House Rules, Part 1

July 30, 2009

So, I thought I’d take a minute and go over some of the house rules I’m considering for this game.

During character creation, I want the characters to be a little more heroic than usual, so I’ll probably let them use a system like that espoused by Scott Martin over at Gnome Stew. It’s really quite the interesting system:

  1. Roll stats as normal (in this case, we’ll be rolling instead of 4E’s chosen method, point buy).
  2. Give everyone half the difference between their stat totals and the highest to spend 1:1 on stats as they choose.
  3. ???
  4. Profit!

Effectively, this brings everyone closer to the highest rolling player, with those who rolled the lowest actually getting the most flexibility in how to stat their characters.

I’ll definitely be pulling in the B(eliefs) and I(nstincts) from Burning Wheel‘s BITs (the “T” standing for Traits). I want the players to feel like and know that their characters have a say in what happens in the campaign. This is one of the best ways I know of to do this because it gets the player’s inside their character’s heads right at the start. That, and it lets me know up front what the characters (and thus the players) are interested in playing.

Following the example of Burning Wheel and others (for instance, Spirit of the Century), I plan on using either a system like the “Rule-Breaker” Cards over on Gnome Stew, or the FYIA tokens mentioned over at Deeper in the Game. These will allow the characters more control over what happens than just what the dice allow. I’m thinking I’ll go with FYIA tokens, though I’ll have to figure out their allowed uses. I figure I’ll give them under criteria similar to games I mentioned above: whenever Instincts cause trouble, and whenever Beliefs are progressed by the player that espouses them.

Any thoughts as to what I may want to change above? Or what I may want to add?

So, after that last post, I bet some of my readers (hah! like I have readers) are brimming with ideas. Here are some that I have:

  • The ruling council has decided that new groups will be formed from the Chosen (I think this is what I’ll call most PCs or PC-equivalents) of each of the four Aspects. The PCs are one of, if not the first, of these groups. This can be combined with almost any of the others I think.
  • The priesthood of one of the Aspects (or just one, upper-echelon priest) is attempting to create a schism between the Aspects, claiming that the All-Father is a lie. It’s up to the PCs to stop him or prove him right.
  • The PCs are a group of chosen from a single Aspect preparing for the latest Aspect tournament. They also have to deal with defending and advancing their Aspect’s domain.
  • The PCs’ Chosen are the chosen (through the tournaments perhaps) defenders of Onmiddan, defending it from the assault of the wilds and navigating the politic waters of the ruling council.
  • Across the sea, another religion grows. Is this religion based on an Aspect of the All-Father? If it is, the PCs need to bring them into the fold. (This would be a great way to bring in new power sources that Wizards introduces).

I think that taking #3 and folding in some of #4 afterwards would be a pretty good idea – that’s why I’ll use it as the basis of my campaign. You could even add in politicking at the tournament level – maybe the High Priest of the PCs’ Aspect doesn’t like their team, and they have to fight to get in. The one major issue with the Aspect Tournaments is the construction of opponents. It feels a bit to me like you’re cheating the players if you don’t give their opponents full character sheets, but you run the extreme risk of pummeling the PCs too hardly if you do.

Oh well, we have the beginnings of a campaign!