As with most action-oriented RPGs, Trinity concerns itself a lot of little details in Action sequences.
Rounds, Ticks and Focus
In an action sequence, players roll for initiative which is the lower of Athletics + Cunning or Empathy + Dexterity. The number of successes rolled determines the character’s tick rating. This is important because there are some powers and abilities that can influence tick ratings.
Unlike other games where each character has a predetermined turn in a Round, each tick is labelled according to which team is acting (usually players and NPCs). Once you have a full initiative roster where all the ticks have been labelled by team, actions then happen by running through the given initiative slots
The team whose slot is first on the roster chooses one member of the team to have Focus. After that character acts, they choose who acts next. If the next slot belongs to a different team, then that team decides who to go first.
Three Areas of Action
Trinity Continuum breaks down action into three categories:
- Action-Adventure – Focuses on the physical sort of conflict such as car chases, sneaking around and fancy parkour
- Procedurals – Mental conflicts such as finding information, spotting clues, constructing inventions and tools or performing laboratory tests
- Intrigue – Social conflicts that involve managing people and relationships such as charming, blackmail, intimidation or seduction
Each Area has some specific rules that come into play.
This section of the rules covers Initiative (most of which has been described above) as well as the movement and range rules.
Procedural play focuses heavily on information gathering, and Trinity Continuum breaks down clues into 2 types: Core and Alternative.
Core clues are necessary to continue the plot and are available just by being at the right situation to discover it. No roll necessary. Alternative clues on the other hand are not essential, but explore personal agendas and side stories.
Finding a clue is one thing, and interpreting it is another. The successes in a roll to find a clue can grant more information. The Storyguide can share this in several ways:
- Raw Information – Unlocks additional fact-related clues without interpretation or meaning
- Interpretation – provides depth and meaning for understanding the clue and it’s context to the story or character
- Question-and-answer – allows the player to ask questions about the clue, one question per success
- Player creation – is when a player creates raw facts about the clue, subject to approval by the Storyguide
- Delayed – is clue information that becomes useful later on
Finding clues is a matter of any number of different actions, and the corebook goes into solid detail on various actions such as Analysis, Interviews, Contacts, Hacking, Evidence Research, Searching an Archive and Sensing. Each approach has a list of Information types that can be granted by the action and a separate dice pool.
RPGs have had a long history of “social combat” mechanics, and Trinity weighs in with their own take on things. There are 2 core systems involved in Intrigues: Bonds and Influence.
Bonds are relationships that characters build and how those relationships can help or hurt them. Example bonds include Camaraderie, Love, and Friendship. Influence, on the other hand, are strategies that people use to affect each other’s thoughts and actions.
Both systems are affected by the character’s Attitudes to one another. This is rated positive or negative and has a level of intensity. Attitudes function as an Enhancement and goes to whom the Attitude favors in the context of the exchange.
If there’s one thing about Trinity Continuum’s ruleset that really strikes me, it’s the fact that they’re taking a lot of time to really cut and label everything that goes on in terms of mechanics. The Initiative system feels complicated at first read through, but when you have a chance to mull it over, you realize that the design team labelled every facet so that they could insert powers and mechanics later on that can utilize that aspect.
It’s a remarkable work of mechanical scaffolding. Kind of like the little Gundam model kit skeleton frames that can give you two remarkably different models depending on the configuration people want
Next up: Combat!