Post by youfiend on Mar 6, 2021 1:16:20 GMT -5
If your delvers aren't risking death, what are they risking?
...Stat points, that's what.
I've finished reading Jon Peterson's The Elusive Shift recently, and it has had me thinking about the nature of systems with a heavy referee role, like T&T the way I play it, and old-school high lethality campaigns. It seems to me like combining these two things is a recipe for trouble. I can't say I get the chance to game in a group that often, but I could easily imagine it leading to much more intensive arguments about any given GM ruling if that ruling is essentially going to determine whether a given character lives or dies. Plus, I don't think it's a bad thing to let players get attached to long-running characters, to want to see them as part of a larger story full of adventures. That's a fun way to play too!
But what Peterson pointed out that I found particularly useful is that in a game like T&T, a character's growth is kind of the "score" of the game, and character death traditionally resets it to zero. But does that have to be the case? Can't we make characters take a hit to their effectiveness without wiping them out altogether?
So to that end, I've hit upon the following house rule for dealing with death from Con loss. If a character's Con is reduced to 0, they get three choices:
1. The character can die. Hey, sometimes you're ready to let go and roll up that new Leprechaun Wizard you've had in mind!
2. The character can live, but be knocked out or wounded somehow. If that's the case, the character loses 1d6 points PERMANENTLY off of his or her highest stat (choose a stat randomly if there are any ties). Maybe the wizard suffered some brain damage from a particularly fierce knock on the head, or the warrior's nerves have been so jangled by a near-death experience that she isn't nearly as dexterous as before. Note that the selection of the stat and the amount taken off is objective, so it hopefully shouldn't breed feelings that the GM is unfair either in targeting specific stats or setting specific amounts. Also note that the stat loss can still be bought back with experience points eventually; it doesn't create an artificial cap on that attribute for the character.
3. The character can live and stay on his or her feet at a cost of 1d6+1 points off of his or her highest stat. BUT, Con will only stay at 1, meaning any other damage suffered by the character will bring 'em right back to this tripartite choice!
To my mind, this strikes a good balance between ensuring there are actual consequences for falling to 0 Con that incentivize players to avoid that fate and make their victories feel more meaningful, while at the same time making it not so onerous to fall to 0 Con that a player would be unwilling to have his or her character take risks that naturally make the game more entertaining. And I hope it would mean a lot less potential arguing over whether a given saving roll should be Level 2 or Level 3!
I haven't thought specifically about circumstances where stats other than Con would be reduced to 0, but I imagine similar principles would apply. And you can probably also set the rule that, if a stat would otherwise fall to 0 or below because of the 1d6 subtraction from dying, it stays at a minimum of 1, but I think that would be a highly uncommon situation.
And of course, I know this rule wouldn't fit everyone's playstyle, but I have a good feeling it will work for me and I thought I would share it with others here on the off-chance it might be inspiring!