Game System


New system for the BSA [final] Reboot. Written July 2015.

Character Mechanics

This section covers everything that goes on the character sheet of a character in this RP. It is divided into two sections. In the first section the basics are covered, things like how smart and strong your character is as well as how good they are at fighting and lock-picking. In the second section, some of the more thematic stuff is discussed.

0. The Concept

This is who or what your character is. It's one sentence that establishes what you want to play. This is massively important. In one sentence tell us what you are playing.

1. The Crunch

This section covers the basics of your character. These numbers provide an excellent skeleton on which your character can be built, but in this system they are virtually meaningless otherwise. The numbers on your character sheet show you what your character can do. It is up to you to make what your character can do cool and good for the story being told. To be frank…this part is the least important part of your character as it has the least impact on the story as a whole. There are exactly four numbers on your sheet.

The stats are:

Force: This stat covers the application of force, usually through strength or other direct action.
Grace: This stat covers speed and agility, and is most useful for going around problems.
Wits: This is the arena of cunning and guile. It's useful for studying a problem and finding the right solution.
Resolve: This covers issues of patience and endurance. Sometimes you can just ride out a problem. This can hurt a lot, and bring a lot of problems, but there are benefits to being the last man standing.

Stats and Combat

By way of illustration, consider how each of these stats might be used by a fighty type:

  • A character who favours Force may lean towards heavier weapons. His blows are precise and powerful, and he looks to end the fight in the most direct fashion possible.
  • A character who favours Grace will stay in constant motion, looking for opportunities and waiting for a chance to strike.
  • A character who favours Wits will make careful study of his opponent, come to understand the patterns of his attacks and defences, and exploit the weaknesses that are present.
  • A character who favours Resolve would fight defensively, wearing his opponent down, and waiting until they make a mistake.

In short, there is no “combat stat,” just different ways to approach combat.

Stats and Social Roleplay

As another example, the same thinking applies equally easily to a character attempting to influence NPCs. Use these numbers to guide how your character might try and socialize/manipulate NPCs.

  • A character who favours Force applies their strong presence to get things done. Intimidation and inspiration are all part of the game.
  • A character who favours Grace is in the right place at the right time, and allows insults and confusion to slide smoothly off their gracious exterior.
  • A character who favours Wits uses their knowledge and understanding of others like a blade .
  • A character who favours Resolve is blessed with the greatest of gifts: patience. The ability to keep a level head, and even temperament and an absolutely unyielding position can go a long way.
Stat Rankings

Stats begin with a ranking of 0. At character creation you get 18 points to spend on purchasing stats. Below is a few guidelines as to what the ranks mean:

  • A rank of 1 indicates someone of no note.
  • A rank of 2 this is average.
  • A rank of 3 indicates a talented individual, one who could make a good living in a related pursuit.
  • A rank of 5 represents the best level of skill found in the setting.
  • A rank of 6 is worthy of spawning legends and myths in the typical shadow world.
  • A rank of 8 is remarkable and very uncommon.
  • A rank of 10 is transcendent. This is among the best of the best.

Stat ranking is increased by asking a GM for permission and providing examples of how your character has improved in a given stat.

No characters may begin play with a stat at 8, 9, or 10. No player may have more than 50% (2) of their stats at above 8.

Using (Bidding) Stats

So, after all that babble about numbers there is still one unanswered question: just what they hell are these stats for? Stats in this system exist for two things, first they are a good starting point for your RP. If you're playing a character with a lot of Force, but very little Wits…you are given a clue as to how to play that character. Second, when you make an action a GM may ask you to 'bid' a stat when you make an action. This bid stat will change the outcome of your action. For example, if you come across a door that you wish to open…if you bid your Force stat, the result of your opening that door will be different than the result that would come with a bid of Wits.

2. The Fluff

This section covers the information on your character sheet that is more thematic. This section isn't about numbers. It's about what makes your character more than just numbers on a sheet, it's about making your character unique. It covers little shticks your character has, deep-seated flaws your character hides, and the magical powers that they possess. This section of your character is a lot more freeform…there are lot less restrictions. It is important to remember that power isn't everything.

Areas of Expertise

This is the section formerly known as Traits. Like traits, Areas of Expertise (Areas) represent all the non-supernatural special abilities your character has, does, and/or knows. These include athletic abilities, feats of memory, etc. These are to be noted on your character sheet under the Areas of Expertise section. There is no limit to the number of Areas that you can have, however as with everything on your sheet a GM has veto power. As well, you must be able to justify your character being good at a certain thing…this is to mitigate M/Gary St/Sues.


A characters must have a flaw. A flaw can be something as simple as 'repelled by the ringing of church bells' or something a little bit more awful 'cannot see anyone wearing an inside-out article of clothing.' Flaws must be something that can come up during plot, and GMs might award additional flaws based on character actions.

Up to four flaws can be taken at character creation. One is mandatory. Each flaw taken after the first one results in an extra point to be spent on stats.

Note: These are not to be used for tragic anime main character backstories…they are phobias, negative quirks, etc.

3. The Supernatural

This section covers the supernatural aspects of your character. In BSA, a character either has powers (magical abilities that are the result of supernatural involvement in the character's life or the character being a member of a supernatural species) OR is the owner of a relic (a supernaturally empowered item). Characters can own both a relic and have powers, however there are certain conditions (outlined below) that must be met.


