The impulse to do "just one more thing" before adressing your character's needs

edited October 2012 in Story Games
Long story short, I'm not a fan of players who want to forced-march through the desert for three days straight, then storm the sultan's palace and fight fifty swordsmen.

I don't want to do all the book-keeping to keep track of fatigue and starvation and all that work. It's just silly.

So I do "subtle" things. When the players are at an inn and gathering information, and then decide "we want to go visit this Baron and see if he knows where the child is." I usually try to respond with "So it's three days later, and you are at the theater as the Baron takes his box seats."

-- And what I'd like to do, is expand that to EXP systems.

I don't gel with people spontaneously getting better at artifact crafting because they killed that 307th kobold in the warrens of the Ogre's cave. But again, I don't want to go full on with "you can only spend XP in this location, during these times, and then you make a roll to see if you gain this skill, but if you train under a master you get to roll against a lower TN, and if you do power yoga while getting me a beer from the fridge you get to re-roll and take the better result."

So,
-You may spend XP to "get better." Doing so requires you to secret yourself away and train hard. You need quiet space, dedicated to learning. (We will handle narratively what that means when it is question.)
-You may not keep track of what is happening in the world while you do so. Time passes. The world changes. You will wake to the new conditions.

Should you choose to spend time keeping a pulse on current events, you may get forewarning before the Grand Duke's army has taken the lands to the West and takes your nephew hostage. But that comes at a cost. Any "training" time spent not fully isolated goes at 1/4 the fair rate. You will receive only 1/4 benefit for your time. This is because half of your time is spent "among the people" dealing with gossip and spies and lies and carousing and dinners and letters and such. And even when you are "training" half of your mind is still in that world.

-- Is there a game system that adopts this mentality?
-- Have people tried this before?

I know Houses of the Blooded limits actions per season, which is cool. And I know several Japanese fantasy games do not permit any action in Winter, instead using it for recovery and training. I'm not so much looking for just "making time pass" I'm looking for ways to accelerate consequences. I'm looking for ways to say that characters are more interesting to me for the choices they are forced to make, for the opportunities they must pass up, for the things they devote themselves to.

(thanks for reading through this rambling)

Comments

  • In Burning Wheel, you track tests, so you only advance skills you test. You've got to check this thing out. It also incentivizes testing when you might fail, and closes the loopholes with Say Yes or Roll the Dice. Luke Crane has fixed this for you.
  • That's an interesting XP system...I think the "go away and learn" thing is a model that's not actually used that much. Most games are action games so you learn by doing things. It's not the 307th kobold that gives you learning, it's all the actions you've taken across the entirety of the time since you last levelled up. XP that keeps you from doing things is very interesting.
  • I have a feeling I'm being misunderstood. Or not stating what I want clearly.

    I don't care about people "getting better at things they are doing." That's not the behavior I'm talking about.
    My assumption is that people in fantasy games are still people, and in being people they need to eat and sleep and spend some moments of their life not recklessly risking their necks for a few coins.

    So life is pockets of intense action, with normal life in-between. In the fires of extreme, dangerous stupidity, you might learn something about life. That's called XP. When you reflect on that, you can apply it to getting better. That's spending XP.

    But all that takes the passage of time, and enemies are taking action, and the world moves on.

    Is there a system that does this?
    Does it address the needs to sequester yourself?
    Does it facilitate the exchange between the "character getting better at stuff" for "the world changes while you navel-gaze"?

    I realize this runs contrary to most fantasy games, where you only get better by doing, and is the polar opposite of games like Burning Wheel and D&D, and even Apocalypse World.
  • Essentially, I'm thinking Wu-Xia genre, where I think this might have greater application.
  • edited October 2012
    -- And what I'd like to do, is expand that to EXP systems.

    I don't gel with people spontaneously getting better at artifact crafting because they killed that 307th kobold in the warrens of the Ogre's cave.
    Why are you wanting to play systems that don't do what you want? Why are you playing in systems that reward XP for random killing in the first place?

    What is it that you get out of EXP systems that you don't want to give up? That part isn't clear. Because the way you rail against bookkeeping and such suggests that you're just flat out playing games that don't suit what you want to accomplish.

    Why are you playing games you don't like? There are others.

    Edit: More discussion happened before I got my response in. It may be a little less appropriate than it was. But there may be useful questions in it, so I'm leaving it in place.
  • The short answer is: I'm not. I don't play those games anymore. I play shorter games that handle a specific purpose.

