Sunday, April 8, 2018

Mechanics Talk: Explain to Me How to Trickster

Here come the Tricksters, who are one of the most popular Aspects by far! Is it their unique problem-solving, their self-preservation, their skill at manipulating things to use them for unintended purposes, or their ridiculous refusal to let anyone stop them from doing whatever stupid idea they have in their heads that makes everyone enjoy them so much? Let's find out!

What do you do on your adventures and for your group when you have Trickster?

Sneaking Around: Tricksters are sneaky by nature, at least when they're in environments that they can use to their advantage. They're good at hiding, good at disappearing, good at disguising themselves as inconspicuous bystanders and good at impersonating people when it's most helpful to them. They're masters of covert ops, allowing them to get access to places they shouldn't and plant things there, take things out with them again, or sneak right past people looking for them without anyone noticing. They also have access to Blessings that sometimes let them help other people out with those things, too, which can be useful when they don't want their cover blown by their friend who is behind them singing their own sneaking theme music.

Using Machinery: Tricksters are in many ways the representatives of civilization; they are great at things that humanity and its divine creators put into place in much the same way Hunters are great at the natural world and Leaders and Lovers are great at people. They're excellent at figuring out how to operate human-made (or other intelligent races, but Mortals don't get to see that kind of tech as much!) things on the fly based on the general principles of How Stuff Works, so they can figure out how to navigate computers, start up and shut down machines and systems, and operate mechanical vehicles, making them badass off-the-cuff helicopter pilots and security system defusers in crunch moments.

Navigating Cities: Just like they're good at navigating human-made things, Tricksters are good at human-made environments, too. They can find their way in cities and buildings even when they shouldn't by rights know the layout, and they can blend in with the people and situations there as if they were always there, disappearing into different places like they were born for it. Groups who need to find their way to places and deal with local features in cities need a Trickster to help show them the way (at least, if they don't want to end up wandering around or falling down manholes now and then).

Thievery and Villainy: Tricksters are above all good at doing things they aren't supposed to (which doesn't always win them friends, but they're not in it for friends), and that includes general crime - simple and doable, and audacious and difficult, too. They're good at picking pockets and grabbing things without being caught, at sleight of hand and quick distractions, at identity theft and at hacking. That might mean that some people judge them, but Heroes with Trickster have access to all these skills in order to come up with unorthodox answers to problems - sometimes, for the greater good, you just might have to steal a priceless artifact and then run like hell before you get caught by the unscrupulous magical forces that were going to use it for Evil.

What Are Tricksters Effortless At? Tricksters, no matter what their shenanigans of choice, all have one thing in common: nobody tells them what to do. They have an advantage against any power that tries to boss them around - mind control, alcohol, people trying to intimidate them, they're resistant to all of them, even if the person in question is trying to help them out by taking over. Other Heroes can of course also resist these sorts of things, but Tricksters are almost always better, just by virtue of being the badasses they are; they're independently minded and can't be just rolled over by the first person who comes along with a better idea.

What Are the Downsides of Trickster? Tricksters traditionally shoot themselves in the foot once in a while, and HJ Tricksters are not immune to this effect. Even past the usual issues of getting caught if their sneakery and stealing is noticed - and even the best Tricksters do get caught at least once in a blue moon - many of their powers have a small percentage chance of backfiring, usually because the rewards are great but there has to be some risk to balance them out. Tricksters are also often very self-directed and self-involved; some of their powers and skills help them but don't take the entire group into account, and as a result sometimes they squeak out of a bad place but leave some very bad-tempered companions behind, or have to explain themselves after the fact when they do something without full group approval.

In playtest groups, Tricksters have recently been amazing at disguising themselves and others as unnoticeable street folks for the purposes of burglary, using clothing and makeup design to pull off sneaking their whole group into a party much too fancy for them in pursuit of a suspect, hotwiring a series of cars with only minor electrocution injuries, and performing stunt driving that would make a Hollywood executive turn green with envy.

The Talents under the Trickster umbrella are Determination, Disguise, Legerdemain, and Streetwise; they have fancy names that basically all boil down to "I do what I want and your rules are not about to stop me", and that's the Trickster in a nutshell!

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