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Custom Setting Rules

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  • Deskepticon
    started a topic Custom Setting Rules

    Custom Setting Rules

    This thread is meant as a player resource for sharing and discussing custom Setting Rules. Add your favorites, and don't forget to include any useful advice for anyone that may want to add them to their own campaigns.

    I've ported many of them over from the Archives for easy referencing. Some have been edited from the originals for either brevity or clarity. Be sure to check out the original thread for the full list as well as some interesting discussions (or if you just want to see how much of an opinionated jerk I can be).

    Enjoy, and as always Happy Gaming.

    Bloody Mess
    Extras have a -4 to all Aftermath rolls.
    Purpose: Make combat significantly more dangerous for "ordinary people", and allow for gory descriptions of damage and Incapacitation, without increasing lethality for player characters and other Wild Cards.
    Notes: Largely removes the question of what to do with injured or captured foes from player consideration. Rapidly dwindles the ranks of allied Extras.

    Old Wounds
    Success on an Aftermath roll results in a permanent injury on the Extra. A Raise provides a temporary injury. Two Raises lets the Extra escape Incapacitation unscathed.
    Purpose: Cause allied extras to have more interesting Incapacitation, with the chance of losing a limb or eye, acquiring a trick knee or permanent stitch in the side, or other effect of their battles.
    Notes: Interesting effects when combined with Bloody Mess. Can be a pain to track with large numbers of Incapacitated foes. Since only Extras have Aftermath rolls, has no effect on Player Characters.

    The Golden Moment
    On the same or immediately subsequent round to an Extra being Incapacitated by injury, an ally (or, even, an enemy, in cases where you need someone to question after the battle) can choose to provide aid with Healing. This plays out in one of two ways, depending on whether the Healing is power-based or mundane:
    Someone using the Healing Power on an Extra gives them a +1 on the Aftermath roll, with an additional +1 for every Raise.
    If the healer is using mundane Healing, then they must continue to provide aid for 10 minutes (as per the normal Healing Skill use for Wild Cards). They can still act, but if they do, then any actions they take suffer the Multi-Action Penalty, and the final Healing roll does as well. Outside of that caveat, they use the same results as magical healers.

    Some NPCs are somewhere between an Extra and a Wild Card. Tough Minions take wounds like a Wild Card, but don’t get a wild die on their rolls. Competent Minions get a wild die on their rolls, but take wounds like a normal extra.

    Against Cannon, No Man Is a Hero
    Player Characters may not spend Bennies to Soak damage from a Heavy Weapon. They may still spend them on the Incapacitation roll caused by such damage, however.
    Purpose: Remove the possibility of a character being shot by a cannon and surviving.
    Notes: Heavy Weapons become insanely dangerous. Player Characters with Heavy Armor should probably be allowed to Soak.

    That Escalated
    When a player character is Incapacitated, all player characters participating in the scene get a Benny.
    Purpose: Increase fun and reduce lethality for those times when PCs get put down by enemies.
    Notes: Because the Benny is given before the Incapacitation roll, it ensures a player has at least one Benny to spend on the Incapacitation roll. I originally conceptualized this as giving a benny for the complication of, "your ally just went down." The most I've handed out for this rule, so far, was three to each player; they didn't (quite) wipe that battle, but it was nasty.

    Bruises and Pain
    Non-lethal attacks do Fatigue damage.
    Purpose: Tie non-lethal damage to a different game mechanic, one that can incapacitate characters even faster, and one that can recover much faster than the default five days per natural healing roll.
    Notes: Inspired by the Bumps & Bruises rule. Makes non-lethal damage ineffective against Extras. Makes non-lethal damage highly effective against Wild Cards.

    Extra Fatigue
    Everyone has three levels of Fatigue (rather than the normal two levels).

    Better Soaking
    Failure, nothing happens. Success, eliminate one wound. Raise, eliminate two wounds or all but one wound (if more than two wounds). Two raises, eliminate all wounds.
    Purpose: Increase survivability against freakishly high damage rolls, without invalidating more normal damage results.
    Notes: Quickly becomes broken in campaigns where characters can reliably have a +4 or more to Soak rolls. Supers is a prime example, but you'd encounter similar problems in something like Savage Rifts or some sci-fi settings.

