Choose “Character Actions…” under the Chronicle menu to display the Actions window. From here you may add, delete and show individual character actions.
The default display of this window lists the game dates at left, and on the right it lists the characters who have acted on the selected date. When creating an action for a character, associate it date of the next game session. It’s at that session she will see the results of her activities play out.
You can choose a different display by clicking the “View by Character” button in the lower left. This will list all characters with actions on the left, and on the right it lists the dates the selected character has acted. Clicking the button again returns you to the default display.
In either display, an X appears beside an action that has been marked Done — it has been filled out to completion.
Clicking “Add Action” will prompt you with a dialog. If you have a date selected on the left, it asks you to select a character; if you have a character selected on the left (in View by Character mode), it asks you for a date. A new action is created for the chosen date and character pair.
The “Delete Action” button deletes the action associated with the selected date and character. “Delete All Actions” will not delete all actions in the game, but it will delete all those associated with the date or character you have selected in the leftmost list — emptying the list on the right.
Select a date and name pair and click “Show Action” to edit the action for that date and character.
Editing a Character Action
The character action window appears with the name of the character and the date of the action at the top. Click one of these to reassign the action to a different character or date.
A “Show Character” button will direct you quickly to the associated character sheet. Use the “All Done” checkbox to records when you’ve finished work on the action. The “Show Advanced” button gives you access to the detailed action functions, described below.
At its most basic, a character action consists of four sections:
- Action. Here, describe the action(s) this character takes during downtime before the selected game date. If you get this information via e-mail from your players, you may choose to copy that text from your e-mail program and paste it here directly.
- Results. Use this field to inform the character about the results of his attempt. The Chronicle Report will include this information for the player to read.
- Affected By. This list bears the names of actions and plots that affect this action.
- Affects. This list shows which actions, plots, and rumors that this action affects.
The Affects and Affected By lists are potentially two of the most powerful tools you can have to plan your game. Click the “Add” button beneath either to summon a dialog listing all other actions, plot developments, and rumors for the game date. Choosing from this list creates a cause-and-effect link between the two items. In this way you can manage dozens of factors affecting the direction of the story. Double-clicking any link jumps you to the relevant action, plot or rumor. Following the “Affected By” links is a good way to know what outside factors impact this action; following the “Affects” links you create is a how you record the ripple effect a character action has on the game.
If you click the “Show Advanced” button at the top of the character action window (or if you have selected “Always Add Common Actions” in your Action Settings), you gain access to the detailed character action functions.
The detailed action functions enable you to divide up character activities by topic. At the very least all characters have a Personal action that represents what they do in person during downtime. But you may choose also to record in individual actions how a character uses her Influence or Backgrounds such as Contacts. Every detailed action has its own distinct Action, Results, Affected By and Affects information.
- The Detailed Actions list. Each detailed action appears here, where you see its name, followed by its Level, Unused and Total Action Values, and Growth. These four numbers can be edited in the fields to the right of the list.
- Level. The level of an action. Usually this is the number of an Influence a player has.
- Unused. Many games employ systems wherein a certain value is associated with the level of an action; portions of this value may be spent to achieve the character’s goals. Unused is where the unused portion of that value is recorded. If the option “Copy Unused Values from Previous Action” is selected, this value is copied from the character’s last such recorded action.
- of Total. The total action value associated with the level appears here. Its initial value (and thereby the initial value of Unused) can be changed from Action Settings in the Game Settings.
- Growth. Growth is a number used to judge how much progress a character has made toward a goal such as gaining a new level of Influence. If this character has an action at an earlier date, Growth is set to its prior value when it is created. This way a goal can be pursued over multiple downtime actions.
- Add Action. Click this button and enter a name to add another detailed action to the list.
- Delete Action. Click this button to delete a detailed action from the list. A Personal action cannot be deleted.
- Add Common Actions. Click this, and Grapevine will automatically add one action for each Influence the character possesses and for each of certain Backgrounds likeContacts. Specifics can be set in the Action Settings tab of your Game Settings. This will not overwrite detailed actions that have already been created.
When last we left our intrepid figments, Sally the Sluagh was blackmailing the school board and Gary ap Gwydion was doing a news story. Let’s examine those actions in depth.
You describe Sally’s actions by selecting “Show Advanced” and clicking “Add Common Actions.” This adds a Contacts action to the Personal action that already exists. Selecting the Contacts action, you write that Sally is digging up dirt on the school board. You decide she’s successful: in Results, you describe how Mrs. Pamela Grabowski has been embezzling funds from the school sports program. But since Sally’s Contact was none too discreet, you decide Sally isn’t the only one who gets a hint of this. You click Add under the Affects list and select the Underworld Influence Level 1 rumor to represent where word leaked.
Now that Sally Sluagh has the dirt, she uses it: in her Personal Results, you record how she delivers the blackmail letter to Mrs. Grabowski’s house, and how Mrs. Grabowski seems to reverse her position on the dress code issue at the next board meeting. That’s a direct effect on the Dress Code plot, so you add another link to the Affects list.
Meanwhile, Gary ap Gwydion is broadcasting a slanted story about the new policy on the nine o’clock news. You use the same methods to create a Media action for Gary. In Results you describe the public outcry his news story arouses, and in the Affects list you add the Media Influence Level 1 rumor and the Dress Code plot — both of which will suffer fallout from Gary’s mudslinging.