Basic Rule Overview
In general, the rules work like this…
If you have any points in an ability, it works, albeit at a basic level. No spending/rolling required.
If you would like to attempt to get MORE out of that ability, or are attempting difficult actions, you need to spend.
You can spend as many points as you like on that action (before rolling). These points add to your dice roll.
You roll against a difficulty — which is never revealed — and the result determines how much additional information or other bonus you receive.
When an incident challenges your sanity, you make a stability roll against a difficulty of 4.
Different situations have different levels of “stability loss” possible.
You can spend stability points (prior to the roll) as bonuses to add to your result.
I will tell you in advance how many stability points you stand to lose.
There are penalties for stability dropping below zero and at -12 your character is incurably insane.
In a contested challenge, for example, in a fight, the character and the antagonist both roll.
In order to win your victory condition for that round, you must meet or exceed the difficulty of 4.
Different attacks have different levels of “health loss” possible.
You can spend health points (prior to the roll) as bonuses to add to your result.
You can receive a +1 from a single assisting character.
I will not tell you in advance how many health points you stand to lose.
There are penalties for health dropping below zero and at -12 your character is dead.
Most abilities are refreshed at the end of each gaming session. The exceptions to this are Health and Stability.
Stability is refreshed at the end of a story arc (usually 3-6 sessions) and Health is refreshed at a rate of 2 pts/day of in character rest. There are other opportunities to gain back Health/Stability mid-story, however.
Characters with the Medic ability can restore a limited number of health points in the course of a session and characters with the Shrink ability can do the same for stability points.
Anytime you encounter a situation which triggers your risk factor, your character will typically push further, try harder, delve deeper into the mystery at hand. You can control this behavior…for a price. If the situation is intrinsically tied to the main plot, it is referred to as a hard risk factor. When you resist a hard risk factor, you lose 4 stability points. When the situation is only tangentially tied to the plot, it is a soft risk factor and resisting it only costs 2 stability points.
At the end of every gaming session, characters will earn 2XP which can be added to their build. As there are fewer points to spend at character creation in the investigative abilities, this expenditure typically reflects the character slowly becoming a more effective investigator over time.
If we play long enough for the characters to become very effective at dealing with their supernatural antagonists, there is the possibility they would be approached/recruited by any number of secret societies currently operating beyond the purview of the PCs at this time.
Antagonists in Fear Itself have their own goals, motivations and actions.
They will take actions not only in response to PC action, but also proactively, independent of the PCs decisions. In some cases, this can mean the antagonist’s plots can move forward if the PCs take no action. Time is always a factor.