Search This Blog

Thursday, April 8, 2010

[RPG] Locus Points: Generation, Use, and Gain-

As I am writing the Ethnicity-specific CharGen pages, I have been thinking about how to go about implementing Locus Points for existing characters (such as those in my Playtest Campaign, or characters ported in from some Other Game).

What is Locus?-

Locus is functionally 'Luck' in a general sense, and from a game-mechanic-perspective, it operates in a way similar to so-called Action Points.

* If stated that a Locus Point (only ever one being used at a time for anything) is going to be expended, the roll that would normally be needed is instead waved and a 'success' is generated. In the case of a Strike Roll, the attack strikes. In the case of a Damage/Effect Roll, the average value is generated (to which modifiers are then added as per normal). In a Skill Roll, 100% is generated. Etc.

* If a roll is made, and Success or Effect is not generated on rolled (+ mods.) merits, a Locus Point may be expended to re-roll, with the better of the two results being used.

* If a Player expends one Locus Point, their PC stops 1-point of bleeding (Condition 3), requiring two concurrent Rounds in which Locus was expended to stop Heavy Bleeding (Condition 2).

* If a PC would go Unconscious (Condition 1), or is already Unconscious, 1 Locus Point may be expended to roll 1d6. If this d6 result is 4+, the PC becomes conscious, although possibly still (Heavy-) Bleeding, and can act at the standard Condition penalty (6 - Condition).

* If a PC is Dying (Condition Zed), the Player may expend 1 Locus Point to keep from slipping further (once the Zed DP have reached 0). For more permissive GMs of That Other Game who use 'negative x = dead', then this would prevent a PC from slipping into the (further) 'negatives'.

:: The above also apply to non-lethal, stunning effects (what UWoM terms Alertness Conditions: Vanguard, Alert, Unfocused, Stunned, In-shock, Unconscious, Comatose), such as results from waylaying, psychic-blasts, etc.

The Referee is encouraged to allow other significant (i.e., non-trivial) uses for the expenditure of a Locus Point, that I have not detailed, and will not detail in the rules.
--This becomes a Player-Referee dynamic mechanism that allows a bit more interaction in the gameplay apart from binary success/failure die-rolls.

(Re)gaining Locus Points-

:: As these points do not 're-set' at the start of a session/section/chapter, I suggest adding one LP each advancement, and in the event of significant and especially clever gameplay, or deeply moving roleplay, such as putting Duty above one's own life, etc.

* For new PCs, the Player rolls 3d6 seven times, placing six of the scores as desired into the six Abilities, and using the seventh score as the Locus Point total.
--This allows strategic choice in the case of (otherwise 'good'-) scores that wouldn't provide an additional bonus to be placed instead in Locus, with the lower score in a bonus-step (13 on a 13-15 score bonus scheme, for instance) placed in an Ability.

* For extant characters imported from Other Games, to simulate the likelihood of the Locus score being the 'discard', it would instead be generated with a 2d6+1d4 roll.

:: With many uses for (and few methods of re-gaining) Locus Points, I see this mechanism as a little nudge in the PCs favour in what would otherwise be a very deadly game (system).

Thoughts, concerns, objections, derisions?


  1. I used a 'hero point' concept very similar to your Locus Points in my Moria campaign. At the end of the day players told me they were too good (imagine that from players). The general consensus was they took the risk out of the game.

    I think the main reason for this in my case was that there were too many points available in the game (I was being fairly liberal with them at the beginning). If I were you I would give careful consideration to the number of points available to the PCs.

    As a minor alteration, you may want to allow any player to use an LP to affect a player's result. This provides a mechanism for intra-character support and cooperation.

  2. Thank you for your input.
    --It is most appreciated.

    I do like the use for others' benefit aspect.

    How many do you find convenient to gameplay?
    --2d6? 1d6?

  3. What I am finding in my current RuneQuest campaign is that the players are not using the Hero Points they have. They get only 1 per session unless they do something amazing. They start with 3 but spend them for the things you are suggesting for Locus Points and about at the same rate.

    However, my players have so far been pretty content to let the chips fall where they may and not take re-rolls or change results with Hero Points; but then again no one has really yet been at death's door, yet. What can I say, it's a new campaign and these players know the better part of valor. There's been a lot of (shall we say) tactical repositioning when faced with overwhelming opposition. Hero Points are meant to stop you from losing a good character to a botched dice roll, and so far that hasn't happened.

    So the HPs have been stacking up unused. I'm not sure what I will do about this. I'm not about to punish people for being clever and careful players!

  4. @Dave: Thanks for posting. :)

    These points do not refresh, nor are they doled out per session/section/chapter, etc., only increasing by one per 'level-up'
    --Once rolled, there is no guarantee that they'll be gained for playing, and I could see a PC using 4 of them in one combat, as Damage in UWoM is pretty hefty and easily sustained.

    I', not convinced that they'd be an unbalancing factor, but will have to playtest them to be certain.
    --I could see reducing the initial amount by one-half the 'discard' score, but ... we'll see.

  5. I started off handing out 2-3 per character, per session. That was definitely too many. Were I to do it again, I think I would give one per session, with characters accumulating no more than some fixed number in total. Your numbers may not be off by much, but it's something that bears watching.

  6. @M: Thanks for those details.
    --I will keep them in mind. :)