    Massive Damage
    A single hit that deals 3 or more wounds beyond Incapacitation kills a character outright. Do not roll Vigor, do not collect 200 dollars, go straight to Dead. You may attempt to Soak as usual.
    Purpose: Adds a bit of realism to gritty games. Some attacks are so brutal, you really don't get up from them.

    Heavy Strength
    Any attack with d12+5 or above Strength (character strength or powers strength such as telekinesis or matter control) has the Heavy Weapon modifier.
    Purpose: Mainly used for SPC. It aims to make super strong attacks more efficient. It seems logical that a character able to lift 2500 pounds can pass through heavy armors.
    Notes: It is derived from the SPC2 rule that turn any 1000 pounds object into a heavy weapon. A Strength d12+5 can lift 2500 pounds, which equals the pure strength necessary to lift 1000 pounds + the weight of the object. I came up with this custom rule when seeing that a "heavy weapon attack melee" trapped as "super strong hits" would cost at least 7 Power Points (One level in Attack Melee (2) + Stackable (2) + Multiple Attack (2) + Heavy Weapon (1))

    Blown Away
    When using a heavy weapon on a non heavy armored opponent, use the SPC knock-back rules. For use in settings without many heavy weapons.

    Variable Knockback
    It's no longer a flat 2d6" knockback for a big attack, it's now either the greater of your strength modifier above d12 (+2, +4, +6, etc) or your level of an attack power. Level 1 (or +2 to Strength) uses 2d2, Level 2 (or +4 to Strength) uses 2d4, etc, up to a max of 2d10; the Enhanced Damage modifier on ranged attacks can increase this up by one die type. Knockback damage is capped at 10d6 (same as falling damage). This is just a consistency thing for me, because I'm really persnickity about this kind of thing.

    Power Points Recharge
    All Arcane Backgrounds regain Power Points at a rate of 1 Power Point every ten minutes, rather than the standard of 1 Power Point per hour.

    Power Compatibility
    Magic is magic in the Iron Kingdoms. There are no modifiers for using powers on another type of magic, such as is normal with the Dispel or Detect/Conceal Arcana powers. A Morrowan priest can attempt to use Dispel on a Greylord’s wizardry without suffering a penalty based on one using AB (Miracles) and the other using AB (Wizardry).

    Bennys Bennys Bennys
    When a die explodes 3 or more times on any roll, you gain a Benny.

    That’s Rough, Buddy
    Any Wild Card (hero or NPC) that draws a Deuce for their action card draws a Benny. This only takes place when they actually have to act on that Deuce (not if they’re allowed to draw another card with Level Headed, for example).

    Resist Temptation--At a Cost
    "Roleplay" Hindrances (that is, those without a strict mechanical effect--Greedy, Arrogant and Overconfident are all good examples) can be held at bay (typically for one Encounter, though a "fresh" temptation might necessitate further expenditures) by giving the GM one of your Bennies. Note--this is not just 'pay a Benny', but rather, "Give the GM one of your Bennies to add to his pool."

    Crushed by the Past
    When a Hindrance imposes a penalty that causes meaningful failure (or failure of a meaningful roll), such as the One Eye penalty to ranged attacks causing the gunslinger to miss his shot against his greatest Enemy as that foe flees into a cloud of smoke, the character gets a benny.
    Purpose: Ensure bennies get handed out for Hindrances with mechanical drawbacks, as frequently as for role playing drawbacks.
    Notes: The Hindrance needs to be important to the situation, and the situation needs to be important.

    Raise the Stakes
    In a situation where a roleplay Hindrance should come into play, but the player is reluctant to do so, I will put up a Benny (from the pool, not from mine) and ask which one of us gets it. If the player plays the Hindrance, he gets it; if he does not, it goes to the GM pool. In situations of conflicting Hindrances, the player only has to play out one Hindrance to claim the Benny; I only get it if they opt to not play out either Hindrance for some reason.

