Friday, February 28, 2014

Cobbled Zones

Near Factor's Walk, Savannah

"Graviconcentrates" is what the scientists of the Institute call them; Zones are filled with them. They are anomalies, gravitational singularities that defy the normal, one gravity, up/down gravitational field found on Earth and most other worlds.

Each graviconcentrate has an orientation. It may pull down or pull up. Some pull sideways, or at strange angles. Most have a field strength far greater than one gravity. They can be killers, hurling someone straight up into the air (or through a ceiling), or crushing them against the ground. Maps are useless in avoiding graviconcentrates, as they shift location constantly.

The Savannah Zone has particularly dense patches of graviconcentrates on the stone stairways and cobblestone streets of the River Historic District. Singletons are often encountered on the stone stairways that connect the three tiers of the River District. Pity the Stalker who encounters one and falls 30' from West Bay Street onto the cobblestones of Factor's Walk.

Still worse are the clusters of cobbles on the streets that make up the Zone. These often bring several discrete graviconcentrates into close proximity. Where you stand matters. Step on two different cobbles and you could be torn apart, hurled along different gravitational vectors simultaneously. This is why experienced Stalkers always test the paths in front of them, casting several small stones, metallic nuts, or other small objects in several directions in an effort to discover which paths seem the safest.


Graviconcentrates are typically stable in a location for one Scene.

The vector orientation of a graviconcentrate (or the net orientation of a cluster) can be determined by the roll of a single Fate die: a + result indicates an upward vector, a - result the opposite vector, while a blank face indicates a lateral vector of some kind. (This leaves out a multitude of other possible vectors, we know.)

Each graviconcentrate (or a cluster of them in close proximity) has a Field Intensity typically rated from 1-4; the higher the relative gravity of the anomaly, the higher the rating should be (you don't need to increase the rating by one per gravity after 4Gs). Each  level of intensity is considered a Red Die for the purposes of damage, as described in the Fate System Toolkit.

Characters may Create an Advantage to help detect the presence of graviconcentrates and avoid stepping on them by using the Careful Approach or the Skill of Wisdom or Notice. This action requires some kind of tool, such as small stones or metallic nuts that can be cast in several directions to detect these traps. Alternatively, in some settings characters may have access to high technology devices such as gravity detectors which can be used to detect graviconcentrates.

When a character steps close to or near a graviconcentrate they must Defend by rolling their Quick Approach, or a Skill such as Dexterity or Athletics to avoid the trap. The GM rolls 4DF plus the Field Intensity of the graviconcentrate for its Attack. Damage from graviconcentrates causes Physical Stress.

From the Zones logo courtesy of Hereticwerks