Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Awesomeness Score

As promised, my next post is on Awesomeness. This is a short little post detailing the mechanics involved.

The flaw is the general difficulty some systems have with encouraging awesome stunts. The rules either make them a bad idea, or make them so easy that its all that is ever done. And if everything is awesome then nothing is.

In Piecemeal this is achieved through the "Awesomeness Score", which represents how much favour your curry with the trickster deities (or the fates etc depending on setting). As you do awesome things you gain fate points. So doing awesome things is still dangerous and can end badly, but it also rewards you for later if you pull it off. Pulling stunts has become a choice not a problem in design terms.

At the end of each session each character adds up their awesomeness score by compiling certain listed modifiers, I'll list a few here to give you the idea.

Their Exceptional Luck Modifier. Why? Exceedingly lucky characters get a little boost here

+1 if they wear a cape.
+1 if they have an awesome hat etc Why? These modifiers are ways to encourage visual style to adhere to trope. Things like Kilts in a Scottish game, or tall hats in a western would give a bonus, and if you so desire really out of place style choices could be a negative.

+3 if they wear (and need) an eye patch. Why? Eye Patches make you look bad ass. Always.

+1 to +5 per great line, set-up or comeback. Why? Everyone has more fun at the table with a few great lines floating about. Note these should be in character rather than the player who can derail the game by saying "its only a model" the most. Again though, whatever makes your game more fun.

Arbitrary bonus for pulling off amazing stunts. Why? This is part of the fun, to encourage someone to swing from the chandelier or ride the banister. Its a very broad and nebulous grouping though, how do you systematically categorize how awesome wrestling a bear on a canoe going over a waterfall is? The only stated general rule is that it should be taking extra risk for the purposes of style.

Adhering to trope. Why? Similar to stunts, this is a carrot mechanism to make it a choice to do the silly things that fit into the trope. Do you let the villain finish his monologue or take the opportunity for a free round of arrow fire? Normally this would be a simple problem of "of course you shoot him", but now its a choice. Shooting him is more effective, but if you think you'll win anyways, hell, let the blowhard talk and boost your chances at the trickster deities favouring you (they love trope)

Being the MVP +5. Why? This is a nice mechanic to remind people this is a social team game. Players (not the GM) vote on who was the most valuable player that session. This is a fairly noticeable boost towards getting a re-roll.

Arbitrary penalty for spoiling the fun of others. Why? Ya, we get it, your thief is a monster who will slit his friends throat while they sleep, take their stuff and blame it on a monster to the rest of the group. But when your fellow players sat down and made a group template "I'm a psycho" wasn't what they as a group wanted to play. Its akin to being in a touch football game and tackling someone. Sure that's the rules for football, but not this game of football. This is an extreme example of course, but this is just another general mechanic to remind people this is a social team game. Unless everyone enjoys sir betrays-a-lot and his antics (Which they might), its another form of breaking trope.

What does this score do?

At the end of the session each player takes their "Awesomeness Score" and rolls a d20. If the d20 + Awesomeness is 20 or more they gain a fate point (re-roll). Then they take how much unused Awesome they have and roll again, until they fail to earn a (re-roll)


Chuck has +10 to awesome this session. So at the end of the game he rolls a d20 and gets 16, earning a fate.

He only need 4 points of awesome to reach 20, so he takes the extra +6 and rolls again, getting a natural 20, earning another fate and using none of his awesomeness.

He rolls again getting an 18, he seems to be on a roll. This uses up 2 points, earned another fate and is prepared to roll again with +4.

Then the GM noticed he is rolling the D20 left out from the game of Formula De they played earlier and makes him do the whole process all over again with a regular d20.

This is by no means a complete example, but it gives you a better feel for the mechanics. It encourages the type of play you (may) want without making it mandatory. It also adds a sense of fun and excitement to end the night on when everyone is rolling to earn points.

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