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TSOY Keys in HQ

Started by CCW, April 12, 2005, 09:06:40 PM

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OK, I don't have TSOY (I do think I know where to find it though).  I'm not sure what conclusion is being reached here though as far as using Keys in HQ.

Are we suggesting having a player goal, and then choosing one or two abilities to be "keys". When you use it, you get XP? And how does the buyoff aspect work then?


It's easier if you check out TSOY:

The most relevant portions are:

Keys (1)

Keys are the primary method of increasing a character's abilities in The Shadow of Yesterday. These are goals, emotional ties, or vows a character has. By bringing these into the story, the player gains experience points (XP) he can use to advance the character, increasing pools and abilities, or learning new Secrets and Keys.

Again, an example will illustrate this better:


Key of Conscience: Your character has a soft spot for those weaker than their opponents. Gain 1 XP every time your character helps someone who cannot help themselves. Gain 2 XP every time your character defends someone with might who is in danger and cannot save themselves. Gain 5 XP every time your character takes someone in an unfortunate situation and changes their life to where they can help themselves.

Buyoff: Ignore a request for help.

The Buyoff shown above is a special bit about Keys. Whenever a player has a character perform the action shown in one of the Buyoffs, the player can (this is not mandatory) erase the Key and gain 10 XP.

Unlike abilities and Secrets, the number of Keys a character can have is limited. A character can have no more than five Keys at one time.

Secrets and Keys (2)

Before play, players can choose one Secret and one Key for their characters. These can be taken, like abilities, from the relevant Open, Species, and Cultural Secret and Key lists.

Keys (3)

Keys are the motivations, problems, connections, duties, and loyalties that pull on your character. To the player, they're highly important because they generate experience points. Creating new Keys may be easier than new Abilities or Secrets - they follow very simple rules.

       * A Key must involve a motivation, problem, connection, duty, or loyalty.
       * Keys come in two types: * Motivations. When the motivation is fulfilled in play, gain an experience point. When the motivation is fulfilled against good odds, gain three experience points. * Everything else. When the Key comes up in play, gain an experience point. When the Key presents a minor problem, gain two experience points. When it presents a major problem, gain five experience points.
       * All Keys have a Buyoff, which is a reversal from the Key by the character. All Buyoffs give the character 10 experience points. This Buyoff occurs only when you, the player, wants it to happen: you can lose a battle with the Secret of Bloodlust and still keep the Secret. If you want your character to undergo a change in his personality, though, adding to the story, you can take this Buyoff by fulfilling it. If you do take the Buyoff, you can never take this Key again.

As always, see the pre-made Keys to get a feel for creating your own.
Open Keys

Key of Fraternity
   Your character has someone he is sworn to, a friend who is more important than anyone else. Gain 1 XP every time this character is present in a scene with your character (maximum 3 per adventure). Gain 2 XP whenever your character has to make a decision that is influenced by them. Gain 5 XP every time your character defends them by putting himself at risk. Buyoff: Sever the relationship with this person.

Key of the Guardian
   Your character has a ward, someone who depends on him for security and protection. Gain 1 XP every time this character is present in a scene with your character. Gain 2 XP whenever your character has to make a decision that is influenced by them. Gain 5 XP every time your character rescues them from harm. Buyoff: Sever the relationship with this person.

And so on.

What we're suggesting for HQ is that the general idea of Keys could be used to mechanically tie the goal into the game. One could do this by letting players take a key, or by having them use an ability (probably a personality trait or relationship) already on their sheet as a key. They would then get XP for bringing that key ability into game in plot important ways. [/b]
- Brand Robins


Has anyone tried this out yet, or come up with details of the mechanics?  I might try to playtest it with my face to face group, although a couple of them are a bit new-rule shy, if I can hand them a relatively coherent mechanic.

Charles Wotton

Mike Holmes

So I presented it to an online group. I did so, in part, because in a PBEM without defined "adventures" there is no demarcation point to where to hand out HP. I thought that this would be an elegant solution to the problem.

But the players came up with some very good objections. The most important of which is that HQ already provokes the sorts of behaviors that the Keys system provokes. So it's redundant in this way. Basically people would be finding things that they wanted to do with their character, then calling them keys (or the abilities that they'd be likely to need), and then they'd collect.

Now, this would solve my problem of handing out HP. But the other problem is that Keys do limit players in terms of what responses they can have to something - well, not limit, but heavily incentivize. For example, if you have a situation in which a character might fall in love with an NPC who they have the Key of Vengeance against, well, the options with keys are to either exact vengeance, or buy it off, and fall in love. You can do both, but you'll get no reward for it. Unless you buy the love as a key, in which case you could have done so before and the situation doesn't exist (basically the hypothetical assumes that you have no points to buy another key).

So your options are channeled. Fun options, sure. But HQ is cool in that all options are just as incentivized at all times by all of the character's abilities. As opposed to just a select few. And they instinctively didn't want to give that up.

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