    Where I to play a longer game, I would want something that behaves differently, but I don't know that such a game exists.
  • I played in a larp once where instead of XP, you had Time Units representing the time between sessions. You could spend that on training, if you had the prerequisites (a teacher, a book, proper tools, etc) for the thing you want to learn. Or you could spend time gathering information on what was happening in the world. Or you could spend time gathering resources. Or you could spend time on things like building your house or building a wall around your house or crafting weapons.

    That sounds like it might be a better way to approach what you are talking about. Give them more choices about what to spend their time on, rather than putting it in terms of a penalty.

    Of course, if you do that, you have to start in conditions of considerable scarcity. If you start in conditions of plenty, it's harder to justify having an action hero spend his time hoeing wheat fields instead of training for war.
  • Also, if you want to try campaign-based fantasy, take a look at Dungeon World. It approaches paperwork stuff with levels of abstraction that feel just right and not silly. They do things like encumbrance and arrow tracking in a way that is just present enough to be interesting and drive hard choices without being at all tedious. It doesn't do what you're talking about with XP spending as an active choice activity, but it would be easier to bolt that on to DW then, say, D&D4e.
  • "When you spend XP to level up a skill, you sequester yourself somewhere to think, study, focus, train, etc. Pay (x) money units to support yourself with materials, food, and a place to stay while training, and then choose 2:

    - When you're done training, someone you cared for (you choose) is missing.
    - Someone needed your help while you were training, and you weren't there to give it. Choose a friend; they no longer think they can depend on you, and blame you for whatever loss they suffered in your absence.
    - Someone needed to be stopped while you were training, and you weren't there to stop them. Choose a favorite place; it's in the enemy's hands now.
    - You stayed as hooked in to the world around you as you could while training, but the result is that you didn't spend as much actually training. Spend twice as much XP for the same effect.
    - While you were training, some disaster befell the land. You come back from the training to find a plague, a famine, a drought, the aftermath of a hurricane, or something similarly disastrous. "

    That's all very vague, and it definitely would need tightening up depending upon setting and rules system, but is that what you're looking for, Harlequin? This is pretty much derived from my understanding of/appreciation for AW. I could also see what you're asking for simply taking the form of advancing the count-down clocks on threats and fronts in AW. You go and train, and while you're doing that, the mud parasites infest the local hardhold (taking them from 3 o'clock on the count-down clock to 6 o'clock, or some such).
  • Harlequin, perhaps would be simpler to assume every adventurer character in the game trains daily but their training scenes aren't roleplayed as their bathroom visits or long travel scenes aren't roleplayed. You just have to make travels last longer, assume players don't rush to the next location and only when they do roll for constitution for them or their horses. Now, I once tried a game where all PCs started as 15 year old kids without any skill list available at all. Only then training and finding proper teachers and books became really important to the players. But that turned the game into (a quite interesting thing if you allow me to say it) a fiction about learning and growing up. Sure, the players got involved into other troubles but from time to time they got to roleplay a trainig scene and depending on how good they performed there, the skills they obtained were greater or just general. I'd say it's not about the game but about making a couple of house rules about how to handle that part. Best luck!
  • edited October 2012
    AD&D 1E required characters to spend time and money to train before gaining the benefits of a new level, and (I think) if they were unable to find a teacher (which I think was defined as another character of the same class that was N levels higher) the time and money requirements were doubled. I thought this was neat but never used, and I always thought that part of "training" involved things like maintaining your weapons and armor, researching new spells, hanging out at fighter bars (or wherever) and shooting the shit, and so on and so forth (all of which cost money).

    HERO and GURPS use similar XP systems to one another; they're both points-based, and as experience you gain additional character points (something like 3-5 per session for HERO, maybe a bit more for GURPS) which are spent exactly as points during creation. GURPS 3E used to specify that it took time and finding a teacher to spend XP, or if you didn't have a teacher the time was doubled. (It also specified that ordinary living of life was the equivalent of 2 points a year, and eventually that you were limited on skill spending to 2 points for every year of your character's age.) HERO makes it a bit more freeform; you can spend points on things you're doing, or practicing, or anything that the GM is ok with, but you usually need to put some practice into it, and it also specifies some extra ways of gaining points.
  • Harlequin, perhaps would be simpler to assume every adventurer character in the game trains daily but their training scenes aren't roleplayed as their bathroom visits or long travel scenes aren't roleplayed....
    Which I'm fine with, but what seems to happen is they get largely ignored. Warriors, with massive bodies that should require constant maintenance, just "push-through" three or four days without food or rest, and swordsmen spend weeks stalking people in shadows or ballrooms without fencing.

