Realization, Repression, Stress and Inner Conflicts

Realisation, Repression and Stress

In addition to the standard characteristics, all Actors possess three extra features known as Realisation, Repression and Stress.

  • Realisation is a tenth Charactiristic that all the Actors possess. Realisation represents the strength of the character's self-realisation and the power of their Social Links. Realisation is unique to Actors.
  • Repression is a type of special damage that stems from exposure to Shadows and Chaotic Miasma, but also from struggling with their own inner conflicts. Repression interferes with using one's Persona. It can be removed by spending Realisation. NPCs can have Repression too.
  • Stress is a type of special damage that represents how worn down the Actor is by recent actions. Stress can create fatigue and make a character sick, and can be removed through rest. NPCs can have Stress too.

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Realisation is a special tenth Characteristic. Like all characteristics it ranges from 1 to 100, and has a Bonus equal to the tens column of the characteristic.
Unlike other characteristics, Realisation is not increased through Advances.
Instead, Realisation begins at 10, and to this is added the sum of all the Actor's Social Link ranks. So if a Actor has Social links at Rank 4, Rank 6, and Rank 1, their Realisation would be 21 (10+4+6+1).
Realisation should be recorded as 'Max Realisation' and 'Current Realisation'. This is because Realisation can be 'spent' to reduce Repression's effects, outlined in the Repression area.
Spent Realisation can be regenerated by spending time with friends, with the amount regenerated depending on the strength of the Social Link.
Each week, starting from Monday, Actors gain a number of Realisation Points equal to their Realisation Bonus (RB), which is always calculated off of Current Realisation. Realisation Points are a powerful resource that can be spent to activate a broad array of abilities, which are outlined in the 'Realisation Points' action list. They can give you a powerful nudge when you need it.
Realisation Points do not carry over from one week to another.

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Repression, Disorganisations and Crises

Repression is a type of special damage. For veterans of Dark Heresy, Repression replaces Insanity and Corruption.
Repression represents the volatility character's inner turmoil, especially the thoughts, fears and wants that they don't want to give expression to. Although all individuals have repressed thoughts, it is especially troublesome for Persona users, since Shadows themselves are created from the unconscious and repressed, and the Chaotic Miasma is only too happy to give form to repressed thoughts. In that case, Repression represents how powerful these thoughts are and how close they are to emerging or influencing the user or their Persona.
How to take Repression
Repression Damage is taken through certain circumstances outlined below.
Some Shadow attacks can cause Repression damage.
Some Critical Effects can also trigger Repression damage.
Being exposed to Chaos Miasma without an Active Persona incurs a point of Repression Damage per round.
Being exposed to an Archetype Shadow without having an Active Persona incurs a point of Repression Damage per round, which stacks with the above.
From an Inner Conflict.
At the end of each week, for every 10 Repression you have, you gain a Disorganisation, chosen randomly from the list of six. Disorganisations are small penalties that impair certain actions or provide extra dangers when fighting Shadows. Any leftover Repression is discarded.
There are six Disorganisations, and can be seen in the Disorganisations tab. You can gain the same Disorganisation up to five times, and each time the effects stack.
If you have a Disorganisation at rank 5 (ie. Have gained it five times without reducing it)and gain it again, instead of gaining another rank the Disorganisation is removed. Instead you gain a Crisis, which are detailed below.
Disorganisations can be removed at the end of each day by spending Realisation. For every 5 Realisation you spend, you remove a single rank of a Disorganisation. This does not lower your current Realisation Points. However, if your Current Realisation is lower than the number of Realisation Points you currently have, you'll lose one by the start of the next week.
A Crisis is a major challenge for an Actor. Essentially, a Crisis is what happens when Repression becomes so powerful as to start impacting an Actor's Persona in a particularly dangerous way.
On being created, a Crisis attaches itself to one of the Actor's Inner Conflicts and by extension any Personae attached to that Conflict's arcana.
The actual effects of the Crisis vary from Actor to Actor and depend on their personality and the Conflict that has been affected. Some examples include running the risk of having Personae of the Crisis's arcana going berserk, accidentally forming Shadows out of Miasma even in the waking world, or developing an unwanted and intrusive connection to an existing Archetype Shadow.
If you develop multiple crises, then each new Crisis targets a new Conflict. If all Inner Conflicts gain a Crisis then the Actor is in incredible danger, as the combination of their burgeoning repression and their power as a Persona user begins to combine. At this point they are at great risk of inadvertently giving birth to a new Archetype Shadow.
Resolving a Crisis depends on the Inner Conflict, and is not likely to be easy. It might require certain sacrifices, trials or achievements on the part of the Actor.

