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  • Seductive Corruption

    I know there’s been a few takes on the idea of Corruption in some Savage Worlds settings, but I want to present my version. My goals for the mechanic are:
    • Make Corruption desirable to a degree, or at least tempting, involving a trade-off between its effects and benefits
    • Make gaining Corruption a player choice, rather than relying on something random like a Critical Failure.
    • Make it something that any player can get, rather than just a side effect of “Black Magic” or similar that some AB’s have.
    The setting I’m using this for is a conversion of Unhallowed Metropolis, in which corruption is a central theme for playing gothic, tragic heroes. Who fight zombies. I’ve tried other versions of Corruption in the past, but was inspired by how Witches in the new Dead Lands Companion handle it, and used that as a jumping off point. So the next couple of posts will be the rules for Corruption, and how they interact with Bennies for this setting.

    Please feel free to provide feedback.
    Last edited by Oneiros; 01-11-2021, 08:30 PM.

  • #2
    Corruption

    The world is sick and diseased. The Plague and the Blight are the most obvious symptoms, but there is a deeper taint that leaves its mark on every soul within the metropolis. In many ways, one must embrace the corruption of the city to make one’s way through it; innocence is not a survival trait. It is a constant struggle between letting these inner demons loose, and holding on to one’s humanity. Eventually though, the corruption will claim even the strongest of spirits. Though they may retain their lives, those who fully succumb will become nothing more than an avatar of the darkness.

    At character creation, heroes begin with one point of Corruption. Each point of Corruption gives the character a new Minor Hindrance or increases a Minor to a Major (player choice). This initial Hindrance is included as part of the total Hindrances that can be selected during character creation. Note half-lifers, such as dhampirs, cannot take physical Hindrances for Corruption.

    Characters start each session with a number of Corruption Bennies equal to half their Corruption score.

    Characters gain Corruption in play when they use their Devil's Luck Benny, or use a Corruption Benny to reroll a Critical Failure. If a character has spent all their Corruption Bennies for the session, they can request another from the GM. Doing so also increases their Corruption by one point. This can only be done once per session. A character may also gain a point of Corruption if they have, in the GM’s estimation, committed a particular heinous or evil act, especially one in line with their Hindrances.

    Each point of Corruption gives the character a new Minor Hindrance or increases a Minor to a Major (their choice). “Good” Hindrances, such as Heroic, generally are not allowed. Corruption often follows recognizable downward spirals. See Affliction Paths for recommended Hindrances to emulate such decline. A character’s Corruption is added as a bonus to the Prey Sense of undead creatures such as animates and vampires.

    Should a hero’s Corruption score ever equal their Spirit, the character has gone Beyond the Pale, and becomes an NPC under the GM’s control, assuming they are still alive.

    Redemption

    There are a few ways characters can reduce their Corruption. Whenever a character removes a point of Corruption, they may also remove a Minor Hindrance gained through Corruption, or can reduce a Major Hindrance to Minor. Whatever the means, a character’s Corruption can never be reduced below one point.

    The simplest way a character can reduce Corruption is by spending an Advance to do so.

    Alternately, a hero may seek redemption to reduce Corruption. Doing so requires the player declaring this at the start of a session, and describing the actions they are taking to atone or improve their corrupt state. In addition to roleplaying their attempted redemption, the character cannot use any Corruption Bennies while trying to redeem themselves. If the hero can do this for two sessions, they then make a Spirit roll. Success means their Corruption is reduced a point. A single Corruption Benny use, or backslide into a Hindrance’s behavior, will undo the redemption attempt, and the character will have to start over.

    Lastly, characters may reduce their Corruption achieving a major victory against evil in the campaign (GM’s call.)
    Last edited by Oneiros; 01-11-2021, 09:40 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Bennies

      Regular Bennies

      Regular Bennies (given as white chips) are used as normal in the game, described on page 90 of the SWADE rulebook.

      Corruption Bennies

      Each character gets a number of Corruption Bennies (given as black chips) at the start of a session equal half of their Corruption score, rounded up.

