RogerBW's Blog

Will and Fright Checks 18 February 2014

Broadly speaking your resistance to intimidation, magical and psionic effects, and frightening and stressful situations, is determined by your Will stat. By default this is equal to your IQ; you can buy it up or down for five points per +/-1, and may find this referred to as "strong will" or "weak will".

Note that self-control rolls for mental disadvantages are unrelated to the Will stat - you can be an iron-jawed hero who still can't resist getting drunk when there's booze on offer.

Fright Checks are the most common sort of mundane Will roll, so there are lots of advantages and disadvantages that affect them. Note that, for purposes of Fright Checks only, you can never have a target number higher than 13. (It's not a waste to have a higher Fright Check number, because it still counts against other negative modifiers - the 13 is a final cap once everything has been applied.)

Combat Reflexes [15], among other things, gives +2 to all Fright Checks. (Therefore, so does Enhanced Time Sense.)

Combat Paralysis [-15], among other things, gives -2 to all Fright Checks.

Cowardice [-10*] gives a penalty to Fright Checks based on frequency of occurrence, -1 to -4.

Fearlessness [2/level] adds to your Will for Fright Checks, resisting intimidation, or externally-induced fear.

Fearfulness [-2/level] works the same way, but in reverse.

Unfazeable [15] frees you from having to make Fright Checks at all (and intimidation doesn't work on you either).

Post-Combat Shakes [-5*] doesn't modify your behaviour in combat, but does require you to make a self-control roll when the situation is over, and a Fright Check if you fail.

Xenophilia [-10*] gives a bonus to Fright Checks when meeting strange creatures.

You can help someone else with their Fright Checks: if you successfully make a Leadership skill roll as your action in a turn, everyone on your side who can hear you has a +1 to combat-related Fright Checks, self-control rolls, etc. until your next action. (+2 for a critical.)


  1. Posted by John Dallman at 02:51pm on 18 February 2014

    Unfazable must, however be maintained via role-playing. This isn't too hard, but you have to stick to it.

  2. Posted by Michael Cule at 07:58pm on 18 February 2014

    I should probably print that out.

    I'd forgotten about the Rule of 13 for one thing.

  3. Posted by RogerBW at 08:07pm on 18 February 2014

    John: I don't think Unfazable is incompatible with reasonable levels of caution; to me it means that when running away you say "I believe they may be too strong for us" rather than "oh zog we're all gonna DIE". (But I may in any case be over-prone to play cool, collected characters.)

    Michael: It doesn't help that GURPS calls it the Rule of 14 ("a roll of 14 or more is automatically a failure"). This doesn't mesh well with the way I think about it.

    Another thing I always forget about is the effect of Leadership. I sometimes think that any game with a military or otherwise structured party really ought to include Fright Checks on a frequent basis, if only to reward the PC who's nominally in charge and has therefore paid for a good Leadership skill. But the bonus isn't so huge as to make a difference very often.

    (And yes, I know that Social Engineering: Pulling Rank is out. Once the new W23 teething troubles have been resolved, I'll buy it.)

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