14 March 2012

Inverse Ratios or Something Like That


I'm doing a couple of fun things with character generation in Rodiel that I think are kind of nifty, and that I'd like to share with you. This way, even if Rodiel doesn't take off the ground, at least I'm still sharing my ideas with the world. 

The first thing is inversely relating your character's mundane stats (think the Big Six in D&D terms, if you would) to your magical ability. That is to say, the more pathetic your character's physical stats are, the better your character is at magic. This does two things. 

One, it provides a very real safety valve for characters "rolling low." I know it's not oldschool, but I've never liked the amount of importance placed on rolling well in old school games, and it's usually one of the first things I house-rule away. All characters use the same rolled array and place them as they like, and I don't care who rolls them as long as the right number of dice are rolled the right number of times. I'm a big softy, and I'll even allow a single reroll. Why? Because I don't want inter-player envy, and I want them to specialize and strategize before the game starts. We can get into that later.

The second, and in my important more interesting way, is that it ties into the settings. In Rodiel, magic isn't a benign force to be used and discarded with apparently no ill effects (a la D&D, Runescape, every japanese RPG ever, really most settings that feature magic), it's an arcane, unhealthy force that's addictive and draining. By having your character, an established sorcerer/shaman/mystic, come into play with weaker muscles, trembling hands, a weak back, and a wandering mind, you establish that magic is dangerous. It's powerful, yes, but look at these people! Their skulls are cadaverous and they're blank eyed; they're thin to nearly skeletal and have a hacking cough that produces maggots, they're constantly twitching and muttering to themselves- magic is dangerous. Your magic using character has great power but at a great cost, as well.

I rather like it. Rodiel is turning out to be a lot of fun to write so far. 

1 comment:

  1. I like this idea a lot for two major reasons. The game mechanic add to the world building (the corrupting influence of magic) which is always wonderful in my book. The second is just that I've always liked the idea of giving a psuedo-benefit or unexpected outcome for a low score.

    I've been toying with the idea for certain stats, a courageous knight may be quite good at slaying dragons but a coward knows best how to strike fear into the hearts of men. A devout believer may better beseech the gods and curry their favor but a doubter is more resistant to the proselytizing effects of the clergy and their mystics. It's not something I've worked on in a while but your post certainly inspired me to.

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