      A character may spend a Corruption Benny to add a d6 to any Trait or damage roll they just made. This additional d6 can explode, and is included if another Benny is spent for a rerolls. Only one Corruption Benny can be spent this way for any given roll. It cannot be used on a Critical Failure.

      Corruption Bennies can also be used as regular Bennies. However, if used for a Trait reroll that results in a Critical Failure, the character gains a point of Corruption.

      If a character has spent all of their Corruption Bennies, they can get another from the GM by increasing their Corruption by one point. This can only be done once per session.

      The Devil's Luck

      Each character has one Devil's Luck Bennie (a red chip) at the start of each session. If this Benny is used, it will add one point to the character's Corruption.

      The Devil’s Luck Bennie can be spent to gain any one of the following benefits:
      • Avoid Certain Death: Ignore all damage just taken from a single attack, or avert any likely instant death scenario, like falling off a high cliff. The player should narrate how the character managed to survive.
      • Run of Luck: Similar to spending Conviction (SWADE pg. 136), the character adds a d6 to all Trait and damage rolls until the beginning of their next turn. This d6 can ace. The Run of Luck can be maintained round to round like Conviction, but only by spending Corruption Bennies.
      • Reroll Critical Failure: The only way to get out of a Critical Failure is to spend the Devil’s Luck Benny and reroll. In addition, the reroll has a +4 bonus. If the reroll is also a Critical Failure, treat it as a regular roll and add the +4 for the final total.

      Comment


      • #4
        If you want corruption to be pervasive, unavoidable, and gained via chance then this is a pretty solid system.

        Since none of those are your stated goals, this system should be considered a failure.
        I think you're on the correct track, but you haven't addressed what makes this "corrupt power" instead of simply being "power".

        My suggestion:
        • Have a pot of tokens in the middle of the table. Any player can grab one at any time.
        • If the player takes a token then they can add an Acing d6 to one Trait or Damage roll. It is considered part of the roll, like the bonus damage from a Raise.
        • Each token gives the character one Corruption (or reduces their Innocence / Purity rating by one; different tones).
        • Every three Corruption worsens all NPC reactions by one step. So, at twelve Corruption only the most Friendly or Helpful of NPCs don't immediately want to attack the character.
        • At eighteen Corruption, the character becomes an NPC under GM control.
        Obviously, the effects of corruption have to be customized to fit the setting. If you were using this for a Dark Souls game then it would be Despair, and characters who succumb become Hollow. For a game set in the Rokugan setting (Legend of the 5 Rings), the character is physically and spiritually mutated by the corruption and becomes a slave of the dark god.
        I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ValhallaGH View Post
          If you want corruption to be pervasive, unavoidable, and gained via chance then this is a pretty solid system.

          Since none of those are your stated goals, this system should be considered a failure.
          I'm not sure I'm following this assessment. True, the pervasive, unavoidable nature isn't one of the bulleted goals, but the description of the setting conversion, and the fact that characters start with a point of Corruption which cannot be removed, should convey that it is an intended feature, at least to a degree.

          But the gained by chance point: while I do have one situation that falls into that category, the rest is player decision. Requesting an extra Corruption Bennie, using Devil's luck, or from dark role-play. I'm wavering on the addition of corruption on a specific crit failure, for the reasons I stated in the goals, but I was also concerned that Corruption might not be as, well, pervasive without it.

          I think you're on the correct track, but you haven't addressed what makes this "corrupt power" instead of simply being "power".
          Not sure what you mean by this, either, or how your suggestion addresses it differently. The correspondence of the Corruption bennies to Hindrances I'd think makes the nature of the "power" clear. It's no different than the penalty you give to NPC reactions based on Corruption in your suggested system. That's pretty much just an un-fluffed Hindrance, but I guess that's what you're addressing with the comments on customizing the effects of Corruption per setting.

