Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Video Game Achievements for Your Tabletop Game

One thing I am trying in my latest campaign is to award the PCs video-game style achievements as they progress. I had toyed with this idea before, and imagined lots of wacky conditions for unlocking the achievements. As I started compiling lists of conditions like "Medicine Man -- Healed 100 people (+1 to heal effects)" I realized how terrible this idea would be in practice. It would require way too much bookkeeping, would be just a bit too immersion-breaking and it would reward silly behavior...

"Leon, why exactly did you charge the dragon head on?"

"I wanted the Trial by Fire badge -- take 1000 points of fire damage (+2 to save vs. fire). Only 921 points to go, baby!!!"

So, that idea got shelved. Still, I liked the idea of individualized perks for each PC based on notable things they did during the campaign, and so I took the idea off the shelf for this latest game and repackaged it a bit.

After 5 sessions, my players have finished the first stage of the campaign. What I did was I went back over the game notes from those sessions and jotted down the interesting things various characters did. Then, I attached small titles to each, as well as mini-bonuses. This coming session, I am going to present each character with a list of achievements they are eligible for and they can record one and get one of the bonuses.

So, for Anatoli, the defensive fighter who has held his ground against no less than five opponents at one time, but whose damage leaves a lot to be desired, I offer him "Desperate Fighter -- +1 damage when facing 2 or more opponents by yourself". To the fighter/acrobat that has been dropped in the last 3 combats, I offer "Pincushion -- +3 hit points". To the characters who were paralyzed by poison, I offer "Rasputin -- +2 to save vs. poison". To the stuffy professor who is continuously spouting off about his credentials (and is appalled that the rest of the group is not properly certified in their respective fields) I offer "Certified -- Once a night you get a +2 to a roll for which you can somehow claim that you have proper credentials".

I figure to make up 2-4 achievements that each PC is eligible for and at least 2 that everyone is able to choose. That way, everyone has a decision to make and something unique to get. Once the next phase of the game is complete, I can add a few more to the existing list and allow another selection.

We'll see how it goes.