Thursday, August 1, 2019

Helpfuls



In my current ruleset, characters stop gaining HP at level 3.  From level 4 onward, they gain +1 Helpful every time they level up.

Level 1
HP = 1/3 of Con
Level 2
HP = 2/3 of Con
Level 3
HP = Con
Level 4+
+1 Helpful

Helpfuls are a renewable resource.  They replenish whenever the character gets a good night's sleep.

A player can spend Helpfuls to modify an ally's roll by an equal amount, up or down.  There is no limit to how many Helpfuls you can spend at once, and multiple people can contribute simultaneously.

The only caveat is that you must have a feasible way to affect their ally's action.
  • The fighter feints, helping the wizard land a hit on the orc.
  • The wizard shouts a warning, and the arrow meant for the warrior's throat hits him in the shoulder instead.
  • The fighter reaches up with his shield, catching the arrow like an outfielder.
  • The rogue sticks out his foot while the fighter shoves the zombie hog.
The fiction doesn't matter too much.  Let them be badasses.

Thieves

Thieves get an extra Helpful for every template.  Unlike other classes, Thieves can spend Helpfuls on themselves.

Discussion

GLOG characters don't really get much more powerful beyond level 3.  Instead, they get more versatile.  Helpfuls fit this philosophy well.

+1 Helpful is comparable to getting +1 HP (since you can use your Helpful to reduce incoming damage by 1 point).

They are similar to getting +1 HP at each level, since you can use Helpfuls to reduce incoming damage by an equal amount.  +1 HP is better at a single thing, while +1 Helpful is more versatile.

The biggest tweak over Luck Points (the previous incarnation) is that you can only use Helpfuls on other people, rather than yourself.  This has a few effects.

  • It helps higher-level characters keep lower-level characters alive.
  • It encourages players to stick together.  It hopefully fosters camaraderie, too, since players will be saving each other a lot.
  • It works as insurance, insulating the player against a streak of bad luck.  If a lot of bad luck befalls one player, the other players can dump Helpfuls to keep them alive.
  • It gives players something to do when its not their turn.  Hopefully, they'll be watching each other's rolls, looking for places where they can turn a miss into a hit.
I don't know if I want to put a cap on Helpfuls.  I've never had a game where players had more than a handful.

15 comments:

  1. Is starting HP = 1/3 CON another attempt at getting rid of modifiers altogether?

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    Replies
    1. Yes. My current (and still secret) GLOG rules don't use any modifiers.

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    2. Are there any concrete plans to reveal the current rules?

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  2. I've done something similar with advantage in 5e. Not my idea, but I let my players give each other inspiration, instead of handing it out myself.

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  3. The idea of this replacing HP growth makes perfect sense within an OSR framework, but the idea that it can only be used to assist other characters is really inspired. Even compared to other games that already have inspiration, luck, etc., this is an interesting way to add some dynamism to the game. Also, allowing thieves to be the one class to be able to use the points on themselves is clever.

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  4. I really like this! For some reason, luck points never really jived with me, but I immediately wanted to implement this after reading it. I'm always in favor of adding extra knobs/dials that can be manipulated by abilities. HP sort of lacks that versatility.

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  5. Love, the concept, not keen on the name. How about "Boon" or "Assist Points". "Support" is another possibility (e.g. I spend 2 Support to distract the Orc ensuring that Kleg smashes it).

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    Replies
    1. Support is good. I also considered Team Power.

      I chose Helpful partially because I'm sick of the generic synonym naming conventions of modern RPGs. A system will have Health and Stamina and Endurance and the same terms get repeated again and again in different systems, meaning something different each time.

      Choosing a unique name helps people remember them, and talk about them.

      I could be wrong, though.

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  6. This gives another thing that can be interacted with by magics, effects and all sorts of other bits too!

    A potion that resets your helpfuls during a fight.
    A spell that brings the whole teams helpfuls back.

    Fun! :)

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  7. I'm going to introduce this very houserule in tomorrow's session. My players include four registered nurses and a social worker. I anticipate this rule being a big hit.

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  8. The heck is GLOG? I googled it, found nothing.

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    Replies
    1. It's Arnold's house rules. Arnold is the owner of this blog ;)

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  9. I have designed, but still not used, a Health system much like the one in Deadlands. HP stay the same as in D&D (Mentzer), but a fight can cause wounds, which apply the same to PCs of any level. The wounds are a consequence of the damage roll (they start if the damage is over 3 and become lethal at around 9) and armour absorbs damage. There are 8 wound areas, but the table fits one page and can be rolled on if the location is random. My hope is that it doesn't become burdensome to use.

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  10. Oh, and on topic: I really like the Helpful, but isn't letting Thieves use them on themselves basically increasing their HP? Thus a level 6 Thief would have +7 HP (4 templates + 3 helpful).

    I don't know, is this a feature or a bug?

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