TSoY - Ability Buyoff/Story Guide Access to Bringing Down the Pain

What do you think about being able to Buyoff an Ability, perhaps getting Bonus or Gift Dice, instead of XP? Or maybe another resource? I don't know.
I've been having some thoughts on Harm and XP.
I like the idea of blacking, or crossing out an Ability.

It seems that stories have a Harm goal, where transformation takes place.
I don't know. There's not a direct link from Harm to XP in TSoY, and there should be at least a relation.

Maybe it should take Harm to buyoff Keys?

I get that Story Guides can already just dish out Harm, like a Hard Move in AW, but why can't they say no with Bringing Down the Pain?

What would they get from it?

Comments

  • I've treated Transcendence as a sort of Ability buyoff in the past. As you probably know, many people have psychological issues (I'd like to say "brain damage", but it is not good to be funny in the Internet) with the idea of their player character being removed from the game for "doing too well". It's pretty simple to fiddle with the Transcendence a bit to make it more palatable while still retaining its actual function.

    To wit, when a character Transcends, the player gets to choose whether the character leaves play or comes back into the campaign in a transformed state. (Think Gandalf the White.) If the player chooses the transformation, they get to revise their character sheet: halve all Pools and Ability values, rename, merge or split Abilities, drop all Keys and get a single new one.

    What that amounts to in practice is sort of like an Ability buyoff.
  • I always shoot for Transcendence in TSOY, although I usually save it for the last session. It's clearly how you win the game ;)

    I never really thought of an Ability buyoff, *or* wished I could do that, though...

  • I've treated Transcendence as a sort of Ability buyoff in the past. As you probably know, many people have psychological issues (I'd like to say "brain damage", but it is not good to be funny in the Internet) with the idea of their player character being removed from the game for "doing too well". It's pretty simple to fiddle with the Transcendence a bit to make it more palatable while still retaining its actual function.

    To wit, when a character Transcends, the player gets to choose whether the character leaves play or comes back into the campaign in a transformed state. (Think Gandalf the White.) If the player chooses the transformation, they get to revise their character sheet: halve all Pools and Ability values, rename, merge or split Abilities, drop all Keys and get a single new one.

    What that amounts to in practice is sort of like an Ability buyoff.
    Do you think Transcendence, without taking Harm is heroic?
    Don't you think Harm could be better integrated into transformation(XP)?
  • I always shoot for Transcendence in TSOY, although I usually save it for the last session. It's clearly how you win the game ;)

    I never really thought of an Ability buyoff, *or* wished I could do that, though...

    I just like the idea of scars and abandoned paths for character.
    I mean, if you can abandon ways(Keys), why not means(Abilities) as well?
  • I haven't thought about Transcendence-with-Harm vs. Transcendence-without-Harm. There's obviously the tendency that characters who transcend outside of immediate conflict situations tend to do so in a more expansive and subtly influential way than those who transcend in the middle of an action sequence. Mostly it depends on the player, though.

    What do you think of this simple idea: recovering from "aggravated Harm" requires dropping a level from an appropriate Ability on top of the usual expense. Harm is "aggravated" if some crunch says it is (e.g. a "Secret of Aggravated Magic" that allows a Three-Corner wizard to cast especially injurious Destruction magic), or you suffer a second hit to the same Harm slot. In the latter case you pump up the Harm normally, but the lower slot also becomes aggravated in the process.

    The idea here is to make Harm more scary, and directly erosive of character identity by endangering the character's Abilities. Characters need to struggle against this erosion to maintain their Ability levels. Penalizing doubled up Harm slots with aggravation also makes extended conflicts much more serious; you probably won't be able to fight to the hilt and fill your whole Harm track without suffering quite a few aggravations on the way.
  • That's a pretty interesting concept. I like it... although doesn't it make, say, repeated Harm 1 (which could hapen outside of BDTP, as well) surprisingly dangerous?

    I suppose you could have a "softer" version, where a refresh scene allows you to refresh a Pool OR an Ability.
  • That's true, the aggravation doesn't need to be excessively disfiguring. Whatever you're comfortable with.

    Taking level 1 Harm repeatedly would presumably cause your Harm slot 1 to become aggravated, but as long as you only continue taking level 1s, the other slots would be spared the aggravation even as they fill; it's only the slot where the attack actually falls that gets the extra penalty. Of course once your ball is full almost any hit you take will, on top of bumping up to a high-level Harm, also aggravate wherever the hit actually landed.

    If the concept of aggravated Harm interests, I recommend my fancy book World of Near - I explore the idea some in there. The idea of Ability loss isn't there, but it seems fun and it's easy to add once you decide to introduce "aggravation" as a concept. As Nathan says, having characters lose their skills has a dramatic charm all its own.
  • edited February 26
    Yes, that makes sense. I originally misread your idea as a bit more punishing than you intended (that is, I thought you meant the character loses a level of an Ability when hit in a Harm slot that's already full), but that actually sounds pretty good. Anything to make BDTP "sting" a little more seems fairly promising.
  • edited February 26
    I like the Ability buyoff, being a player's choice. Like the buyoff for Keys.

    I don't know if Harm has to be more connected to Abilities? It seems punishing by limiting narrative control might not be a great idea. If Abilities are kept as they are, a pass/fail test.

    There should be some sort of mechanical friction(music)between change and staying the same.

    Harm is a stick. It's not a different carrot.
    I want two carrots(XP & ?).
  • That's a pretty interesting concept. I like it... although doesn't it make, say, repeated Harm 1 (which could hapen outside of BDTP, as well) surprisingly dangerous?

    I suppose you could have a "softer" version, where a refresh scene allows you to refresh a Pool OR an Ability.
    I'm not a fan of refresh scenes, as written. I mean, I like interpersonal, quiet scenes, just between player characters, I just don't like refreshment in rpgs.
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