can keep at bay outside forces trying to manipulate or change her.
You start the game with 3 Humanity dice that are used in every roll. There is no way to increase your number of Humanity dice. However, if you are over-enthusiastic with your powers, you can cause harm to yourself and have them replaced with permanent Channelling dice over time. If you run out of Humanity dice, you lose the ability to feel emotion or make decisions – you lose your free will and, essentially, die as a person. Characters in this state are unplayable.
When Humanity is dominant in a roll, you remember who you are and what you fight for, and gain a little bit of control over your own powers. You may choose to lose 1 Integration point or uncheck 1 checked Channelling response box. This is the only dominant dice pool effect which is optional.
Example: Alicia is trying to sneak into class late. She rolls her three Humanity dice. Her Integration score is 1, so she also rolls 1 Integration dice. The GM opposes the roll with 3 Opposition dice, representing how hard it is to sneak in.
Alicia rolls 2, 4 and 6 on her Humanity and 3 on her Integration dice – 2 successes. The GM rolls 1, 3 and 3 on Opposition – 3 successes. Alicia fails to sneak into class unnoticed, but the highest dice rolled is a Humanity dice, so Humanity dominates. Alicia chooses lower her Integration score by 1, reducing it to 0.
Magical girls and boys can do things above and beyond what normal people can do, even when not transformed. This is because their power infuses their very being, strengthening muscles and bones even when they're not transformed.
Your Integration score is a measure of how much of your biology is being replaced or compensated for by your latent magical power. Higher Integration makes you stronger (gives you more dice to roll), but if your Integration reaches seven, you crash.
Crashing is, effectively, death, and it's the second worst thing that can happen to your character. A crash happens at the point where you have so little biological integrity left that your mind can no longer control your body. Your power will keep your body in one piece, and resurrection is technically possible... but only at an extremely high price, paid by your allies. Resurrecting a crashed comrade takes an unbelievable amount of energy, and channelling said energy is an Act of Supreme Will that permanently damages the practitioners. To resurrect a crashed comrade, other magical girls and boys must pay a total of 3 Humanity dice, which will be converted permanently to Channelling dice. They may break up this cost among themselves any way they wish, but the crashed character cannot contribute.
A resurrected character has an Integration score of 0 and their Channeling response boxes are cleared, but any permanent Channelling dice remain.
There are a few ways to increase or decrease your Integration score. Integration can be decreased by one point whenever Humanity dominates in a dice roll, and you reclaim some of your body via force of will alone. Any character may also spend a Will coin (explained later) to decrease their Integration by 1 (so long as Integration has not yet reached 7).
Integration can be increased in three ways. A player can voluntarily give in a little to the power they wield and increase their Integration by 1 before any dice roll. Integration also increases when characters are injured as their power attempts to hold their body together (this can happen if players fail rolls against damaging conditions, such as in combat). Finally, when Integration dominates in a roll, the character's Integration score increases by 1 as they concede a little more of themselves to the power in the conflict.
Example: Alicia is playing lookout for the squad in a cave system when rubble falls from the roof directly above her. The GM asks her to roll to avoid the rubble.
Alicia's current Integration score is 2, so she rolls 3 Humanity dice and 2 Integration dice. To avoid the rubble, she voluntarily draws more power to infuse her being, raising her Integration score to 3. She rolls enough successes to beat the GM's Opposition, and Integration dominates, so her Integration score rises even further, to 4. This makes her rolls more powerful, but if Integration keeps rising, she could crash.
Teenagers tend to have specialities, things they're good at or like doing. For magical girls and boys, their subconscious fixation on such things directs the integration of their power into their bodies and minds in such a way that it helps them be even better at tasks they were already good at.
Each character has an Integration ability, something they were already good at or liked doing. The ability should be reasonably broad but not all-encompassing, like Cheerleading, Mathematics, or Building Model Planes. When your Integration score is above 0, you can use it to give you a special bonus on tasks that utilise this skill set (such as jumping between buildings for Cheerleading, or assembling small, delicate things for Building Model Planes). There are two ways to use an Integration ability:
A minor use of one's Integration ability applies any time a character's Integration score is higher than 0 and they attempt to do an activity covered by their Integration ability. They roll as normal, but automatically achieve a minimum number of successes equal to their current Integration score as their power compensates for mere biological failure.
