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Good evening, afternoon, or whatever time it happens to be there, ladies and gents! I happen to be Andy, who happens to be a freelance web designer, musician, writer, and whatnot.

Roman Catholic, student of tabletop gaming, and someday soon I'll have my own designs in the field!

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Journey System: Trials

Again, sorry for the bit of late posting. I'm actually considering moving my "Fluff" posts to Fridays, simply to give myself a little more breathing room in between. As it stands, I had a major test to study for, but I think I rolled 18 to 20 on my Take Exam check...and I'm pretty sure my brain has an increased threat range for crits. That being said, it's time to jump into a post advancing the Journey System.

The Inspiration of Real Life
This idea came to me while I was reflecting on my religious tradition, actually. See, around this time of year (the 40 days before Easter), we have a ritual time called Lent. It's the time of year where we aim to grow spiritually by increasing our prayer and also denying ourselves comforts and pleasures of normal life. It's a concept of self-mastery and growth through a mild sort of asceticism. I realized, thinking upon it, that there's some really interesting ideas there that could be implemented in a roleplaying game.

See, the main idea is that you grow through trials. The trials help to "burn away" everything that you don't really need, so that you can focus on everything that is essential. The more I thought about that, the more I realized that this idea could play really well into the Journey System. So, the next question comes: exactly how does it become implemented?

Some Practical Considerations
Obviously, it won't do if Trials are getting tossed left and right at you. That just cheapens it, and...well...it really doesn't work like that, especially not in heroic stories. Trials are supposed to be big, dramatic, heart-stabbing...well, yeah. You get the picture. A Trial, then, is a special type of conflict. It's a pricey conflict; to succeed, you have to make a sacrifice. There's no other way around it. In exchange, though, your character gets something big. Exactly what that is I haven't quite figured out yet, along with the cost, but I really want to implement this idea.

The other major thing I want to add to it is the idea of priorities. A Trial, first and foremost, should be demanding your character to make priorities. What do they really care about? What are they willing to let go to achieve victory? A Trial, ideally, should see two major priorities of the character in conflict. They can't both happen. Maybe your character has determined to never resort to violence, but faces a Trial of witnessing a thug beating up a civilian, which is heavily contrary to their sense of justice. Does your character forsake their total spurning of violence to help the civilian, thus sacrificing a belief in nonviolence to further their belief in justice? Or, on the other hand, does the character step back, letting it go, shutting Justice down for the time being because they're not ready to face that conflict.

So yeah, there's an idea I'm throwing out there, hopefully I'll be able to implement it in the system soon. Coming up on Tuesday, though, is our first look at the actual core mechanic of the Journey System!

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