Monday, January 10, 2011

Endangering Hope

Remember last time when I talked about losing your hopes by going off and being all heroic and stuff? There's a basic mechanic in the Pool that brings that out, but there's a Hope specific player option that's available to you that can do that as well.

Why oh why would you ever do that? Because it helps you in the moment, of course. Probably in a moment you're looking to be all heroic and stuff, which drives your wife into another's arms or gets your kid clapped in irons and strapped to the Wheel of Pain.

We've now established that all your Hope points are assigned to character hopes. Things and people he wants to settle down with and live very much drama free. Well, if you ever find yourself short on points and you need a bigger Pool, you can endanger a hope. Put an X next to it and queue the ominous music as we cut away from the action for a moment and look in on your child playing in the field or your brother romancing his childhood love. You just intentionally placed them in danger. Something bad is going to happen to them, and it's somehow going to be your fault. This could be as transparent as enemy troops rampaging through town to beat/kill/capture your family (think Gladiator or the series Sparticus), or something a little less direct. Maybe your child gets mauled by wolves because you weren't home to protect him or drive the roaming packs from your village like you normally do. Whatever it is, it's going to happen. Maybe you'll have a chance to help out or to make things right, protecting your family when the enemy comes, rescuing them if they're captured, etc. No guarantees though. It might all happen off camera and there's nothing you can do to right it. All you know is that it's going to happen.

But you don't know what, and you don't know when. The GM's under no obligation to drop the hammer immediately. He can hang onto that danger for as long as he likes. However, since you can't endanger a hope that's already endangered, he probably shouldn't sit on it for too long. Keeping the tension of the inevitable strike going for a little bit, however, is perfectly kosher.

So, what do you get for this? You get to double the Hope points attached to that endangered hope. If you've got 3 points bound up in your wife, you now get 6 points from her, which adds 3 Hope to your pool. Your friend across the table who's playing the guy with a codependent relationship with his wife would jump his 9 Hope rating attached to his wife to an 18.

Yes, this bonus Hope can, and will, push your Pool over 10. Endanger enough hopes and it'll push it way over 10. But these extra points only last for a single scene. After that, they disappear; your Hope score returns to normal. That danger though, that sticks around until the GM figures out how to best use it. Oh, and he's encouraged to remind you that it's your character's fault this is happening. You did, after all, ask him to do this to these NPCs you supposedly care about.

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