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Stress is a type of special damage.
Stress represents a long-term physical and mental weariness that is deeper than just the exhaustion one gets from physical exertion. It represents a level of weariness that builds up over time due to various responsibilities, stressors and incidents.
How to take Stress
Many Personal Actions incur Stress.
Certain Critical Damage effects incur Stress as well.
Some Drawbacks or personal injuries will generate constant stress.
What Stress Does
Stress is accumulated in an unlimited meter. For every 10 points of Stress you have, you gain a rank of Stress Fatigue. This rank works like normal Fatigue in every way, except that it cannot be removed except through reducing Stress.
If you would ever gain enough Stress Fatigue to knock you unconscious, then you reset your Stress to zero and catch an illness or malady that lasts for 1d5+5 days, reduced by your TB. The effects of the illness vary from circumstance and character.
Removing Stress
Stress is primarily removed through Personal Actions. Sleeping early is one effective option, whilst treating yourself to movies, books or special meals are also effective (if costly) options.
At the end of each day, you lose 2 Stress.

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Inner Conflicts

Everyone has inner conflicts, and for the sort of people who produce Persona, that rings doubly true. Inner Conflicts are an innate and important trait for all Actors and many NPCs as well.
What is an Inner Conflict?
An Inner Conflict, for the purposes of this game, is a mental, spiritual and emotional state in which a character's desires, compulsions, thoughts, needs or worries clash with the character's ideals, obligations, responsibilities, wellbeing or values.
All characters have an Inner Conflict. Actors, however, have three Inner Conflicts, defined by the player collaborating with the GM at the start of the game.
Each Inner Conflict is specifically tied to one of the Actor's three Arcanae. The nature of the Inner Conflict is influenced by the Arcana it is tied to, but the Conflict also alters how the Actor's interpretation of that Arcana plays out.
Inner Conflicts can manifest in many ways, subtly and not so much. Often, however, Inner Conflicts can be a source of angst and frustration for Actors who have to struggle with their own inner roadblocks just as much as they struggle with Shadows.
The Components of an Inner Conflict
All Inner Conflicts have a Name, an Arcana, a Description, a Trigger and a State.
Name: The name of the Conflict.
Arcana: The Arcana the Conflict is linked to.
Description: The description of the Conflict, which should be quite encompassing. It should briefly outline the following points: what the Actor's underlying preoccupation is, which might be for example an insecurity, a traumatic memory or some selfish need; the ideal, value, obligation, hope or responsibility that this preoccupation threatens to violate and why that's unacceptable to the Actor; and a brief history of how this Conflict has played out in the past and what benefits giving into the preoccupation have (and there are always perceived benefits, even to really terrible preoccupations).
Trigger: A trigger is something that when encountered, forces the Conflict to the forefront of the Actor's mind. They can be external (based in the environment: for example, things people say) or internal (based on the Actor's own conscious thoughts). Triggers are invariably linked to the Conflict itself; for example, if someone's Conflict deals with insecurity, then a Trigger might be being belittled, or it might be being praised. Conflicts can have multiple triggers, and should have at least two but no more than four.
State: The State represents where the Actor is on the path of overcoming their Conflict. Active means the Conflict is exerting strong influence. Resolved means the Actor has managed a major breakthrough and the Conflict is exerting far less influence than it once did, translating to weaker triggers and penalties. Relapse means the Actor has managed a major breakthrough, but events have worn them back down to the level roughly at Active. Crisis means the Conflict has reached a major breaking point and is starting to dominate the Actor's life; it is caused by Crises laid out in the Repression section. All Actors begin the game with their Conflicts set to Active.
The Impact of a Conflict
When a Conflict is triggered, the Actor is thrown into an uncertain and uncomfortable state in which they're required to choose between attempting to live up to their ideal or obligation, or giving into the preoccupation and all it entails.
To represent this, the Actor must decide whether to suppress the urge or give in. If they choose suppression, they must make either a Willpower or Realisation test, with a bonus or penalty depending on how severe the situation is. If they pass the test, then the urge is successfully suppressed and the Actor moves on; however, they take a -10 stacking penalty to any other Conflict tests for the remainder of the week.
