Within the Starguild game, Conviction is what gives characters their edge while adventuring. It represents the determination that you mean what you say, and have the gumption to carry it through to the end… The bitter end if needs be.
It is best thought of and used as a renewable resource which ebbs and flows during a game. You should avoid the temptation to hoard it in case you need it later because it is easy to recover, and doing so helps build the shared fiction of your game.
What is it for?
You can spend conviction in a number of ways to do something that bit more heroic. You can only spend 1 conviction in any one round, but you can use it to:
- seize initiative and automatically go first in a conflict.
- add 1d6 to the result of any skill check or save after seeing your 1d20 result.
- turn any ‘dead’ result into ‘left for dead’
- take an extra action in a combat round.
How many do you have?
A character starts each adventure with a number of points of conviction equal to their level. Some backgrounds or advances may increase that value.
Their conviction will decrease as they spend it, and increase through role playing the character. It never increases above their normal cap though.
So how do I get them back?
Your character background includes a talent, a profession and a homeworld. You regain conviction by acting in line with these and by telling stories, reminiscing about them. In other words, confirming who you really are helps bolster your conviction in what you are doing.
Avon is a caustic netrunner from Martell:
- his caustic put-downs restore one conviction for each occasion they are used. Three put downs in one conversation only count for one conviction, though!
- when he tells people of the way he cracked transtar computer security on a netrun a couple of years back
- when he remembers the cold sweat the first time he engaged a neural link while net running and nearly burned his brain out
- when he tells people about life on Martell
- his experiences in infant boot camp
- what it was like being an intellectual there
- how he felt about his government
- what he did with his national service
Shazia is a famous miner from Outpost:
- she has a collection of mediabase articles recounting her famous activities when she was younger which she often gets out and shares with others, and regains conviction.
- Whenever people recognise her, which they do, she regains conviction.
- As a mining prospector she was hard drinking and hard fighting; she can tell stories of the celebrations after a strike and of the scores which got away.
- When she tells people about life on Outpost
- The long, lonely dirigible flights over the barren landscape
- The bandit gliders, angling down out of the sun
- How to tell a dirigible laden with booty
- The friends who were lost forever and the friends who escaped for better lives offworld
All these stories are contributions to the shared universe of your game.
Some people may have a talent which doesn’t lend itself to role playing in language, like strong or swift – in those cases the player can invoke it by describing their demonstration of their capability.
- The strong character nonchalantly crushing cans in one hand while waiting for the action to start
- the addicted character chain smoking or following whatever their addiction
A Visible Resource
I often find it helpful for players to have a tangible resource for their conviction in front of them on the table. Something like poker chips or other counters are ideal for this. It makes it clear when someone is spending or gaining conviction, and the physical presence reminds players that they always have something to use – or as a spur to include more ‘story moments’ for their character to build up their stock again.