Keys and What they Do
Keys are a part of a character that defines them in some way. Goals, personal traits, vices and virtues all make good keys. When the character gets a chance to forward a Key goal or roleplay a key to good effect, xp can be awarded. Major Keys award the equivalent of a Major Quest of matched level, and Minor Keys award the equivalent of a Minor Quest’s xp. Particularly dramatic or costly instances of Keys in play can ‘critical’, doubling the xp award.
Characters get one Major Key per tier.
Characters get two Minor Keys.
Major Keys represent grand ambitions and longer term goals that are the stuff of raw heroism. Major Keys can be ‘cashed in’ for 3x the value of their normal reward, but they cannot be replaced until the next tier rolls around. You can only cash in a Major Key by acting against the key in a final, irreversible way. You can only swap a Major Key after a suitable event. Major Keys are ‘steerable’ in that new facts or events can alter the context in which the subject of an ambition exists.
Minor Keys are things like virtues, vices, personality traits, background items and short term goals. You can only cash in a Minor Key by acting against the key in a final, irreversible way. You can replace the Minor Key next time you level. You can swap a Minor Key upon leveling if playing it doesn’t come up often or isn’t any fun.
Key of Fraternity : (Minor) You have a sworn friend who is more important to you than anything else.
- Reward: When you make a decision influenced by your friend, favoring them over yourself.
- Critical: When you put yourself at great risk to defend your comrade.
- Buyoff: Sever your relationship with this person.
Key of Valor : (Minor) You have a strong internal drive to heroism, courage and integrity.
- Reward: When you confront danger without fear, or for a good cause.
- Critical: When your courage leads you to great harm in return for success.
- Buyoff: Refuse to engage in a just confrontation.
Key of Knowledge : (Minor) You are always in pursuit of new facts and information, and will go to great lengths to find it.
- Reward: When you uncover rare or important knowledge.
- Critical: When you risk life and limb for a scrap of learning.
- Buyoff: Turn down a chance to learn, or cultivate an ignorance.
When I say ‘minor or major quest XP reward’, because a key is an individual’s prerogative the reward is what an individual would get from a group quest; plain English – you get 30 XP for minor keys and 125 XP for major at 1st level. I’ve been in a mindset of using achievement style quests for some time, not strictly what’s in the book, so I’m clarifying things here.
I propose that the characters who run ahead in XP bring the others with them; that is, if someone hits level 2, everyone catches up. Teams do things together!