24 February, 2009

Game Mechani(sm) of the Week #8: The Character Matrix

It's been over a week since I last posted, in fact it's almost been a fortnight.

I know that I was ahead when I last posted, but now I'm pretty sure I'm behind. So I'll be posting two consecutive game mechanisms, both stolen from recent posts I've made to the Forge.

BEGIN COPIED TEXT

I've also been toying with matrices for characters, but I'm using a 6x6 matrix at the moment, using columns and rows to define everything about the character, not just the attributes.

The columns represent elemental essences, while the rows represent methods of manifestation [agenda, connections, skills, face, offences, defences].

Characters basically fill a single column with a point in each...

xAirEarthFireMetalWaterWood
Agenda--X---
Connections--X---
Face--X---
Skills--X---
Offences--X---
Defences--X---


...and a single row with a point in each (yes, where the two cross over, the character ends up with 2 points)...

xAirEarthFireMetalWaterWood
Agenda--X---
Connections--X---
Face--X---
SkillsXXXXXXX
Offences--X---
Defences--X---


...then they can distribute 6 more points anywhere across the grid that they see fit.

xAirEarthFireMetalWaterWood
Agenda--X-X-
ConnectionsX-X-X-
Face--X-X-
SkillsXXXXXXXX
Offences--X---
Defences--XX--


Each of the grid positions actually has it's own name, for example the crossover point between Fire and Agenda is "Valour", while the crossover point of Earth and Offence is "Unrelenting". Characters get an improved degree of success where their benefits apply.

The matrix defines almost everything about the character, except for a few supernatural abilities (which also link back to the matrix in some way), and ways that the character links into the community around them (every communal link gives the character access to something they can't do themselves, in exchange for a taboo associated with the group).

Different tasks in the game will require specific manifestations, and if the player can narrate a way that their character's specialty elemental field applies to the situation, then they can get the bonus. Beyond these 36 combinations, there are further subspecialties where character gain truly exceptional bonuses (but it becomes ever more difficult to find uses for these narrow specialty fields during the course of play).

Despite having 36 core attributes and potentially 150 or more sub attributes, the game is designed to be rules light.

One of the key themes in the game is that a certain elemental context permeates all parts of a character's being, meaning that people with a fiery temperament will tend to possess the same types of skills and associate with the same types of people...so the matrixed character description was done on purpose.

But that's just my current take on the theme...

END COPIED TEXT
Post a Comment