View Full Version : DM Help Settings/Systems that reward panache outside of Errol Flynn antics

2014-07-03, 05:33 AM
Basically I'm trying to integrate grandiose or incredibly silly but vaguely free-spirited acts that aren't combat related or 50s swashbuckling movie one-liners, done with panache as part of the game. What little I've seen of 7th Sea/SA's Panache seems to be more focused on the combat aspects, ditto for Panache in ADND's Red Steel stuff (although less so).

I'm thinking of things like Cyrano handing over a month of his soldier's pay to a theatre as repayment for shutting down a play and an actor he hates, "because it's a grandiose act". Something that's not really enough to be an adventure, really, but is at least enough that it probably impresses the table and does something even if it's not plugging an enemy with holes or rolling a skill check (and if it's done to impress it still fits thematically). At worst I figure guidelines on how to react to that stuff shouldn't be too hard to come up with, although I say that and I had a newbie player impress me that way with a one-off intro game and I wasn't quite sure how to deal with it (since it was a short one off it didn't matter too much but I eventually just gave her more XP and added the NPC as an ally).

2014-07-03, 05:47 AM
Seems like something deeds would cover in Legends of the Wulin. You might need to tweak the virtue list to reflect the specific genre you're using, but the general idea seems sound to me.

2014-07-03, 09:39 AM
There are variety of ways to handle this kind of thing.

Fate systems handle it by awarding fate points (basically burn-able points to boost rolls and change minor plot points)
Burning Wheel does this by giving you deeds, artha, and strangely enough, fate points. (more burn-able resources)
Prime Time Adventures does this by giving you fan mail, which is really just cool points that other player hand you for a cool scene.

So as you can see, the key here is just creating a structure that awards this kind of thing.

For the sake of doing this quickly, I would do it like this:

step 1
sit down with players and discuss what kind of actions do you want to reward. Not specific actions per se, but that grandiose thing you talked about, for example, is a good one. What I mean by this is that you need to figure out what is the philosophy / theme you want to play up.

i.e. a game where you are trying to be the burning hope in a dark world. By D&D mechanics, it does not pay to be kind and trusting in this world. But if you DO, you exemplify the theme of hope, and should get rewarded for it.

do this for as many time as you feel is necessary for the players. don't be afraid of their input. It's THEIR story too so they should get to decide what kind of tale do they want to tell.

step 2
get each player to write down a couple of plot points, beliefs, goals, emotions, or whatever. It doesn't matter what. The point is that these are things the player themselves care about and want to see be part of their character. No judgment at this stage. Just let them write as many as they can think of on a list. Give them a time limit on how long they get to do this or else you'll never finish. 10 minutes should be sufficient for brainstorming. Have each player pick 3 for their character. These are the things you will reward them for in addition to playing to the themes.

figure out the frequency of rewarding them as this can get out of hand quickly if you're not careful. Make sure the players understand this is all an experiment so you WILL change it on the fly if you have to. Remember, you want this to help liven up the game, not make it into a filibuster fest. You will also need to work out what happens when one of these items get resolved, or are no longer relevant.

step 3
figure out what the rewards do. This will be a hard one, since it depends on your appetite for systems.

Burning Wheel, for example, creates a HUGE system to work with this, and I dare say that this portion of the system really makes the guts of the entire system itself. In BW, there are deeds, persona, and fate. each one has a pretty specific set of uses. If you want to go that route, feel free, but it will require some play testing to get right.

Fate makes this super simple by comparison but it requires a lot more fiat on your part.

And then there's the PTA method where it just gives you another crack at the roll.

If you have the appetite for it, and you trust your players to be responsible about this, you can open it up so that the really good reward points can do something as dramatic as change the course of the story. i.e. let the player set a plot point that normally is the GM's job to set. this is probably the most powerful expression of a reward point and requires a tremendous amount of trust between player and GM. (Something that D&D does not foster well, to be quite frank)

Of course, you can always just let them use it for XP as well.

My personal system hack just stuck with two types of points for this. Fate and Destiny points. Fate points was there for minor bonuses (+2 for each point, use before or after roll or you find something that helps you out in a narrative manner). Destiny gives you an auto-20 on the roll. If you get through a session and ended up not using them, you can trade them in for XP. (I believe it was a 5% bonus for each fate, destiny's just give you a straight level up)

2014-07-03, 08:22 PM
I'm thinking of things like Cyrano handing over a month of his soldier's pay to a theatre as repayment for shutting down a play and an actor he hates, "because it's a grandiose act".

ACKS (Adventurer Conqueror King System) explicitly encourages PCs to waste their money without mechanical benefit (i.e. anonymous church donations, buying mules and sacrificing them to the gods, elaborate funeral rites, partying hard, etc). New characters start at level 1, but you can have replacements start at a higher level than that by spending money without mechanical benefit: replacement characters start with additional experience points equal to 90% of the monetary value dispensed with in this manner.