Violence plays a part in all animal life. In the Fifth World, as in humanity’s ancient past, it plays a small and, for the most part, controlled part. Try to eliminate it altogether, though, and it may grow, and become all-consuming. Violence can spread like a disease, and though often considered an ailment of the ancient past that the Fifth World has left behind, a family may still relapse.
When you commit an act of violence or endure an act of violence committed against you, you gain brutality. You become more experienced and acquainted with violence. Write down what happened on your brutality sheet. Your brutality equals the number of incidents that you have either committed or endured, up to a maximum of 20. You start the game with brutality points equal to your brutality. If you gain brutality in the middle of the game, you gain a brutality point, too.
Committing an act of violence should usually involve the ritual phrases “that sounds difficult,” “…very difficult,” “that sounds dangerous,” and “…very dangerous.” You can spend a brutality point instead of a moment of awareness in response to any of these ritual phrases when you intend to commit an act of violence.
When two main characters enter into a violent struggle, whoever chooses to spend the most brutality points (or whoever has the most to spend) will win, and may force the loser to take a scar. Any main character in a violent struggle can also spend brutality points to force another main character to take a scar.
Example: Stalker and Peregrine get into a fight. Stalker spends three brutality points, but Peregrine chooses to spend four. Stalker decides not to spend anymore, allowing Peregrine to win. Peregrine forces Stalker to take a scar, and then spends another brutality point to make Stalker take a second scar. Stalker spends his three remaining brutality points to force Peregrine to take three scars. Since they've both suffered and inflicted violence on each other, they both write down the incident on their brutality sheets, and they both gain a new brutality point.
New Ritual Phrase: “Will you lash out?”
When a situation becomes tense, such that a violent person may simply lash out, anyone can ask one of the players whose character appears in the encounter, “Will you lash out?” That player can decide to lash out violently or try to control her temper. If she tries to control her temper, she must spend a moment of awareness for every five brutality points she has (e.g., one moment if she has five brutality points, two if she has ten, etc.)
The Road Back
Since suffering from violence can also make you more acquainted with it, violence spreads like a disease. As you commit more violence, it becomes more tempting to use it to solve your problems, and that, in turn, leaves more people who have suffered from it. Once introduced, this disease can spread until everyone has died. How can we possibly stop it?
You can encounter each event that you have listed on your brutality sheet. If you succeed on an appeal, it will reveal to you what you must do to recover from that trauma. Do it, and you can erase that item, reducing your brutality.