Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Trigger Discipline: Weaknesses?

So I just had an idea for a TD mechanic- in a very basic form- and I wanted to brainstorm and bounce it off people as I work it out further.

Outside of their archetype and role, TD characters are mechanically distinguished from one another by their choice of Traits. Each time you roll you pick a trait; if the Trait die nets a success, your description of the success has to have it hinge on that trait, yada yada.

What if you also had Weaknesses, which came into play when the roll failed? Character flaws, disadvantages like a bad leg, and so on. This way you could potentially have a cue for narrating what happens whether you succeed or fail.

There are a couple ways you could incorporate this into the system... Option A is to use a weakness *instead* of a trait, with a weakness carrying its own (presumably smaller) chance of success; this would open the door for all manner of trade-offs, which is always handy. Option B is to select a weakness in *addition* to a trait on some or all rolls, meaning you would have a potential explanation for both success *and* failure on the trait die. (In other words, if your action succeeds and the Trait die was a success, your chosen trait plays a role in what occurs fluff-wise; you pull something off thanks to your Confidence. If the action fails and the trait die was a failure, your chosen weakness plays a role; you screwed up thanks to your Arrogance. Note how those two examples are two sides of the same coin; you could theoretically have all weaknesses be paired with a single trait this way.)

-Weaknesses could be handed out like curses as a metagame penalty for failure. Lose an encounter, GM tells you to take a weakness. You overcome a weakness by using it for a relevant roll (Maybe you *have* to use it), and getting, say, a Double Success in spite of the reduced odds said weakness brings. Overcoming a weakness could net you GAR Charge or even Fanbase; this would make them less of a penalty and more of a "side quest".

-Rather than mucking about with the odds of success, weaknesses could dictate (or at least alter) the stakes of player failure- severe in-game consequences and/or *losing* successes for the purpose of beating an encounter. This'd provide an alternate way of handling more 'powerful' traits; rather than being limited-use, a high-rank trait would be paired with a serious weakness in case of failure.

-Alternately, a more flexible option would be to have each Weakness grant extra Trait dice or a boost to a Trait's score when used.

-Weaknesses could also just be a way to give an opponent extra dice in exchange for the player building up GAR Charge. This option would match a normal narrative arc best; your weaknesses would make minor fights more difficult, but then you'd overcome them in time to deal with the serious threat.

Frankly, I know I want to incorporate something in this role, but it's going to have to wait; first, I need to re-lay the groundwork of the system. Right now several parts of Trigger Discipline's system have been rendered somewhat obsolete or ineffective by changes. Plot Armor is overlapping with Fanbase, and GAR Charge flows in at entirely too slow a rate. I don't have specific ideas yet, but I do very much feel like I can do better with the core mechanics if I just think it over long enough.

1 comment:

vazor said...

Heh that's kinda funny. I had just written this kind of idea down a while ago under a different name. I called them Dependencies; e.g. girl needs to hit you before you can pilot giant mech- or the enemy has to be wearing red before you can do a bull rush- or your life has to be in danger before you can go supermode.
Actually I guess this could be considered separate, or parallel to the list you present here. In any case, I think this idea is very powerful and should definitely be included. Perhaps it could be an optional rule for advanced players.
The main thing that needs to be kept in mind is that your decision of which of these options to choose should be based on the core principle behind Trigger Discipline Retake. It needs to encourage player storytelling and interaction for fun [strikeout]and profit[/strikeout].
Other than that, I like Option A more than Option B since Option B is limiting and limiting options should not be part of a free-universe RPG/tabletop game.
I feel that the sidequest idea is really good. I think it would be entertaining without wearing the player down, as long as it didn't hinder their ability to enjoy the core gameplay.
Also I know I would have fun with an extra challenge. Even with weaknesses that are determined from the beginning, if it gave me chances to use stuff that I came up with during character creation, it would be fun, weaknesses or not.
The greater penalty idea is nice, and provides a nice optional rule, like Option A.
Weaknesses granting extra trait dice sounds good; perhaps close to my dependencies concept?
And finally the opponent boost makes a lot of sense as well, but you're right that it would be a best fit for a "gaining power" type storyline. Perhaps other storylines have something weaknesses could do to hinder the player in another appropriate way?
All in all, I need to sit down and play more before I fully understand GAR charge and the game dynamics, but I hope I was able to provide some useful feedback.