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JonL

Personal Resource Abilities

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Something I've been thinking about lately is leveraging the Community Resource property of risking depletion through use, being bolstered by overcoming appropriate obstacles, and generally fluctuating according to background events into character abilities. I flirted with fluctuating ratings in my Flaw variant post in the house rules thread, and I've come to dig the idea for abilities that represent some sort of personal resource or power reserve.

Here are some ideas:

  • Followers/Allies/Patrons - these are very similar to a Community conceptually. Repeatedly drawing on them to solve problems can tire them, hurt them, expend their resources, burn them out on helping you, etc. Taking actions to bolster them strengthens both their effectiveness and the strength of your relationship. Background fluctuation can give them a life outside of their interaction with the character.
  • Wealth - Major expenditures or leveraging assets to attain a goal can make one's fortune less effective meeting other challenges in the near term. Overcoming challenges may bolster one's financial position. Market forces and business activities can be responsible for background fluctuation.
  • Willpower - Repeated challenges to overcome personal Flaws, withstand mind-control, resist temptations, etc. can wear down the character's resolve. Actions that build you up can bolster it. Background fluctuations can represent day to day ups and downs during downtime.
  • Mana - Casting spells can deplete one's magical reserves. Overcoming challenges to gather spell components, bargain with entities, draw power from the Other Side, etc. can bolster it. Actions that build you up can bolster it. Background fluctuations can represent usage during downtime.
  • Vitae - Vampires augmenting their powers and abilities by expending reserves of blood gradually deplete it (and have a harder time resisting their Hunger flaw). Overcoming obstacles to feed  or increase one's mortal herd can bolster it.  Background fluctuations can represent feeding/usage during downtime.

This sort of thing would not benefit every game, and lingering benefits and consequences can fulfill a similar role at times. However, I think the resource dynamics could be a valuable tool for making mechanics focus attention on a particular aspect of play you wish to emphasize. 

In game design generally, one should ask "What is the core activity or play experience we are aiming for? How do the mechanics guide play towards and support those goals?" QuestWorlds's design remit of portraying story arcs and conflicts as we know them in fiction is a bit broad in terms of answering those questions. They are left open to the designer or GM to implement. Much like many generic systems, part of utilizing it successfully is artfully tuning and adjusting its tool-set to focus on your desired play experience. 

 

 

 

Edited by JonL
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Do you propose that the character's resource Ability will fluctuate with play, or that Resistance rating will fluctuate?  Or both?  I can see either in play, and I agree that they can add a lot to many environmental conditions, but they'd represent different axes of fluctuation.

  1. Increasing Resistance with overuse or disuse of a pivotal resource while the Ability remains unchanged represents the effects of critical use.  Your standard Depletion Penalty (HQ p.p. 88-89).
  2. Changing an Ability rating represents a chronic/permanent change in conditions.  Changes to Resource Ratings (HQ p. 91).

!i!

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13 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

Do you propose that the character's resource Ability will fluctuate with play, or that Resistance rating will fluctuate?  Or both?  I can see either in play, and I agree that they can add a lot to many environmental conditions, but they'd represent different axes of fluctuation.

  1. Increasing Resistance with overuse or disuse of a pivotal resource while the Ability remains unchanged represents the effects of critical use.  Your standard Depletion Penalty (HQ p.p. 88-89).
  2. Changing an Ability rating represents a chronic/permanent change in conditions.  Changes to Resource Ratings (HQ p. 91).

!i!

One way to simulate a big dent in the resource ability is to impose a flaw based on the expenditure that may need to be bought down or quested against to regain full control over the ability.

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Could someone write this up as a rules add on we can put in the downloads section? JonL do you have a more detailed description of how these rules would work?

Edited by Archivist

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On 10/26/2019 at 2:29 PM, Archivist said:

Could someone write this up as a rules add on we can put in the downloads section? JonL do you have a more detailed description of how these rules would work?

I plan on a proper write-up of this and some other things knocking around various forum posts once the QuestWorlds SRD drops.

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Thanks for the bump. I'm working remotely while also supervising a pair of remote-learners, but I'm starting to have some brainwave bandwidth for QW again. :)

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Gah, I lost a big post here.

Yes, I have a sketch of using fluctuating personal resource style abilities and flaws to create CofD-esque tensions, using Classical Greek drama terms for maximum pretension. :)

Watch this space.

Edited by JonL
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I am still watching this space! Is there any way I can help? What if you get hit by a bus or something (god forbid, but things happen). How will I be able to use this critical game widget!

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