My Facebook account is rarely frequented and pretty much just a mechanism for keeping in touch with a couple of friends who I don’t see a lot of these days. (They introduced me to it)
Recently however, I’ve been drawn into playing Pinnacle Entertainment Group’s Rippers Facebook game, which is about Victorian monster-hunting and the “Horror War” against the evil Cabal, and I have to say that as a minor diversion it’s not at all bad.
Like most such games, it’s fairly limited and the missions are rather repetitive after a while, but the promise of character advancement has kept me plugging away and overall it seems fairly well thought out.
The Heart mechanics in particular are of interest to me, since they are a minor application of a concept I rather loosely discussed in a post some time ago. Basically, making the character’s resolve/conviction/heart a value that can be eroded, so that physical damage points and thus combat are no longer the only character resource limiting their ability to continue towards their objectives. To my mind this opens up other avenues for challenging the characters i.e. you might have the strength to overcome this obstacle but do you have the mental fortitude? Can I persuade you to desist? Can I intimidate you into withdrawing?
From observation only, the Heart mechanics employed in Rippers work something like this:
- Your Heart is twice your Courage attribute and represents a pool of ‘resolve’ which underpins your actions.
- Heart is consumed when you are daunted/challenged by horrors or failure e.g. “the werewolf strikes terror into your heart (Heart Damage 3)” or “Critical failure (Heart Damage 1)”
- Failing certain skill challenges which you have to overcome in order to advance through the mission is typically more costly e.g. failing to decipher a coded message may lose you a whole bunch of Heart. I’m not sure exactly how this works, perhaps dependant on the extent of your failure?
- Once your Heart reaches zero you are defeated and cannot continue with your mission. For the time being you must withdraw to lick your wounds before returning to fight another day.
These mechanics seem to work fairly well within the limits of the Rippers game, though for application in a tabletop RPG I’d also want to see things like:
- Heart damage from social conflicts e.g. persuasion, intimidation
- Heart tied into stated character “beliefs” or inspirations
- Heart bonuses for following beliefs/inspirations i.e. it is harder to undermine/dissuade characters from performing actions which are in line with their “beliefs”
- A Heart replenishment system based around scenes being devoted to a character’s inspirations (In Rippers Heart merely replenishes over time)
There’s some food for future thought there anyway.
Edit: As per the comments, it has been noted that the Rippers Facebook Game is no longer available.