A Path to Steam
-5 to -30 points
A Secret is an aspect of your life or your past that you must keep hidden. Revelation would result in lasting negative consequences. The point value depends on the severity of those consequences:
Serious Embarrassment: If this information gets around, you can forget about ever getting a promotion, getting elected, or marrying well. Alternatively, revelation of your Secret might simply attract unwelcome public attention. -5 points.
Utter Rejection: If your Secret is revealed, it will change your whole life. Perhaps you will lose your job and be rejected by friends and loved ones. Perhaps admirers, cultists, long-lost relatives, or the press will harass you. -10 points.
Imprisonment or Exile: If the authorities uncover your Secret, you’ll have to flee, or be imprisoned for a long time (GM’s discretion). -20 points.
Possible Death: Your Secret is so terrible that you might be executed by the authorities, lynched by a mob, or assassinated (by the Mafia, CIA, etc.) were it revealed. You would be a hunted man. -30 points.
Frequency of Appearance
In general, a Secret appears in a particular game session if the GM rolls a 6 or less on 3d before the adventure begins. However, as for all other disadvantages of this type, the GM need not feel constrained by the appearance roll. If he thinks that the Secret
should come into play, it does!
When a Secret appears in play, it is not automatically made public. The GM will give you a chance to prevent your Secret from being revealed. This might require you to cave in to blackmail or extortion, steal incriminating documents, or even silence the person
who knows the Secret. Regardless of the solution, however, it’s only temporary – the Secret will appear again and again until either you buy it off with earned character points or it is finally revealed.
Effects of Revelation
If a Secret is made public, there is an immediate negative effect ranging from serious embarrassment to possible death, depending on the severity of the Secret (see above). There is also a lasting effect: you suddenly acquire new, permanent disadvantages – or
lose advantages – worth points equal to twice what the Secret was worth! These new disadvantages replace the Secret on your character sheet, and reduce your point value accordingly.
The GM chooses the new disadvantages and lost advantages, which should always be appropriate to the Secret. Most Secrets turn into Enemies (p. 135), negative
Reputations (p. 26), and Social Stigmas (p. 155), or reduce or remove advantages described under Wealth and Influence (pp. 25-30). Some could even turn into mental or physical disadvantages.