Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trigger Discipline: Statting One's Inner Nature

The following's an attempt to make a comprehensive set of scores that cover anime & manga character's personal strengths and weaknesses- i.e. aspects of one's inner character that help or hinder how they do in a fight. Though it's likely going to see use in Trigger Discipline, my intent is to pursue the concept first and then see where it leads.

At the moment I've got five virtues in mind (I'm also naming their corresponding deficiencies for descriptive purposes):
[Despair vs. Acceptance]: A character with a poor score is a drama queen, weighed down by their inability to cope with various hardships and tragedies. A character with a high score provides a reassuring presence when others feel they can't go on.
[Ignorance vs. Cunning]: A character with a poor score focuses on obvious, superficial aspects of the matter at hand. A character with a high score instinctively cuts to the heart of things, making them excellent at seeing through deceptions and solving gordian knots.
[Idiocy vs. Genius]: A character with a poor score is simpleminded or just plain dumb. A character with a good score can easily wrap his head around complex matters and is endlessly making plans within plans.
[Callousness vs. Kindness]: A character with a poor score thinks nothing of others and never seeks meaningful bonds with those around them. A character with a high score treasures shared experiences and forms close, supportive relationships.
[Reluctance vs. Mettle]: A character with a poor score is halfhearted and easily scared off. A character with a high score can do whatever needs to be done without faltering.

Alternately, I could describe each of these qualities as a type of willpower.
-Acceptance provides faith, a sense of confidence that stops you from giving in to despair.
-Cunning provides clarity, letting you pierce through shallow concerns to intuitively grasp the things that really matter.
-Genius provides concentration, the focus your mind relies on to work very quickly when the need arises.
-Kindness provides devotion, allowing you to draw strength from your bonds to the people around you.
-Mettle provides resolve, enabling you to "give it your all" without hesitating or holding back.

I've got a pretty good idea of how these scores will be used. Each starts at 1 and can can be raised as high as 5. When you make an Willpower check you roll 1d6 and succeed so long as the die result is equal to or less than the score in question. Sometimes two dueling enemies each choose which score they're rolling against, sometime one decides which score will be used by both sides. (The consequence of a successful roll is an increase in the size of your die pool during combat, as the battle escalates. I'll explain this further in a later post)

So the significance of a score is something like this:
0-Terrible (Always a failure)
6-Amazing (Always a success)

You start with 5 scores of 1 and given number of points (say, 10) to spend on increasing them, plus the option to choose one or two of the following templates (which must be compatible with one another):
Savant: One of your virtues goes down to 0. Another has its maximum limit raised to 6.

Weakling: Choose a virtue. Said virtue will start at 1 each scene but then increase by 1 at the end of every turn until it reaches its normal score. After that, each time you make a Willpower check using that virtue, failure penalizes your actions for that turn in some manner while success causes the virtue to raise by 1 more.

Hidden Strength penalizes a score by 1 or 2, but that penalty turns into a bonus when the chips are down and a secondary condition is met (obviously, this one's still rather vague). Hidden Weakness is the same except a bonus becomes a penalty.

Competent changes your restrictions to 2-4 and lets you reroll each failed Willpower check once- but only if you use a virtue whose score is less than the one you first rolled against.

The end result of these mechanics will be to further blur the line between character interaction and gameplay in Trigger Discipline. I'll get into this more next time.


Dragoon-Darkfire said...

Hey! This is pretty good. I especially like how Willpower seems to work in your game here.

vazor said...

Hmm! Interesting idea, I like it. Seems like a cool new idea for the RPG genre.