    I'm not making a sweeping generalization, or not meaning to anyway, I'm just saying in my narrow experience, this is what irks me about the tables I've played at. Not only is that "not roleplayed," the thought that your character would have to train, or be required to eat or lift weights, or read a book, or spend time doing anything other than adventuring is anathema, even if it's offscreen.

    The short solution is to trade narrative time for those activities. Which works okay. I'm just looking for a game engine change that points the table at that exchange, rather than a social negotiation that patches things together.
    AD&D 1E required characters to spend time and money to train before gaining the benefits of a new level, and (I think) if they were unable to find a teacher (which I think was defined as another character of the same class that was N levels higher) the time and money requirements were doubled. I thought this was neat but never used, and I always thought that part of "training" involved things like maintaining your weapons and armor, researching new spells, hanging out at fighter bars (or wherever) and shooting the shit, and so on and so forth (all of which cost money)...
    And that's very close to what I'm thinking. I wonder where along the way it was discarded? Thanks for the info.
    "When you spend XP to level up a skill, you sequester yourself somewhere to think, study, focus, train, etc. Pay (x) money units to support yourself with materials, food, and a place to stay while training, and then choose 2:
    ..
    Hah, yeah. I get that. It could bolt on to DW. And I mean, DW is kinda close already. Which is why I wondering if there was something else that had done this, or something like it. Thanks.

  • Harlequin, another thought: Are you asking for something about professions? Your comments with regard to the massive-bodied warriors and the no-fencing swordsmen suggest that maybe this is where the issue lies.

    Adventurers defy logic, in that their professions are somehow "adventuring". But if you're an expert swordsman, then your profession is probably swordsmanning, in some capacity. Maybe you're a duelist. Maybe you're a body guard. Maybe you're a performer. Whatever. But you likely spend most of your time being a swordsman, and then every now and then, something huge and adventure shaped pops up.

    If you're a scholarly wizard, then yes, you're the wielder of vast eldritch energies. But you're also probably a professor at the local Mage University, where you have to teach classes, study texts, do your own research, and the like. It keeps your skills sharp, keeps you on top of the field. And then every now and then, something adventure shaped comes up, and that's when you smash the Demon Lord Azzarakrak into pudding with your magic. When the dust settles, you get back to being a professor. Or, if appropriate, you get back to being something else, depending upon the results of that fight against Azzarakrak. Maybe you're headmaster now. Maybe you're Chief Magic Adviser to the King. Whatever. But that new position is going to come with daily responsibilities that are both going to consume time and that are going to keep you on top of your game.

    A master thief has to keep stealing to keep her skills sharp. A master healer probably works in a hospital and continues to practice even when not on an adventure.

    I see all of the above as "professions". As for a game system that can do these things...I don't know of one that does them already, but I'm still blinded by the beauty that is AW (sorry), so the result is that I immediately see most of this stuff as custom moves.

    "When you make a character, choose a profession." (Have a different list of professions for each playbook.)

    "Profession: Duelist - At the beginning of every session or after every period of downtime, roll+Str. On a 10+, your duels went well, and you made a tidy sum -- get some treasure. On a 7-9, choose 1 below, or get some treasure and choose 2 below. On a miss, choose 2 below, or choose 3 and get some treasure.

    - You dueled and beat (perhaps even killed) someone you really shouldn't have. You've earned their enmity.
    - You were injured in a duel, and you haven't had time to recover. Take 1-harm.
    - You dueled a bit, and got lucky, but you really haven't practiced as much as you should have. Take -1 ongoing until you win your next duel.
    - Your dueling weapon was left in a state of poor repair after your last couple of duels, and you haven't had a chance to fix it. It gets the tag -breakable until you have it repaired."

    "Profession: Professor - At the beginning of every session or after every period of downtime, roll+Int. On a 10+, your professorial duties have proceeded apace -- choose 3 below. On a 7-9, there were some hiccups. Choose 2 below. On a miss, you can still choose 1 below.

    - You made a significant stride forward in a research project you've undertaken.
    - You delivered a few lectures in halls of power, and made a nice little profit. Get some treasure.
    - You've deconstructed the critical principles of a spell in order to enhance its efficiency. Take +1 whenever you cast it, until next you make this roll.
    - You've kept up with your generalized magical studies -- hold 1 for your magical knowledge. Spend your one at any time to get +1 on a magic knowledge related roll (not spellcasting).
    - You've successfully taken steps to protect your current position in the university, preventing any upstarts from getting close to unseating you."