          For this setting, the original game made players choose Afflictions, which covered a wide range of gothic/horror tropes, from suffering incurable disease, addiction, erosion of the soul (a la "Fall of the House of Usher"), and many, many more. Each had five stages, starting as mere quirks to the character either passing away or becoming something monstrous (ghoul, serial killer, etc.). Rather than try to replicate all this in Savage Worlds, I plan on presenting Afflictions as suggestions, recommendations and examples of giving the PC corruption something of a "theme". So players are free to select most Hindrances, and if they cross the line into NPC, their ultimate fate is determined by their Hindrance choices.

          All that aside, I do like the cumulative nature of your suggestion. I might think about some hybridization between mine and yours, like removing the static number of Corruption Bennies in favor of your pool, but keep Devil's Luck, the use of which grants 3 points of Corruption.

          Your hard cap of 18 Corruption is actually similar to the original game, where an Affliction's five stages correspond to the max Corruption of five a PC can have (the sixth being death/NPC territory.) I used Spirit as the cap following the design of the Witch from the new Deadland's Companion, figuring if it's good enough for an official PEG supplement... But if someone pumps their Spirit to d12, man that's a lot of Hindrances. I used a set number on a previous version, may go back to that.

          Anyway, in line with your tagline, hope this doesn't sound too defensive. The theme of Corruption is such a big part of the original setting, both thematically and mechanically, it's hard to clearly indicate that in a post I was already trying to keep on the shorter side.
          Last edited by Oneiros; 01-11-2021, 10:55 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            While Oneiros' system looks well constructed it is a little too complex for me although I use a similar Bennie like system Basically a player may choose to take a point of corruption when they please, this point allows a reroll even of a critical failure (snake-eyes) or to add 1d6 to a damage roll. Empowered characters must make a Spirit save (TN4) to resist the temptation to take corruption if they roll a critical failure. The first 3 points of corruption have no effect other than the characters are recognized by evil spirits, demons etc (the first time the party saw a demon say hello to their wizard was a lot of fun), from 4 and on the player must choose a new minor Hindrance or upgrade a minor to major. An advance can be used to remove up to 2 points of corruption, as GM I might remove a point of corruption as reward for an act of particular charity or selflessness.

            Comment


            • #7
              So, all characters start with 3 normal Bennies, 1 Corruption Benny, and 1 Devil's Luck Benny... for a total of 5... and it only goes up from there. I hope the balance of the game is weighted against the players to justify this increase in Bennies, and to promote reasons to use them. Otherwise, I see no reason a character couldn't simply stick to their normal Bennies and/or avoid spending Corruption Bennies on Crit Failure rerolls.

              Additionally, the mechanics seem to encourage building a character with very high Spirit, then increasing Corruption to just below the limit in order to start each session with a mountain of Bennies. A character with d12 Spirit, Corruption 11, and Great Luck begins each session with twelve Bennies*. Sucking up the occasional Crit Failure is a small price to pay when you can add +d6 to any six rolls of your choice each session!
              * Well, effectively 11 Bennies, since they can never use the Devil's Luck Benny at this point without resulting in character death.

              Since one of the stated goals is to leave Corruption acquisition up to the player, the GM should not be able to unanimously increase a character's Corruption stat. As it is, there seems to be a disparity between the stated goal and the actual mechanics. Increasing Corruption and accurately playing out Hindrances leads to a downward spiral of character-death. This would likely result in players refusing to play Hindrances, especially since that's one of the stated methods of reducing Corruption.

              All in all, I feel you've created the perfect recipe for a broken gaming experience. A player can simply state at the beginning of a session that they're trying to redeem themselves. This absolves them of any need to adhere to (applicable) Hindrances, but they may still freely use Corruption Bennies. Rinse & Repeat each session.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post
                So, all characters start with 3 normal Bennies, 1 Corruption Benny, and 1 Devil's Luck Benny... for a total of 5... and it only goes up from there. I hope the balance of the game is weighted against the players to justify this increase in Bennies, and to promote reasons to use them. Otherwise, I see no reason a character couldn't simply stick to their normal Bennies and/or avoid spending Corruption Bennies on Crit Failure rerolls.