If the Actor fails, however, then they have two choices: either they gain Repression as they aggressively subjugate the urge, or give in. If they gain Repression then they gain an amount that depends on the severity of the situation, which can be a fixed amount or a d5, d10 or multiples thereof.
Either way, if the Actor either decides to give in or is unwilling to pay the Repression as outlined above, then they do something as a result. This something can be a physical action or a mental one, and the repercussions depend entirely on the situation, the Actor and how they handle it. For example, an Actor might have a Conflict that urges them to take a peek at someone else's phone; if they're sly and quick enough they might be able to do it without being detected, but otherwise they could be in a lot of trouble. Another example might be someone falling into a state of constantly thinking bad thoughts, which damages their mood for entire days.
Regardless of the outcome, Conflicts always produce at least 1 Stress, and can produce much more depending on the situation.
Overcoming a Conflict
Conflicts are something the Actor will struggle with for a very long time, often their entire lives, but that doesn't mean the Actor can't make good progress to taking control away from Conflicts and back into their own hands.
There are no hard and fast rules about overcoming a Conflict, except that it will take a lot of time and effort on the Actor's part. Actors should not expect Conflicts to be resolved in 10 weeks, not even 20; and it shouldn't be easy, either. There'll be a lot of effort, but the exact details of that effort depend on the Actor.
Tips for Conflict Creation
The description is the real meat of the Conflict. A lot of the time it can be difficult to think of a specific urge to drive it or a virtue to break. In this situation, try to remember that Conflicts can be rather broad and do not need to be interpreted literally as urges versus ideals (although that's often what the major issue is).
One helpful way to approach a Conflict is to break down the urge into one of the following:
It's something the Actor wants, but knows they shouldn't. This might be stealing or being cruel to people. This approach tends to generate a lot of guilt; and if it doesn't, then that in itself could be a Conflict.
It's something the Actor doesn't want, but can't help themselves from doing anyway. This might be putting themselves down, which comes much more naturally than building oneself up; or it might be finding it difficult to enjoy something because they're afraid it'll be taken away. This approach can lead to characters who feel helpless or scared of themselves and the events that propel them.
It's something the Actor doesn't want, but fears something bad will happen (punishments etc) unless they do it. For example, a student who feels compelled to follow their parents' strict demands, even though the parents are far away, through an inherent fear of punishment and sense of obligation. This one can be interesting because the path the character takes to overcome it usually requires breaking, subverting or overcoming a harmful obligation or ideal.
Alternatively it could be something the Actor thinks they should be doing, when they really shouldn't. What this does is turn the urge into a 'faulty' ideal of its own. For example, someone who thinks they should work extremely hard when in reality it's doing them more harm than good, or someone who is unnecessarily strict with themselves to the point that they can't relax. Often, this is a Conflict of extremes: the actor has often taken something usually considered good way too far to the point where it's damaging. This approach can be especially interesting because the Actor might feel vindicated by giving into their urge.
Other ideas might be playing around with how willing the Actor is to confront the situation; Actors usually begin either willing to confront it but feeling unable to, or not willing to confront it, or not even acknowledging it as a problem
One approach you might feel taking if you're adventurous is to just start with the urge or need, then keep the ideal that it's breaking blank; in this sense the Actor doesn't even know what they would rather be, and might only have the vaguest sense that what they're doing is wrong or damaging; they might have to work backwards to construct what their ideal is before they can begin working on the problem.
In regards to triggers, they shouldn't be too broad but not too narrow. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself "How often will this trigger be activated, assuming a normal week?" Generally, if it's less than once every week it's too narrow, but if it's more than five times a week it's too broad. If you're having trouble coming up with broad enough triggers, create more narrow ones.

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