Hey MNmaxers, its Swany here with a little Rules Lawyer corner. I’m sure some of you are thinking “Pass on that!” But in this case it's about the Circus! Specifically, the rules to running the circus. I’ll try to keep it simple, as this is meant more for listeners to understand than someone running the circus in their own campaign.
OK with that out of the way, at level one there are 4 acts. Each act has 1-3 tricks performed by PCs and NPCs alike. The 1st act is a single trick called, shockingly, The Opener. It is meant to capture the crowd’s attention. Act 2 is 2 tricks called the Build Up, it sets up the crowd’s excitement and impresses them. The 3rd act is another single act, also known as The Big Number. The finale has 3 tricks to finish off the show with a bang. During and in between acts, there can be random events that have to be dealt with by the performers. I won’t go into details on those, as the mystery is part of the fun.
To recap 4 acts, 7 tricks. The circus starts off with 6 NPC tricks to choose from to go with any PC tricks. PC tricks are called Signature Tricks. At level 1, PCs can create a trick that has 1 trick check (skill check, fortitude save or attack roll) and 1 additional trick trait on top of the Circus trait that all tricks have. At the start of the circus there are 4 trick traits, agile, animal, fire and water. There are additional traits available as more performers are hired.
Like a battle turn, each trick has up to 3 actions. Those 3 actions can be used to perform the trick check up to once per action, Send in the Clowns once per ACT, or pass. At least 1 trick check must be performed in each trick. Sending in the clowns is used to turn a failure into a success or a critical failure into a regular failure. Trick checks have a multiple check penalty similar to multi-attack penalty -5 & -10. The agile trait can be used to make that -4 and -8.
Successful tricks generate excitement equal to the trick’s level (currently for us 1). Crit success generates the same amount of excitement but also generates additional anticipation. A failure does nothing and a crit failure loses excitement equal to half the level of the trick (minimum 1). Also, if the trick check has a save, the performer could sustain an injury.
A successful Circus performance is when the excitement exceeds the anticipation. A failure is the opposite. You can also critically succeed the show, but only when the excitement matches the anticipation exactly.
A few final definitions. Prestige - The circus starts with a prestige of 1. A failed show earns 1 prestige, success gets 2 and crit gets 4. Anticipation is a value that represents the crowd’s overall enthusiasm and expectation for the show. The higher the Anticipation, the bigger the payout. However, too much anticipation and it makes it hard to put on a successful show. Generating anticipation is mostly done pre-show by purchasing advertising and promoting the circus.
So how does all this come together? That is the simplest part. On a successful show there is a payout, in gold, equal to anticipation plus prestige. This is doubled on a critical success. A failure pays out excitement plus prestige then multiplied by .25.
Thanks everyone who made it through all of that! Enjoy the Show!
-Swany AKA Rules Lawyer