Against the Inevitable: Long Shots

One thing we see often in stories is the heroes making “million to one” shots as the plot demands. Since part of AtI’s theme is fighting against overwhelming odds, having the mechanics support these “long shots” would be a big plus.

Let’s start by looking at when long shots succeed. Barring characters known for their luck, these events are pretty rare. After all, the more coincidences and million to one shots you line up, the more you may strain the player’s suspension of disbelief. They also tend to happen later in the story at dramatic moments.

There’s also the question of who get the lucky shots. In general, the more “face time” a character has had, the more likely it is that they’ll be able to pull off a lucky shot. Likeable but low power characters are also likely to pull off these kind of stunts.

Sample Rules

Given the above, here’s a rough outline of what I’m planning for heroic luck.

Heroic characters start with 0 points of Drive. Heroic characters can gain Drive from the following.

  • Revealing interesting details that help establish who the character is.
  • Establishing or strengthening a bond with another character.
  • Losing something of great personal significance to the character.
  • Fulfilling a motive or being prevented from doing so.

This reward is granted at the end of a scene. Normally, only the single strongest award applies. By default, neutral players determine how much Drive is awarded. If there are no neutral players, all players other than the one controlling the character make the call.

Drive can be spent to help a character push themselves beyond their limits and can even make luck turn in the character’s favor. Ideally, drive costs should make long shots more viable at relatively low cost, but should become less cost effective when trying to make something a sure thing. That should help keep the odds in a range that promotes a certain level of tension at the table.

Flow Effects

Adding Drive makes heroes more powerful as the game continues. When combined with threat pools, this should result in the Nemesis side having a strong advantage early game, but the heroes building up strong turnaround potential as the game advances.

It’s also worth noting that Drive build up is fueled by a mix of roleplaying, pursuing motives, and building ties to setting elements.

Next time I’ll look at possible reward mechanics for the Nemesis side.

Published in: on November 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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