Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Game-Fu 8: Mechanics

Here are some rough notes on the mechanics. This includes the following ingredients:
  • Roll-and-keep dice pools, where the un-kept dice still matter somehow.
  • Character sheet fits on an index card (front and back).
  • Karma system -- a character's actions can reward/penalize them later.
(The other two ingredients -- the Genre Blender and the Driving Force -- are setting/premise elements, not mechanical ones.)

So then.
  • Roll-and-keep-and-count -- total of kept dice is effort, number of unused dice is effect. Default pool of 3d6 vs. default target number of 7.
    • For example, if your target number is 7, and your 3d6 roll is 4, 3, and 2, you can keep the 4 and 3 to count toward your effort (i.e., to meet the target number), while the single unused die would mean an effect of 1.
    • Tasks take X effect to complete. Points of effect in combat is just damage.
    • For every 6 in your effect pool, you get a point of Fortune. Spend Fortune to add an additional d6 to a roll (1d6/point spent). You can also receive Fortune by acting in accordance with the story's moral in a way that's disadvantageous to you (see below).
    • For every 1 in your effect pool, you get a point of Misfortune. If you have more Misfortune than Fortune, instead of rolling 3d6, roll 2d6. Misfortune can be lost by acting in accordance with your curse.
  • Characters have blessings (good qualities) and a curse -- a moral failing. These are one-word adjectival descriptors. Blessings are things like Strong, Clever, Well-Spoken, Nimble, Keen-Eyed, and so forth. Curses are usually adjectival versions of the cardinal sins -- Vain, Greedy, Gluttonous, etc. -- but can also be things like Uncharitable or Paranoid.
    • Blessings add dice to the pool if applicable to the situation -- 1d6 each.
    • Acting in accordance with your curse lets you lose Misfortune -- one point per scene in which you succumb to your curse in a way that's significant to your situation and/or the story. For example, if you're Vain, you won't lose Misfortune for fixing your hair in a mirror, but you would if you spent an hour preening instead of surveiling.
  • Blessings and curses are wholly player-defined, but we're going to need some examples. Especially for Magic.
    • Magic's a bit different, in that if you don't have a blessing for the thing you want to do, you can't do it. For example, if your Magic blessings are Shapechange and Conjure, you can't Glamer.
  • Blessings are divided into categories: Body and Mind for humans (or fairies in human form), and Magic and Mind for fairies. Body covers everything physical, like strength, endurance, hardiness, manual dexterity, and agility, while Mind qualities are related to intelligence, perception, empathy, persuasiveness, and so on. Magic is more nebulous, but it can cover anything within the purview of your Magic blessings. We're pretty loose when it comes to this.
    • Whether in human or fairy form, a fairy always has the same Mind blessings -- which means that they'll have the same number of Body and Magic blessings. Is that a problem? Upon reflection... no. In the real world, Body is the realm of direct confrontation. Magic would be the same in the fairy world.
  • A character's defense against physical attacks is 7 + three times the number of his Body blessings. That becomes the target number for attacks against the character. For example, a character with two Body blessings -- say, Strong and Nimble -- would have a physical defense of 13.
  • Ditto mental defense and magic defense.
  • Armor or its equivalent gobbles effect dice.
  • Not sure exactly how damage will work, but... it'll work, I can promise you that.
    • There may be something about "death" just meaning that you revert to your fairy form -- sort of a last resort granted by the Fairy Queen. In practical terms, it's another chance to play your character as their "normal" self. But I dunno.
  • Every story has a moral, chosen by the GM before the game begins. Fairy tale morals usually boil down to "Don't be stupid, inattentive, or cruel." The game will include four or five Perrault-style morals-in-verse (but not actual Perrault morals, because they're a little cutesy and overly specific), although GMs can certainly make up their own. Every moral should include, or at least strongly imply, two basic modes of behavior: "correct" and "incorrect." For example, a moral like "It's better to suffer than to do wrong" says that nothing justifies the incorrect behavior of wrongdoing -- it's better to do the right thing, even if that means suffering. Acting "correctly," according to the moral, can earn a player Fortune, while engaging in "incorrect" behavior can earn Misfortune. Both of these are at the GM's discretion.
  • The character sheet is an index card, with the PC's human version on one side and the fairy version on the other. When the PC crosses over, flip the card over to the appropriate side.

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