Secondary Traits of Echelon

This is part of the Echelon RPG Development series. Here are links to other articles of the series:

Secondary Traits are not purchased with Experience like Core Traits; instead they are derived from Attributes or Species. Some Ability Stunts, Advantages, Hindrances, Species, and Templates may also affect Secondary Traits. There are four categories of Secondary Traits: Defense, Energy, Offense, and Spatial.


Defense scores are used by characters targeted by harmful actions. Depending on the action, a defense score may be used to calculate the Difficulty Rating or it may be used to add to the targeted characters dice pool result. The appropriate Defense score is determined by the action being taken and is provided in the action’s description. Defense scores also determine a character’s Initiative.


A character’s Reaction is derived from Dexterity and Intelligence, as it is a measure of the character’s reflexes and knowledge of tactics. Most Ranged and Melee Weapon Attacks are opposed by the target’s Reaction score.

Calculation: Reaction = Dexterity + Intelligence + Apotheosis + Miscellaneous Modifiers


A character’s Resilience is derived from Constitution and Strength as it is a measure of the character’s to recover from and deflect harm. Many Abilities are opposed by the target’s Resilience score.

Calculation: Resilience = Constitution + Strength + Apotheosis + Miscellaneous Modifiers


A character’s Resolve is derived from Spirit and Wisdom as it is a measure of the character’s willpower and determination. Many Abilities are opposed by target’s Resolve score.

Calculation: Resolve = Spirit + Wisdom + Apotheosis + Miscellaneous Modifiers


Destiny is usually viewed as an external force of the universe exerting its influence on persons to direct them towards a predetermined fate, which people arrive at regardless of their own actions or the actions of others. Echelon views destiny as a guiding force that can be thwarted, redirected, or harnessed. Characters in Echelon actually make their own destiny through Apotheosis and its influence is reflected in two Traits: Karma and Kismet.


Destiny can exert its influence upon any action. This influence is called Karma. The Karma of Echelon is not tied to quaint ideas of good and evil but to less subjective benchmarks of success and failure. Karma is drawn to exceptional success and failure, encouraging the momentum of success while trying to break the momentum of failure. Whenever a character achieves an exceptional success, he gains 1 Karma. However, when a character suffers an exceptional failure, he gains a number of Karma equal to his Apotheosis rank.

[Design Note: How Karma is earned may change depending on how Apotheosis is finally implemented as a conflicted gauge.]

The maximum amount of Karma that a character can acquire varies. At character creation Maximum Karma is initially equal to his Apotheosis rank, but may be modified by Race, Advantages, or Hindrances. A character begins play with a number of Karma equal to his Maximum Karma. A character can never gain more Karma than his Maximum Karma score, any extra Karma is lost.

A point of Karma can be used once per turn as an Immediate Action. Karma can be used to gain an extra die on an action roll, boost any single Defense Trait by 5 before the result of an attack is known, or for a character to automatically stabilize himself when dying.

Calculation: Maximum Karma = Apotheosis + Modifiers


Sometimes destiny imposes itself fully upon the fabric of reality, changing it to reflect the desires of characters. A point of Kismet may be spent to obtain an automatic success on any action. That success is considered a rank 1 exceptional success. A point of Kismet may also be exchanged for 3 points of Karma. Finally, a point of Kismet may be spent by a character to ignore an attack that would permanently kill that character. If Kismet is spent to prevent death, it must be spent in the same round the killing blow was delivered. Should Kismet be used by two characters to ensure success on an opposed action, then both characters lose 1 Kismet and the result is determined as if both characters spent Karma to gain an exploding die.

Whenever a character gains a rank in Apotheosis he also gains 1 Kismet. A character’s Maximum Kismet is equal to his Apotheosis rank. At creation, a character begins with a number of Kismet equal to his Apotheosis rank. A character can never gain more Kismet than his Apotheosis rank, any extra Kismet is lost.

Calculation: Maximum Kismet = Apotheosis


Energy Traits are renewable resources derived from the two Attribute Types: Body and Soul. Character use Energy Traits to power Abilities. An Energy Trait’s rank also establishes the maximum number of Temporary Energy that a character can acquire. If a character has an amount of Temporary Energy greater than or equal to the Energy Cost of an Ability, that Ability can be used with the Energy Cost being removed from the Temporary Energy pool of the character.


