“We need to be quiet,” hisses Raptor to his blue-and-yellow clad companion, another variant of himself known as Blue Jay, as they stroll through the gothic arches of the crypt. “Why?” Blue Jay asks, voice echoing through the subterranean depths, holding aloft the glowing base-ball sized Escort Sphere. Tapping the sphere, Blue Jay looks deep into it and smiles, “the Escort Sphere says there’s another version of us here, old Chum. Looks gloomy, but it can’t be bad.” “You’re assuming all of us are good,” Raptor hisses as shadows rush forward towards the unsuspecting Blue Jay. Diving forward, Raptor lunges at Blue Jay – sending the brightly costumed ally topping over and rolling across the crypt floor. The Escort Sphere drops and rolls forward, landing between the feet of a new comer. Blue Jay and Raptor gaze at the… thing before them. Twisted, lanky and gaunt, with a elongated head and low-dropping jaw sporting a maw of razor fangs below two arching, tattered crow-wings. “Looks like whatever killed this world,” Raptor begins, plucking out an array of razor-sharp boomerangs. “Also transformed us into some sort of carrion crow,” Blue Jay finishes, retrieving a pair of exploding throwing-discs from his belt.
As part of the development of Verge, we’ve developed similar yet distinct systems for managing the morality of both Superheroes and Supervillians. This system is divided into three sub-sections, Fortitude, Stress and Thrill.
Fortitude is an Iteration’s inner strength and emotional resolve. In this sense, Fortitude is a measure of the Iteration’s ability to endure Stress and carry on no matter how bad things get. When an Iteration’s Stress exceeds their Fortitude, the character suffers a two card penalty on all Draws, seeing the character physically exhausted and emotionally drained.
Most heroes possess a strong moral code, a sort of ad hoc and unspoken chivalry of the streets that sees the hero fight to protect the weak and innocent whilst reframing from engaging in the terror and murder that defines their enemy. When this code is challenged or outright violated – killing a foe, witnessing or realizing the death of an innocent by a foe, failing or refusing to aid an innocent in need – a character gains a point of Stress.
When an Iteration’s Stress exceeds their Fortitude, the character suffers a two card penalty on all Draws, seeing the character physically exhausted and emotionally drained.
Stress is for heroic characters only. For the villains, we have Thrill:
Villains always get a kick out of chaos and danger, a thrill-seeker urge and unfulfillable, ultimately selfish desire for conquest that blinds them to the plight of the weak and innocent whilst engaging in an aberrant morality of terror and crime. When this urge is fulfilled – killing a foe, committing or realizing the death of an innocent by their own hand, successfully committing a misdeed, undertaking a personal act of revenge – a Villainous character gains a point of Thrill. Thrill is rated from zero and upwards, seeing the character physically exhilarated and emotionally charged. Thrill is reduced by one per hour of rest or downtime. When a Villain’s Thrill is below their Fortitude, the Iteration suffers a two card penalty on all Draws.
On a sidenote, the Thrill is not just for non-player characters and the Game Master. Rather, Verge contains a special appendix for playing Supervillians.
The creature came at the bird-garbed Raptor, humanoid in shape but of a body wholly riddled with fungus – great, clammy hands outstretched. The vigilante, rather than darting away, dashed towards the monster’s grip – ducking and sliding feet-first along the shallow, muddy swamp between the beast’s legs. Whatever head the monster had before simply dissolved into its body and, as Raptor rose to his feet, appeared once again to face him – emerging wholly out of the monster’s former back. Plucking out an array of his boomerangs, Raptor hurled the instruments at the creature in a broad, open armed swing. Spinning, wildly, through the air at the creature, several imbedded themselves into whatever blasphemy passed for its flesh. Others cleaved off chunks from the shape of its shoulders and forearms. If the creature noticed it gave no sign, lumbering forward in advance even as its flesh regrew – enveloping the imbedded boomerangs. “Where’s my sidekick?” Raptor demanded, frustration welling up inside the normally stoic vigilante. In response the creature stopped its pace, vomiting out a emerald-masked skull from its stomach area. Stooping in shock to pluck up the skull, Raptor failed to notice the creature reaching for him once more. Abruptly, however, his concentration was broken by the sound of ferocious wings swooping for him. The winged figure bowls into Raptor abruptly, scuttling him from the monster’s grip. As the two pick themselves up, the winged new comer turns to Raptor, plucking out an array of boomerangs from his belt as he speaks; “We don’t have time to be sentinel, not yet, Raptor.” “Right, Eagle,” Raptor nodded in reply.