Will Power (sometimes abbreviated to Will or WP) is the part of your character which indicates how resolute they are. In brief, Will covers self-discipline, self-control and determination. It’s that reserve of intangible energy inside everyone which, even when your muscles ache and your mind is too tired to think straight, compels you to move on.
Will Power Rankings
Will Power is measured on a scale of 1 to 10 for humans with 6 to 10 being the range for player characters. Human average is 8. The levels translate roughly as follows:
- 6 – You’re inclined to be easily distracted and easily beaten back in arguments. Addiction or compulsive behaviour are features of your character; other people might find you unreliable (at worst) and frivolous at best.
- 7 – You might display the odd addictive tendency but have enough self-awareness to not let it take you over. It’s a battle hard fought, however. You can get distracted, but put in sympathetic conditions and the right frame of mind, you can concentrate.
- 8 – Human average. You can drink without becoming an addict. You can smoke without developing a 20-a-day habit. You can argue without being influenced and consider counter arguments securely.
- 9 – You are notably resolute and not one to let others change your mind. You might come across as being quite intimidating to others who may consider you to have a strong personality or unapologetic way of interacting with others.
- 10 – You are a rock. At some point in your life you decided who you are, what you believe in, and have remained true to that. You might be considered reliable, loyal and solid. Also, pig-headed and stubborn.
On your character sheet, your Will Power stat (combined with your background, of course) should give a decent indication of how your character feels about themselves and their place in the world. As the stat is informed by the background, the two should work together nicely.
What can Will Power be used for?
If your number of Health Points slips to 0 or below, you can expend Will at a rate of 1 point every five minutes to keep yourself conscious. This does not negate the pain or impairment of any injuries that you’ve suffered and, at Ref discretion, if you continue to move in such a way as to aggravate your injuries, you may well make them worse.
The first Will point must be spent at the moment your Health reaches 0 (or below) in order to take effect. You cannot use Will once you are already unconscious to drift in and out: the act of spending Will is done by an engaged, conscious mind.
If you choose to not spend another Will point at the five minutes mark (or, indeed, you run out), then you will immediately fall unconscious. This could be as a result of pain, blood loss, delayed shock, etc.
You cannot use Will Power to keep yourself conscious after a Surprise Attack or after a Drop! call. The Surprise Attack and Drop! mechanic is there to deliberately catch characters out; your character will not have the opportunity to register that they are slipping into unconsciousness before it happens.
You cannot spend Will to keep yourself conscious when you reach 0 Will points or less, because that’s just silly.
Horror games can sometimes involve the working of rituals, rites, the use of unusual artefacts, and burning the candle at both ends in an effort to decipher eldritch tomes. All of these things draw on your Will Power.
A typical protective warding, for example, will require a single point to “infuse” the warding (be it an object or a symbol, as examples) with a part of your very essence. Rituals can vary with simple ones taking 1 point and more complicated, larger ones being at ref discretion.
Refs will try to remind players of the cost, but players will be trusted to keep their own tallies if they perform magic when a ref is not present.
Losing Will Power
So, what does it mean when you start losing Will Power? Consider the Will Power stat descriptors at the top there: The variation between 10 and 6 is quite substantial. 10 is a stubborn rock of opinion while 6 is mouldable clay.
As you start to lose Will, your determination and strength of personality starts to fade. Certainty in yourself and your place in the world falls, and your motivation and focus take a major hit. You can retain your personality and self-confidence, but will be increasingly less inclined to project yourself.
- At less than half your Will (regardless of your starting point) you will be lethargic to a disabling degree. Your skills will take longer to perform; this will be trusted as a role playing exercise. Refs and other players should be able to see you struggling to focus.
- At 1 WP, you are in a stupor. Read this Wiki page on Stupor for a very useful overview: unresponsive to external stimuli, incapable of coherent speech if able to speak at all, and malleable by anyone who wants to move you.
- At 0 WP or below, you are unconscious. Nothing can help you except rest; you should be prepared to lie still and unconscious.
- If you reach -5 points Will Power, then your Will to keep living has depleted. Devoid of strength and purpose, your body will simply give up. Your character will die.
Regaining Will Power
Will Power returns at a rate of 1 point per hour of dedicated and definite rest: resting with feet up, cup of tea and no strenuous movement works for this purpose
If you are unconscious or asleep, your Will Power will return at a rate of 1 per half hour.