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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 59 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: (Delta-X) On Traits  (Read 467 times)
Ryven Cedrylle
Member

Posts: 3


« on: April 05, 2010, 03:09:09 PM »

I've been 'developing'  (read that term pretty loosely) a game for several years now roughly based in psychological archetypal astrology; it's a modern magic kind of setting.  The character creation works as follows:

Each character has 12 Archetypes that function as skills, roughly analogous to the various zodiac signs....
the Strong Warrior             the Graceful Artist
the Resourceful Survivalist          the Intense Loner
the Speedy Trickster                  the Thoughtful Explorer
the Nurturing Healer                  the Wise Overseer
the Inspiring Performer          the Brilliant Rebel
the Skilled Craftsman                  the Dreamy Mystic


..and then Traits based on the planetary keywords: Style, Instinct, Mind, Build, Appeal, Luck (+), Karma (-), Resources, Experience, Fellowship, and "X' to name several.  You place your Traits in your Archetypes to create a dice pool, though you don't start with all of them available to you.  Is your character athletic?  Place your Build in the Warrior.  Did your character have a traumatic event in her past involving the loss of someone young or sick?  Place your Experience in the Healer.  You get the idea. 

I have a desire to make the intersection of each Trait and Archetype unique somehow (called Aspects) and power them with Efforts.  There are three kinds of Efforts, Per-Scene (automatic refresh), Per-Session (awarded by other players) and Invested (earned by achieving character goals).   The problem here is the math.  12 Archetypes x 17 Traits x 3 Effort levels = entirely too many combinations for me to write - 612 just to make one Aspect for each combo!!  I have yet to come up with a system that satisfies me so I bring the idea to you.  How would you go about making each permutation unique without going bat-guano crazy?

Thanks in advance,
Ryven
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horomancer
Member

Posts: 54


« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2010, 03:42:07 PM »

Well to be frank you either have to
1) put forth epic creativity to fill all 612 combos
2) do something else
I would go with do something else, but I'm pretty lazy.
I see how the 12 archtypes can cover pretty much any skill anyone wants to try, but I'm a bit hazy on the Traits. Why do I need to put them with the archtypes? What would it mean if I put Resources with Graceful Artist? I'm an art dealer or some such? Also the Efforts are kinda vague. What are they and how do they power the Traits/Archtypes? Can you give us a functional example?
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Ryven Cedrylle
Member

Posts: 3


« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2010, 04:53:57 PM »

love the honesty around here.     Examples it is!

1) Your character (in partial) is attempting to seduce an NPC.
It's the 1920's - a speakeasy.
Appeal is in Intense Loner - you're dark, handsome and dangerous.
Your Graceful Artist Skill (which handles seduction) has 4 dice.  You will need 3 successes in order to pass this test without compromise - not a simple feat for 4 dice so you're going to need to play to the Archetype in which your Appeal sits.  You narrate your action "I sit down at the bar and order a martini, shaken.  I tell the barkeep to 'hurry it up, I've got places to go and the coppers are on my tail' as I lower my fedora over my eyes.'"  Since I was able to play to my Appeal Archetype, I can reroll one of my failing dice (if any).

2) Your character needs to procure an illegal weapon.
It's a generic cyberpunk setting.
Mind is in Brilliant Rebel - you invent or jury-rig things.
Benefit is in Inspiring Performer - luck is on your side when you make a spectacle of yourself
Resources is in Graceful Artist* - your roommate is a law student and so you have access to a bunch of blank legal documents
This setup of personality traits would suggest that you would do best to say, forge a warrant (Trickster, with Resources bonus), obtain parts for the weapon as "evidence" from a penal center using the false warrant (Performer, with Benefit bonus) and then build the thing yourself (Rebel, with Mind bonus).

There's nothing technically stopping you from putting all your Traits in their 'proper' Archetypes for the easy reroll, but in doing so, you will never be able to rack up the 4, 5, or more successes to achieve really difficult tasks.  You would be moderately ok at everything, but not stellar.  In order to really get good at something, your character has to become more complex.  This forces the player to come up with creative ways to tie the Archetypes together and creates a fleshed-out character.  As the game progresses, you create character events or goals that allow you to move Traits around or bring in totally new ones. Thus while there is a fair amount of character change, power escalation is slow. 

I realize this game is not for everyone and requires a fair amount of character immersion.  That being said, the astrological 'language' (as it were) is intended to describe a real person based on a dozen or fewer points of 'data,' and so should be useful as a character building tool.

 *This is a little difficult without giving you all the full description of each Archetype but I don't want to text-flood the forum.  The Graceful Artist is based on Libra which rules the arts, diplomacy, relationships, and justice.  I've gone through several different names for this Archetype including Graceful Mediator and Artist-Diplomat. 
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Ryven Cedrylle
Member

Posts: 3


« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2010, 05:01:55 PM »

How exactly the Efforts work is what I'm here to solicit ideas about.  I suppose the simple method would be to say you get extra dice with your Effort if you can properly invoke your Aspect (Trait-Archetype combo), but I don't really want to just roll more dice.  I'd prefer to have the Efforts indicate some level of automatic success - maybe the cheaper efforts come with one or two complications?  I'd also like to have each Aspect give some tweak like a Feat (Build in the Speedy Trickster lets you outrun pursuers) at the cost of some Effort, but again, haven't really come up with an Effort method I like.  And by "like," I should clarify as being intuitive and relatively diceless.  There are enough dice being rolled with the Archetypes already, I'd rather make the Efforts a tool of player narration.
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horomancer
Member

Posts: 54


« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2010, 05:56:22 PM »

OK, so why would building more interesting characters allow me to mechanically get more successes? I understand playing to a Trait/archtype combo is the best, but don't understand the reference to 'proper' Trait placement.
How do the dice work exactly? You'll need to detail them more if the Efforts are going to have a mechanical component.
As for narration aspects, perhaps have each trait carry some sort of character fault? Maybe you succeed one type of roll but may have to make another type? Perhaps in the example of the 1920's seduction, a minor Effort is used and instead of just talking dangerous, you light a cig and the glint of a gun in your shoulder holster can be seen by some of the patrons. Auto 'dark loaner badass' success, but now people know you are packing heat and some may not take kindly to that.
I'm gona guess that a success is rolling above a certain number on a die. Maybe Effort lowers the value needed for a success?
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