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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13299 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 55 - most online ever: 843 (October 22, 2020, 11:18:00 PM)
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Author Topic: [DitV] A Mod: Tension in place of Demonic Influence  (Read 5301 times)

Posts: 38

« on: March 20, 2011, 07:12:12 PM »

So, I've been making way my through some RPG books lately, including Wolsung and Mouse Guard, and as I've been doing that, I couldn't help but have a couple of thoughts.

The first one came from Wolsung's approach of treating fights like they're straight out of a video games and movies--having enemies that are tough, but also having the option of "finishing moves" of sorts, where the heroes can pull off a sudden, magnificent assault that brings the baddy down. And then this was added to by Mouse Guard's use of traits to handicap your own character, in exchange for a bonus later on.

This has, now, developed into a sort of two-prong idea.

The major aspect is what I'm calling, at the moment, Tension. The Tension pool would essentially replace the Demonic Influence pool (or could even compliment it, really), and give the particular game a sense of ramping escalation.

Essentially, the idea is simple--every time a conflict is Escalated, the associated die is added to the Tension pool. So, if you escalate from Talking to Physical, you add a d6 to the Tension pool. And then the GM has this pool at his disposal to play on his side of any conflicts.

So, if the Dogs are the shoot-first and ask-later sort, then once they reach the end of the session, they're going to be looking at a rather heavy-hitting tension pool, making the sorcerer or major rival of the town particularly tough. Even if the Dogs were less violent, if they weren't very efficient, they could still be looking at a formidable enemy.

This could sort of counter, to an extent, the Dogs ability to destroy even the strongest Sorcerer without breaking a sweat, while also making their choice to escalate even more important. Sure, you might be fine punching Brother Jessup in the face to put him in line if its just having to accept that you punched Brother Jessup in the face, but what if you know that that action is going to have lingering consequences as well? Or how do you deal with NPCs who are all but too happy to pull out guns or start swinging?

It would also lead to a potentially multi-conflict approach vs the sorcerer. The Dogs may simply not be able to win in a knock-down drag-out fight against a large Tension pool. Instead, they have to draw it out over the course of a hopefully awesome climax, where they are forced to Give and rethink their stakes to come at it from a different angle.

Now, the other side to this was the idea that, in most hero-based fiction, our protagonist tends to stumble a bit, but then pull victory from defeat. This part of it could probably still use some refining, admittedly.

Whether you have the hero being disarmed and knocked down, only to grab his sword at the last minute to impale his charging assailant, or the plucky hero who, upon getting shot, finds the bullet lodged inside a book in his coat, and is able to surprise his opponent with the fact he's still breathing.

The idea is also tied to the Tension pool: the Dog blocks as per normal, but opts to still take Fallout (albeit at -1 die size) in exchange for taking a die from the Tension Pool for his own. In doing so, he can use that die as if he was being assisted (so, he can push forward with 3 dice, or use 3 dice to block later in the conflict). The added bonus would be that when the Dog uses a Tension die to attack, that the GM couldn't use one to block. However, the Tension die just used by the Dog would then be put back in the Tension Pool.

So, you've got a Dog vs a Bad Guy. The Bad Guy, using his last big die, shoots at the Dog, who blocks. He opts to still take a d8 in Fallout (d10 for the Gun Fighting, -1 die size), and narrates that he takes the bullet in the chest and falls to the ground--only to his surprise, the round lodged itself in the Book of Life tucked within his coat. He takes a d8 from the Tension Pool, and on his turn, uses it as part of his bet, for a total of 3 dice. The action goes that as the Bad Guy things he's won, the Dog suddenly sits up and takes his shot, aiming to end the fight with one bullet. With not enough dice, the Bad Guy goes down, and the d8 used by the Dog goes back into the Tension Pool.

It may come across as a little convoluted, I know, but the reason I'm even attempting it is because right now, there isn't a lot of room for a series of events like that. Yeah, the Dogs can take fallout and keep going, but in a situation like I just mentioned, that Dog would have been taking quite a bit of d10 Fallout to save his big dice to fight back. Meaning possible death, even if the narration says he should have been mostly unharmed. This method gives you the option of taking Fallout in exchange for a sudden, impressive finishing flourish, like most heroes seem to do.

Not that both ideas have to be used together, though, as I think the Tension Pool alone could add a lot of potential to a game.

Anyway, any comments/suggestions would be more than welcome!
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