The Status Byte

The Status Byte is used to track the various status effects in Virtual Machine. There are eight bits, each of which can be "on" (1) or "off" (0). The default setting is that all of them are "off" (Status=0). When you "reset" a status bit, that's setting it to 0.

In the City, the eight bits are implemented as follows:

  1. Blind - Cannot see. Four-cut penalty to Accuracy and Evade.
  2. Burning - Take 1/10 of your HP in Fire damage at the end of your last action each round
  3. Berserk - Must move toward the neared foe and attack at hand-to-hand range each turn.
  4. Silenced - Cannot Hack or access Mana resources.
  5. Confused - Act randomly each round. Draw one card: 1-4 = attack nearest enemy, 5-8 = run away from enemies, 9-Q = attack allies, K = attack self with best card. Ends if you are damaged.
  6. Invisible - Cannot be targeted. Can still be hit by area attacks. Ends as soon as you attack or speak. The attack that makes you becomes visible cannot be evaded.
  7. Noclip - Can pass through walls. All movement between adjacent areas costs 2 Move, regardless of whether they have an open passage between them. Also, ignore the Mirrored and Locked area statuses.
  8. Armored - Take half damage from non-elemental attacks.

The CPU will scramble the order of these bits so that they are different in every game.

Status effects are cleared by the Garbage Collector and the Witching Hour. The Hacker also has abilities that will let them remove or set specific bytes.

Area Status

Battlefield areas have status effects too!

  1. Dark - Characters attacking into or out of this area are treated as Blind.
  2. Cover - Attacks can be made out from this area, but not in to it (unless you are already in the area).
  3. Hazardous - Characters take 10% of their own Max HP as damage at the beginning of each round they spend in this area.
  4. Unstable - Characters who stay in this area are charged 2 Move Points at the end of the round. Those who cannot pay are ejected along the line with the lowest movement cost, and must also pay that cost, which may take them into negative Move Points.
  5. Sticky - Characters must pay an extra 2 Move to leave this area. Those who cannot pay cannot leave.
  6. Locked - Characters cannot enter or leave this area. This trumps any forced movement.
  7. Vulnerable - Characters in this area cannot attack or spend Move Points except to leave.
  8. Mirrored - These areas are actually two locations, marked 0 and 1. They have the same exits and move point costs, but they are not connected to each other. Those who enter must decide whether they are in 1 or 0. Characters in location 0 cannot affect those in location 1 (and vice versa) unless they have the Noclip status.

Many battlefield areas have additional "spot rules" that are not covered by a simple status effect. This might include applying a status to every character that enters the area, providing a raise or cut to a particular stat, treasure boxes, or even teleportation effects. Abilities that add or remove area status cannot affect spot rules.

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