                Additionally, the mechanics seem to encourage building a character with very high Spirit, then increasing Corruption to just below the limit in order to start each session with a mountain of Bennies. A character with d12 Spirit, Corruption 11, and Great Luck begins each session with twelve Bennies*. Sucking up the occasional Crit Failure is a small price to pay when you can add +d6 to any six rolls of your choice each session!

                Since one of the stated goals is to leave Corruption acquisition up to the player, the GM should not be able to unanimously increase a character's Corruption stat. As it is, there seems to be a disparity between the stated goal and the actual mechanics. Increasing Corruption and accurately playing out Hindrances leads to a downward spiral of character-death. This would likely result in players refusing to play Hindrances, especially since that's one of the stated methods of reducing Corruption.

                All in all, I feel you've created the perfect recipe for a broken gaming experience. A player can simply state at the beginning of a session that they're trying to redeem themselves. This absolves them of any need to adhere to (applicable) Hindrances, but they may still freely use Corruption Bennies. Rinse & Repeat each session.
                All good points, Desk. I've never been 100% satisfied with the mechanic, and so I keep fiddling with it.

                The Spirit based limit was a recent change following the model for the Deadlands Companion's Witch, at least for Hindrances, but of course that doesn't also reward bennies. In the original game, and in a previous version in my SW conversion, there was a static limit of 5 corruption points/bennies. No player had more than two Corruption at that point, most just one, so the issues you mention were never apparent. This was after a campaign that took all the PCs to Veteran level. The lack of Corruption increase prompted this revision.

                I'd considered having players losing one regular starting Bennie for each Corruption Bennie they have, so they only start netting extra Bennies when Corruption is getting extreme.

                Gritty Damage is the only Setting Rule that might use up some of those Bennies, but there have been entire sessions without combat, so it didn't always come into play.

                Note your observation on Redemption doesn't even require players declaring they are redeeming their character. They can simply not choose to roll play Hindrances (where applicable), though they're missing out on the regular Bennie rewards.

                All this is making ValhallaGH's idea more attractive, where spending a Corruption Bennie has an immediate consequence. I'll have to give it some more thought.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Oneiros View Post
                  I'm not sure I'm following this assessment.
                  The proposed system is pervasive (constant issue), unavoidable (all characters start with it), and increases (partially) by chance.
                  The stated goals were desirability, choice based, and universal access.

                  The proposed system is a success at universal access (everyone starts with it and can use it), a partial success on desirability (the benefits can be good), and a partial success on choice-based (some gains are chosen while others are random).
                  A more fair assessment would be a 'partial success' or 'limited success'. My bad. Apparently my subconscious reaction was more negative than my logical reaction.

                  The use of Hindrances to represent the price of corruption is ... intuitive but lacking.
                  Unless a player has a specific idea of a specific path of corruption (up to twelve hindrance points worth), the "Corruption Hindrances" will be a grab-bag of whatever the player expects to be able to characterize around. Sometimes that will be cool, but other times (likely the majority of times) it will just be silly or redundant.
                  This is why I propose a unified penalty . One that scales with the amount of Corruption. One that comes to impact every single interaction between the player character(s) and the non-player characters. This causes a consistent narrative progression, one that benefits both the group story of the table and the individual story of the character; one that can spiral down into total destruction or back up into true innocence. (I chose to take advantage of the excellent but under-used Reaction Table; shifting reactions by a category means that eventually a character is so corrupt that spouses and children attack on sight, to kill with fire. Other options are available, this is just one that appeals to me.)
                  You can create your own "Roads of Damnation", an ordered list of Hindrances for a Corruption progression (like the original source), but lacking that structure is why "Corruption = Hindrances" never quite clicks.

