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Optional Rule: Metagaming Points


JonHook

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I have an idea for a new optional rule for BRP...

Metagaming Points – There are several game systems that allow the players to utilize “do-over” points; they may be called Bennies, or Hero Points, or Fate Points, or Luck Points, but in the end they all serve the same purpose. They allow the player the ability to metagame. A Metagaming Point (MGP) allows the player to re-roll a failed die roll.

The BRP system is flexible enough to allow for endless environments and game settings. Including settings where the players can be “Big Damn Heroes”, and in those worlds a failed roll during a critical situation can really kill the mood and hamstring those big damn heroes. MGPs can be a useful tool in pulp settings, super-powered settings, or high fantasy settings. Conversely, MGPs could tip the delicate balance and ruin the mood in dark horror settings, noir settings, or gritty fantasy settings. Ultimately, it is the game master’s choice on whether MGPs are to be used in the game or not.

Using MGPs – Each PC would be supplied 3 MGPs per game session. The player can then use those MGPs to re-roll failed die rolls. A player may choose to either SPEND an MGP, or BURN an MGP. PCs are limited to only a single MGP use per failed die roll.

SPEND –
When a player spends an MGP, he indicates it on his character sheet as a “spend” and then re-rolls the previously failed die roll. Pro: The PC is able to re-roll a failed die roll and has a new opportunity to succeed, or maybe even critically succeed, at the die roll. And, the spent MGP can be recovered later in the game. Con: It is possible for the PC to fail the die roll a second time.

BURN –
When a player burns an MGP, he indicates it on his character sheet as a “burn” and then instantly succeeds at the previously failed die roll. Pro: The PC instantly succeeds at the previously failed die roll; the automatic success is always considered a normal success, not a critical success. Con: The “burned” MGP cannot be recovered later in the game, thus reducing that PC’s maximum number of available MGPs in that game session.

MGP Management – Per gaming session, each player has 3 MGPs. Throughout the game each player may have opportunities to earn new MGPs, but his total can never go over 3. So players are encouraged to spend MGPs to enhance the game story experience. The game master may award MGPs for several reasons. But, as always, the game master’s rule is law, and only he can determine whether an MGP may be awarded or not.

Typical reasons to award an MGP are: A critically successful skill roll, (only if the current die roll was not already an MGP re-roll); entertaining role-playing; and successful completion of certain game story goals.

MGPs are managed, (spent and burned), on a per-game session basis. A PC’s MGP bank is reset at the beginning of each new game session. Unused MGPs are not carried over to the following game session, and if a PC burned MGPs during the previous game session, that PC’s maximum MGPs are returned to 3.

MGPs for NPCs – The game master’s NPCs can also have MGPs. It is suggested that minions not have any MGPs. Major NPCs or major villains may have a total of 5 MGPs per game session. MGPs for NPCs are never replenished during a game session, so every use of an MGP for an NPC is a “burn”.

Edited by JonHook
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There's already an option for fate points in the BGB.

I'm generally not a fan of them, but they're there is you want them.

Our Deadlands group uses them and if there was one thing about that game I could change it would be to rip them out. I joined the game expecting gritty Western horror and got Steampunk Scooby Doo instead.

Maybe if we were playing a tongue-in-cheek Flash Gordon game I could see them working... but I still think there's better ways to build in that sort of 'script immunity' for PCs.

Edited by Simlasa
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BGB - Big Gold Book (BRP Rules).

Fate Points are described on p176. They seem to be like Hero Points in MRQ, a bit,. but are very confusing, certainly not as easy to use as Hero Points.

I could never work out how many you could get, whether you actually got them or whether you just used Power Points as Fate Points.

I'd just use Hero Points from MRQ.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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I actually prefer the Fate option in BRP BGB over a set number of Hero Points like MRQ2, SW, GURPS etc. It seems to work well with my fantasy troupe, although I doubt I'ld use it for a Horror setting, it would take the 'terror' out of the game.

I think I really like the idea that the pc has to invest themselves into the universe, so to speak, in order for the universe to respond to them.

I didn't really like BRP's variable PP costing though, it was a little fiddly, so I made all Fate options a flat 5 PP cost. This seems to work well, as it limits it's use somewhat. My players like having a 'flat rate' for it as well, it is less confusing.

Despite having the Fate option in my fantasy setting, it isn't over used as people want to have PP stocked up for magic use etc. I also like the way the BRP Fate option uses PP, as it gives a non-magic using character an actual use for their PP Tally.

I also allowed for certain backgrounds to have advantages with it. For example, I had ported over a Savage Worlds character to BRP who previously had the McGwvyer Edge from SW (allows the character to come up with a single one-use invention to get out of a scrape). I allowed this character to do the same thing in BRP for a reduced Fate option cost (2PP instead of my setting's usual 5PP). He still had to make an Idea roll however (although he could spend more Fate PP to get a re-roll if desired). Seems to work okay so far.

