Jeremy Morgan

Written by Jeremy Morgan, tabletop games editor, gamer, and software developer.
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Random Game Design Thought - PME

14 January 2015

Here’s something that I’ve been kicking around in my head for a little bit. It’s not fully formed, but I need to get it down on paper, so it’s not an open loop.

Imagine you’ve got three resources: physical, mental, and emotional. You’ve got only a certain amount of each of them, and running out is BAD. You can be physically tired, mentally exhausted, or emotionally drained.

I’m pondering what else to do with this. You start each day with a certain amount (possibly determined randomly), and each thing you need to do that day costs you. It seems like the way Five Fires does resolution is a natural fit here. You roll 3 dice and decide which resource you’d like that die to apply to. The GM / another player (I haven’t given much thought to that yet) rolls 3 dice, and we compare results.

I’d probably want to allow a bit of borrowing from the next day’s resources (a la spoon theory, but I’d want to limit it.

So that’s what I’ve got so far. It’s obviously unpolished, but I think it’s got potential. What do you think? (Note: this is me asking for feedback.)


PK Sullivan said:

Have you read the in-house Marvel role playing game from the early 2000s? To accomplish tasks that used powers you had to spend stones from a pool. There are some complexities beyond that but it’s the basic idea. Sounds similar.

TriskalJM said:

I haven’t played it, but your comment jogs my memory a bit.

TR said:

Sounds sort of like Gumshoe crossed with Dread. I’m intrigued.

mythusmage said:

Dangerous Journeys uses mental, physical, and spiritual traits, and each can take damage. I’ve been thinking of exhaustion, for instance, doing damage to the physical trait; making physical combat more hazardous when a character is tired. I’m interested in your ideas.

TriskalJM said:

I’m considering something similar, but I’m thinking more of a modern setting with regular people. If you wanted to put it into a genre simulation of some kind, you could totally do what you’re saying. Magic could be mental, and then the spiritual could be drained by giving the players hard moral choices.

Just my quick thoughts.

Darcy Ross said:

Hey! You should check out Numenera or the Strange, two RPGs that do just that but the pools only get exerted during particularly taxing mental, strength, or speed tasks. They act as HP, can take damage individually, and losing all of even one is quite bad. Might be something to look at, though it seems like a different vision than yours :-D