Thursday, November 3, 2011

Roll for Awesomeness!

One of the most beloved and player ruining mechanics of Neoclassical Geek Revival is 'Awesomeness'.  Players who play Neoclassical Geek Revival often have a hard time readjusting to more careful and tactical games ( I have been told this directly by said players).

So what is awesomeness?

Awesomeness is what makes every situation has more than one 'correct answer'.  You hear a strange noise coming from the cellar in the ruined building your party is camping in.  Do you  A: wake the party, arm yourselves and go check it out? (the tactically correct answer) B: Grab a flickering easy to extinguish torch and go check it out alone without telling anyone where you are going,  especially if you are in an abandoned summer camp where all those teens died 13 years ago to the day under a full moon just like this one (the awesome answer).

Normally in an RPG,  while B might be good for a laugh every now and again, if you want a party to survive then option A is the right call.  Which is why you always see it get made.   But think of all the hilarious opportunities you miss!

I didn't want to flip the table 180 either,  I didn't want the correct answer to be that you should ALWAYS be zany and off the wall, and that being careful and serious is always wrong.   I like choices to make, not problems to solve.  Choices always keep players involved (and away from phones),  problems keep thinking once, until its been solved.  Then it is ignored.

So the smart and safe choice is the best answer,  but if they make an awesome decision (Extra risk purely for style) then there is at least some small chance at reward. It will still probably end up with your death in the above example,  but if you live?  Think of all the awesomeness points you'll earn!  This lessens the amount of analysis paralysis as well, even if they make a bad decision they can pretend it was for the awesomeness later and they meant to do that (no really guys, I MEANT to do that dumb thing)

So what does awesomeness do?   At the end of the night, the players decide on an MVP (more awesomeness) and then sit around and recall their awesome exploits during the night.  This also reinforces what was done (at least the cool parts people want to remember), and keeps people paying attention to the game (the end goal).

Once they have their awesomeness scores they begin rolling against it,  whittling it down to receive more and more fate points (which are die re-rolls) for future use.

The end result is less time over planning encounters,  more time paying attention to the game (instead of cell phones) and more time recounting the fun parts of the game (reinforcing the memories of the game)

From Neoclassical Geek Revival, Pages 99-100

Fate and Destiny!
As player characters progress
through their adventuring career they
will almost certainly accumulate ‘fate
points’ and ‘destiny points’. What
exactly are these points, what do they do
and how do you get them.
In brief, fate points are the fates
and trickster deities subtly altering
things to keep their favoured entertainers
(i.e. the adventurers) amusing them.
Only entertaining heroes and villains
will achieve fate points. Fate points are
used primarily to re-roll dice, though
they do have other functions. At the end
of every game session, players will roll
to see if they gain more fate points.
Destiny points on the other hand
represent a character’s purpose. They
are very rare and should not be given out
randomly. They occur when characters
undertake specific and life-altering
quests. If a character ever has more
than one at a time they become nigh
unstoppable in their task. Destiny points
give a wide range of possible functions,
not limited to choosing the results of a
die roll without needing to roll.

Destiny Points
Destiny Points are incredibly
valuable and may be spent in the
following ways:
* Pick the results of a die rolled by the
character without needing to roll it. A
character could thus determine their
attack will be an epic success without
needing to roll it.
* Disallow an opponent from using luck
points to soak the damage from an
attack. This particularly brutal use of a
destiny point would mean that even a
mighty hero could be felled by one
dagger to the back from a betrayer.
* Restore all Luck Points. This option
would allow a broken and beaten hero to
rise up and fight on, it is highly
suggested you have one or all of the
players mutter 'get up Rocky'
*Add a possible but potentially
extremely unlikely element to the
encounter or scene, provided it hasn’t
been specifically described as not being
present. This is one of the harder to
referee options, this option would allow
a hero or villain the option to
figuratively 'pull something out of their
#$%'. A hero could be running injured
through the wilderness nigh naked,
chased by wolves and spend a destiny
point to stumble into an ancient tomb
with a full set of quality weapons and
armour by spending a destiny point.

Fate Points
Fate points are substantially more
common than Destiny Points. At the end
of every game session players will roll
against their ‘Awesomeness Score’ to
gain more fate points. They will also
elect and MVP who will gain an
additional fate points. Fate points can be
used in the following ways:
* Re-roll a die or set of dice. This is the
most common use; a player who just
rolled an epic failure for their leap across
the chasm of doom could spend a fate
point to re-roll the die.
* Restore a luck die worth of luck
points. Used in this manner a player
could spend a fate point for additional
luck points, this can only be used after
resolving any pending attacks against the
player this round.
* Add a likely and plausible element to
the environment, scene or encounter
providing it hasn't been specifically
described as not being present. Used in
this manner, the words likely and
plausible are key. For example, a hero
who dives out of a city window could
not declare there is a saddled horse
directly below (unless he was in a stable
or other location with valuable horses
left lying around) but he could declare
there was an awning or pile of garbage
to cushion his fall.

Electing an MVP
Role-playing games are at their
core a co-operative game, and everyone
likes to receive recognition of their
efforts at being a team player. At the
end of each session, all players other
than the Game Master should elect
whom they consider the ‘Most Valuable
Player’. This should be the person who
added the most fun, made the biggest
sacrifices or otherwise added to the
game. Players may not vote for
themselves. In the event of a tie, the
Game Master casts the deciding vote.
The MVP receives +5 to awesomeness
this session, and receives one additional
fate point.

Rolling for Awesomeness
At the end of each session, roll a
d20 for each player. If they have an
awesomeness score less than the die
move on to the next player. If they have
an equal to, or higher awesomeness
score than the die roll, subtract the die
roll from their awesomeness score, give
them 1 fate point, and roll again. On a
roll of a natural 20, to celebrate that
rolling a 20 is in itself awesome, give the
player a fate point and have them roll
i.e. A player has 6 Awesomeness
this session, he rolls a d20 and gets a 4.
The player receives 1 fate point and is
reduced to 2 Awesomeness and may roll
again. On the next d20 the player lucks
out and rolls a 2, receiving a second fate
point and another roll. With 0
Awesomeness remaining the players
only hope for another fate is to roll a 20,
he does not and pass the die to the next
To determine a player’s
awesomeness score for a game session,
add or subtract the following (you may
wish to add to this list):
*Their Luck Modifier
*+1 for wearing a cape
*+1 for wearing an awesome hat
*+1 for a manly beard, +2 if the
character is female
*+1 if a character has “80’s hair”
*+1 for wearing an eye patch
*+5 if they actually need it
*+5 if MVP
*Bonus for adhering to trope/genre
(penalty for breaching)
*Arbitrary bonus for choosing to do
intentionally awesome things (defined as
taking extra risk for style)

A character’s awesomeness score
resets to 0 at the end of each session
regardless of fates gained (or not). Note
that this is a die roll for the player, and is
thus not affected by ‘Joe Average’.


  1. This has been a lot of fun; it works with the sort of game NGR is geared towards, and that is a great feature. :D

  2. This a very cool feature. One I am thinking of a way to incorperate into my on going campaign. It is a fun addition.