I’m in the process of revisiting my Stress rules to create a more grim or dark fantasy feel.

I’m in the process of revisiting my Stress rules to create a more grim or dark fantasy feel.

I’m in the process of revisiting my Stress rules to create a more grim or dark fantasy feel. One thing I had in mind to represent a growing mental imbalance was to forcibly change the character’s alignment move. The new move should be something that causes mischief or inter-party conflict without being overly disruptive. Here’s a few I had in mind to start with, please help me think of move!


Get drunk at an inconvenient time, or cause trouble from your drinking.


Take a serious risk to acquire something valuable.


Investigate something interesting while ignoring the obvious risks.


Refuse help from, or refuse to help an ally when you could have.

10 thoughts on “I’m in the process of revisiting my Stress rules to create a more grim or dark fantasy feel.”

  1. Are you looking specifically for moves?

    These look like they fit well were the Bonds would be. In other words, use them to receive additional XP. This could incentify the players

  2. Robert Doe Yes, these will replace the character’s Alignment.

    Okay, because people ask:

    When you steel yourself against extreme pain, stress or horror, roll+Stress. *On a 6-, you’re fine. *On a 7-9, choose one. *On a 10-11, choose two.

    You’re stunned in pain or fear for a moment.

    Your nerves are rattled, take -1 forward when you act against the source of your fear.

    You get +1 Stress.

    *On a 12+, choose a reaction from this list:

    Run screaming in terror until the threat is out of your sight.

    Drop whatever it is you’re holding, and freeze in shock until someone or something snaps you out of it.

    Fly into an uncontrolled rage until the threat is gone. Expect collateral damage. 

    Gain a Quirk.

  3. Peter J  maybe in the stress move there should be some “reset” option?

    That is, some horrible or permanent choiche (Gain a Quirk) which puts your stress back to 0?

  4. Possibly relevant: I’ve got this backburner project, a PbtA game about adventurers-as-special forces in a fantasy world war.

    One of the things I wanted to get at was how the stress the PCs endured in the field wreaked long-term changes on their psyche.

    To that end, each playbook has keys (alignment/drive moves, basically, though they get triggered in play rather than at the end of each session). Each key had a tag: noble, common, hard, weird, and dark.

    For example, the soldier picks 2 keys from this list to start:

    Guardian (noble) – defend an innocent from harm

    Honor (noble) – fulfill a promise made to an NPC

    Jester (common) – raise the spirits of your fellows through your antics or optimism

    Loyalty (common) – stand up for or make excuses for a friend or comrade

    Revelry (common) – indulge in sordid

    pleasures (drink, dice, sex, etc.) with another

    Bitter Duty (hard) – follow a direct order from a superior against your better judgment

    War-Brother’s Rivalry (hard) – drop more foes in a fight than any other PC

    There are more keys out there. For example:

    □ Curator (weird) – add a notable specimen to your collection

    □ Brutality (dark) – inflict great pain or lasting suffering on a foe

    Anyhow… the relevant thing here is that there’s a downtime move, between missions, where you can “burn” a key to effectively go without rest & recovery between missions.

    And when you burn a key, you have to replace it. Noble keys can’t be replaced with noble keys. Common keys must be replaced with weird, hard, or dark keys. Weird or hard keys must be replaced by dark keys.

    The intent being that, over the course of play, a PC that kept getting put into the fray would get harder/weirder/darker over time.

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