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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Handling common motivations and character specific ones with the same system  (Read 949 times)
chance.thirteen
Member

Posts: 210


« on: November 02, 2009, 11:02:51 PM »

I'm working on a mechanism that interlaces strong character motivators with temporary behavior modifiers brought on by social interaction.
It is very similar in form to the Spiritual Attribute in The Riddle of Steel.

In short as it stands:
* Motivations are rated 1-5, with 3+ representing a very strong guiding force in the characters life
* Motivations represent extra dice per scene
* Motivations can be used to resist social influence that goes against their goals, if the character understands it to be contrary

*Social skills can inflict social Influence on a character, simple things like "find me attractive in a general way" are quick and probably easy, while more complicated things like "focus your distrust of the Church onto targeting Signor Parilla for the loss of your wife" would take time and more success.

So far so good. It's not super well put together but in broad strokes it works to me.

I would also like to use this mechanism to rate common values, morality, and instincts. Things like treating more attractive people a little better, social deference, love, duty, not harming others, seeking ones best interests, virtues and vices. It makes sense as if I can decide upon common values to end up with a common resistance or drive to interact with characters attempts to sway characters. Ideally you could also contest two values for an npc, such as conflicting ones sense of moral right with a virtue like protectiveness of ones family, or a vice such as greed or lust.

So far, it also seems okay.

However, how do I deal with something like "the instinct to survive"? An issue in TROS and in my own system would be the temptation to claiming motivations that will always apply. While I have taken steps to keep Motivatiors from overwhelming the regular resolution mechanisms, I don't want to ignore the most basic motivators of all such as survival, acceptance, and desire.

One suggestion is that said instincts be phrased in a way that seems both sensible, and unheroic. EG survival would be phrased as "avoid threatening situations" which would prompt the person to flee, to not endanger themselves by going into a fire or drinking poison, to attempt to avoid credible threats, and so on. More potent character motivations might be "survive at any cost" or "my life before my Kings" which both limit and prompt action in a specific way.

Have I described my dilemma? Any ideas?

And yes, I know that many players would not want to be bound by numbers or dice, and I have a sense of where my own design and play goals lie, so I am not looking for a purely rigid system. I just need to put something as extreme SEEMING as "survival instinct" in context with something like "womanizer" or "code of honor" or "honest".
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chronoplasm
Member

Posts: 286

Kevin Vito


« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2009, 11:13:41 PM »

However, how do I deal with something like "the instinct to survive"? An issue in TROS and in my own system would be the temptation to claiming motivations that will always apply. While I have taken steps to keep Motivatiors from overwhelming the regular resolution mechanisms, I don't want to ignore the most basic motivators of all such as survival, acceptance, and desire.

What sort of setting or theme is the game intended for?
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Teataine
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2009, 01:54:20 AM »

I have a similar mechanic in my game and the way I handled it was that the most basic instinct to "survive" and "win" is already accounted for with the dice you roll on any normal check.

The bonus dice that come from motivations, have to be defined as will to do something other than surviving and/or winning the exchange. So for example in a fight, name an objective that is more than "live through it" or "kill the enemy", those motivations are inherent in the dice you're rolling. When you name an objective beyond that and support it with a character's motivation, then you bring the extra polyhedrons in.

But I think systems such as these hinge a lot of player agreement and sensibility. You can't hardwire it to just work.
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chance.thirteen
Member

Posts: 210


« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2009, 10:39:00 AM »

The setting is Victorian, the players are the recently empowered children of the gods of the old pantheons, facing down returned mythological threats, a conspiracy of magician families and the wonders of a "steampunk" age created by second release of the Promethean flame.

One element of my intended design that I keep allowing to fade into assumed without bearing in mind is that the intensity of a situation should and will play a part in how something works. While I can remember that the more attractive person will gain more social effect, and the more fearsome will gain more social effect, I can't seem to remember that the size of a bribe or the level of risk will play a part in how a person reacts to it.

Teataine, I can see the logic of your approach, for my own design it may be as simple as saying "assume the average person has a 2 base motivation that bears on the area, apply a set modifier for the intensity of the threat/danger/allure". This idea has to describe the dice that they get to roll at all.

I am attracted to  rephrasing the motivators mentally, describing them as drives with the low end representing habit and normative values, and higher levels describing actual passions.

Ideally, a similar setup could be used to represent a societal mindset, and allow that to be swayed as well.



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