I’m trying to write a move about communing/repairing a planar rift and I’d like the move to potentially have a…

I’m trying to write a move about communing/repairing a planar rift and I’d like the move to potentially have a…

I’m trying to write a move about communing/repairing a planar rift and I’d like the move to potentially have a permanent or lasting effect on the character’s mental state. However, I can’t figure out a way to to that in a interesting way that doesn’t tell the player “this is who your character is now.” Anybody have any experience with changing something about a PC? Should it be a tag on their character, maybe?

16 thoughts on “I’m trying to write a move about communing/repairing a planar rift and I’d like the move to potentially have a…”

  1. Player agency is a really touchy subject for some and unimportant for others, so you’re wise to respect the boundary. I came up with a move that plays with it a bit but still leaves it in the hands of the player.

    Dark Mark

    When you channel your darkest thoughts and feelings into an action, roll+CHA. *On a hit, your action’s result is raised by one level. *On a 7-9, choose one:

    • The dark mark grows.

    • Your action has an unintended negative effect, describe it.

    • You temporarily lose control of yourself, your next action will be decided by the GM.

    I suggest that you don’t need a mechanical change (unless that’s important to something else you’re doing) but a narrative/descriptive one. For example, you could add a new move to the PC that triggers under certain circumstances.

    If you can give an example or two about how you want their mental state to be affected, we can come up with a solution.

  2. Hmm I have a similar move to the Dark Mark move above. From memory:

    When you wish to let your dark impulses decide the outcome of an action, tell the GM, and they will narrate a success taking your impulses into account, and you mark XP.

  3. Ari Black Yeah, I should have been more specific. The idea is that the PCs are likely going to encounter a tear in the fabric between planes and it will probably be close to ripping open wider when they find it. i want to give them a chance to repair it, but the way I’ve envisioned that is that it takes something from them in order to do it. The tear is pure chaos and so it will take something orderly to repair it. I’m envisioning a move where on a 10+ they don’t lose anything, but on a 7-9 they have to choose between significant damage right now or permanent damage to their mental state (they have to give up some of the order of their mind to repel the chaos of the tear). I suppose I could go with a debility, but that doesn’t feel cool enough. That’s why I was thinking of a tag. Something like “unhinged” and then I could treat that like an equipment tag, having it come up at appropriate times when I make a move.

  4. Thomas Berton Don’t use a debility, they can be healed, and this isn’t really something you seem to want to give a constant negative mechanic for.

    Is this effect something you feel should get better over time, worse over time, or just be a creeping dread?

  5. Ari Black I don’t really want it to be better or worse, I just want the sense that after this experience, the character is different in some significant way.

    After a bit more thought, I think the best way to handle it would, on the 7-9 result, be to have the player decide on something that gives their character’s life order and to give that up. That way, it’s still in the player’s hands, but it’s a significant change. However, I think we might be too early in the campaign for that to feel significant – we’re all still getting a sense for who these characters are, so changing them or their situations won’t feel as impactful. I may make the move more mundane, saving the bigger idea for later.

    I’ll think on it a bit more. Thanks for the advice folks!

  6. Thomas Berton you could use my move and change “dark impulses” to “chaotic mind”. On a 7-9, their mind becomes chaotic and they gain that move.

  7. You could do something like this:

    You have closed the rift but it has taken its toll. When you do X roll +Y

    * on a 12+, the effects of the move will be maximized or double (GM will say how of course)

    * on a 10+, everything as normal

    * on a 7-9, choose one

    – You hear whispers invading your mind from beyond, take -1 forward.

    – You draw unwanted attention from extraplanar beings.

    – A tear in reality appears and pulls you into it, the GM will tell you when and where you reappear.

  8. Victor Julio Hurtado I like that structure a fair bit, actually. This is what I thought of before you posted that (the Wellspring is the name of the elemental rift):

    When you commune with the Wellspring to stop it from erupting, offer it a source of order and stability, then roll+WIS. On a 10+, your power and that of your offering were enough, the eruption stops. On a 7-9, the eruption still stops, but the Wellspring required a bit more from you — take the Confused deibility.

    The thing I like about this format is that it means that the PC definitely has to give something up, but what they give up is open for discussion. That could backfire though, obviously, if they don’t understand the question or interpret it differently.

    But I could just forgo the roll and have them take a move like the one Victor suggests. I’ll think on that.

  9. I actually think this is where a CC could come in handy. Maybe when they fix the thing they get a new move or a new class of moves they can choose from. But maybe this class gives you something like an “sanity” health. Everytime you do a 7-9 on these moves you lose 1 sanity and when you get to zero something happens.

    Just a thought.

  10. james day Yeah, I considered that option too. You’re probably right that it’s the best way to go, I just don’t really feel like designing a CC. I like the idea of a Sanity counter though. I’ll think about that.

  11. Okay, on the Compendium Class idea, here’s what I thought of:

    When you surrender part of your mind to repel the chaos from beyond, you become an Unstable Mind. Take the Unstable and Find Your Centre moves.


    You have Stability 3. When you act erratically and unpredictably during another move, you may reduce your Stability by 1 to add +1 to your roll.

    Find Your Centre

    When you spend a few hours alone with your thoughts or your Stability is reduced to 0, roll +Stability. On a 10+, you manage to find some inner peace – set your Stability to 3. On a 7-9, you still set your Stability to 3, but need to unburden yourself of some connection to civilization. On a 6-, set your stability to 1 and ask the GM how you lose control of yourself.

    The rest of the Compendium Class would be a few other moves that use Stability. Does this seem reasonable and interesting? I considered making Find Your Centre +WIS and having it only trigger when Stability reaches 0, but I like this version slightly more. What do you folks think?

  12. You should check out the trauma effects of Blades in the Dark.

    The effects are permanent but player agency is retained because

    — The player knows his character will get traumatised if he does not play it safe. It is part of the deal.

    — The player chooses the type of trauma. (From a list)

    — The player plays the trauma to the extent she wants to, the rules are clear about that.

    Personally I believe player agency is immensely important. The moment the GM says something like “Mouser, you think doing X or Y is a bad idea” I get itritated. Who does he think he is to tell me what my character thinks?

  13. Thomas Berton While they could repair the rift with a custom move, that’s a lot of potential story drama played out in a single roll. I’d be included to wrap more fiction around this and give the players opportunities in the build up to discover/influence what will happen when they finally attempt to close the rift. That way, rather than any adverse effect being arbitrary, it’ll be woven into their story ahead of time and be far more meaningful if/when it does occur.

  14. Wynand Louw That’s an interesting thought, but Trauma is so tied into the rest of the mechanics of Blades, I have a hard time imagining how to pull it out without bringing along Stress, Pushing yourself and Vices. I agree about player agency though, that’s why I tried to phrase these moves in such a way as to leave most of the decisions in the player’s hands, while incentivizing them to act the way I think the experience would make their character act.

    Michael D I don’t really see how what you’re saying is against having a custom move. The players will definitely be warned of this ahead of time, if they’re at all cautious, but I think a custom move is still necessary. I should also be clear: this isn’t about closing the rift, it’s about stopping it from erupting into much more badness. If they actually want to close it, that’s going to be a much bigger undertaking (I don’t yet know what it would entail) with much bigger consequences.

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