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9. Behind Skills

9.1 Combat

The art to running Shifter Combat is to disguise the fact that there aren't any rules for it. If the draw sounds good, they hit and wound their target. If they get a really good result they kill the opponent outright. You should adjust the outcome according to the power of the weapon being used and any defences the target has. With a really good result, anything could kill. A Shifter throwing a paper dart and getting an 8 could conceivably find the weak point in a starship's force fields, strike it in a critical point and set off a chain reaction destroying it. Remember that a result of 8 allows the impossible to take place.

If you know the players haven't read the Shifter rules, be sure to look up charts and tables for range and penetration and to look quizzically at pages of the rules whilst making up a result appropriate to the circumstances. Be sure to talk about `Damage Factors' for weaponry, and `Wound Points'.

9.2 Other Skills

Use the Combat Rules.

9.3 History Skills

The skills in the History sub-family can be used to predict future and past events in a variant, based on what can currently be observed. It can't be used to predict the future or past of an individual's life (without an Impossible result), but can be used to prognosticate the past or future of societies or whole planets. As usual, it is up to you to ad lib results.

9.4 Shifter Abilities

The use of most Shifter abilities are fully described in
Chapter 4. However, Gamesmasters wishing to find guidelines for setting Difficulties for Splicing and Lashing will be relieved to find that these rules actually do exist, unlike most of the Gamesmaster's rules.

9.4.1 Splicing

The main element in determining the modifier of a Splicing Task is the degree of anachronism caused (that is, how out of place the object is after being spliced in). To determine this, work out how many Epochs difference there is between the object's `home' Epoch, and the Epoch it is being spliced into. In addition, large items are harder to splice. Use the following additional modifiers: The minimum Difficulty is always -2, but there is no maximum. Shifters who wish to try splicing two universes together do so at their own peril. You should feel free to add additional modifiers if the object is not being Spliced from the Stack, but from a variant, particularly if the object is of special significance to that variant.

9.4.2 Lashing

When Shifters are Lashing in the field, they are always taking the entire universe back in time; the only question is how far back in time they are going: As with Splicing, there is no upper limit. Shifters who wish to attempt Lashing back the end of time to the beginning of time should prepare for premature deletion, however.

10. Emergency Gamesmaster Instructions

In the event of you being too wasted or to confused to know what is going on, congratulations. To cover this eventuality we are proud to present the Emergency Gamesmaster Instructions. To use, draw a card and follow the written instructions:
Any suit 2:
draw a card and look aimlessly through the rules for a table that doesn't exist. Then smile, frown, tut or laugh in a maniacal way.
Any suit 3:
Instruct one or more of the players to draw a card and appear to write something down after thinking for a moment.
Any suit 4:
Ask to look at one of the player's Shifter sheets. Search for something at random and then nod knowingly.
Any suit 5:
Write something inconsequential on a piece of paper and pass the resulting Paranoia Note to the player of your choice.
Any suit 6:
Go and get something to eat or drink.

Hearts: Random Variant Effects (Bad)

Diamonds: Rogue Shifters

Clubs: Random Variant Effects (Good)

Spades: Astonishing Discoveries

These is also an associated sidebar to peruse...

11. Answers to the Preliminary Exam

11.1 Section I: History

11.1.1 Question 1
  1. Metal, or metallic tools is worth 2 marks. Tools, or some similar answer is worth 1 mark.
  2. Mechanical systems, steam or combustion, is worth 2 marks.
    Powered systems, trains or some other incomplete answer is worth 1 mark.
  3. Special relativity and atomic power is worth 2 marks.
    The atomic bomb or some similar answer is worth 1 mark.
  4. Variant physics is worth 2 marks.
    Time travel or some similar answer is worth 1 mark.
11.1.2 Question 2
  1. Red Epoch is worth 1 mark.
  2. Yellow Epoch is worth 1 mark.
  3. Blue Epoch is worth 1 mark.
  4. Violet Epoch is worth 1 mark.
11.1.3 Question 3
The Grey Epoch (1 mark), because it can occur at any point in the sequence (1 mark).

11.2 Section II: Variant Physics

11.2.1 Question 11
The Draper Limit is worth 2 marks; something close is worth 1 mark. Shuffle is worth 1 mark as well, but only if they have failed to mention anything close to the Draper Limit.
11.2.2 Question 12
The Mayron Condition is the state of entropy (1 mark) such that the variant's entropy is low compared to its surrounding variants (3 marks) such that it enters collapse/ceases to continue (2 marks/1 mark). Up to 6 marks total.
11.2.3 Question 13
VAriant Co-ordinate Set, for 2 marks. 1 mark for something close.
11.2.4 Question 14
Spacial Reference Co-ordinates or SRC or Where for 1 mark.
Chronological Reference Co-ordinates or CRC or When for 1 mark.
Quantum Reference Co0ordinates or QRC or Which for 1 mark.
1 extra mark for using the full form in each case.
11.2.5 Question 18
  1. A variant that leads to Nexus for 2 marks.
    Something similar, but less specific, for 1 mark.
  2. A variant that collapses into another for 2 marks.
    A collapsing variant, or something similarly incomplete for 1 mark.
  3. A variant that breaks into multiple variants for 2 marks.
    Something similar, but less specific, for 1 mark.
  4. A divergent timeline that breaks into a large number of timelines (1 mark), usually by dividing several times in succession (1 mark).

11.3 Section III: Variant Effects

11.3.1 Question 21
Gathering Stochastic Potential, or something else mentioning Stochastic Potential, for 2 marks.
Something close for 1 mark.
11.3.2 Question 22
Synch the variant (1 mark) and host into an appropriate body (1 mark). Determine how many assassins are present (2 marks), using psionic abilities or surveillance techniques (1 mark).

Kill or incapacitate the assassins if they are acting independently (1 mark), preferably by going to a point earlier in their lives and killing them accidentally (1 mark), or infiltrate the organisation(s) behind the assassination and sabotage the plans (2 marks). If anything goes wrong, lash back time and try again (1 mark).

Alternative answers should also be considered, and other inventive solutions should score highly.

11.3.3 Question 23
Lay down a lockout against them (2 marks), and attempt to recruit (1 mark) or slay them (3 marks). If they are hosted, get the VACS of their shiftbox when they change host (1 mark) and deal with them there (1 mark).

Gaunts who just give details of how they kill the Rogue Shifter should be allowed to score up to 6 marks, instead of 3 marks, for amusing or graphic descriptions.

11.3.3 Question 30
  1. 2 marks for (c), 1 marks for (a).
  2. 2 marks for (d), 1 mark for (a).
  3. 2 marks for (b), 1 mark for (c).
  4. 2 marks for (c), 1 mark for (b).
Note: there are 64 marks available in the questions given. Since there are supposed to be more questions than those given, Gamesmasters may wish to convert scores to percentages before reporting them.


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Last Updated: April 16th, 1999