[Let’s Study: Trinity Continuum Core] Part 3a The Core Mechanic

We’re back with a Let’s Study session for Trinity focusing on the core mechanics that drive the Storypath system.

10-sided Dice Pools

Here’s some familiar territory. The Storypath system relies on the use of pools of 10-sided dice that are determined by the Attribute + Skill being tested. This pool is then rolled and every die that comes up with a value equal to or greater than the target counts as a success.

For Trinity, the target number is either an 8 or a 7 depending on the character types. For example, Mundane and Talents roll with a target of 8, while Novas and Aberrants roll at a target of 7.

Successes, Enhancements and Complications

Every task is assumed to have a default Difficulty of 1. This is the number of successes you need to achieve whatever it is that the character is attempting. Any extra successes on top of that is then “spent” on degrees of success.

Enhancements are circumstantial or material factors that help in an attempt, and if the roll scores at least 1 success, these Enhancements are then applied to add more successes to the result.

On the flipside, you get Complications. These are elements that won’t necessarily stop you from achieving your task, but they will add a host of issues to go along with it. Complications can be anything from an injury to an alarm being sounded with your (still successful) attempt. Complications are bought off by spending successes.


Another element of the core mechanic are stunts. Stunts are a way to spend excess successes to improve their position:

  • Complicate – Successes spent on this stunt can make an opponent’s future action more difficult by applying a Complication to them of a level equal to the successes spent on this stunt
  • Enhance – Successes spent on Enhance act like extra successes invested towards a future action to be taken by the character, or an ally in the form of an Enhancement.
  • Defend – Successes spent on Defend add to the difficulty to attack your character equal to the number of successes invested in it.

Failure, Consolation and Momentum

Failure in Trinity happens only when you don’t roll any successes, but even failing can have something interesting happen. The worst case is if you roll no successes and a 1, wherein you suffer a botch, which incurs further setbacks in addition to just failure.

Failing does have a bit of a silver lining in the form of Consolation, which is a key piece of information or other benefit that you get from failure. The most common of these is Momentum.

Failure bestows 1 Momentum, while a botch grants 2. Momentum is a shared metagame resource that is engaged by the Players as part of the game space. Spending Momentum allows players to add dice to a roll, activate Skill Tricks or enable additional attempts at extended actions.

Being a shared resource, the player who wishes to use Momentum describes what they plan to do to the rest of the group, which then has to all agree to the spend for it to push through. A player may spend up to half the Momentum pool in a single instance.

The Storypath system’s core mechanic certainly feels like a refinement of the Storytelling / Storyteller systems ahead of it. The use of Successes as a resource spend to pay for a successful attempt, then degrees of success and Stunts is a great way to utilize a roll. The addition of Complications as other “costs” to get an unmitigated success is a good framework to craft “mixed” outcomes like being able to grab the microSD card with the plans, but triggering a secondary alarm, stuff that works well in the genre being represented.

Momentum is a welcome resource as well, it makes failing less of a bummer, giving players something to fall back on as it gives them more of a resource to make their characters shine when it really matters.

Overall it’s a solid system that feels neat in my head. Successes are often described as “earned” so it makes sense that you spend them the way you want to.

Next up, we’ll be looking at the Conditions and Scale rules, before jumping into the Action Sequences!

If you’re interested in picking up Trinity Continuum, it’s available on PDF over at DriveThruRPG.

2 thoughts on “[Let’s Study: Trinity Continuum Core] Part 3a The Core Mechanic

  1. I’m recently getting into Trinity: Aeon and your articles are fantastic so far. I was going to make summaries for my players, but really I can’t see that I’d do better than to just link your articles

    Thank you for your efforts!

    1. Hi there Guerin!

      Thanks for the kind words, I’m always happy when people get to use the Let’s Study series to make their games easier. Let me know how your campaign goes!

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