Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trigger Discipline: New Conflict Mechanics

The big thing I wanted to add to Trigger Discipline's conflict rules was the idea of escalation- one classic element of most anime battles is that the characters take a while to "get serious", only using their strongest techniques, etc. once the conflict has had some time to ramp up. The recent brainstorms (about having stats for a character's inner virtues) have inspired some additional mechanics that round things out nicely. Here's the new core rules:

-A conflict is still divided into 1 or more individual faceoffs each round, with the each of a faceoff's two sides making a contested roll between the participants once per round (in whatever order the Director wants, makes no difference ).

At least one side of each faceoff has to consist of a single participant (even if the in-game nature of that 'participant' is a group of NPCs ). If that participant's up against multiple enemies, they make one set of rolls as usual and then compare the results against each opponent seperately. All of this is unchanged from the previous version of the rules, aside from some new terminology. However, what follows are some pretty major alterations. . .
-Each participant has a pool of dice, which they freely assign to their Trait, Power, and GAR rolls (both sides assign their dice in secret and then simultaneously reveal how they've divvied them up before rolling).
I can assign all my dice to my GAR roll, which means I have very good odds of getting more successful GAR dice than my opponent, which means I can get a GAR success (which will trump the Power and Trait successes my enemy will probably get). Two things keep this strategy from being broken: One, GAR scores are lower than Trait and Power scores, so the die results have a larger random element to them. Two, a Single success does relatively little to help you win a given Conflict. More on this in a minute.
-After a faceoff's rolls have been made, an Interact phase occurs.
During each interact phase, characters engage in a contest of wills- they talk smack ("What kind of wussy punch was that?"), debate philosophies ("A true warrior fights with his heart!"), etc. Mechanically, each side chooses one of their 5 Inner Virtues (each of which has a score that's usually between 1 and 5), and rolls a d6. If the result is equal to or less than the score, their character succesfully utilizes that inner virtue and their die pool's size increases by one. "But Dagda," you ask, "Won't people always pick their best score?" By default, yes! But the default scenario is a rare one, because the rewards for a Single, Double, and Triple success have changed. . .
-A Single Success lets you declare an Inner Virtue that *both* sides will use during the next interact phase.
Meaning you'll want to pick whichever virtue you have the most of compared to your opponent. If I have 5 Cunning and 3 Kindness, and my opponent has 5 Cunning and 1 Kindness, I'm better off choosing Kindness- so I narrate the start of a speech on my character's part about how he's fighting for the sake of others, and lecturing my enemy because he's just fighting for money.
-A Double Success also earns you a Victory Point
Get X victory points and you win the conflict, inflicting a point of plot damage to everyone on the losing side. Someone who takes plot damage either loses a point of plot armor or, if they have no plot armor, loses the use of one of their scores (Gar, Power, or Trait). Losing the use of all 3 scores takes you down for good. Many NPCs have no plot armor and will be instantly taken out by even a single point of plot damage. SPEAKING OF WHICH. . .
-A Triple Success also inflicts a point of Plot Damage on your enemy and nets you a point of Fanbase.
In other words, getting a Triple Success is often an instant takedown.

That's the core of it! There's some more rules I'm considering on top of this, including some different mechanics to represent underdogs making a comeback when the opponent seems to have them outmatched (both to represent anime tropes and address playester's complaints about being unable to recover in battles that start out with a string of unlucky rolls).


vazor said...

Excellent! The grandstanding idea is sure to be a winner for those interested in role playing every second of their adventure. The rest of the mechanics sound pretty solid as well. Sounds like I need to take this for a test drive with a local group sometime soon!

Dagda said...

The idea's definitely in need of some playtesting. I'm particularly curious as to whether I've picked the right set of concepts when it comes to "virtues"; I might wind up making that another freeform aspect of the game.