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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Solo Tabletop Gaming Appreciation Month: Monomyth structure - Session 5 (some chargen)

After finishing the last session, I've decided that it's time to put some stats down on paper, as I've been relying on the Mythic fate chart for everything. Well, I will still be relying on it, but the character's stats will be my point of reference.

I had mentioned earlier that I liked the way that the Shock rpg handled stats, so I've tried to incorporate that. However, I also think that each phase of the world should have a Mythic Chaos rank associated with it, as it seems that the hero's fortunes rise and fall depending on each stage. I also think that some stages will need to be broken down into sub-stages with their own chaos rank. 
Like, for example, in the "Crossing The First Threshold" phase, we don't want the hero to fail miserably, or the story gets stuck. So, I think that Phase should have a high chaos rank, and a high chance of success for the hero, with lucky breaks, etc.

In the "Ordeal" phase, the chaos rank should probably be lower near its beginning (sub-stage), when the hero should be at his/her lowest of lows,. Then it should rise near its end.

Now, of course, if chance surprises me and say, the hero fails at "Crossing The First Threshold", I'll have to find an in-story reason to deal with that, and try again. I think it's hard trying to maintain a balance between a coherent story and an interactive game. :)

Going back to the vaguely Shock style stats, I've decided that the overarching four stats for everyone will be Brains vs Brawn, and Integrity vs Corruption. I think those themes seem to have manifested themselves through play so far, and it makes sense that the story should be about those.

The way that Shock stats work is that you pick a number between 3 and 8 for each "praxis". In order to succeed you have to roll a d10 and come up under or over that "fulcrum" depending on which side of the "praxis" you're choosing. For example, if I chose Eli to have a 8 for his "Brains vs Brawn" praxis, it would mean that I have to roll under 8 using a d10, if Eli is using his Brains. If trying to use Brawn, I'd need to roll over 8.
Also, each protagonist in Shock has Features, which are characteristics that make your Protagonist unique. For each Feature a character has, a d10 is available when rolling against a stat/praxis. When a protagonist fails a roll (and only when they fail), that character gets to add a new feature, and an additional d10 to his arsenal.  This is supposed to emulate a changing tide of fortune.

How am I trying to adapt this to Mythic and the Chaos rank? Well, I decided pick an "Acting Rank" for each Praxis, and the rest is pretty much like Shock: roll over or under Exceptional odds for a success depending on which side of the scale is being used. So, for example, I picked an "Exceptional" rank for Eli's Brains vs Brawn praxis. Eli needs to roll under Exceptional if using his Brains, and over Exceptional if using his Brawn.

Note that I'm using the Mythic "Acting Rank" as if it was an "Odds" rank. It translates to the same thing, but the "Acting Rank" definitions sound better to my ear.

The other thing I will be trying to emulate from Shock is the way it uses pools of d10's to count successes. Instead of pools of  d10's, I'll be using pools of d100's (or 6 d10's). So for each feature, I'll have a d100 (or a pair of d10's).

One thing I'll do differently from Shock is that I won't be using the d4's for defensive rolls, but each character's successes will cancel the opposing character's successes. I haven't thought this out, so I'm not sure how it will look like in play, but I'm anticipating a lot of rolling!

Here are the first three characters (one of them we haven't met in play yet):

Eli

   Features
  • Braniac and Artist. Knowledge seeker.
  • Unassertive & scared of confrontation.
  • Wants peace and affection.
  • Does not like to swim (gained during lost conflict in  Session 7)
   Praxis
  • Brains vs Brawn : Exceptional (Eli needs to roll under Exceptional Odds for a success using Brains, and over Exceptional Difficulty for a success using Brawn . The actual number to beat changes depending on Chaos Factor.)
  • Integrity vs Corruption: High

Brelward  (audience boos)

   Features
  • Cowardly bully
  • (Mythic: Mockingly-Petite) Insecure about his height (a short beefy bully)
  • (Mythic: Boldly-Ruined) A spoilt brat (ruined-->spoiled)
  • Will abandon friends to save his own skin. (Gained during lost conflict in Session 6)
   Praxis
  • Brains vs Brawn: Weak (Roll under Weak Odds if using Brains, Roll over Weak Difficulty if using Brawn. His strong side of the scale is Brawn.)
  • Integrity vs Corruption: Below Average (Mythic didn't put him too far down the Corruption scale)

Thor  (Eli's friend/protector)

Features
  • Highly principled; to a fault maybe. (see Integrity vs Corruption praxis)
  • Brave, but not very smart. (reflecting his Brains vs Brawn praxis)
  • (Mythic: Energetically- Lame Agile) An athletic kid.
Praxis
  • Brains vs Brawn: Minuscule  (Roll under Minuscule Odds if using Brains, roll over Minuscule Difficulty if using Brawn)
  • Integrity vs Corruption: Incredible (highly principled kid, to a fault maybe)


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One interesting, and potentially neat thing about using opposed stats is the sharp contrasts they create. Weakling geniuses, vs physically gifted dim bulbs. :) That can change with time, if they fail enough and get more dice to roll.

Edit: Click here for Session #6.