IDEA: Special Traits from heritage or experience

I have a wish to implement Special Traits from Heritage or Experience. I guess most of us are mostly familiar with this concept through brirth signs. This is what I mean but not what I call it. In any case, I would like to share some ideas and would like to have some critique on them. Here goes the first one:

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Category: Birth Blessings and Curses
Name: Brittle agonising voice of the dying witch

Description:
When your mother gave birth to you, a slow and painfully agonising death fell upon her. She was a powerful witch who in an attempt to recieve some final additional powers sold her soul for the great gift of bearing a child. A child that would withhold supreme primal powers. But with the great power a curse was also layed upon you.

You have been cursed with an annoying and painful voice that cuts like a rusted nife into the ears of the listeners. You have problems maintaining people you talk to and most often they find an excuse to leave you.

Effects:
Negative Effects – Minus 10 to all socialisation skills that involves talking.
Positive Effects – Your primal powers are increased equal to your Instinct and your Divided Attention is increased by 1.
Positive Effects – You get a bonus to Intimidation checks.

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What is this for? It is an attempt to go outside the pure numerical statistics, to give the character an additional touch of uniqueness. It is also in order to make it possible when creating a character to get a big benefit but at the same time a big disadvantage. This would lend to a more diverse gameplay where you are more or less forced to act and react on the consequences of your choices you took when creating your character.

This is only an idea, not an implementation, critique and questions are welcome from all angles.

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9 Responses to IDEA: Special Traits from heritage or experience

  1. Jensan says:

    I like it. Is it something that gets generated/selected at character creation, and stays with you for the rest of the game? It would be cool if your character had to roll randomly for these “birth traits” (you know what I mean) at start, and was forced to go with them.

    “Ah, crap my father was a pirate and now I have this urge to seek out harbours all the time!”

    “Nice! My mother gave birth to me on a slope, and therefore I get a bonus to climbing!”

    …and so on…

    • anteolsson says:

      Thanks. Yes, I think it should stay with you, unless you have a super operation that fixes it which would have to make sense In Game. Rolling randomly would be an extensoin of the customisation. So instead of Choosing your own background with your own text and assigning positive and negative effects, you could instead get a random set of traits. I do not think this should be forced though, it feels better if there is a choice.

      A new one:

      “My Father gave birth to me on a slope and therefore I get a bonus to climbing…and crawling through narrow spaces.”

      Any ideas on how you could solve the random assignment of traits?

  2. Jensan says:

    (continuing our discussion from above)
    In a face-to-face, pen-and-paper game, it would be easy to have a combination of pre-written and on-the-spot-invented (by the players) traits (each with their special bonuses and penalties). Mix them in a hat, and make each player draw.

    In a computer game, unless you invent some sort of automated process of extracting bonuses/penalties from a randomly generated text, you must have a set of pre-written traits. I guess it would be possible to come up with some sort of pattern that the programme could use, like:

    You were born in [CITY] on a [WEATHER TYPE] night. [NUMBER] people came to see your birth, and [ANOTHER NUMBER] gave you their [BLESSING OR COURSE].

    Everything in brackets would be randomly selected, and each selection generates a different sets of bonuses/penalties. E.g., the city of Cloudport may give a bonus to toxic smokes and sailing, and so forth.

    • anteolsson says:

      Of course I would like both, ie randomly selecting pre written text and more randomly with a script/program like the one you exemplified. But I guess it is both a matter of a design choice and practical choice.

      The good thing with having them pre written is that it is easier to make them feel more unique and thought through, where randomly assigning words would use the same format but with different words and it would be possible to “see through” the pattern.

      But I like the example you made. You could for example use this kind of script to generate new traits. If you like what is generated you save it as a trait.

      I don’t know if you have started Magic of obscura yet, but there you choose traits, or whatever they call it, and I think they have a random selector of traits as well. I remember that it gave me a very good feel for my character and that is the goal with this.

      What do you say? Maybe when I get the time I will write down some other type of traits I have in mind.

      • Jensan says:

        Another interesting but technically more difficult way would be to analyse a piece of text, and let the program work out bonuses and penalties from that. That is, let the user (I’m just thinking in terms of a RPG on the computer here) input his background, and then the program analyses the text for keywords and generates appropriate traits on the fly.

        So, if the user typed this into the game (my underlines):

        When your mother gave birth to you, a slow and painfully agonising death fell upon her. She was a powerful witch who in an attempt to recieve some final additional powers sold her soul for the great gift of bearing a child. A child that would withhold supreme primal powers. But with the great power a curse was also layed upon you.

        The underlined words is what the program would spot, triggering certain “trait generators”.

        Or something like that! It’s probably harder to code than to talk about, so let us keep talking about it!

      • Jensan says:

        Ah, crap WordPress didn’t like my underlines so I’ll have to use bold text instead:

        When your mother gave birth to you, a slow and painfully agonising death fell upon her. She was a powerful witch who in an attempt to recieve some final additional powers sold her soul for the great gift of bearing a child. A child that would withhold supreme primal powers. But with the great power a curse was also layed upon you.

  3. anteolsson says:

    That would be no less than awesome but as you say, that is something that is easier to talk about than to program. We could leave it at that for the moment being. Once more traits has been written it will be easier to get a bigger picture an maybe easier to get ideas to solve the practicalities.

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