15 November, 2015

The FUBAR rewrite - Clarifying the static traits

As I said, in FUBAR traits reflect what advantages and disadvantages apply to a character as they attempt to complete tasks on the way to their intended goals (whatever that goal may be). Static traits are the standard repertoire of choices that might be used in these situations. Therefore they specifically give a flavour to the inherent types of stories that might be told. Too many injury and conflict based traits would imply a game where these things are important, and thus push the narrative toward combat and physical danger. The same sort of thing is implied in a game where there are numerous guns and weapon descriptions. Sure you can play a deeply emotional game in the world of Cyberpunk 2020, or even RIFTS, but the game just isn't really set up for that style of story.

I've tried to develop a decent mix of traits to facilitate a wide variety of stories, but I know that there could easily be more scope for social modifiers. These will be fleshed out with the stronger relationship rules that will be integrated into the core FUBAR system.    

Personal Traits
Physical State - Hyperactive [+], Fatigued [-]
Social State - Respected [+], Degraded [-]
Mental State - Focused [+], Confused [-]
Damage State - Protected [+], Injured [-]
Observance - Aware [+], Oblivious [-]
Degree of Haste - Calculating [+], Rushed [-]
Situational Mastery - In-Control [+], Out of Control [-]
Knowledge - Informed [+]. In the Dark [-]
Morale - Inspired [+], Scared [-]
Degree of Stealth - Hidden [+], Observed [-]
Generic Negatives - Hungry [-], Restricted [-], Hunted [-], Emotional [-]

Item Traits
Durability - Sturdy [+], Fragile [-]
Speed - Fast [+], Slow [-]
State - Reinforced [+], Broken [-]
Lethality - Dangerous [+]. Benign [-] 
Ease of Use - Practical [+], Cumbersome [-]
Quality - Fine [+], Poor [-]

Environment Traits
Attitude - Friendly [+], Hostile [-]
Location Knowledge - Familiar [+], Unfamiliar [-]
Generic Traits - Unstable, Dark, Cold, Hot

Noun Traits
Vehicle - (May have Item traits added to it)
Weapon - (May have Item traits added to it)
Tool - (May have Item traits added to it)
Ally - (May have Personal adjectives added to it)
Data - (May have Item traits added to it)
Money - (No traits really apply to this)
Parts - (May have Item traits added to it)
Location - (May have Environment traits added to it)

The thing about all these traits is that it should be fairly obvious when they apply and when they don't apply. 

I know there are gaps, but every story is going to have different gaps that need to be filled. That's where the dynamic traits come in. The catch with dynamic traits will be making sure that they don't become too narrow and restrictive in their use, nor too widespread. An example of a narrow dynamic trait might be "zero-g competent[+]", or "space-sick [-]"; it just doesn't seem likely that such a trait would be very applicable in typical earth-bound stories. Conversely, I toyed with the idea of a "strategic advantage [+]" trait, but this is pretty vague and nebulous, it could arguably be used anywhere and everywhere and therefor doesn't contribute any flavour or direction to the story. Something like "enchanted [+]" or "cursed [-]" might be good, because it implies a mystical element to the stories being told, but they might be better applied as a generic base Noun Trait to which other traits might be added (eg. Enchantment (Aware), Curse (Confused)).

I already think there might be too many traits for this to be considered a "rules-lite" game. But I don't know that "rules-lite" is something I'm really aiming for here. On the other hand everything else is pretty simple and a decent chunk of the crunch is focused in these traits, and the traits are all pretty consistent in the way they either add success potential, or magnify potential risk, so it's not too crunchy either (unlike something like Pathfinder where you end up with over a dozen different conditions that might be applied to characters in different situations each with their own specific modifier statistics). The difference here is in the way different action types have the potential to apply the traits (or remove them), and this can typically be justified through those specific actions or through the narrative context of the story.

Story feeds into mechanisms, mechanisms feed into story; the whole thing is a fairly self contained story where the end of scene and end of act structures work to sweep away any loose ends (by eliminating superfluous traits). 
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