                  Anyway, in line with your tagline, hope this doesn't sound too defensive. The theme of Corruption is such a big part of the original setting, both thematically and mechanically, it's hard to clearly indicate that in a post I was already trying to keep on the shorter side.
                  It is clear you took my feedback in the desired, constructive, fashion. You made it clear that you desired clarification on some of my points, were skeptical of some of my points, and considered how others could benefit what you're doing.
                  I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Oneiros View Post
                    In the original game, and in a previous version in my SW conversion, there was a static limit of 5 corruption points/bennies. No player had more than two Corruption at that point, most just one, so the issues you mention were never apparent. This was after a campaign that took all the PCs to Veteran level. The lack of Corruption increase prompted this revision.

                    I'd considered having players losing one regular starting Bennie for each Corruption Bennie they have, so they only start netting extra Bennies when Corruption is getting extreme.
                    The potential for large numbers of Bennies is one of the weaker points of this system, in my opinion, and something that probably needs to be addressed. You'll also want a system that isn't too complex; something without a lot of "moving parts." Losing a normal Benny only to gain a Corruption Benny is like having five steps to explain a two-step process. The end result is still the same number of Bennies, except that one now has a slightly different function.

                    You can save a lot of trouble (and word count) by simply modifying normal Bennies. In other words, characters gain and use Bennies normally. However, they may use their Corruption stat to "convert" a Benny into a corrupted one, which expands it's functionality.

                    Let's take another look at the design goals.
                    • Make Corruption desirable to a degree, or at least tempting, involving a trade-off between its effects and benefits
                    • Make gaining Corruption a player choice, rather than relying on something random like a Critical Failure.
                    • Make it something that any player can get, rather than just a side effect of “Black Magic” or similar that some AB’s have.
                    The last goal is the easiest. Simply make Corruption a Setting Rule available to everyone. That feeds directly into the second goal: making it a decision-based option. So far you've given three paths for that: 1) tapping into the darkness to earn a Benny, 2) using a Benny to reroll a Crit Failure, and 3) committing an unspeakably evil act.

                    I think these form a pretty good basis and can stay, with only a few minor adjustments to the mechanics. Suggestions:
                    1. A character can "tap into" the corruption to allow a Benny to add +1d6 to a Reroll, but this increases their Corruption stat by 1.
                    2. A character can spend a Benny to reroll a Crit Failure (again, by presumably tapping into the darkness), increasing Corruption by 1.
                    3. A character can spend a Benny to influence the narrative, as usual, but may give themselves (and their allies) a significant advantage at another person's expense. This increases Corruption by 1.
                    This certainly makes Corruption desirable, so now we need to find an appropriate drawback.
                    Gritty Damage is the only Setting Rule that might use up some of those Bennies, but there have been entire sessions without combat, so it didn't always come into play.
                    From this it sounds like Gritty Damage is part of the Setting Rule roster. Since temporary Hindrances are already part of this Setting Rule, I think it would become overly tedious to also make them part of the Corruption setting rule. Keeping track of which Hindrances come from Wounds, which come from Corruption, which get removed when something changes... none of that sounds particularly interesting nor appealing to me.

                    For that reason, I'd like to second ValhallaGH and suggest that Corruption affect the Reaction Table results. I'm not sure I'd go as high as 18 points, but the general concept is very solid. The more Corrupt you are, the less people will be willing to help you. You may even use Corruption as a negative modifier to Persuasion rolls.

                    I would probably put the cap at 8 (or maybe even 6). Each point subtracts from 2d6 Reaction Table roll (or the GM simply adjusts it as necessary). Exceeding the cap means the character becomes too depraved and is now an NPC. Having a lower threshold means Redemption is going to be a more important aspect of the game. Don't forget, many foes are likely to add Corruption to their rolls, so players can be pressured by the GM to add that +1d6 to an opposed roll. If the world is dangerous, the lure of the dark becomes more appealing.

                    Redemption is another matter, but I'd like to hear what you think of these suggestion first.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post
                      You can save a lot of trouble (and word count) by simply modifying normal Bennies. In other words, characters gain and use Bennies normally. However, they may use their Corruption stat to "convert" a Benny into a corrupted one, which expands it's functionality.
                      With you so far.


