"Flash": rule add-on idea.

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robert4818
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"Flash": rule add-on idea.

#1 Postby robert4818 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:05 pm

This is a fun, yet pointless little idea for tracking petty things that can help define your character, and add a small bit of realism to your game without bogging it down. I picture it with minor things that have no real game effect, but it could be used as a way of letting people "learn" new uses of regular stuff if you don't feel that they should auto-know it because they have the skill.

What is a "Flash"? Its a highly specialized use of a skill or stat. For example, juggling, gun twirling, That fancy card shuffle from one had to the other from two feet away, etc. For the most part, they have no real game effect, but the GM may say other wise if its put to good use in tricks or tests of wills or something else.

At the start of the game you possess a number of "Flashes" equal to 1/2 your smarts die (or other stat of the GM's choice).

At any time during the game you may pick up a new "Flash" it starts with a ranking of (-2). To use a Flash, you simply make an appropriate Trait check, applying the rating. At the end of a session in which you used the flash (Or other suitable amount of time as determined by the GM) roll the check with modifier. If you succeed, raise your "Flash" rating by one (-1). A raise increases it by 2. No flash rating can be raised above 0.

This system may also be used if the GM would like you to "learn" something new for an existing skill.

For example, you are playing a card shuffling huckster from Deadlands. You have a decent Gambling (D8) skill, but its focused on dice and Poker. When you walk into a Chinese Gambling parlor and they are all playing Mahjong, its far enough out of your players comfort zone that the GM declares it to be a new "Flash." You are still a decent gambler, but until you learn the ins and outs of this game, you suffer a penalty while playing it (You roll D8-2 until you advance your "Flash").


This system is of course, entirely optional, and merely adds in a few extra roleplaying opportunities. Just thought I would put it out there.
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#2 Postby The One » Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:20 pm

My general feel is that it's unnecessary, if it doesn't have a game effect, then it's either an attibute roll or an Edge (which also provides a mechanical benefit, e.g. +1 Charisma)

In terms of tricks/test of wills, I tend to give bonuses for a good description anyway.
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Re: "Flash": rule add-on idea.

#3 Postby ValhallaGH » Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:28 pm

robert4818 wrote:This is a fun, yet pointless little idea for tracking petty things that can help define your character, and add a small bit of realism to your game without bogging it down.

It's a semi-organic, role-play removed, highly arbitrary, Skill Specialization system.

It is moderately interesting, but I'm pretty sure it would mostly be a pain in the butt in play - too much tracking.

P.S. If that's blunter than I meant, I claim lack of sleep.
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Re: "Flash": rule add-on idea.

#4 Postby robert4818 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:14 pm

ValhallaGH wrote:
robert4818 wrote:This is a fun, yet pointless little idea for tracking petty things that can help define your character, and add a small bit of realism to your game without bogging it down.

It's a semi-organic, role-play removed, highly arbitrary, Skill Specialization system.

It is moderately interesting, but I'm pretty sure it would mostly be a pain in the butt in play - too much tracking.

P.S. If that's blunter than I meant, I claim lack of sleep.


No worries. I figured this might be the response. It IS something else to track. However, in my opinion, its not something that intrusive. 9 times out of 10, a person isn't going to notice the system. This is mainly because most "flashes" don't have real game effects. I don't really think that it's roleplay removed. In fact, I think its a roleplay enhancer. We might disagree here, but I think its looking at it from different view points. I don't think every roll of the dice necessarily negates roleplaying, I think that in some cases it helps remind players.

On the other end, when it does have game effects, its mostly meant to be a small learning curve as opposed to something game breaking. From this end I don't call it skill specialization, so much as recognizing that even though a skill allows you to do everything, you as a person might not be able to apply it to everything right away. But since you know the basics, picking it up shouldn't be hard.

There's a reason why I never offered an "advancement" option for knacks. I find that it would be stupid to do so.
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#5 Postby Chaosmeister » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:34 am

I was thinking common knowledge was for things like this.
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Re: "Flash": rule add-on idea.

#6 Postby ValhallaGH » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:22 pm

robert4818 wrote:I don't really think that it's roleplay removed.

I meant it was a penalty removed by role playing (instead of Advances). I can see how it might enhance RP, but I'm not sure it's worth it. Evaluating increased RP fun versus "why do I suck at this" and "another thing to track" anti-fun, I can only conclude that the final valuation has to be done by each individual gamer and gaming group.

And, regardless of what you call it, it uses the same general mechanics as the Skill Specialization setting rule, but relies upon a Common Knowledge-like evaluation to determine when it applies.


It's an odd duck, and one that isn't worthwhile for the games that I run. That doesn't make it a bad rule, though.
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Re: "Flash": rule add-on idea.

#7 Postby robert4818 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:20 pm

ValhallaGH wrote:
robert4818 wrote:I don't really think that it's roleplay removed.

I meant it was a penalty removed by role playing (instead of Advances). I can see how it might enhance RP, but I'm not sure it's worth it. Evaluating increased RP fun versus "why do I suck at this" and "another thing to track" anti-fun, I can only conclude that the final valuation has to be done by each individual gamer and gaming group.

And, regardless of what you call it, it uses the same general mechanics as the Skill Specialization setting rule, but relies upon a Common Knowledge-like evaluation to determine when it applies.


It's an odd duck, and one that isn't worthwhile for the games that I run. That doesn't make it a bad rule, though.


Ok. I think I was having a reading comprehension fail. :)

To be honest, I'm not even sure I'd use it. But the idea bubbled up into my brain, and I wanted to toss it out.

If I used it, I would probably only use if at the RP-level (the non-rule based stuff), instead of the random penalty for "new uses".

At that point it becomes 99% roleplay, with very little tracking (unless you have a group of players that want to learn useless skills).

With that in place, it simply becomes a neat little interaction tool. You have the green horn and the gunslinger. The Gunslinger can do the fancy gun twirling, and the green horn wants to learn it. This gives a simple method of mimicking that. That's the idea I really like about it. And something I don't think needs much tracking except a spot in the "notes" section (for many, also known as the back of the sheet)
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