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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 77 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Gamist Article-inspired character advancement mechanic.  (Read 1892 times)

Posts: 302

« on: June 13, 2003, 01:14:52 AM »

Specifically, this question/bulletpoint:

How tough and effective should a starting character be? If it's too high, then there's no reason to improve; if it's too low, the early stages of play depend far too much on GM mercy.

So, the idea:

The characters start off "too low"; that is, unless they wind up rolling suspiciously well, the GM is going to need to fudge some results to get the characters to the point where they can stand on their own.

What if you worked that as a main concept? (The flavour of this is also inspired by the Argonauts design going on, simply because of the whole Greek gods thing.)

Characters that are Good Enough are that way because they've been noticed by the gods(/spirits/ancestors/whatever). Someone Up There helped 'em out. Starting characters, which are Too Weak, have to do stuff to get the gods' attention, to get their favours.

So figure each character has a pool of Intervention Points. Any time the character gets in a jam (failed roll, someone else's roll went a little too well, et cetera), they can spend an Intervention Point to cancel it out somehow. This intervention is due to direct involvement of a Higher Power.

When a character has spent N Intervention Points, they advance using.. some character advancement mechanic, and can become Good Enough.

There are a couple of kinks in this, though, because I read the bit in the article, then opened up another browser window to go ahead and type this in about thirty seconds later...

There needs to be some way to encourage not spending IP. I think. Or rather, a penalty for spending them too fast? The difference between, "My, what a daring young man!" and, "Geezus, attacking another dragon? No, I can't help you, I'm washing my hair now."

..alright, I'm sure there was a second thing that was bugging me, but I can't recall now. I'll see if it doesn't jump out at me (or someone else) after a bit of waiting.

You see:
Michael V. Goins, wielding some vaguely annoyed skills.
Ian Charvill

Posts: 377

« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2003, 10:48:28 AM »

Part of Greek myth is the idea of hubris and ate.  Hubris in a sense is pride and ate is the fall.

If you were to tie it in with Greek Myth - each time a character spends an Intervention Point they gain a point of Hubris.  Periodically you require a Hubris roll - if the roll goes well the character gains Favour, if it goes badly the character gains Ate.

[As an aside, in Greek Myth characters sometimes gain the notice of two gods, one who likes them and one who hates them - Favour and Ate all in one]

Attempting a Gamist POV: accumulation of points of Hubris represents escalating the stake.  The greater the gain in terms of Favour that could be yielded, but also the greater the Ate if things go badly.

You could actually model the games entire reward system not around improvements to character skills etc but simply to larger and larger gambles for Favour.

Ian Charvill
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