Many Abilities of arcane, divine, or otherwise magical origin draw on the power of the soul, Animus. Animus is derived from the three Soul Attributes: Intelligence, Spirit, and Wisdom.

Animus is recovered at a rate of 1 point per Apotheosis rank every 10 minutes. A character who is completely rested, which is an 8 hour sleep for most characters, fully recovers their Temporary Animus at the end of such a rest.

Calculation: Animus = 10 + Intelligence + Spirit + Wisdom + Miscellaneous Modifiers


Feats of martial, natural, and other talents are fueled by the power of the body, Vigor. Vigor is derived from the three Body Attributes: Constitution, Dexterity, and Strength.

Vigor is recovered at a rate of 1 point per Apotheosis rank every 10 minutes. A character who is completely rested, which is an 8 hour sleep for most characters, fully recovers their Temporary Vigor at the end of such a rest.

Calculation: Vigor = 10 + Constitution + Dexterity + Strength + Miscellaneous Modifiers


Vitality is a mixture of stamina and life-force that measures a character’s well-being and ability to survive injury and sustain extreme exertion. When a character suffers damage in combat, it is subtracted from his Vitality score. When a character’s Vitality reaches 0 or below, he falls unconscious. If the character’s Vitality is below zero, he loses a point of Vitality every round. When a character’s Vitality score reaches an amount below zero equal to his maximum Vitality score, the character dies. Vitality is derived from Constitution, Spirit, and Size. Also, as Vitality becomes lost, characters accrue penalties to action rolls (see Combat).

Vitality is recovered at a rate of 1 point per Apotheosis rank every hour. A character who has completely rested, which is an 8 hours sleep for most characters, recovers double the normal recovery rate at the end of such a rest. For example, a character with an Apotheosis of 2 who just slept for 8 hours would recover 16 Vitality. However, if that same character only slept for 7 hours of the same 8 eight hour period, he would only recover 8 Vitality.

Calculation: Vitality = 25 + Constitution + Size + Spirit + Miscellaneous Modifiers


When characters need to resort to violence or some physical persuasion, Offense Traits come into play. Most Abilities that target characters use Accuracy as a modifier to determine the success of an attack and Impact as a damage modifier.


Accuracy is an assessment of how effective a character is when making an attack. Accuracy is derived from Dexterity and Intelligence because physical attacks rely on coordination and knowledge of weak points in the target’s defense. More esoteric abilities often require complex somatic or material manipulations as well mental acuity. Basic attacks and many Abilities use Accuracy as a modifier for action rolls.

Calculation: Accuracy = Dexterity + Intelligence


Impact is a measurement of hard a character strikes when making an attack. Impact is derived from Strength and Wisdom because it depends on pure might and intuition about how best to deliver a blow. Basic attacks and many Abilities use Impact as a modifier for damage and effect rolls.

Calculation: Impact = Strength + Wisdom


Initiative determines the order in which characters act during a combat round. There are many variables that determine how quick a character responds to threats including muscle memory, intuition, and visual cues. Therefore, a character’s Initiative score is equal to his highest Defense score.

Calculation: Initiative = Highest Defense + Miscellaneous Modifiers


Spatial Traits are concerned with movement and space. These are not derived from the Core Traits as are other Secondary Traits. These Traits are determined by Species because of physiological constraints. However, Size and Speed can be modified through Abilities, Advantages, Hindrances, and Templates.


Size is a general classification of much space a character consumes. Size helps determine Vitality and becomes a factor in tactical movement during combat. A character’s Species determines Size. For example, a human has a size of 5.


Speed is a measurement of the distance a character can move in feet during a round of combat. A character’s Species determines Speed. For example, a human has a tactical speed of 25 feet. When moving miniatures across a battlefield, 1 inch = 5 feet.

[Design Note: the average human can run long distance, 3 or more miles, at approximately 12 miles per hour, or 17.6 feet per second. The fastest humans can sprint short distance, 100 yards, at approximately 25 miles per hour, or 36.6 feet per second. It is the designer’s estimation that the average human could move approximate 1/4 his running speed during combat without becoming fatigued. This works out to approximately 4.4 feet per second with a combat round lasting 6 seconds. This equates to a total 26.4 feet, or rounded down to 25 feet for ease of math and measurement.]

Listening to: She Wants Revenge – She Wants Revenge – Tear You Apart

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