Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Quick way to establish city or character traits

Sometimes a question comes up that you didn't prepare for, or you want an element of the unexpected in your game. If so, you can simply use a ratings roll.
This is done by naming the trait, and rolling a D6 (or another appropriate die). A higher roll indicates the trait is present to a larger extent, while a lower roll indicates it is weak or absent.

Example traits about a city might be "poverty" or "rule of law". Traits for an organization or faction might be "hierarchy" or "loyalty" and a character's traits might be things like "greed" or "fear of undead".

The trait rating can also be rolled against, with the appropriate dice type, to test if something occurs.
A hireling left alone to guard a treasure may test against "greed" to see if he pilfers a few coins, while a dispute in the leadership of the military order could trigger a test of "hierarchy" or "loyalty".
The DM and players can set and establish traits as they make sense. In one campaign, you may establish a set of specific traits that every city has, while in others you may only establish a rating when it seems interesting or relevant.

If there's a chance of a trait improving or worsening, roll the die again, with a higher score indicating improvement (if this was a possibility), while a lower score indicating deterioration (if this was a possibility).

For example a pay raise to everyone in the mercenary company could result in a test for improving loyalty, while a new leader could go either way.