The Yoteden FU Hack, Part Three
The following is a hack I created to help give a FU character some form of advancement from game session to game session. Fair warning, it does contain a small amount of bookkeeping and it just may be too cumbersome for such an elegant game as FU. Just because it works for me doesn’t mean, well, anything! (I actually rewrote this piece to make it a bit more palatable which is the reason for the delay.)
I find that levels of 3 work extremely well in FU so it builds off of the idea of the Three Strikes from other FU hacks (that to attain something you have to build up a number of Conditions to accomplish that goal.) This is simply applied to the idea of skills, knowledge and abilities since, typically, these are not something you acquire overnight but, instead, are something you have to work on over time.
On Learning Things
To kick things off on something that might appear to be confusing and entirely too subjective, I thought I would start with an overview and a quick example.
Overview and Example
A character may learn something new, gain a new skill rank, learn a spell, etc by gaining Knowledge Conditions attached to what they are trying to improve. Based on what you are trying to do you will need to gain 1 – 3 (or more) Knowledge Conditions over time. The number you need will be set by the GM based on the complexity of your goal. You gain a Knowledge Condition by attempting a Beat the Odds roll to attempt to gain said Condition.
Rolls for knowledge conditions typically take place at the end of game sessions or after a significant period of game time involved in study has passed.
Example — Xerses discovers a Sleep spell in an old tome he recovered from a ruined fortress. Xerses would like to learn the spell and the GM tells him he will need to have 2 Knowledge Conditions to be successful. Xerses must spend 3 full days of in-game time for each Condition. This will be reading the tome, making notes, practicing, etc. When the in-game reading and research time has expired for the first Knowledge Condition, Xerses can attempt the first roll to get that first Knowledge Condition.
If successful, he may get a bonus to the second one. The second roll would take place as soon as the next period of in-game time is finished, as set by the GM.
Examples of Bonus and Penalty Descriptors – To make the roll the GM can assign penalty and bonus dice as necessary based on the situation and Character Descriptors. Xerses has the Researcher descriptor so would get a +1 Bonus. He also agrees to spend twice as much time on the first bit of research (6 days) so the GM gives him another +1. Unfortunately, the Sleep spell is outside of his current focus of Wind Spells so the GM gives him a -1 Penalty. (Note – the GM might penalize him more if the spell were more complex.)
If successful, Xerses would gain the first Knowledge Condition necessary (Which might be “Well Read / Sleep Spell”) and then move on to the second. Once he attained the second he would then learn the spell and be able to list it on his spell list.
If the above appears far too confusing just think of it this way. Your character is making a roll to attain one to three checkmarks that mark progression towards attaining a new spell, ability, contact, descriptor, etc.
For the GM – It’s entirely up to you to decide how many conditions a player character will need to attain before achieving what they set out to learn.
A Difficult Learning Experience
If a player rolls a “No”, “No, but…” or a “No, and…” result then somehow the player has been set back in their learning. This is up to elaboration from the GM and the players.
In the previous example with Xerses and his spell perhaps he failed the roll and received a “No, but…” result. This might translate out to “No, you just don’t get a good understanding over those 6 days (remember, he spent twice as much time in order to get a bonus) but you think you might get it soon. Take 2 more days and roll again.”
A “No, and…” might be “No, you don’t learn the spell and unfortunately, you’ve pushed yourself so hard you end up falling asleep with the book in your lap and wake with a horrible headache. You have to wait a day or so to try again while the headache eases.”
A world with a more harsh magical setting might interpret a “No, and…” as a total failure resulting in never being able to learn the spell or, worse, a psychological impact or condition to the character.
The positive results can, of course, be interpreted in the same sort of way but for the better. Perhaps the player can get a bonus on the next roll? Perhaps the goal came easy and he can get another bonus when he goes to learn something else from the same tome?
Learning New Skill Ranks
If you want to use the Novice / Skilled / Veteran system I mentioned in the first installment, or something like it, then below is an idea of the number of Knowledge Conditions a player might need to move up in skill rank. A player is not going to want to be stuck at Novice forever!
Feel free to change these as necessary for your game. (The idea is to stretch out the progression however you, as GM, see fit.)
- To go to Novice level: 1 Knowledge Descriptor
- To go from Novice to Skilled: 3 Knowledge Descriptor
- To go from Skilled to Veteran: 5 Knowledge Descriptors.
New Abilities, Contacts, Descriptors
If the GM wants to allow it he can use this same system for a character who is learning anything new, trying to build a network of social contacts or even building a new property.
The foundation is this – The more complex and complicated the new addition to the character the more Conditions they have to acquire over a longer period of time. If the player chooses to add more time or go “above and beyond” then the GM might allow a bonus to the roll.
For instance, Xerses is trying to build his own network of magical contacts in the City. He wants it to be on his character sheet as the descriptor “Well Connected in Magical Circles.” Xerses’ player will need to tell the GM how he plans to build this network and the GM can allow the player to roll for those Conditions which would get him the Descriptor. The GM might also construct some RP scenes and situations over some game sessions. In regards to getting the descriptor, the GM tells the player he needs three Conditions in order to become “Well Connected” but if the player wanted he could settle for “Known in Magical Circles” instead of “Well connected” and that would only be two Knowledge Conditions. He could roll these anytime after the character had done some socializing or had gone out of his way to gain more social contacts and information.
A.) Remember, a person will sometimes learn more from failure than success. Perhaps a player get’s a shot at a Knowledge Descriptor because they failed at something in the game session?
B.) Knowledge Descriptors cannot be used for any other reason or bonus and once their focus; the Item, Level or Descriptor has been attained then the Knowledge Descriptors go away.
C.) All Knowledge Descriptors should be attached to their subject. This can be represented by writing it out this way.
What is Being Attained // Knowledge Descriptor, Knowledge Descripto, etc
A player could have several different things going on at the same time as they build knowledge descriptors before they roll. If so, it could be listed in the following way.
- Well Known in Magic Circles // Socialite, Recognized
- Sleep Spell // Well Read
- Skilled // Flubbed Spell, Rescued the Merchant’s Daughter
D.) A character should really only get one chance to get a Knowledge Descriptor per game to keep advancement moderate. A GM may modify see this as they see fit.
I hope this has helped. If nothing else perhaps it might spur your thought process on how to do something even better? If so, let me know. If you’re a FU fan I recommend the Yahoo Fan Made FU group for more discussion. Come on over there and let us hear your good ideas!