Wednesday, December 19, 2018
A little while ago, I learned about “conditions” in the Mouse Guard Role-Playing Game, and I fell in love with the concept. In addition to me loving them and how they are implemented, status effects are a pretty standard feature of many role-playing games that help players know how to role-play their characters better. Things like “afraid” or “discouraged” or “stunned” or “nauseated” or any number of other things that could affect a character. Because there are so many other ways a character can be affected by situations than just by physical injuries and how daunting a blank page can often be for GMs, I’m going to work on adding status effects to the game. They provide an in-game blueprint for how their characters should be acting in the current situation and allow the GM an easy-to-use negative result if they can’t immediately think of some way a situation could go bad.
The biggest benefit to adding status effects, particularly mental ones, is that it can be a realistic way to add consequences to Negative Impact results for qualities like Thought. Failing a Thought check to try to determine what an item is could make the character think it is something scary, which could add the “afraid” status. And stacking status effects on top of each other can lead to some interesting role-playing results. In addition to layering status effects, I’m also working on how to make them intensify. For example, if your character is scared multiple times, the “afraid” status could intensify into a “terrified” or “panicked” status or something like that.
The biggest challenge to creating status effects, I believe, will be working out what they actually do mechanically. Some may affect rolls, but others like “blinded” or “nauseated” will need to affect gameplay in some other way. I have some ideas for how to accomplish this, but it’ll take a lot of thinking to figure out how to do it well. Now that I’m thinking about it, some status effects may be chosen permanently if you want to play a character with a disability, which could be interesting!
Anyway, status effects will add another layer to the game that will help situations stay interesting, and I’m excited to add them to the rules!