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===Character development rules===

//Here's my post from when I said I'd take over the game, in March 2005://

I've also been seeing problems with the design, but different ones. My solution may deal with all of them, though. Let me wave ideas at you all, to be pulled apart.

The problem I've had is one of scale. We invented our characters according to the "you can be anyone, and you are one of the movers and shakers" blurb of HW. And then we applied HW starting numbers to them. This has left us, IMO, with unrealistically low ability numbers for the experience our backstories imply. At minimum, I'd like to upgrade all of us considerably, redesigning as we go to incorporate all the new stuff we've learnt about our characters through play.

But, that would mean a lot of messing about counting points and HP spend, wouldn't it? Well, no. Because I want to do something quite radical with development points and game balance. I want to throw the whole lot away.

Look, the object of the whole "you can spend this many points", and "choose how to spend your HP" system is to limit the players from being powergamers, to stop them rising in skills too fast, and to ensure that they all stay at roughly the same level. I'd like to replace it with a much simpler system, for adults. The system is: "I trust you."

Let's work out roughly how good we all are at things, compared with each other and with sample NPCs - clan champions, and so on. Then write down some numbers that describe us. Let's list all the relationships we have, at the level they really are, now we've learnt about our characters. Let's say how good our followers really are, not feel shackled by those points rules.

And once we get going, when do you get HP, and spend them? You get as many as you like, and spend them when you like. On development, that is. What I want is in-game justification, not numbers. If we realise that one of us is still secretly in love with his childhood sweetheart, and we've just met her (and her husband), then by all means write down that relationship at 1W2, not 13, if that's what it is. Dramatic consistency. Not numbers. Does it make good story? Does it make intuitive sense? The numbers are there as a means of recording, not of limiting. Because the last thing I want to do is limit anything! And we can correct things after the fact, too, if we realise we've got them wrong. Why not?

If I was presiding over a bunch of infantile power-gamers, this wouldn't work. I'm not. What do you think, would it be fun?

//(and later)//
I would NOT try this with a group I didn't know.

Mind you, having said I trust you all not to power-game - if you //want// to power-game, why not? It occured to me last night that if I'm allowing people to add in previously unmentioned relationships and back-story, I might say "OK, who knows anyone at Whitewall?" and someone might say "yes, King Broyan's my younger brother". And instead of thinking "aaargh, stop them!", I started dreaming plot around it....


//This is what I said, but we seem to have dropped most of it now, as people seem to prefer the original rules. They actually ask for extended contests!//

Now, on to contests. And again, I'm going to come over all radical. I want story, not numbers. To start with, I'd suggest that each "scene" (a short thing, usually) is specifically intended to give ONE character the limelight, and others are supporting. We decide by consensus whose turn it is. (I'm doing this in a RQ game I play in, and it works.)

Where possible, there is no rolled contest at all! We look at the situation, role-play our reactions, and then decide what would be the best story. Plausibility is of course required. If we all agree that this hero winning, in a certain way, would make sense and make good story, that's what happens. The numbers on the character sheet are a guide to what's plausible, no more. If you want to direct the story, don't roll dice to be allowed to do it - just do it.

If we have no fixed ideas, or want inspiration, then sure, we go back to rolling. Or if someone just prefers to roll that time, then we do so.
But if we can look at the numbers, and see one side is better than the other, then fine, big numbers win, let's get on with describing how, and how we feel about it.

Since the objective is to make good story, not to add up big numbers, we no longer spend time augment-hunting. Yes, we say what abilities we're augmenting our friends with, but we're choosing them for dramatic effect. So you don't list ten near-identical skills, simply because that would be boring!
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