This post is one of a series describing the design of a prospective RPG called the Wall. You can find more posts here.
In the last Scene, the PCs were very restricted in what they could do because Harmony was at 0 and so they could not spend Sympathy. Given that the outcome of the Episode is a movement in Order, impacts like this seem out of place. By the same token, changes to these stats only once per Episode make sense for a long campaign, but not if you are only playing through two or three Episodes in total.
So the loss of Harmony is fine, but there also needs to be a way to improve it.
There also needs to be terms for these city stats. How about Threats for Distance, Disdain, and Discord and Conditions for Peace, Order, and Harmony. It’ll do for now.
So, Conditions: what if, like Relationships, these could be wagered? What if they were a required wager to act? So, when the PCs interact with the Dispossessed, they are wagering Harmony. This could work. I think a range of 0-10 would be good, with a starting point of 5. Under 3 and the costs for using Relationship are doubled. Above 8 and Relationship wagered is paid back double (if one wagers 1 Sympathy and Prevails without Negotiation, it would pay off 2). At 0, one can’t wager Relationship. At 10, one does not need to pay Relationship to use Concept to shift a die.
The range allows for some play – as in a single failure, or ever a succession of failures, do not limit options.
I like this. So how would this have impacted the game so far?
In the first scenario, Beatris was dealing with the Dispossessed so the Condition effected would have been Harmony. In the example, it was dealing with Order because the Episode dealt with Order. Old rules. Now, it would be Harmony, meaning that the city’s Harmony would be 4. Further, it was a Negotiation. With a Prevail, the Condition increases by 1. With a Failure, the Condition decreases by 1. With a Negotiation, status quo, so that would not have effected Harmony.
In the second scenario, Adriss was dealing with the Elites, so this would have been Order. Adriss succeeded there, so Order would now be 6.
In the third scenario, Aelfgifu wanted to try to work through the Dispossessed, but the Condition would not allow it. Now it allows it.
What if Aelfgifu had worked through the Dispossessed. Could she have lowered Distance?
We’ll look at that next time.