Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Charmed

I'm currently experimenting with renaming Into the Odd's Willpower Ability to Charm.

Symbolic of Into the Odd leaping off the rails, potentially over a shark.

Relax, I still use it in the same way as WIL.

Here's how it currently faces the players in my drafted home version.

Your character has three ability scores.

STRength – Power and Toughness.

DEXterity – Subtlety and Precision

CHArm –Influence and Composure.



Reaction: When you make first contact with someone, person or monster, the player making contact rolls a CHA Save to avoid a particularly bad first impression. For hostile encounters, even a positive reaction can be unfriendly.

Morale: The leader of a group must pass a CHA save to avoid their followers being routed when they take their first casualty, or lose half of their total numbers. This applies to opponents and allies but not player characters. 


And slightly expanded for the Referee.

Reaction Saves: When a character makes first contact with another being, they make a CHA Save to see if they garner a more positive or negative response than usual. This Save is repeated if the character puts strain on an existing relationship.


High CHA characters that ask too much of others will still drive them away. 


So if it's the same, why use a different name at all?

I wrote about looking at WIL in a more social way last year. And these rules aren't anything new, but I've been using a different name lately for a few reasons:
  • The majority of the active use for WIL score is social, and I like the abilities to have a clear active use. If CHA is your only good score, you get an idea of how you should play that character. If WIL was your only high score, it wasn't as obvious that you still had a tool to work with. 
  • If I ask you to imagine a low, medium, and high STR person, it's easy to do. Same for DEX. For WIL it's a bit more fuzzy, but everyone knows someone that's high and low on Charm. While Willpower is inward-facing, Charm is something you project outward. 
  • I've sometimes had NPCs and Monsters roll WIL Saves to see if they "do the smart thing" but I prefer giving behavioural guidelines through their moves. If you need to see if they fall for the party's tricks then putting the focus on the player character's CHA score works well. 
  • Sanity damage stuff currently affects WIL, and the transition to CHA damage works just fine, but this is the one area where I feel a little something is lost. An attack on your Willpower makes more sense than an attack on your Charm. However, I like that as they lose CHA, the character becomes more detached and less likeable.
  • For Morale use, it shifts away from the WIL of the individual and to the CHA of the leader. This makes high CHA characters more useful when leading hirelings, and gives juicy targets to break organised groups of enemies. 
  • I continue to move away from WIL as the "magic score", and severing the link between the strange powers of Oddities and the numbers on the character sheet. Oddities should be interesting and potentially risky because of their own properties, not because you have a low WIL score.
Having a leader with CHA 17 doesn't mean you won't die.


Of course using the abbreviation CHA is going to draw parallels to D&D's Charisma. This is no bad thing, as it's probably the closest parallel to the way I use the score, though I find Charisma carries more weight of being the canonical dump-stat. I might end up using Charisma for that ease of association, but we'll see.

Also, a bit of clarification on yesterday's post. 

This book will contain everything you need to play and run Into the Odd.

It is not replacing the current book. Material that will not be reproduced in Bastionland is:

  • The Iron Coral, Fallen Marsh, and Hopesend adventure sites. 
  • The Oddpendium.
  • The sample Arcana and Monsters (a handful of the former have been remade and find a home in the new character backgrounds).
  • All of the art. 

Any rule changes I make will be minor, and conversion will be a complete non-issue.

So when both books are out there, and somebody asks me which one they should buy, I'd say:

  • Someone's running this and I just need to make a character and know how to play: Into the Odd - Free Edition
  • I want to run a pick-up game out of the box, with ready made content: Into the Odd
  • I want to play or run Into the Odd, and I want more setting-meat and content creation guidance: Bastionland

7 comments:

  1. I don't know about charm... sounds odd when you're bullying someone into doing what you want or ordering them about through the sheer force of your personality (evil cult leader with piercing black eyes style). How about... Presence? (as in a striking, impressive manner of appearance)

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    1. Presence is a good word, and has always been on the shortlist of contenders for the name.

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  2. You mention that interaction of WIL with Oddities/Arcana is being phased out. Is "use an Oddity in a different way from its default" something that doesn't require a roll anymore?

    (It's possible I've missed some previous discussion on this.)

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    1. Ah, you discussed it here: http://soogagames.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/the-death-of-arcana-plus-oddities-to.html

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    2. I need to put my thoughts on that topic into another post, but essentially I want to have oddities generally stick to their intended uses, but give more opportunities for combining them, and having more oddities in the game in general.

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