XCOM: At Any Cost

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XCOM squad.jpeg

Recruitment | Pathways Tracker | Pathways mind map | OOC | IC


Scene Mechanics[edit]


  • Unnamed Asset d6 (something like Got Your Number d6) (CATHAR)
  • Obscured Ex-Priest d10 (CATHAR)
  • Perimeter Sweep d10 (FOXHUNT)
  • Knows the Battlefield d6 (RISKER)
  • Medkit 1d6 (SNOW)
  • SNOW-Controlled Vehicle d10 (Everyone)


  • That Traitor Priest is Here! d8
  • Reinforcements Are On Their Way d8


  • Poisoned d6 (Difficulty 16) on FOXHUNT's d10 Courage
  • Leg Wound d4 on FOXHUNT's d8 Tactics
  • Gut Shot d8 on Viper

Scene Distinctions[edit]

Plot Points[edit]

Player Plot Points Hero Dice
SNOW 0 d8, d10 x2
DOOM POOL 1d6, 1d8, 1d10


  • Viper
  • Man in velvet smoking jacket and slippers
  • ((Heavy Lancer, d10 stress on d10 trait))
  • ((ADVENT Trooper, male, Thoroughly Pulse Rifled d10 on d8 trait))
  • ((ADVENT Trooper, female, RISKER'd d8 on d8 trait))




  • d4 Poor. Yeah... not good.
  • d6 Disadvantaged: Your character tends to get in more trouble or functions at the lower end of their ability.
  • d8 Stable: Your character is comfortable in these situations and performs neither at their best nor their worst.
  • d10 Advantaged: Your character performs at their best in these situations.


  • d4: I don’t feel anything for this person.
  • d6: This person matters, but so do a lot of people.
  • d8: I’m invested in this person.
  • d10: This person matters more than most.
  • d12: There’s nobody who matters more than they do.


Action-Based Resolution (p. 24)[edit]

Using this mod, anything a player character or GMC does is called an action. If you want to carry out an action, you declare it, gather up your pool, and roll the dice, just as if you were starting a contest. Instead of moving to a back and forth escalation like a contest, the action is opposed by a reaction, which is either the target of the action rolling their own dice, or a difficulty set by the GM rolling difficulty dice. If the reaction beats the action’s total, the action fails.

Because the action’s dice are always rolled first, before difficulty dice or opposing reactions are rolled, action-based resolution can make actions seem chancy. Players may not know whether they should include more dice into their totals with PP. To offset this somewhat, the GM’s difficulty total or the reaction total must exceed the action’s total for the action to fail.

Even though we're not using the italicized section quoted above (I'll explain in-game), we are using the bolded section. Ties go to the aggressor in Action-Based Resolution.

Hero Dice (p. 30)[edit]

Heroic Successes (+5 above difficulty) allow you to bank a die equal to the highest rolling die in the opposing dice pool, while still stepping up the Effect Die. To use a Hero Die, you spend a PP and roll the die, adding it to your total in any test or contest. If you roll a hitch, you can decide to take back the Hero Die instead of using it in order to negate the hitch. You will, however, still expend your activating PP.

Hero Dice as Effect Dice (p. 31)[edit]

With this mod, hero dice may also be spent to substitute for low effect dice from dice rolls. Used this way, the player spends a plot point and uses the hero die as the effect die instead of one of the dice from the roll. If this application of hero dice is used in a game, the heroic success does not also step up this new effect die. That only applies to effect dice sourced from the die roll itself.

For example, after winning a contest with a GMC, your player character might only have a d4 left in the dice pool to use as the effect die. If you had a hero die banked, such as a d8, you could spend a plot point to switch out the d4 with the d8.

Multiple effect dice may be created in this fashion for a single outcome by spending more PP.


A resource is a category of traits that supplements a character’s prime sets in the same manner as signature assets or specialties do. There are four types of resource: extras, locations, organizations, and props. Resources are represented usually by two or more dice of the same size, which may be used to aid a test or contest where that resource is helpful or significant. Players may choose how many resource dice to roll; any that are used are considered spent and recover later during downtime. Thus, if a character has 3d6 in a resource and uses 2d6 to aid in a test or contest, those two dice are spent, and one remains.

Resource dice are not rolled in the dice pool that they are aiding in the test or contest. They are committed before the test or contest dice pool is rolled but rolled separately; if more than one resource die is spent to aid a test or contest, only the highest rolling die is applied. This result is added to the total. Resource dice rolled in this way are spent and recover during the next bridge scene, exploration scene, or at the end of the session.

Every resource has a name, a die rating (in multiples of d6, but sometimes larger dice), and (optionally) some kind of tag or label to indicate what kind of field or quality that resource belongs to, such as Politics, Crime, Academics, or Military. If you’re using tags, each listed resource should have two of them, and they should inform you of the kind of test or contest that the resource might apply to. A GM is also free to invoke GMC resources by spending plot points to add to an opposition dice pool.

Shaken & Stricken, p. 42[edit]

Shaken & Stricken is a form of Stress, that applies Stress dice directly to Attributes.

Any time a failure at a test or contest might take you out or cause harm, you take Stress instead, either equal to the Effect Die in the attack or stepping up pre-existing Stress. Stress applied to an Attribute is added to the opposition’s dice pool whenever the player uses that Attribute in a test or contest. If the Stress applied to an Attribute is equal to or greater than the Atttribute it’s assigned to, the PC is considered Shaken. They can only keep one die from their dice pool for their total (barring PP expenditures or SFX). If they’re already Shaken and take Stress to another Attribute that would make them Shaken, they’re considered Stricken and are taken out of the scene until they can recover. A character becomes Stricken as well if any of their Attributes have Stress stepped up beyond d12.

Recovering Stress[edit]

All Stress die ratings are always stepped down by one during any scene specifically framed to act as a rest period, downtime, or transition between action-heavy scenes. If a character takes Stress in one scene from a battle, and the next scene is another battle soon after the first without any time spent resting up, then no Stress is recovered.

Stress may also be recovered through active efforts by characters within the game, as a rolled Test.

Pushing Stress[edit]

Character may shoulder through their pain and suffering and use it as a motivator rather than a setback.

Spend a PP, and instead of adding the Stress to the opposing dice pool, you add it to your own dice pool for that test or contest. Using Stress in this fashion has an additional cost. After the test or contest is resolved, the Stress die included in your dice pool is stepped up by one. This may result in the PC being Stressed Out if the die is stepped up past d12.


Trauma is long-term Stress. Any time a PC’s Stress is stepped up past d12, they’re Stressed Out of the scene, and they gain d6 Trauma of the same type of Stress that just increased. Trauma functions just like Stress but is much harder to recover.

During any scene in which a character is Stressed Out and has taken Trauma, additional Stress to the character goes directly to Trauma. Once Trauma is stepped up beyond d12, the character is permanently out of options — they’re dead, hopelessly incoherent, lost to their own psyche, or whatever seems most appropriate.

If the next scene is a recovery, transition, or otherwise restful scene in which the PC can be taken care of or allowed to recuperate, the PC’s Stress is stepped down by one, but the Trauma remains at the level it was at the end of the previous scene. Recovering Trauma will require narrative conditions and a rolled Test.