I feel that having a PP investiture in Fate is more BRP'ish than Mongoose's Hero Points, which feel a little too much like a rule 'add-on' to me. It feels like Mongoose saw all these other games that had 'floating' MGPs and hitched their rule from them, whereas the BRP Fate option is much more consistent with the BRP system mechanics.

But as far as having MGPs in the system, I think it's a good option, but the GM must be careful for it not to ruin the setting flavour.

I'ld use the BRP Fate option even for a gritty fantasy at a flat 5PP cost . C'mon, players are always requesting re-rollsl! Just make them pay PP each time, and they'll tone it down, it actually made some of my sessions less pulpy in that respect. I certainly wouldn't use it for a harsh setting, such as Modern Horror or Grim Dark Ages etc. I'ld use it for a fun Pulp setting (eg: 1930s Adventure), and I'ld perhaps make it cheaper, maybe 3 PP or so.

In any case, they're a good option for some, but not to everyone's tastes.

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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I don't so much mind the variety in Earthdawn... the Karma points... that you can invest in an important roll before-hand... it's like saying, "I'm making an extra effort with this"... as opposed to the 'do over' feeling I get with the chips in Deadlands and other re-roll mechanics. I forget how they're derived but there are ways to raise the type of dice you add as well as raising the number of Karma points you have... and regain each day.

Re-rolls bug me, but having a resource to wager on important moments doesn't. So I could see some mechanic to spend PP to add a bonus % to a roll... representing desperation or detirmination or whatever.

I should go read the BGB section on Fate points...

Edited by Simlasa
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Man... I totally missed the Fate Points in my BGB, (I like that shorthand, I'm going to start using it too).

My bad if my idea is totally FUBAR. I've been listening to a Dark Heresy actual play, and those poor players have been failing a ton of rolls, and in some instances they have been using Fate Points, (I think that's what they called them). So it was that that made me start thinking about "do-over" points in BRP.

Man, and I totally scanned my BGB index for anything on points, and I must've mixed-up Fate Points with something like Power Points. Uhg... I feel like a dope. I gotta go check out my BGB book.

Wow... I just read BGB's Fate Points optional rules. That is really complex. I've been thinking about starting an Indiana Jones style pulp game. I'll talk to my players on which system of do-over points they want to use.

Edited by JonHook
Post-Reading of Fate Points Optional Rule
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As a fast simple option you can allow a player to roll an extra d10 that he may exchange for one of the usually rolled ones. As a cost I would judge about 5 to 8 power points. This raises chances of success considerable, though.

@JonHook: you started a interesting discussion, so do not feel sorry ;)

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My bad if my idea is totally FUBAR.

Not FUBAR... just thought you might want to check out the version in the book before you put in the work of creating your own.

Wow... I just read BGB's Fate Points optional rules. That is really complex.
I just went and read them too... doesn't seem all that complex to me, but it does mention not being a fully fleshed-out rule... more of a set of suggested possibilities. Power Point economy to purchase re-rolls... or full weapon damage... or a skill roll based on luck rather than some crap skill level (kinda like using 'The Force').

Interesting ideas... but I think I'm going to try out my thought of pre-roll adding % to a roll and see what happens. The kids I'm playing with won't mind me experimenting on them a bit.

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I started using Hero Points in RQ3 and they've certainly been around for a long time as commonly used house rules in BRP games. I don't like the Fate Points mechanic in BGB - it's both fiddly and obscure.

I've recently switched to a static refreshing system of HPs (i.e. PCs get 3 per session to spend) and it works well. What I find interesting and I don't know it it is related is that towards the end of the third year of my (Gloranthan) campaign the PCs have precisely 2 magic items. One javelin that returns to its owner's hands and one plot device spider mask. One PC is also rune-touched by motion. To a large extent it is the use of Hero Points that gives them an advantage over NPCs rather than the accumulation of magic items.

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My bad if my idea is totally FUBAR. I've been listening to a Dark Heresy actual play, and those poor players have been failing a ton of rolls, and in some instances they have been using Fate Points, (I think that's what they called them). So it was that that made me start thinking about "do-over" points in BRP.

Not FUBARed at all - you just didn't realise that the BGB had Fate Points.

Wow... I just read BGB's Fate Points optional rules. That is really complex. I've been thinking about starting an Indiana Jones style pulp game. I'll talk to my players on which system of do-over points they want to use.

I'm glad that it isn't just me. I'll have to read them again to try and get my head around them.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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OK, I've read them again.

