Constructing a Theory

Constructing a Theory

What do personae do with the information they have gathered? They put it together into a theory that tells them something about the subject they are investigating.

Putting the information together is another simple roll. The player rolls the relevant knowledge, and keeps the number of dice granted by the pieces of information. A persona can only incorporate pieces of information with a total incorporation cost of less than or equal to her score in the knowledge. However, the player can make this roll even if the persona has no score in the relevant knowledge; that just means rolling twice as many dice as she gets to keep, and keeping the bottom half. In this case, some of the pieces of information must have a negative incorporation cost, so that the total incorporation cost is zero or less.

A single persona may only try this once, for a given set of information. If she doesn’t like the result, she must gather more information before she can try again. It’s possible that the persona already knows more information than she can use at once; in that case, she can swap a piece of information out, so that she has a different set, and try again. Another persona may try with the same set, if she has the same score in the knowledge, and hope for a better roll. Because gathering information takes time, the normal situation will be for the personae to gather as much information as the best of them can use, and then each persona will try to make the best theory she can.

So, what does the result of the roll mean? In the context of building a relationship, the theory is an idea for an action to take to improve the relationship in question, and a good theory will provide more dice to keep. In other contexts, the theory may be very different. It seems sensible to build the theory out of elements, again, and have the information provide constraints on the elements available. Information that introduces complications, for example, will normally lead to theories with complications. More generally, information that a character likes strawberries will normally lead to the personae designing an action involving strawberries.

In contexts other than building relationships, these theories will often create options. A good roll indicates a theory that is a useful description of that aspect of the world, so a good roll for the theory could create one that allows a number of new activities. For example, there should be a theory that opens the option of transforming into a kannagi. A theory could also provide generally useful elements, which the personae can incorporate in their actions. The theory tells the personae that doing a certain sort of thing is effective, and so the personae can then do that, when it is appropriate.

An important side issue comes up here. The personae are gathering new information and putting it together into a theory; this is the sort of activity that increases your knowledge of a subject. Therefore, it makes sense for the persona to gain experience in the applicable knowledge from making these sorts of rolls. It is not actually possible to fail this roll, so the normal rule for gaining experience from using a skill does not apply. Instead, as a placeholder I’ll say that the persona gets 1 experience point for making the roll, and 2 if the total is more than 4 times the number of dice kept.

The rules here are heavily dependent on the elements, so in the next post I want to say a bit about the sorts of elements that would be involved in the context of building a relationship.

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