3.3 – Drives

A character’s drives fall into two types: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic drives relate to personal improvement, control over one’s self, while extrinsic drives relate to the character’s power over the environment. They can be thought of as moral and immoral, liberating and addictive, virtuous and licentious, saintly and sinful, or enlightenment and attachment.

Drives also fall into the four general types, which have been expanded from Plato’s appetites: physical, social, and mental, with the additional of vital to square it all off. These align with attributes and skills, and can also put seemingly aligned drives (like loyalty to one’s religion, which is social, and dedication to its virtues, which is mental) at odds.

At character creation, the player picks up to six drives for the character, at least one intrinsic and one extrinsic. If the player wishes, the number of intrinsic drives can be rolled on d6, understanding that a result of 6 still requires at least a single extrinsic drive.

Each drive is given a modifier by the player, considered positive for the intrinsic drives and negative for the extrinsic drives. The total of the modifiers at character creation must be +2. No drive modifier may be beyond +4 or -4 at character creation.

INTRINSIC DRIVES

The essence of an intrinsic drive is that it serves something outside of the character. This can be other characters, organizations, causes, or even improvement of skills and attributes for their own sake. The value of intrinsic drives is added or subtracted from rolls in which the subject is at stake. The key factor is whether following the drive sacrifices the character’s personal, selfish gain. The modifier is positive when following the drive, negative when resisting it. Intrinsic values are under the player’s control to raise or lower, but only at the end of a game session.

Vital

ATTRIBUTES – Pick one vital attribute to desire improvement in. It can be an attribute the character already has a modifier in, or not.

SKILLS – Pick one vital skill to desire improvement in. It can be a skill the character starts with, or not.

FEARS – susceptibility to basic instinctual fears. These drives have a negative affect on action rolls.

Death – A very basic fear, this is distinct from the fear of pain or of specific things that might cause death.

Heights – This drive obviously affects any situation, but particularly affects the climbing skill.

Hygiene – This is a basic aversion to “unclean” situations. Can be specified by the type of defilement: blood/gore, feces/urine, basic dirt, sweat/body odor, disease, deformity, etc.

Pain – Unlike the vital/physical attribute TOUGHNESS, this drive affects the behavior of the character before the pain arrives.

Predators – This affects situations even when the predator is not rationally dangerous to the character. Can be specified by the type of predator: spiders, snakes, lizards, birds, dogs/wolves, big cats, etc.

VIRTUES – Pick one aspect of willpower, something that affects the character’s relationship to his or her drives. Many of the virtues below overlap in their range, but the player must carefully distinguish the realm of the character’s drive, and this is heavily subject to the narrator’s discretion.

Patience – The character values delaying the gratification of drives above all else. This can only come into play if the character believes the drive being resisted will be gratified later.

Lenience – The character values allowing others their personal drives above all else. This can only come into play if the character believes he or she knows the others’ drives.

Stoicism – The character values facing pain and discomfort above all else. Stoicism can be related to certain attributes and social loyalties, but characters driven by stoicism want more than to improve these attributes or protect these social factions; they want to apply Stoicism to decisions and lifestyle.

Temperance – The character values moderation in dealing with extrinsic drives above all else. This is an intriguing drive, as it affects all extrinsic drives. Temperance can be related positively to vital attributes, but characters driven by Temperance want more than to improve these attributes; they want to apply Temperance to decisions and lifestyle.

Cynicism – The character values moderation in dealing with intrinsic drives above all else. This is an intriguing drive, as it affects all intrinsic drives. Cynicism can be related to certain attributes, but characters driven by Cynicism want more than to improve these attributes; they want to apply Cynicism to decisions and lifestyle.

Detachment – The character values resistance to other drives, both extrinsic and intrinsic, above all else. This is an intriguing drive, as it affects all other drives. Detachment can be related positively to vital attributes and social loyalties, but characters driven by Detachment want more than to improve these attributes; they want to apply Detachment to decisions and lifestyle. Detachment is naturally more difficult to improve than either temperance or cynicism, of which it is a combination.

Epicureanism – The character values indulging extrinsic drives above all else. This is an intriguing drive, as it affects all extrinsic drives. Epicureanism can be positively related to other drives and attributes, but characters driven by Epicureanism want more than to improve these attributes; they want to apply Epicureanism to decisions and lifestyle.

Authenticism – The character values indulging intrinsic drives above all else. This is an intriguing drive, as it affects all intrinsic drives. Authenticism can be positively related to other drives and attributes, but characters driven by Authenticism want more than to improve these attributes; they want to apply Authenticism to decisions and lifestyle.

Individualism – The character values indulging other drives, both extrinsic and intrinsic, above all else. This is an intriguing drive, as it affects all other drives. Individualism can be related to certain attributes and social loyalties, but characters driven by Individualism want more than to improve these attributes; they want to apply Individualism to decisions and lifestyle. Individualism is naturally more difficult to improve than either epicureanism or authenticism, of which it is a combination.

