New True20 Rules: Framing & Weaving

NOTE: What follows is an excerpt from the True20 book covering two new uses for Conviction. I'm including it as a possible inspiration for similar rules within Blue Rose.



These are two new uses for Conviction in Caliphate Nights, which surrender certain aspects of narrative control and give the players more ability to directly affect the storyline. These new uses are entirely optional, though including them in the game will enhance the themes of the Nights.


A player can spend a Conviction point to initiate a framed story. When this occurs, the player describes the basics of what he or she would like to explore (e.g. How did the Sultan come by his magic dove?). Immediately, the entire group adopts new roles as appropriate and plays out the side story with the player who spent the Conviction point acting as Narrator.

In general, the new story should last no more than half an hour of actual game time, or some other agreed upon time. A framed story can serve several purposes, and many stories serve more than one purpose: (1) Leverage to convince someone to avoid (or take) a certain course of action. (2) Provide history of some situation, and impart knowledge of some truth. (3) Improve the listener's attitude toward the storyteller. (4) Comic relief.

A framed story provides a bonus on the appropriate skill check. Often this will be Diplomacy, though Bluff, Intimidate, and Perform (oratory) are also appropriate. Arabian sorcerers are known for weaving magic into their stories. A framed story can be used in conjunction with another character's skill, such as distracting a sultan while a thief smuggles horses out of the royal stables. Of course, a poorly told story can result in a penalty to the check instead.



Example: Rafiqi's Tale of the Princess

Jarett's character Rafiqi is found after having broken into the prince's harem. Hoping to avoid a painful death, Rafiqi spins a quick yarn to explain his presence, and decides he will play off the prince's prodigious lust for beautiful women.

Jarett decides to spend a Conviction point to relate a story about the beauty of a princess from Rafiqi's homeland. Rafiqi intends to convince the prince to spare his life and pursue this princess. Jarett temporarily becomes Narrator, and all the other players take on roles of various characters in the princess' story: wicked djinn, jealous step-mother, high-brow suitor, and her true love.

After 30 minutes of role-playing, Jarett decides the tale is complete, and hands the story back to the Narrator. Rafiqi's attempt receives the following modifiers: +1 (caters to prince's lust for foreign women), -1 (prince is hostile), +1 (gaming group felt Jarett did a great job), +1 (the story involved a name-guessing game with a djinn), +1 (Rafiqi claims to have heard the story through his uncle, who serves in the princess' court). The net bonus Rafiqi receives on his Bluff check is +3. Since it is a believable bluff, the prince rolls an opposed Sense Motive check. Rafiqi wins the check, but only barely.

The Narrator decides the prince has decided to investigate the truth of Rafiqi's word and see this princess for himself. In the meantime, Rafiqi is to be held captive in the palace. If he should be caught in a lie, the prince promises Rafiqi that he will permanently initiate him as a harem guard -- as a eunach.


Some stories bloom from one mind, and others are woven from many threads. Weaving gives a player the chance to influence what their character learns when rolling a Gather Information, Knowledge, Notice, Search, Sense Motive, Track, or power check. Instead of making the check as normal, the player simply declares whatever she expects the truth to be and rolls a d20, consulting the weaving table below to determine who narrates what happens. Depending on the result of the roll, the player may or may not have to spend Conviction. The Narrator always decides whether a given story allows the players to use Weaving. For example, a Narrator who has painstakingly prepared an adventure might forbid Weaving altogether.

Result Player
Spend Conviction?
1 - No, and... No
2-4 - No No
5-10 But... No 1 Conviction point
11-16 Yes But... 1 Conviction point
17-19 Yes - 1 Conviction point
20 Yes, and... - 2 Conviction points

"Yes" means the truth is as the player expected it to be.
"No" means the truth is other than what the player expected.
"But" means there's a complication or caveat that changes the situation.
"And" means that the failure or success is truly disastrous or spectacular.

Example: Rafiqi is listening to a group of guards conversing on the other side of a door. Jarett (Rafiqi's player) gets a great idea and attempts Weaving; he wants the guards to be arguing about the impending wedding of the sultan and Arasteh. Jarett makes a weaving check and rolls a 12; thus, Jarett narrates the "Yes" and his Narrator the "But." The guards are split regarding the wedding, half believing their pay will be reduced with the sultan fawning over his new wife, and half truly impressed with the sultan's bride to be... but, the guards decide to spy on the sultan to learn more, pushing through the door Rafiqi hides behind!