I recently added a glossary to the Survival of the Able manuscript. This wasn’t included in the first draft, but I feel it adds a lot to the overall readability of a book so I decided to include it even for the ashcan.
This glossary offers a broad overview of what you can expect to find in terms of game mechanics, so it makes a great overview. It is posted here so you can take a quick peak for yourself.
One thing to note: This game shares a lot of terms with Fudge and Fate Core, but it doesn’t use those systems directly. You may be familiar with Fate Points, for example, but they dont’ work identically to the same mechanic in Fate Core. They’re similar enough that I thought using the same name would help people tie the concepts together in their minds, but that may also ultimately end up confusing people. With that said, some of these terms may change for the final release.
Without further ado, here is the Survival of the Able Glossry.
Glossary of Terms
The following terms are used frequently throughout the book. We’ll discuss most of them in greater detail later. They appear below roughly in order of appearance, not in alphabetical order.
The terms in this section define mostly out-of-game elements.
Game Master (GM): Any person, of any gender or ability level, who facilitates a game session.
Player: Any person playing a session who is not the GM. When we refer to a player, we are talking about the actual person playing the game.
Player Character (PC or character): A character in the story who is controlled by a player. When we refer to a PC or a character, we are talking about an imaginary person.
Non-Player Character (NPC): Any character in the story not controlled by a player. Usually NPCs are controlled by the GM. Occasionally a player will have the option to control an NPC for a brief period, but the GM has the final say over the NPC’s actions and it does not become a PC.
Session: Any contiguous block of time the group chooses to spend playing Survival of the Able. The game’s included adventure can be played in one or two sessions.
Campaign: Multiple sessions involving the same players and characters.
Group: All the player characters and any permanent (or semi-permanent) non-player characters who may be travelling with them.
These terms apply to in-game elements.
Trait: The basic building blocks of every character. Traits include Senses, Qualities, Anxieities and Assurances, and Skills. Most Traits, other than Anxieties and Assurances, are defined by the Trait Ladder.
Trait Ladder: A list of adjectives and numbers, descending from Fantastic (+5) to Terrible (-3). Most Traits fall somewhere on this ladder. For example, your character might have Good (+1) Hear as one of their Senses, while another player’s character may only have Average (+0) Hear.
Dice (Fudge Dice): This game uses four Fudge Dice (4dF) to randomize the results of your actions.
Blessed Dice (BD): A special pool of dice from which you may draw to boost your luck. Using a Blessed Die allows you to re-roll a die and take the new result.
Check: Whenever you roll dice to test whether a Trait succeeds, you are making a Check.
Difficulty: A measure of how hard it is to successfully make a Check.
Difference:,/b> Literally, the difference between your Check and the Difficulty. This number may be positive or negative. Checks are not usually “pass / fail” and are outcomes often modified based on your Difference.
Fate Points (FP): A number of points you have to spend on special actions, such as gaining more Blessed Dice or recovering from trauma.
Actions: Something your character does in the game world. Actions may be Free (meaning they require little to no time or effort), Unopposed (meaning nobody is trying to stop you from taking the action), or Opposed (meaning someone is trying to stop you from taking the action).
Tags: Special story elements which add benefits or complications to the story. Players may use a Tag to re-roll a die if that Tag would benefit them, but if it would hinder them they must re-roll and take the worse result. For example, if a Tag says it is “a dark and stormy night,” the character may benefit from a re-roll when trying to hide, but they would suffer a negative re-roll when trying to see without a nearby source of light.
Conflict: When two or more PCs and NPCs oppose one another, such as when a zombie is trying to bite your face, there is a Conflict. Conflicts are tracked in time by Rounds.
Conflict Round: Every six-second block of time during a Conflict. Rounds are a simple way to adjudicate how many actions a PC or NPC may be able to take. Everyone’s actions occur simultaneously during a Round.
Wound: When you receive physical trauma, you suffer a Wound. You may only accumulate a certain number of Wounds before you become Incapacitated or Dead.
Damage: A measure of the severity of a physical Wound.
Healing: Any action which allows you to recover from one or more Wounds.
Stress: A measure of one’s emotional state. Each character may take up to 10 Stress before they suffer a Nervous Breakdown. Certain circumstances may cause a character to take Stress while others allow them to recover from it.
Infected: Any character who has contracted the plague is Infected. They must receive medical attention or they will die and come back as a zombie.
Zombie: Flesh-craving undead monsters who hunger for the flesh of the living. Some of them may have once been people you knew. They no longer care about your past relationship and will attempt to devour you regardless.
Scene: Part of the story in which something interesting happens. Each Scene may have several goals, events, and possible outcomes.
Zone: A location within a Scene, broken down into parts. For example, a Farmhouse might be the location of the Scene, and it may contain Zones such as a living room, cooking area, yard, and field. Some Zones, such as a field, may be broken into even smaller, more manageable parts.