At their best or during times of extreme duress, humans are capable of some astonishing acts. A mother lifts the wrecked car off her child, soldiers carry on fighting for their brothers even when wounded to near death, and a prisoner refuses to give his torturers the answers they seek. These are all examples of Conviction, of the will of the human spirit to overcome adversity. Some people learn to tap into the well of potential that exists within every human and can access Conviction even without facing a life-or-death situation. These people have learned to still their minds and steel their wills to accomplish the task at hand, no matter the odds.

As a game element, Conviction is a power stat rated from 1–10 dots. The “juice” that drives Conviction is Willpower. For troupes that decide to include this element in their chronicles, begin with one dot of Conviction. Raising Conviction with experience points costs five times the current rating.

Active Effects of Conviction

By putting all of their concentration and will to the challenge confronting them, the characters are able to rise above normal human limitations for a short time. Active effects of Conviction are activated by spending a point of Willpower to produce one of the effects listed below. The total bonus gained for any roll generated or altered by an effect is equal to dots of Conviction (maximum of +5). So, if a character with Conviction ••• spent a point of Willpower to activate it in order to increase her Strength Attribute, her Strength would temporarily be increased by three. Bonuses gained through Conviction ignore the usual human maximums.

A character can only use Conviction once during a chapter (game session).

• Concentration: Distractions and circumstantial impediments can be the bane of actions that would ordinarily be easily accomplished. Any thief worth his salt should be able to pop open an average lock with little difficulty. Opening a lock in the rain before that ravening monstrosity can rip out your spine is a whole different matter. In cases like these, the ability to concentrate solely on a goal can make the difference between life and death. By activating Conviction, the character may negate environmental penalties equal to his Conviction rating on any single Skill roll. Further, the odds of success are improved by this sort of tunnel vision, allowing the character to achieve an exceptional success with four successes rather than the usual five. As an example, let’s say the thief mentioned above has a –4 penalty on his roll to pick the lock due to environmental penalties (rain, darkness, wind), but has a Conviction rating of three. If he activates his Conviction, the penalty would be reduced to a –1. This lasts for a scene, and cannot negate penalties that aren’t environmental (it won’t help push past wound penalties, for instance).

• Drive: A narrow focus and a motive to succeed are all that are sometimes required to push humans beyond their normal capabilities. The drive to overcome adversity can be channeled by the will to produce seemingly super-human feats. By activating Conviction, the character gains a bonus equal to her Conviction to a single Attribute for one roll. As a secondary effect of such drive, any other rolls in the same scene that include the Attribute that was enhanced gain a +1 bonus.

• Endurance: War stories often feature tales of soldiers that continued to fight even with horrific injuries, refusing to give up until the battle was won. Outside of battle, people still manage to find the strength to stagger onwards, with broken or missing limbs, until they or their loved ones are safe. By activating Conviction, the character is able to ignore wound penalties for a number of turns equal to her Conviction rating. Even after the initial surge of endurance has faded, the character continues to struggle on and will not lose consciousness from injuries until the end of the scene.

Passive Effects of Conviction

Even without tapping into Willpower for active effects, Conviction provides passive effects based on rating.

• Willpower/Turn: One of humanity’s greatest strengths is our adaptability. Humans can become accustomed to, and even thrive, in the worst possible situations. This is the essence of the human spirit. As the Conviction rating of a character increases, she learns how to tap into the human spirit more efficiently. Starting at a Conviction rating of four, the character gains the ability to spend multiple points of Willpower each turn. This ability comes with some restrictions. A character may only spend one point of Willpower each turn to produce any specific effect. So, if a character spends a point of Willpower to gain a +3 to a roll, she may not spend two Willpower to gain a +6.

• Resistance: On the whole, humans are easy prey for the supernatural abilities of the strange creatures that inhabit the World of Darkness. Lacking the innate magical resistance of a mage, spells that target humans will likely succeed. Without the the conviction that they are a part of something bigger than themselves, humans have little chance against the things that peer at you from the dark. Conviction gives humans a boost, an edge against the unnatural, by dint of zeal. The Resistance number listed by Conviction rating is added as bonus dice to contested rolls to resist supernatural effects or acts as a penalty to abilities that are passively resisted. This aspect of Conviction can also be used to combat more mundane methods of coercion, by granting bonus dice against attempts at intimidation, seduction, torture, and so on.

Effects of Conviction

Conviction Willpower/Turn Resistance
1 1 0
2 1 1
3 1 2
4 2 3
5 2 3
6 2 4
7 3 4
8 3 5
9 3 5
10 4 6

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