    It still may not be what you're looking for, but it seems to fulfill a similar function to me.
  • This is an interesting topic. I can think of games that either make downtime a tradeoff (Empire of Dust has a "the global war progresses" random table that WILL assassinate major NPCs, have cities be taken by the opposing side and so on that gets rolled on after any significant stretch of time, but character advancement is not tied to time passing in any way) or explicitly limit certain kinds of advancement to downtime (Tenra Bansho Zero is generally pretty laissez-faire about letting players spend XP, but esoteric skills like sorcery and exotic/exciting gear like cyberware need to be bought in the Intermission phase, which spans as much in-game time as the GM feels like... but TBZ is a scene framing game and encourages long time skips to get to the dramatic moments, so time isn't really a resource. On the other hand, spending too much XP at one go can actually kill off your character, more or less!) but I can't think of a game offhand that does both at once. That does seem odd, I'll have to think more on this.

    Funnily enough, I can think of one game that does almost the exact opposite. Skill advancement in Continuum is similar to Burning Wheel, where it goes up based on usage or in exchange for long periods of offscreen practice. But since Continuum is a time travel game, it is not only trivial, but explicitly encouraged for PCs to say "I span away, spend a year learning to speak Swahili, then span back to the exact time and place I left." On the other hand, you can only pull that trick so many times before you look too much older to freely slot back into your own timeline like that, but that's not exactly the kind of time pressure Harlequin meant...
  • I've really gotten away from tightly scheduled fictional timeframes for many reasons (not the least of which is that my real life is ridiculously tightly scheduled), but there's no question there's considerable benefit to them...
  • Gold Rush Games version of Usagi Yojimbo didn't have experience at all.
    If you wanted to get better at swordplay, you had to set three milestones with your GM. The example given was "find a master who can easily best you and lose to him, travel to a warrior's shrine and give sincere offerings to the gods, and find a swordmaker who can better the balance of your blade."

    That is awesome. It's not what I want to do in every game, but it's brilliant. Getting better requires doing, and it requires doing agreed upon things that are awesome to both GM and player.

    I think, at the core, I'm worried that some games don't put GMs in the loop as to how characters spend or earn XP. Like it's just an algorithm. "Ding, I leveled. I'm taking this feat now."

    You can staple on a narrative cost or negotiate some condition for taking that advancement, but that's after the fact; that's on top of the system itself.

    I'm wondering if there's an XP system out there where the GM _has_ to assign a cost. "Yes, you can improve two ranks in Ettiquette, but only after... "

    All that business I said earlier about secreting yourself away in a monastery or something just to learn to punch a dude, was just a really specific and somewhat unhelpful example.

    -- But a sincere thanks to everyone for posting here, you've all been very helpful in thinking this through. --

    Yes, JD, forcing the cost of improvements to be some meticulous passage of time system does seem counter productive in it's own way. I guess maybe it's just that it negatively affects my buy-in when people run around all "24" style. I mean, imagine the impact on a fantasy setting if everyone treated food and sleep the same way adventurers did?
  • I ran a campaign last year where I made the characters poor and used a relatively realistic economy where average people doing average work make roughly twice what it takes to feed, clothe and house them. And adventuring "work" paid comparably to what a well established craftsman or local farm or herd owner made - enough to live a mildly wealthy lifestyle if you worked at it for several years before settling down, as long as you invested your wealth appropriately.

    So the players, starting out poor but with some equipment, were excited when they managed to scrounge enough together to upgrade their armor or something.

    And I used a fiction resource driven model for things like magic and alchemy. They could only learn things that they had found resources to unlock. I wanted to keep magic rare and special, so it only got trickled out a little here and there. A book with a few potion recipes here. A cursed ring of spider climbing (that made the user think they were a spider) there. Just enough to make it a world with magic in it, but never enough to make you wonder why the streets aren't all lit with Continual Light spells.

    I found that keeping the economy tight had similar effects to what you are trying to get at - keeping people aware of realistic concerns, like having enough food and a comfortable place to rest. (Speaking of which, I was using Savage Worlds at the time, which has a nicely nasty Fatigued status that you can give people when they try to push through without food or sleep or whatever.)
  • I think Dungeon World does something like what you're interested in.

    In Dungeon World the "Level Up" move is tied to the "Make Camp" move, so that you can only spend your experience and level up when you take a few hours off of adventuring to rest and recuperate.

