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Dramatic Rolls
  1. ==Dramatic Rolls==
  2. Because of the way heroic narratives work, the only thing that truly separates a character from achieving her goals is the time and effort needed to pursue it. Dramatic actions are intended to illustrate this process, particularly given the incredible feats which mortal and Exalt alike can achieve with mere skill alone. Actions which use dramatic timing are foremost an event or undertaking which would take considerably longer to implement than any individual task normally would, such as investigating a crime scene, and often composed of several interconnected skills and rarely isolated to a particular Ability. Generally speaking, its assumed that a character will already have obtained the materials, manpower and opportunity to put a Dramatic Action into motion, so preparing for such an ordeal can serve as a hook into other adventures.
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  4. First of all, noteworthy but time-consuming tasks are usually the significant keystones of a scene, such as fixing the rigging on a storm-blown ship, or bracing the support beams of a crumbling building as the occupants escape amidst the chaos. But while action sequences put an emphasis on urgency this way, dramatic actions can also be low-risk affairs. The lack of overt danger can be replaced by suffering under the grueling passage of weeks and tested patience on a looming deadline, like counting how many days must be taken to build a large wooden bridge despite running short on supplies, or sweating the several hours necessary to commit an elaborate sonata to memory with no prior rehearsals. Putting the task together begins with the character herself, and the depth of experience and competence she will be bringing along with her.
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  6.  Ability Dots    Aptitude       Standard       Narrative       Infrastructure
  7.  0                   Unskilled      One Season     One Arc         One Age
  8.  1               Novice         One Month      One Story       One Millennium
  9.  2               Practiced      One Week       One Scene       One Century
  10.  3               Competent      One Day        One Action      One Decade
  11.  4               Expert         One Hour       One Tick        One Year
  12.  5               Master         One Minute     One Instant     One Season
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  14. A dramatic action uses a character's relevant Ability ratings to determine the Time Interval she will be operating across, appending additional intervals as her work comes up short. Standard Intervals are simply that, an objective amount of time which encompasses all the associated planning, gathering tools, testing theories, trial and error, and consulting assistants and experts, among other things the character must perform alongside the vastly more simple matter of accomplishing the chosen feat.
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  16. Narrative Intervals fall under a less objective lens, as these Dramatic actions deal with concepts, organizations and metaphysical workings rather than physical or social undertakings, like reading or modifying changes in astrological patterns, managing morale or performing routine maintenance in war, business and politics, or dealing with otherworldly entities like the fey and demons who have only a tenuous grasp on linear time. Increased skill can even allow her to make dramatic rolls during granular time-scales like Combat.
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  18. Suitable scale for an Infrastructure Interval covers massive works of engineering, rhetoric and social change which far outstrip the practical constraints of a single character's actions to control. Operating alone, her efforts could be likened to leveling a mountain down to flattened earth one stone at a time, but once she sets a greater plan in motion, the effects will be felt long after her departure. Beyond the considerable time required, the primary drawback to conducting actions on this scale is that at some point, possibly far in the future, it will escape her grasp, mutating into new forms, spiraling off into schisms and opposed factions if it did not create its own to begin with.
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  21. Sidebar: Dramatic or No?
  22. Broad-scale actions which don't operate according to moment-by-moment gameplay are notoriously hard to manage, when it splits the difference between including too many variables for the Storyteller to accurately gauge an overall "Difficulty" involved, but also unlike trivial affairs which can be set aside to take place in the backdrop, these tend to have some legitimate and actionable consequences as well. Neither dwelling excessively on the minutiae of the act nor resolving it with a single roll can feel particularly appropriate here, and trying can usually end up as an underwhelming distraction from important elements of the ongoing, or a sidebar so complex the resulting tangle of planning and rules discussion becomes functionally noninteractive for half the players to engage with meaningfully.
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  24. Dramatic Actions are an attempt to bridge that gap, while retaining a sense of consistency and decision-making in the outcome. On the whole, this system exists to capture as many significant player moments as possible and allow it to take center-stage despite the majority of play revolving around the extremely personal, zoomed-in nature of tick-based combat and granular action rolls. To that end, the three different time-scales presented here allow a Storyteller to mix and match the approach entirely depending on the needs of her campaign.
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