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When the Levies Break

Accretion Disk, the upcoming companion for Ashen Stars available for pre-order now, introduces the concept of levies. When you have a levy on an ability, all spends of that ability cost an extra point (or possibly more). If it's a general ability, the extra point doesn't add to your roll. If it's an investigative ability, it doesn't affect gathering core clues but does increase the cost of spends to gain benefits.

A levy represents a disadvantage or temporary impediment. That means it should be possible to impose a levy on another character through clever action or as an investigative spend benefit. Since most NPCs don't roll unless engaging the PCs directly, this will most often come into play in contests (including combat). Even a 1-point levy is a significant advantage if it lasts for an entire contest. For this reason, imposing one should cost at least two points from an appropriate investigative ability and may require special set-up. Some ideas (using Night's Black Agents for sample abilities) include:

  • Spend two points of Diagnosis following a successful attack to leverage your knowledge of human (or human-like) anatomy and impose a 1-point levy on Athletics or on a single combat ability for the rest of the fight.
  • Spend two points of Urban Survival to impose a 1-point levy on your opponent's Driving as you use your knowledge of the back roads of a familiar city to evade pursuit or pen in a quarry.
  • Spend two points of Electronic Surveillance to place a custom program on the target network and impose a 1-point levy on the target system's Digital Intrusion (when using the thriller Digital Intrusion contest rules from Double Tap).
  • Spend two points of Human Terrain to turn guards against each other and impose a 1-point levy on Sense Trouble in a thriller Infiltration contest.


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