    It doesn't seem to be the same SCALE that you're suggesting, but it seems like a similar idea.
  • edited October 2012
    Milestones in Marvel Heroic Roleplaying are similar to Usagi Yojimbo in that they're really the only way (other than getting really trounced by villains) to get XP, but once the XP is in the hands of the players, most of what they can spend it on is in their hands.

    Like, spending XP is traditionally (ugh, that word) something a player decides to do, like deciding what a character says and does. This is particularly important in games like GURPS where character creation and advancement are essentially the same thing.

    Actually there's a long history of games where strict timekeeping was mandatory. I believe Gygax even ranted about how important it was in some publication somewhere. If you're not keeping strict time records, you're not playing AD&D/whatever. So I don't find it that unusual, it's just not something I've been doing these days.
  • Gold Rush Games version of Usagi Yojimbo didn't have experience at all.
    If you wanted to get better at swordplay, you had to set three milestones with your GM. The example given was "find a master who can easily best you and lose to him, travel to a warrior's shrine and give sincere offerings to the gods, and find a swordmaker who can better the balance of your blade."

    That is awesome. It's not what I want to do in every game, but it's brilliant. Getting better requires doing, and it requires doing agreed upon things that are awesome to both GM and player.

    I think, at the core, I'm worried that some games don't put GMs in the loop as to how characters spend or earn XP. Like it's just an algorithm. "Ding, I leveled. I'm taking this feat now."

    I'm wondering if there's an XP system out there where the GM _has_ to assign a cost. "Yes, you can improve two ranks in Ettiquette, but only after... "
    The advancement system in Nobilis 3rd edition proceeds from exactly these principles, actually. Like most things about the game, it does not summarize easily and I'm not sure how well it works in play yet (I've had two different N3 games die under me due to scheduling issues so I haven't had a chance to engage with the advancement rules), but it was a deliberate attempt to make character advancement directly affect and proceed from the ongoing narrative of the campaign as opposed to just kind of spontaneously happening whenever someone stockpiled enough points OOC. It also uses XP as more of a pacing mechanic than a currency.

    Essentially, the player declares their intent (and this also doubles as a general system for undertaking long-term projects, so it can be anywhere from "I want to raise Poetry from 3 to 4" or "I want to learn to fly" to "I want to redeem the fallen angels and make of Hell a paradise"), they haggle with the GM a bit about just how many Destiny points it should take (which seems to be the most obvious stress point in the system to me, mainly since the book explicitly avoids providing any guidelines vis-a-vis how much Destiny a given improvement should cost), and then any time the character takes steps toward that goal, they accrue Destiny towards it (even failure is worth some points; actually, an epic failure is worth more than a trivial success) and jot down just what happened during that step of the journey, for posterity.

    It sounds pretty neat, but I also wonder if it's really worth totally totally discarding the traditional reckoning of XP with unambiguous costs because sometimes you just want to get one more pip of Swordsmanship without needing to draw the sword from the stone, retemper it in Hephaestus' forge and quench it in the heart of the last tengu, you know? Not everything should just be down to accounting, but not everything is worth screen time either.
  • First reply was the best reply: Burning Wheel handles this just like you'd (seem to) want. Advancement through actual tests in play; learning new skills with study (which can take a LONG time for complex skills); easier to learn with a trainer/teacher. Resources, both to do new and to just maintain, but not a granular, currency-driven thing. Thus, the push-pull between needing downtime and needing to act on events.
  • edited October 2012
    Actually there's a long history of games where strict timekeeping was mandatory. I believe Gygax even ranted about how important it was in some publication somewhere. If you're not keeping strict time records, you're not playing AD&D/whatever. So I don't find it that unusual, it's just not something I've been doing these days.
    Ahhh yeah, the idea that "when you're not playing time passes at approximately the same rate as real world time". When I this guy I knew once was like 11 and DMing AD&D for the first time, I he thought that that went both ways. I He thought that that meant that when a PC was paralyzed for 10 turns (of 10 minutes each) that you had to stop playing for that long...
  • First reply was the best reply: Burning Wheel handles this just like you'd (seem to) want. Advancement through actual tests in play;
    Didn't the OP say that's exactly what they DON'T want?

    Burning Wheel's training rules would seem to fulfill the OP's request, but only if you leave out advancement through tests.
  • edited October 2012
    Long story short, I'm not a fan of players who want to forced-march through the desert for three days straight, then storm the sultan's palace and fight fifty swordsmen.
    So I was watching a recent episode of Revolution (this week or last week's, I'm not sure which) and it reminded me of this.

