Friday, March 27, 2015
Adventure Games, Goals, And Spectacular Science Stories
Since I am basing Spectacular Science Stories on a set of rules (Swords & Wizardry: Whitebox) that is close to the earliest games, I want to try and stick to the objective method of giving out success points to the characters. Unfortunately, this presents a small problem, because there are three different sorts of raygun fantasy story that I am trying to emulate. I could probably make this simpler on me by getting rid of one or two of the three character classes, but I don't think that the game would be as enjoyable if I did.
First, there is the Adventurer. This can be dealt with just as in traditional adventure games, as the prototypes include such figures as Northwest Smith, who was just as much of a money-grubbing adventurer as any in D&D. Nothing needs to be done there. Next, there is the Scientist, for which I have found a great way to offer carrots that point them toward the sorts of behavior that you'd expect from that type of character (basically, they can get special benefits from exploring the mysteries of the universe).
What I'm left with, though, is the Psychic Warrior. This one is difficult, in no small part because they are portrayed in the source material (Star Wars and the Lensman stories, mainly) as above such venal matters as money. How do you give objective rewards to someone like that? Obviously, they could get experience points for "defeating foes", but that's entirely secondary in the rules to getting paid. I also want to make them, in some ways, like paladins, with few (and minor) technological items, relying on their psychic powers rather than worldly concerns in their pursuit of moral perfection. I've got some rules for "fallen" Psychic Warriors who fail in their moral pursuit, of course, but I'm still trying to work out how to make them advance properly. I don't want to just give them a set of experience point goals that are special to them and no one else. Maybe I should just add a set of "karma" experience point awards for performing specific objectively-determined actions. Not sure how I'd go about that, though, and there's the matter of what to do about villainous "fallen" Psychic Warriors.
My first thought was to let them donate their money and found items to the Psychic Warrior Temple and get extra experience points for that, but that doesn't seem quite right (though I probably will keep that, and also give Adventurers and Scientists a way to boost experience points by giving up money too). If you've got any ideas, I'd appreciate it.