Another Long post about Hacking Worlds in Peril
Worlds in Peril Bonds / Plot Points
In general, I love the idea of relating “success guaranteeing” bennies to superhero relationships. Interpersonal drama is a big part of superhero stories and often are absent from ttrpgs. Since bennies are perfect for supers games, I think it’s a great idea for the PCs to earn them by creating drama.
In practice, however, some of my players didn’t like them. Use in our game usually went something like this:
Spider Man really wants to knock Doc Oc out by swinging into his face, feet first. So he burns a bond with Aunt May and gets to step up his result. (PbtA: -6 to a 7-9, or 7-9 to a 10+). He nails Doc Oc and super powered action ensues. The EIC (GM) makes a note to introduce some drama with Aunt May at a later time.
The player asks, “What the hell does kicking Doc Oc have to do with Peter Parker’s relationship with Aunt May?”
I (the EIC/GM) say, “Nothing really, fictionally speaking. But (insert something like the first paragraph above.)
So I thought about it and here is the first draft of what I came up with.
New PC’s start the game with a free Plot Point (the new name for bennies stolen from MHR). You can no longer just burn a bond, get a success, and then figure out the fiction later. However, you do have to trade some drama for triumph. Now you earn Plot Points when you trigger the “Burn a Bond” move.
Burn a Bond
Being a superhero is tough on relationships. It seems like the better you are at being a hero, the more drama you have in your life.
When a scene involves straining a bond relationship, roll +bond
10+ burn 1 bond and get 2 plot points “that went better than expected”
7-9 burn 1 bond and get 1 plot point
-6 burn 2 bond and get 1 plot point. EIC will tell you how it’s turned out worse than you expected.
My hopes for this change is that PC’s would proactively think about their relationships and narrate or frame scenes to earn Plot Points and add to the narrative. Also, the move could be triggered organically as the story progresses. If something happens fictionally to strain a bond as a result of a scene the move would also be triggered. In addition, if the EIC saw that a PC was low on plot points he could also use the GM move “Threaten a Bond” to trigger the “Burn a Bond” move to introduce some dramatic spotlight and plot point bennies to that PC.
If you made it this far, what do you think?