View Full Version : Planescape Mechanics (WIP, PEACH)

Samurai Jill
2009-09-26, 03:55 PM
This thread for coming up with mechanical suggestions for my modified Planescape setting (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=99158). What I have at the moment is largely colour with maybe some vague hints for a mechanical system, so I thought I'd flesh theings out a bit more.

My thoughts on this front are still sort of vague and fuzzy, but I thought I had a few potentially useful notions at this point, so I'll explain the rough outline I had in mind here. What I'm going with for now is more or less a lightweight Sim direction.

Okay- a character is broken down into three main sections: Nature, Memory, and Spirit.
*- Nature covers what you are physically/genetically/innately, and any current conditions you suffer from.
*- Memory covers learned skills, including knowledge, recalling significant events, and thus, ultimately, beliefs, goals, and relationships.
*- Spirit covers karma, integrity, and phase. The first two are basically alignment metres, the third is more complicated.

Handling Nature: Attributes and Needs
I was thinking of having Stamina, Acuity, and Will as the basic attributes here, but maybe you could attach one each to nature, memory, and spirit, so I'm not sure here.

What I think is important to model here are the various human/mortal needs associated with the soul, because a large part of the game revolves around efforts to shed them through spiritual evolution- e.g, hunger, thirst, breathing, sexual appetite, etc.

Handling Nature: The Condition Track
The first idea I have here (I doubt it's original,) is basically to record any conditions in a sequence of letters and numbers. e.g:


...would indicate poisoned for value 4, 5 points of 'bleeding', a wound for value 3, and 2 more points of bleeding. The total sum here is 14. Every 3 points of conditions is a -1 penalty to all skill checks (or -4, in this case.) Any unsatisfied Needs would also add conditions here (every potential condition has an associated letter.)

Handling Nature: Death Becomes Her
When total condition penalties exceed stamina, the soul is in danger of docoherence (i.e, physical death, requiring either reincarnation/oblivion, finding a way to the afterlife, or re-manifesting on your home plane.)

Conditions can be gotten rid of either by the 'old-fashioned way'- i.e, testing stamina to recover from them (except for Needs,) or through phase tests. A phase test is basically the soul in question reminding themselves that they're 'already dead', and the harmful condition in question is really just a product of their imagination. If the test succeeds, the injury is removed, and you earn 'XP' for the phase attribute. But if it fails, the condition worsens, and phase is reduced- the soul has undermined it's own psychic self-image. Phase is thus a sort of measurement of self-enlightenment or spiritual evolution.

Integrity (i.e, lawfulness,) is a bonus on checks to avoid decoherence, but a penalty on phase checks. Thus, being lawful makes it easier for the soul to keep going, but harder to evolve.

Handling Memory: The Association Matrix
As the character accumulates experience over the course of time, he or she also gathers memories.
To give an example:

"My youth" | Court Life 4, Etiquette 2, Cambyses 2, The Achaemenids 2, Elitism
"Noble's tutelage" | Literacy 3, Etiquette 2, Sword and Spear 4, Cambyses 3, Riding 3
"Acolyte" | Literacy 3, The Mysteries 2, Alchemy 2, Acumen 2, Taste for Intrigue
"Priesthood of Mitra" | The Mysteries 2, Alchemy 2, Flattery 4, Artificer 2, Ugly Truth 2
"Death and betrayal" | Cambyses 4, Acumen 2, Ugly Truth 3, The Achaemenids 3, Vengeance
"Petitioner" | The Mysteries 4, Ugly Truth 2, Artificer 1, Contrition, Celestia 2
"The Paladin reborn" | Sword and Spear 3, Glyphs and Runes 1, Artificer 3, The Palladium 2, Celestia 2
"Choir Argentarius" | The Mysteries 3, Redeemed, Etiquette 1, Celestia 4, Lord Hatsuphet 3
"Purging Gomorrah" | Sword and Spear 3, Glyphs and Runes 1, Acumen 2, Lord Hatsuphet 1, Haunted

This is still sort of rough, but you get the idea. Each period in the character's story (the first few representing stages in their mortal life,) confers a measure of experience, along with memory of significant events that tie into their beliefs.

What I think is cool about this system is that, because there's only limited space within the matrix, as more experience accumulates, some skills and memories have to be forgotten. e.g, if the character above added another period to their life, 2 or more earlier consecutive periods would have to be 'summarised' to make room- basically, amalgamating the most significant skills and memories into a single bracket, with, say, a -1 penalty to their degree.

In theory, this could allow a character to 'forget' aspects of their mortal existence, such as needs or physical limitations, simply as the result of gaining new memories in the afterlife. In addition, the association between skills and beliefs could aid in modelling certain forms of mental conflict or negotiation, e.g, Conditioning, Druj consumption, the Maian Soulmate, or gaining affinity with animals. I've got no details so far, though.

Whether learnable, but largely physical skills such as brute strength or improved constitution should be included here is an open question. Simplicity would favour it, but it doesn't make as much sense for mortal characters, who really are tied to a specific physical form.

Anyways, that's all I've really thought of for now. Let me know what you think...