Physical

ATTRIBUTES – Pick one physical attribute to desire improvement in. It can be an attribute the character already has a modifier in, or not.

SKILLS – Pick one physical skill to desire improvement in. It can be a skill the character has competence in, or not.

Social

ATTRIBUTES – Pick one social attribute to desire improvement in. It can be an attribute the character already has a modifier in, or not.

SKILLS – Pick one social skill to desire improvement in. It can be a skill the character has competence in, or not.

FAMILIAL – Pick one familial grouping to desire to protect and promote. Culture is very important to this drive, as different cultures have very different attitudes toward familial identity. In some cultures, blood relationship is everything, while in others legitimacy through marriage or similar institutions matter more. In the hanai tradition of Hawaiian culture, for example, open adoptions of children create ties as strong as blood.

The player has to choose a specific grouping for the character’s familial drive:

Family – This can be the nuclear family of parents and their children, or an extended family including cousins or even second cousins. The patriarch or matriarch defines the family: a parent, grandparent, great-grandparent.

Clan – A larger familial grouping including multiple families. Clans are usually defined by reference to some distant ancestor who gave the clan its name. Very often, clan membership is a mark of higher status, with lower status people having only family identities.

Nation – An entire ethnicity, occasionally defined by reference to some legendary ancestor.

Species – A distinct biological lineage. The word species here can be used in its strictly scientific sense of creatures that cannot bear viable offspring—more common in science fiction settings—but can also mean the “races” of fantasy fiction that often can interbreed.

COMMUNITY – Pick one group tied together by common experience, training, or ideology. There can be significant overlap between the different types of community drives, and the player should carefully pick which aspect of the community the character values most.

Partnerships – A single person to whom the character is devoted. This can be a child, a best friend, or a romantic interest.

Friendships – Persons who had a common experience like growing up in the same place, surviving a plague or invasion, etc.

Religion – A group of people tied together by common myths, virtues, and cosmology. These can often also have familial elements, but if the player chooses this drive it is the religious aspect that matters most. Religions can also esteem physical or mental factors, but again if the drive is social it is the religion itself that matters to the character.

Depending on the setting, the player may be required to choose a specific grouping within the character’s religion: the religion in general, a specific sect or school, or even a particular order.

Political Faction – A group of people tied together by a common vision for society, its laws, and its virtues. This can be an organized party of the modern sort, or merely a collection of like-minded individuals with a common political vision, including insurgent groups, usurper conspiracies, and philosophical movements. These factions can often also have familial or religious elements, but if the player choose this drive it is the political aspect that matters most. Political factions can also esteem physical or mental factors, but again if the drive is social it is the political faction itself that matters to the character.

Depending on the setting, the player may be required to choose a specific grouping within the character’s faction: the faction in general, a specific bloc or movement, or even a particular part of a political coalition.

Professions – A group of people tied together by common skills, or a particular attitude toward those skills, their style, methods, materials, or use. This can be a protectionist guild, a trade union, a school of art, or a training fellowship. These factions can often also have familial, religious, or political elements, but if the player choose this drive it is the professional aspect that matters most. Professional groups can also esteem physical or mental factors, but again if the drive is social it is the professional faction itself that matters to the character.

Depending on the nature of the profession, the player may be required to choose a specific grouping within it: the profession as a whole, or a specific work role within the profession.

Corporations – A group of people organized to perform a specific economic activity. This can be a formal coalition of merchants or tradesmen, a company officially sanctioned by a government or religion, or an independent firm. Corporations can often have elements of religious, political, familial, or political factions, but if the player choose this drive it is the corporation that matters most. Corporations can also esteem physical or mental factors, but again if the drive is social it is the corporation itself that matters to the character.

Depending on the organization of the corporation, the player may be required to choose a specific grouping within the corporation: the corporation in general, a specific business unit or coalition member, or even a specific job line within the corporation.

Military Units – A group of people organized to fight. These can be mercenary units (thus much like a corporation), familial warbands, religious orders, or official government units, but if the player choose this drive it is the units that matters most. Professional groups can also esteem physical or mental factors, but again if the drive is social it is the professional faction itself that matters to the character.

Depending on the organization of the military, the player may be required to choose a specific grouping within it: the military force as a whole, the army or navy or other such corps, or even a specific battalion, company, platoon, or squad.

Mental

ATTRIBUTES – Pick one mental attribute to desire improvement in. It can be an attribute the character already has a modifier in, or not.

SKILLS – Pick one mental skill to desire improvement in. It can be a skill the character has competence in, or not.

PRINCIPLES – Pick one aspect of cognition, something that affects the processing of information. Many of the principles below overlap in their range, but the player must carefully distinguish the realm of the character’s drive, and this is heavily subject to the narrator’s discretion.

