Battletech Live

Online, Turn-Based Battletech – Development Logs

Addictions, Aflictions and Enemies needed!

I’ve been working on the character creation life path for the last week, writing out the 60+ primary and secondary paths, and building the logic that decides which paths are available upon completion of the current path.  In the middle of this, it became aparent that I needed to list all of the skills, traits and occupations that can be picked up along the way, as everything is interconnected.  For part of this, I need your help.

MechWarrior character creation was intended to be completed with the player and the gamemaster sitting in the same room so that the character could be approved and any questions could be answered.  Because I’m making Battletech Live to be autonomous, a gamemaster will normally not be available.  Hell, I want to play too.  I need assistance to remove some of the subjective rules and turn them into adequately-random versions.  For example, there are both positive and negative traits that can be picked up through character development.  A good trait is something like Ambidextrous, Fast Learner, Pain Resistance and Toughness, while negative traits are things like Addiction, Allergy, Amnesia and Enemy.  The problem is that it’s left up to the gamemaster to decide just what these things mean.  For example, consider the following book definitions:

Addiction: Value: 1-2
The character has developed a serious addiction to something, be it a substance, condition or activity. If the addiction is to a fairly common and inexpensive thing, it is a 1-point trait. If the subject of the addiction is rare and/or exceptionally expensive, it is a 2-point trait.
If the character has no access to the addiction for twenty-four hours, he will become irritable and distracted. All target numbers that involve concentration (including all combat actions) suffer a +1 modifier. After forty-eight hours, the character suffers withdrawal symptoms, such that all target numbers have a +1 modifier and his Initiative rolls are modified by -1. These penalties are doubled after seventy-two hours and persist until the character can appease his addiction or receives professional therapy. Effective therapy requires the MedTech Skill and hours of counseling, and it is no guarantee of a cure. The exact recovery process is up to the gamemaster, but removal of this trait requires therapy as well as the usual expenditure of Experience Points.

Allergy: Value: 1
The character has a serious allergy to a substance or condition defined at the time of trait purchase (for example, an allergy to cotton). The substance or condition must be fairly common (the mycosia pseudoflora, a flower originally found only on Andalusia, would be far too rare), and the allergy must be severe enough to cause serious debilitation or death in large doses; otherwise it is not worth a Character Point (a minor itchy rash is an interesting character detail, but it will not net you any Character Points). A character may only have one Allergy Trait without the gamemaster’s specific permission.

Amnesia: Value: 3
Quite rare in reality but a staple of fiction, a character with this trait has forgotten who he is and most of his personal history. As such, he has no use of his skills (with the exception of the free skills Language and Perception) after receiving this trait and must gradually “remember” what he can do. Exactly how long this takes is up to the gamemaster; a good pace might be to allow the remembrance of one skill at the end of each play session, most logically a skill the amnesiac either saw being used or was forced to use “untrained” during the course of the adventure. If the player and gamemaster agree, the gamemaster can actually create the amnesiac’s skills and background using the Life Path so that the player actually has no idea what his character is capable of.

Enemy: Value: 1-3
The character has attracted an enemy, either a single person or a group. The trait is worth 1, 2 or 3 points depending on the power and influence of the enemy in comparison to the character and the organization he is a part of. A 1-point enemy is about as powerful as the character, while a 2-point enemy is more powerful than the character and a 3-point enemy is much more powerful than the character.
The Sample Contacts (p. 208) can also serve as sample enemies, since people likely to be valuable friends are also the kind of people that make dangerous adversaries.
Enemies can provide useful inspiration for the gamemaster’s campaign and can serve as excellent motivators for the characters. Enemies should get involved in adventures often enough to be a nuisance, but they should not dominate the group’s plot lines. After all, only one character took on the
Enemy Trait, so that character shouldn’t make the whole group pay for it. If, however, the gamemaster planned on having a certain enemy act as a nemesis for the entire group through much of the campaign, all the characters in the group could take the same Enemy Trait to represent it.

It’s things like these for which I need to remove the subjective nature and turn them into much more defined rules, but I need enough examples of each so that characters don’t get redundant.

I think Addiction could be a fun one, to make characters tweak out from time-to-time and am thinking about adding a series of Quirk/Compulsions.  For example, a character has a paranoia trait and a quirk/compulsion, in order to maintain their EDGE attribute, they feel the need to clean their command console once per day, or before going into battle, they must walk laps around their chair, reciting their affiliation oath while petting a furby.


May 25, 2009 - Posted by | Project Development

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