Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Origins for the system behind the character sheet.

All travels start from somewhere. The origin is the point from which everything else unfolds.

It is the safe place. It is the wholesome place. It is nothing exceptional place, the place that doesn't yet know what ivory maze around godbox is. When hurt, tired, exhausted or brought down retreat to your origin. This is the person what wished to start the travel and however far your traveled since, they always stay with you.

Here are some most common origin for the setting behind the character sheet.

Human of Datay: you cannot separate yourself from hunger, not on the long run.
Recover when you have a plentiful meal. Get a major recovery when you feed yourself with a life of at least semi-sentient creature.

Human of Reo: your human heritage is your pride and accomplishment. By forgetting it, however briefly, you stop suppressing the natural instincts of your being.
Recover each time when you are knocked unconscious, drunk into stupor or otherwise lose awareness of self. Get a major recovery each time you are able to go to sleep. Sleep is a human thing to do but yours is always black and dreamless.

Human of Sagon: the world is moving, running, spinning out of control. Actively acting within it unsettles, jumbles and breaks you.
Recover each time you can sit down in inner contemplation. Get a major recovery each time when you can rest and arrange your thoughts in a stable, quiet, safe environment.

Human of Iriosa: a shell of a dream, you are worn down, scratched and tattered by the world. It wasn't so bad before and in dreams it still isn't. 
Recover each time you are able to go out of bounds of usual perception through illusions, horrors, drugs, artistic inspiration or another such non-routine events, unless you saw or experience them already. Get a major recovery when you are able to get in touch with dreams, your own or of others.

Human of Talar: your origin lies in a society, within the complex, interesting and kaleidoscopic web of connections. You don't imagine human life in any other way.
Recover each time you participate in a prominent social gathering (public speech, riot, carousing, festivals, high-society party, passionate gossip). Get a major recovery each time when you start and/or fund one of such activities.

The origin could be something more personal, such as:

Normalcy: you were doing well in the world you understood doing tasks you were comfortable to do. Sometimes you miss that world. Recover each time when you are able to visit the settlement and immerse yourself, even as an observer, in the plain and simple life of regular people.

Investment: there is no purpose in the world if you are unable to change it to your liking on a big scale. Get a recover for each [amount of currency] you are investing into some kind of enterprise that benefits you or somebody else you hold dear.

Failure: whatever you did before, you failed badly enough at it, and this tossed you out of the previously known borders. Failure is your personal enemy. Recover every time when you successfully do an important task under pressure with risk of failure.

Alienation: there is the present and there is a future and there is no past. Voluntarily or not but you had to leave it behind and didn't ever look back. The present has fewer and fewer connections. Recover each time you finish the important task or survive on your own, without any help.

Crisis: Was it a revelation? A loss? A betrayal? Is the person remembering those events is still the same a person who had experienced them or is somebody else, just using the same skin and mind? Recover each time you are able survive the noticeably danger to your being or each time you lose a level.

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Origin here servers both in a race or important background event (such as failed career) that also sets how the character naturally recovers HPs and currencies of self (you still can recover through other means). Each human origin mimics one or another recovery mechanic that I saw in the various OSR and other games: restoration by eating food, by sleeping, by resting, by carousing. Each 'personal' origin mimics some of the more exotic recovery mechanics mixing it with mechanics for getting XP a bit: return to settlements to rest and resupply, investment of gp [initially used for building castles, I think, but it can be stretched up to providing first aid to other people], success under pressure, solitude and so on; in particular the Crisis origin is Diablo-esque recovery where HP restores after pretty much any fight.

I got the idea from elves, who rest in meditation (and so use the same breaks that humans do) but often in various settings and systems do not sleep. Usually dreaming isn't important enough in DnD games but I thought it was interesting how one race overrides it anyway. In Flailsnails, due to the nature of Flailsnails, the exact mechanics for natural HP restore might differ depending on the rules DM uses: snacking in one world restores HP while in another doesn't. Recovery and major recovery are taking from short and long rest of 5E which I am finding to be clear definitions (and because I had to rename everything here I am renaming even good definitions) but also, in a way, from Unknown Armies, with minor and major charges which there-mages receive by doing some their-magical stuff. I am wondering about an idea where you can 'save' an extra long rest if you have enough time in downtime, and then use it later.

Even with such separation I suspect the human origins will work pretty well with each other, except maybe social one (although you can spend time gossiping and socializing within the party), as a lot of such origins would overlap in a downtime: when somebody is sleeping, another one is snacking or meditating.

The second set of origins is more like backgrounds, the first is more like a race. I wanted the race/failed career to be something more than a bunch of bonuses and small abilities, which is why I connected it to HP recovery mechanics. I am not yet entirely happy with it and have a gut feeling it all should have more substance to it. 'Race' origins will probably also provide some small abilities, while other five, that are more likely connected to career and motivation, will have more or better starting gear.

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