                      I think these form a pretty good basis and can stay, with only a few minor adjustments to the mechanics. Suggestions:
                      1. A character can "tap into" the corruption to allow a Benny to add +1d6 to a Reroll, but this increases their Corruption stat by 1.
                      2. A character can spend a Benny to reroll a Crit Failure (again, by presumably tapping into the darkness), increasing Corruption by 1.
                      3. A character can spend a Benny to influence the narrative, as usual, but may give themselves (and their allies) a significant advantage at another person's expense. This increases Corruption by 1.
                      This certainly makes Corruption desirable, so now we need to find an appropriate drawback.
                      So I am on board with having Corruption be more immediate, just want to point out ValhallaGH's method is every third point of Corruption applies to the Reaction Table as a penalty, so a Corruption score of 18 would be a -6, similar to your proposed cap.

                      However, your suggestion has a 1-to-1 ratio between Corruption usage and increasing the penalty, which seem a bit too punitive, and would probably discourage anyone electing to gain Corruption. If they do use it, Corruption will accumulate very quickly. In V's method and my posted version, players at least get a couple of "free" uses of the Corruption benefit before risking further corruption.

                      Let's say I use Valhalla's 3-to-1 system. Tracking that is adding some complexity to the game. I guess one could have something like the official SWADE character sheet with the ammo/PP tracker at the bottom, on a custom sheet. Or, simply a spot with something like "O - O - C": fill the circles in whenever tapping into Corruption. They'll carry over between sessions and reset only on a third use when the character gains a point of Corruption. I kind of like this because it mirrors tracking Wounds/Fatigue.

                      Also, I'm not totally opposed to a random element in the gaining of Corruption, just not completely random, like on any Critical Failure. For example, when a d6 is added to a roll using Corruption, if it explodes, the character gains another point of Corruption. That might be a little too generous, and require another limiting factor, but you get the idea. It's still driven by the player choosing to tap into their Corruption and take the risk. This eliminates extra tracking or ratios of the Corruption score.

                      While I'm reconsidering other aspects of my posted system, I'm currently still planning on keeping the Devil's Luck Bennie, the use of which will result in an instant point of Corruption.

                      From this it sounds like Gritty Damage is part of the Setting Rule roster. Since temporary Hindrances are already part of this Setting Rule, I think it would become overly tedious to also make them part of the Corruption setting rule. Keeping track of which Hindrances come from Wounds, which come from Corruption, which get removed when something changes... none of that sounds particularly interesting nor appealing to me.

                      For that reason, I'd like to second ValhallaGH and suggest that Corruption affect the Reaction Table results. I'm not sure I'd go as high as 18 points, but the general concept is very solid. The more Corrupt you are, the less people will be willing to help you. You may even use Corruption as a negative modifier to Persuasion rolls.
                      I'm going to be harder to budge on this one. Mainly because it's part of the flavor of the original game (Unhallowed Metropolis, or UnMet) that I want to keep, even if it's a not direct mechanical translation.

                      Again, going back to the Deadlands Witch, Corruption = Hindrances seemed a pretty simple solution to the more complicated approaches I've mulled over previously. I get Valhalla's point that it might be a bit of a hodge-podge of Hindrances, which is why I'll still probably have some suggested themes.

                      I get simplifying Corruption to just a single effect, such as the Reaction Table penalty, but, besides not the flavor I want, there's a couple of other issues:
                      • Players with higher Corruption can simply avoid interacting with NPCs, dodging the effects of it, just like you suggest players would do under my original proposal and roleplaying Hindrances. There may be pressure on "face" characters to limit Corruption, to retain their effectiveness.
                      • Characters who have regular Hindrances with Persuasion penalties are going to be affected more.
                      • The penalty works when rolling on the table for Reactions, but what about GM pre-determined ones? If an NPC is Neutral, normally a result of 6-8, do I subtract Corruption from 6, 7 or 8?
                      One thing I like about your suggestion of letting players "corrupt" regular Bennies is that it incentivizes roleplaying Hindrances in order to get more Bennies.

