Friday, January 30, 2009

Continued Thoughts From Yesterday

So, in my last entry I brought up two games in which the desires and goals of the character carry mechanical significance. In Wraith, this makes sense because it's a game about ghosts with unfinished business trying to move on. (Well, sometimes) It makes sense that those desires have some mechanical weight to them. Of course, many players I've known who don't enjoy Wraith point out the goal of Wraith is to make your character go away. Then again, even old school D&D recommended retiring characters once they reach a certain level, so maybe that's something that has been around in gaming from the beginning...but I digress.
In The Riddle of Steel, your character's desires and goals (Spiritual Attributes, they are called) give your otherwise fairly humble character a mechanical boost, so long as whatever action your character is undertaking directly advances his persuit of one of his Spiritual Attributes. For instance, if your character has an SA regarding his love for a fair maiden, you could argue for bonus dice in an duel to defend her honor, or maybe a roll to serenade her with an inspired ballad, or to jump across a chasm to rescue her from the bandits on the other side. Your character becomes more of a badass when in direct pursuit of the things he wants to do. My reactions to this system are mixed. On one hand, it encourages players to pursue their goals all the freaking time. I brought this up in yesterday's post because, unless the characters have identical or overlapping Spiritual Attributes, everyone is going to want to go off in their own direction, and the rest of the group will be playing second fiddle to the character who is getting dice bonuses on every damn thing he can justify. I can see the merit of the system because it produces driven characters, but the flipside is that it drives them in different directions.

Now, fair readers (the five of you that refers to), here's an informal poll: do you think that character motivations should be mechanically reinforced? Do you think this adds or subtracts from a game, and how so?

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