The worlds you run with The Imperial System can contain all forms of weird and wonderful creatures, some of whom can bend, or even break the laws of physics. However, often the people who have them are those least suited to it. In TIS, power comes at the cost of a significant event which shaped the mind of the person who has it. And there's little which is more problematic than someone who's lost touch with reality and gained the ability to break it.
The ability to manipulate the universe in TIS is tied to an experience a character has had, and as such is restricted. Manipulations can develop over time, but new ones can't be learned; they're gained as a result of powerful, emotional experiences triggering and unlocking them. A normal character will have one, maybe two such events- at most. As such, players are limited to three manipulations, unlike something like D&D where players might have access to dozens of spells.
However, in keeping with the system's theme of choice, consequence and that the world has its own actions too, TIS has rolls of the dice define what the power does.
This can (although it's rare) result in manipulations with great power that are cheap to cast, and powers which are weak but expensive. The universe isn't fair.
There are two ways to choose how many manipulations players can have - Chosen and Story-derived. For Chosen manipulations, each character can pick up to two. In Story-derived creation, the number held is rolled for. In the case of the latter, roll 2d12. With a total of 2-18, you have one power, for 19-23, you have two, whilst on a 24 you have three powers.
You relate the story of each of your trigger event. After relating what happened to the rest of the group, the other players in the game vote on which Effect Area your Trigger Event gave you a power in, from Movement, Fitness & Physical, Healing, Damage, Knowledge & Diplomacy and Breaks the Universe.
Once that's been decided, roll a d12. You can then choose your manipulations based on the following roll results:
- 1-5: You can have just the first manipulation in the list
- 6-7: Either of the first two
- 8-9: Any from the first three
- 10-11: Any but the last
- 12: All options in the list can be chosen
You can add to any rolls for manipulations using your starting points. However, you can't lower the rolled numbers to gain points.
Time & Cost
Where given, time is the number of seconds required to prepare to cast the effect. Cost is the base price in Cohesion to be paid whenever the power is used.
To get the time to cast, roll 1d12, subtract one, and multiply the result by 6. Thus a roll of 1 would be an instant cast (as (1 - 1) * 12 = 0), whilst a roll of 4 would be 18 seconds ((4 - 1) * 6 = 18).
For cost, roll two d12. The result is the base cost to use your power.
Roll a d6. This gives your initial Skill. Over time, as you progress, you can add to this number to improve it. The total caps at 12.
When you cast a manipulation, roll a d12 and add your Skill. On any combined score above 13, you succeed in casting it. At 12, you therefore always succeed. Failed manipulations do not use Cohesion, but the time to cast is still spent.
Castings can also have requirements. These are noted by the following symbols:
- Requires physical contact with the target
- Can be cast over a distance, using Scaling
- Requires constant focus during casting. Taking damage or being distracted requires re-rolling the Skill check to see if it continues
Requires constant focus during casting. Taking damage or being distracted requires re-rolling the Skill check to see if it continues
Casting a manipulation forces your will upon the universe. However, the universe doesn't like being tampered with, and it pushes back. Your ability to resist this push-back is called Cohesion.
Any creature within 12' can lend its Cohesion as an additional source for you to draw on when you cast, provided they allow it. Doing so draws double the cost from them, and if they're below 0 after the cast, they must roll for Cohesion Failure.
Ranged Manipulations can use more or less Cohesion depending on the distance used when casting. When casting below a range’s Accurate value, use the multiplier given. When casting from the accurate to the limit value of a range, roll a d12. On an 8+ it succeeds, and you use that multiplier. If the roll fails, the casting uses the next multiplier for the cost.
The scale runs as follows:
Most ranged manipulation of the world happens within line of sight. Without it, if a character knows the rough location of the target they're trying to affect, they can roll for a Blind Cast. On an 11 or 12, the effect happens as intended. On a 5-9, the GM can move the effect up to 36’ from its intended location. On a 1-4, the effect simply fails.
On casting below 0 Cohesion, interesting things can happen. For the amount under 0, roll 1d6. On a 1, the desired effect happens without a negative consequence. For 2-6, multiply the roll by how much under 0 your Cohesion is. The effects are listed below:
|41-50||The casting fails and has no effect|
|51-60||The casting happens, but moves 1d6 feet from its intended location|
|61-70||The casting fails and the character cannot cast for 3 turns|
|71-80||The character is affected physically, falling ill for 1d6 days|
|81-90||The caster immediately falls unconscious and the casting fails. They stay unconscious for 1d12 turns|
|91-100||Space is rent apart around the character, doing 1d6 damage to both armour and themselves|
|101-110||Space is rent apart for 2d6 feet around the target area, doing 1d6 damage to anything hit to both armour and characters|
|110-120||The character explodes in a vast blast of energies, causing 20 damage to themselves and their armour, 2d12 damage and Hurl to everything within 12', 1d12 damage and Knock-Back to everything between 12' and 24', and 1d6 damage to anything between 24' and 60'|
|121+||The character is killed, as they are sucked into tiny black hole, from which violent blasts of lightning radiate. Everything within 60' is Hurled towards the target. Any impacts count as very large, mundane, Blunt. In addition, all targets within 30’ suffer Electrocuted damage.|