Chill 3rd Edition
A Horror Roleplaying Game
Every one of us is weak: mere ants against the stalking giants that have brought us to our knees. Even when we work together, the Unknown is bigger than us, better armed, and better prepared for what’s to come. We have no real advantage, and our greatest victories have been nothing but the monsters toying with us before they descend to feast. Our fight is hopeless.
This is how we’re going to win.
—Hayat Nejem, “How to SAVE the World”
The Unknown lurks in the dark.
We all know it. Luckily, some of us use that knowledge to fight. The odds may be against us, but we can win.
Investigate the Unknown.
Will you stand with us? Remember — SAVE is on your side.
Rescue the Innocent.
Kill the Monsters.
Chill 3rd Edition is an investigative horror roleplaying game about people who stand up against monsters, hunting down supernatural threats and protecting the world from the Unknown. You don’t have to be a superhero to be a member of SAVE; you just have to stand up and join us.
How to PlayLike any game, Chill has rules. The rules in Chill are meant to facilitate the atmosphere of investigative horror — the characters learn about the mystery, gather information, and eventually confront the Unknown. Along the way they might be injured or scared out of their wits. They come up against supernatural creatures with evil, otherworldly powers, but they can use paranormal abilities of their own. Chill rules incorporate all of this and more.
To play Chill, you will need the following:
- A copy of the Chill book
- Character sheets, one per player (you can download a blank version from growlingdoorgames.com)
- At least two ten-sided dice, though it’s better if every player has their own set
- A set of tokens; coins work, as do poker chips as long as you can tell one side from the other (see below for more on how these work). Playing cards are another possibility, since it’s easy to tell when they’ve been turned (distinctly different fronts and backs). Plan to have two tokens for everyone playing.
- Pencils and scrap paper
The DiceChill uses two ten-sided dice, also called “percentile dice.” One of these dice is designated as the “ones” die, while the other is the “tens” die. By reading the dice this way, you generate a number 1-100 (many ten-sided dice have a 0 on one facing; if you roll double zeros, read the dice as “100”). Decide at the beginning of the game how everyone is going to read their dice; if you have two different colored dice, for example, the red one might always be the tens die and the black on the ones die. Some ten-sided dice are labeled “10, 20, 30, etc.” rather than with single digits. Some players prefer to “read” their dice left to right as they roll. Use whatever method works for your table.
Most rolls in Chill are called checks. Checks determine how successful a character is at attempting to do something within the game. For example, a character might attempt to climb up a tree to get away from a slavering monster; the player in this case would make a Movement check. Likewise, in a less fraught example, a character might attempt to do research in a library to determine what that monster in the woods is and how to defeat it — the player would then make a Research check.
A check is successful if the result is lower than a particular number, usually a skill or attribute rating (we’ll get to these terms in a bit). That number is called the target number. The higher the target number, the easier it is to roll under it, so you want your target numbers to be as high as possible. If a target number is 100 or more, you can only fail if you roll 100. A roll of a 100 is a failure, no matter what.
Specific ChecksMost rolls in Chill are Specific checks. A Specific check has five potential results:
- If the roll is higher than the target number, the result is a Failure. On most checks, this means your character did not accomplish what she was trying to do, or else might have achieved a Pyrrhic or costly victory.
- If the roll is lower than or equal to the target number, but still more than half the target number, the result is a Low Success. This level of success means the character accomplish what she set out to do; no more, no less.
- If the roll is lower than half the target number, the result is a High Success. On a High Success, the character succeeds with style — she might learn a helpful fact or put herself in an advantageous position for future checks.
- If the roll is doubles (33, 55, etc.) and is higher than the target number, the result is a Botch. A Botch is worse than a failure — the character has actively hindered herself in some way. If your character number is greater than 100, a roll of 00 is considered a Failure, not a Botch.
- If the roll is doubles and is lower than or equal to the target number, the result is a Colossal Success. A Colossal Success is the best a character can do — she learns exactly what she needs to learn, she acts decisively and swiftly, or she says precisely the right thing.
The TokensDuring a game of Chill, the players and the Chill Master have access to a set of tokens. In terms of the story, these tokens represent the relative strength of the Evil Way and the Unknown vs. the players’ characters. This balance will shift back and forth during a case; both sides will use the tokens to improve the results of their rolls, activate supernatural powers, and otherwise influence the narrative.
Tokens need to have a recognizable “light” and “dark” facing. Coins work (heads for light, tails for dark), as do poker chips (just take a marker and black out one side) or playing cards (card backs for dark, faces for light).
At the start of a case, the group has a number of tokens equal to the number of players (including the CM), plus one. Two of these tokens are dark, the rest are light. Under certain circumstances (detailed below), the Chill Master will add a light token. The total number of tokens can never be greater than twice the number of players (including the CM).
Turning a Token DarkA player can turn a token dark (flipping it from the light side to the dark side) to accomplish the following:
- Add 10 to a target number. The player can turn multiple tokens this way and can do so after she has rolled the dice.
Note that it is possible to turn a Botch into a success using tokens. For instance, in the previous example, if Connie had rolled a 77, that would be a Botch (higher than her target number and doubles), but turning a token would raise her target number high enough to be successful. She still turns a token dark from the Botch regardless, plus any tokens required to raise her target number. At that point the check is a Colossal Success in terms of what it means for the story, but the player does not turn a token light (see below).
- Activate the Art. Some characters use the Art — paranormal abilities that SAVE envoys develop through patient and careful study. Use of any discipline of the Art requires the player to turn a token dark.
- Automatically succeed on a Sensing the Unknown check. All SAVE envoys can sense the presence of the supernatural. Players can do so by rolling dice or by turning a token dark.
- Gain Insight. When a character uncovers knowledge related to her current case or when a character has direct exposure to the Unknown, the player can turn a token dark and learn or remember a relevant fact about the situation.
- Reduce the level of Trauma suffered from a Resolve check. Players make Resolve checks when their characters encounter horrific or revolting events during the game, which can result in psychological stress and fatigue.
- Save the life of an envoy. This requires that the player turn all available light tokens dark. The envoy in question survives, but is badly injured.
- NOTE: A player must turn a token dark if she rolls a Botch, or if the Chill Master rolls a Colossal Success.
Turning a Token LightThe Chill Master can turn a token light (flipping it from the dark to the light side) to accomplish the following:
- Add 10 to the target number of a character under the CM’s control. The CM can turn multiple tokens this way, and can do so after she has rolled the dice. Rules for converting a Botch into a Colossal Success are the same as for players.
- Activate certain Disciplines of the Evil Way, the dark powers of the Unknown.
- Inconvenience the characters in minor, but important ways that complicate the situation. For example, the CM might turn a token light to have a character’s cell phone chime when he is trying to be stealthy, to have a character’s car break down at an inopportune time, or to have a witness panic and run away when the characters are trying help him.
- Have an NPC (non-player character; a supporting character not under the control of a player) take an action or experience something that is detrimental or dangerous to the envoys. For example, the CM might turn a token light to make an NPC flee in terror, get in a car and drive off (leaving the envoys stranded), or suffer a mortal injury at a creature’s hand.
- NOTE: The Chill Master must turn a token light if she rolls a Botch, or if a player rolls a Colossal Success.
The Chill Master will add a token under the following circumstances:
- When the forces of the Unknown become aware of the characters’ presence, the Chill Master adds a dark token. This only happens once per case.
- Certain powerful Disciplines of the Evil Way require the Chill Master either to turn multiple tokens light or to add a light token.