Beliefs and Instincts


  • Take the form of a call to action: not just something you believe, but something you’re going to do about something you believe
    • NOT “The Yakuza got me put in prison”
    • BUT “The Yakuza got me put in prison. I will make their oyabun pay for what he did to me.”
  • You start with one Belief per point of Willpower you have
  • Act towards a Belief, refresh 1 Edge
  • If you wish to act against a Belief, you must either spend 1 Edge or make a Composure (2) Test. If you don’t, then you can’t act against the Belief.
  • Fulfil a belief, gain 1 Karma, choose a new Belief

It’s worth me saying that Beliefs are supposed to be like your character’s priorities, describing your goals (as a player) for your character and how you/they intend to achieve them. In essence, these are your top (Willpower) priorities in play. They should be explicitly-stated drives that tie into the world and setting.

Essentially, you should ask yourself questions like, “What do I want out of this character and this situation?” or “How can my character’s Beliefs reflect that?” and then shape your character’s Beliefs to reflect those priorities. Beliefs are not arbitrarily chosen. You relate each one to what is going on in the game. They bind your character into the world. As they are challenged, they give you the chance to express what your character is about. By openly and honestly setting down your priorities, you help the GM and the other players get the most out of the game. Now that they all know what you’re after, they can help you get it.

Beliefs are meant to be challenged, betrayed and broken. Such emotional drama makes for a good game. If your character has a Belief, “I guard the prince’s life with my own,” and the prince is slain before your eyes in the climax of the scenario, that’s your chance to play out a tortured and dramatic scene and really go ballistic.


  • Things your character will do automatically, without having to tell the GM.
  • You get to allocate as many Instincts as you have permanent Intuition
  • Each Instinct should be something specific, and be either an “always” statement, a “never” statement, or an “if…then” statement
    • I always have my assault rifle set to Burst Fire mode
    • I never go through a door first or last
    • If I see a spirit, then I activate my Power Focus
  • Assumed always to be active, unless you say otherwise
  • Change in the course of play by spending 1 Edge per Instinct
  • Saves you a Free or Simple Action because you’ve automatically done it
  • Surprise may supersede “if…then” Instincts

Instincts are also player priorities for a character, but they have a different mechanical application than Beliefs. Rather than reflect who or what the character is, Instincts help define how the character acts. What’s been drilled into the character’s head? What life lessons has he been forced to learn? What has he taught himself in order to survive?

What an Instinct does is set a condition and a reaction to that condition for the character. And this reaction/behaviour of the character is sacrosanct: So long as the conditions are met, the action is done. The player doesn’t even have to announce it. It either happens behind the scenes or instantly, without hesitation.

Beliefs and Instincts

Clutch of Dragons raggedhalo