Monday, June 7, 2010

Aspects, part 4: Edge

So if invoking an aspect gives you bonus dice in exchange for spending something, and compelling aspects are supposed to give you something, that something needs to be defined.

Spirit of the Century uses a currency of fate points. These are what you gain for compelling aspects, and they're what you spend for invoking them. If I understand things correctly, they serve no other purpose than to power aspects. And that's just fine.

Shadowrun 4 has something called Edge. Edge points can be spent to enhance your die rolls in various ways, and I appreciated their inclusion because it gave me a way to reward players on the spot for play that enhanced the game. Instead of handing out bonus experience, which didn't come until the end of the run (possible several sessions away), I got to give them something right then and there. That immediate reward felt stronger to me. Plus, I've found with rare exception players like to have a small pool of bonus resources available to them. Even though it's been years since I last ran it, I still hear about drama dice from 7th Sea. In fact, I received several requests to include a drama die mechanic in this system.

My one and only problem with drama dice was that in the various 7th Sea games I ran, the race to acquire drama dice often became a jesters' convention as everyone shot for the punchline or funny bit that made everyone laugh. I'd reward bits of heavy drama too, but for the most part people latched onto being funny. But in Shadowitz, tying this reward to aspects means that there's a more focused way of getting the reward, and they're only funny if the aspect is funny. Given that I don't run funny Shadowrun games (not that we don't have plenty of laughs at the table), the aspects shouldn't be funny, and thus the players will receive rewards for play that reinforces my vision of the sixth world, and it'll be right there on their sheets.

So I'm adopting edge into Shadowitz as the currency of aspects. Spend it to activate them, earn it by compelling them.

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