Example: Alicia's Integration ability is Acting. The editor of her school newspaper has started to notice that Alicia is always suspiciously around scenes of trouble, but mysteriously absent when the actual fight takes place, and confronts her about it. Alicia decides to play dumb and attempt to convince the editor that she is mistaken. She uses the Acting ability to do this.
Alicia's current Integration score is 3. She rolls 3 Humanity dice and 3 Integration dice. She scores only 1 success, which doesn't beat the GM's Opposition roll – but because she's using her Integration ability, it automatically rises to meet her Integration score of 3. This convinces the editor, at least for now...
A major use of one's Integration ability represents a conscious decision on behalf of the character to use their magically enhanced talents. It requires the character to raise their Integration score by 1 as part of the roll. A major use adds the character's Integration score to the dice roll.
Example: Alicia is infiltrating the office headquarters of a suspected villain, posing as the daughter of a secretary. Getting past security is going to be tough; so tough that she feels the need to call upon her supernaturally granted talents.
Alicia raises her Integration score by 1, to 4. She rolls 3 Humanity and 4 Integration dice. She gains 2 successes from the roll, and because it is a major use of her Integration talent, her Integration score (4) is added to the result. Thus she has 6 successes. The GM gets 6 successes as well, and as players win a tie, Alicia succeeds in fooling the guard.
There are two ways in which a magical girl or boy's power affects their abilities. The first is integration, a generally passive merging of their power with their brain and physical form. The second is the conscious and deliberate directing of raw power. This is represented by Channelling dice.
Magical girls and boys can Channel their power into almost any task. To do this, they add up to six Channelling dice to their roll. However, to use more than 3 Channelling dice, they must be Transformed (see below).
Unlike Integration, you do not have a Channelling score. Unless you have earned permanent Channelling dice (which must be rolled for every roll), you are free to choose how many Channelling dice you roll at any time, from 0 to 6.
When Channelling dominates in a roll, the character loses themselves momentarily in their power. They check off one Channelling response box (Protect or Destroy, explained below), and for a period of about two minutes, devote themselves entirely to a task related to that impulse (a Destroy response might result in the character throwing themselves mindlessly at an enemy, for example). If there is no target to Protect, a Protect response involves the character staying in one place and attempting to shield themselves from any incoming damage. Depending on the boxes you have available, responses won't always make sense for the situation – sometimes, a magical girl might save somebody only to give in to the power and immediately attack them. If a character has no remaining unchecked response boxes, Channelling that much raw power does permanent damage. For five minutes, they become an avatar of unchecked power and the GM will narrate their actions. They then pass out, lose their Transformed status if Transformed, and sleep for 24 hours. When they awaken, one of their Humanity dice is permanently replaced with a Channelling dice, their response boxes are cleared, and their Integration score is reduced to 0. This dice counts towards the maximum of 3 Channelling dice that can be rolled while not Transformed, but does not count towards the 6 that one can choose to add to a roll.
There are two ways to respond to Channelling dominating in a roll – Protect or Destroy. During character creation, you may choose three check boxes from these responses. (You can choose one of Protect and two of Destroy, or three boxes of Protect and none of Destroy, or any other combination.) These responses are checked off when Channelling dominates a dice roll.
Example: Alicia's squad is fleeing battle. She is trying to hold up an archway long enough for her friends to escape a collapsing building through it. She has an Integration score of 3, so her magic is already strengthening her muscles and increasing her raw power, but it's a pretty heavy archway. Alicia decides to consciously channel some energy into the task, and adds 4 Channelling dice to her pool.
Alicia rolls 10 dice – 3 Humanity, 3 Integration and 4 Channelling – while the GM rolls 9 Opposition dice. Alicia gains 5 successes, and the GM gains 4 – Alicia succeeds in holding up the archway long enough. Channelling dominates. Alicia has 2 Protect responses and one Destroy response. She checks off an Destroy response and, as soon as her friends are out, she turns right back around and dives into the building to engage the enemy again.
Magical girls and boys can channel a certain amount of magic in their everyday lives, but to really unleash their true potential, they must Transform. Characters can only Transfrom if they have at least 1 Integration point. Transformation takes approximately thirty seconds and involves an outfit constructed of magic replacing the character's clothing, as well as them being fitted with a thematically appropriate magical weapon and possible minor cosmetic changes. Even if the character's face is not covered in their Transformed appearance, they are not recognisable as their normal selves by people who are not aware of their identity.
