The Role of Fate

“Each participant is responsible for entertaining everyone else, regardless of player/GM role.” – Mike Mearls (Lead Developer, Dungeons & Dragons™ 4th Edition)

While I am not planning to interrupt our current campaign at this stage, I have been taking notes out of the Numenera rulebook. I would like to, shall we say, re-optimise our current system for fate cards.

As it stands, Fate Cards are a GM device to reward clever role-playing, or recognise those moments that entertain everyone at the table – whether or not they are game related. I have been somewhat sparse with handing them out. They can be used for a minor in-game effect such as modifying a roll, or saved for experience.

The new system I have in mind works thus: I will hand out cards whenever I want to introduce a complication (the GM Intrusion mechanic from Numenera), or as a reward for clever role-playing that advances the story – even if that advance is sideways. A player may sidestep a complication by giving up a card instead of receiving one.

A card may be traded in for an automatic success, substitute for a point of Willpower or to avoid a point of damage (perhaps two points). Players may freely use their cards to influence the rolls, etc, of other players. You need to justify it, however. Make up some reason, narrative or stunt that explains the intervention of fate.

Cards are no longer worth experience points to the player that holds them. A player can trade in two cards to give someone ELSE one Experience Point, but again they must justify it with an in-game reason.

The idea here is to improve the dynamic of play by introducing more narrative into the player side of the table. Players still retain control of that dynamic – there is no intention of removing player volition.

Thoughts or comments? Played in a game that does something similar?


~ by occam99 on October 21, 2013.

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