Hope and Courage Pools

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mica
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Hope and Courage Pools

Post by mica » Mon Feb 06, 2017 10:17 am

Having GM'ed the game for a few years now I feel the mechanics are very much designed around refresh of 2 hope/session (pool+focus) meaning 1 hope/session for a ranger.

We now however have group that consists of a high experience ranger and a high xp elf and 2 mid-xp characters. This has resulted in 2 characters getting 4 courage/session for the past 3 months. Further with honey cakes and a hobbit even accounting for the characters holding back 2 courage each for bonus AP/XP, it means that there is an equivalent hope pool of 13 (=6hope+4 courage+3 focus) available to the 3 characters while the ranger still only has access to 1 hope (his focus).
On the occasional RP sessions where rolls are either few or mostly average TN it means that the pool is relatively untouched while the ranger has almost certainly used his single focus refresh. Over the months we have 3 characters almost permanently on full hope and a ranger generally on a few points.

It therefore seems to me that courage is skewing the mechanics significantly.

I am not keen to implement pool refresh at key stages as often the direction the adventure is taking is somewhat blurred or may get side-tracked.

I have however considered starting the session with the hope and individual courage pools behind the screen and require in-game actions to fill the player side, e.g. a hope worthy action moves 1-2 hope from screen side to player accessible pool. Similar thing with courage - there has to be an event from which the low xp character can take courage, generally due to the actions of the high xp character.

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Falenthal
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Re: Hope and Courage Pools

Post by Falenthal » Mon Feb 06, 2017 12:02 pm

Don't know if I understand it correctly, but it looks like, to use the Hope or Courage pool each hero has, he has to justify the action he's going to spend these points in. Is that right?

A bit like the Traits mechanic, where a hero has to narrate how a certain Trait is useful in a certain situation, the heroes need to explain why a certain skill use should be considered Courageous or Hopeful. Is that what you're proposing?

I don't know if it's exactly what you mean, but I'm inclined to like such a "narrative approach" to the use of those extra points: using a Courage point to pass and Athletics test to flee from a battle, leaving your comrades behind, should probably not be allowed (on top of granting some Shadow points). Exeptional circumstances aside, of course.

mica
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Re: Hope and Courage Pools

Post by mica » Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:53 pm

Example - in the current situation the low-xp hobbit has a pool of 4 courage points each and every session. He tends to hold back 2 points for the bonus AP/XP and still has 2 points to blow in lieu of persona/pool hope. It does not matter what he uses the points on.

Under the proposed mechanics - the hobbit has a potential pool of 4 points. When he performs an action that the LM agrees as 'taking courage' the LM will award him one of his courage pool points.
The subtle differences here are:
  • He may have spent a personal/pool hope to have achieved the action for which the LM awarded him the courage whereas a courage cannot be used to increase the character's personal hope so not a tit-for-tat.
  • The character may not earn their entire pool in a session, especially in a talky/short/backseat session.
  • Character may hoard their courage until they have more than 2 encouraging use of own/pool.
As to what constitutes a 'taking courage' action is down to the LM. It might be a risky action that paid off, a successful valour check that the character could have avoided (or spent a hope making) or even speaking up when it is clear another character has a much better skill/chance of success. Basically something where the little guy stepped up to the mark and most commonly when they also had to use hope to succeed.

I will trial leaving the hope pool as RAW and using this mechanic just for personal Taking Courage pools.

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Falenthal
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Re: Hope and Courage Pools

Post by Falenthal » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:42 am

Looks interesting to limit the Courage points for use only if the player comes up with some courageous action.
The LM could ask him how the influence and example of his more powerful companions is inspiring him in that action, to justify the use of a Courage point instead of a personal Hope.

mica
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Re: Hope and Courage Pools

Post by mica » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:48 pm

To do both may be overly penalising the getting and using courage but could be reasonable if the LM feels that they are still unbalancing.

mica
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Re: Hope and Courage Pools

Post by mica » Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:34 am

Trialled it last night (taking courage only) and it seemed to work well. Courage was generally handed out only when the characters did appropriate actions - spending hope to defend companions, coming to the rescue, making a courage save. The result was that by the end of the session the hope pool was down to one point, personal hope had been spent by most characters and two courage had still to be awarded. Whereas previously courage would have been used, often to get combat and interaction bonus dice, no or little personal hope that wasn't immediately replenished from the pool and the pool would still have had a few points. Considering that was a combat heavy session where there were reasonable opportunities for taking courage, the mechanic scales well to the session length.
I think that I will be sticking with this mechanic.

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