What if certain items from history were magic. What if Ben Franklin's glasses could see leylines? What if a plank from a Titanic lifeboat could freeze things? What Jimmy Hoffa's body made things unfindable? Relics, like traits, allows players to create something for there character that is there own. It doesn't have to be a gun, or something else offensive, in fact, the best relic is often not a weapon at all. A relic has four parts, excluding a name:

  • Power Level: This is the most important part of your relic as it indicates the overall magical potency of the item. It is ranked from one (1) to three (3). A relic of power level 1 is not dangerous and has very little in the way of power (i.e. an item that performs a single, benign task). A relic of power level 2 is a step up from that…it likely has more than one function and could, if the situation is right, be dangerous. A relic of power level 3 is without question dangerous. It has multiple abilities, and can actively be used to harm others.
  • History: It has to be an item from history or an item of great power.
  • Reason for Existence: Why is this item powerful. What made it happen and what keeps it ticking. This MUST be supernatural in some way.
  • Ability/Abilities: What does it do?
  • Catch: Relics require a small sacrifice from the user. Is it a droplet of blood or perhaps a year of the user's life?

All relics are subject to GM approval. You may1 enter play with one (1) relic, and may only purchase a new one at the retirement or destruction of your current relic. You must justify retiring your relic to the GM.


Your character does not have to have powers. In fact, a large number of agents do not have powers. If your agent has powers, either as a result of being supernatural in some way.


Your character can do anything in this game. Yes…that's right. If you can imagine it your character can likely do it. That being said, you must quantify your characters power set on your character sheet, just to keep things above board. So, how does one go about doing that? Well, first and foremost it is recommended that you do a little background research on your desired power. What have games/books/TV shows/movies done with this power? What do myths and legends tell us about this power?

Before you start picking powers (see below), your character must be assigned a power level. They are broadly the same as the Relic power levels mentioned in the above section. Your character is ranked from one (1) to three (3). A power level of 1 is not dangerous and has very few powers (i.e. powers that perform a single, benign task such as simple shapeshifting). A power level of 2 is a step up from that…likely meaning the character has several powers and could, if the situation is right, be dangerous (A good example of this is powers relating to teleportation…they are not actively lethal, however they can be used to be lethal). A supernatural being of power level 3 is without question dangerous. They have multiple abilities all or most of which can actively be used to harm others.

The Superpower Wiki is an extremely good resource for information on all sorts of powers. With your research done (or not), it's time that you put your character's powers in writing. How you go about doing this is up to you, though subject to the approval of the GM. Characters can start with however many 'Powers' they want2 and must be inputted on their character sheet's 'Powers' section thusly:

  • Power Group - general name of your power (Telepathy, Lycanthropy, etc.)
    • Definition of Sub-Powers - This is where your creative writing powers come in. Explain what your powers can do. What are the limitations? What do your powers look like? This is where you prove to the powers that be that you are deserving of these powers. You need to prove how these powers are going to be good for the story. Make it good!

As stated above, at the beginning of play you can start with as many powers as you want, though that is subject to the approval of the GM.

Power Levels

Power levels are assigned by the player at character creation at no cost. You may only have one power level at 3 on your sheet. (supernatural powers OR relic).

In terms of theme, a power level of 3 means that you and/or your relic are considered a threat by the Bureau. Keep this in mind.

Game Mechanics

This section deals with specific mechanics that have not been covered above.

Dice Mechanics

BSA uses a d20 and that's it. Rolls only occur at the request of a GM during runs. Rolls are not to be used during soft RP. If, for whatever reason, you need randomization during soft RP…use the roll command in OOC chat and know that, somewhere, Gwen died a little inside.

Combat Mechanics

Combat is vaguely turned based. The initiative order is determined by the GM running the combat scene, and is usually based on who posts first. Please wait until the GM has confirmed the combat order before continuing to post. Failure to comply with this rule will result in being muted.

Combat is in essence about description and making an epic scene. It is divided into three parts, which are outlined below:

  1. Declaration of Intent: At the beginning of a turn, a player describes his character's intention. For example: "Mike takes aim at the hired goon's head and fires a shot intent on seriously harming the man."
  2. GM Response: A roll may be called for and/or a GM may ask for one of your stats. Based on the aforementioned rolls and/or stats, the GM (and potentially the player) describes the result of his characters action. For example: "The hired goon's head explodes in a crimson cloud shaped vaguely like Australia."
  3. Resolution of Action: You then conclude your action with another post.

"I am dead, Horatio - Wretched queen, adieu!" (Dealing with Character Injury)

It does not take a member of Mensa to realize that this system does not define any sort of health levels…which is okay…because it makes for a much faster combat overall…

Calm down, calm down. The lack of HP in an RPG…I know…insane. But it isn't. As with everything else in this system, the health system is based on RP and it's based on collective story telling. In short, it is up for the players to play along when their character gets wounded. Don't be over dramatic about it, but go with it…not every character is going to get through every combat untouched. Tell the story, share your character's reaction to getting shot by the hired goon or stabbed by the Spikeomancer.

As well, you needn't worry about choosing the right time to roleplay and injury…there's a good chance the GM will tell you to.


Character Improvement or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Wiki

XP is no longer awarded at the end of every plotkit. Oh my sweet, baby Jesus, say it ain't so! Say it ain't so! Relax! It's not a big deal. But, you ask as you break out in a cold sweat, how do I make my character the spikiest Spikeomancer in the game!? Well…it's simple really

What Sorts of Changes Can You Make?

The follow list outlines what you can add to your character:

Note: The GM reserves the right to say no to anything on your sheet!

Communication Stuff

There are various symbols used in text during the RP to display ways of expression. This chart outlines them:

Symbols What They Are
" …." Regular Speech
«….» Telepathic Communication
~….~ Internal Thoughts
<….> Text Message
Language Name: {….} Foreign Language (Translated)
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