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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 179 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: A system where characters are defined by their flaws?  (Read 1606 times)

Posts: 13

« on: July 28, 2007, 06:51:56 AM »

I was working on some ideas for a system in which the characters are defined primarily or entirely by their Flaws and problems. I eventually came up with this.

A character's entire statistics/attributes consist of Flaws. In other ways, they're considered to be fairly normal and competent characters. These flaws have no mechanical benefit/disadvantage other than making your character more interesting and providing the GM with possible reasons as to why they've failed/screwed up/been killed/etc.

The GM rolls Xd10 and totals them to determine the difficulty and informs you of the number of dice rolled but not the number they rolled.

You then choose to roll as many dice as you wish and total them.
For every 3 you roll: You suffer one point of Temporary Backlash and subtract 3 from your total. Temporary Backlash basically represents something bad but not catastrophic happening, even if you succeed.
For every 7 you roll: You add one point to your Backlash Pool. This builds up over time and when it goes off, the results are much worse than Temporary Backlash.

You may also choose to add any number of +5 Bonuses to your roll. For each Bonus you add, you must choose another number (other than 7 or 3) which adds a point to your Backlash Pool.

If you roll higher than the GM's Target Number, you get to Narrate the action but must include any Backlash that's been rolled. The GM and other players have to agree that your fate is appropriate to the amount/type of Backlash.

Backlash Pool takes effect if you ever roll lower than the total amount you have in the Pool. It then empties and you suffer some sort of dire fate which is chosen by the GM regardless of success.

I'm thinking though, why couldn't these 'Flaws' equally be positive traits and what makes this focused on flaws more than anything else? Basically it's supposed to represent characters who are competent and confident and not horrible failures, but when they do make mistakes they're big ones. I'm happy with the system, but can you spot any flaws or figure out a way to make cleave more closely to the 'Flawed characters' concept?

Posts: 12

« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2007, 09:27:18 AM »

I like the idea, but have you come up with the probabilities of too many huge botches in a row?

Also, I wouldn't feel comfortable playing such a system unless you wrote up blurbs here and there about how to handle failues (ie, comedic like r2d2/c3po, or vaguely tragic like playing a guy with 2 INT in Fallout). If said blurbs exist in your head, can you post one here that you've come up with in the shower?
Justin Nichol - BFG

Posts: 95

« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2007, 12:19:07 AM »

I can't remember the exact name but I've seen a game like this before, where people succeed unless their weakness, cowardice etc. cause them to fail. Can someone help me out?

Of course this doesn't mean you can't make another. But if I can remember the game, maybe you could take a look at how they did it.

Posts: 21

Mitch "Narmical" Morris

« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 06:42:47 AM »

where people succeed unless their weakness, cowardice etc. cause them to fail.

i don't think that is the same as this idea.

It seems to me that the flaws are used for story ideas only. and dont effect the mechanics of sucess on a test.

Whould the flaw picking be like a point-buy from a list system? or just a describe a carictor system?

would there be upper and lower bounds to the number of flaws?


Posts: 20

Keep Gaming

« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2007, 07:44:59 AM »

This concept reminds me of the core mechanic/idea from the B-Movie RPG called "Scared Stiff"


Essentially, each character is defined in negative terms, IIRC -- clumsiness, fearfulness, etc. In order to succeed at challenging encounters, you need to Overcome your failings... So if you want to balance on a highwire, you'd have to Overcome your Clumsiness...

It's just a twist on the definition on how things are related, but it sounds thematically strong.

if life is a game, i need new dice.
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