Character Resistance

Character Resistance

The ways in which characters become obstacles to the personae will be defined with numbers, to fit with the rest of the mechanics. However, I think they will be defined with simple numbers, not dice.

This is because the active force in the game should be the personae, not the characters. The personae drive things forward, and make the decisions that change things. In mechanics, that means that the personae roll dice and succeed or fail. The success or failure of character actions depends on how well the personae do at preparing for those actions, not on a die roll made for the character. In any case, since there is no GM, there is no-one to roll on the characters’ behalf.

The first class of statistic is nothing but a number, representing the character’s resistance to a certain sort of action. For example, “Hates Masao” would serve as the resistance if the character were asked to do anything to help Masao, or work with Masao on a project. Similarly, “Blames the kami for his mother’s death” would be a resistance to getting involved with the jinja. The description of the resistance guides the players when they describe how the character reacts as the personae interact with her, and face her resistance. Personae can either try to overcome those resistances in particular cases, or reduce them in the long term. Both of these options will be considered later.

The second class of statistic is more complex. If characters never do anything at all without direct prompting from the personae, the game will not be very plausible, and players will find it hard to suspend their disbelief. Therefore, characters need to act.

In line with making the personae the centre of the story, however, even these actions will be reactions to things that the personae do. A character will be tied to a goal as a possible obstacle, and will take action that causes problems for the personae when they reach a certain stage in achieving the goal. The players, of course, all know that this will happen, because they have all read the scenario. The personae, therefore, also have a general idea that this character is opposed to the goal, but they do not know how to stop her. Investigating the character uncovers the reasons for her opposition, using the normal investigation rules, and the detailed reasons are created by the players as part of this process. The personae can then, if they wish, do things to postpone her interference, or to make it less of a problem when it happens. They might also fail at this, making her intervention even more of a problem than it would have been otherwise.

The game mechanics of the character’s opposition will be defined by the scenario, and may be modified by the actions of the personae. The description of her opposition, however, will be defined in play, based on the way the character and the situation have been developed. The scenario will provide elements that help to guide this definition, but they may not all apply, as the players may have taken things in a direction the scenario writer did not anticipate. Reacting to the character’s opposition may involve creating something, investigating something, or overcoming the character’s resistance, just as in the first sort of obstacle.

How, then, do personae overcome a character’s resistance? That is the topic for the next post.

2 thoughts on “Character Resistance

  1. Personally I find the prospect of a roleplaying game without a GM very appealing, but I wonder what the interaction at the game table will look like without a GM. As everything is handled mechanically, there might not be a lot of in-game talking by the players and at some point they might all start talking in game terms. I guess what I’m worried about is the lack of atmosphere that this might result in. And atmosphere I find very essential for a game about kami.

    Some of these worries could be resolved by no longer calling it a roleplaying game. As a matter of fact it might even make the game more popular if weren’t advertised as a roleplaying game ;>

    I recently played the Lord of the Rings cardgame and I really recommend you try it, because it has many elements of a “GM-less roleplaying game”. The general gameplay involves obstacle cards that need to be overcome, some by just accumulating successes, others like enemies that need to be blocked on one hand (to avert damage) and defeating on the other hand. The game is turn based and the obstacle cards accumulate from turn to turn, in order to create a certain pressure on the players. If they don’t overcome the obstacles fast enough they get stuck and subsequently defeated. The huge diversity of the game comes from the different ways the obstacles and the means of overcoming them are presented.

    Many of these concepts could also work for Kannagara. Instead of suffering physical harm the personae could suffer loss of stamina, willpower or other kinds of ressources, and instead of working their way through a classic adventure (scene by scene) the persona’s goal would be to build relationships and to create stuff.

    1. Christian, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get around to replying to this. Naturally, I agree with you about the need for atmosphere. So far, I’ve only been talking about the framework of the rules on the blog, and the framework doesn’t have much atmosphere. The atmosphere will be added at the next stage — in fact, I’m already working on it in the first playtest scenario.

      As for whether we call it a role-playing game, I’m not that bothered. I’m told that DriveThruCards produces nice products, so it it goes that way, that’s fine. On the current structure, though, it will be nothing like a conventional card game, either. I’ll have to see how it develops.

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