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Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Communication and Scene Resolution

Artwork by Louis Glanzman
What I am sharing today is not really ground braking but makes some parts of the game clearer. Since I received some questions about these aspects, I wrote a bit about it.

Language and Communication

In a vast the Universe of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, a large number of languages are used, and even machines have their own code of communication. Although this could prove a tough challenge for the adventurers, in the stories that inspired this game, this was never really a barrier, or at leasts, not for long. As such, there exists a universal tongue that most sentient beings in the galaxy can speak (inhabitants of isolated planets are probably an exception, as are xenophobic cultures who refuse to learn the language of others), or at least understand, a language originated in the glorious days of the Old Empire. But how do we know if a character speaks a specific language?

My first suggestion is looking at the character’s Concept. Does it make sense that a “Diplomat” knows the language of a species that is in all the spaceports around the Galaxies? Probably. Does a mechanic that hails from an backwater planet should know the same language? Probably not. If you are still in doubt, ask for a Luck Roll. Lucky characters have learned languages without even realizing.

As Kaylia enters the bunker, a group of masked humanoids covered in rags springs from the shadows, all wielding makeshift pistols. One of them steps up and start speaking in a high pitched voice a language that sounded like bubbles forming under the sea. Kaylia, being from an isolated planet, never heard of such language before.

Action and Scene Resolution

Most of the time, we roll dice to find out the outcome of an action. You fire your pistol against the Skeleton Soldiers of the Galactic Overlord, you make an Attribute Test. You try to jump over the chasm when the Punishers are behind you, you make another test. A test represents the attempt of an action, and that usually takes a few seconds in the game world.

However, some tests can represent more than one action. When a character spends hours browsing through the old records in the ruins of an archive, the player makes just one Attribute Test, instead of hundreds of them for each file they searched through. To properly file the right forms to get the cargo liberated by the bureaucrats of the Great Nova Station, you only make one Attribute Test, even though you had to fill dozens of forms and go to their office six times.

Ultimately, it’s up to the Overlord to decide how a task will be resolved, using tests for single actions or to represent a whole endeavor or scene in the ongoing story.

After a quick escape from the bunker, Kaylia climbs on the motorcycle and speeds away. Soon enough, some of the strange humanoids start to follow her on their wheeled vehicles. Now she is being chased, and she will try to outrun them. The Overlord now has to decide if he will ask for a series of test for each maneuver she tries or if he will resolve the whole scene with a single Attribute Test. He opts for the later, and asks for a Difficulty 2 Agility Test. Kaylia’s player rolls a 2, which is a failure, but since it’s still under her Attribute score, he opts to let her succeed but with a cost. She is free from her pursuers, but she ran out fuel, and a gigantic desert worm has just sprang out of a nearby sand dune towards her.

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