Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Insightful Experience

First off, I am terribly sorry to everyone who is excited for Lighthouse for my lack of work on it: as it turned out, 2020 has been a terrible year to write things that involve activist leftists barely surviving against the tides of the grand fascist deathcult. Wee too close to home, there.

But this post has also been sitting 3/4 done for months so it's high time I actually did something with it.

This idea first cropped up in a post I did a long while ago: this is an expanded version that will serve as the base for how XP will work in Lighthouse.

Design Goals

  • Encourage players to seek out new experiences in the game.
  • Serve as a form of lateral progression
  • Encourage players to roleplay differently according to how deep they are in.
  • Make it easy for veteran/newbie mixed parties and carrying characters between games.
  • Make it easy for referees to just make up shit.

Madman's Knowledge

    Insight is what serves as experience in Lighthouse, representing a character's accumulated interactions with the weird. It's gained whenever encountering a new manifestation of the paranormal - entity, phenomenon, location, etc - for the first time.

    Insight gain will typically default to 1 per encounter. 3 would be suitable for a particularly potent encounter, or for a string of minor encounters in short succession. 5 Insight for a single encounter should be reserved for only the most terrible and wonderful revelations and might not ever come up in a series of sessions.

    Things that can grant Insight often, but not always, will be grounds for a roll to Keep Your Shit Together. That, as always remains up to the player and the circumstance. 

    Once you've gained Insight, you can spend it on Insights. This is not an ideal naming situation but I could not, for the life of me, think of a less confusing alternative. Work in progress, we'll cross that bridge when we get there. (edit: someone in discord recommended "revelations" - that is a good place to start)

    Each character will have a certain number of Insight Slots. These are where your purchased Insights go, as the name would suggest, and there will be 16 of them. Maybe 12, but probably 16. 

    Purchased Insights can include:

    • Special abilities
    • Skills
    • Items
    • Access to new areas, services, etc.

    And will fall within a small set of potential ways they can be used

    • Always works, no roll required (no stat value, obviously)
    • Always works, roll stat to determine if complication occurs
    • Roll stat to determine success / failure
    • Burn point > get effect, no roll required.
    • Burn point > get effect, roll stat to determine if complication occurs

    Purchased Insights will have two of four tags

    • Individual - Insight applies only to the purchaser.
    • Group - Insight applies to all players. Can be purchased by pooling points together.
    • Slot - Insight takes up a slot.
    • Free - Insight does not take up a slot.

    Standard notation for Insights would be the two relevant tags followed by cost ex: G-F-1 (Group, Free, 1) or I-S-5 (Individual, Slot, 5 cost)

    Insights can be cycled out and replaced by paying an additional 2 Insight.

    Insight can also be spent to increase a character's stats.

    • Roll d20 for each stat. If you roll over, increase the stat by 1.
    • This costs 2+X Insight (X = the number of times you have rolled for stat increases)

      Insight Thresholds

      As a character fills up their Insight Slots and becomes more and more in-tune with the Underworld, they will drift away from mundane surface life. This is not an insanity mechanic - more of a "reconsidering your priorities" mechanic. 

      When you fill up 25% and 75% of your available slots, take -1 to your surface Contacts and gain +1 to your underworld Contacts

      When you fill up 50% and 100% of your available slots, treat your Spirit score as -1 for all interactions with people on the surface, and + 1 for all interactions with people in the underworld.

      It should be noted here that "surface" and "underworld" should be read as "ignorant" and "in the know" rather than a strict reference to physical location.

        The Cost Reference Table

        I want the relative power of basic Insights to have a stable relationship with cost, for ease of making up ones off the cuff during play. So an Insight with value X will cost Y. I don't have it set up in a way I like, and if it doesn't work out I can always go back to very rough guidelines similar to Insight gain.

        Right now, it's set up as follows.

        • 1-cost Insights are very basic, and will generally not have a value associated to them.
        • Paying 3 would get you an Insight of value 10. 5 would get you 12, 7 would get you 14, 9 would get you 16, and 11 would get you 18. There might be tiers for 13 and 15 cost Insights as well.

        Like I said, very rough and irregular at the moment. But it's something, at least. best can be hoped for for the lid of this dumpster fire year.