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[Forge-main] Advantages

From: Ricardo Gladwell
Subject: [Forge-main] Advantages
Date: 21 Sep 2003 12:43:17 +0100

Hi Everyone,

In order to revitalize discussion, I've copied some talk from the forums
to here:

I've been thinking a lot about advantages (and disadvantages). It sems
to me that these types of traits can be divided into several categories:
* Bonuses/Penalties - give a increased or decreased chance to action
rolls in certain situations. 

* Prohibitions - prevents a character for performing actions that normal
humans can perform. For example, Blindness is a prohibition on sight and
means the character automatically fails all sight checks. 

* Feats - akin to d20 feats, these allow characters to make actions they
cannot normally perform, e.g. martial art feats might allow characters
to make flying kicks, when most other characters can only make normal
kicks. As opposed to prohibitions. 

* Trait Bonuses/Penalties - in particular, Secondary Traits, these allow
characters to increase/decrease secondary traits. 

* Access - these allow characters access to traits, typically other
advantages, that they could not normally get. For example, Magic User
would allow characters access to learning magic skills. These are
typically campaign setting dependent. 

The problem is the first and most common category, bonuses and
penalties. Is this category actually necessary in a game like FRINGE?
Selecting weak or strong traits would surely cover this topic. For
example, having a lame foot could be best described in having a low
Agility, rather than selecting a Lame disadvantage. 

What other categories might there be?

Samuel Penn wrote:
> Background options (e.g. social class, wealth, enemies etc).
> Supernatural traits which can't be obtained otherwise. Personality
> traits (phobias, mental disorders). 
> In an SF campaign, lameness and low agility are quite different if the
> character is in a zero g environment. If agility affects initiative, a
> lame character could still be very fast at performing a quick draw.

I'm trying to look for a deeper 'theory' of advantages/disadvantages.
For example, could the advantages you give as examples be described
using some or the above. For example, Wealth could easily be described
in terms of a Secondary Trait, for example. On the other hand, I didn't
think of enemies/patrons and so forth. I can imagine these coming under
a new category: Campaign Ads/Dis. That is, purely plot-related
advantages and complications. 

The question is, how much do we want to cover with advantages? DO we
just want them to cover affects of rules, or do we want them to cover
more, as in the case of Campaign Ads/Dis? 

I'm already planning to include rules for personality traits, which
won't be advantages or disadvantages, and will be linked to the
secondary traits Will (to resist personality traits) and Passion (to
enjoy the benefits of personality traits). I haven't worked out the
details yet, but have the embryo of an idea stewing. 

On the subject of genre Ads/Dis cross-over, I see your point. I was
thinking of building a system to custom make your own advantages at one
point. You choose a cost based upon the benefit or disadvantage imparted
and then multiply by a factor based on how often in the game the
advantage is likely to come into play. The only problem, is that such a
system might break compatibility.

Ricardo Gladwell
President, Free Roleplaying Community

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