Monday, March 15, 2010

SoG - Damage and Stress Tracks

Progress in Spirit of Greyhawk had been somewhat held up as I needed to make some decisions about some rules-related modifications before going further. I've said it before but I'm more of a GM than a game designer. So I'm not quite as eager to fiddle with the dials as perhaps many of you are. So I keep my new rules-design efforts focused on what I know won't work for SoG.

So before getting back to High Fantasy magic translations, here's a couple rules changes in SoG that might put some context into some of the magic / spells writeups to come:

Damage in Spirit of Greyhawk

Damage in Spirit of Greyhawk has been modified to reflect less-merciful assumptions about damage and dying than was used in Spirit of the Century--people can get one-shotted in SoG. This doesn't just apply to mooks either: anyone could get taken out with one hit, if that hit was big enough.

For purposes of the next parts, consider a character's Physical stress track as looking like this:

Stress -> Consequences -> Taken Out
OOOOO -> OOO -> O

Basic Stress Track Rules for SoG

Checked boxes within the Stress section still act the same way. Consequences work differently:
  • In SotC, consequences follow a linear progression (you can't have a Moderate consequence before a Mild consequence is assigned). In Spirit of Greyhawk, the amount of stress determines which Consequence you get--if there was enough stress to inflict a Moderate consequence (bypassing an open Mild consequence), that's what the target suffers.
  • "Taken out" still follows the same rules (see note below).
  • Roll-up behavior DOES apply normally, and includes Consequences also

Examples:
  • Damage of 6 stress on a clear track (as shown above) would bypass the first Stress section, and go straight to a Mild Consequence. Only that box is then checked / assigned.
    Boxes already filled would follow the rules consistent with SotC roll-up rules (see example #3 below)
  • Receiving damage of 9 stress on this track would go straight to "Taken Out". Done.
  • If the 5 box was already filled, and a Moderate consequence was filled and the character then received ANOTHER 5 stress hit, a "Mild" consequence would be assigned.

Extra Note on the "Taken Out" status

Without rehashing the whole writeup on this blog, there was a great writeup over here with thoughts about what "Taken Out" might mean in conflicts when there is a significant disparity in power levels of opponents. If you decide to check it out, think about potential conflicts between an adventuring party and a Dragon, or Demon Prince, or a deity's avatar--you get the idea.

It does pose some interesting thoughts for certain monster translations--watch this space. ;)

Adding a "Mental Stress Track" (see below for new edit)

Most of you know there's currently only two stress tracks in SotC RAW: Physical and Social. In the upcoming Dresden Files RPG, Evil Hat added a third stress track for Mental Stress.

I had previously resisted the addition of any other Stress tracks, because I personally felt that it was opening the door to making more-more-more tracks, which I don't have an interest in doing. Additionally I had considered the Composure stress track was easily used to track Mental damage anyway. The example I had considered was that if someone had taken Mental stress or a Mental consequence, wouldn't that likely represent a reduced ability to deal with stress in Social situations?

However I only have the blogosphere and Google to go on for this--I don't really know why the choice was made to do it that way. However given that DFRPG does have a Mental Stress track, I decided to not worry about it and just add it in.

So Spirit of Greyhawk has three stress tracks; Stunts and Skills will need to updated to reflect similar adjustments and modifications that are already available to Physical and Social Stress tracks.

Edit (3/25/10):
Rather than re-write the above four paragraphs (which would mess up the points in the comment thread), I'll note here that I've changed my mind about the SoG's inclusion of a Mental stress track--thanks to the points brought up in this post's comment thread.

SoG will not have a Mental stress track. Mental stress will be tracked as part of the Composure stress track. To echo a note from above, the other implication here is that psionic stress/damage will also negatively affect social stress situations, and I like that.

Plus this also eliminates the need for me to create makes skill/stunt clones that would make modifications to a Mental Stress track, similar to the Composure stress track.

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