                      I also don't think tracking the nature of Hindrances will be a problem or tedious. A simple check next to one due to Corruption needs no further thought. Removing one, whatever the means, would be handled at the start or end of a session. Same with adding a new one from Corruption, as I don't think the effect of a new level of Corruption need be immediate.

                      A Hindrances from Gritty Damage lasts only until the Wound is healed, usually at the end of combat. If the character has to resort to Natural Healing, I often find this happens off screen anyway. The effect of the injury will be temporary, isn't even always a Hindrance, and I have a spot for "Injuries" on the custom sheet I use.

                      Sidebar on Hindrances: I'll admit it's little tougher to achieve the desired "descent into ruin" effect, even with giving a list of thematic Hindrances, because UnMet has explicit effects of Corruption across 5 levels for a couple dozen paths, and PCs can have up to 3 paths they are gaining Corruption in, representing a slower, more detailed descent. SW only has two, with Minor and Major Hindrances. Translating from UnMet, many Major Hindrances would simply be replaced with a worse version of the same Hindrance, instead of adding new one. For example, the path Ravenous would all fall under Habit, starting with Habit [Minor] "hero always carries snacks with them" ranging up to Habit [Major] "Only eats human flesh" (with the final corruption into an NPC resulting in becoming a ghoul.) So that might deserve it's own discussion: How would you handle Hindrances that are basically worse versions of themselves?

                      Now, what were your thoughts on Redemption?
                      Last edited by Oneiros; 01-16-2021, 07:54 PM.

                      Comment


                      • ValhallaGH
                        ValhallaGH commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I should note that I wasn't subtracting Corruption from rolls on the Reaction Table. I was subtracting from the results of the Reaction Table.

                      • Oneiros
                        Oneiros commented
                        Editing a comment
                        ValhallaGH Can you provide an example? There can be two rolls involved with Reactions: The GM rolling 2d6 to randomly determine initial attitude, and a Persuasion roll by a character to adjust that attitude. So, if a character successfully shifts a Neutral NPC to Cooperative, I take it that's what you mean by the Result. How do you apply the penalty to that? What is Cooperative -3? Three full shifts in Attitude down the table? Or is it a modifier to the 2d6 value on the table, which some have a span of values?

                      • ValhallaGH
                        ValhallaGH commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Oneiros
                        Example 1: The player characters are out shopping and approach a random merchant. After a bit of interaction, the PCs start haggling. The GM decides that the NPC's attitude will affect haggling checks, so rolls on the Reaction Table. A roll of 10 gets Cooperative (sympathetic, so easier to get a good deal) but the PC(s) involved have enough corruption for a worsened reaction (one), so the merchant is only Neutral.

                        Example 2: The player characters return to a major city, with a grateful city guard that the PCs have aided significantly (attitude Friendly). However, while adventuring the party rogue picked up a bunch of corruption - enough to worsen reactions by three. The guards have a Friendly attitude towards most of the group, but any interactions involving the rogue have an attitude of Uncooperative; the fact that one of the group is so obviously corrupted makes any business the rogue is involved in automatically suspicious.
                        Thankfully, the party built up all that good will. Otherwise the guards would have an attitude of Hostile, attacking the rogue (and his companions) on sight.

                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Oneiros View Post
                      So I am on board with having Corruption be more immediate, just want to point out ValhallaGH's method is every third point of Corruption applies to the Reaction Table as a penalty, so a Corruption score of 18 would be a -6, similar to your proposed cap.

                      However, your suggestion has a 1-to-1 ratio between Corruption usage and increasing the penalty, which seem a bit too punitive, and would probably discourage anyone electing to gain Corruption. If they do use it, Corruption will accumulate very quickly. In V's method and my posted version, players at least get a couple of "free" uses of the Corruption benefit before risking further corruption.
                      Just to clarify, ValhallaGH suggested that every 3 points of Corruption reduce "attitude" by one. The 2d6 roll is unaffected. This makes for a slightly more granular system, but one based on arbitrarily set tiers. (That's not a bad thing; I'm only stating that as a matter of point.) My suggested method is to use the numbers already presented on the chart. It still allows for some "free" uses of Corruption since some Reaction results have point spreads.