    The squad of militia men are hiking cross country on bad roads (15 years post-collapse, so presumably their footwear is potentially sub-optimal as well). The kid in the wagon says "Do you feel that? There's a bad storm coming." and one of the militia men is like "Well if we just push on for another hour we'll be at the settlement before dawn."

    And I'm thinking: What the hell? It's 4 am. You guys have presumably been hiking for like 20 hours with only meal breaks. And you all look fresh as daisies and ready for an action sequence, like it's no big deal. And you're like a week or more into this journey (probably more - I don't remember where point A and B were).

    Oh, and the good guys are supposedly catching up to them, despite the regular setbacks and sidetracks they are experiencing.

    I call BS. (Still watching, though. I'm a sucker for post-collapse fiction. It takes buckets of dumbness to actually get me to stop watching/reading it.)

    So, just so you feel better, ignoring realistic hardship in favor of actiony badassery happens in the source fiction our RPGs are drawing from as well.
  • edited October 2012
    I think the AD&D training deal often got ditched because it didn't inspire anyone in fictional terms and became just bookkeeping.

    Ryuutama, in contrast, measures "the journey there" with huge mechanical adjustments to "the action". In other words, it's easy to care about fictional process because it's extremely evident in the big scenes.

    Example: roll to see if you navigated the terrain well. Bad roll = no, you couldn't find a trail and did an arduous climb. Now roll to see if you found a good camping spot. Bad roll = no, you spent the night cramping on bare rock and shivering in the wind. End result: when you get to the Troll Cave for the Big Action Battle, you are at a quarter of your hit points. You are friggin' exhausted.

    In this formulation, it's fun to think about the arduous climb and the freezing night. In AD&D, it isn't fun, because it doesn't feed directly into the meat of the fiction, and so no one bothers with it.

    Accordingly, I think "roll to see how the world has changed while you trained" would be a fantastic system. Add in the modifiers of whatever dynamics you wish to model (character aptitude, skill difficulty, world volatility, etc.), roll your dice, and find out how much you've missed! A good roll means you were uninterrupted, made quick progress, and nothing awful happened in the meantime. A terrible roll means you struggled to learn, encountered distractions, injured yourself, became estranged from allies, and were deep in solitude when your favorite hamlet was overrun by the enemy.

    Harlequin, I don't know of a game that does exactly that, but I'd guess it would be easy to bolt onto your campaign, simply by coming up with one or more good roll-on tables of types of consequences. A single roll on a single table could rope in more consequences with worse rolls, or multiple rolls on multiples tables could consider variables independently. I'm sure that, as GM, you'd have no trouble riffing off things like "injury", "eroding relationships", "enemies gain power", "political upheaval", etc.

    Maybe even give players the option to risk unsuccessful training in exchange for positive modifiers on the consequences roll.
  • edited October 2012
    Man, I can't wait for more people to play Ryuutama.

    Accordingly, I think "roll to see how the world has changed while you trained" would be a fantastic system. Add in the modifiers of whatever dynamics you wish to model (character aptitude, skill difficulty, world volatility, etc.), roll your dice, and find out how much you've missed! A good roll means you were uninterrupted, made quick progress, and nothing awful happened in the meantime. A terrible roll means you struggled to learn, encountered distractions, injured yourself, became estranged from allies, and were deep in solitude when your favorite hamlet was overrun by the enemy.

    Harlequin, I don't know of a game that does exactly that, but I'd guess it would be easy to bolt onto your campaign, simply by coming up with one or more good roll-on tables of types of consequences. A single roll on a single table could rope in more consequences with worse rolls, or multiple rolls on multiples tables could consider variables independently. I'm sure that, as GM, you'd have no trouble riffing off things like "injury", "eroding relationships", "enemies gain power", "political upheaval", etc.
    Empire of Dust is really close to this, as I mentioned upthread. And I was actually mistaken about its training rules; it actually does have the option for players to take some downtime just to train up skills, which in turn triggers a roll on the "the war progresses" table. It's not a terribly deep world simulation because EoD is not a terribly deep game (I don't say this as a knock against it, either; it's a beer & pretzels game of gonzo future fighting, and it's good at what it sets out to do), but it adds some wrinkles to the strategy element and helps goose the GM to move the plot along. EoD is another game that really deserves to be more widely known than it is.
  • Cool. Sounds like that's what I'm thinking of. I'll check it out.

    Also, yes Dave, that's the kind of attitude I'm considering, especially that last bit with risking unsuccessful training.

    Thanks again, all.
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