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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 171 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Destiny] Magic, rewards and resources  (Read 756 times)

Posts: 5

« on: August 23, 2009, 11:58:25 AM »


I’m starting to get more details in my design (which started in this topic: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=28502.0), I’ve even got a name for my game. I think I’m getting closer to the playtest phase. Before I start testing my game (I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it in the next few weeks), I want to refine most important elements. I have a few questions, but I need to explain some things before i proceed with them.

My game is fantasy oriented, with visible influence from Planescape setting and Mage: the Ascension game. One thing I very like about Planescape is the fact, that belief has such strong influence on the universe. I’m centering my game and its setting around following principles:

- Everything is magic. Every skill beyond mundane level has a magical capability. Every hero possessing such skill can use it in a mundane way or invoke magic to do something (1) more easily or (2) do something which is beyond mundane abilities. As I’ve said, everything could be „mundane” or „magic” – be it sword fighting, alchemy or healing.

- Magic is always tied to some beliefs and values. Belief itself is a source of magic. Using magic is dangerous, and always drags the hero towards imbalance, drains his free will. One’s belief taints him if magic is overused and starts to manifest in a physical way. Last stage of such degeneration is complete slavery to one’s beliefs (such character becomes unplayable and is handed to the GM).

How does it work in game terms?

Every character has a Balance/Imbalance slider (its a 20 point scale with points added from the middle). Activating magic adds one point on the Imbalance side.

Every character has a group of Deeds (like „fight demons”, „secure law and order”, „work for freedom of all men”). They represent beliefs and values he thinks are worth risking. Actions that are related to them allow to remove Imbalance points or, if there are none, add Balance points.

Reaching Imbalance limit earns a Mark, a flaw connected with character’s belief. Getting 5 Marks means that character is no longer able to act according to his will, he is lost. Reaching Balance limit earns a Favor, which is opposite to the Mark and, in addition, earning one removes one Mark (and vice versa). Favors and Marks are always physical in nature and can be easily discerned by others.

Before I proceed with questions, I need to mention how advancing looks in my game. Characters get to have a number of Destiny points used to raise character’s Traits after each adventure. They can also be used during some in-game situations – to boost dice rolls, negate wound effects, etc.

Destiny points are gained when character fulfills his Goal (main motivation of each player character) or roleplays his Personality traits (like „vengeful”, „kind-hearted”, etc.), which work somewheat similar to the Deeds. They can be lost if character does something against those traits. It should be noted, that players don't get any other rewards. They can earn "experience points" only through pursuing their Goal and role playing Personality.

As you can see, there are 3 types of role playing guides and reward methods for players – Goal, Deeds, Personality. I’m interested in your opinion about their coherence. Is difference between Deeds and Personality clear enough?

Do you think that this reward system will work? Players are motivated to push the plot forward (Goal) and roleplay their characters (Personality), because they receive „experience points” for such actions.

They are somewheat forced to act on behalf of their beliefs (Deeds). Why? They will be forced to use magic when faced with tough obstacles and it’s GM’s job to provide the players with demanding opposition. They will pile up Imbalance points if they don’t do something about their ideals, and they can even loose their character. What do you think about it? Is it to rough on players? Would this kind of system derail the story too much, forcing the players to pursue their Deeds too often? I think it could be a nice conflict generator, with players constantly torn between group goals and personal beliefs, but I’m interested in your opinions.

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