Heropoints for the Narrator

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Sometimes when running and a contest comes up, after the dice have hit the table, I have a certain notion to spend a heropoint. But at the same time, I feel like it would be cheating. Oh, the rules state that a narrator may give some NPCs heropoints of their own, if they are important enough. Seems like they never are. I mean, as narrator I usually set the resistance, so using heropoints seems like changing the level of the resistance by a mastery.
Somewhere I read the term Villainy points as a sort of heropoints for NPCs. That term just intrigued me. So I have dreamed up a "new" reward system. I intend to give every player a pool of points to give out during play to other players, rewarding them instantly. The narrator also gets a pool. Now, my idea is that the players can reward the narrator, as well. If they like the portrayal of a certain NPC or something like that, they can give the narrator a point to use with that NPC. Hopefully, this will accomplish several things:
1. Give the narrator some heropoints, but not arbitrarily chosen by himself. Rather bound to player interest.
2. Show interest of players in certain NPCs. If they give a point for an NPC, reason could be that they have taken an interest in this character.
3. Teach them that the game is not about winning. After all, every point given to an NPC is one less point for PCs.

I am pretty set to try this out, but would like to hear what you think about it. Does this idea have some merit? Has anyone a similar system? Any other thoughts?


Mike Holmes:
In a startling case of convergent evolution, I just instituted a system whereby when players are in contests they get points that they must immediately give out as HP to reward other players. In one case, a player wanted to give me a reward for, as it happens, playing a PC with an absent player. The first thing I thought was, "Aha, now I have a HP that I can use to bump with this NPC." But then I thought..."Wait, it's JB's character...maybe the HP belongs to the character? And not me?"

That's how we ruled in the end. That the HP is available to whoever plays the PC. I usually think of HP as a player resource...when one character leaves play, for instance, I usually allow the player to transfer any unused HP to their play of the next character (and back, if the old character comes back). But in this particular case, the HP will reside with the character, given that credit is due to both the player for making an entertaining character, and to me for playing him well enough to get the reward.




I remain to be convinced. I have certainly spent Hero Points for major NPC's in the past. Its always been interesting when the player knows the NPC has some to spend. However this is only dramatically interesting when it is a Major NPC, IMO. Hero Points are part of what sets a Hero apart from the so called normal folks, even clan warriors. I see no reason to depart from the rules in this situation.

What interests me is why you would want to spend hero points on 'mooks'?

Best regards

Rob, that seems to be a misunderstanding. I did not make it clear, but of course I refer only to heropoints for major antagonists, not mooks. I cannot see this system work with mooks. After all it requires interest in the NPC on the side of the players. Now, if they like some unimportant NPC that much, that they want to give a point for it, than that probably makes this NPC a major NPC, though. Certainly depending on the situation.


Its always been interesting when the player knows the NPC has some to spend.

I take it that you announce to your players that this character has heropoints right when it becomes important? Or does it come as a surprise to them?

Mike, could you explain your system a bit more? It sounds interesting and I think you metioned it as an idea in an earlier thread. How does it work, what does it facilitate, did it realize the hopes you had for it?
So, if you see HPs as a player resource, are you saying, that you do not use HPs for NPCs?


My main note of caution would be:

Quote from: sebastianz on October 09, 2006, 12:48:26 PM

3. Teach them that the game is not about winning. After all, every point given to an NPC is one less point for PCs.

For a start, the phrase "not about winning" is a vague one, but here I take it to mean:

"Each individual conflict can be equally interesting, win or loose it, and indeed may be more fun for the players if the character looses." (Depending on CA this could be a win for the group.)

If you are seeking to push this idea strongly to your players then HP for the narrator may send a mixed message, as it could inadvertently stress to the players that there are some conflicts that you have a vested interest in. This in turn can encourage players to more directly oppose you in such conflicts.

I believe your aim is to stress the fun in helping the Narrator make conflicts more of a challenge, but I think you would be best served in setting the challenge yourself, framing it as meaningful conflict, and not emphasising the Player V Narrator context.

Another related context for this would be in how HP bumping effects the narration. I have had a situation where a player's HP bump actually resulted in a worse position for the character, as I see HP as a player tool. (Note I don't mean bumping down).


Situation: Urvar (NPC) holds a personal grudge against Angelos (PC) due the fact he limps due to wound inflicted by him.

Narrator: Urvar is running for political office and is expousing his views to a small group at a party.

Player: Angelos is going to openly refer to the wounding incident as unfortunate, with the aim of making him relinquish his grudge in public, as Angelos just wants to resolve the whole issue.

System: Minor victory

Narrator: Urvar appears to be embarrassed but does not wish to engage in that debate here.

Player / System: What happens if I spend a HP?

Narrator / System: On a Major Victory, he gets angry and says "any personal grudges we may have are not relevent here" he then gets embarrassed and walks out.

Player / System: OK I spend the point.

I have broken the rules as written by not reflecting the character goal, but instead I chose the player goal, which had more going for it in terms of future conflict. I checked first with the player though, as when bumping occurs it is the player who chooses, and it is up to him if the resulting narration matches his expectations. 

The point here is the player was fishing for a better angle on the unresolved issue, and by bumping he is getting what he wanted.

As HP are already used in this less concrete manner then I don't see the need to wield them myself. In theory terms I am using the HP expenditure to negotiate plot authority with the player.


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