    Seize Initiative
    The player may spend a Benny to have his character seize the initiative to interrupt the actions of another character.
    Purpose: To give characters a chance to do something cool, not covered in the rules such as a burster blocking a railgun blast with his flame bolt to keep it from shredding a companion.

    Emulate Skill/Edge
    Once per session, a player can spend a Benny to gain a one time use of a Skill or Edge he does not possess. A use of such a skill is at d4 without a -2 penalty and a use of an Edge means the character must meet any prerequisites for it's use.
    Purpose: This setting rule is only usable once per session, which means you have to be careful when you use it, and it has come in handy in several games. Spellcasters can use it for a one use of a power they don't have as long as they meet the rank requirements. It is good for those edges that don't come into play like the Mighty Blow or Power Surge edges which only work when a Joker is drawn.

  • Erolat
    commented on 's reply
    Let's see. I am in a biker gang so I have the classic Leather Jacket and Chaps. If (when?) we get in a shootout if I take any wound, even if only shot once, my leathers are now just scraps? I have to say I don't care for it.

    On the other hand, The After (Jumpstart pack 2), has a nice framework for degrading equipment. If the user crit-fails a check while using it (for armor this is a Vigor check to resist damage) the item receives a "stress tag". In the setting it can be a variety of things but for other settings perhaps a simple -1 when using the item until repaired. (-1 armor value or -1 to the appropriate check) If an item receives three stress tags before being repaired it is considered destroyed.
    The setting has no info on making repairs but I would think an appropriate skill roll with a penalty equal to the number of tags would be about right.

    If you are wanting things to degrade faster then tie the tags to a 1 on the trait die.

  • ValhallaGH
    For games where equipment, especially armor, is destroyed in normal use.

    Wear & Tear
    Armor only protects for so long between repairs. After any combat in which the wearer suffered a Wound, the armor is damaged and its protection is halved (round down). If the armor value would be reduced below +1 then the armor is destroyed, and is only useful for scraps to repair other armor.
    Repairing armor can be done in fifteen minutes with a simple Repair roll and some appropriate supplies. Success restores one level of damage, a raise restores two, and critical failure damages the armor further.
    Example: Trevor wears his new chain mail into a battle, and suffers two Wounds. After the battle, and visiting the surgeon, Trevor inspects his damaged armor. The damaged mail only provides +1 armor and needs to be repaired lest it break in the next battle.
    Example: Trevor wears his standard issue Infantry Battle Suit into a rough battle, taking one Wound. After the battle the armor is damaged, reducing the +6 armor to only +3. Further damage would reduce it to only +1 protection, and a third level of damage would destroy the armor.

    Purpose: Lets armor get shot to pieces over the course of an adventure. Makes repairing armor a meaningful, and necessary, action.
    Notes: I finally settled on halving armor, instead of a flat reduction. Steel plate is tough enough to last one battle longer, and light leather is fragile enough to be destroyed in a single combat. Halving does create some odd break points: +2 and +3 have the same durability, while +4 to +7 share durability. I'm not happy about that but I concluded it was better than a flat -1 per damage, and miles better than a flat -2.

    Leave a comment:

  • Freemage
    commented on 's reply
    It could work as a Hindrance for some settings, too, particularly those with a mixture of levels. This was specifically to emulate a series where almost everyone has some control issues, because they're all still developing their powers (The New Mutants would be an archetypal example, here; there've been cartoons set in a similar fashion since then). At the same time, the function here leaves it entirely up to player control whether or not they want to deal with the consequences.

    Of course, you could arguably combine both--start with the Setting Rule, then state that someone with the Hindrance gets not only a benny for triggering their Hindrance, but also unlocks their existing bennies when it pops (in exchange for not having narrative control over when it pops, due to the Hindrance).

  • dentris
    commented on 's reply
    I think it would be better as an Hindrance. It serves the same purpose, and opens up the possibility of gaining more bennies when it hinders you.

