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Author Topic: Negative traits for PCs  (Read 125 times)

VengerSatanis

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Negative traits for PCs
« on: April 27, 2021, 11:46:40 AM »

Good idea, bad idea, or promising but could use improvement?  Watch the video, tell me what you think...

https://youtu.be/SO9TA1BwyWo

HappyDaze

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Re: Negative traits for PCs
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2021, 02:09:18 PM »
Having negative traits that, when they impact the game, give the player some kind of payback (often a narrative token like a luck point/bennie/etc.) is nothing new. Savage Worlds is full of examples of this, and so too are any of the more narrative games out there.

VengerSatanis

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Re: Negative traits for PCs
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2021, 10:55:45 AM »

Yeah, I know they aren't new.  I've used them in my own stuff before (i.e. The Outer Presence).  What I would like to know, specifically, is how such mechanics would be received if added to Crimson Dragon Slayer D20?


Eirikrautha

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Re: Negative traits for PCs
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2021, 10:24:28 PM »

Good idea, bad idea, or promising but could use improvement?  Watch the video, tell me what you think...

https://youtu.be/SO9TA1BwyWo

The problem with "negative traits" is that all negative traits aren't created equal.  A trait with mechanical consequences seldom seems worth whatever bonus offsets it.  A trait that is primarily "roleplay" based can too easily be ignored by the players or GM and have no effect, giving some characters a small bonus for no real penalty.  Honestly, I seen a lot of games try this, and none of them, IMHO, have ever done it successfully.  Balancing the mechanical effect of a negative trait is almost on the level of adding a new attribute or stat to the game; how do you make it prevalent enough that it's worth the trouble of building it in without making it overly crippling or making it so wildly variable that it is ripe for optimization?  And non-mechanical traits are just free points/benefits in so many circumstances. 

It's a hard balancing act, so here's hoping you've got a lot of levels in designer thief-acrobat...

VengerSatanis

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Re: Negative traits for PCs
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2021, 02:25:07 PM »

I happen to be a 10th level game designer/thief/acrobat.  ;)

I'm fixing that by having any bonus tied to the use of that negative trait.  I used this example in the comment section of the video...

Let's say you choose (or randomly rolled) "vengeance".  Any time the character indulges in his vengeful nature, he'll get a point of divine favor (similar to 5e's inspiration).  That way, if it never gets used, the PC never gets the bonus.  If it's over-used, well, being vengeful comes with its own set of disadvantages. 

Thoughts?

I'm going to do a proper blog post tomorrow on the whole thing, plus a list of negative traits.

VS

Eirikrautha

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Re: Negative traits for PCs
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2021, 06:07:22 PM »

I happen to be a 10th level game designer/thief/acrobat.  ;)

I'm fixing that by having any bonus tied to the use of that negative trait.  I used this example in the comment section of the video...

Let's say you choose (or randomly rolled) "vengeance".  Any time the character indulges in his vengeful nature, he'll get a point of divine favor (similar to 5e's inspiration).  That way, if it never gets used, the PC never gets the bonus.  If it's over-used, well, being vengeful comes with its own set of disadvantages. 

Thoughts?

I'm going to do a proper blog post tomorrow on the whole thing, plus a list of negative traits.

VS
That's does mute quite a few of the issues.  Looking forward to the post.

VengerSatanis

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Re: Negative traits for PCs
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2021, 07:38:35 AM »

Ok, here it is.  This is a work-in-progress, so go nuts!  I'll be playtesting it next weekend at the earliest, so I appreciate any and all feedback...

https://vengersatanis.blogspot.com/2021/04/negative-character-traits.html