Transformed characters can use more than 3 Channelling dice in a roll, and they must use at least 1 Channelling dice in every roll. A character can return to normal instantly at any time, but to Transform again takes another thirty seconds. Transformed characters can use their Channelling powers.
Magical girls and boys can do extraordinary things that no normal person can do. Some can fly, or create force fields, or move at unimaginable speeds; others can read minds, influence emotions, or construct something from nothing. These abilities require directly channelling power, and can only be used when Transformed.
The GM will choose a specific type of magical thing that your character can do, based on the character. They may not inform you of what you can actually do. When your character is Transformed, they can use this ability. Unlike other rolls, when Channelling power to use this ability, you must roll Channelling dice – the more power required, the more dice.
When you are Transformed, you may elect to acquire a magical weapon with your costume. The weapon can be anything thematically appropriate to your character – a bow, a gun, a trident. It does not have to literally be a weapon; a set of knitting needles, paintbrush, or other mundane object is perfectly acceptable. This tool can be used to channel your abilities, and will vanish when you are no longer Transformed. It has no mechanical advantages or disadvantages over simply Channelling power without one, although it might influence what your Channelling power actually is.
If you do choose a magical weapon as part of your Transformation costume, you may choose to layer the magic over an existing object (if you want to channel power through 'my grandmother's wedding ring' or some such thing). If you're in a situation where you don't have access to the existing object, the Transformation will just create the weapon normally out of magic until you can access the object again.
Example: Alicia has chosen to have a whip as part of her Transformation costume. After reviewing her character sheet, her GM has given her the Channelling power Ties that Bind – Alicia can extend several tendrils from her whip and use them to tether or entangle people or objects as she pleases. Alicia has used this power several times before, and knows what she can do.
Alicia's squad is facing several ninjas on a series of building rooftops. The ninjas are about a minute away, so Alicia takes the time to Transform and ready her whip. As the ninjas jump towards the building her squad is on, Alicia decides to Channel her power and entangle the ninjas, flinging them through the gap to their deaths.
Alicia has an Integration score of 2, so she rolls 3 Humanity and 2 Integration dice. Her GM says that to attempt her trick, she will need to roll at least 2 Channelling dice. Hoping for a better chance of success, Alicia elects to roll 4 Channelling dice, for a total of 9 dice.
PERMANENT CHANNELLING DICE
When magical girls and boys are under incredibly intense strain and fail to properly handle the power they channel, they can do permanent damage to themselves. When this happens, they can lose a little bit of their humanity and begin to become a mere vessel of cosmic power. This results in one of their Humanity dice being permanently replaced by a Channelling dice.
There are some in-game events that can cause this to happen, but the two most likely causes are:
- when Channelling dominates a roll and the player has no response boxes left to tick
- when performing an Act of Supreme Will (see below).
The effects of a permanent Channelling die, beyond the obvious risks created by having to roll a Channelling die instead of a Humanity die with every roll, are twofold. First, it increases the strength of your Channelling power – with some cosmic power leaking into you at all times, you are able to do a lot more with your abilities the more permanent Channelling dice you have. Second, if you ever lose all your Humanity dice, you cease to be a living, independent creature, and effectively die. There is no way to resurrect a character lost in this way.
They kind of damage that causes a permanent Channelling die can have profound mental effects. Whenever you gain a permanent Channelling die, you may do the following, if you wish:
- change your response boxes
- change your magical weapon and/or other costume details
- talk to the GM about changing your Channelling power. This is only really necessary if your power has proven incongruous with your personality or play style.
ACTS OF SUPREME WILL
Occasionally, something will happen that is beyond even the normal strength of a team of magical girls and boys. When everything is on the line, defenders of humanity might be called upon to sacrifice everything to protect the ones they love.
Magical girls and boys can succeed at seemingly impossible acts via an Act of Supreme Will. And Act of Supreme Will involves characters throwing all sense to the wind and forcing themselves to do the impossible. It requires a huge expenditure of energy and does permanent damage to those involved.
Acts of Supreme Will are quite simple, mechanically, but because they are expensive in terms of Humanity dice, it's best to avoid them. To perform an Act of Supreme Will, a team simply needs to decide to do it, divide up among themselves how many Humanity dice each are willing to sacrifice for permanent Channelling dice, and pay the cost. The total cost is set by the GM, but players may choose which portion is paid by whom. Only those capable of participating in the Act can choose to contribute.