1. It looks as though these could be more powerful than Hero Points as they use Power Points as a resource rather than something that can be burned

2. Magicians/Psionic characters are more limited than normal characters as they have to choose where they spend Power Points

3. The examples are very limited

I would allow the use of Fate Points in the following circumstances:

1. To reroll ANY roll, including damage, hit location or experience gain

2. To reroll a reroll (It's funnier when they fail two or three times)

3. To do something normally impossible (Jumping a 30 foot chasm for example)

4. To move a Difficulty Level one level better (Impossible to Difficult, Difficult to Average, Average to Easy, Easy to Automatic)

5. To add finesse to something (E.g., when making an enchantment, add flavour by adding extra things to the enchantment)

6. Three points per point of damage absorbed seems very high to me - I'd allow 5 points to reroll the damage entirely (as above)

7. Changing the plot makes sense, my players have used this to mean that the guard in their prison is the chappie they rescued a few scenarios back, for example. I'd like a clearer scale, though.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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While I have no problem with any special resources used before a roll to improve

the chance of a success, such resources used after the roll to enable a re-roll or

any other change of the result are in my experience anti-immersion tools which

take much of the tension out of the game and harm the verisimilitude of the set-

ting's events: "You failed your Jump and fell into the canyon." - "No, I can make

it undone and try a second time." - imagine such a scene in a book or movie, far

too much like a silly cartoon for my taste.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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"You tried to jump the canyon but only just made it and almost fell in" - sounds fine by me.

"Riding your's luck", "Your luck has run out", both phrases describe when you don't have Fate Points left to manipulate your own destiny.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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I have no immersion in my current game. Any attempt is countered by the "A funny thing happened at work today", or "Did I tell you the one about ..." or "I had a character who ..." or, even worse, recounting anything from Father Ted or Terry Pratchett - a sure-fire, but enjoyable, way of blasting the moment.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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I like BRP's Fate option, mainly because the players I play with ask for re-rolls, and I don't want to be an old Grouch to deny them every time, as the session has to remain fun.

In my experience, having to pay for the Fate option toned down the re-roll requests as the players know that although I'll usually grant their request, they certainly have to pay PP for it. So it settles arguements when playing with my current troupe. The fact that it's a depleting resource actually let's the pcs monitor their own powergaming a bit.

Previously we played more pulpy systems which sometimes rewarded characters with Hero Points instead of EXP pts, and the problem was that the pcs stockpiled all the Hero Pts up for a rainy day, which basically thwarted any of my GM plans for tension etc. The Fate option is BRP BGB seems a good compromise between meta-gaming and GM control in this respect.

I agree that Priests/Sorcerers have issues with it though, because of their prominent PP depletion for their magical skills. I get around this by letting Priests use Fate cheaply for requests that are in keeping with their deity, a little like a diluted Divine Intervention. Sorcerers could do something similar if you could tie some requests in with an estoric or occult explanation (nothing springs to mind).

The best way I found to make the BRP Fate option work, in my opinion, was to give all Fate options a flat rate of 5PP (tweaking options here and there to keep it balanced). Players get confused with all the options, but if they know a flat cost them they tend to come up with explanations for Fate use in a particular situation (at GM descretion).

It has worked well in my fantasy setting, and was one of the new options I was happy to see included in the new BRP BGB.

Edited by Mankcam

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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I feel that having a PP investiture in Fate is more BRP'ish than Mongoose's Hero Points, which feel a little too much like a rule 'add-on' to me. It feels like Mongoose saw all these other games that had 'floating' MGPs and hitched their rule from them, whereas the BRP Fate option is much more consistent with the BRP system mechanics.

Hero Points in RuneQuest are inspired by Hero Points in HeroQuest. As a "meta" mechanics, they are more adequate, because they are not connected to in-game mechanics like Power Points used as Fate Points.

For the rest, my opinion on the subject is known: I do not like rerolls. The HeroQuest "bump" is much better. If you are the hero of the story, and you spend a restricted resource, then make it count and make it ensure a success, not another invocation to the gods of dice. Incidentally, it actually happened to one of my players during a playtest to spend Fate Points to reroll a 99, and to roll another 99.

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We have been using the BRP Fate Rules for the last couple of campaigns and they seem to work pretty well so far and add rather than detract to the overall feel of the game. The one issue that is really annoying though is that it is close to impossible for characters to roll a fumble. A week or two ago we ruled that Fate could not be used when a character rolls a fumble. Fumbling characters add so much to the game and overall story.

294/420

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I think I would agree with Fate not being used for Fumble re-rolls (or make them double usual PP cost at least). Fumbles are such a great part of this combat system, I wouldn't want to see them hitched by the Fate option that's for sure.

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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But the look of pure joy on their little faces when they use a Hero Point to reroll a fumble to a Critical is well worth it.

Also, the look of disbelief when they reroll the same failure three times, rolling above 95 each time is even more special, to me anyway.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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By the way, if you have a Power Point Store of some kind, could you use the stored Power Points as Fate Points?

I can't see anywhere where you can't. I suppose it depends on how the Power Points are stored. If you had a Relic of a Saint then I'd allow it to be used in this way to perform a minor miracle to change things. If you have Power Points drained from someone else and stored in your soul then I'd say yes as well. However, if you have a crystal that stores Power Points then perhaps I'd say no, as it isn't integral to you and isn't inherently miraculous.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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