The Affinity System and Bonds for Genship Exiles

in tabletop-rpg •  19 days ago

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Art by @znkd.

This is still something of a sketch of a mechanic, so it's not quite done perfectly and there are some missing pieces, but I want to talk about how I'm handling the affinity system in Genship Exiles.

The idea that I've sort of settled upon is using a variant of Pearson's personality archetypes to define what a character's fundamental role in the society is. By looking at each of the different fundamental needs reflected by the personality archetypes, we can then work backward from these and use the affinity system to say what characters provide for others in their society.


Affinity

Characters in Genship Exiles have an affinity that represents their personality and how they help those around them.

These basic affinities provide the definition for what a character can help with when they are providing benefits to those who have them as a bond. The boosts apply to the character who the bond connects to, or sometimes through extension to a third party (e.g. if the character being boosted is actively assisting someone else who is trying to do a task in conjunction with the boosted character through the Cooperation rules).

While the listed descriptions for bonds are rather restrictive, the practical execution of these can be wider so long as they do not contradict the descriptions.

For instance, a character who has Hope as an affinity will be able to boost another character deceiving someone for the sake of keeping them from finding out a secret that could cause them harm, but one with Meaning will not be able to do so because it violates the answer descriptor. The GM has the final say over whether or not an affinity proscribes a particular action.

Affinity: HopeAffinity: BelongingAffinity: ResponsibilityAffinity: MeaningAffinity: OrderAffinity: Freedom
A: CommunityA: HomeA: ProtectionA: ChangeA: HarmonyA: Wisdom
B: IndividualB: UniverseB: NurtureB: TraditionB: LawB: Joy

Characters can choose the A or B attunement for an affinity, but not both. The bonuses stack with the base affinity, and do not restrict the character from providing assistance as they could before the attunement (though their attunement bonus may only apply in particular situations, and may be provided independently from the affinity boost).

Boosts and Affinity

In Genship Exiles, each character has bonds with other characters. They may help characters who have a bond with them, and receive help in return.

When a character needs help, and the help ties into a task that would fit a bond's affinity, they may receive a boost. This requires a character to spend $RESOURCENAME (either the recipient or the bonded character may spend this $RESOURCENAME), and immediately boosts one of their dice to a d12 from a d10. If a character is suffering the effects of an Entanglement, they instead turn a d8 into a d10.

This may be done as many times as is desired, until all dice rolled are d12's. Each time this is done a new bond must be used and another $RESOURCENAME must be spent.

Characters cannot receive a boost from a character who they have an unreciprocated outgoing connection to. For instance, if Alice considers Bob to be her Hero, Alice cannot receive a boost from Bob unless Bob has a bond like "Ward" directed toward Alice. However, Alice can still boost Bob.

Hope

The character helps others who are encountering difficulty with things. This is particularly effective when it comes to helping characters who are injured, afraid, or despondent; they hold ideals that build people up.

Bond Bonus: When your actions would encourage, embolden, or inspire someone, boost one die.

Community Attunement

Your hope is channeled through the form of connections to lots of other people.

Personal Bonus: You roll with mastery in social situations.
Bond Bonus: When you and at least one other person is boosting a character's dice for a roll, they roll with mastery.

Individual Attunement

Your hope is found in the heroic potential of each individual.

Personal Bonus: You roll with mastery when everyone's depending on you.
Bond Bonus: When you are the only person boosting a character's dice for a roll, they roll with mastery and you may boost them twice (at the cost of an additional $RESOURCENAME paid by either of you).

Belonging

The character helps others who are looking for their place. This is particularly effective when helping characters who are overwhelmed, lost, or listless; they hold ideals that form the community.

Bond Bonus: When your actions would greet, welcome, or commend someone, boost one die.

Home Attunement

Your place is at home, with your people.

Personal Bonus: When you are boosting at least two dice, roll with mastery.
Bond Bonus: When you boost someone you have a bond with and who has a bond with you, they roll with mastery.

Universe Attunement

Your place is out wandering among the stars.

Personal Bonus: When it is not possible for anyone else to boost your dice, you roll with mastery.
Bond Bonus: You may receive a boost from NPCs you find in your encounters.

Responsibility

The character finds their role in helping others, either by guiding or protecting them. This is particularly effective when helping characters who are in need, growing, or threatened.

Bond Bonus: When your actions would train, mentor, or assist someone, boost one die.

Protection Attunement

You help others by protecting them from dangers.

Personal Bonus: When you face a threat that would otherwise befall someone else, roll with mastery.
Bond Bonus: When you boost someone who is endangered, they roll with mastery.

Nurture Attunement

You help others by encouraging them to grow.

Personal Bonus: When you are helping someone recover or overcome a weakness, roll with mastery.
Bond Bonus: When you boost someone who is trying to heal, recover, or grow, they roll with mastery.

Meaning

The character finds their role in determining what is important in life. This is particularly effective when helping characters who are confused, in a rut, or aimless. They help ground others in reality.

Bond Bonus: When your actions teach, debate, or answer someone, boost one die.

Change Alignment

You help others by finding a new way to do things.

Personal Bonus: When you innovate, roll with mastery.
Bond Bonus: When you boost someone and they try something novel, they roll with mastery.

Tradition Alignment

You help others by using the wisdom of the ancients.

Personal Bonus: When you are able to use tried and true methods, roll with mastery.
Bond Bonus: When you boost someone who is using the old ways, they roll with mastery.

Order

The character finds meaning in figuring out the way in which the universe works. This is particularly effective when helping characters who are struggling, impotent, or astray. They help bring people in agreement.

Bond Bonus: When your actions guide, correct, or discipline someone, boost one die.

Harmony Alignment

You help others by finding voluntary agreements.

Personal Bonus: When you are trying to avoid or reduce conflict, roll with mastery.
Bond Bonus: When you boost someone trying to avoid or reduce conflict, they roll with mastery.

Law Alignment

You help others by enforcing the laws and rules.

Personal Bonus: When you are arbitrating or enforcing rules, roll with mastery.
Bond Bonus: When you boost someone who is on the right side of the rules in a conflict, they roll with mastery.

Freedom

The character finds meaning in ascending beyond limitations. This is particularly effective when helping characters who are mistaken, depressed, or joyless. They understand what is good in life. Editor's note: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.

Bond Bonus: When your actions teach, liberate, or enlighten someone, boost one die.

Wisdom Alignment

You help others by understanding why the rules exist.

Personal Bonus: When you act in accordance with higher purpose, roll with mastery.
Bond Bonus: When you boost someone who is finding greater meaning in their actions, they roll with mastery.

Joy Alignment

You help others by celebrating the good in the universe.

Personal Bonus: When your actions reflect your celebration of good things, roll with mastery.
Bond Bonus: When you boost someone who is bringing about a good thing, they roll with mastery. (WEAK, but I'm going to bed, dammit)


Closing Thoughts

Obviously there are some parts of this that need some pretty big tweaking; the personal and bond bonus shouldn't always be quite as symmetrical as it is here, and there's a lot of room to potentially expand and grow this list. Again, this is just an early sketch of the system, but it's the first one that I think really has actionable game mechanics in it.

We'll see how this goes closer to the release of Genship Exiles, but I'm happy with it as it currently stands as a sort of "rough draft" that helps to show how Genship Exiles is an actual cooperative game with strong mechanics and storytelling layered into it, rather than just a game in which the players are supposed to cooperate. There's a good distinction to be made there.

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