                      In other words, there's only a 1 point difference between Friendly and Cooperative, but a 2 point difference between Cooperative and Neutral. Then a 3 point difference from Neutral to Uncooperative. Narratively, this means that it's easy to lose favor with someone who previously really liked you, but more difficult to get them to actually hate you. Mechanically, even though there only 4 tiers between Helpful and Uncooperative, it requires 7 points of Corruption to get there.

                      I'd also like to amend my earlier response.
                      In all fairness, my suggested cap of 8 (or 6) was, itself, arbitrarily set. I was coming from the headspace of, "How much Corruption would I want players to accumulate before they should consider reining it in?" But if we are going solely by the Reaction Table numbers, the cap should probably be 10. Since you can't roll lower than 2, subtracting 10 from the best roll possible (12) would bring you to the very bottom of the table. Exceeding the cap (11+ Corruption) would theoretically take you "off the chart," which is a good indictation of a character too far gone. (This also mirrors Valhalla's suggestion as well.)

                      I get simplifying Corruption to just a single effect, such as the Reaction Table penalty, but, besides not the flavor I want, there's a couple of other issues:
                      • Players with higher Corruption can simply avoid interacting with NPCs, dodging the effects of it, just like you suggest players would do under my original proposal and roleplaying Hindrances. There may be pressure on "face" characters to limit Corruption, to retain their effectiveness.
                      • Characters who have regular Hindrances with Persuasion penalties are going to be affected more.
                      • The penalty works when rolling on the table for Reactions, but what about GM pre-determined ones? If an NPC is Neutral, normally a result of 6-8, do I subtract Corruption from 6, 7 or 8?
                      Valid points. Some minor retorts:
                      • My comment about players ignoring Hindrances was made because you cited that as one of the ways characters can redeem themselves.
                      • Stacking penalties on Persuasuon can be a concern, but if Corruption is a choice, the player is putting themself in that situation. Playing against type can be a fun challenge, like playing a One Armed warrior.
                      • I would start from the highest number in each tier. So a PC with 2 Corruption interacting with a Neutral NPC would see no change (8-2= 6... still Neutral).
                      Sidebar on Hindrances: I'll admit it's little tougher to achieve the desired "descent into ruin" effect, even with giving a list of thematic Hindrances, because UnMet has explicit effects of Corruption across 5 levels for a couple dozen paths, and PCs can have up to 3 paths they are gaining Corruption in, representing a slower, more detailed descent. SW only has two, with Minor and Major Hindrances. Translating from UnMet, many Major Hindrances would simply be replaced with a worse version of the same Hindrance, instead of adding new one. For example, the path Ravenous would all fall under Habit, starting with Habit [Minor] "hero always carries snacks with them" ranging up to Habit [Major] "Only eats human flesh" (with the final corruption into an NPC resulting in becoming a ghoul.) So that might deserve it's own discussion: How would you handle Hindrances that are basically worse versions of themselves?
                      Sounds like you might want to create your own Descent Paths then. I mean, it's a huge leap going from "always squirrels away food" to "only eats human flesh." The latter sounds like the end result of an accumulation of a few different Hindrances: Habit (Major-cravings for meat), Outsider (Minor), Secret (Major-cannibal)... etc.

                      Balance each step along the Paths to be the equivalent of a Minor Hindrance. You can also design custom drawbacks that aren't clearly represented by Hindrances (specific skill penalties, for example).

                      Now, what were your thoughts on Redemption?
                      Well, if you end up going with Descent Paths, then each path can have it's own Road to Redemption. Generally, this would probably be behavior modification over a period of time followed by a Trait roll.

                      Players might use an Advance to reduce Corruption by 1 (and move back one step on a Descent Path of their choice).

                      Maybe the Devil's Luck Benny can be spent to immediately reduce Corruption by 1 as one of its benefits.
                      Last edited by Deskepticon; 01-16-2021, 10:39 PM.

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