Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Yet Another Way to Make Your Elfgame Have Feels

I'm working on a BIGHUGETHING; so, in the meantime, I'm reposting some older stuff that was never posted on this blog. 

This one was written for my 4E historical game set in dark ages (yes I know that term is out of favor) Britain, but it's usable in any game with a meta-reward system (XP, Fate points, whatever). 

The sample flaws are very churchy; use as-is, interpret liberally, and/or replace with your own.

5E MATH NOTE!


1/5 of the XP value of a creature with CR = your level is ~10% of the XP you need to level. 


CHARACTER ARC

If you take a character flaw, you'll get some extra XP, your character will change, and your character will experience comedy or tragedy. If you don't want that possibility, don't take one.

There are three things necessary to make this work:

(1) A goal the PC strives for militantly. This should already be baked into the setting. In Against the Pagans, it's the conversion of England. You can have an additional one personally if you want.

(2) Someone you care about. Ideally, this is someone else. But it may be a community or an ideal.

(3) The flaw itself. This is either (a) your goal, if your goal is problematic, harmful, or if you are conflicted about it, or (b) something else that could lead to your severance from the thing(s) you care most about.

This can be freeform, or, for the sake of ease, you can roll a d8 on this table (of the 7 Deadly Sins plus one):

  1. Lust (sexual, or for power)
  2. Gluttony (intemperance / addiction)
  3. Greed
  4. Sloth (anxiety / depression / guilt)
  5. Wrath
  6. Envy
  7. Pride
  8. Error (in doctrine or apprehension of another's character)
Here's the thing, then. These are generally player-facing. They usually only come into play when you want them to. But, every time they do, you get 1/10 of the XP needed for the next level:

  1. In 4E, that's XP = a standard creature of your level
  2. In 5E, that's XP = 1/5 the XP value of a creature with CR = your level (or just [next level XP - this level XP] / 10)

Here's what I mean when I say "come into play." I mean I'll say, hey, show me how this is making everything terrible for you, or you can let me give you some ideas; I'll also tell you if something is weaksauce. Then you say it and get the XP. And it has to get worse each time; it has to escalate. You can set these situations up for yourself, or you can ask another player (including the DM) to do it for you. If you've played Fiasco, this is similar to the "Frame or resolve?" question.

At the end of every scene in which we see your issue killing you, save vs Tragedy (i.e., make a 4e-style death saving throw, unmodified by anything except your accumulated Save vs Tragedy bonus, if any).
In order to overcome your flaw, here's what you need to do:

Roll a 20+ on a death saving throw before accumulating three failures.

That may seem steep. In order to improve your chances, here's what you do:

Hear someone giving you advice, counsel, or comfort about the issue. Whenever you do this, gain +1 (cumulative) to save vs Tragedy.

Whether you accept it or reject it is up to you. The important thing is that you hear it and then show how you're responding. You can seek this out yourself, or another player (including the DM) may give it to you unsolicited or at your request.

If you do roll a 20+ before getting three failures, then you may choose to have a comedic outcome, where you overcome (or, if you're not tired of your issue yet, at least take a major step toward overcoming) your issue, and you get an XP bonus = 2x the XP value of a creature of your level. If you choose a tragic outcome, or if you fail, you get an XP bonus = 3x the XP value of a creature of your level. Note that you can always choose tragedy, and you get more XP if you do so, although things will of course be worse for your character.

You can deal with your issue in these mechanically significant ways once per "day," i.e., between extended rests. The GM can force dealing with an issue in this manner according to the same schedule.

So, to min-max your character, make a ton of really bad stuff happen and then tell me to make stuffeven worse, as bad as possible.