An Act of Supreme Will results in unconsciousness and clearing Integration and Channelling responses in the same way as running out of Channelling response boxes does.
Example of Acts of Supreme Will
Resurrect a crashed comrade – 3HD
Stop a large earthquake – 4HD
Prevent a meteor from hitting the Earth – 7HD
Example: Nanette has fallen in battle, a victim of complete Integration. Alicia and Kyle have dragged her body from the rubble. They decide to resurrect her.
To successfully resurrect Nanette, they must pay a cost of three Humanity dice. Kyle has already lost a Humanity die previously, so Alicia sacrifices 2 dice and Kyle 1. Nanette is successfully resurrected, and Alicia and Kyle both now have 1 Humanity die and 2 permanent Channelling dice.
The last dice pool in the game is the GM's dice pool – opposition dice. The GM will roll a number of dice to represent the difficulty of a task.
If Opposition dominates in a roll, the GM gains a Fate coin, which can be used to influence player rolls.
FATE AND WILL COINS
Fate and Will coins are a form of storytelling “currency” that allow the GM and the players to influence the story. Fate works against the players and is under the control of the GM. Will allows the characters to push themselves further and helps them survive.
Fate coins are generated whenever Opposition dominates in a roll. The GM can spend a Fate coin after a roll to add or remove a 6 from any dice pool being used (which may change which pool is dominant). Only pools actually being rolled can be affected – if a player rolls no Channelling dice, the GM can't add a 6 to the Channelling pool. Whenever the GM spends a Fate coin, a Will coin is generated.
Any player can spend a Will coin whenever they are not actively embroiled in a conflict. A player can spend a Will coin to either remove one point of Integration or uncheck one response box. They may also spend a Will coin while in conflict, immediately after rolling, to increase their number of successes by 1.
Who Are You?
What's your name? Your age? What's your personality and family life like?
How do you spend your time?
Some teenagers play hockey. Others throw themselves into their social lives. Still others spend all their time on the internet playing flash games. What are your interests, and how do you pursue them? (Your Integration ability will probably relate to this.)
What do you believe in?
Pick a philosophy through which your character views the world. Perhaps they believe that “truth will always win out”, or that “it's one's duty to protect what one loves”, or that “people need to work together to survive”.
What is your core value?
This should be one word, related to what you believe in. For the example beliefs provided, appropriate core values could be things like “honesty”, “protectiveness” and “cooperation”, respectively. Your core value should be the basis for the 'theme' of your magical girl or boy persona, what your character represents.
How did you come across your power gem?
In this world, the magical power wielded by these teens comes from a gem about the size of a human thumbnail. They come in a variety of (singular) colours and can be found in a variety of ways. Where did yours come from?
Describe your magical girl/boy persona
How do you look Transformed? If you have a magical weapon, include it here.
Pick your Channelling responses
Choose three boxes on Protect and/or Destroy
Pick your Integration ability
Things related to your hobbies (Acting, Gymnastics, Computer Hacking) make good Integration abilities, but you can pick anything your character has a reason to focus on.
Who are you?
Alicia Walters is 14 years old and the eldest of 3 siblings. She is naturally distant and finds that it takes a lot of effort to make friends, but is generally considered charming if not actually friendly. Her mother is single and works long hours, often leaving Alicia to babysit her younger brothers.
How do you spend your time?
A lot of Alicia's free time is taken up babysitting, but her real passion is acting. She's president of her school's theatre club and one of the star drama students for the school, as well as being involved in two separate theatre groups. These groups encompass pretty much all of Alicia's social life.
What do you believe in?
Alicia believes that the world is a stage, and that real change can only be brought about by those who understand this. From politics to the bonds of friendship, lies and truth are communicated via performance, and from actors to stagehands, everybody works together to build reality. She believes that the key to resolving any conflict lies not only in one's ability to see how people are behaving and what they are saying, but why.
How did you come across your power gem?
Alicia's birthday gift from her mother was a golden choker with a single sapphire the size of her thumbnail set in the middle.
Describe your magical girl persona
Alicia wears a long, midnight blue cloak that covers her body, complete with a hood that hides her face in shadow. When it is thrown off, she is shown to wear a bright blue crop top and shorts beneath. Her golden hair hangs loose over her shoulders, the only accessory she wears being her choker. She carries a long bullwhip on her left hip.
2 Protect, 1 Destroy