August 24, 2011

Vivid: Guts Mechanic

I’ve been reconciling the way Vivid’s Fate Dice work with the way I want Hari Ragat to play, and I think I’ve got it.  I’m taking out Fate Dice and replacing them with Guts.

What is Guts?  Guts is a measure of the character’s willpower, confidence, and drive to win/succeed/survive. 

Mechanically, they still work very much the same way.  The definition, however, now works better for simulating something specific as opposed to the very metagame-y way that Fate works.  Luck in exchange for good role-playing is nice, but I’ve seen players gaming the system in ways that side-tracked the game. So I’ll be more specific, and have my SYA (save-your-ass) mechanic be related to something internal to the character.

Guts also gives me a handy fear-tracking mechanic, should I ever want to use monsters with some kind of ‘Terrifying’ power.

Uses of Guts
Guts can be spent to add bonus dice to a roll.  The rationale is you’re using up sheer willpower to try harder.

Guts can be spent to soak damage.  The rationale is, instead of taking serious injury, your confidence gets shaken, you get rattled, etc.

Guts can be spent to act in the face of terror.  When faced with something horrifying, ordinary persons will (in the game at least!) cower or freeze – but because heroes have Guts to spend, they can act.  If the player wants to act. 

(This means I’m not taking away player control with my fear mechanic, instead I’m asking the player, ‘Give me something in exchange for the ability to act, when everyone else around you is frozen.’)

Gaining/Restoring Guts
Now, because Guts is willpower/confidence, we can also tie it to acts that restore/increase confidence.  For a lot of us human beings, interaction with our loved ones is THE great confidence booster.  I’m thinking that in Vivid games, engaging in acts of romance or family bonding will yield Guts.

Similarly, engaging in acts that are pleasurable for the character can also yield Guts – aye, ye have license to carouse and wench all ye want, ye scurvy dogs!  I wanna run a Conan-or Three Musketeers-based adventure just thinking of the possibilities here! 

Another idea is that of taking Setbacks in combat.  Rather than roll, you narrate your character getting beaten up and humiliated by his opponent.  The effect is +1 Guts every round you do this, representing the gathering storm of rage and canned whup-ass.  And when you think you’ve had enough, you unleash it – pow!

How does this work in Hari Ragat? In Hari Ragat, Guts is replaced by Baraka, spiritual power.  The ways of earning it also change a bit, as now it’s not just interaction that gains it, but also performing sacrifices, slaying numinously powerful monsters, etc. etc. 

Starting Guts
Player characters start with 3 Guts.  They can add to this by spending Asset Dice on Guts instead of other Assets. 

In Hari Ragat, PC’s get 2 Baraka plus bonuses for being Orang Dakila, having supernatural ancestors, and so on.

A player character’s Guts/Baraka will always be in flux.  Hard adventures will result in heavy spending of Guts, so the players will have reason to call for opportunities to ‘recharge.’

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