    Control Issue (Minor/Major)

    Your character has trouble controlling his powers and gets into all sort of trouble, activating them at the wrong time or with too much strength. As a Minor effect, the effect are more than often purely comical and hinders only when trying to hide your powers or stay out of trouble from the authorities, but the effects can be dangerous to you or bystanders as a Major Hindrace. Whenever he rolls a 1 one a Trait Die, regardless of the Wild Die, one of his power activates when it shouldn't or not the way they were supposed to, as deemed fit by the GM.

  • Freemage
    Sepcifically designed for a 'teen superheroes in training' game:

    Pubescent Power Problems: At the start of each session, all Bennies are 'Locked'--they may only be used to Soak. A player can unlock their bennies for other purposes by having a Power 'misfire' at an inopportune moment. The player picks the Power that malfunctions, and the GM determines the exact consequences. The player may suggest possibilities, but the final call is the GM's. Typical consequences include social setbacks, potential exposure (in a setting with secret identities as the norm), loss of non-superpower gear, academic problems, and so forth. Injury should be pretty much unheard of, though a single level of Fatigue might make sense.

    This is to emulate all those scenes in the genre of 'nascent heroes' where the super-strong character accidentally rips their locker door off the hinges, or the pyrokinetic burns their math assignment, or a telekinetic who was going to meet with their crush to ask them to the dance ends up stuck to the ceiling for an hour. Characters with super-reliable control over their Powers also tend to not have really phenomenal outbursts during action scenes; the guy who constantly gets into difficulty because his Powers are always misfiring is also the one who pulls off truly phenomenal stunts ala Extra Effort.

    Leave a comment:

  • Soulliard
    commented on 's reply
    This has been a popular house rule with players when I've run Savage Worlds. Some of them like Savage Worlds more than others, and the number one complaint about the system is how swingy it is (in particular, there are negative comments about how attacks either do nothing or instantly eviscerate someone). They prefer to feel like, if something goes very right or very wrong, it was due to their decisions, and not just dumb luck.

  • Deskepticon
    commented on 's reply
    So it is more difficult to one-shot a WC. I think that takes away from some of what makes SW cool and fun, but if that's what you're going for, have at it. However, if the goal is to give players a chance to do something before getting knocked out, maybe a setting rule that gives them an automatic action before going Incap would be less... disruptive to the game.

  • Soulliard
    commented on 's reply
    Wound Cap means you can't die in one hit if you soak, but you can still just as easily be left at 3 wounds, and basically out of the combat (and the adventure). This rule reduces the chances of taking 3-4 wounds in one hit, so you probably won't get crippled from a single lucky shot in the first round of combat (and it also gives villains more of a chance to do something cool before being taken out).
    Last edited by Soulliard; 01-05-2019, 01:22 AM.

  • ValhallaGH
    commented on 's reply
    Why not just use the Wound Cap setting rule? It's easier to remember and achieves most of the same goals.

  • Soulliard
    Limited Raises
    Getting multiple raises on a damage roll is a little harder. Getting the first and second raises still requires beating the target number by 4 or 8 points, respectively. Getting the third raise, however, requires beating the target number by 16 points, and the fourth raise requires beating it by 32 points.
    Purpose: Makes combat less swingy. A lucky damage roll is unlikely to kill a wild card in one hit.

    Leave a comment:

  • Soulliard
    commented on 's reply
    Also, you should be "poring" over them, not "pouring", unless you've had an unfortunate spill.

  • Soulliard
    commented on 's reply
    Were those last two inspired by Steamworld: Heist, by any chance? It's a great game.

  • ValhallaGH
    commented on 's reply
    What is the goal of this Setting Rule? What problem does it address or tone does it support?

  • sarcinae
    It's About Balance - To be used in conjunction with Born a Hero. If a PC takes an edge higher than their current level, they draw one card for each level it is above (ie. Novice taking a Heroic edge would draw three cards). If any of those cards are face cards they must take a minor hindrance per face card. If the card is an ace or a joker, they must take a major hindrance per ace or joker. These hindrances do not count towards the hindrance/edge balance

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