Logic – The character values the tenets of rational examination above all else. This ties into the attribute of REASON, but a characters driven by logic want more than to improve their own ability to reason things out; they want to apply this to decisions and lifestyle.

Empiricism – The character values observation over reports and beliefs. This ties into sensory attributes like AWARENESS, PERCEPTION, and SENSITIVITY, but characters driven by empiricism want more than to improve these attributes; they want to apply what they observe to decisions and lifestyle.

Piety – The character values devotion to a religion above all else. This is not the same as the social drive to protect and promote that religion as an organization, but to protect and promote its myths, virtues, and cosmologies.

Justice – The character values ethical behavior above all else. The character’s conception of justice might be derived from a religious or political philosophy, but if the character is driven by justice it is that principle that matters more than social loyalties.

Charity – The character values generosity above all else. The character’s conception of charity might be derived from a religious or political philosophy, but if the character is driven by charity it is that principle that matters more than social loyalties.

Mercy – The character values forgiveness above all else. The character’s conception of mercy might be derived from a religious or political philosophy, but if the character is driven by mercy it is that principle that matters more than social loyalties.

Courage – The character values facing danger above all else. Courage can be related to certain attributes and social loyalties, but characters driven by courage want more than to improve these attributes or protect these social factions; they want to apply courage to decisions and lifestyle.

EXTRINSIC DRIVES

Extrinsic drives are essentially addictions that the character has to struggle with. As with intrinsic values, the value of extrinsic drives are added or subtracted from rolls in which the subject is at stake. Extrinsic drives, however, are raised and lowered by the referee based on player behavior. A fair warning from the narrator is called for before the action is taken by the player, giving the character a chance to resist temptation. A single failed roll in resistance of an extrinsic drive should not be considered sufficient cause to raise its value, although multiple failed rolls can be.

Vital

ATTRIBUTES – Pick one vital attribute for the character to desire competitive excellence. It can be an attribute the character already has a modifier in, or not.

SKILLS – Pick one vital skill for the character to desire competitive excellence. It can be a skill the character has competence in, or not.

ENTITLEMENT – The desire to have one’s rights expressed in the world, physically, socially, or mentally.

Physical

ATTRIBUTES – Pick one physical attribute for the character to desire competitive excellence. It can be an attribute the character already has a modifier in, or not.

SKILLS – Pick one physical skill for the character to desire competitive excellence. It can be a skill the character has competence in, or not.

INDULGENCE – Pick one activity for the character to experience pleasure.

Drugs – A particular intoxicating substance that the character likes to enjoy physically.

Sex – This can be sexual conquest in general, or a specific target of sexual conquest, like attractive or unattractive people, members of another social class or faction, or pushing the sexual target beyond their normal boundaries. Depending on the sensibilities of the playing group, these encounters can be fully played out or simply assumed after the successful action roll.

Violence – This can be violent conquest in general, or a specific target of violent conquest. As a physical drive, it is the inflicting of death or pain that matters most.

Wealth – This involves gathering economic power to enable the character’s ability to do whatever he or she wants.

Social

ATTRIBUTES – Pick one social attribute for the character to desire competitive excellence. It can be an attribute the character already has a modifier in, or not.

SKILLS – Pick one social skill for the character to desire competitive excellence. It can be a skill the character has competence in, or not.

HATE – Same as the intrinsic COMMUNITY drives (q.v.), but the character has an unreasoning animosity toward the group instead of loyalty.

INDULGENCE – Pick one activity for the character to experience social gain or pleasure.

Engagement – This involves social engagement with others for its own sake, independent of social loyalties.

Renown – This involves gaining status in some social group. The player must pick a social group (see the groupings above under the intrinsic social drives) in which to exercise this ambition. This can be applied to religious, political, or other factions, to groups of friends, or to a romantic obsession.

Fame – This involves spreading general reputation for the character.

Infamy – This involves spreading fear or other negative feelings toward the character.

Admiration – This involves spreading positive feelings toward the character.

Power – This involves gaining control over others. The specific form of this power could be political, financial, or other forms of influence, but what matters most to the character is the power it enables over others.

Relational – This involves turning the target against himself or herself. This can involve coercing the target to betray their loyalties and values, undermining the target’s social status, or other forms of convincing target to harm themselves.

Mental

ATTRIBUTES – Pick one mental attribute for the character to desire competitive excellence. It can be an attribute the character already has a modifier in, or not.

SKILLS – Pick one mental skill for the character to desire competitive excellence. It can be a skill the character has competence in, or not.

INDULGENCE – Pick one activity for the character to experience mental gain or pleasure.

Confusion – This involves sabotaging some target’s view of facts. This can involve convincing targets that cherished beliefs are false, which would be the opposite of curiosity, or crushing an opponent’s theory, which would be the opposite of obsession.

Curiosity – A need to understand the world or a particular aspect of it. This is distinct from obsession as there is no particular theory to be proven, just understanding.

Obsession – A need to prove some theory about the world or a particular aspect of it.