Teilhard’s Agents has two different takes on the traditional rpg attribute scene: It’s the technology and monsters roll on you. Today, we’ll focus on technology.
In the game, you play a social scientist who has her mind uploaded into the noosphere, a dimension where emotions and archetypes are real creatures. Because of that, this game does not include any stats like Strength or Intelligence. Instead, we have three attributes based on the technology used to upload you into the noosphere: Coherence, Signal Clarity, and Bandwidth.
- Coherence is the strength of the signal used to send your mind into the noosphere.
- Signal clarity represents the accuracy of the data being sent and received.
- Bandwidth shows how much room there is for data to go back and forth.
Each of these three attributes has its own dyad, or a pair of related dimensions. These dyads represent a trade-off: As you get stronger in one dimension, you get weaker in the other.
- Coherence has the Potency/Immunity dyad that represents how real you are in the noosphere. A strong potency means you can more easily affect the noosphere–but it can affect you more easily in return. If you want to avoid being attacked, you could dial up your immunity–but that means it’s harder for you to hit things.
- Signal clarity has the Perception/Stealth dyad that represents the quality of data sent/received while in the noosphere. A strong perception means you can more easily see, hear, and feel things in the noosphere–but creatures in the noosphere can more easily perceive you in return. If you want to hide, you could dial up the stealth–but that means it’s harder for you to spot things.
- Bandwidth has the Throughput/Speed dyad that represents the space available to send/receive data while in the noosphere. A strong throughput means you can more easily “upload” gear that’s real in the noosphere (think The Matrix)–but as you clog your bandwidth, things in the noosphere can act faster than you. If you want to act faster, you could dial up your speed–but that means you can use less equipment in the noosphere.
How do you roll? The three attributes receive a die type (d6, d8, or d10 to start with) and that die’s range is split between the two dimensions of the dyad. A starting character could look like this:
Coherence d8 (Potency 1-4 : Immunity 5-8)
Signal clarity: d10 (Perception 1-6 : Stealth 7-10)
Bandwidth: d6 (Throughput 1-2 : Speed 3-6)
If you want to spot something in the noosphere, you would roll 1d10 and hope for 1-6. If you want to hide from something, you would roll 1d10 and hope for 7-10. The ranges can be changed during the game. If you are facing something really, really dangerous and want to hide, you could alter your ranges to Perception 1-2 : Stealth 4-10. Then you can change it back when the danger has passed.
The design goal is two-fold: 1) remind players that their characters are not physically in the noosphere, and 2) increase the strategic nature of normally static attributes.