Game Play: Basic Actions

Characters taking unopposed actions will find success or failure based primarily on four factors: their Core Values, their Expertise, their Capabilities, and their players’ ingenuity. For each factor, determine a “yes” or “no” answer based on the following guidelines.

  • Core Values: Does the character care about the outcome of the event? Is he or she willing to put in the time and effort required?
  • Expertise: Does the character’s Expertise cover these sorts of tasks? Does he or she have substantial experience in this area, as represented by a properly-ranked Profession?
  • Capabilities: Are the character’s Capabilities up for the job? Is he or she enhanced in such a way as to make the task reasonable? Does the character have tools that would help in this area?
  • Ingenuity: Is the task one that is simple, easy, or obvious given the character’s attributes? If not, can the player invent a way in which to use those attributes and solve the problem? Can the player redefine the problem to be a solvable one, or find a way around the issue?

This approach to solving a problem is known as answering the Four Questions, or using a Basic Action.

If you find the answers to be “yes” in three out of four categories, you should consider the task accomplished. The higher the character’s attributes, the faster the task can be done. If all four categories are on the character’s side, the task will be completed in style, quickly, and with a minimum of fuss.

If two or more of the answers are “no,” the character fails.


  • GMs should be strict on the applicability of Professions, but lenient on the applicability of Core Values.
  • Basic actions are designed to answer whether characters can do things that are difficult or challenging. If something is clearly trivial, don’t use these rules for it, just let it happen.
  • The conflict system should be used for dealing with intelligent opponents.
  • Three things can turn a "no" into a "maybe" or a "maybe" into a "yes":
    • Competitive Advantage in an appropriate Capability or Profession
    • Spending one (and only one) point of Reserve
    • Assistance from others
  • Bad luck can turn a "yes" into a "no." The GM may offer Twists dependent on the level of Complication that would result. As usual, this is reduced by your Tech score, but you can still get one Twist even if your Tech score is higher than the Complication level. You are not required to accept the offered Twists.


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