Tuesday, October 11, 2011

FtA: Leveling mechanics

I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out a way of tying experience to the leveling system in such a way that would provide a logical explanation for the growing levels of radiation in the PCs body, leading up to Level 10, where they expire.  I think I may have found a system that works.

The mutations that exist are as a result of an unstable recessive genetic trait, and each time a power is used, it further destabilizes the genetic makeup of the mutant.  As the mutants' DNA deteriorates, more mutations manifest, until they hit critical mass at Level 10.  My thought is that every time a power is used, a box is checked, and at the end of each session, a roll is made, and the number of checks is subtracted from the roll.  If the roll comes in above a target number, the character advances a level and rolls again on the mutation chart.  This penalty stacks, and gradually the PC becomes weaker and weaker, until they hit Level 10 and expire.

I'm also contemplating figuring a way of making skill usage and high stress situations (like combat) factor in as well.  The goal here is to really drive home the idea that actions matter.  I want the PCs to be thinking about what their characters do, putting those actions in the context of their goals, and making cost/benefit analyses.  How important is this task?  Further, by making combat detrimental to their health even if they win, it should force the PCs to consider all options, viewing violence as a last resort.

I think this should add up to a very different gaming experience, one that keeps the PCs thinking about their actions, rather than looking for things to hit.


  1. The rpg Lacuna Part I: The Creation of the Mystery and the Girl from Blue City is too complicated and weird to explain right here, but it has a couple of mechanics which may be useful for inspiration.

    Each character has a heart rate, and should this exceed a certain number, they get pulled out of the scenario. The number increases as they do stressful acts, such as skill use and combat.

    There's also something called "static". As the characters engage with the setting, static increases; as the static counter hits certain points -- as decided by the GM -- it triggers weird events as the setting kicks back at the characters within it.

    Both mechanics work well to create a situation in which -- exactly as you desire -- players have to weigh up potential actions in the context of the adventure as a whole. It may be worth you picking up a copy of the game for inspiration.

  2. Weird you should mention that, I actually ordered Lacuna yadda yadda about 2 weeks ago. It's sitting on the floor in my living room as I type this. I haven't had a chance to go through it yet, but I definitely will now - thanks!

  3. @purestrainhuman - Oh come on - it's not weird at all that you 'just happen' to have a random game that someone mentions. By my counts, you own a copy of every frikkin RPG ever produced in the history of humanity - and perhaps some inhuman ones too.

    So hurry with your Gamma World clone - or mutation, rather - I ready to play it already.


    - Ark

  4. Haha yeah, some people might say I have too many RPGs. I wouldn't be one of those people, mind you, but some people might.


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