Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I have a problem

I just can't stop starting new things. It wouldn't be so bad if I posted more often, but as it is I am all over the place. Ok well, I started a new project, or more accurately have decided to return to an older project. It is that dream thing I was talking about here, but back then I was trying to figure out how to integrate that idea into regular D&D game play. I had a major revelation recently when I realized that it would work much better making the dream quest thing a stand alone game- the concept is strong enough, at least I think so.

Ok well here are the bare bones-

Everything is based on two game mechanics, Will Power  and Invocations.

Will Power (WP) is a measure of a characters ability to influence and resist being influenced by things encountered in dreams. In game terms each WP equates to one d6. As Will Power is spent the d6 are discarded and the characters pool of Will is depleted. A twist is that Will Power also represents a characters hold on the dream and are comparative to health points and HP as used in other games. In most cases trying to affect the dream will result in a depletion of will points, but also will being attacked by dream monsters. I am getting ahead of myself but hopefully you can see what I am trying to say.

When attempting to use Will Power the DM (Dream Master) will tell the character a target number based on how difficult the task is to accomplish. That target number is the number of successes the character has to get with their Will (d6 roll), a success being a roll of a 5 or 6 on a d6 Will dice roll.

example: Tim the dreamer wants to leap a chasm, its pretty narrow and should be easy to leap so the DM tells Tim he will need 2 successes. Tim has 14 Will Points, he decides to play it safe so grabs 4 dice and reduces his Will to 10 Will Points. He rolls the dice. Tim needs at least 2 of the 4 dice to have a result of 5 or 6. Tim rolls two 6s, a 5 and a 1, getting 3 total successes, he only needed 2 so Tim has successfully leaped across the chasm. If Tim failed he would have fallen into the chasm and possibly lost more Will Points to represent damage from the fall.

The second main mechanic is Invocations.  Making a Invocation is a little more complicated to explain. As characters explore the dream lands they will gain access to various different Arcana- a catch all term for a multitude of archetypal characters, objects, events, and powers.

(From Wikipedia:'' Carl Jung was the first psychoanalyst to attach importance to tarot symbolism.[22] He may have regarded the tarot cards as representing archetypes: fundamental types of persons or situations embedded in the collective unconscious of all human beings.'')

A character can freely Invoke any Arcana they possess as way of overcoming obstacles during adventures in the dream realms. Invoking Arcana can be risky though and may come with a price or be difficult for the dreamer to control. Check out my posts with the Dream Realm label to see some examples of Arcana, and an example of an Arcana being invoked below.

Example: Tim the Dreamer is now in a sleepy peaceful village at the edge of a vast desert, he decides to Invoke The Cyclone. To simply unleash the Cyclone and let it destroy the village all Tim would have to do would be to say "I Invoke the Cyclone!" and watch the destruction. But if Tim wanted to Invoke the Cyclone to carry him quickly across the desert- and to leave the village and himself unharmed- he would have to succeed at a very difficult Will Power test, and if he fails The Cyclone would spin dangerously out of control.

The various Arcana will be a pretty big deal in the game, with a near endless number of possible Archetypes to be discovered and used, I will try to post a whole bunch every once in a while as inspiration, and to make a core "canon" list, but my expectation is that DMs and players will be eventually able to make them up pretty much on the fly, and be able to creatively interpret them. In play most Arcana will start as NPCs or obstacles or found treasure- which after they have been met and befriended, overcome or plundered will be available for players to Invoke.

One important note to make is that players cannot swap or share or take duplicates of Arcana that the other players have, so each dreamer will build up a "hand" of unique Arcana which only they can use.

More on this later...

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