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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Complications for DCC RPG Characters

Image from Judge's Guild City State
of the Invencible Overlord
It's not uncommon for characters in sword and sorcery stories to have complicated lives, with enemies interfering with their adventures, crime bosses trying to catch them for some debt they owe, cults attacking them for some unforeseen reason they saw in a prophecy. This all the while they are trying to achieve their goals to find a lost treasure, to stop a dark ritual to awaken a sleeping old god and all sort of other quests.

One way to simulate that in our games could be with a simple mechanic like a random encounter linked to each character. Every player could have a complication for his character and once per session the GM could roll a chance for those complications to arise during the game. This would insert more tension in the game and would make the adventures more chaotic, with unexpected events in their way. Since this could potentially screw up all their plans, when the complications show up, the gods could send a favor to the PC in the form of a Luck point to even the odds. That way, a player would have a reason to accept a complication.

Complications

DCC RPG characters are not noble and pure heroes in a quest for goodness. They are adventurers in search for gold, glory, power and ancient secrets. These kind of quests usually will involve some dishonorable acts, and those, in consequence, will lead to some form of complications in their lives.

Because of that, a player has the option to choose a complication for his character, something that can interfere with his goals and will get in the way of his actions. Things like enemies, rivals, secrets, vices, duties and all other kinds of things that can eventually interfere with the character life and plans. These are not things that come up all the time in all game sessions though. They are stuff that can surprise the player once in a while.

The player can, of course, come up with his own complication for his character (but the judge can rule that his choice ain't good enough to complicate the character's life) or roll on the table below.

d50
Character Complication
1
Owes money to a corrupt noble.
2
Owes favors to a merchant guild.
3
Owes a favor to a sinister sorcerer.
4
Owes money to a crime lord with a taste for blood.
5
Owes favors to a supernatural entity.
6
Owes his life to a former master.
7
Has the enmity of a rival.
8
Enemies with a pirate lord.
9
Enemies with an insane warlock.
10
Wanted dead by a furious barbarian from the cold north.
11
Enemies with a influential noble for sleeping with his wife.
12
Hatred of a supernatural entity for some unforeseen wrongdoing.
13
Hatred of a cult for disrespecting their religion.
14
Enmity of a crime lord for breaking their agreement.
15
Addicted to lotus powder.
16
Addicted to sorcery.
17
Addicted to alcohol.
18
Addicted to opium.
19
Addicted to gambling.
20
Kleptomaniac.
21
Addicted to sex.
22
Can't control himself properly in social situations.
23
Chased by former allies because of treason.
24
Has made a sinister pact with a demon.
25
Has committed a serious crime in his homeland.
26
Has a serious obsession.
27
Has a secret identity.
28
Knows something he wasn't supposed to know.
29
Keeps a evil artifact hidden.
30
Is in fact possessed by an ancient spirit.
31
Hunted by the Assassin's Guild.
32
Hunted by a sinister demon cult.
33
Chased by a crazy cult that believes he is their savior.
34
Hunted by a former master that went crazy.
35
Hunted for a crime he did not commit.
36
Hunted by a mad wizard that sees him as an potential enemy in the future.
37
Hunted by a sinister old monster awakened by accident.
38
Duty to his family.
39
Duty to a military organization.
40
Duty to a criminal organization.
41
Duty to a religious order.
42
Duty to a former master.
43
Duty to a supernatural entity.
44
Has a second personality.
45
Pursued by former loved one who he abandoned.
46
A sibling that's always getting into trouble.
47
A crippling disease that manifests in the worst moments.
48
Has an evil clone trying to take his place.
49
Has a weird aura that attracts savage beasts.
50
Has a birth sign considered to be a bad omen in some cultures.

Complications in action

Once per session, right in the beginning of the game, the judge will ask the players for a Luck check (roll under). If the player passes the test, his complication will not come into play to screw up his life. However, if he rolls over his Luck score, his complication can come into play at any moment the judge find more interesting (causing the most trouble for the character, of course). If the judge chooses to use the character complication during the session, that character recovers 1 point of Luck, representing the entities that watch over him trying even the odds in his favor.